In Corinth there was a celebrity culture, people desired to be public speakers. This was an excuse for pride.
Impressive rhetoric and great oratory can get in the way of the gospel. The powerful thing that needs to be heard is Jesus. The Bible is all about him.
Life is all about him. Our preaching is not here to offer good advice alone but instead offer Christ. When Jesus is at the centre everything else takes shape.
The Place of Great Words
Paul & God are not anti eloquence. Eloquence is good but when it replaces God it becomes an idol.
People think Jesus and the church is anti creative. It’s not. Very gifted creative people can be in the church but they need humility to seek Christ first not the gift.
Paul was still keen to perusade and could use impressive oratory to do this but Paul used his skillful gifts under
the lordship of Christ.
The Way God Speaks
God speaks through servants who are aware of their own weaknesses and failings. Those that are totally dependent on God’s power.
Preachers are weak, they need the Holy Spirit to make any impression. God is working through us all the time. Our foolish words of witness can be used by God to shape and impact lives.
God could have spoken in any way he wanted, he didn’t even have to speak.
God chose to come among us through Jesus Christ.
Dangers Of Improvement
The Corinthians had got seriously unbalanced in their idea of themselves. The culture of the city had crept in. Self-aggrandisement was causing infighting and entrenchment. Antidote: the gospel, which reminds us we are nothing special in ourselves.
Get real about yourself. The worst someone can say about you is not as bad as the truth. Don’t take yourself so seriously. You would not want God telling everybody what he had to save you from, right?
That None Might Boast
The more conscious we are of ourselves and our accomplishments the less conscious we will be of God’s work. So he has a tendency of especially choosing and using the weak so that he receives more glory. Many stories from scripture bear this out. Those who are ‘strong’ are usually brought to a place of weakness by God’s grace, to make them less self-exalted and more dependant on his mercy.
Glory In Your Weakness
If you are wealthy or highly educated, thank God for the letter ‘M’. it says ‘not many’ rather than ‘not any’. But do what it says in James – ‘glory in your low position…’
Growth and maturity begin when we recognise the sufficiency of Jesus for all that we need – wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption.
On the 21st November CCK are hosting a Men’s Day for all men in CCK at the Clarendon Centre. The day will run from 9am to 2pm and include a generous buffet lunch.
Joel Virgo and John Groves (Lead Pastor of Winchester Family Church) will be preaching and worship will be led by Stuart Townend. The day will include a Q&A session and further news about our upcoming Men’s Weekend (May 21st to 23rd 2010).
The day costs only £5. Please follow this link to book in.
The potential ramifications for a good gathering of CCK men at this time in our history are huge so I want to do all I can to ensure the optimum impact. The more men that gather the greater effect the day will have for the mission Jesus has given us. Please make this day a priority in your diaires and book in now! Joel Virgo
You could take the entire history of human philosophy and religion – subjects which have filled libraries, and centuries of intense thought and discussion on the part of everyone, from the educated to the simple – and the bible’s summary of the whole is found in these verses.
Man may ‘search for truth’ all he likes – but God has appointed a means of revealing himself (and he IS truth), which undermines the proud ideas of flesh – in every culture.
In this passage Paul addresses his Corinthians audience which was made up mostly of Jews and Greeks. For the Jews, the paradigm of cultural fulfillment was power (strength) for the Greeks it was wisdom. The gospel insists that both can only be found in Jesus – whose wisdom looks like foolishness and whose power looks like weakness.
Strength and Weakness How is the cross is the power of God? It seems so weak… Because it is only through the cross that the power of sin (our most deathly and unconquerable enemy) is defeated. The powers that control us can only be subdued through the cross – the moment of ultimate weakness and shame!
Wisdom and Folly
How is the cross the wisdom of God? It seems so foolish… Because the problem of our sin was beyond anyone’s ability to solve. It needed God’s wisdom to devise a way in which he could be both just and the justifier of the ungodly.
Pleasure and Pain The cross is a stumbling block to such people. A God who calls us to follow a crucified master cannot desire our pleasure. And yet we know that true pleasure is only found in the God embraced all of our pain (much of which masquerades as pleasure in Brighton) so that we could know the ‘pleasures ever more… at his right hand’ (Psalm 16).
Beauty and Ugliness Our society wants beauty and yet the Cross is ugly.
in the end all human beauty will fade. The Beauty of the Lord will not.