February 5th, 2023: Who does God Use?- I Corinthians 1:18-31
Acts chapter 18 introduces the Corinthian church. It is in Corinth that Paul receives support from Aquila and Pricilla. It is also in Corinth that he turns his ministry to the gentiles because of the opposition to the gospel from the Jews. Paul has received news from a member of the church reporting disputes that are dividing the Corinthian church and preventing the gospel from being spread, and the letter of I Corinthians is Paul's response. Paul asks, “Is Christ divided?” Can the church draw others to Christ if they are fractured by contention? Does it matter who baptized them? Are there levels of salvation, can we be more saved than another? Paul instructs that the Church cannot operate under the wisdom of man.
Talents and abilities are all given by God. It is God that sets each member in the body of Christ as HE sees fit. Everyone has a job to do, and none of them are in competition with anyone else. We need to be wise and use Godly discernment, and make decisions according to His Word and the leading of the Holy Spirit. As the church grows in grace and knowledge, it will unify as it is governed by Godly leadership to become a light that draws others into the family. Lest we forget, on the list in Proverbs 6 of the things God hates, discord and causes of division are front and center. How we interact with the body of Christ, His church, is a testimony for God and should take priority over our preferences and opinions. It isn’t the messenger that makes the difference, it’s the message he delivers from God.
These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren. (Proverbs 6:16-19).
The wisdom of man is foolishness compared to the wisdom of God. We must keep God in His rightful place as sovereign Lord of all.
For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.
The death of God’s Son removed the sting of death for all who have accepted Christ in salvation. For those who have rejected Him, death looms large, and eternal separation from God follows. It is hard for the lost person to fathom that the death of one could be the remedy for us all.
Often faith, or trusting in God, seems foolish. To the redeemed, however, trusting in God unleashes the power of God in our lives. It sets us free from the fear to live boldly for something larger than ourselves. For those that understand and have accepted by faith, this sacrifice for sin enables them to accomplish the will of God in this life and to experience life everlasting beyond it. Those that judge the gospel to be ridiculous and foolish will perish.
For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died -for us. (Romans 5: 7-8).
For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.
Our righteousness is as filthy rags in the sight of God. Our wisdom is made ridiculous in the light of the Word. Our best plans for self-improvement yield corrupted and embarrassing results. In His wisdom, God made the way simple. So simple that even a fool cannot err in it, the Bible tells us. Since the Garden of Eden, man has been trying to dismiss God’s wisdom and replace it with his own. Sadly, they never fully realize that all the wisdom, all the abilities, and all the reasoning comes from God. Humanity prides itself on progressiveness and evolution, but without the Word of God, the foundations are missing, and it will all be brought to nothing.
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?
Paul is asking for the Corinthian debaters to stand up and be compared to the sound wisdom of God’s word. Who can contend with Him? Who has a better idea? Many have tried to make the Bible out to be old-fashioned, outdated, or irrelevant, but none have succeeded. The best ideas man has spoken or written have a very short shelf life and are often laughable even during the lifetime of the author.
O God, thou knowest my foolishness; and my sins are not hid from thee. (Psalm 69:5).
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.
The good news was delivered first to shepherds by angels on a hillside in Bethlehem. The empty tomb was announced first by women, who weren’t believed, despite the fact, that Jesus had told them beforehand exactly what He would do. The praise of God was perfected in the mouths of babes, shouting praises to God as Jesus entered Jerusalem on His way to the cross. God’s first ministers and closest friends were unlearned fishermen and publicans who turned the world upside down and laid down their own lives in defense of the truth of God. The wise of the world were too ignorant to know how completely lost they were. Our merciful, loving Saviour gave the message of the gospel to those who were hungriest for it and who would be generous enough to share it with all who would listen.
Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. (Romans 1: 21-25).
Mankind has a fatal flaw, we will worship almost anything but God. When we are puffed up in our abilities and intelligence, we turn from God all the more. Stupidly we forget that all good and perfect gifts come from Him and that He is in control of all things He has created. The unredeemed view blessings, which are clearly the benefit of His grace and mercy, to be of their own making. There is a remedy, the world needs Jesus Christ, preached in the power and demonstration of the Holy Spirit.
We forget that all good and perfect gifts come from Him and that He is in control of all Things He has created.
For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.
Again, the word Power. The Greeks were always looking for some new philosophy to debate and discuss. Their pride was in their reasoning. The Jews looked for more miracles and more proof, although plenty was given. If more were done, it would have made no difference, they had hardened their hearts against being persuaded, much like the Egyptian Pharaoh they escaped from long ago. But Paul says we preach Christ and Him crucified. It is enough. The gospel message was the same then as it is now, the blood of Christ is enough to save the whole world. Our faith in Him yields the power that the world is seeking but will never find in any other source.
Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
Isaiah had said the same thing. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55: 8-9).
For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence.
God uses the exact opposite of what humanity looks for in a resume. Mankind looks for education, status, experience, and popularity. God uses the weak, the humble, and the things that confuse the world. God isn’t interested in impressing us with the social top rung. The scriptures tell His story. The entirety of the book tells about Him. The Holy Spirit draws us to God. We do not get the glory. He gets all the glory.
But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.
Our hope is in Jesus. Our Praise belongs to God. Through Christ, we have salvation. We are saved from the wrath of God and from eternity in Hell. Belief in God gives us access to His wisdom, His righteousness, and forgiveness of our sins.
Thus saith the Lord, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord. (Jeremiah 9: 23-24).
Thank you for studying with us! God bless!