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True Nobility

By Joe Boot/ January 21, 2018

Series  1 Corinthians: Life in the Power of the Spirit

Context  Westminster Chapel Toronto

Topic  Salvation

Scripture  1 Corinthians 1:18-2:5

Paul contrasts why one group of people sees the gospel as foolishness while another sees it as the power of God.

Sermon Notes:

  1. In this passage Paul instructs us in the nature of folly and the source of true wisdom.
  2. In the Bible, being a fool is not about being stupid or uneducated. It is a description of someone’s spiritual condition.
  3. Paul is contrasting why one group of people sees the gospel as foolishness and why some see it as the power of God.
  4. One’s spiritual condition affects their ability to embrace the truth of God, thus determining their response to the gospel.
  5. The Spirit of God must grip us by the Word of God in the core of our being. Many people read the Bible apart from the Spirit and fail to be gripped by its life and power.
  6. In light of the gospel of Christ the highest wisdom of man has been exposed as folly, and God has treated it as such (cf. Isaiah 29:14).
  7. Man’s thought has proved wholly insufficient to deal with the heart of the human problem. Much of what God has taught to unbelievers through general revelation is true and useful.  But man’s efforts to save himself by his own wisdom, planning, or moralism is completely hopeless.
  8. Paul uses ‘scholars’ and ‘scribes’ to reference the learned class among the Jews. These men were learned in Scripture, but they did not know God.
  9. Man has always sought an alternative path to God’s way of salvation; however, the autonomous thinking of man has been insufficient to know God’s salvation.
  10. In the wisdom of God, it is not possible for man to know truth by the unaided reach of his own mind.
  11. The gospel is made known by every Christian through their lives of gospel obedience and gospel witness.
  12. When the pressure is on us from an unbelieving world, it is easy to lose sight of the power of the gospel.
  13. When we declare the necessity of repentance and obedience in Christ, the world takes offense and responds with hostility.
  14. In man’s depravity and sin, he wants a god of his own construction. The closer the counterfeit, the more convincing it is, but because they deny Christ they are empty and false.
  15. Sartre expressed the hopelessness of man’s soul due to alienation from God. He asserted his freedom of choice as the source of freedom and salvation.
  16. If man is to be saved from himself, there must be some kind of wisdom and power able to save.  Where do we find it? Jews look for miraculous signs. Greeks sought philosophy and reason. Modern man looks to technology. Some envision an egalitarian utopian state where all conflicts melt away.
  17. All this is contrasted with the wisdom and power of God manifested in Christ crucified.
  18. True nobility is found in union with Christ, as all nations are brought near to God (John 12:32).
  19. True power and wisdom is found in Christ. He is our power, virtue, righteousness.

Application Questions:

  1. What gives the believer God’s nobility in the earth?
  2. Identify the world’s markers of wisdom.
  3. What makes one truly wise?
  4. Why do all human efforts to find salvation fail?
  5. How can we display God’s wisdom this week?