1 Corinthians 1:18-25 – “The Wisdom and Power of the Cross”

My sermon notes for Sunday morning, Oct.31.  Remember, these are my personal study notes and not a manuscript of the sermon. They are provided to help you follow the sermon as you listen each week. The church provides a live stream of the service each Sunday at 10:30 on Facebook at Tabernacle Facebook Page. We also provide the services through YouTube by Sunday afternoon at TAB YouTube.  You can also find our Worship Guides, Family Devotional Guides, Prayer List and other resources at our Church Website.

[18] For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. [19] For it is written,

	“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”

	[20] Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? [21] For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. [22] For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, [23] but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, [24] but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. [25] For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. (ESV)


  • The previous section closed with Paul reminding the church of the power behind his preaching… 1 Corinthians 1:17 – For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.
  • Verse 18 is the foundational verse of this section.  The message of the cross.
  • To some it is folly, and they are perishing.
  • To others it is the wisdom and power of God, and they are being saved

As we consider the text today… it is a great time to remember and reflect upon “Reformation Day”

  • 504 years ago on this very day in 1517, Martin Luther, a German Augustinian Monk, nailed the 95 Thesis or protests to the Church door of Wittenberg.
  • His desire was not to start a new church but challenge the current one of his day to consider the error of their ways… and trust more in the sufficiency of the Word.
  • (For further reading) https://pastorjonbeck.com/2020/10/31/reformation-day-and-the-five-solas/

The cross…What is it? What does it stand for?

  • The cross is a symbol of both death and life.
  • The cross is where God’s holiness and man’s sinfulness meet.
  • The cross is where we discover how desperate we are and the need we have for salvation.
  • The cross is where we see the love, mercy, grace, & forgiveness of God on display.
  • The cross is where Jesus gave His life so that we can have eternal life.

The cross affects everyone in one of two ways:

  • We either believe or not.
  • We either come to the cross on our terms or we come to the cross on God’s terms.
  • We are either perishing or being saved.

Some Are Perishing

To them the cross is foolishness

  • (moros – folly, absurd)

The folly of the perishing

  • They trust in worldly wisdom – v. 20
  • They trust in their own intellect – v. 21
  • They look for wisdom/hope/life in the wrong places – vv. 22-24
    • Jews – Signs.  Show me.
    • Greeks – Philosophy and reason
  • They think they have all the answers – v. 25a
    • The wisdom of God (His Word) is foolish
  • They think they can do all things – v. 25b
    • The need for God is foolish
    • They exalt self-fulfillment and needs
    • I can do it…I am somebody…I need this …I am complete.
    • ALL ARE SINNERS… not to them.  All they need is found within them.
      • Consider all the advertisements on media today.

Some Are Being Saved

The cross is the power to save and transform

  • They hear, believe, and trust in the preached Word – v. 21
    • They see who they are
      • A sinner… separated from a holy God
  • They see Christ for who He is – v. 23
    • Christ and Him Crucified
    • Savior and Lord
  • To the “called” the cross is power and wisdom – vv. 24-25
    • The idea that the Spirit of God has open our eyes, hearts, and minds.  We are able to see our need and the redemption that is found in Christ.
    • Our NEED and God’s SOLUTION

Colossians 2:6-15 – We are complete in Him

  • We are saved – vv. 11-12
  • We are forgiven – vv. 13-14
  • We are empowered – v. 15
Colossians 2:6–15

[6] Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, [7] rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.

[8] See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. [9] For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, [10] and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority. [11] In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, [12] having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. [13] And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, [14] by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. [15] He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him. (ESV)


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