01.18.2015 1 Cor. 2 – How to Address the Questions People Ask about God and Life

Lord, we thank You that You are the one who draws us near – that is our desire, to be close to You and to continue/abide in relationship with You. This is eternal life – that we might know the…

01.18.2015 1 Cor. 2 - How to Address the Questions People Ask about God and Life

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Lord, we thank You that You are the one who draws us near – that is our desire, to be close to You and to continue/abide in relationship with You. This is eternal life – that we might know the Father, the Son, and the Spirit, Lord, that we might know You – and to experience relationship with You. That is our hope for today – that we would be closer to You – to be more intimate/connected/reliant upon You – to know Your justice/compassion, righteousness and holiness as a result of this time together.
1 Corinthians 2: And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. 2 For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. 3 I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, 4 and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.
As we read this passage – it could be misunderstood if it is not taken in its overall context with an understanding of what is going on in Corinth and the approach that Paul needed to take. What Paul is not saying – is not that we should not speak with wisdom and eloquence – but He is addressing the issues and values that the Corinthians relied upon and trusted for purpose and significance in life – the very things they prided themselves in.
There were philosophers and orators in this region – and they were the ‘rockstars’! It was the philosophers and great communicators that people came to see in the theaters – which held 20-25000 people! Every two years, they held the Olympic games there! So he is addressing the things that the city and the people worshiped: Speech and communication.
He is trying to show how the gospel comes into that and speaks to that mindset. They believed that wisdom/strength/speech would save them – but Paul is saying that salvation comes from that which is weak and foolish – the cross. It was a sign of humiliation – the symbol of Rome’s power. And Paul is saying, in a backhanded way – the great power of the Roman Empire was being destroyed and overturned by this message of shame and humiliation. This very symbol of power is what is going to bring them down.
Paul is speaking here, not just of the power of the gospel, but first – it has the power to challenge what is honored and valued in society. Second – it exposes what is false and unreliable in our thinking. The gospel exposes what is false and unreliable about how we view the world. For the Greeks and Corinthians, it was through the power of speech. The gospel reveals what people really trust in for salvation. They were trusting in their power – military and economic. Third – the gospel provides a way of thinking and living that turns our world on its head. What about our world? What do people in our world really rely upon? What do they really worship? In what do they trust for salvation?
Right after 9/11 – President Bush – someone asked him – something along the lines of – how should the average American respond? How should we live? And one of the things he said – was – go shopping. The terrorists attacked our way of life – capitalism – and his answer revealed a hidden reality of what we really worship – what really counts – what we really rely on in our culture. Economic prosperity. People think this will save us! Watching Fox8 news – they had a story – on an elderly couple who won 323 Million dollars – with one of those massive checks – and now they are superstars – and my initial response – I am not proud of this – “That would solve a lot of problems” – that would make life better”
Be on guard against every form of greed – even when one has an abundance – his life does not consist of his possessions. Wealth adds nothing to your life. – Jesus
We do not believe that. I don’t think it is possible, because we are so blinded – in our culture. My heart said – o wow – that would be nice (winning the lottery).
Jesus said – blessed are the poor. WHAT?
Technology and science. I think a lot of people believe that these will save us – from asteroids, disease – and sin. But it will not deliver what people believe it promises. I am not against technology and science – there is value – but to many, it becomes God.
Medical science – has healed diseases – but in reality – everyone eventually dies! And the one thing it does not do? It has done nothing to help people face death with hope. There is only one way to go to death with hope – and that is with the Gospel.
continued at http://www.gracesummit.org/Messages/entry/01182015

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