1 Corinthians 1:20-31 New King James Version (NKJV)
20 Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?
21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.
22 For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom;
23 but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks[a] foolishness,
24 but to those who 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.
Glory Only in the Lord
26 For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called.
27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty;
28 and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are,
29 that no flesh should glory in His presence.
30 But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption—
31 that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.”
He said, "I'm not one of God's elect!" Yes you are!
--You have been chosen, "God has chosen" you, chosen me, chosen all of us, to be saved, for heaven.
--"God has chosen wise" and unwise, "mighty or weak."
--"God has chosen the noble..the foolish, base, and even the despised." Chosen us all, none omitted.
--"God is not willing any should perish" (II Peter 3:9).
--"But you, and I, must choose to follow the Lord God.
On the plane to and from a family reunion, I focused in depth, on studying I Corinthians 1. A blessing!
--God spoke to my heart. I pray He will to yours.
--You see, God chooses us all - but so does Satan!
--So you and I must choose - and break the tie!
--To let Jesus be our Savior, our "wisdom..righteousness and sanctification and redemption" (v 30).
--Churches help us choose right. And to live right.
--I was humbled to think God had chosen me, to help.
God can take anybody - like you; even a nobody, like me; and make of them somebody - like a saint! How?
--If we follow Jesus - the Savior - for everybody!
--No one gets to heaven by our own wisdom or works.
--Jesus said, "I am the Way." You and I need Christ!
--Jesus died on a cross for our sins - He had none.
--The third day, He arose; proved to be our Messiah.
My friend, sin is real. We all are soiled, stained.
By nature and practice, "like sheep, we stray."
Sin can tempt us more than we ever thought it may.
It can keep us longer than we thought we'd stay.
And cost us more than we ever thought we'd pay.
In days of old they brought a "lamb" - until Jesus came as "The Lamb of God" for the sins of us all.
Let's turn from it to Jesus. To be "born again."
Sin is subtle, takes many forms - like a cancer.
--There are all kinds - for instance, sin of pride.
--The pride of race - looking down on others.
--The pride of face - an undue regard for our looks.
--More attention to the outside, than grace, inside.
--There is the pride of place - position, home, car.
--Even the pride of grace - thinking we are more holy, or better, than some other of God's followers.
--Let's let the Lord judge. And we be more humble.
"God has chosen" us to bless us, so "you may prosper in all things and be in health, as your soul prospers" we read in III John 2. So we may bless others.
There is always place for humility - not for pride.
--St. Paul is alluding to this in I Corinthians 1.
--He says, "Not many wise according to the flesh" or worldly wisdom, come to Christ - though some do.
--Education and learning is good, but can't forgive!
--All the wisdom in the world cannot save - has never gained heaven - for anyone! It takes God! Jesus!
--Verse 21, "The world through wisdom did not know God!" We cannot find God by our human wisdom!
--"For the message of the cross is foolishness..for those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God" (I Cor. 1:18).
The "world through wisdom did not know God," as some worldly wise feel preaching of the cross is foolish.
--"The foolishness of preaching" of a God so humble, as to be crucified (I Cor. 1:22). God, crucified?
--What kind of God is? A holy, merciful, loving God!
--The only, true, and living God, Who only arose, as did Jesus! The Gospel is not foolish. NO! NO!
--"It is the power of God to salvation to all who believe" (Romans 1:16). Who trust and obey Jesus.
I know the cross of Christ divides men - saved, from the unsaved - but it was meant to unite us in Jesus.
--It is the one great Good News - Gospel - God uses, to redeem and change man, and bring peace to all!
--Not by the sword! Or getting to heaven as a martyr.
--Not by dying for faith. But living for a Savior!
--It is Jesus Who took our place, so we can, in His.
--Because I live, you shall live also..with Me."
--One of many benefits, when we "choose Christ."
Back then, Judaism had ritual. Gentiles had wisdom.
--Ritual, wisdom, are good. God's Gospel is better.
I Corinthians 1 is tremendous, in God's great grace.
--Some people feel we don't need the Lord, we can be good enough, and get to heaven, our own way!
--They would depend on their own wisdom, education.
--All this is good in its place, but doesn't save!
--History shows that all the wise and brilliant have never ever found God, from their human wisdom!
--It is by humility. Repentance. Faith. Obedience.
This philosophy-worship reached its zenith in Greece, in Athens or Corinth, especially with many temples.
--With all their philosophy and temples, of man-made gods and goddesses of all kinds - unable to save.
--They had religion - all kinds of gods, even to "the unknown god" - but not Jesus, or a sure salvation!
--To them, to us, Paul said, "We preach Christ."
--Jesus is still the message we need to forever live.
Others, we read, want some "sign from heaven" (v 22).
--But friend, we already have many - the miracles of Jesus, His cross and bodily, visible resurrection!
--The proofs Jesus to multitudes.
--Or His bodily, visible, ascension back to heaven!
--Fulfilled every prophecy; fully qualified Messiah!
Do not be persuaded by some who cannot see Jesus, as the revelation of God - a "God with skin on" as we.
--"Who came and dwelt among us." Loves, understands.
--"But to those who are called and chosen of God (and that is all of us!), Christ is the power of God and wisdom of God" (I Corinthians 1:24). A Savior for sinners.l
--Jesus did it all for us, lest we would boast to say that we did it! He did it for all who couldn't!
Man can put men on the moon, but only God can put men in heaven! And put heaven, in men. All kinds of us.
Think with me, what kind of people usually follow Jesus? Is it the sophisticated? The worldly-wise?
--Is it always the most youthful? Most attractive?
--It surely can be; but it's mostly common fold as we.
--That's why, remember, God has chosen you. And me.
--"Not many wise..mighty..noble." But sinners!
--"Base things..those despised, God has chosen" (27).
"God has chosen" everyone! Invites in to save them.
--"The weak, the base, the despised" - up or down.
--That is why God chose Saul of Tarsus who destroyed the lives of believers, until he became one - then he went everywhere telling others of Jesus, the Lord!
--That's why Jesus chose rugged fishermen, like Peter, James and John - and all the others He did.
--All kinds. Unbelievers. Doubters. Indifferent.
--Poor people with little. Educated, with lots.
--Young folks, older folks, men, women. All races!
--They have come by the millions, to follow Christ.
--Yet there is room at the cross, for many more!
Let us ask of ourself, where are we with the Lord?
--You may be going through some tough times today.
--Maybe despondent. Discouraged. Doubts, or fears.
--Lonely, sad, heart-broken; no job. Call on God!
--Remember, "God has chosen" you to be His follower!
--So let's follow the Lord, with all our ability.
--In His Word. Prayers. Obedience. In worship.
Remember that Jesus had His cross that Good Friday.
--But Jesus surrendered all - His resurrection came!
--A new day! New life! Make it happen, in yours!
Christianity is Christ. We in Jesus; He in us.
--Friend, there is no other Savior, or faith, as He.
--Sure, there are all kinds of gods, and religions.
--But none who did what Jesus did! And is doing!
--He is "ever interceding - praying - for us."
--Are we praying with Him, so "all things work together for good" (Romans 8:28)? Let's do our part.
I recall a boy in our church in West Virginia, rowdy and mischievous - with no father - younger brothers, and sisters - a mother trying to make a living.
--But we got them in our gym, then Sunday School, worship.. and to accept Christ, and graduate.
--Helped him get into a Christian college. It took!
--That unlikely youth applied himself; graduated, is now doing youth ministry in a church for the Lord!
--You know why? He was told, "God has chosen" you!
--That is what I am trying to tell everyone I can!
--Will you choose Him? - Wilbert D. Gough, ThD. 922