Sunday, May 19, 2013

Man's Foolishness - God's Glory


I Cor.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.

I Cor.1: 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.

I Cor.1: 23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;

I Cor.2: 13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

Man has invented his own definitions about wisdom and morality and scholarship. It is completely based upon what we see and experience and think. Through a systematic progression of making and inventing things, as well as the accumulation of information and knowledge, man has become both a master and a slave to himself. And now armed with thoughts and beliefs that have been guided and molded by himself and his environment, religion has become an appendage to our lives designed to aid in our quest to climb an earthly ladder.

Transcendental meditation, eastern mysticism, new age philosophies, and many other mind manipulations have either replaced the Christian faith or have so influenced it so as to make Christianity secretly succumb to the various religious mores of our day. Taking what seems sophisticated and modern has become the foundation upon which some religious powder is sprinkled. And just to provide some Christian cloak the church has kept certain words and phrases on display. But after all this is mixed around and presented as a relevant piece of religious advice, the hearers walk away feeling refreshed and then quickly dissolve once again into the culture which in most respects is their god.

The pure and unvarnished preaching of the cross is now just a part of ecclesiastical nostalgia. It isn’t that people do not know about the cross, but it is no longer the main course of a western spiritual diet. Earthly success and promises of financial blessings or even a positive outlook have replaced the gospel. In fact the gospel is only for the lost and only relevant to a believer as part of his orthodox portfolio. Many will admit to the power of the cross in salvation while rejecting it overtly and subliminally as the power of their Christian walk.

But there now exists almost no common ground. In the evangelical atmosphere of today there seems to be a great gulf that separates a massive community of all kinds of compromise and cultural churches, and a comparatively small group scattered across the nation who are holding on for dear life to Christ, His cross, and His entire gospel. Walking with Christ is more than just nodding yes at certain doctrines. It is much more than just being pro-life and pro-traditional marriage. Walking with Christ in these days is sometimes a very lonely walk which requires denying self and a sacrificing of what most believe and are doing.

How can we claim to be carrying our cross and living a crucified life when are lives are so similar to those who have no profession? Does it not seem strange that in towns and cities that have thousands upon thousands of evangelical church members that there is so little light and salt? What has happened? Has God’s power shriveled up? Has the cross lost its luster? Is there no more resurrection power? Or has the church lost its thirst for Christ and settled instead for membership and buildings and activities? And in the midst of all the glitz and glitter and patriotism and moralism there is a vacuum. And that vacuum is shaped like an old rugged cross, the emblem of suffering and shame. And the shame of which I speak is not about the glorious shame of that cross. I speak of the shame wherein the church had shunned that cross and brought shame upon itself.

It is quite astonishing that the answer to every single question about God and man can be found in the cross. I mean in modern imagery it would be like saying that the electric chair is the answer and source of life. But it was this barbarous instrument that was chosen by God to show who he was and what his love and grace could provide. Looking back through the eyes of education and being culturally sophisticated it seems as the Scriptures declare. It seems like foolishness.

We are enamored with our minds. A man like Albert Einstein scribbles some theories and he is lauded as a colossal genius. Stephen Hawing throws out his unproveable hypothesis as well and his name becomes synonymous with intelligence. Man worships his own intellectual prowess and he praises those who can articulate great thoughts. But in the scheme of things thoughts are worthless if they are not true and if they do not promote God’s kingdom.

But when it comes to religion men will embrace a structure which combines intellect with philosophy. And philosophy itself is a love of human knowledge. So if someone claims to be spiritual and presents some real thought provoking philosophical ideas he is considered deep and profound. But if a man opens the Scriptures and preaches Christ and Him crucified he is considered a throwback to a time where we were less enlightened. And when the cross is preached as the last and complete sacrifice for man’s sins and the only way to eternal life, well, that is now openly and subtly considered a residual product of an ancient religion which has now evolved and moved on.

But if you reject the cross as the core of the faith then you must reject the apostles and the early church and the New Testament Scriptures. You also must reject Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, Huss, Whitefield, Edwards, Moody, Wesley, and on and on the list goes. It all comes down to this: If you reject the literal event of Christ’s crucifixion as the foundation upon which the entire Christian faith is built, then you must reject and disregard everything that has come before today as it pertains to the Christian faith. You must make some new Scriptures you call “interpretations”. You must create a new Jesus. You must create a new plan of redemption. You must create a new gospel. You must create a new eternal scenario. You must create a new philosophy for the cross. In essence, you must create a new religion and still call it Christianity. And, sadly, that is what has happened.

But this philosophical and intellectual morass makes the cross nothing but superstitious foolishness. Is the modern church known for Jesus and His cross, or is it known for its slick presentations and its well honed family atmosphere or its political activism? But here is the stunning aspect of it all: What man has treated as foolishness is in reality the glory of the Creator. Think on that. That which is rejected by fallen man and even by the church is actually the pinnacle of God’s love and grace, and it is the unobstructed revelation of who God is. Yes, man’s foolishness is God’s glory.

We are encouraged and guided by the Spirit to look to and to preach the cross of Christ. But after over two thousand years we must still gaze in wonder at that glorious event. Its depth cannot be fathomed; Its love cannot be understood; Its grace cannot be comprehended; Its sacrifice remains a mystery; Its power cannot be exhausted; It’s humility is unthinkable. Many of us have studied the cross and done research papers on it in college. We have preached on the cross many, many times. We have gazed at paintings of it. We have quoted Scriptures that refer to that cross. We have watched pageants that portrayed the cross. We have watched films.

We have wept when we think about His cross. We have sung about it. And sometimes during those times we have been granted a greater revelation of that cross. And even sometimes that greater revelation is so personal and so full of glory and mystery that we have no words with which to adequately communicate that aspect of the pearl of great price. But this thing we do know. Jesus brought those wounds into eternity with Him, and the glory of that sacrifice we call the cross will redound to the glory of God throughout eternity with the same power and majesty every single eternal moment.

Yes, man’s foolishness will always be God’s glory.


Anonymous said...

I have a hard time with going to a conventional church. It is just showmanship, nothing else.

When Jesus asks us to pick up our cross and follow Him, our cross does not have the splinters or the heavy weight of it's bulk or the heavy weight of sin from the whole world, past, present and future, laid on it. It is smoothed over by the blood of the Lamb of God. It is lite in weight because Jesus has already carried the bulk of it.

The church here in the west has forgotten this. It has been in comfort to long. It wipes it's mouth and says I want more. But yet the church does not know that it is lost and naked and the world looks on laughing, because there is no power there any longer.

We must remember daily that we need to kneel at the cross of Jesus the Christ our salvation.


Josef Sefton said...

Man’s foolishness isn't God’s glory. God says that without faith it is impossible to please Him. We need faith not foolishness to bring glory to God.

Man's foolishness is foolishness!

The natural man is in urgent need of being rescued from being enslaved to Satan and is dead in trespasses and sin.

Jesus willingly died on a cross to offer to rescue sinful man from being enslaved to the sinful, self-willed, selfish way of living life.

The LORD offers to forgive repentent, contrite, sinful man and offers him a new abundant life in Christ.

Man's foolishness isn't God's glory, but the LORD can use what unbelieving man considers foolish to bring glory to Himself!

Truly the teaching of the cross is the power of God unto them which are saved! Truly it pleased God by the preaching of God's Word to save them that believe.

Josef Sefton said...

Our praise is for the LORD God who offers to forgive repentant, contrite, sinful man and offers him a new abundant life in LORD Jesus Christ.

Anonymous said...

God uses the weak, the simple minded and the un-learned and that is foolishness to the unsaved man that only thinks he is wiser than others. So you can say that man's foolishness is God's glory. Because when we realize that we are weak and only with the uplifting of the shed blood of Jesus are we strong.


Rick Frueh said...

Yes, whast I meant was that what is foolishness to man is the glory of God.

Josef Sefton said...

Obedience to LORD Jesus Christ glorifies God.

The Greatest Commandment

Mathew 22

37 Jesus said to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like to it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

God is glorified when Christians do this!

When an unsaved man finds belief in God foolish it doesn't glorify God.

In Psalm 14,1 we read; The fool has said in his heart, There is no God...

What is foolishness to a foolish man doesn't glorify God in any way at all.

Anonymous said...

Proverbs 19:3
The foolishness of man ruins his way, And his heart rages against the LORD.

Isaiah 32:6 For fools speak folly, their hearts are bent on evil: They practice ungodliness and spread error concerning the LORD; the hungry they leave empty and from the thirsty they withhold water.