The Church for the Glory of God | 1 Corinthians 2.1-10
FROM SUNDAY, JULY 19 2015
1 And I, when I came to you, brothers, I did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. 2 For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3 And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, 4 and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.
What do you know?
I mean, really know? What is absolutely certain to you? What cannot be undone in your heart and mind? What is your first rational thought in the morning and the last idea that gives you peace before you sleep? That’s the essence of Paul’s statement, “for I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” If there is any basis for a group of people to think they are children of God, it must start there.
Now, you might believe that the church is on earth to do a lot of really good things – and you would be absolutely, 100% correct. Paul even admits that God made the Church to do good work he prepared in advance.a In fact, in the next fourteen chapters of his letter to Corinth, he expounds on the importance of brotherhood, sacrificial love, service, family, the law, generosity and hope. The question Paul wants us to ask is, “why?”
God’s power is really on display when he acts in love against all human wisdom.
Why are we worrying about keeping a church together and loving other people by sacrificing our own time and money and comfort? Everything Paul says in the next fourteen chapters is rooted the first two; the mystery and wisdom of God is Jesus Christ and him crucified. If we are a “church” our daily struggle should emulate the crazy love of a God who dies for us sinners. Our mid-week frustrations should have the eternal investment of pointing others to a God who comes to dead people and gives them life.b
Now, if you knew my sin, you’d think God was crazy to invest himself in that kind of gospel work. On a Wednesday afternoon I can be pretty down on myself and life in general. My less-than-pastoral behavior is building up, and I just don’t feel that lovable. My human wisdom goes into fight-or-flight mode:
fight: I can fight my bad work with good work to prove that I am lovable, or;
flight: I can admit that I’m not that loveable and run from God.
But God’s power is really on display when he acts in love against all human wisdom. In his holiness, God agrees sinners are unlovable in our own right, and condemns all our attempts to earn his love. But in his love, he comes to sinners and freely gives the righteousness and holiness that we don’t deserve and can’t provide for ourselves: Jesus Christ and him crucified.
When a bunch of sinners come to cherish this kind of wisdom from God, they are the Church. Not because of our profound love for God, but because of God’s seemingly irrational love for us: Jesus Christ, and him crucified.
a Ephesians 2.10: For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Scripture taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version, 1984)
b Matthew 5.16: In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your
Father in heaven.
Scripture taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version®. NIV®. ©1984, International Bible Society.