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The Problem of The Cross

1 Cornthians 1:17-31

We see in these few verses a good sermon outline which could be expanded upon by those who would like to do so.

1 Cornthians 1:17 - Paul was sent "to Preach the gospel."
  The word "preach" means to "proclaim, advocate, or urge.
  The word "gospel" means the "good news."
1 Cornthians 1:18 - The Gospel is the "Power of God."
1 Cornthians 1:19 - God gives us a "Promise."
1 Cornthians 1:20-21 - Preaching the Gospel is Pleasing to God.
  The Purpose of the Gospel is to save souls.

However, we are going to concentrate on this last item - The Problem of the Cross.

There is a Problem associated with the Cross. 
1 Cornthians 1:22- 23 - "But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews 
a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;"

  • Problem number 1. - It is a stumblingblock to the Jew (Israelites).
  • Problem number 2. - It is foolishness to the Greek (Gentile).

WHY is there a Problem?

  1. Acts 2:22-24, 32, 36 - Peter preached his great message. 
    Note how he emphasized Christ crucified.
    In Acts 2:41 - Three thousand saved.
    Acts 3 & 4 - More preaching of Christ crucified. Five thousand saved.
    This was preaching to Prepared ground. They were well versed in the Scriptures that they had available to them. He was primarily preaching to Jews who knew the Scriptures. He didn't have to Prepare the ground. What he had to show was that they had killed their Messiah. This was a stumblingblock to the Jew. Peter preached to reveal Christ as the true Messiah of the Scriptures. With all of that prepared ground, many thousands accepted the truth and received Jesus as their Saviour and Messiah.
  2. Acts 17:16-31 - Paul preaches his great message to the Greeks.
    Christ crucified was a stumblingblock to the Jews but to the Greeks it was foolishness. The Greeks (Gentiles) hearts were not prepared to receive the Gospel. Note that Paul had to go back to Genesis with these Greeks. This is the difference. The Jews knew the word yet had to get over the stumblingblock of their Messiah being crucified.
       With the Greeks he preached:
    1. Religiousness of Man. Acts 17:22-23
    2. Reality of God as: Verses Acts 17:24-28
      1. Creator.- Acts 17:24
      2. Sustainer. - Acts 17:25
      3. Saviour. - Acts 17:27
    3. Relationship of all men. - Acts 17:26
    4. Repentance needed for Jew and the Greek. - Acts 17:30
    5. Righteousness of Jesus. - strong>Acts 17:31
    6. Resurrection. - Acts 17:31
    He preached a foundational message then brought them to Jesus and to the truth of His Resurrection.
  3. What were the Results?
    1. Some mocked the message and the messenger.
    2. Some Procrastinated.
    3. Some believed. Not thousands, but some.
  4. Which Kind of a Society do we live in today? A Jerusalem society or an Athens Society?
    1. We live in an Athens Society. Generally speaking, hearts are not prepared to receive the Gospel. We must lay some foundations through preaching the word of God and prepare the ground for the Gospel
    2. We have had over forty years of Bibleless schools and the ground is hard.
    3. We need to lay again the foundations of:
      1. The Bible.
      2. The Church.
      3. The Family.
  5. How do we do this?
    1. We must begin in our Churches by systematically teaching and preaching the word of God.
      1. Pastors need to preach and teach God's word not their opinions.
      2. Fathers and mothers need to be faithful to their church where they are taught the word of God.
      3. Fathers need to lead their families in family devotions based upon God's word.
    2. We must witness to our neighbors, friends, relatives, acquaintances and strangers. There are basically four kinds of people (ground). 
      Matthew 13:3-7
      Matthew 13:4 And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow;
      Matthew 13:4 And when he sowed, some seeds fell
      (1) by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up: (Some people just aren't going to heed, and the devil is going to keep them in his family and if they don't repent, they will end up in hell. We don't know who those people are so we still must sow the seed which is the word of God.
      verse 5 Some fell upon ...stony places..." (Some people's hearts are stony and there is no depth of soil so the word does not last long. Trials, temptations, troubles burn them out. They have no root or depth of soil) where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth:
      Matthew 13:6 And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.
      Matthew 13:7 And some fell among (3) thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them: (Some people's lives are so full of thorns (sins) that they never bring forth fruit unto God. There is a direct link between thorns and sin as we see the result of sin entering the earth resulting in the curse of thorns and thistles. Genesis 3:18 - John Gill's comments, "...these point out such hearers who seemed to be contrite, to have the low ground of their hearts broken up, their consciences tender, and to have a true sense of sin, as well as to be outwardly reformed; and yet inwardly were full of the thorns of sinful lusts, particularly of the cares of the world, the deceitfulness of riches, the lusts of other things, and the pleasures of this life, which rendered the word useless and unfruitful; (see Matthew 13:22) all which are comparable to thorns; it is hardly possible to be in the midst of, and meddle with these, without being scratched by them; they pierce, afflict, and wound, even where they have not their greatest power and influence; and where they do prevail, and get the ascendant, as they are fruitless themselves, they make others so too; they choke the word, and make that, and all ordinances, and opportunities, useless, and unserviceable."
      verse 8 But other fell into (4) good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.
      (These are people whose minds, hearts and lives have been prepared and cultivated by the word of God and the Spirit of God. These are the folks that bring forth fruit in their lives. Thank God for these people. Tragically, most people are not like this, so we must get the word of God our so that the Holy Spirit can prepare hearts for the gospel.)
    3. And finally we must Pray that God will bring forth fruit.
      1 Peter 4:7 "But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer."

Outline Prepared by Dr. Robert E. Bliss