Here is today’s sermon based on 1 Corinthians 1:18-25:
Imagine with me just a few minutes. I want you to picture the heavenly throne room. Seated in the center is God and surrounding him are the heavenly court. They are discussing the latest issues with humanity and the heavenly court is encouraging God to be done with them. There are suggestions about wiping them out – but not using a flood since God made that promise. One senior advisor points out that the humans have ignored the flood, Moses, prophets, and no matter what God does, they do their thing. Just be rid of them is the suggestion. Then God raises his hand because he has an idea. Why not create himself as one of those delightful creatures? Finally, the senior archangel stepped forward to speak for them all. He told God how much they would worry about him, if he did that. He would be putting himself at the mercy of his creatures, the angel said. People could do anything they wanted to him, and God said that was the point. God thanked the archangels for their concern but said no, he thought he would be just a regular baby. How else could he gain the trust of his creatures? How else could he persuade them that he knew their lives inside and out, unless he lived one like theirs? As far as the chance of being at their mercy, well that was part of the plan. He was going to allow them to kill him in their place and remove the barriers that separated them from God. Before the heavenly court could object, God rose from the throne and walked out of the chamber shedding his mantle as he did so. Where the mantle landed on the floor, a starry sky appeared above a craggy landscape and in the distance, the cry of a baby could be heard.
In Frank Sinatra terms, God did it his way or at least in a different way than we would consider. Paul writes to the Jewish and Gentile population in Corinth to show why Jesus’ death on the cross is not foolish but rather wisdom.
- Standards are different for God than they are for us
- Our standards say that we should think on our own
- Paul didn’t have a problem with education
- He had a problem with that education taking the place of knowledge or need for God
- Goes back to Genesis Chapter 3:5 — you will not surely die, the serpent said to the woman. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.
- This is a lie Satan has been telling humanity from the beginning: you DON’T NEED GOD.
- Paul’s Questions: vs. 20 Where is the wise one? (of this age) Where is the Scholar? (of this age) Where is the Philosopher/debater of this age?
- Paul’s answer: Show me your wise man and I will show you someone who needs God. Show me your Scholar and I will show you someone who needs God. Show me your Philosopher/Debater and I will show you someone who needs God. Not only God, but the work of God through the cross. In view of the Cross the standards for this world changed.
- We Are Lost Without Knowledge of God
- We might not understand how much we are lost
- But it doesn¡¦t change the fact that we are loss
- Story of being lost during night land nav
- God is there if the world believes he’s there or not! Your belief in God doesn’t make him there. Someone’s unbelief doesn’t make him go away. The word Atheist means I am against something I don’t believe exists.
Another Reason God did it his way:
- The Message was Different
- Christianity isn’t the best way to God that would be bragging. It¡¦s the ONLY WAY TO GOD.
- Last part of vs. 21 God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.
- Not only is the message different, but the messenger is different. In view of the Cross the standards for this world changed.
- Our message is different and our delivery is different too.
- God somehow uses preaching
- Sounds foolish at first
- St. Francis of Assisi – Preach Jesus always and when necessary use words
- Allow me to poke some fun at preaching
- The longest sermon on record was preached by Clinton Lacy of West Richland, Washington in February of 1955. It took 48 hours and 18 minutes to deliver it. Small wonder someone proposed the adoption of a new Beatitude: “Blessed is the preacher whose train of thought has a caboose.”
- After a long, dry sermon, the minister announced that he wished to meet with the church board following the close of the service. The first man to arrive was a stranger. “You misunderstood my announcement. This is a meeting of the board,” said the minister. “I know,” said the man, “but if there is anyone here more bored than I am, I’d like to meet him.”
- A man went to see his doctor for advice about being cured of snoring. The doctor asked, “Does your snoring disturb your wife?” The patient replied, “Does it disturb my wife? Why it disturbs the entire congregation.”
- Yet in God’s wisdom he uses preaching to teach others about himself. Something that seems foolish to man is the wisdom of GOD.
- Paul says the cross could be a stumbling block to the Jews.
- How could a convict be a son of GOD? And foolishness to the Gentiles/Greeks ¡V because of their worldly education. In view of the Cross the standards for this world changed.
- For the foolishness of God is wiser than humanity’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than humanity’s strength.
- If there is something weak about God’s plan. It’s stronger than what humans could have come up with.
The third reason God did it his way:
- To show us His Power
- It’s not by our design
- We don’t have a right to boast in Salvation because we didn’t do anything to get salvation it’s a gift.
- Paul says, Think of what you were when you were called
- Not wise by human standards
- Not influential
- Not of noble birth
- God chose you anyway BUT WHY?
- To show us his Power!
- He Chose: The foolish things to shame the wise
- The weak things to shame the strong
- The lowly things
- The despised things
- To show us Jesus ¡V Paul calls Jesus the wisdom from God
- Our Redemption
- So that we would not become prideful and boast but we can boast in the Lord.
The Christian band downhere has a song titled “How Many Kings?” It is a Christmas song but it is one of those songs that makes you stop and think. The refrain goes like this: How many kings, stepped down from their thrones? How many lords have abandoned their homes? How many greats have become the least for me? How many Gods have poured out their hearts to romance a world that has torn all apart? How many fathers gave up their sons for me? Only one did that for me.
This is because the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.
Here is today’s worship bulletin.
A Reading from Luke 15 (CEB):
Jesus said, “A certain man had two sons. The younger son said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the inheritance.’ Then the father divided his estate between them. Soon afterward, the younger son gathered everything together and took a trip to a land far away. There, he wasted his wealth through extravagant living. “When he had used up his resources, a severe food shortage arose in that country and he began to be in need. He hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. He longed to eat his fill from what the pigs ate, but no one gave him anything. When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired hands have more than enough food, but I’m starving to death! I will get up and go to my father, and say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I no longer deserve to be called your son. Take me on as one of your hired hands.” ’ So he got up and went to his father. “While he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was moved with compassion. His father ran to him, hugged him, and kissed him. Then his son said, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I no longer deserve to be called your son.’But the father said to his servants, ‘Quickly, bring out the best robe and put it on him! Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet! Fetch the fattened calf and slaughter it. We must celebrate with feasting because this son of mine was dead and has come back to life! He was lost and is found!’ And they began to celebrate. “Now his older son was in the field. Coming in from the field, he approached the house and heard music and dancing. He called one of the servants and asked what was going on. The servant replied, ‘Your brother has arrived, and your father has slaughtered the fattened calf because he received his son back safe and sound.’ Then the older son was furious and didn’t want to enter in, but his father came out and begged him. He answered his father, ‘Look, I’ve served you all these years, and I never disobeyed your instruction. Yet you’ve never given me as much as a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours returned, after gobbling up your estate on prostitutes, you slaughtered the fattened calf for him.’ Then his father said, ‘Son, you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad because this brother of yours was dead and is alive. He was lost and is found.’”
The son realizes the error of his ways after squandering his wealth. He returns home, feeling that he does not deserve to be called a son. Immediately, the father makes it clear to everyone that the young man is, indeed, recognized as the lost son. The son’s return is cause for celebration. The father does not request the preparation of a simple meal of welcome. Instead, there will be a huge feast.
Why does the father so swiftly accept the son’s apology? First, anyone whose child has been missing, even for a few minutes, can identify with the father’s relief at seeing his son again. But there is more here. I believe it is a combination of the son’s humility and his recognition of his sin. His father accepts him, warts and all, because he still loves the son, regardless of his actions. The father sees that the son was dead in sin but is now alive again.
So are we. And not because of our actions, even those of humility. As we know, we are no longer dead in sin simply because of Christ’s sacrifice in our place. And we, like the prodigal son, will celebrate eternally with the Father!
Dear God, thank you for being a father even more loving than the father in this story. We are so grateful our salvation does not depend on our humility or worthiness, but on your love and grace.