The Wisdom of the Gospel (1 of 3)

In 1 Corinthians 1 Paul explains that there should be no divisions in the church. According to Paul, the “wisdom of man” believes the gospel message is foolishness and therefore anyone who follows after the cunning words of a man’s message just because it “makes sense” more than another is in the wrong. 

Paul goes on to explain in chapter 2 that true wisdom in the Gospel Mesage (cross and resurrection) can only be understood through the Spirit.

In 2:6-16 we see how this wisdom can be received. The first method God used is through revelation. In 2:10 we are reminded that God revealed wisdom to us through the Spirit. 

The “special” revelation of Godly wisdom that some claim to have and others follow blindly is in direct contrast to what Paul is saying here. Though someone may make sense to us because we understand their words or their passion is expressed in a way that resonates with us, we should be careful not to accept the messenger over the Word of God. 

What an incredible gift to have the Spirit reveal the wisdom of God to us!

This single source for knowing godly wisdom is only one reason we should strive to not have divisions in our churches. There are two more reasons that are found in verses 12 and 13.

The weak things of the world are strong because…

Weak things of this world are strong It is hard to comprehend but easy to experience in our culture. The idea that the worldly system is going to naturally believe the things of God are weak is something we need to consider when we begin evaluating the impact a Biblically based teaching will have in our life.
This is not asceticism. That is a form of legalism that taught people to make themselves weak and foolish in order to “suffer” with Christ. Apparently, the self inflicted pain and suffering should add to the grace that Christ provided. This self abasement is not what Paul is referring to here. 

This is in reference to the humility that walking a surrendered Christian life requires in order to experience God’s amazing power and love in your life. Humility says that we don’t know everything. It also says that He does and we can trust Him with our whole heart.

Keeping these ideas in mind, we can see why Paul begins his book to the Corinthians attempting to provide a path to unity. The first insight is for us as Christians to realize that our source for wisdom and strength is God, not man. We also need to remember that we are influenced by the world all the time and should check ourselves regularly. 

Next steps…

Be like Spider Man and grab a tall glass of water and think about it.

Grace brings everything you need with it.

“For the GRACE of GOD which was given you in Christ Jesus;” (emphasis mine)

Grace is free for us but only because of the payment that Christ made. And because it was HIM who supplied the payment we have EVERYTHING we need to live a successful God-pleasing life. 

We already know that God sent His Son to redeem the World according to John 3:16. This is not exclusive to our Peace it is essential. 

Along with grace we are enriched with everything we need in our lives to glorify God. 

Getting this grace which brings with it peace is not a guessing game that God plays with us. There isn’t some great mystery we have to uncover. 

Grace is not a guessing game
I was having a really great time. #sarcasm

Our gifts have been openly given through grace in Christ. There is no secret code or recipe. Their is no algorithm of good works and Christ work mixed with bad works. Grace is free in Christ because He paid the payment we owed and could never pay.

What constitutes a Church? According to Paul

According to Paul, the Church at Corinth was made up of a separated (sanctified) and called out group of people who believe (called upon the name) on Jesus Christ. 

There is a lot in this one verse that should cause us to take a second look at our ideas and comfort level with our local church. I’m not talking about interdenominational community, I’m referencing our view of who we are as a community in our church. 

The verbs “sanctified” and “called” remind me of the act of a shepherd or a cattle rancher who has to separate specific animals from the flock or herd. He would first find the ones who he needs, separate them from the larger group and finally he would grab the animal he intended to retain.

Maybe the idea is best expressed in our culture by using a child’s birthday party. Let’s say it’s a bounce house full of 25 3rd graders. Your boy is the one in the middle of the group who is having the time of his life. The cake is ready to eat but the kids are so loud you can’t get his attention. 

Finally, you jump into the bounce house and crawl over to his area. One after another kid jumps over your back. Some are successful while others…not so much. You make it to the back left corner of the air filled sweat factory and your boy is in the middle is 3 other boys all trying to reach the top of the bounce house. 

Your voice is timid at first because you don’t want to scare the little girl that is next to you already transfixed by all the action going on and is just sitting in the middle watching you make your way past her. But when your voice doesn’t carry far enough into the tough skinned ear canal of your child, you yell. This gets your son’s attention and you reach out and grab him. He yields to the persuasive look on your face and jumps on your back to get out of the war zone.

He hangs on for dear life and you both make it out of there alive. Leaving behind a mess of kids struggling to get back on their feet. 

That is what it means to be called out by God. Everyone in the church has experience the spiritual separating and calling of God. The public profession of that alignment is baptism and then membership with a local body of these called out believers. 

The basic foundation of the church is this fundamental look at the body of people called the church. It’s an amazing organism and ordained by God Himself through Christ. All the more reason to not neglect the gathering of your local church. It’s incredibly special to be able to be apart of it. 

I believe if we could all get back to the basics of what makes up the church, our ministries would be much more impactful.

And…who doesn’t need a picture of Zeke to rest their eyes upon? Good looking and great smelling. Debbie calls him out all the time. “Zeke! You stink!” Who knew mature goats were so impressive with their smell. I didn’t, but now I do. 

Corinth was not much unlike our culture

The culture of first century Corinth appears to be eerily similar to our modern culture here in America. In many ways we have just changed the methods of our excessiveness and corruption but the heart has remained as bent toward distorting truth as ever.

Lest we take a “higher view” of ourselves and miss the insight of these 2 books, check carefully the mindset of your view of today’s culture and remember that we are influenced every day by the culture we live in. As much as we like to deny the inevitable “transfer of paint”, our lives can only be sharpened if we finally surrender ourselves to God’s hardline on sin and it’s ever present effects in our lives and churches.

It appears that in the city of Corinth’s corrupt culture was shaped by 3 main aggravates:

  1. Connections – it was at a pivotal crossroads in history during Paul’s day. It had no lack of information. The educational and social centers were known through the world and had few places that could match the level of “culture” this connectedness brought to the city.
  2. Influential – it is estimated that this city consisted of a population of 600,000-700,000. Politics was a heavy hand in the culture of Corinth. It had deep connections with every part of the known world at the time. I would assume that if Rome wanted to see it’s rising stars, it looked into the political elite of Corinth.
  3. Affluent – money and fortune were the driving forces of the Corinthian people. The population had a huge disparity between the wealthy and the poor (slaves). Those who had, wanted more and those who had not, needed more. Always chasing the next opportunity drove this fast-paced work addicted society. 

To finish out the intro I wanted to share a picture of a boy (Garrett) in a tree! It has nothing to do with the study of 1st and 2nd Corinthians (or does it).

Can my zeal for God turn away His wrath?

Rock of agesCould my efforts save me from the punishment I deserve in my rejection of God? My sin cannot be overcome by my hands or wisdom.

This experiment of trying to save myself has been repeated and failed in every soul that has walked the earth from the beginning of time. It is impossible to please God through my hands or intentions. 

Accepting the atonement of Christ’s sacrifice is the only way to escape the wrath of a Holy God. 

It’s His mercy that allows us to see the way. It is His Grace that allows us to be accepted.

Poem: “Rock of Ages” by Augustus Toplady – 1776

What does the Law actually do?

The law was given to Moses and was not an introduction of sin. It simply magnified the true nature of sin and our desperate condition of being condemned. 

There is more to it though.

The Law did not create Grace. Grace was always there since the Fall of Adam and Eve. Like a good school teacher, the Law shows us what was already in existence by magnifying the nature of something through a series of laws. 

The Law then shows the need for a Saviour by magnification but that need was established in Genesis by Adam and then through Abraham. 

We need to be clothed in God’s Righteousness or we are condemned because HE is Holy and Righteous and that demands everything around Him to be the same. Like two magnets that oppose each, God’s righteousness pushes away unrighteousness. 

But Christ’s righteousness is given to us by Grace through Faith just as in the time before the Law. 

when this all comes together we can more easily see the purpose of the Law given in Exodus and properly understand it’s role in our salvation and explaining it to others.

Help me out, how do you explain the purpose of the Law in salvation?

Our culture doesn’t understand redemption: PROOF

Studies have shown that about $1 billion in gift card money doesn’t get redeemed every year. This is free money so why does this happen? 

There are a few requirements that the redemption process has in it that may hinder redeeming gift card money. 

  1. Value must be locked up
  2. A code must be used to unlock the value
  3. The value must be used in the market it was locked up in

So considering these “hurdles” and the lack of many people’s willingness to act in order to use the value, I am concluding that redemption is a term that doesn’t quite fit into our culture. 

  1. There are too many restrictions or hurdles
  2. The “value” just isn’t worth it to many
  3. The market is not what we want to be in

All of these statements could be made in regards to the problem but it comes down to knowing the process of redemption and being willing to include it into our life. 
Christ has redeemed us. 

Applying these previously listed redemption requirements helps to understand why our culture is limited in it’s understanding of what that powerful phrase means.

God saw value in us and was willing to be “in the marketplace” to redeem us. We are now free to love Him and in return He is able to have a relationship with us and we can experience communion with Him.

“Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us…” – Gal 3:13

What the Law Cannot do, Christ did.

The law is able to curse and punish. It doesn’t know mercy or grace. It only knows justice and condemnation. 

Through the Law we are able to see God’s Holiness and Glory but we also see our state of sinfulness that “falls short” of the mark. But, what the law could not do, Jesus did.

In Jesus the righteousness of the law was fulfilled. Gal. 3:13 – “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us…” 

Jesus took our curse for us. The cost was high but He took our debt and paid it all. No part could I play because I was powerless. 

Believing in God and Believing on God are 2 different things.

I know it sounds like a simple play with semantics but it could be a clear defining line of where someone is in their relationship with God. 

Abraham believed on God’s promises and it was counted as righteousness before God. 

Judas believed in God but after kissing the face of God he betrayed Him. 

Believing in God is one of the most fundamental aspects of our humanity. It is a natural trait that every human is born with. 

Believing in the promise of God is like jumping in the wheelbarrow of a tight rope walker that you believe can make it across safely. There is a big difference in simply believing in the tight rope walker and believing on the tight rope walker.

Get in the wheelbarrow of God’s promises today! It’s stable and secure. The storms come and the troubles threaten but the promises of God always withstand and accomplish what He says.