Following Jesus might feel foolish in our current culture. We might believe it is wiser to follow the latest scientist, psychologist, or life-hack guru. But as we start a new year, we will see that the so-called foolishness of Christianity is really the true wisdom of God. And the so-called wisdom of the world is really foolishness.
That’s the message that Apostle Paul taught his church in Corinth in the First Century. The Corinthians, who were new to Christianity, struggled to believe that Jesus, his cross, and his message were truly superior to Greek philosophy and Roman advancement. So, Paul showed that the wisdom of God actually led to a life of love, peace, and unity in the Church that would spread throughout the community.
In this series, we will challenge the so-called wisdom of the world and rededicate ourselves to the wisdom of God found in the person, work, and message of Jesus. This study of the book of 1 Corinthians speaks to the wisdom and grace of God as he gives us direction, guidance, and love in His Word. God’s wisdom makes you foolproof.
January 2, 2022: Foolproof Followers
We are all tempted to scroll through YouTube, Facebook, or the latest podcast to find the sage who will unlock the secret to true happiness. We look to leaders who have charisma and success. We can even look at our favorite spiritual leaders in the same way. But often, we find out that those leaders are broken people with flaws just like all of us.
The Corinthians fell into the same trap. They put their faith in leaders who had charisma and outward success. But Paul taught them to find true power in Jesus and his cross. At first, choosing a leader who died seems like foolishness, but it is really the wisdom and power of God to change lives for eternity.
Scriptures: 1 Corinthians 1-4
January 9, 2022: Foolproof Morals
Our culture tells us that happiness comes from having the freedom to choose your own morality. To be open-minded and accepting of every lifestyle is considered a virtue.
First Century Corinthian culture was the same. They were proud to say, “Everything is permissible!” But Paul shared a message with them that seemed foolish. He said that all people could “come as they are” to the Christian church, but Jesus didn’t want them to stay as they are. Christians have been washed and purified by Jesus so that they can live holy lives of love, even if it seems foolish to the world.
Scriptures: 1 Corinthians 5-6
January 16, 2022: Foolproof Marriage
One of the most important decisions we make is who, when, or if we are going to marry. Our culture teaches that marriage is about our own personal happiness. Therefore, we should choose to marry someone only insofar as that person makes us happy.
The new Christians in the Corinthian church inherited that same mindset from their culture. So, Paul teaches them to look at marriage as an opportunity to sacrificially commit to another person in Christ. (Paul does talk about leaving a marriage partner who will not live in peace with his/her spouse; See 1 Corinthians 7:15)
Paul says that our decision to marry is about how and where we want to serve God. Some might even choose not to marry if that means they can serve God in other capacities. This might sound like foolishness to the world, but it is God’s wisdom to live a meaningful life of godly commitments.
Scriptures: 1 Corinthians 7
January 23, 2022: Foolproof Choices
How do you make decisions about what you will eat or drink or about what you will wear? Our culture tells us, “If it feels good do it! It’s your right! It’s your freedom!” But making decisions based only on our personal happiness can harm others. And that would be foolish.
Paul sees the Corinthian Christians living like that. They were eating at pagan festivals in front of new Christians who were trying to separate from their old, pagan way of life. Therefore, Paul says that we need to think about how our decisions affect others, especially fellow Christians. God’s wisdom calls to use our freedom in Christ to serve and love others.
Scriptures: 1 Corinthians 8-10
January 30, 2022: Foolproof Supper
Everyone loves a good party. We love good food, games, and having fun with friends. But there is also a time to gather with others reverently to worship and participate in the Lord’s Supper.
That might seem foolish to the world. It certainly seemed foolish to the early Christians in the First Century. They turned the Lord’s Supper into a drunken toga party. So, Paul used their foolishness as an opportunity to teach the proper way to celebrate Holy Communion, also known as the Lord’s Supper.
This is a simple, seemingly foolish meal of a cracker and some wine. But in this meal, God is confirming a covenant promise with us, his people. In this meal, we are one with God and one with each other, and he promises to “remember our sins no more” as we follow His wisdom.
Scriptures: 1 Corinthians 11
February 6, 2022: Foolproof Gifts
Some people seem more gifted than others. They might excel in music, sports, academics, or business. Some might even some more “spiritually gifted” than others, with greater knowledge of the Bible or the ability to do greater works of service than others. The danger with all these gifts is that we can forget they are gifts of grace from God. In our arrogance, we can get puffed up because of our special talents.
That was happening in the Corinthians church in the First Century. They had super-spiritual gifts of speaking in tongues, prophesying, and healing. Instead of using these gifts humbly in love, they were filled with pride and arrogance.
Paul taught that all our gifts are to be used in love to serve the body of believers. God’s wisdom shows us that our gifts are meaningless without love.
Scriptures: 1 Corinthians 12-14
February 13, 2022: Foolproof Hope
Our culture tells us that this life is all there is. Living things are just matter, and nobody really knows what kind of spiritual life there is beyond the grave (if any).
The First Century Christians in Corinth had been influenced by their Greek culture to believe something similar. They believed that when a person died their soul might float up to heaven, but that was about it.
Paul said, “That is not Christianity!” He goes on to speak in length about the Christian hope of the bodily, physical resurrection on the Last Day. Just as Jesus was raised in the body, so too our bodies will be raised.
The resurrection of Jesus and our coming resurrection seem like complete foolishness to the world, but Paul says it is our sure and certain hope. And because we can be certain of the resurrection of our bodies, he says that we are to give ourselves “fully to the work of the Lord, because we know that our labor in the Lord is not in vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:58). God’s wisdom compels us to devote ourselves completely to His purpose and remain firm in our hope for eternity.
Scriptures: 1 Corinthians 15