The Grace of God
1 Corinthians 1:4-9 NASB
I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus, that in everything you were enriched in Him, in all speech and all knowledge, even as the testimony concerning Christ was confirmed in you, so that you are not lacking in any gift, awaiting eagerly the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will also confirm you to the end, blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
God’s grace to us sent Jesus Christ, God the Son, to the cross, to suffer and die for us, taking our sins upon himself, putting them to death, so that we might be delivered both from the punishment of sin, which is spiritual death, and from slavery (addiction) to sin. He died, not only that we might die to sin, but that we might live to his righteousness. And, then he was resurrected from the dead victorious over sin, hell, Satan and death.
By God’s grace to us, we are saved from our sins through God-given faith which divinely persuades us as to God’s perfect will for our lives. When we believe in the Lord with this divinely persuaded faith, we are crucified with him in death to sin, and we are resurrected with him to newness of life in him, created in him to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
Thus, by God’s grace, we have been given everything we need in Christ to walk daily in fellowship with him, according to his Spirit, and to no longer live to gratify the sinful cravings of our flesh. He has given his Holy Spirit to indwell and to empower us to live godly and holy lives, pleasing to God, and he has gifted us with spiritual gifts to be used within the body of Christ for mutual edification and encouragement. We have been enriched in Christ in every way – in speech, knowledge, faith, giftedness, and divine guidance and empowerment, etc. We are not lacking any good thing in Christ.
Not in Cleverness
1 Corinthians 1:17-19 NASB
For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not in cleverness of speech, so that the cross of Christ would not be made void.
For the word 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 the cleverness of the clever I will set aside.”
[I have skipped over verses 10-16, for they deal with the subject of divisions in the church, because I believe the Lord wants me to focus here on the subject of the message of the cross, which is the gospel of our salvation.]
Paul’s commission from God was to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. When he was called, he was told “to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me” (Acts 26:18 NASB). This is the essence of the gospel message.
Paul did not preach in cleverness of speech, less the cross of Christ would be made void. He did not use trickery, manipulation, game shows, jokes and entertainment, etc. to try to attract people to Christ. He did not try to appeal to human flesh, or to make people feel good about him and the gospel. He also did not dilute the gospel message to make it more acceptable and appealing to human flesh, by preaching “feel good” messages absent of the truth of the gospel message, which is the message of the cross, of death to sin and living to righteousness. He told the truth like it was always.
So, why is the message (word) of the cross foolishness to those who are perishing? There could be many reasons, but I believe it is because it is contrary to human nature and the flesh, for its purpose is to put sin and the flesh to death, not to pacify it, which is what this false grace gospel that so many are preaching these days does. Yet, the gospel commands submission to Christ and his cross, yielding to the Lordship of Christ, and following our Lord in surrender and in obedience, all in the power of the Spirit within us. It is not of man, in other words, but of the Spirit and led by the Spirit, and that is why it is foolishness to those who want to manage their lives themselves.
We Preach Christ Crucified
1 Corinthians 1:20-25 NASB
Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are the 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.
So, what is this wisdom of the world which God has made foolish? For one, it is that we can somehow earn or deserve our own salvation via good works. We can’t. We can never be good enough. Our good deeds will never outweigh our bad deeds. We cannot, in our own human effort, be acceptable to God, no matter how much we try, or how hard we work at it.
Yet, it is also this false grace gospel which removes the necessity of death to sin and living to righteousness from the gospel message. They dilute the gospel to a mere acknowledgment of Christ and an acceptance of his forgiveness of their sins, as though that is all there is to it, and that they now have their ticket into heaven which can never be taken away from them.
And, it is also this notion that we need to entertain people with jokes and comedy routines, and manipulate and trick them into accepting Jesus as their Savior, or into wanting to come back to the gatherings of the church. For, anything that humans create as the basis of our salvation is faulty, it is weak, and it is not acceptable in God’s eyes, but is foolishness to him.
For, Jesus said that if anyone would come after him, he must deny self and take up his cross daily (die daily to sin and self) and follow (obey) him. He said if we hold on to our old lives (of living for sin and self), we will lose them for eternity. But, if we lose our lives (die with him to sin), for his sake, we will have eternal life with God. Paul said the same thing when he said that if we walk according to the flesh, we will die in our sins, but if by the Spirit we are putting to death the deeds of the flesh, then we will live.
Whom God has Chosen
1 Corinthians 1:26-31 NASB
For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God. But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, so that, just as it is written, “Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord.”
If we preach the true gospel of salvation, and we don’t speak with cleverness of speech, with smooth tongues, giving out “feel good” messages to coddle people in their sins, we are likely to be rejected and cast aside, falsely accused, and despised. But, not so much by the world, but by the worldly church which is craving these messages which soothe their guilty consciences so that they feel as though they can continue in their sinful addictions and still have the hope of heaven when they die.
But, God has chosen us who are not wise according to human flesh, but who are despised and rejected of men, to be his messengers, to get out his gospel to the world and to the worldly church, so that they will turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan so they can receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those sanctified by faith in Christ.
So, if you are being rejected because you are telling people the truth of the gospel, and they don’t want to hear it, then be encouraged! God is using you to get out the truth, and his Word will never return empty, but it will accomplish the purposes for which he sent it. So, don’t be afraid of what others will say to you or about you, but let the love of Christ and his Light shine through you to all people so that many will be saved.
Seek My Face
An Original Work / June 10, 2011
Seek My face; hear My voice
Calling you, “Make the choice.
Won’t you hear Me just now?
Turn from sin; humbly bow.
Trust in Me as your Lord,
Walk in fellowship with Me.
I will enter your heart,
Give you life eternally.
“Won’t you sit at My feet;
Hear Me teach; daily meet?
Won’t you pray; share your heart;
Let My grace now impart;
Comfort you with My love,
Give you peace from up above?
I will tenderly say,
‘You are Mine, I’m yours always.’
“One day I will return
To receive you, My bride;
Relieve you from your fears;
Wipe the tears from your eyes.
Watch for Me; be prepared
To meet Me up in the air.
I will give you a crown,
And you’ll wear a pure white gown.”
Tuesday, April 17, 2018, 6:12 a.m. – Thank you, Jesus, for this encouraging message today. May we all take the message of the cross to heart. Amen!