The Power of the Cross

1 Corinthians 1:17-25 ESV

“For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.

“For the word of the cross is folly 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 discernment of the discerning I will thwart.’

“Where is the one who is wise? 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 did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.”

Preaching the Gospel

I am not going to go into the subject of water baptism here because that is another whole subject and one that needs to be studied thoroughly, for there is much controversy among Christians regarding that subject. But I will note what Paul said here, which is that Christ did not send him to baptize but to preach the gospel. So he made a definite distinction between the teaching of the gospel and water baptism. And then we have the case of believers receiving the Holy Spirit prior to water baptism in Acts 10:44-48.

But let’s move on. Paul was sent to preach the gospel, but not with words of eloquent wisdom, which is the wisdom of man, which can be emotionally manipulative and persuasive, as is coming from the mouths of those with smooth speech who know how to persuade people to come to their side. Paul was definitely not someone who said all the right things to all the right people and who was voted most popular in his class. He was someone who spoke the plain truth of the gospel plainly and straightforward.

And he spoke the truth plainly, and in the power of the Spirit, and not in the wisdom of man, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. And that is because the power of the cross of Christ does not rest in the wisdom of humans but in the power of God. And what is the power of the cross? It is that Jesus died that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. The power of the cross is evident in the lives of those who have died with Christ to sin and who are living in obedience to the Lord.

For Jesus Christ did not die that horrible death on that cross just to forgive us our sins so that when we die we can go to heaven. He died on that cross so that we would be delivered from our slavery to sin and so we would now be slaves of God and of his righteousness. He died that we might no longer live for ourselves but for him who died for us, and he shed his blood to buy us back for God so that we would now honor God with our lives (Rom 6:1-23; 1 Pet 2:24; 2 Co 5:15,21; 1 Co 6:19-20; Eph 4:17-24; Tit 2:11-14).

Power of the Cross

The word of the cross is folly (foolishness) to those who are perishing. And who are those who are perishing? They are all people who are still living in sin, who are deliberately and habitually sinning against God, who have not surrendered their lives to Christ as Lord of their lives, and who are not following the Lord Jesus in obedience to his commands, regardless of whether or not they profess faith in Jesus Christ. The truth of the message of the cross is foolishness to them which is clear by their rejection of it.

So, what is the message of the cross? I have already touched on it in the previous section. Mainly it is that Jesus died that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness (1 Pet 2:24). For Jesus said that if anyone would come after him, he must deny self, take up his cross daily (daily die to sin and to self) and follow (obey) him. For, if we hold on to our old lives (of living in sin and for self) we will lose them for eternity. But if for the sake of Christ we die with him to sin, that we might walk in obedience to his commands, then we have eternal life in him (see Luke 9:23-26).

Jesus also taught that not everyone who says to him, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one DOING the will of God the Father who is in heaven (Matt 7:21-23). And Paul taught that if sin is what we obey that it will end in death, not in eternal life with God (Rom 6:16). And he also taught that if we walk according to the flesh, and if sin is what we practice, that we will not inherit eternal life with God (Rom 8:1-14; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Eph 5:3-6; Col 3:5-17; 1 Co 6:9-10; 2 Co 5:10).

And John taught the same thing. He said that if we claim to have fellowship with God but while we walk (in conduct, in practice) in sin, we lie and we do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as God is in the light, then the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin (1 Jn 1:5-9). And he said that the way in which we know that we have come to know Christ is if we keep his commandments. For if we say, “I know him,” but we do not obey his commandments, then we are liars and the truth is not in us (1 Jn 2:3-6).

And if sin is what we practice and if righteousness is not what we practice, then we do not have eternal life with God. We don’t know God, he does not know us, and we are not of God, but we are of the devil (1 Jn 3:4-10). So, Jesus taught this, as did Paul, and John taught this, too. Yet not too many preachers are preaching this at all. Far too many are preaching a cheapened grace gospel which requires no dying with Christ to sin, no living to God and to his righteousness, and no obedience to our Lord, which is a big fat lie.

[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-32; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:22-25; Rom 12:1-2; Eph 2:8-10; Heb 12:1-2; Jn 6:44; 2 Pet 1:1; 1 Co 15:58; Php 2:12-13; Col 1:21-23; 1 Co 10:1-22; Heb 3:1-19; Heb 4:1-13; Heb 10:26-27; Rom 2:6-8; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 5:3-6; Col 3:5-17; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Matt 7:21-23; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]

For Our Nation

An Original Work / September 11, 2012

Bombs are bursting. Night is falling.
Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.
Trust Him with your life today.
Make Him your Lord and your Savior.
Turn from your sin. Follow Jesus.
He will forgive you of your sin;
Cleanse your heart, made new within.

Men betraying: Our trust fraying.
On our knees to God we’re praying,
Seeking God to give us answers
That are only found in Him.
God is sovereign over all things.
Nothing from His mind escaping.
He has all things under His command,
And will work all for good.

Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.

Men deceiving: we’re believing
In our Lord, and interceding
For our nation and its people
To obey their God today.
He is our hope for our future.
For our wounds He offers suture.
He is all we need for this life.
Trust Him with your life today.

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