“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. For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, And bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.” 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? 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. For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.”
I Corinthians 1:18-25 NKJV
Since its inception, Christianity has been considered foolishness in a world where emotion based feelings govern what is considered rational thought. The idea that there is a God who created all things, runs headlong into the view of “science” which holds that everything came from nothing. The further idea that God can govern what is morally appropriate is considered even more foolish, as each person, in the flesh, desires to do what is right in their own eyes.
The modern church finds itself pressed in between opposing forces, seeking to adhere to God’s Holy Word, and the prevailing mores of the world. As a result, many churches have gone the way of the world, seeking to be relevant, appealing to those who walk by flesh and not spirit, appealing to appetites.
I began reading in I Corinthians this morning. The church at Corinth had many issues, as it was in a port city and was very diverse in its makeup. Jews worshiped with Gentiles, and many in the church fell into factions, each focusing on a given teacher. Others in the church sought to separate the body from the spirit. In doing so they felt that what one did spiritually was of greater importance, and separate from what was done in the flesh. This led to a sloppy grace where people sinned with impunity, thinking that it was all under liberty.
In a very real sense the body at Corinth reflected the world around it, and outwardly was indistinguishable. The factions vied for supremacy with each other, with much denigration of the divergent beliefs. Additionally, many began to point to sign gifts as evidence of holiness, a flaw common in the church today.
As a result of all of this, today, there is little emphasis on the correct preaching and teaching of the Scriptures, and there has also been a move to downgrade the importance of doing so at all.
Paul takes the Corinthians back to the most important thing: the cross.
Human nature is to take the simple and make it complex. To muddy the waters of truth, with lies, to make what should be easy to comprehend, into something unable to be understood, and easily ignored as the foolish babbling from marginalized people spouting bible verses.
Worse still, there are those who enter in on purpose, bringing false teaching, seeking to lead the sheep astray. It is also necessary for those in the body to read the word of God and study it closely. By reading and studying the word, each member can be more aware of the false teachers that come into the church.
“But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber.”
II Peter 2:1-3 NKJV
Brothers and sisters, we need to make the message that Jesus has given us, simple, and easy to comprehend. The Gospel is just that.
“For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures,”
I Corinthians 15:3-4 NKJV
It is matter of keeping the main thing the main thing.
Too many issues from the world have crept in, causing us to become distracted. I have observed that many believers have more passion for their chosen candidate than they have for Jesus.
We must maintain a simple focus on the mission the Lord has given us:
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.”
Matthew 28:19-20 NKJV
If the world is seeing people professing to be Christians, seemingly untouched by their salvation, it is no wonder they call it foolishness. It is in the power of the transformation of lives and the testimony of those saved from sin, that the power of the cross is shown. That is the kind of foolishness in which I can joyfully relate.
The Corinthians desired to be well thought by the society at large, honored and distinguished. Paul told them of the contrast true disciples often face.
“For I think that God has displayed us, the apostles, last, as men condemned to death; for we have been made a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men. We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are distinguished, but we are dishonored! To the present hour we both hunger and thirst, and we are poorly clothed, and beaten, and homeless. And we labor, working with our own hands. Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we endure; being defamed, we entreat. We have been made as the filth of the world, the offscouring of all things until now.”
I Corinthians 4:9-13 NKJV
I would rather be reviled for the cause of Christ having glorified Him, than saluted by the world, dying and headed to hell. Let us go forth and tell the world of what Jesus has done, that the glory of Christ would appear rational against the backdrop of insanity that is our world today.