Two Perspectives of the Cross
1 Corinthians 1:17, 18 For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.
1. Paul’s Commission – to preach the gospel
Paul is minimizing the baptism of new converts in comparison to getting them saved.
They were forming schisms in the body of Christ and creating divisions over baptism.
Paul wasn’t concerned about who baptized them; that wasn’t his ultimate concern.
His burning passion was getting people saved.
His passion was opening up the Scriptures and preaching Jesus crucified – vs. 23
2. Paul’s Communication – not with wisdom of words
The Gospel message is not a sales pitch.
It is not something that can be presented in an inoffensive and politically correct manner.
It is confrontational; it is offensive; it is personal; it is unattractive
It deals with sin, guilt, death, blood, hell, matters of life or death
Paul called it a STUMBLINGBLOCK in verse 23
Paul wasn’t a salesman; he was a preacher of the gospel
Paul wasn’t concerned about his oratory skills; he wasn’t interested in being more eloquent
Paul’s communication was not enticing – 2:4
3. Paul’s Concern – lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect
Paul was extremely concerned about the message not having an effect
He knew the potential of the gospel message.
He knew the difference that the gospel could make in a life. (He was living proof)
Paul was concerned about the dynamite of the gospel being hindered by the delivery of the gospel.
Paul was concerned about the power of the gospel being drowned out by personalities.
Paul was concerned about the integrity of the message being deluded by the intentions of the messenger.
I. To the Sinner it is Foolishness
A. Because of the Man on the Cross
- Isaiah 53:3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
It is essential for us to understand – Jesus Christ has never been popular.
It was predicted in the Old Testament that He would be despised and rejected of men. (twice in Is. 53:3)
He was called “the stone that the builders rejected” at least three times in the Gospels (referring to Ps. 118:22)
As a builder, we reject; we refuse; we discard the ugly, the unattractive, the worthless, the damaged, the culls.
The people in the streets before Pilate’s hall chose Barabbas over the Lord Jesus Christ.
The sinners today reject the gospel because of its central figure – Jesus Christ.
To reject Jesus Christ is to reject the ONLY WAY to God.
- 1 Timothy 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
B. Because of the Message of the Cross
The central message of the cross is that Jesus died to pay for our sins.
To adhere to this message means a person has to both admit he or she is a sinner, and that they need salvation.
The message of the cross is that mankind is unable to redeem himself in his fallen state.
C. Because of the Mandate of the Cross
The mandate of the cross is that we can in no way get to God without a mediator.
The mandate of the cross is that God hates sin and cannot accept us in our fallen sin state.
The mandate of the cross is that the wages of sin is death.
The mandate of the cross is that there is no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.
The mandate of the cross is that rejection of the perfect sacrifice of Jesus Christ is a sentence to Hell.
II. To the Saint it is Fulfillment
A. Of God’s Promise
The fulfilment of the preaching of the cross is our salvation.
Notice Paul referred to “us which are saved” in verse 18.
He refers to it again in verse 21 as “the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.”
The promise in Romans 10:13 is “whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
B. Of God’s Provision
God’s provision through the preaching of the cross is listed in verse 30:
- 1 Corinthians 1:30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:
C. Of God’s Power
The word POWER is found in this passage several times.
Notice our text verse 18 – the preaching of the cross is to us – the power of God.
- The preaching of the cross confronted us
- The preaching of the cross confounded us
- The preaching of the cross convicted us
- The preaching of the cross converted us
Our faith does not stand in the wisdom of words (1:17)
Our faith does not stand in the wisdom of men (2:5)
Our faith stands in the POWER OF GOD.