I Corinthians 1.18-2.5
Introduction: The challenge of western Christianity.
“All worldly wisdom is ultimately man boasting about himself. And say you can ask that question, ‘What is this idea? What is this philosophy? What is this concept? What is it encouraging me to put my trust in and boast in? If it is anything other than the grace of God in Jesus then it is worldly wisdom that will ultimately be proven foolishness by God.”—Joshua Harris
· HARD Challenge!
Theme: In the war for wisdom we need examples that will regularly point us to the Cross.
1. The war of wisdom—I Corinthians 1.18-25.
· READ I Cor 1.18-19—Our WAR.
· READ I Cor 1.20-22—Worldly Wisdom.
So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth.—II Timothy 2.22-25
· READ I Cor 1.18, 23-25—Cross-Centered Wisdom.
o Will ask you to TRUST God—FAITH.
2. The war within yourself—I Corinthians 1.26-31.
· READ I Cor 1.26-29—Our CALLING.
o REMEMBER what we were.
o Not what we were taught.
“Isn’t it kind of the LORD to strip away all those other empty boast? He doesn’t take them away from us because he wants to leave us shamed and feeling worthless. No, He wants us to see our worthlessness, so we can cling to His amazing grace and salvation. He wants to give us something that is worth boasting about! And that is what we have in Jesus Christ.”—Joshua Harris
3. The war of our words—I Corinthians 2.1-5.
· READ I Cor 2.1-5—Cross-Centered WORDS.
o RELATIONSHIP between words and lifestyle.
“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God...just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved. Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ (I Corinthians 10.31-11.1).”
Not every Christian is called to be an apostle like Paul, but every Christian is called to preach the Gospel. It would seem Paul wants us to apply these truths by the way we talk to each other. Our lives should be filled with Cross-centered language. Our lives should be filled with language that encourages people to boast in finished work of Jesus on the Cross! Listen to what Paul says later in I Corinthians, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God...just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved. Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ (I Corinthians 10.31-11.1).”
Paul wants us to pursue God’s glory above all us. How do we do that? We seek the advantage of the many. That means sometimes we have to crucify our own desires because it is not what is best for the other person. Paul wants us to imitate this part of his lifestyle. Why? Because as Paul has examined the Word of God manifested in Jesus Christ He believes the crucified life is the way Jesus lived His entire life. He sought His joy in others. Christ’s joy was in bringing healing into our relationship with God. All our language should be restorative.
As we examine elders in our church today, as we examine leaders at any level, this what we should be primarily looking for. We are looking for people who know what it means to die to self. There are people in the world who would have you believe it is wrong to imitate these type of leaders. The writer of Hebrews would disagree with them, “Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith (Hebrews 13.7).” It is ok to imitate the language and lifestyle of leaders who lead you in a Cross-centered life. It is ok to reject the wisdom of people who come across as boastful, lofty, or on a power trip. It is ok to reject the wisdom of those who do not regularly point to the Cross. This type of language and lifestyle should be rejected because it will lead you into foolishness. As you engage in the war for wisdom, guard your words and your worldview. Imitate those who will help you fight the good fight and don’t feel guilty about it. Its ok to imitate their speech, message, life habits, and whatever else will help you regularly fight for a Cross-centered lifestyle.