Christ Crucified: The Message You Need To Hear Today – 1 Corinthians 2:1-5

Good morning everyone! I hope you’re all doing well and also a warm welcome to those watching online. This Sunday we’re continuing with our sermon series in 1 Corinthians titled “The Church: God’s Dwelling Place”.

Last week when Saju preached we saw what kind of place and culture the people of Corinth were living in. Corinth was a rich city set up by the Greeks then later taken over by the Romans. So there was Greek and Roman influence in their culture, religion, governance, etc. And this is the place Paul came and preached the gospel in. After Paul spent a year and a half there, he left to continue his journey. But he heard bad reports about the church and as a result he wrote two letters to the Corinthians and even made a quick visit to them.

Two of the problems the Apostle Paul addressed were divisions among the church and the problem of people giving worldly wisdom too much of importance.

Last week we heard Paul challenging the so-called wise people there. He reminded them that the wisdom of the world is foolishness in God’s sight. And what seems like the folly of God is actually true wisdom.

And Paul reminded the Corinthians that they were not wise according to the world’s standards but God still chose them. Because of God, they were in Christ Jesus who became to them wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption.

Now in 2:1-5, Paul is taking it further and saying that were saved not by lofty speech or plausible words of wisdom but by the foolish message of the crucifixion. He said he decided to know nothing but Jesus Christ and him crucified. Paul was no fool. He could have given the best sermons yet he took a firm decision to preach Christ crucified.

Why did Paul decide to only know Jesus Christ and Him crucified?

Because he knew that this was the message that saves. it was in this message that the Spirit of God actually works. Not through lofty speech or words of wisdom but through a simple yet too-good-to-be true story.

But remember, here’s he’s saying this because the Corinthians had a tendency to put their faith in eloquent speech or run after the sophisticated and learned people because it meant higher status for them.

That was the problem for them and the message they needed to hear when Paul first visited them and even when he was writing this letter.

If Paul was writing a letter to us today, do you think he would say anything different? Is there a message we need to hear other than the Lord Jesus Christ dying on the cross and rising after three days?

No, it wouldn’t be. We don’t need to hear a message about some interesting theological topic or some practical ways on how to be a good man or woman, and certainly we don’t need to hear false doctrines like doing good deeds to earn salvation or trusting God for greater wealth and possessions.

And also, we don’t need a message that just says what a portion of Scripture says and the history behind it and the Greek translation and some nice story connected to it.

What we need is the powerful, miraculous, saving message of the gospel. And we need it to hear it every day starting from Sunday till we meet again for service on Sunday.

Why do we need to hear this message every week?

1) Because it is the power of God (v4)

This is the power that saves you from you sin and keeps you going till your last day on this earth. Just to avoid any confusion, I want to make I want to categorically state the message I’m talking about. The message is this, we are helpless sinners who have offended a holy God. How have we offended? By lying, gossiping, hating, lusting, backbiting, grumbling, abusing, cheating and more. God is a just God who will punish sins. And He should punish you and me for the sins we’ve committed. But God being a merciful God did not punish you but punished His own Son, Jesus Christ. The Son of God became man to die a horrible death to cleanse us from sin and rise again three days later so that we could become sons and daughters of God. Now whoever believes in Jesus will not perish but have eternal life.

By coming back to this good news again and again you’ll experience the power of God in your life. The power to overcome sin, even that sin that you commit repeatedly, the power to have joy in the midst of painful circumstances, the power of peace when you’re in a difficult situation, the power to believe in the goodness of God even when the worst happens in your life.

2) And the second reason to hear this message is because of our tendency to put our faith in people or things other than God (v5).

For the Corinthians, it was lofty speech and words of wisdom. For us it could be different. The allure and safety we find in money, or the meaning we derive solely from our jobs, or the idea that finding love in a husband or wife or boyfriend or girlfriend is the pinnacle of life or the opposite where running away from marriage to keep the illusion of freedom and independence. It all boils down to the idea that we can handle our life alone and we not dependant on the Almighty, we don’t need God, we have money, spouses, children, friends, jobs, hobbies, entertainment, books, movies, music, everything is available at the tap of your phone. We are more prone to depend on these than we’d like to admit.

But Paul here and the Spirit of God is directing us to not put our faith in these things. But faith in the One who cares for you.

What was Paul’s stance when he was with the Corinthians? It says it was in weakness, in fear and trembling. Some commentaries say he was physically weak because of the missionary journey he undertook, going from city to city, sailing the seas, facing persecution and beatings. That is possible. But he was also in fear and trembling because of the seriousness of his work and the magnitude of his message. This is was not some news that peoples lives were going to get better but it was a message that the God of the universe cares and loves someone small like you that He sent someone to rescue you from your sin. The greatness of the message humbled him. And God worked through that.

One direct application here is whenever you get a chance to share the gospel with your friends or family, you should know that God can save them even if you don’t share it as well as you’d like. Because God’s power doesn’t rest on your strength but works through your weakness. If they do believe because you shared both you who shared and the one who heard can say that “only the Lord could do this”. Not that you should be incoherent. You should do your best to present the gospel message as clearly as possible along with how that affected you personally. Even if it doesn’t come out great, God will still use it.

Secondly, the weakness, fear and trembling that Paul adopted is a general way we should live our life. Not that we should be scared or be weak. But in the sight of God we should humble ourselves and throw our full dependence on Him and not on our own strength.

So if you’re feeling your sense of inadequacy at a peak today or recently, it’s time to run to God. You know what God does to people who humble themselves before Him? You know the story of the prodigal son? The father ran towards the younger son when he saw him from afar. it’s the same for you. If you come in humility and trust in Jesus, He will lovingly welcome you. Not that you were out of His sight. In Mathew 12:20 it says that Jesus will not break a bruised reed and a smoking flax He will not quench. This means that when people who are physically and morally weak come to Jesus He will heal and lift up. Those who recognise their sin and admit it before God will be forgiven and lifted.

Also, those who don’t realise that they’re broken will be humbled. Maybe you’re someone who’s not put your faith in Christ. Maybe you’re thinking all is well I don’t need God because I have my money, my brains, my hard work. But God is calling you today to not depend on the wisdom of man, or the things of the world, but Jesus Christ and Him crucified. Believe in Him today and you will be saved. Amen.

So, what you heard today is a message you need to hear everyday, i.e. Christ crucified for our sakes. Why do we need to hear this message? Because it is the power of God that saves and brings sweeping changes to our life. And secondly because of our tendency to trust in our own wisdom.

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