I Corinthians 1:18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.
19 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.
20 Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?
21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.
22 For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:
23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;
24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.
25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
God created man with intelligence. God commanded Adam to name all the animals and he was able to do this work without any flaws in short order. Man had the ability to communicate with God from the moment of creation. God did not created a baby. He created a full grown man with the capacity to think and to act obediently upon instructions given. When God created the woman, also on day six, He brought her to the man and the man classified her as woman and he also gave her a name that reflected who she was. He called her Eve because she is the mother of all living.
The fall of man changed many things. Man still had that same intelligence as before the fall. Now that intelligence was corrupted by sin. Now man was a sinner and needed to screen every thought that would come into his mind as to whether it was right or not. Man does not have the capacity to do this on his own. He still had the capacity to hear the voice of God. Adam heard the voice of the Lord walking in the Garden. However, after the fall Adam also accepted the influence of the devil in his decision making. His response to God’s questions to him, was not right. He blamed God and he blamed his wife for his sin. This same corrupted thinking was also in Eve.
In chapter 4 we find that Cain continued to follow this corrupted way of thinking. He chose to follow the lies of the devil and decided he would invent his own form of religion. He also became the first murderer. We see in Cain the two evil traits of the devil as stated by Jesus Christ in John 8:44. From Genesis 4 on we see the increasing corruption of man.
We skip forward to our text and God was still addressing the pride of man that is expressed in the assumed wisdom of man. Adam was created with wisdom. He was given instructions regarding how to live in the Garden. He willingly received that instruction. After the fall, man was not prone to listen to God. Now his first design was to listen to the lies of the devil.
Preaching is designed to declare absolute truth. It is not story time. It is not designed to be something to grab a cup of coffee and curl up in front of the fireplace for a relaxing time. Preaching is designed to challenge the thinking and actions of man.
We have had visitors in our church who have stated that every time they come to our church they leave under conviction. They have not come back now for some time, because they do not want to deal with their sin. That is the evidence of pride.
God says that the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness. The lost person does not want to be told he is lost. He wants to be praised for what he does. He wants to be seen as being good as he is. Sin distorted man’s view of good and evil. God told Adam not to eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Evil dominates the heart and mind of every person born into the world.
The preaching of the cross is designed by God to show the wickedness of evil and the great cost of providing the only way to be delivered from the curse of sin. That cost was borne by God. Man can never pay for his sin. The criminal that ends up in prison can never pay for his sin, no matter how many years he spends in prison. The person who is put to death via capital punishment can never pay for his sin with his death. The self-righteous person who never goes to jail and may even live a fairly “clean” life can never pay for his sin.
The preaching of the cross is an affront to the wickedness of man. It is the means that God has given us to confront the sinful nature of man.
The person who gets saved, is saved due to the preaching of the cross. The power of God is revealed through the faithful preaching of the cross. It was on the cross that Jesus Christ laid down His sinless life and shed His blood there and died there. The preaching of the cross also includes the fact that Jesus Christ did not stay there. He was taken down off that cross and laid in a tomb. His body lay in that tomb for three days and three nights and then He rose again victorious over sin and death. The power of God is demonstrated in the entire sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ.
In verse 19 Paul wrote that God would destroy the wisdom of the wise, and bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Those who are saved can look at their past and see how foolish their thinking was. They can see that the plans they had were corrupt. There are universities that were at one time somewhat religious. They are all corrupt now and those that go through that process come out at the other end corrupted.
We see that the thinking of man is corrupt in that he pursues a “wisdom” that is far less than the wisdom of God. He pollutes his already polluted mind and heart with “noise” that interferes with what God would want of man.
We see a much different form of preaching in the Bible, than what is common in most churches today. We also see that most people soon grow weary of those who preach the message of the cross. We have allowed humanism to influence the preaching of the cross. It is imperative that every generation examine the preaching of the cross from the Word of God. Commentaries should be secondary to the Word of God. Older men should be men who have studied and humbly become more submissive to the Word of God, not more knowledgable of the “wisdom” of man. Most seminaries pollute the mind and heart of man, rather than helping the person to draw closer to God.
I trust that we will ask God to give us the desire to know Him and the power of Jesus’ resurrection as Paul did. This generation needs the truth as does every generation. The truth is found in knowing the true God. We can only know Him through His Word. No other book can replace the Word of God.