Text: 1 Corinthians 1:18-25 (one-year lectionary)
Date: Fifth Sunday after Trinity, June 30, 2013
The Rev. BT Ball
St. Paul – Hamel, Il.
In Nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti. Amen.
Men think they are wise, but their wisdom is folly, foolishness. Men think that they know things, but even things that are plain according to nature, these have been rejected. Claiming to be wise they have become fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things (Romans 1:22). How foolish are the thoughts of man, of the scribes and the debaters of this age. According to an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court if you believe that marriage is the union of one man and one woman then you have an “improper animus” against a “politically unpopular group”. If you believe that marriage is for one man and for one woman it is because you only want to “disparage,” “demean,” and “humiliate” someone else. According to what this fallen world thinks, to what the debaters, philosophers and scribes of this age think, including a majority of the Supreme Court of the United States, the President, the Governor of this State and who knows how many more; what can be seen with simple reason – that a man and woman are complimentary, that marriage is for the union of a man and woman for the procreation of children and fidelity, that – is foolishness. And what Jesus Christ said, is utter nonsense. Jesus said, “have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female and said, therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife and the two shall become one flesh. So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let man not separate. (Matthew 19:4-6) They hate Christ and reject Him.
So the Facebook theology and philosophy win the day. But we are caught up in this. Marriage didn’t start to be desecrated in the last week, look how we, the Church, Christians, have fallen. Fornication, co-habitation, divorce, re-marriage – a second or third time, choosing not to have children, pornography, adultery, filthy TV shows and movies called entertainment, and on and on and on. And how often have we excused ourselves, justified our actions. Thinking not in God’s wisdom, but in foolishness; in the wisdom of this world with its lies and outright rebellion against God. None of us are clean in this. We have all sinned either by action or inaction. Either by word or deed. By omitting the proper words and doing the good deeds. We follow the wisdom of the world and if we keep on doing that we will follow the world to its own end – destruction.
God is serious; we are foolish. How dissimilar we are to Simon Peter, he knows and recognizes in the presence of the Lord Jesus, the true and living God, all that be done is beg Jesus to get away, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” (Luke 5:8) Because he knows God can wreck him. How foolish that we don’t have such fear in our hearts of the true God, who is real and sees and knows. “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise”, He says. Make no mistake, God will destroy. But only if we could have a wisdom like Simon Peter, to be in fear. I heard a wise pastor say this week when asked why we don’t have fear like Simon Peter say, “Because we are sinners.” Not only do we not think or act in accordance with God’s commands because we are sinners and we do not fear God or mourn over our sins because we are sinners. Oh wretched men that we are.
And still, and yet, it is for sinners that Christ was crucified. And this is the folly, the foolishness of God. Those he should destroy, he would save. Those who reject what they have been taught by Christ Himself in His Word. Those who trade in life for death, who give up the mind of God for their own sinful thoughts, who are wicked in their rebellion – all of us here. Those, these, you, he loves and saves though the preaching of Christ crucified. We preach Christ crucified. It is the folly, the foolishness of God that he saves by a cross. He saves you by a cross. You – God saves as Christ Jesus has taken your sins, all of them in Himself. The cross is what you have, in the preaching of the cross is everything that God would reveal to you of Himself. It shows you yourself, how serious and offensive your sins are, how shameful, how perverse. But at the cross you find the Son of God, Jesus, taking your offenses, your shame, your perversions on Himself, in Himself, and reconciling you to the Father. The crucified Christ, shows you that your Father does love you, and He desires you to have his mind, to find in His Son true wisdom. The wisdom that Jesus has come in flesh to save sinners, to deliver you from eternal destruction. To cleanse you, set you free, Christ Jesus is the atoning sacrifice – on the cross. He was in the agony of a sinner being condemned, his Father rejected Him, cursed Him to bitter death and the pain of hell. That you, having had the preaching of the cross put in your ears, the cleansing of the cross put on your body in a Holy Water, the fruit of the cross given for you to eat and drink, you will not receive such condemnation.
Christ Crucified. It is how God wants to deal with you, in the death of His Son. Christ Crucified. There are your sins. Christ Crucified. There is your life. Christ Crucified. The wisdom of God. In the preaching of Christ Crucified you are saved, it is the power of God. To the world all of it is foolishness, all of what is preached to you, what you believe, about marriage and family, most of all of Jesus Himself. To the world and those of the world, all of it is a joke, something to be “disparaged,” “demeaned,” and those who believe it should be “humiliated”. Fine. Let them go to hell. We preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Christ crucified, for you, the power of God and the wisdom of God, for you. Jesus for you and even for the world that hates him. Christ crucified. Amen.