Covenant Words
Covenant Words

Episode · 6 months ago

God's Unusual Gospel

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Rev. Christopher Chelpka

No Right, it's here to first ripens, Chapter Liv, first Chatris is the beginning of perception, goes through a Hatero, so we're going to talk about things inhere. That is, will be visit again. Different ways is the opression groups, Parts First Crasser Christ, a note to Apterathe Gospel and Oreopithecus power for the word process, alls wereParishin, being sane, it is 'thou, for it is bianist. Pine is a lie,discerned it. Cernere is e s. I er ascribes a a i i as not go to le specisthe wisdom of god. The world did not no, no, i leeriness so some those calechepower of god of the mist, those as a god is wise. The weeks as to consider your co, how many of you werewise or olesantes, o man o power, many of people nor be gosh as it is, but a world change god so chose what is low sposina not tobring on so no presence of god and because of yourrises, we came to us is right and so that lood not come proclaiming to you, thetestimony of god with lofty speed or wisdom. For i decided to know nothingamong you, except jesus christ and him crucified, and i was with you inweakness and in fear and much trembling and my speech and my message were notin plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the spirit and ofpower, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men, but in thepower of god, man. This passage is sometimes confusing tosome and there's good reason for it. Pauluse is these same words many times, but in different ways. He talks about something as folly inone moment and then the next. He calls...

...it wisdom and then another he callswisdom and then he calls it folly and then sometimes he'll switch back andit's not because paul is being illogical or he's not making any sense, but he's trying to reframe how we thinkabout two things: how we think about the things in thisworld and how we think about the word of god, the word of god, as in christ, himself, christ and him crucified, and the word of god,particularly in terms of its preaching paul, is focused here in this passageand in some to come on, not just the content of the gospel but the mode of the gospel. How is itpreached? How does it come to us notice how this is how paul begins, andthis is what we're going to focus on this morning. He says i came to preach the gospel,not with words of eloquent wisdom lets the cross, be emptied of its powerand then, similarly, at the end of the passage that i read in chapter two, hesays in verse. Three. I was with you in weakness and in fear and in muchtrembling and my speech, and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom,but a demonstration of the spirit and of power. You can listen to this nextpassage or turn with me. If you like a second corinthians chapter ten, and iwant to read one more passage- that's similar second corinthians, ten and paul says he recounts to us anaccusation that he was receiving first corinthians, ten verse ten. He says,for they say that as his accusers quote, his letters are weighty and strong, but his bodily appearance is weak andhis speech is of no account. So this is what people were sayingabout paul. This was the problem that he was facing. They were saying that his letters they're great. They areenjoyable to read, there's some power to them, but when he gets up in frontof us and talks not really anything to write home abouthe's, not really a great preacher, they were saying he's not a great speakerindeed paul even says here that he came to them in weakness and fear and intrembling his voice was shaking. Maybe his hands were shaking. Thishappens to me, sometimes still, not so much any more i'm here, partly, i think,because we know each other so well, but i notice sometimes, if i go and do likesome pulpit, supply or guestpreaching in some place, i'll get really nervous. My hands will shake and my voice willshake i'm like. Why am i shaking we? I know the word i'm going toproclaim the word of this regular job. To do. I do this every day or everysunday usually twice, and yet here i am nervous. Why am inervous my am i shaking paul is experiencing this well and i'llmention as a side note. This brings me some comfort. This paul was bold. We know paul wentand spoke with great bullness. He did not shy away, we hear him say i am notashamed to proclaim the gospel, which is the power of god and to salvationboth to jews and to greeks, but just because he wasn't a shame just becausehe was going to go, for it didn't mean that he wasn't. Scared too, didn't mean that he wasn't that that hewasn't everything that people had...

...perhaps hoped from him. This, of course, was contrasted alittle bit with a man named a paulus who the scripture say was very good atpublic speaking. He was very good. He was impressive and and as we consideredlast time because of this difference between these two people were startingto kind of gather around one or the other. What's really interesting about thispassage is pais. What paul doesn't say it's one of the many interesting thingshe doesn't say. I'm really sorry about this, and so i'm going to study classicalrhetoric more and get better. Now what paul says is he hasspecifically chosen not to care, and he has specifically chosen a modeof preaching that isn't flashy. My guess is that he'd probably be finewith not trembling. He does. He wouldn't accuse apollos, in other wordsof not being not trembling, you wouldn'tsay. Well, you got to tremble if you're going to preach. Well, i don't thinkthat's what he's getting after, but what he is getting after is he'ssaying there is this mode of preaching which matches the content of the gospeland both are really important. Let's look at this passage and considerwhy he begins in verse. Eighteen for hesays the for the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved. It is the power of god now. So this is really interesting. He says it is power, it is, it haspower e, it has power for those who are being saved, but he also says in verseseventeen that he preaches in this particular way, so that the cross isnot emptied of its power. How could the cross be emptied of itspower? It is the cross of christ. After all, what paul is saying is that, when thecross is presented in a particular way, it takes away from the message when the cop cross is presented in aparticular way. It takes away from the power of the message not that it isn'tpowerful it is. He says it's powerful for those who are being saved as it iswritten verse. Nineteen i will destroy. This is powerful language right. I willdestroy the wisdom of the wise and the discernment of the discerning i willthwart and then paul tosses down the gauntlet.I love these verses. Where is the one who's wise, like? Let's role right,where's, the one who's wise where's, the scribe? Where is the debater ofthis age here these? These are expressions of confidence right. Thisis he's challenging them and he says, hasnot, god made foolish the wisdom of the world. This is what the cross does is. Ittakes the so called wisdom of the world and it shows it to be truly foolish and what the world calls foolish. Godshows it to be powerful in verse, twenty one it says for since, in thewisdom of god, the world did not know, god through wisdom. It pleased gone through the folly ofwhat we preach to save those who believe, as paul saying here, he's saying that he is not revealedthrough simply studying this world.

There is wisdom in this world pause,not denying that to study rhetoric, for example, to study speech. That's a taskof wisdom. It's not a bad thing to know how to present an argument toknow how to make it very pointed to know how to make it i'm so it rings inyour ears and sticks as good things, but they're not powerful to get you tothe ultimate things, and this is true of anything in god'sworld that he's made you go out into the into the woods. You go up into themountains or the deserts, and you can be amazed. You can study these things.You can cultivate them. You can take the resources that god has made andcreate amazing things, amazing things, and yet god does not reveal that salvation thatwe have through jesus christ, that power that takes us out of this age andinto the next age through those things, whether it's you know, physical resources like rocksor or trees or intellectual resources, likerhetoric, god doesn't reveal himself through thisway, but instead through the simple preaching which some people werecalling folly, people are being saved, and this wasnot an accident notice what he says in the wisdom of god. It was chosen thisway, god has particularly chosen to revealhim self. This way, hey continuing on that in theexposition here he says the jews demand signs and thegreek seek wisdom, but we preach christ. Crucified, a stumbling block to thejews and folly to the gentiles christ on the cross is not a powerfulsign. No christ certainly did powerful signs right. He healed people ofleprosy roused them to rise from the dead. He healed all kinds of diseases.He cast out demons. There were signs plentiful signs, obvious signs, butthey were all leading to this ultimate work of god on the cross. Everythingwas pointing to this moment and there was no outward power there. There hung our savior dead, ultimate powerlessness, not able to fight back against the jewsof the romans not able to teach anymore, not able to speak any more, not able tobreathe any more. He was dead. Jesus christ, crucified meant jesuschrist, dead, powerless, ineffective, presumably and the greeksought wisdom. What is this? What can be learned from this? A manrises up. He gathers people after him, he's becomes famous throughout the landand then he dies. This is not wisdom. This is not success. This is notadvancing and so people despised, the lord. They turned away from him and yet i, though, in the wisdom of god,he came in this way he was powerful. So this is the pot. Paul is not sayingthat jesus is not powerful. He saying that he's not powerful as the worldperceives him, and indeed he is not powerful in theform in which he came. He came as a servant. He came humble he cameunsuffering but, as paul goes on to say he was andis the power of god he was and is the wisdom of god,...

...and here is where everything is putinto perspective that verse twenty five, a kind of key verse here for thefoolishness of god. The things especially that the worldcalls foolish, that the world calls weak, that the world calls powerless.The foolishness of god is wiser than men and the weakness of god is strongerthan ten, so that gets bus back to what i said atthe beginning that he's helping us to understand the things in this world and the things of god in perspective toone another. You might look at some technologicaladvancement, some amazing aspect of learning on anything that you mightconsider in this world and be rightly impressed, but it doesn't begin to intan to thewisdom and the power of god, even when it's revealed through weakness. So then, why does god reveal such awesome power andwisdom through weakness? Why does god, in his wisdom, choosethat path we'll get there, but before we do pas one more thing forus to consider and make that point. Not only did jesus come in in weaknessand suffering and humility. Not only does the message that he preach notcome with great eloquence and power of your personal presence and all of thesethings, but even you he says are not thatimpressive notice. What he says consider yourcalling brothers, not many of you were wise. According to worldly standards,not many of you were powerful, not many of you were of noble birth, but godshows what is foolish in the world to shame the wise god shows what is weakin the world to shame the strong god shows what is low and despised in theworld, even the things that are not to bring to nothing the things that are so you see. Jesus christ came in acertain way. That message is preached in a certain way and it comes to people who are likewise, not that impressive, the corinthians and not just the corinthians, but the corinthians were wanting toadvance themselves. They were wanting to be people who were important, whowere esteemed socially, who had followers around them, who were able toclimb the ladder in their society and paul kind of calls him out, and hesays guys not many of you were of noble birth.Not many of you are all that impressive. I'm not looking out on this crowd ofamazing people by worldly standards, achau, that's kind of hurts. If you find thatoffensive it's time for a heart check, i think it's fair to say, because a lot of us spend a lot of ourtime, meditating on thinking about and working about, how it working on how tobecome something special by worldly standards, a lot of energy in our time and ourdaily lives, and our culture goes into that objective. How do we becomesomething special and worldly standards? And so when your preacher writes you aletter as paul does here and says you know t not many of you are evenobtaining that goal.

Not many of you are that special bythese worldly stands or they can kind of ear a little bit. But why does paul say this one, of course it's to humble them,because this is what their hearts are after they're wanting these things andhe's trying to relativised it he's trying to push it down, he's saying notimportant, not important, not important, and in fact it's not only not asimportant as we think it is, but god has specifically chosen the things thatare not not that important, not that powerful,not that fancy to bring into the power and wisdom and life of theson of god. In other words, god calls us to embrace this fact. He doesn't want us to be foolish people.He doesn't want us to be stupid or doing dumb things or acting in foolishways, but he does want us to embrace the factthat this world is not all that there is, and i don't have to climb a socialladder. I don't have to be something special in order to receive all theblessings of jesus christ, all the things and honor and glory thathe ultimately did attain to, and even now has, as he sits at theright hand of god enthroned upon cherubim on his mighty chariot livingforever and ever in which the whole host of heaven calls holy holy holy. He jesus christ is alternate andglorious and powerful way exceeding anything that this world would ever see, but he did that and heate obtained that by first becoming low and by even drawing in those of us who are glow, let's good news too, that god alsodraws in the rich and the powerful god also draws in people who have becomesomething important in this world, but, as jesus says, it's a hard playing for people likethat to get into the kingdom of heaven. And what do we see? What do we see sooften happening in his ministry and his gospels? It's tice collectors, it'sprostitutes, it's gentiles! It's people who are low and despised and kind of onthe edges that are being brought in. Why? Why did jesus do that? Why doesgod do that? Why am i here it's because in his great wisdom, he chose thethings that are weak christ, taking on human flesh, a particular mode of preaching thegospel and even the people that he gathers into his church to make himself known here's the wine. We have a problem with idolatry. Wehave a problem with pride. We have a problem with getting our eyes sofocused on this world that god comes into this world, and so he chooses whatis weak and foolish to turn everything on its head and make us go what's goingon so that, ultimately, we wouldn't have anything worldly to stand on andwould only boast in the lord. Only only him. That's why he does thesethings. He says in verse, twenty nine, so thatno human being might boast in the presence of god, so that none of us cango to the lord and say well yeah. I worked really hard. I showed up to workevery day i impressed my boss and his...

...boss and his boss, and on top of that i also learned a fewlanguages on the side, and on top of that, i picked up this hobby and at agreat family. Nothing god did the things that he did in theway that he did them so that we could not stand on those things and so thatwe could only say well, i'm only here by your grace and your grace alone. God undoes our pride so that we canstand in the presence of god, because our pride blocks us our plied separates us. Our pride saysi don't need him. I need me, i need more of the world, but what we really need is god, and so,rather than re enforcing the old system by god saying here's how the gospelcomes by thesee, really fancy amazing people, and- and this is a superexclusive club that you can only get into if you advance through society inthese certain ways- god undoes. All of that, so that we would be undone so that he would receive all the gloryand that wisdom and power and and and in communion with god, could truly behad we come into the presence of god, notthrough our wisdom and the wisdom of this world and the power of this world,but through the power of god and here's paul's application, then inverse five he says so that your faith, your faith, might not rest in thewisdom of men, but the power of god. There are amazing things in this world. Some of you are involved in amazingthings: writing research collaboration workingwithin your families, working within societies, the friendships that you'vecreated truly wonderful things, but for all of us who have read,ecclesiastes or lived in the world for a day, we know that that stuff doesn't lastthings get undone. Projects on ravel corporations that are strong, dissolveand fall apart. This world under the sun is a trying place for some reason. That's hard for us tounderstand. We'd missed the vanity of it all. We think we keep thinking it'spermanent, but god comes in this way to undo these things in our minds. So that's what paul is saying here: paul's opposition is not too rhetoric itself. Mederic,isn't sinful rhetoric is a good thing. Paul uses rhetoric. Even there arepassages in the scriptures that are immensely eloquent, beautiful,inspiring rhythmic, whatever you want. What other words you want to attach tothat? But that was not his aim. A great speaker in paul's time wouldnot go before an audience without mastering those things. First, his goal would have been to move hisaudience. His goal was not just to proclaim the truth, but to persuade insuch an eloquent way that when he walked away, everyone said wow that guy that wasn't paul's ang, that work of rhetoric required a lot ofstudy. The ability to read people in...

...situations adapt in the moment usemasterful turns of phrases charm. It was a legitimate skill and sometimesit was used for highly moral ends. People would use these skills and goand defend people in court. They would support the cause of the week. Theywould uphold the law and plead for good causes. The bible itself teaches us thatrhetoric is something worthy of studyingproverbs. Twenty five says a word. Fitly spoken is like apples of gold anda setting of silver proverbs. Fifteen twenty three says tomake an apt answer: is a joy to man a word in season. How good is it paul's, not saying we should all talklike fools. He's not saying rhetoric is useless andnot powerful rhetoric can be used for humanflourishing in many blessings, and yet what paul is saying is that no amountof human wisdom, no amount of worldly wisdom, evenrightly applied, can bring us to salvation, and so he is not going to make it hispriority to master all of those things andmaster them perfectly. In fact, he's not going to worry about him. His primary job and the primary job ofevery preacher, and lord willing me as well, is to proclaim the truth clearly and simply with the authority of god, and no more and no less, not relying using, perhaps in some ways,but not relying on those things as being that which will save the world, but we're lying on god who speaks anduses even simple speaking to bring about power and salvation this in the end beloved is what givesus confidence. It allows our faith not to rest on human eloquence and power,but on the lord god himself, and so i just ask you where, and you want torest your faith on. Do you want to rest your faith on the eloquence of apreacher? Where do you want to rest her faith onthe wisdom of god revealed in the cross of jesus christ? Please let it be the latter. That'swhere salvation is that's where true power and wisdom is that will not beundone. That is not vain and will last for all eternity. It will save yoursoul and your body as well. Let's pray, i.

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