• Matt Beaney

#445 (24/9/21) - THE WEAKNESS AND FOOLISHNESS OF GOD (1 COR. 1:25)



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

'For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.’ (1 Corinthians 1:18-25)

'For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.’ (1 Corinthians 1:25)


Who in their right mind wants to be aligned with a message that is considered by popular culture as ‘foolish’ and ‘weak’?! However, that is what Christians need to be prepared to do if they want to truly enjoy the power of God working among them. We have to be prepared to swim against the tide of popular values by embracing and sharing a message that, to many, seems foolish.


Of course, God is never foolish or weak. We are to read this as,

‘For what appears to this world like God is foolish -the cross - is wiser than human wisdom, and what looks like God is weak to this world - the cross - is stronger than human strength.’

Here, God wants us to remember that the message of the cross (termed God’s foolishness and weakness) is greater than any plan of salvation that human ingenuity can invent. Who could believe that a man going to the cross in humiliation and weakness is the power that changes lives and will ultimately restore the universe? This, however, is the power and wisdom of God at its highest!


All of our ingenuity is being applied to solve education, health problems, the environment, the ageing population… and many have lost hope that we have what it takes to solve these great threats. I’m an optimist and believe that God has made man in His image and so we will keep innovating and solving many problems. However, we cannot solve the deeper problem of the fallenness of mankind and creation. The apparent ‘weakness’ and ‘foolishness’ of God’ in Christ is the only solution to our true problems.


Let’s be assured, the tiniest power and wisdom of God outstrips all human wisdom and power. He is a God to be worshipped and trusted.


APPLICATION

We are always in danger of being sucked into our culture’s way of thinking. We seek a form of Christianity and to create a church that looks strong and wise to the world around us. We are tempted to appoint church leaders because of their worldly status - age, education, background etc. We focus the efforts of the church on ministry that gives us Kudos in the community. There’s nothing wrong - in fact, it’s right - to do works of mercy. However, we must not rely on these things to change people. We rely on God, which will be evidenced in our prayerfulness and our unashamed sharing of the gospel, which is God’s power to save. We will only be this kind of people if we are prepared to appear weak and foolish by being known for our message. The powerful weakness and foolishness of God are primarily about devotion to sharing the gospel message - ‘the message of the cross’ (v.18). Have you and I humbled ourselves? Are we still seeking status in this world at the expense of sharing God’s powerful message which saves and transforms?


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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