“THE WORD OF THE CROSS”
1 Cor. 1:18-2:16
1. The Christians in Corinthian were wasting the grace of God by their immorality, human pride, contentions & human wisdom (1:5).
2. 1:17 – Reliance on worldly wisdom was destroying the gospel effect.
3. So, Paul takes time to contrast the world’s wisdom with God’s wisdom (the gospel) – cf. Jas. 3:l4-17.
a. 1:18 – One is accepted by those who perish; the other by those saved.
b. To one it is foolishness; to the other, it is the power & wisdom of God.
4. To end sinful problems, Christians must rely on the wisdom & power of God — the “word of the cross” (1:18).
I. THE SOLUTION TO SINFUL DIVISION: THE WORD OF THE CROSS – 1:18-31.
A. God’s Wisdom & Power Are Superior to Man’s – 1:18-25.
1. God’s wisdom & power: Salvation through a crucified Savior.
a. To the world it is foolishness – cf. Acts 26:22-25.
b. 1:19-21 – Worldly wisdom it futile: Cannot save, give spiritual discernment or a knowledge of the will of God (1:10-13, 18, 21).
c. God has determined that when man operates by his own wisdom he will not know (come into fellowship with) God!
2. 1:22-24 – Gospel preaching (Christ crucified) gives power & wisdom to those who believe it – Rom. 1:16-17.
a. Power: Jews & signs (1:22) – cf. Matt. 12:38-40 – Signs rejected!
b. Wisdom: Greeks (1:22) – cf. Acts 17:19-20.
c. 1:24 – In Christ is revealed true & lasting power & wisdom!
B. Submitting to God’s Wisdom Eliminates Boasting – 1:26-31.
1. 1:26-29 – God’s way of doing things eliminates pride.
2. 1:30- All that we are is because of Him!
a. God’s grace & wisdom culminate in Christ Jesus & provide us with righteousness, sanctification & redemption! (Eph. 1:3; Col. 2:10)
b. 1:31 – Glory in the Lord, not human wisdom! (cf. Jer. 9:23-24)
3. God has made us what we are! Live by His wisdom to be blessed.
II. GOD’S WISDOM IS REVEALED IN THE APOSTOLIC TEACHING – 1 Cor. 2. (Acts 2:42)
A. The Apostles’ Teaching: The Power of God – 2:1-5.
1. 2:1-2 – Preaching based on “flowery superfluity” & “intellectualism” (in an effort to impress, win over an audience) is not NT preaching! (2 Tim. 4:2)
a. Paul’s message was Jesus Christ & His crucifixion (Acts 18:4-5).
b. This message cannot be proclaimed by man’s wisdom! (2:1)
2. 2:3 – Paul didn’t exalt himself (cf. the world’s wisdom) – Acts 18:9.
3. 2:4-5 – Preaching the word of the cross based upon:
a. Miracles – God was with Paul! (Confirmation).
b. Result: Faith grounded upon reliable evidence & testimony — The power of God!
B. The Apostles’ Teaching: The Wisdom of God – 2:6-9.
1. 2:6 – Full grown (spiritually sensitive) see the wisdom of the gospel.
-The gospel is not from man’s wisdom & power!
2. 2:7-9 – The wisdom they preached (gospel) was planned before creation: Not of man’s origin & design! (Scheme of Redemption) – Mystery now revealed – Rom. 16:25-26.
3. It is God’s wisdom that salvation comes only through the gospel!
C. The Apostles’ Teaching: The Mind of Christ – 2:10-16. (Revelation)
1. 2:10-12 – Gospel plan revealed by Holy Spirit (Gal. 1:11-12).
a. Without revelation, we could not be saved!
b. Don’t act as if you can be saved without it!
2. 2:13 – Inspired preaching: We can trust it! (Inspiration)
3. 2:14 – The natural man: Controlled by the flesh & worldly wisdom, with no respect for God & spiritual things. (Sensuality)
a. Natural man responds to the gospel in two ways:
1) Doesn’t receive it — Foolish to him (1:18).
2) He cannot know it — Because he is totally without spiritual perception (Rom. 8:5-8).
4. 2:15 – The spiritual man: Due to spiritual awareness, he is able to examine all things (incl. gospel) & arrive at their true spiritual value.
a. He can make proper decisions regarding the word of God! – cf. Matt. 13:13-16
b. Don’t harden your heart against the wisdom & power of God!
5. 2:16 – No man has instructed God! – Rom. 11:33-36.
a. Worldly wisdom fails.
b. We have the mind of Christ! In the H.S. revealed, confirmed & inspired “word of the cross,” God’s wisdom & power are ours!
1. Like the Corinthians, to be saved we must also rely upon God’s wisdom, not the wisdom of men. We must not waste the grace of God through immorality, human pride, contentiousness & human wisdom.
2. Plan of salvation is God’s unique preparation for you and me! (2:9)