Right on the heels of the apostle Paul arguing that it's not about this Bible teacher or that Bible teacher, Paul says it's the gospel of Jesus that holds the power of God (1 Corinthians 1:18). It's not the teachers or the wisdom they have or what they know or what society thinks is best. It's about the Gospel plus nothing.
Often, 1 Corinthians 1:18-2:16 (which is our focus this week), is used to argue for our methodology for evangelism and apologetics. There's nothing wrong with that, but it's vital to remember who Paul was appealing to. He was making this argument to the brothers and sister in Christ, in the church in Corinth. He was reminding the Christians that it's all about the gospel, not what the world values. And if they needed to be reminded, we probably do too.
"The foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger them men" (1 Corinthians 1:25).
What a statement! But the above-quoted verse is not saying God is foolish or weak, but that even the lowest things, the things that seem foolish and weak, are far superior to anything humans can say or do. On top of that, God's ways seem foolish and weak to those too blind to see God. But God uses those foolish and weak things to shame the 'wise' and 'strong' and proclaim how mighty God is.
Now, it's likely that as you read 1 Corinthians 1:18-2:16, you don't think that you are among those who believe like the world. You are drawing lines and pointing to "them." But Paul is reminding Christians! Too often, we slip into believing like 'them' and need to be reminded that, "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" (1 Corinthians 1:18).
Paul reminded the believers in the church in Corinth from where they came. They "were not wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth" (1 Corinthians 1:26). Paul also reminded him that he came preaching Christ crucified because that's the gospel and the gospel of Jesus alone has the power to save.
Finally, Paul reminded the believers that it is by the Holy Spirit that we can understand the mind of Christ. In fact, because of the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit, we can have the mind or Jesus. Transformation is not by the most fabulous Bible teachers or the best church programs or the wisest worldly arguments, but by the gospel. The natural person does not accept this, but remember Christian, when you are in Christ, you have been born again. Your first birth was the natural one; your second was the spiritual one. (See 1 Corinthians 2:6-16.)
Therefore believer, do not overlook or forget the Gospel, for it alone brings salvation and sanctification.
I hope you'll join us this Sunday for worship and the opening of the Word.
For the Kingdom!
Pastor Bryan Catherman