God uses normal dudes and dudettes, average Joes, average people, so that when an amazing thing happens through that life, you go, it's the Lord. It's the Lord. God doesn't think like the world.
His thoughts and ways are above our own. Today on Connect with Skip Heitzig, Skip shares incredible insight with you about the wisdom of God. What opportunity do you have to take your knowledge of God's Word even deeper? Personal or small group Bible study is a great way to learn God's Word. But what if you want to learn more?
Go deeper. Calvary College offers classes in biblical studies, classes like Old Testament survey. Immerse yourself in the entire Old Testament from Genesis to Malachi. Take the evening classes on campus or anytime classes online. An education from Calvary College will impact your spiritual life for the rest of your life.
Apply now at calvarychurchcollege.com. Now, we're in 1 Corinthians chapter 1 as we join Skip Heitzig for today's message. And so the Greeks would look at the universe. They looked at life on earth in the biosphere. They looked at the heavens, what they could see of it. And they noticed that there were patterns of life that existed every day.
There were four seasons, that the day was so many hours long, etc. They saw that there was a predictable pattern. And they sought to come up with an answer, a reason for this predictable pattern. And they called that reason the logos, the word, the message. So it's interesting that Paul says for the logos or the message of the cross, the real explanation of salvation through Christ and the meaning of life based on that is foolishness to them. And this is why John begins his book, the Gospel of John. In the beginning was the logos, the word. And the word was with God and the word was God. He was in the beginning with God.
Nothing was made that he didn't make. He begins with the mindset of the Greek way of thinking. Well, Paul asks, where is the wise? And in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God.
And he's going to tell you why it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believed. For the Jews request a sign, but the Greeks seek after Sophia, wisdom. The Jews did demand a sign.
When Jesus was doing his ministry, when he was up in Galilee, up in Capernaum, where he headquartered his ministry for three and a half years. The Jewish leaders came to him one day and they said, Rabbi, we want you to show us a sign that we may believe. They just came right out and say it. We seek a sign. We want to believe, but we need you to prove that you're the Messiah. Now here's why. They believed the Messiah was coming, but the Messiah they believed in was a conquering Messiah, a conquering hero.
Why? Because their Old Testament predicted that in the Messianic era, the earth would be made new. There would be longevity, that the animal kingdom would be tamed, et cetera, et cetera. Just an entire kingdom age is predicted. But the Old Testament also predicted a suffering aspect to the Messiah. Isaiah 53, Psalm 22.
And so what happened? One of two things happened. As Judaism came into being in the New Testament, there was a school of thought in Judaism that either spiritualized the suffering aspect of the Messiah. Isaiah 53, Psalm 22, said it must refer to Israel, not to the Messiah, not to a person. But there was another school of thought that believed that there would not be one but two Messiahs. There would be a suffering Messiah, but then there would be a glorious Messiah.
And so there was a division in Jewish thinking at the time of the New Testament in Judaism as to which this was. So we, who are New Testament believers, we believe that Jesus will fulfill both in two comings. He came once to deal with sin. He'll come again to rule and reign with those who have been saved and forgiven of sin. That's how we see it.
We get that picture. But the Jews of Jesus' time were expecting a conquering Messiah, so they wanted a sign. Show us a sign. If you're the Messiah, if you're the guy, show us a sign. And it's interesting that Jesus said, a wicked and an adulterous generation seeks after a sign. No sign will be given except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was in the belly of the whale three days and three nights, the Son of Man will be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights.
That's your sign. Death, burial, and resurrection. Of course, they didn't understand that at the time. The Jews request a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified. To the Jews, a stumbling block. Stumbling block is because they expect a conquering Messiah, a king who will set up a kingdom, who will overthrow the yoke of Rome and let the Jews be predominant and preeminent in the world. And to the Greeks, foolishness. The idea that you would follow a god who came down to die for people, the Greek ideology of the gods is that they were capricious, powerful through tantrums, followed the same lust as humans do, and you had to appease them. So the idea that God would humble himself and become a person and die for humans was foolishness.
They didn't get it. No wisdom to them in that at all. But to those who 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 you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble are called. We're getting into what I call my life verse. I get asked, what is your life verse? I always have difficulty with that one because I base my life on all of the verses or many of them, not one of them.
But this comes pretty close. I remember when I first discovered this section, it was so freeing to me. First of all, it says, look around, brethren, you see your calling, brethren, not many wise, not many mighty, not many noble after the flesh are called. And it's true, the majority of the people who were saved in Corinth, the Christians of Corinth, were probably either slaves or what they called freedmen, former slaves who had been made free.
They were not high-born people, they were not of the Roman nobility. So you see your calling, you can look around your church in Corinth, brethren, not many mighty, not many wise, not many noble are called. And we look around. Now some of you are really super smart and advanced, I get all that, but then there's the rest of us. We're just simple people. And I think if you look throughout church history, you find there are exceptions to the rule. There are some noble, some mighty, some really brilliant people.
I've known a few. Paul the Apostle certainly was of that ilk. But for the most part, people that get saved are plain old Joes, people like us. Look at the disciples, fishermen, blue-collar fishermen, a tax collector, despised tax collector, a Jewish zealot, a Galilean Hicks for the most part, the kind that the people in Jerusalem put their nose up at and regarded them as lowbrow, looked down on.
So you see your calling, brethren, and that's what you see. But verse 27, God, and here's the verse that I often cling to, God has chosen or made a deliberate choice. God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise. God's ways are so counterintuitive.
They defy, they contradict normal human wisdom. And that shouldn't surprise you, for God said through the prophet Isaiah, Isaiah chapter 55, my thoughts are not your thoughts, says the Lord, nor are my ways your ways. When God, the Father, had His Son born into the world, He didn't have Him born in Rome, but Bethlehem. Bethlehem, that's like a little hick town in Judah.
Shepherds hang out there, farmers hang out there. Bethlehem, yeah, He had Him born in Bethlehem and then raised in Nazareth. Nazareth had his own reputation. One of the disciples later on will say, can any good thing at all come out of Nazareth?
Nazareth, Bethlehem, Nazareth, not Rome, not Athens. See, God is so often contrary to human wisdom, and yet it's the wisdom of God. Why does God do this? Why does God choose normal people?
Not noble, not mighty, not super brilliant. Again, I'm not saying there aren't exceptions to this, but the general rule, and I hope you don't feel depreciated or deprecated by that. I place myself along with that.
Maybe you are all the exception and I'm the rule, I don't know, but here's why. Well, let's read it. You'll find out.
I don't know why I'm explaining so much, but the text will tell you. Verse 28, the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not to bring nothing to nothing the things that are, here it is, here's the reason, that no flesh should glory in His presence. That's why, that nobody can brag. You see, if God only picked mighty and noble and brilliant and awesome and wow people all the time, then when those people get used by God, some of us would look at them and go, well, no wonder God used them, they're so brilliant, they're so articulate, they're so knowledgeable, they're so amazing and awesome, but God doesn't do that. God does His work so that when you see His work you go, huh, I don't quite get it, but it must be the Lord.
Right? It's like after the resurrection when Jesus appeared on the shores of Galilee and they let out their nets and the nets were so full that they were breaking and they figured out, that's got to be the guy on shore that just gave us the command to put our nets down, that must be Jesus. And Peter looked up and said, it's the Lord.
Why did he say that? Because the nets were breaking and the only guy that told them to do that earlier, a few years before that, to fish on one side of the boat and the nets almost broke was Jesus. So it happened again. It's the Lord. And so God uses normal dudes and dudettes, average Joes, average people, so that when an amazing thing happens through that life you go, it's the Lord. It's the Lord. And He gets the glory, otherwise you go, that person is amazing, that person is awesome. And so God will often bypass certain individuals, especially those who think they're so awesome and great and brilliant and noble and intelligent and go, why didn't God use me?
Well, because you need to get a good grip on who you really are. God has chosen the foolish things of this world, the base things, the things which are not, to put to shame those things that are. You know, we just read it, right? We were in 1 Samuel 16. We saw how Samuel went to the house of Jesse to find the next king after Saul had sinned. And he looked at Eliab, the oldest, and he was so tall. And he thought in his mind, man, that's king material. Tall, good-looking, amazingly strong, that he's so Schwarzenegger-esque.
That's the guy. And the Lord had to say, don't look at his appearance or the height of his stature, for I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart. So God takes humble, broken, simple hearts, and He uses us that no flesh should glory in His presence. What Paul does here is he opens up God's toolbox and says, okay, look in God's toolbox.
Church, what do you see? Foolish things, weak things, despised things, base things. Take your pick.
Which one are you? See, so we can never say, well, I don't have much to give to God. I really can't do much for the kingdom.
Oh, I beg to differ. There was a little boy who came to Jesus with a few fish and a couple loaves, and Jesus fed thousands of people with the little bit that he had. It was battered and scarred, and the auctioneer thought it hardly worth his while to waste much time on the old violin, so he held it up with a smile. What am I bidding, good folks?
He cried. Who will start the bidding for me? A dollar. A dollar? Two. Only two? Two dollars.
Who will make it three? Three dollars once, three dollars twice. But no, from the room far back, a gray-haired man stepped forward and picked up the bow. And wiping the dust from the old violin, tightening up the loose strings, he played a melody pure and sweet, as sweet as the angels sing. When the music ceased, the auctioneer, in a voice that was quiet and low, said, now what am I bid for the old violin as he held it up with the bow? A thousand dollars. Two thousand. Two thousand.
Who will make it three? Three thousand once, three thousand twice. Going and gone said he. And the people cheered, but some of them said, we do not quite understand what changed its worth.
Swift came to reply, the touch of the master's hand. And many a man with his life out of tune, battered and scarred by sin, are auctioned cheap to the thoughtless crowd, much like the old violin. A mess of pottage, a glass of wine, a song, and he travels on. He's going once.
He's going twice. He's going and he's almost gone, but the master comes. And the thoughtless crowd can never quite understand the worth of a soul and the change that is wrought by the touch of the master's hand. That's you and I, the old violin beat up.
Somebody tries to play a tune. The master comes, tunes that baby out, plays his song through you. And he loves to do it. He loves to restore. Instead of getting the new latest model, God likes vintage. He takes the beaten, battered model and says, I can work with that and work wonders with that. And I've got to tell you, there's something about a vintage.
You take a 1957 Chevy, restore that baby, take that over any new Chevrolet, anything modern, cool, Apple Play, whatever. There's just something about that. There's no flesh but glory in His presence. But of Him, you are in Christ, Jesus, who became for us the wisdom from God and righteousness and sanctification and redemption.
Jesus Christ, God's wisdom, that one sacrifice, did it all. That as it is written, He who glories, let him glory in the Lord. That's one of my favorite texts that he is referencing in Jeremiah chapter 9. It says, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, or the mighty man glory in his might, but let him that glories glory in this, that he knows and understands me, says the Lord.
So he is quoting that. Let him that glory glory in the Lord. Now, again, I just want to tie a few thoughts together. He's talking about unity, right, in the church. You're dividing.
You're saying, I'm of this guy and I'm of that guy. So one of the reasons to be unified is because people are perishing. Another reason to be unified is because all of us, including the earthly leaders that you are rallying against, are foolish things, are frail sinners who are redeemed.
So follow Christ instead of those individuals. Chapter 2, verse 1. And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom, declaring to you the testimony of God. Paul came to Corinth after he was in the city of Athens. And when Paul came to Corinth, he came with a very basic, simple message. He came with the gospel. Now, typically, when people would go to cities like Corinth or Athens, any of the Greek enclaves, speakers would come, and typically in Greek thinking, they were called sophists.
Sophists were wisdom tellers, and the sophist would come with a carefully spun story or very clever and articulate ways of talking to attract a crowd to gain a following. Paul said, when I came to you, I deliberately did not do that. I came with a very straightforward, simple gospel message. Just to refresh your memory, in Acts 18, when he comes to Corinth, he goes to the synagogue, and he shares the gospel in the synagogue. He convinces some of the Jews and many of the non-Jews to believe.
It creates a stir, so he goes into a house next to the synagogue, because he is kicked out of the synagogue, and he begins teaching there. It was pretty straightforward gospel stuff. Not that Paul couldn't speak in high terms.
Remember I said that there's not many mighty, not many wise, not many noble. Paul was an exception. He was pretty wise, and Paul could do philosophy with the best of them. Keep in mind, Paul was in Athens in Acts 17, and he stood on the Areopagus, Mars Hill, and there were the Athenian philosophers who were gathered around him, and it says that the men of Athens and the visitors came either to hear or to tell of some new thing.
And so Paul stood up, and he said, you know, I go around the city, and I notice you're a religious group. You even have a statue to the unknown God, and so he starts using some in their culture, a philosophy of their culture, a religious icon, and begins to point to the one true God that they don't know. But then he starts quoting secular philosophers in his message.
For in him we live and move and have our being. That's a direct quote from Epimedes, who was a Cretan philosopher. And then he says, for we also are his offspring, another quote from a different philosopher, Aretas of Soli. So he pulls from the philosophical world, so he was very able to do that, but for the most part, usually, and in Corinth especially, he didn't come with excellence of speech.
He didn't come quoting the philosophers. He just declared, as it says, the blunt, simple testimony of God. For, verse 2, I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. The uncluttered message of the cross. That's Skip Heitig, with a message from the series Expound 1 Corinthians. Right now, we want to tell you about a resource that will help you unlock the riches and mysteries in God's Word. Guinness World Records has again confirmed that the Bible is the best-selling book of all time.
Research puts the number at up to 7 billion, and portions of Scripture have been translated into nearly 3,500 different languages. But there's a big difference between having access to God's Word and allowing it to change your life. Listen to this about practical Bible study from Skip Heitig. Observation must lead to interpretation, which must lead to application. As somebody once put it, if you want the meat, it's in the street. It's where you take the Bible truths and you put shoe leather on them.
It's where the rubber meets the road. You do what Jesus said. We want to increase the effectiveness of your personal Bible study with Skip Heitig's book, and we want you to study the Bible and enjoy it. This practical guide is our way of thanking you when you give $25 or more to help keep this Bible teaching ministry on the air. Get your copy today and take the mystery out of studying Scripture.
Call 800-922-1888 or give online securely at connectwithskip.com slash offer. Come back tomorrow as Skip Heitig shares how God's wisdom illuminates your life. He's talking about the wisdom of God in sending Jesus Christ for the sin of mankind. That's the wisdom of God. That's the power of God, and God has prepared salvation. Maybe that does include future glory, but that's not the context of that. . Connect with Skip Heitig is a presentation of Connection Communications, connecting you to God's never-changing truth in ever-changing times.
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