Foolishness of the Cross
We know that if we are to come closer in our relationship to God that we must study the bible. How have you all been going in this area? We know that the bible is the only source of truth that can in any way bring us into a close relationship with God.
Is this true for the Christian and non Christian alike? Yes, just because someone does not believe the contents of the book does not make the book less truthful.
1 Corinthians 1:18. For the word of the cross (or the message of the cross) is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
Do you think that most people know what the message of the cross is?
Why or Why not? They haven’t taken the time to find out, they may not have read the bible. They have gotten their ideas from somewhere else
Where do most people get there ideas from today? The internet, books. The strange thing about the internet and books is that they are a medium for people to express their own ideas and to tell the world about them.
This is the main way that people today develop their world view.
Who can tell me what I mean by the term worldview?
Our world view is how we determine what truth is.
So do we determine truth for ourselves or is truth determined for us?
Every one of you has a world view, you might say “I don’t have a world view and I don’t really care for one, I just want to have fun because that’s what life is all about” Well guess what, that’s your world view and everything you do is guided by this view you have.
If you believe that life is just about having fun then you will make decisions based around that thinking
If you believe that life on Earth came about by evolution then your view will be based around that thinking
If you believe that the bible is truth then your view of the world will be based around that thinking and therefore your decisions also.
So what view of the world do you make your daily decisions from, what world view do you decide right and wrong from?
I believe the bible to be true, that’s my world view, now I know that you may say “of course you would say that, you have to, you’re a Christian”. Well I am a Christian but I was not always a Christian, in fact only 10 years ago I was the furthest thing from a Christian until God opened my eyes to the truth.
For me, the search for truth was a search for proof; you see I wanted proof of Gods existence and the reliability of the bible before I could believe. I read a lot of books in my search but in the end, for all the information I gathered I was still only left with a lot of knowledge.
Like the rest of us my problem wasn’t the lack of proof, it was more how I interpreted that proof. If we examine everything with the idea that there is no God then that is how we will interpret the world around us but if we start with the idea that there is a God then the world interprets itself.
The incredible design of everything we see, how all things fit together perfectly to sustain us, the diversity of life can only be explained by an intelligent creator.
If you see a painting what is the first question you ask? Who painted that? We never say “Wow, look what nothing created or look what was created by random chance” Because we recognize that if something seems to be created it probably is.
This brings us back to our verse – 1 Corinthians 1:18. For the word of the cross (or the message of the cross) is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
We see in this verse a contrast between the foolishness to some and power to others. Two opposing world-views of the message of the cross.
So what is the message of the cross?
The message of the cross of Jesus is a strange message to those who have never understood exactly what happened that day. To them it is “foolishness“. This word comes from the same word from which we get our word “Moron“. To the lost, the idea of trusting a man hanging on a cross to die, a man suffering and bleeding. To trust in this man for salvation is moronic! Illustration 1 Cor. 1:21-24!)
The Bible is clear when it tells us that the way to be saved is for the sinner to accept by faith what the Bible teaches about Jesus and His atoning death on the cross, Rom. 10:9-10. This is what the preaching of the cross is all about! It is not about you quitting your sins! It is about you coming to Jesus by faith! It’s not about turning over a new leaf; it’s about placing your faith in Jesus and Him alone for salvation!
Isaiah 59 says “The trouble is that your sins have cut you off from God.” Romans 3:23 says “All have sinned and fall short of God’s glorious ideal.” When it says “all”, does that include Billy Graham? Yes. The pope? Yes. Everybody in this room? Yes. We have all sinned.”
“People say, “I believe in God.” So does the devil. He knows there’s a God but you’re not going to find him in heaven. So what’s the difference? It means to believe in Christ. God did this for us because He loves us and wants us to know Him. “God demonstrated His love for us in that while we were still separated from God by sin, Christ died for us.” (Get 2 people here, one to be God and the other to be the sinners and place arms as a cross between them.) God is on the one side and all the people are on the other side and Christ Jesus is between them to bring them together by giving His life for all mankind. God has already done His part to restore our relationship to Him. He took the initiative. He came to earth. Now He waits for each of us to individually accept what He’s done.”
“Salvation is God’s free gift to us but we must accept it. We can never make up for our sin by self-improvement or good works. Only by trusting in Jesus Christ as God’s offer of forgiveness can anyone be saved from sin’s penalty. When we turn from our self-ruled life and turn to Jesus in faith we are saved.
Heaven is a perfect place. We’re imperfect. There’s not a chance in a zillion you’re ever going to get to go there on your own good works. You’ll never be good enough. So God came to earth in the form of Jesus Christ.”
“People were created to exist forever. We will either exist eternally separated from God by sin, or eternally with God through forgiveness and salvation. To be eternally separated from God is Hell. To be eternally in union with Him is eternal life. Heaven and Hell are real places of eternal existence.
What does the message of the cross mean to you?
Verse – John 8:31-34 – 31To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.”
33They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?”
34Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin.
The message of the cross is freedom, freedom for all, all who put their trust in Jesus Christ. Knowing the truth about Christ will set you free.
Ahh freedom means so much too so many.
To the world it means being free to choose whatever it is you want to do.
What about You? What is true about you? What is binding you? What is stopping you from accepting Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour, what is stopping you from trusting Him fully? What is holding you back from living your life for Him? What is stopping you from being free, from the choking desires of the world the incredible suffocation of peer pressure?
Do you really want to know the Truth? Jesus said to all who are searching, “Seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened for you.”
But if you knock on the door looking for truth and Jesus opens it, what will you do? Will you go in to Him or will you turn and walk away? And if you turn away, where will you go? Throughout the ages, in all creation, there is no other truth but Him. Jesus declared it: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No man comes to the Father but through me”
Would you prefer an easier truth? One that makes no demands? You know that in the long run it will be much harder to find out that you have lived a lie all your life than to accept, right now, the simple demands that Jesus makes. Remember, He is compassionate. Patient. Willing to forgive. Jesus says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light”
Challenge the youth to make a decision. Eventually you have to decide yes or no. I believe the bible and its claims are true.
This is a two part exercise. The first part stands alone as a good sermon illustration, and it sets up the second part well
Part ONE: Ask a volunteer to come on stage and put on a large coat. Then tie their wrist together. Now ask them to get out of the coat. It won’t be possible, but encourage them to try. Then say, this is like your sin. No matter what you try you can never get it off, but Jesus came to set you free. Cut the rope (I used yarn) on their writs, but ask them to keep their hands together. Then say, “Many Christians live like this. Their hands are free, but they still live like they are bound. We need to realize that we have been set free from this stuff, and we can truly be free.” Then take off the coat and have your volunteer sit down. Encourage your audience to clap for them as you do
Part TWO: Do any other debriefing that you need to do then move into part two
Before the meeting, put into envelopes 2 pieces of yarn and a small pair of scissors. (go raid your children’s department) You will need as many envelopes as half of your expected students. Set the envelopes under the chairs and instruct the students not to mess with them until instructed
Ask everyone to get into pairs and have each pair pick up an envelope. Then ask them to be silent. When I am going to do something that I want to be a serious time I normally tell my students that we are going to move into a time of worship and meditation. I tell them that I expect no one to talk while we are working
Each pair is to select one person who is to go first. That person is to have his/her writs bound together by the yarn. Then he/she is to spend a few moments praying and meditating on what is keeping him/her from growing closer to God. It may be sins, self-image issues, fears, habits, whatever. Then after the bound students I finished praying he/she is to indicate this to the unbound student. The unbound student will then cut the yarn on his/her partner’s wrists
The partners then switch roles with the other piece of yarn. While this is going on have some soft music playing it helps to cut down on distractions
While your students are doing what they are doing have your youth workers come to the front of the room. With their backs to your students place signs on their chests that say things like: nerd, jock, outcast, black, white, gay, loner, looser, cheerleader, etc. Then tie their wrists
After you have given each partner a chance to be released, bring the attention back to you and say something like, “Because you have Christ you have been freed, but there are many people who are still bound” (begin to turn your helpers around so the students can see the signs) “And because they may not be like you, because they may not fit into your mold, because you are scared or just don’t care they are still bound and waiting for someone to come and tell them how to be free.
Close in prayer