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 THE CROSS OF CALVARY!

PAUL'S GREATEST PARAGRAPH ON THE DEATH OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST

1ST CORINTHIANS 1:18-31

 

 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
II Timothy 2:15

 

 

 

INTRODUCTION:

I have wanted to study this Text for a long time! The Lord seems to have nodded His Approval this morning. This will be an exciting journey!

The Apostle Paul wrote the all-time "classic" Paragraph on Jesus' Death on Calvary, on the Cross, it's power and effectiveness and glory! It is carefully recorded in 1st Corinthians 1:18-25.

Here it is, word for word, in the King James Bible. "For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: but we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; but unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: but God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: that no flesh should glory in his presence. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: that, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord." Again, this is 1st Corinthians 1:18-31

To some these words are enigmatic.

To others, life-changing!

May God bless it to the salvation of souls!

To His Glory!

                                                                                   --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 1, VERSE 18:

Our Verse is 1st Corinthians 1:18. "For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God." Paul said this under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, under His control.

The noun "preaching" is "logos," the "word" of the Cross! Talking about it, testifying about it, writing about it, all of these!

The word "cross" is "stauros," derived from "histemi," something that is "standing up" in position. See that old rugged Cross protruding from the ground, Golgotha's Hill, into the air! A pole of torture!

"Apollumi" is a participle, "those perishing." That is: "ruined, destroyed, killed, passing away."

Then comes a major word of the whole Passage, "foolishness." It's "moria" in Greek, from which the little English word "moron" is taken! In fact, "moros" means "foolish," but also "godless" too. In Scripture the fool is not mentally deficient, but morally so! Some authorities suggest that "moria" was often linked to another word, "mania," in other words, "madness." The godless  world of Paul's day thought these Cross-preaching "Christians" to be morons, absolutely mad, crazy people!

The conjunction "but" divides the sentence, the verse. It is "de" and means "nevertheless or moreover or yet." It introduces a contrasting thought to the whole mix.

Talking about Jesus' Death on Calvary is silly to those who are lost, on their way to Hell. BUT ... IT'S NOT FOOLISH TO SAVED PEOPLE!

"The ones being saved" translates "sozo," a verb serving as an adjective here. Thus, a participle. The ones "made whole!" The ones spiritually "healed!" Delivered! Rescued! I still like "saved" the best!

Our souls have already been saved, since the moment we first believed. But our bodies are not yet so saved! They will die some day, barring the Rapture. But by and by, some golden daybreak, Jesus will come! And we whose bodies have been buried, perhaps for ages, will be given a new one! I'm trying to say that, ultimately, even our weak physical frames will be delivered, saved, transformed! Made like unto His glorious Body!

Anyway, to us who are born again, the cross is not "moron" material, but the very "power" of God! Here we have "dunamis," dynamite power! Miraculous power! Awesome strength! Omnipotent ability! Power placed within a thing by its Creator!

But the Cross is not mystical power or magical power or mythic power ... no! It is the very Power of God Almighty Himself!

"Dunamis Theos."

God owns that Power!

God supplies such when the Cross is being uplifted!

This is the very power that saved our souls!

"But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name." John 1:12

Yes!

More tomorrow, Lord willing, verse nineteen is next. We're going to journey through Paul's greatest Sermon on the Cross, Lord willing.

                                                                             --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 2, VERSE 19:

Paul loves to quote Scripture!

He does so in today's verse too. "For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent." 1st Corinthians 1:19

There have been some Bible scholars through the years who have devoted years of their lives to the study of the New Testament's use of the Old Testament. And books exist that carefully analyze Paul's methods of Old Testament quotation and application.

Paul may have had Job 5:12 in mind here. "He disappointeth the devices of the crafty, so that their hands cannot perform their enterprise. He taketh the wise in their own craftiness: and the counsel of the froward is carried headlong." Or perhaps Jeremiah 8:9. "The wise men are ashamed, they are dismayed and taken: lo, they have rejected the word of the LORD; and what wisdom is in them?" Plus, Isaiah 29:14. "For the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid."

The "heart" of today's Text is this. When it comes to salvation, to getting sinners to Heaven, God's Plan of Salvation is perfect!

And God, in redeeming sinners, did not seek the approval of the world's university systems and research tanks and scientific theories either! He just used an old rugged Cross and allowed His sinless Son to die there, shedding His incorruptible Blood that lost people might be saved!

God's Plan goes against the grain of the intelligentsia of this age!

Secular academia do not agree either!

At Calvary God destroyed the wisdom of the worldly wise.

At Calvary God brought to nothing the understanding of the world's most brilliant heroes!

God's method of bringing filthy, dirty lost people into His Presence is repulsive to multitudes!

Here's our Verse again. ""For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent." 1st Corinthians 1:19

"It is written" is Paul's code for using the Old Testament in his preaching.

The verb "destroy" translates "apollumi," which can mean, depending on its context, "putting out of the way, abolishing, rendering useless, to ruin, to bring to an end!" Bad news for educated types who know not God!

The words for "wisdom" and "wise" are basically the same. "Spohia" and "sophos" both derive from "saphes," meaning "clear!" Wisdom to God is not an intellectual thing! It is an ethical thing! Purity and cleanliness and holiness, such are the requirements for God's Wisdom! Not matriculation and tuition and graduation.

The verb "bring to nothing" is "atheteo," with the alpha privative (that opening "a") negating the verb "tithemi." It then means "to place nowhere!" Not to recognize something! To give it absolutely no standing at all!

"Understanding" is "sunesis," from "sun," just meaning "with" or "together," and "hiemi," meaning "to send." It is a proper "blending" of knowledge and insight and discernment, given from the Lord obviously!

"Prudent" is "sunetos," from the very same word, "sunesis," just discussed above. In English "prudent" is based upon the Latin word "providere," that is, "to see ahead" of things! Foresight!

God here delights in confusing the spiritually blind members of mankind's brightest and best colleges!

The illiterate backwoods farmer or trapper or housewife knows more real truth, if he or she is saved by the Grace of God, than any smart-aleck atheist occupying any Chair of so-called higher learning in the whole country!

Jesus saves!

Again I say it, "Jesus saves!" Watchwords that will hold billions spellbound for all eternity! Whether they are in Heaven, worshipping ... or in Hell's eternal flames, regretting!

God-wise or worldly-wise?

The choice you make here is vitally important!

                                                                                --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 3, VERSE 20:

The Greeks overvalued human wisdom.

Reasoning, logic itself, was nearly a god.

So, when Paul preached Jesus and His Death on the Cross as the only means of salvation ... controversy quickly developed!

Paul therefore, in today's verse, challenges all the so-called wisdom of this world.

"Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?" 1st Corinthians 1:20

The "wise" man, "sophos" in the Textus Receptus, would likely have meant to Paul members of the Greek intelligentsia. Men of renown, with degrees, and published works. But in light of God's great plan of salvation ... these sophists appear downright foolish!

The "scribes," in Paul's language "grammateus," indicates a few favored Jews who had learned the Law of Moses. But Old Testament precepts cannot save either!

The world's "disputers" are educators and orators who have distinguished themselves advocating the prevalent world-view, whatever that may have been at that time! Spelled "suzetetes," it means a very "learned" member of society. Likely these people are Gentiles, too.

No matter who it is!

In today's language we'd include in this crowd, brilliant but lost, evolutionists and graduate school honorees and authors and activists  and anyone else who despises the Cross of Jesus!

"Bring them on," challenges Paul!

"Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?"

Yes!

God can silence these critics!

God, through Calvary, has made all their fabricated arguments look "foolish!"

And don't forget, "made foolish" is the English rendering of the Greek verb "moraino." In it see "moron," with all its implications!

Philosophy can't explain Calvary!

Neither can the Law!

Nor forensic psychology!

Nor the universities!

Not the politicians either!

Then, who possesses such Wisdom?

Only One Person, Jesus Christ the Son of God!

When compared to Jesus, all atheistic advocacy fails miserably!

If today you know Jesus, then you, according to Him, have eternal life abiding in you ... this very second! "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent." John 17:3

Again, the world fails!

And the devil, too!

And even we ourselves!

But, Jesus saves!

He still saves!

Therein is the Wisdom of God revealed!

"The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." John 1:29

Amen!

Academia, shush!

Born-again Believers, loudly praise His good Name!

We have reason to do so!

                                                                             --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 4, VERSE 21:

Today's Verse is one of the greatest Paul ever wrote. This sentence alone proves the inspiration of Scripture!

"For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe." 1st Corinthians 1:21

Look at the latter part of that first clause. "The world by wisdom knew not God."

This means that the lost world, our perverted culture, cannot know God through any natural means.

Education will not lead a man to the Saviour!

Nor will politics!

Or science!

Too often, even worldly-wise religion won't either!

And medicine is no longer the friend of the Creator!

Add psychology, the news media, sociology ... none bring men to God!

The verb "know" translates "ginosko," usually "gaining information by means of human effort." This hints at books and classes and tests.

If left to itself, the world will never know the glories of our precious Lord!

And, still according to today's Verse, God would have it that way! Note: "For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God."

God fully intends to confound, to embarrass, to humiliate, the "ways" of the world!

They may be able to award you a Doctorate in Philosophy, but not a trip to Heaven!

Then, how does God save?

What will be His means of spreading the Gospel Story?

Here it is, still in 1st Corinthians 1:21. "It pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe."

Here's God's plan!

It "pleases" Him, too! "Eudokeo" means "to take pleasure" in something. He delights in Gospel Preaching!

The noun "preaching" is spelled "kerugma," which is specifically "the message" being proclaimed. The Gospel, in other words.

Now, there's nothing foolish about the preaching.

Nor about the Story of Jesus itself, His Death and Burial and Resurrection.

But in the eyes of the world it's all "foolish!"

Using "moria" again, Paul implies "silliness," maybe even "senselessness." They're mocking the Word of God!

What the world discounts ... God elevates ... and uses it, the Gospel, to bring lost men to Jesus!

This Message, the content of this preaching, "saves" men and women! "Sozo" means "to deliver, to rescue, to make whole!"

But not everyone is saved, even of those who hear the Word of God, only those who "believe!" Again, "to save them that believe." Here "pisteuo" as a participle means "trusting, committing oneself, leaning upon!"

God's Plan of salvation ... deliberately designed to powerfully, miraculously save the lost ... while simultaneously being mocked by the world!

Only God could have devised such a Method!

"For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe." Ponder it today, 1st Corinthians 1:21

Praise His Name!

                                                                                 --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 5, VERSES 22-24:

Paul always sought to exalt the Lord Jesus Christ! And not to exalt vain human flesh!

Today's Text, a three-verse unit, pursues these goals. "For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: but we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; but unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God." 1st Corinthians 1:22-24

The Jews have always been visually oriented people. Object lessons fill the Old Testament. We often call them "types," while really they're symbols and emblems of vital spiritual truth. So, the Israelites require a "sign." The noun "semeion" means a "mark or token," but is also translated as "wonder or miracle" in Scripture! Something outstanding, visible! The verb "require" is "aiteo," meaning "to ask, beg, crave, desire, or call for" something.

The Greeks (in Paul's day spelled "hellen," from which we get the word "hellenistic") seek after "wisdom." This, "sophia," merely indicates man-made and man-approved knowledge. Pure rationalism! The latest, newest "ism." Empty philosophy! The verb "seek after" is again "aiteo," just rendered a bit differently here by the King James translators, merely in order to offer variety of expression. The Bible is not a boring Book!

But Paul's preaching satisfies neither, Jew nor Greek! The Gospel must not be brought to the carnal level of sensationalism ("signs") or intellectualism (human "wisdom"). The Gospel must remain what it is, the Power of God to save sinners! Untainted! Not mixed with anything that dilutes! Straight 100% Bible! In two words, "Christ crucified!" And "christos" means "Messiah, the Anointed One" of God! While "crucified" implies one "impaled" on a pole! It literally suggests driving a "stake" into the ground! An instrument of torture!

Such a crucified Saviour, to these ancient minds, would have been a disgrace! A common criminal, no, less than that, the lowest of the criminals!

Such preaching would have immediately been a "stumblingblock" to the Jews. "Skandalon" means a "trap" for catching animals, one's prey! Then later it came to mean something that causes a runner "to stumble and fall" as he negotiates the racetrack.

Jesus on the Cross to the Greeks? Even more silliness, called "foolishness" here by Paul! "Moria" is our word "moron" and in the minds of Paul's hearers would have been linked with "mania" or "craziness, madness."

The Jews hear the Gospel, and it "does not compute!"

The Greeks hear it too, and they call it "insanity!"

Oh, there is one more group who hear the Gospel!

Besides these Jews and Greeks!

They are the "called" of God!

These are, of course, taken from among Jews and Greeks! Truthfully, there are no more people from which to choose than Jews and Greek, meaning Jews and Gentiles! All humanity is herein identified!

Here's how Paul names these "called" ones. "But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God."

Wow!

Something has happened to these Jews and Greeks and Romans and Americans and citizens of the world!

The verb "called" is actually a relative of "kaleo," meaning strongly "invited," even "summoned" to an event! The Holy Spirit of God does the "calling" too! "No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him," Jesus in John 6:44. That's the "call!"

To this crowd, Jesus becomes "power," the very power of God! Here "dunamis" is used. Power already residing with the Subject in view! Inherent Power!

And, as if matriculating in a new university, Christ is now, miraculously, the very "Wisdom" of God! Talk about a new perspective! Being born-again! Old things passing away!

Now "sophia" lives up to its meaning! "Prudence, understanding, skill at godly living, discernment," all based on the word "saphes," that which is "clear, pure, clean." Godliness is the antecedent to real Wisdom!

By the way, "crucified" in "Christ crucified" is a perfect participle. The act of Jesus being nailed to a cross is over, done, finished, not to be repeated! Not ever again! Still, the "perfect tense" means that this past Act has lasting consequences, to-this-very-day impact and influence! God the Father, via the power of a two-thousand year ago Death, is still redeeming sinners!

Lastly, this is the Message Paul "preaches." He just said, "But we preach Christ crucified." He chose the verb "kerusso." To proclaim as a herald of the King! To be the forerunner of Royalty! To announce "He is coming!" To demand of people, "Prepare ye the way of the Lord!" And, according to Greek culture, "to speak with authority!" Plus, "to expect results" to one's message! A traveling Preacher is also implied!

We've covered nearly a paragraph today!

A great one!

 "For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: but we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; but unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God." 1st Corinthians 1:22-24

Some of the greatest writing Paul ever did!

Evangelism at its highest moment!

God just might save someone today!

Are you saved?

                                                                         --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 6, VERSE 25:

Today's Verse is one of the loveliest Paul ever wrote. And, oh, how it exalts the Lord!

"Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men." 1st Corinthians 1:25

Paul is not calling God "foolish" here, not at all. He is speaking hypothetically. In fact, I can find no other Verse in all the Bible that so closely combines these two words, "foolishness" and "God!" Unless it's 1st Corinthians 3:19, "For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness."

Paul is supposing that God, at His lowest (should that be possible) is still infinitely higher than man, even when men and women are at their very best!

Since God can never change, He is always at the utmost apex, the pinnacle of Justice and Grace and Glory and all the rest of His Traits! Listen to the Lord in Malachi 1:6. "For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed."

The noun "foolishness" is still "moros." That's the "moron" word! And "wiser" is "sophos" expressed as an adjective in the comparative degree. Two entities are being compared. God and mankind! God is wiser! Here's how smart, how wise, God really is! "Who hath directed the Spirit of the LORD, or being his counsellor hath taught him? With whom took he counsel, and who instructed him, and taught him in the path of judgment, and taught him knowledge, and shewed to him the way of understanding?" God needs no teaching. He knows everything right now, already! Isaiah 40:13-14

But, just for an example, Paul is saying that humankind is not now, nor ever will be, any "competition" for God!

Additionally, God is always stronger than man!

Our Verse again: "Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men." 1st Corinthians 1:25

That noun "weakness" again is an anthropomorphism. It's a "human" way of describing an Almighty God. A God Who really is ineffable, indescribable! He's that awesome!

It's spelled "asthenes," which is a negation, the opening letter "a," of the Greek word for "vigour, stamina, endurance!"

Wait a second!

I just found one Bible instance where God is linked to weakness!

God being weak?

Yes!

"For though he, Jesus, was crucified through weakness, yet he liveth by the power of God." 2nd Corinthians 13:4

God was "weak" at Calvary!

And God, to the lost world, appeared "foolish" there too, at the Cross!

Things are beginning to "fit" better now!

With the Cross in view, in the foreground! "The foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men." 1st Corinthians 1:25, yet again!

When Paul uses the word "stronger" he elects "ischuros," strength in the brute physical sense! There's just nothing God can't do!

Think again of the Cross!

Especially it's miracles!

See God's "strength!"

The earth quakes!

Rocks burst open!

The sun goes out!

The temple veil is rent!

God the Son lays down His Life!

Wow, amazing!

Today's Verse is nearly sublime.

The more one thinks about it, ponders it, the deeper it becomes!

Say it again, Paul. "Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men." 1st Corinthians 1:25

What a God we serve!

There is none like Him!

God Himself, in Isaiah 44:8, asks it. "Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any."

And we Believers all agree!

                                                                           --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 7, VERSES 26-29:

Today's chain of thought is so closely knit, it just can't be divided. Paul writes: "For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: but God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: that no flesh should glory in his presence." 1st Corinthians 26-29

The "calling" the Apostle has in mind here is the "call" of God unto salvation. When the Holy Spirit "tugs" at your heart, drawing you to Jesus! The Greek verb is "kaleo," the noun "klesis." It means "to invite, to bid" and comes from a root verb meaning "to summon" or even "to command!"

In other words, Paul is relating to us the fact that "common folks" most often get saved! Not the uppity-up crowd!

Not many "wise" men, "kata sarx." That means "according to the flesh." In man's eyes! Not many professors, not many entertainers, not many multi-billionaires, not many elite world rulers!

Also, not many "mighty" men are saved! The word is "dunamis" again, people who "own" power! It's inherent to them. To some, such power is all they've ever known. Maybe others have stolen it, killed for it, rebels at heart!

Then Paul lists a third group of not-normally-saved people, the "noble." Spelled "eugenes," one immediately sees "the well born!" Good genes! Aristocrats! Born with silver spoons in their mouths! "Fortunate," the world says. That high "upper" class again!

We are not being told that none of these are saved, just "not many." It's "ou polus" in Greek, with "ou" being the absolute negative!

Amazing!

Then comes a thrice used verb in our Text, "chosen." It's "eklegomai" and means "to pick out" or "to select." Often "to choose for oneself!" Think about that a while!

And the twice used verb "confound" is interesting as well. It's the compound "kataischuno," meaning "to put to shame, to confuse, to dishonour, to disgrace!"

Putting the clause all together: "God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise, and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty." For some reason, God saves (in the eyes of a secular culture) the "foolish" people, that is, the "simple" people, the "nobodies!" He generally selects the "weak" folks ("asthenes," Greek for "no strength") instead of folks with power and authority and class!

The "base" things God loves so much, spelled "agenes" in Greek, are people with "no genes," no superb parentage, no dynamic history, not the elite! Not well born! One textbook says "low born!" My word again, a bunch of "nobodies!"

These riff-raff people are said to be "despised" by the world. "Exoutheneo" means "of no account!" Set at naught! Simply contemptible!

Paul called himself this once. "We are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day." 1st Corinthians 4:13

Back to our Text: "And the base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are."

The "unnoticeables" get saved! People who live their whole lives "as if they do not exist!" Unimportant! Insignificant! To the world!

But loved of God!

Thank God for this short little verse. "And the common people heard Him, Jesus,  gladly." Matthew 12:37

This is so true-to-live, yet so ironic!

"To bring to nought" translates "katargeo," to render idle! Literally, to be free from labor! Most of the top echelon have never worked a day in their lives anyway!

The "dregs" of society are forgiven, are saved and go to Heaven! While the "super-people" mock God, and in their doubt, go to Hell!

So says Paul.

But, why?

Why would God not save that top "crust" of humanity?

And even  that answer is plainly given in our Text here. In the last verse, verse thirty-one.

This is important now. "That no flesh should glory in his presence." That's it, 1st Corinthians 1:31

God absolutely will not share His Glory with anyone else! "I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images." Isaiah 42:8

"I will not give my glory unto another." This is God again, speaking in Isaiah 48:11.

When old wretches like us get saved, we praise and thank and glorify God forever!

Should that hyper-educated, filthy rich, county club set ever make it to Heaven, they would sit around and brag about how they did it!

And God would be robbed of His Glory!

I'm telling you, it's just not going to happen!

God saves nobodies ... in order to give Somebody the Glory! And that precious Somebody is the dear Lord Himself!

Glory to His Name!

Thank Him for saving you today.

                                                                             --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 8, VERSES 30-31:

Paul the Apostle ends his great sermon on the Cross, 1st Corinthians 1:18-31, by focusing on Jesus!

After all, without Jesus the Cross has no meaning anyway!

"But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: that, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord." So preached Paul.

The opening pronoun, "him," is God the Father. He is the One Who placed us "in" Christ Jesus!

But. here, Jesus is not merely Saviour!

He is also Wisdom, Righteousness, Sanctification and Redemption!"

Jesus came to earth, was born of a virgin, "ginomai" in Greek, was "made" by God His Father into these great things!

Real Wisdom is Jesus! He is the "Sophia" of God! Read Proverbs 8, the whole chapter, and see if Jesus is not the very Essence of the Wisdom discussed there! He is!

Jesus is also our Righteousness too! He did not just bring us righteousness! No, He is such a Thing! "This is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS." Jeremiah 23:6

The same is true of sanctification. Jesus is our Sanctification. He is consecration. He is separation from evil. In John 17:19 He beautifully prayed: "And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth."

And He is also our Redemption! The Greek word here, "apolutrosis," springs from their word for "ransom." The price paid to redeem and set free poor old slaves, bound by their chains.

Then, "as it is written," Paul's formula for quoting the Old Testament, hints of a coming Biblical Text. "He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord."

Obviously, this clause alludes to a host of earlier Bible verses. Constantly we are being exhorted to "glory" or  "brag, boast, delight, rejoice" in Jesus our Lord! "Kauchaomai" is the word.

There will be no human boasting in Heaven!

All honor will go directly to God Himself!

As it should be!

And should not the One Who is our "All" be so uplifted? So adored? So worshipped?

Jesus, we love Thee today!

                                                                       --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 9, CONCLUSION:

Over the past few days we have been studying Paul's greatest Paragraph on the Cross, 1st Corinthians 1:18-31.

Having finished the exposition,  I'd like to share with you a few summary thoughts about Calvary.

Crucifixion was one of the most tortuous deaths known to mankind. It was so bad that even the Bible calls it not merely death, but "even the death of the cross!" Listen to Philippians 2:8, speaking of Jesus: "And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross."

One Roman historian, Pliny by name, called the new religion Christianity a form of "amentia." This word means "insanity," literally "no mind!" They thought Believers in Christ, a crucified Saviour, were actually crazy! Demented!

Here are some ancient epitaphs for those who died on crosses. "Food for birds of prey!" And "Grim pickings for dogs!"

So-called "decent" people in 1st century Rome would not even mention crucifixion, it being a taboo subject! Below their dignity to even discuss!

The Cross was literally a "scandal" to the Jews! The word Paul uses, "stumblingblock," is in Greek "skandalon," our very noun "scandal!"

To the Romans and Greeks the Cross was craziness, madness, some kind of mania!

One writer called crucifixion "the utmost indignity."

In Paul's day the Romans had perfected crucifixion, often killing 500 men or women a day on crosses! For days at a time too!

Only the most vile were crucified! Such people were to be publicly despised! Mocked and belittled!

The very thought of God, or the Son of God, being so treated was a paradox to the ancient mind!

At one point in Roman history, during a great slave uprising, six thousand cross were simultaneously erected on the Appian Way!

To study crucifixion one must turn to the literature of Rome. The cultured Greeks would not write about such a grotesque subject, not at all!

There is not one historical record, not even a hint, of King Herod crucifying anyone ... but Jesus!

The public display of a naked victim!

Uttermost humiliation!

Yet Jesus endured it all ... to save our wretched souls!

Oh, how we should love Him today!

                                                                               --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

We will never know what our Lord endured on Calvary ... to save sinners from Hell! May He be worshipped forever! Glory to His dear Name! What a Text on the Cross ... 1st Corinthians 1:18-31.

 

 

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