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Not Many Wise

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice
The Truth Network Radio
July 15, 2021 8:00 am

Not Many Wise

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice

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July 15, 2021 8:00 am

A church struggles to come to terms with what it means to serve the Lord. But it's not easy. All around are greedy and debauched people. Inevitably some of sinfulness has begun to infiltrate the church. Sound familiar? This scenario is not just our own; the early church of Corinth faced many of the same problems! Dr. Boice's study of 1 Corinthians reveals a striking similarity between own battles and the struggles the early church--today on The Bible Study Hour

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Welcome to the Bible study our radio and Internet Ministry of the alliance of confessing Evangelicals featuring the Bible teaching of Dr. James Boyce for more information please contact us by calling toll-free one 804 88 18 and now the alliance is pleased to present the Bible study our preparing you to think and act biblically deletes a Galway began a study of first Corinthians, looking in an introductory way of Paul's own introduction which, for the purpose of our treatment occupies the first 17 versus become tonight to verse 18 of chapter 1 and to the beginning of what is Paul's first major treatment of the theme in the book theme of foolishness, wisdom, the wisdom of God contrasted with the foolishness of man and it's a major section because Paul deals with that, not only of the remainder of chapter 1, but throughout chapter 2 and it's not until chapter 3 that he gets back to that matter all the divisions among the church at Corinth that he mentioned in the introduction is an interesting connection between the introduction and particularly between the verse with which it ends.

Verse 17 and this new section on the wisdom and power of God, and in particular verse 18, with which it begins, also evident in the new international version of the translation I'm using, but it is evident in the Greek language should Paul was using in verse 17 Paul speaks of the words of human wisdom is plural, and the Greek word for that is the word logo loss in the plural form logo. I words of human wisdom. Christ didn't send them to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with words of human wisdom at which stick in the minds of his readers because that word logo is a powerful word all every great's ears would pick up at that any finishes that person begins verse 18 for the message of the cross. And although our new international version says message. At that point, the word is actually the same word, namely the word word here is in the singular. What Paul is saying is, God did not send me with all of the different competing various words of human wisdom or philosophy, but with that single word, that word of the gospel which is he goes on to show is the power of God under salvation to anyone who believes I contrast that somebody's going to do here. I give you an outline for it in advance.

Let me say that these verses through verse five of chapter 2 were looking at night have four sections.

First of all, Paul shows the failure of human wisdom versus 18 to 22nd shows the power of God's foolishness versus 21 to 2530 shows God's choice of the foolish and the weekend the nobodies to confound the wise versus 26 through 31, and finally he shows the implication of all of this theology for the preaching of the gospel which takes up the first five verses of chapter 2 so it's in terms of those outline those points in the outline that I like to look at this first point that he makes is really very significant. Namely, the failure of human wisdom and was particularly appropriate in writing to a Greek Church of the Greek environment because of there's anything the Greeks prided themselves on it was wisdom applies to other cultures as well certainly the Jews had their measure of wisdom and we want to talk about that and Romans in our culture and all the other cultures that have ever existed.

But it was a particularly apt word to the Greeks, they boasted in their philosophy.

What Paul is showing here is that God has simply undermined destroyed brought to nothing of this vaunted wisdom of the world in order by the simplicity of the gospel which is sophisticated of that day in our day and every day call foolishness. God might actually save in a powerful way. People the glory of his name.

I don't think we have to go very far to show how foolish the foolishness of the world is all the world calls wisdom world has its philosophies and science careful investigations.

The foolishness of all these things are shown in their inability to produce the kind of results that people hope and earnestly expect to produce some time ago someone said someone who was boasting a great deal about how smart they were and if you're so smart way to rich. I'm not sure that's a perfect retort because there could be a kind of wisdom which would be directed in other ways, but it makes a very valuable point to be some kind of connection between wisdom and results is an important point.

There is wisdom and results is the same thing is talking about information you have all kinds of information.

A computer can store a lot of information.

Wisdom is a step beyond that wisdom is not which says from all of this information that I gathered all of these facts that I'm putting together. I'm able to put together a consistent picture I'm able to see what's important and what isn't important on the basis of what I understand to be important project.

What ought to be done. Wisdom is what wisdom is that there ought to be a connection between wisdom and results of your so smart not to produce something further down the road.

Here is precisely the point which the wisdom which is actually the foolishness of the world is found wanting. Doesn't make any difference what particular area you move in. I suppose in recent generations. A great deal of hope was put in the field of psychology and psychiatry, at least.

Ever since Sigmund Freud and through our great schools of psychology in the training often practice of psychologists and psychiatrists their discipline.

We have given ourselves the idea that we've been able to gather data data and understand how people function because we understand how they function why they do what they do. What kind of problems I have. We therefore know how to deal with them and solve these great psychological problems that all people seem to have yet the obvious fact that anybody looks around at our culture that in spite of the supposed wisdom.

We have more psychological misfits today we have more intense problems.

We have more unresolved anxieties and we ever had in our history.

You're so smart, why ain't you rich.

Your psychology is the wisdom that supposed to solve all things why R&R problem being sold again you take the field of sociology study of how people function, not as individuals but how they function in relationship to one another in homogeneous groupings. People I suppose in many of our schools today have shifted away from psychology to sociology seems to be very popular. Discipline the day. I suppose were very logical reasons. One thing sociology does deal with relationships and things and movements and housing all that thing that we Konica get a handle on it so hard that get a handle what's happening in your head but these are things we can deal with a little bit better we think. Besides, we can subject all kinds of sociological phenomena to our analysis gather data project some things and get our social problems are being solved anything there worse today than ever. This Matrox as Paul says that God is bringing to nothing.

The wisdom of the world.

I will destroy the wisdom of the wise and the intelligent of the intelligent. I will frustrate.

I suppose there's no greater example than of the folly of this world and its profession of wisdom than in the great hope that does put great trust is put in the theory of evolution.

I mentioned evolution. I don't want to deny and certainly at the outset I want to say that there may well be certain evolutionary relationships between things that do not in any way contradict the essence of Christianity or creation or any of those things I think it's a complex issue. We can gather all the data we can we can find relationships between them. That's all for the good. What is really foolish about evolution, even in its supposed wisdom is the inevitable attempt to make what has to be called on to be honest, religion, which is essentially a theory about how things came to be because we try to explain it in that way. Elevate evolution when explanation of things in evolution can't possibly explain great example of that recent years has been this book and the television series by Carl Sagan called cosmos. First on television in 1980 was broadcast again in 1981. Many people watch that it was even required viewing and many of the public schools of our lab. This is a presentation of evolutionary theory and as such that's all it is is nothing to be objected by that certainly people who believe in that you be able to present Sagan's done it done it well. Sagan is done is make evolution more than he could possibly be used as an explanation of all things, and here's where the folly comes. Then Carl Sagan said in that series. The cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be. Notice as is will be using biblical language be saying instead of God the same yesterday today and forever. The Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end the one who is wise and is to come universe is all takes God's place is the universe that made us. Sagan says we are creatures of the cosmos. That's religious language, or again even finds moral significance and moral obligation in the fact that we're so created our obligation. He says to survive and flourish is owed not just to ourselves but also to that cosmos, ancient and vast, from which we spread.

I maintain that utter foolishness great errors here in Sagan's approach to things. Let me suggest a few of the first is the error of supposing that all this is what I see I can't see anything spiritual. All I can say our planets in Adamson relationships between those things that I say that's all that is.

That's all I can imagine that's what Sagan is talking about. That's utter foolishness because at the beginning of the most unscientific way, it excludes the existence of the possibility of the existence of a God stands over and beyond the creation mother error is the supposition that the impersonal, which the universe. The cosmos obviously is can somehow create the personal notice.

The personal language here, the universe made us now. Usually when you think of making something you think you been tension.

My purpose all of those things somehow.

Now all of this is given to an impersonal something the impersonal, something the universe somehow has personality in order to make us but of course that's not what Sagan is saying he sang it all happened by chance. We simply ball, but we are persons we have purpose, always saying that all of this came about. Somehow in an impersonal way from that which is impersonal. I maintain that perhaps the greatest of all foolishness does to suppose that somehow the night kind of a close, materialistic system, excluding God, moral purpose and moral obligation can come about if I am the accident of the universe.

I know I owe anybody anything. I don't want to answer about anything, answerable to an impersonal universe. It just happened that way. And yes they can Live with that kind of universe and so the projects moral values into it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, the intelligence of the intelligent. I will frustrate me say that if there were no other reason for believing what Paul says God is indeed done that we have a great fact of the cross of Jesus Christ Jesus in Christian theology was gone. So here is a case of man killing God when God places himself within the power of man, but look even if you exclude the divinity of Christ.

Jesus was nevertheless widely acknowledged judgment of the majority of men and women on the face of the planet most perfect man whoever lived yet.

What was the response of human beings to them they killed him. Where's the folly of the so-called wisdom of the world more clearly see that crucifixion.

The second section of Paul's treatment of wisdom and folly here is the power of what the world would call the foolishness of God. Later on, Paul is going to show that's not all foolish, matter-of-fact, deep wisdom. Wisdom even beyond the apostle Paul because her things about it that he doesn't fully understanding says so elsewhere less. This gospel, this cross which is the burden of his message, which is the burden of this book is in the eyes of the world. Utterly foolish, all you can talk about philosophy. What a great deal about it begin to talk about how men think and how women react in all of those things and the world will say all I what a wise man.

That person is when a wise woman to be talking that way to know all about you talk about sociology and evolution of various aspects of today's modern science and people say all my what a brilliant person were dealing with talk about God so loved the world that he sent his son Jesus Christ to die in order that whoever believes on him might not perish but have everlasting life, and what is the world's that were outside foolish in my life and yet that's the gospel that's the power of God. That's what changes lives and that's a series of common go urine University. You know, per greatly well that today's theory about psychology or sociology or science or mathematics. When everybody is very quickly superseded by another theory. One reason courses that the old theories don't work social theory to replace them. But you know perfectly well how passing all of that is in here is the gospel which endures which is based in the very nature of God, it was reality itself, which changes lives in the world says all all that is foolishness. Paul has wonderful way of focusing the foolishness of the gospel in the cross because as he says quite clearly it's the cross. That's the offense, and talk in a general way about God loving us and people aren't offended by that because after all, why not. I'm a nice person.

Why shouldn't God love me courses should you can perhaps even talk about the death of an innocent man. Jesus if you're talking about it as an example, perhaps patient endurance of suffering. The stoical attitude in the midst of the difficulties of this world and people will say that there's a certain measure of wisdom and that it's always good to keep a stiff upper lip. When things go wrong at these is certainly an example talk about the cross. The cross where God in the person of his son made man for our salvation and glad I was ridiculed and made fact the center of your religion, suffering, dying, ridiculed, despised Savior broken in body copy would I want that. Yet you see that's the power of the gospel. We even lose some of that today. In Paul's day, the cross was the symbol of utter shame, anything quite like it. Not even the gallows of the gas chamber is quite like that. Cicero said something about the cross. Once explaining how horrible it was when a picture of repulsion it brought in everybody's mind. He said the cross well.

It speaks of that which is so shameful, so horrible it should never be mentioned in polite society. Try to find a parallel of that today because in our polite society we let it all hang out limited everything is make any difference how bad it is.

We talk about what could possibly make that could be so horrible that you don't talk about it in polite society today. Yet Cicero says that's what the cross was like nobody wanted to think about.

It certainly didn't want to say anything like that again.

Paul says not glory in the cross.

The cross train. Why, because he says it is the power and that's where the answers are found in the wisdom lies. Then he said something else. This is the third section, Paul says when he begins to think about how God works is only the goddess demonstrated his wisdom at the cross and what Jesus Christ achieved their God also demonstrates his wisdom by choosing to come to Christ.

The foolish things and foolish people of this world, but the wise Paulette and interesting experiences. He traveled around the Roman world. He was a very personal man. As you know it was a home three cultures he had been raised as a Jew, and what we call Turkey. Essentially, a great environment, but in a Jewish home and he was a citizen of the Roman Empire because of his parentage. His father was a citizen so he lived in the Greek environment and he knew the Greeks truly lived in the Jewish environment knew the Jews of the new Roman environment which he also lived in everywhere he went he preached the gospel and he discovered as he went about preaching the gospel that there was a difficulty where each one of these distinct cultures was concerned when Paul went to the Romans always going to a people that prided themselves above all else on their strength. Romans work particularly boastful about their wisdom they left that to the Greeks in their religion they knew that was kind of the base.

They might even be that the Jews all they were proud of their army because their army was the salvation as they sought of the then known world, their army and brought peace to the Empire there. Maybe it destroyed the Pirates on the see their army and built the roads their army maintain order throughout all the vast extent of the Roman Empire. When Paul came to the Romans, preaching Jesus Christ and him crucified. Romans think they said crucified a Jewish preacher hanging on the cross. Why, if there was ever a picture of utter weakness is we stand for strength to be strong get on in this world you need money armies and guidance. Why crucified Savior 100 fully. So Paul had that problem. When Paul came to the Jews. He found something else. The Jews were very religious people. They had a long history in their history concerned. Great miracles done by God, mighty works.

Paul came in he preached Christ for the Jews and what is he said he said when the Jews hear the preaching what the Jews demand is a sign like done that way just isn't significant enough. They want God to come down on Mount Sinai again.

They want the waters of the Red Sea, to be divided. They want the walls of Jericho Depaul and here is Jesus only did miracles stroke God raised him from the dead. That's also true, but you see the offense of Jesus, and he was a man. He walked around the acted normally sat down and then he went to sleep.

When he got tired as he walked the dusty roads of Palestine Jews wrinkled up their nose that they sent that's not what we want.

That's foolishness.

The follow Messiah like that. Then Paul went to the Greeks of the Greeks. As I said earlier were very proud of their wisdom. Greeks really were the sophisticated people in the true sense of that word does who indulge love and cherish sophistry's soft loss, the wisdom of this world, even in the time of the Roman Empire. When the Romans were in power when they wanted their children to be taught. I got a Greeks life to teach them. 9/10. The tutors and the good homes of the Roman world. The Greeks because the Greeks were considered to be wise and Paul into the Greek city preach Christ crucified and raised from the dad what happened when he did that in Athens they laughed at him that in the resurrection.

You must be lazy being so stupid is that not salvation of the mind that makes sense. Talk about rising above all of the physical that makes sense resurrection crucified Christ. You must be out of your mind. And that's exactly what they said they said he was great. So what appalled Depaul say well we better do careful market survey here on the people that I'm trying to raise because it's perfectly evident in the way I'm talking to the Romans and the way I'm talking to the Jews in the way I'm talking to the Greeks just isn't getting throw what is it that the Romans value.

They value strength. But let's talk about how strong you can be.

Let's have Kristin exercise classes to get you ready for the Army. That said, do that and then after we establish a point of contact will begin to talk about the other things that are quite so popular in the Roman mind and when we deal with Joe's obvious that we can get very far talking about Jesus as he walked around the dusty roads of Palestine. Let's find a let's emphasize how about the transformation upon the mount there. You know, when Moses came down he was glorified before let's build that up. Let's put that on television program with particular thing. Then we got the book that we could talk about something else in these Greeks. All they pride themselves in wisdom. Let's go back and read all their literature. Let's do everything we can to show that Jesus was really a philosopher misunderstood is a Jewish itinerant evangelist lesson.

Think of Jesus being the Messiah are the son of God, or anything like that. What he really was, was a wise man, a philosopher forehead of his time perfectly well. Paul didn't do that when he preached the Romans he preached Christ crucified in weakness but the power of God when he preached the Josie preach Christ to came not as a sign, but the guy give his life a ransom for many in the power of God when he preached the Greeks.

He didn't preach Christ the wisdom of man but Christ the simple gospel, the simple Savior who died in order that we might be saved and that was the power of God to the Greeks as well as to the Jews in as well as to the Romans. That of course brings me to the final point that he develops in the first verses of chapter 2 the implications of this for the preaching of the gospel because you see Paul understanding that the power of God was to be found not in the power of man are the wisdom of man, but in the simple gospel and the preaching of the cross made it his great determination to preach the cross so he says quite clearly that when he came to Corinth, the Greek city refounded again by the Romans, and therefore Roman city as well. He did not come with Greek eloquence or superior wisdom is a great philosopher may have done, but rather as one who proclaimed the simple testimony from God, namely Jesus Christ and him crucified. And, moreover, says Paul. When I came I did not come in power by government might've gone might come as a conquering general I didn't enter Corinth is Julius Caesar, always. As I came in weakness and fear and in much trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but they were with the demonstration of the Spirit's power because I preached Christ. You see, it's the same thing today. I suppose there's a place, although we have to be very careful in our culture for establishing some kind of contact with the way people are thinking and certainly we have the tools of technology available to us and if we have radiologists nice to be able to use that printing so we can produce books and television television programs, nothing Scripture says you can't do that we have to remember you say that the power of God is not in the technology power of God is not in how persuasive we can be power of God is not in how wise we can be so we can look up to our preachers and cite all their smarter than the people in the universities. It's not that power of God is the simple gospel that Jesus is the son of God.

He died for you gospel.

That's why you see I can take a person who is a very humble ability to make a person whose daughters is he speaks as I often do when I'm tired somebody you as we would cite nine of the gifts of ever getting by in the world is faithful to the gospel and he shares that he preaches. It God operates in power throughout gospel and God changes lives. What psychology can't know what sociology can't go and what scientific theories can't do gone through the power of the gospel does a great set. He takes this fact in this factor the spike of your experience, all churning around in your mind and chosen it as meaning at the cross of Christ because there you find yourself to be a sinner, one who can save yourself you find God to be a God of love who is the Savior of sinners just like you and you find the power of Jesus to reach down and even change your own values hardened sinful mind and humble you and make you into the kind of person who is a replica of God's own son Jesus Christ, and that what it's all about isn't that the wisdom of God. What makes better sense than that though we do not know him. Somewhere there is a God and that God is made us, and even though we have ruined ourselves by our sin that God loves us and has not given up and that God who created us in his image is working through the cross. The death of his son to restore that image in you and make you one who was going to live with him for all eternity. You don't find that in cosmos, but you find it in the word of God is pray our father, we confess our ignorance of many things, but we thank you by your grace you have given us knowledge of this great fact of the gospel which no foolish in the eyes of those who are perishing is that ultimate wisdom wall, who come to Christ and you are listening to Bible study hour with the Bible teaching of Dr. James Boyce listener supported ministry of the alliance of confessing Evangelicals. The alliance exists to promote a biblical understanding and worldview. Drawing upon the insight and wisdom of reformed theologians from decades and even centuries gone by. We seek to provide Christian teaching that will equip believers to understand and meet the challenges and opportunities of our time and place. Alliance broadcasting includes the Bible study hour with Dr. James Boyce every last word with Bible teacher, Dr. Philip Aiken, God's living word with pastor, the Rev. Richard Phillips and Dr. Barnhouse in the Bible featuring Donald Barnhouse. For more information on the alliance including a free introductory package for first-time callers or to make a contribution. Please call toll-free 1-800-488-1888.

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