1 Corinthians 1:18-27 Notes from Bible study taught 12/16/11 by Pastor Don Moore
1 Corinthians 1:18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
It is foolishness to those who are perishing. We don’t know who’s going to perish or not. We can’t judge people for where their final destination will be. Anyone on their death bed could still repent. We judge, but not for who will be saved. We can judge behaviors and actions, but can’t determine who will go to Hell or Heaven.
For example, look at the life of Paul five minutes before he met Jesus on the Damascus Road. If we judged his actions, we might conclude he was going to Hell because he was killing Christians. But Paul’s life was turned around and he became a powerful force for the Kingdom of God.
Even with the most sinful people, there can be a Jesus moment at any time. They can be at a stress point and God can intervene and turn their lives around. God knows the hearts of people and their outcomes. We cannot judge a person for their eternal outcome. Right now a person could be a false prophet or a worker of iniquity, but we don’t know what will happen in the future.
There are many who reject God most of their lives, but when they are in their seventies they turn their lives around.
We are fishing in a pool of humanity for those who are ready to turn their lives around. The Holy Spirit picks those for salvation. When you pray for someone to get saved, they may behave even worse for a time.
The Cross is foolish to some. They may be fooled today when you talk about Jesus, but later they may come around. People can enthusiastically object to us about Jesus and later turn to Jesus.
We believe even though we don’t see with our eyes. Jesus said:
John 20:29 Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
Pastor Don said, I am not perishing so the Cross is wisdom to me. They may think you are pitiful, think that church stuff is foolishness, but it isn’t I would rather line up with the Word of God as if it is true than to die not believing and find out it was true. To us, being saved is the Power of God. The message of the Cross is the Power of God. We get life for our sins and reconciled to God.
God empowers us by declaring to us that we can excel in everything good thing and multiply, and declare that even in the face of opposition we can say it is very good.
The more we come closer to knowing who we are in God, the more powerful we become. Know the Lord. When we know Him we will know what He will say, even if we do not see Him in the room with us.
Pastor Don said he has been married to his wife for forty years, and if they go to a restaurant he knows what she will order, and could order for her if she left the table.
Instead of WWJD (What would Jesus do?) we should ask WWJS – what would Jesus say? Jesus does what He says.
The main test of Christians is your joy meter. In the midst of challenges do you maintain the Joy of the Lord? The Holy Spirit helps us quote the Father and the Word to buoy us up. The Holy Spirit gives us wisdom to use in a way that is easy for us to grasp.
1 Corinthians 1:19 For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.”
What the World calls wise, God will destroy. There are over 301 proofs of God in the Bible. For example, scientists mock the Bible’s grasp of science, but in the book of Job there are things written that are beyond the scope of the science of Job’s day.
Scientists used to believe that the earth was flat. The Bible says that the earth is a sphere hanging on nothing.
Since the Hubble telescope, we now know the universe is expanding, and the Bible tells us God flung the stars.
1 Corinthians 1:20 Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?
History and time shows the truth of God’s Word. Believing the world is flat is foolishness. The scientists of that day didn’t read the Scriptures to see what God said about it. When Christopher Columbus set out on his voyage, he knew from the Scriptures that the earth was not flat and his ships would not fall off the end of the earth.
1 Corinthians 1:21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.
God knew that the scientific mind would assume the message of God would seem foolish to scientists. It pleased God that what is perceived as foolish would be the vehicle that would save others. We are saved beyond comprehension.
Scientists are discovering how expansive space is, and they have tried to make it finite. We are an infinitesimal part of our galaxy and there are millions of galaxies. There is a wonderful movie called Indescribable by Lou Giglio that shows the vastness of the universe.
1 Corinthians 1:22 For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom;
This shows cultural differences. Jews want to see signs and wonders. God calls the Jews stiff-necked, stubborn, and hard to hear explanations. They say, show me. Problem is that even after seeing signs, they won’t believe. They saw many signs and wonders in the trek from Egypt, but still turned to idols. The problem with signs and wonders is that we don’t want to believe. We’d rather explain the sign and wonder away. It is part of the Jewish culture to debate and argue. Jesus debated with the leaders at the Temple.
In our culture, instead of debating the tough issues like the Jews do, we avoid topics of religion, politics, and sex. The Jews won’t believe until God does something. The problem comes when the Jews don’t want the sign offered – the Virgin with the Child, Nazareth, and the suffering Savior.
The Greeks like to debate and seek wisdom. Their culture is one of logic – Socrates and Plato. Debate with them, ask, what will make you a believer? The next thing out of their mouth is probably a lie. If you have no faith, you have no faith. If scientific, it is attributed to Greco/Roman culture. If a sign they won’t believe.
The assumption of wisdom is we know the way people are. People feel they are so smart that we can’t tell them anything.
1 Corinthians 1:23 but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness,
For the Jews, Christ crucified, is a stumbling block, a sign they refuse to accept.
For the Greeks, Christ crucified, is ignorant.
1 Corinthians 1:24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
But not foolish to those called – both Jews and Greeks. Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. AMEN!
1 Corinthians 1:25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
God “foolishness” is wiser than men and His “weakness” is stronger than men. Thank God for mercy. Mercy is stronger than men.
1 Corinthians 1:26 For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called.
This is our calling. Not many wise according to the flesh, or mighty, or noble are called.
God calls us, not based on our flesh, but on our hearts. He doesn’t call us because of position, such as president of a university or a great scientist.
Even the President of the United States can be blinded to the truth of God. They can reject or not see God’s truth.
1 Corinthians 1:27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty;
God chooses the foolish things of the world to shame the wise. We, the weak things of the world, are chosen by God, to put shame to those who think they are so mighty.