1 Corinthians 3:18-23 “Our Dependency on Christ”

My sermon notes for Sunday morning, Jan. 9th.  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.

1 Corinthians 3:18–23

[18] Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. [19] For the wisdom of this world is folly with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their craftiness,” [20] and again, “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.” [21] So let no one boast in men. For all things are yours, [22] whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, [23] and you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s. (ESV)


  • division in the church is because of lack of focus and direction
  • If the church has lost their way… we have lost our way
  • The believers within the church had lost their focus and direction
  • Do not depend on the wisdom of the world, but depend on Christ
  • Not on man or the ways of the world, BUT ON CHRIST

Do not believe the lies of the world – v. 18

Let no one deceive himself

  • Deception – a lie.  Not the whole truth
  • Deception starts in the mind

Our mind is crucial

  • Theologically, the mind is seen as the center for the power of reason, (The Westminster Dictionary of Theological Terms)
  • Thoughts produced by our brain (Holman treasury of key Bible words: 200 Greek and 200 Hebrew words defined and explained)
  • How we reason, think, and process the world around us.  OUR THINKING DICTATES OUR DOING

Colossians 2:8 – 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. (ESV)

Romans 8:5–6 – [5] For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. [6] For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. (ESV)

Romans 12:1–2 – [1] I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. [2] Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (ESV)

Philippians 2:5 – Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, (ESV)

We must get our thinking right

  • We DO need help
  • We CANNOT do life on our own

Think less of yourself – v. 18b

  • Become as a fool (think different from the world)
  • Become wise (divine thinking… the mind of Christ)

Keys to divine wisdom

  • Transform your mind with the Word of God
    • Read thoughtfully and devotionally
    • Not academically or legalistically
  • Transform your mind with communion with God by prayer and meditation
  • Set your mind on the things of God and not of the world

v. 18 is the exhortation… vv. 19-20 is the theological reason behind the exhortation.

Trust in the promises of God – vv. 19-20

Two Key thoughts

The message of the Cross is folly to the world (1:18)

  • Foolishness, makes no sense
  • The gospel
    • God, Man, Christ
    • Repentance and Faith
  • There is no absolute truth to the world
    • That is why we do not look to the world for truth
    • Ephesians 4:11–16 – [11] And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, [12] to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, [13] until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, [14] so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. [15] Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, [16] from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. (ESV)

The way of the world is futile to God

  • Empty, useless

Embrace the gifts of your salvation– vv. 21-23

The theology of vv. 19-20 leads to the doxology of vv. 21-23

  • Sound doctrine always leads to praise to the creator!

Do not boast in man

  • What they have is folly and futile

All things are yours

  • the benefits of redemptions