Saturday, 25 January 2014

Foolishness or Power? 1 Cor 1:10-18

1 Cor 1:10=19 The power of God.

v18 says “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”
Paul is dealing with Corinthians self congratulation. They do Power and Spectacular. Their services have Tongues, Prophecy, Hundreds of People, A Party! But its all getting a bit Competitive. Who’s being most
right. Pick your teacher. Its probably not just personalities but selective priorities or teachings. Is Paul more happy clappy? Is Apollos more intellectual? Is Peter more Catholic? Is Christ more Gnostic? Come! Join the
biggest and best. Its spiritual Consumerism. Ring any bells with our churches?
How much is church about what I get out of it?
We are brought up with choices. We educate our children to make wise choices. Decide what you want.
List your priorities and goals. Do the research. Look for the right product at the right price. Consider delivery charges, credit options, aftercare provision. Look at the reviews for product and company. Check on ebay. (Buy it from Amazon in the end of course!). It’s sensible. But it is a tyranny. It depends on being rich enough to have those choices. When people are excluded from this they are sometimes driven into the hands of the pay day loan companies, into debt, into despair because society says that being human means making these choices..
How much are we dictated to by what society says is wise?
Another way: Pilgrimage. Pilgrimage breaks with the tyranny of choices. Seize the blessing of the day. God has provided can I accept it? To this is to make yourself intentionally weak. To let go of control. To reject multiple choices. To trust in God. To be foolish. You could come to a sticky end. If I were brave enough I would have undertaken my Pilgrimage without booking anything maybe God will provide a safe place to camp in the middle of Glasgow? But I’m not. So I’ll miss the excitement. That’s my loss. Am I wise or foolish? Jesus walked where the Father told him to go and look what happened to him. it was foolish perhaps? Yet he was not foolhardy. He hid. He bound people to silence. He waited until the times were right in the Father’s plan.
Are we being wise or foolish in our planning?
Offensive gospel. “The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing” but only because they do not know that they are perishing. It seems foolish to leave the deck of the unsinkable Titanic for a half  swamped, overcrowded, tossing, miniscule lifeboat. Unless you’ve seen how the film ends. What is the “message of the cross?”
a) Grace, Jesus died for me in a cosmic act that defeated death itself for us all. Corinth got this.
b) Self-sacrifice, Jesus left us an instruction and an example. “Love one another as I have loved you” How much? “This much” says the cross. As for as I can reach. Now we have to love like that. Corinth didn’t get this.
Do we “get” this message of self-sacrifice?
Who are you sacrificing yourself for?
Is it Wisdom or Foolishness?
A new way of thinking is required and enabled by the cross.
A response and change is required and enabled by the cross.
Metanoia (Repentance)  is not just about turning away from the old ways its going forward, empowered, in the new. Self sacrifice not self preservation is the way of love, the way of power.
Are you wanting to walk in power? Then embrace God’s wisdom however foolish it seems.

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