• Matt Beaney

#443 (22/9/21) - PREACHING LEADS TO BELIEVING (1 COR. 1:21)



This week our devotions are based on 1 Corinthians 1:18-25.

'For since - the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.' (1 Corinthians 1:21)

This world offers lots of wisdom on life and spirituality. Some of it will alleviate pain and suffering. Some of it offers practices that help to restrict our sinful and harmful passions. One can find good in most philosophies of life. The internet is full of teachers who are selling courses on how to fix our mundane existences and I believe that most of them - whilst wanting to get rich - do want to help. However, No philosophy of life is true if it is not centred on Jesus. The ‘world through its wisdom does not know God’. To come to fullness of life and a knowledge of God requires that we hear and respond to the gospel message (See Monday’s devotional for a summary of the gospel).


Knowing God is central to our creation and design. Knowing God is the real reason for our creation. The first question and answer in the Shorter Catechism is,

Q. 1. What is the chief end of man? A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.

Knowing God transforms us in every way and we know God through ‘the foolishness of what was preached’ - through the gospel message.


Through ‘the message of the cross’ - Jesus’ death for our sin - we are ‘saved’. What does it mean to be saved? Salvation is a present and future reality. Salvation is to be justified (accounted righteous) now; salvation is the joy of walking with God every day now.

Salvation is also future; you will be saved on the day of judgement - ‘you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ’ (1:8); salvation is future in that it is also the promise of a future, fuller experience of God’s presence in that future sinless age.

In essence, if you have believe the gospel, you are saved and are being saved.


APPLICATION

In application, this text teaches us to ‘preach’, ‘believe’ and be filled with the hope of salvation. Lets’ consider each:


Firstly, we are to ‘preach’ this gospel. As a church, our meetings are a place to preach the gospel. Personally, in our lives, with our God-given abilities, we are to preach the gospel. Of course, we will be wise and helpful in how we share the gospel, but we know that it’s the gospel message, heard and understood in the power of the Spirit that changes people.


Secondly, we must understand that ‘believing’ - faith - in the gospel saves. We don’t work for salvation. We don’t put our trust in our feelings. Have you believed the gospel? Do you believe that everyone needs to believe the gospel?


Thirdly, do you understand what it means to be saved and are you full of gratitude for it? Do you know that you are justified and will never face condemnation? Do you walk with God in close fellowship now and with the hope of that future ‘eternal day’ of perfect and glorious fellowship in that ‘New heavens and new earth’?


COMMUNITY GROUP STUDY

1. Notices

It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.

2. Icebreaker

How has God spoken to you from the Bible this week?

3. Recap of Sunday's message - please share in your group

On Sunday we continued in our series in 1 Corinthians. The title of the message was, 'THE WORLD NEEDS A CHURCH THAT PREACHES THE GOSPEL'.


Please read 1 Corinthians 1:18-25.


The divisions in the church in Corinth come from the message of the world creeping into the community. This world has many competing philosophies for the best life. One very powerful idea which often infects the church is that of a legalistic approach to God and life. We are told that we can be in a right relationship with God or the 'universe' or any number of spiritual powers if we do good. We are told that we can improve ourselves through focus and discipline into good people. Another message that is infecting the Corinthians and is common today is that the gospel is only powerful if it comes with eloquence and is dressed attractively. These kinds of ideas pervert the gospel so that the message no longer has the power of the Holy Spirit to change lives and bring hope. We need to be alert to how the world's message is affecting us and is maybe making us ineffective in preaching the gospel to a world that needs the true good news of Jesus.

We need to be soaked in the message of the cross so that we can tell others and know when the message is being corrupted.


Discussion questions

1. Did God speak to you, or what do you plan to do in response to Sunday's message?

2. Do you have any questions about this text?

3. v. 18 - If we are Christians, we believe that the gospel is God's power to save people. Do you feel confident to share the gospel? Why or why not?

4. v.18 - Why is 'the message of the cross foolishness' to non-Christians?

5. v.19-21 - Those who don't believe the gospel 'don't know Him'. What are the kinds of alternate philosophies that those around you choose to believe?

6. v. 21-23 - It's through the apparent foolishness of the gospel that God saves us. Do you feel confident to share the gospel? How would you summarise the gospel message to a friend?

5. SIV

Finally, it would be helpful to talk and pray about how we are doing in regard to Serve, Invest and Invite. Do you have any encouraging stories or any plans in this regard? How do you want to pray in regard to our mission?


Let's be praying and actively preparing to invite friends to our carol service on 5th December. Please make sure this is in your diary.







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