“The Foolish Wisdom of the Cross” A House Divided: Week 3 (1 Corinthians 1:18-24)

Todd Gray September 26, 2018 A House Divided

1 Corinthians 1 / September 23rd, 2018 / Dr. Todd Gray

In the first century world, a savior who died on a cross was not an easy thing to trust. The Jews expected a military leader who would overthrow Rome. The Roman world couldn’t understand how death meant victory, and certainly didn’t believe the resurrection. For those who don’t follow God, the premise of Jesus saving the world on a cross is not easily understood or believed. What does the cross mean to you?

  1. Is the Cross as a Stumbling Block?
  2. Is the Cross a Joke to You?
  3. Is the Cross the Power that Fuels you Life?

Sermon Transcript:

1 Corinthians, chapter one. We’re picking up this week in verse 18 through verse 25 and talking about the foolish wisdom of the cross. This is what Paul wants to use as a unifying foundation for the church that has disunity running through it. We live in a world that wants to tear the church apart. I’m not even saying they know that they’re trying to do it or want to do it. We live in a society that is growing ever more hostile to the things of God as is revealed in His word. This is polarizing not only our nation, but even Christianity.

To prove my point, you just have to do a quick query or even Google search of some of the major issues today to see how different they are from how God wants them to be. How about life? The sanctity of human life is made clear in Psalm 139 where God tells us He created you in your mother’s womb long before you were ever born. He had a plan and a purpose for your life. He cares about your life ’cause He created it. Yet you see how little we care for it as we take it through murder, abortion, and even talks of euthanasia.

What about marriage? The foundational relationship in the family is marriage, yet you see how low the view is in the world. Who you should be married to, whether you should stay married, fidelity versus infidelity, all of that is made clear in our society. Then even on the Christian issues that matter the most, the existence of God, the sinfulness of man, and the need of the Gospel, so many of the modern scholars are saying, like Richard Dawkins did in his book “The God Delusion,” that the idea of God is just something that your weak mind needs so that you can go through this world. God is just a delusion.

I don’t think God would say that about Himself. The sinfulness of man, they talk about sin today. I know some churches that won’t even mention it, what’s a sin and what’s not a sin. “Well, that’s for God to know.” Even to mention it, the idea is offensive that anything that you’re doing wrong, that God wouldn’t be okay with. This idea that you need the Gospel? “Well, I don’t need nothing.” Oh, you need something. You need the Gospel. Your pride and the world is feeding this pride is telling you, “No, you don’t.” The idea that a man died on a cross, was brutally beaten, and His blood was shed so you could have forgiveness of sin is both brutal to much of the world and even offensive to some who say, “He didn’t have to do that for me, why would He do that for me? I don’t want Him to do that for me.”

On and on we could go, issue after issue, and you could see that the world is hostile towards the things that God is for. In other words, another way to say it would be is that the things that breaks God’s heart is often celebrated and promoted in the world that you and I live in today. I think Paul understood that, that the world would say that you’re a fool for believing in the Bible, in the cross, in your need for a Savior. Paul would say, “That’s okay, you’re in good company.” They said the same things to him and to the apostles and it’s been the same for 2000 years.

The wisdom of God cannot be explained by the foolishness of man. Instead, the man-centered ideas say that the things of God are foolish. It turns Christianity on its head. Paul says, “Be okay with that, preach the Gospel to them anyway.” Let’s read it together. 1 Corinthians, chapter one, starting at verse 18. Let’s stand together. Paul says, “For the message” or your translation may say “For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” That’s a pretty big difference. “For it is written, ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise and the cleverness of the clever I will set aside or reject.’ Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe,” meaning the Jewish scholar.

“Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?” Of course He has. Verse 21. “For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God. God is well pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.” What an irony. “For indeed, Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness. But those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God because the foolishness of God is wiser than men. The weakness of God is stronger than men.” This is God’s word. Please be seated.

You need this message today, church, maybe more than you ever have. I wanna encourage you today that if it’s to be a fool to believe in Christ, then be a fool for the Lord because the foolishness of the cross that you believe and that saves you, that is the wisdom of God Almighty. It’s the one thing that should not separate us and it’s the one thing we have to be unified on, the message of Christ on the cross. But instead we spend so much time trying to lessen the impact of Christianity with the world. I know pastors that spend so much time trying to de-brutalize the cross and to de-sinful-ize sinfulness and to go out of the way to make the offensiveness of the Gospel of Christianity so offensive to the world.

I even hear pastors this week saying things like, “Well, we don’t believe in the resurrection that saves us because the Bible tells us it happens. We believe because eyewitnesses were there.” In one way you’re thinking, “Eyewitnesses were there,” but how do you know that there were eyewitnesses? Not just that the faith carried on, but because you read about it in the Bible. It’s not helpful for us to discount the Bible to lessen the offensiveness of the Gospel so the world can accept it. I think that’s what Paul’s trying to tell you here. Stop worrying about the Gospel offending the world. Stop worrying about the cross not being accepted by the world.

It’s not your job to make the cross or the Gospel acceptable to the world, it’s your job to preach it. Whose job is it to get them to accept it? That’s God’s job. Stop trying to do God’s job for Him. He’s like, “I got this. Okay, I don’t need your help.” You preach Christ and Him crucified for the forgiveness of sin whether they wanna hear it or not, whether they believe it or not. This is what Paul did. Millions were saved because of his message that was empowered unto him by the Holy Spirit. This is the message that Paul wanted the church in Corinth to focus on. Stop being divided by human wisdom.

This is the message, church, that I want you to not only believe, but I want you to leave here with. Sometimes it’s gonna be offensive, but if the world would lose their offendedness they would see that this message of the cross is the most beautiful thing that they’ve ever been offered and I don’t have to dumb it down, nor should I. I don’t have to lessen the offensiveness of it. In fact, preach the way that the Bible reveals, it brings conviction. Otherwise, what are we saving them to if we change the message of it? A human-based philosophy, not a Gospel-based Christianity.

Paul wants to clear up some things to the Corinthian church. He’s already said disunity is a problem and mainly it was a problem because disunity comes about in their church because people are wanting their own, basically, parties or their own teams. I wanna be on Apollos’ team. I wanna be on Paul’s team. I wanna be baptized by Peter. Oh, I was baptized by Paul and Paul says that’s nonsense. They focused on the Gospel, not the wisdom of man. Look at what he just said before verse 18 in verse 17. He says, “Christ did not send me just to baptize, but to preach the Gospel. Not in cleverness of speech so that the cross of Christ would be made void.”

The terms here in verse 17, cleverness of speech, fit right in with what Paul’s trying to do in verse 18 through verse 25. The idea of cleverness here is the Greek word σοφία. It means “wisdom,” referring to human wisdom. Paul says, “I’m not trying to impress you with my human wisdom or my human-based wit or rhetoric. I’m trying to preach the Gospel to you because the Gospel is what matters, not the mind of man.” Human wisdom, without God guiding it, will rob the cross of its power every time. That’s why he begins here in verse 18 with what I call the thesis for not only this whole section through chapter four, but maybe for the whole book.

He says, “The message of the cross,” get this, church, “is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to those who are being saved, it’s the opposite of foolishness. It’s the very power and wisdom of God.” Those who trust in human wisdom above God’s wisdom, those who trust in human wisdom and don’t believe in Christ crucified for the forgiveness of sin that was made accessible to them because of the resurrection, Paul says they’re the ones who are perishing and will be perishing for eternity. I guess the following question would be, “Why are you listening to them?” They’re not even going to the Heaven that you wanna be in. Why do we trust their wisdom above God’s word?

God’s wisdom is revealed in the cross, Paul says. If you wanna know about God’s wisdom, look at the message of the Gospel because human wisdom, human rhetoric, human intelligence apart from Christ will not get it. It will not cut it. It will not understand it. This isn’t plan B. This has always been plan A, for God’s wisdom to be culminated upon Calvary as Christ died upon that tree. It’s not like God had plan A of morality in the Old Testament obedience to the law and because that didn’t work, He went to plan B, which was the wisdom of God rebuilt in the cross. No, this has always been plan A. There’s never been plan B. The only reason the law existed and morality was there is to show you you couldn’t do it, to be your teacher and your schoolmaster, to you your need for the cross.

God’s wisdom is above man’s wisdom, and the clearest example of that is the cross. That’s why he quotes Isaiah 29:14 here. He says, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,” or I would say, “I will destroy the wisdom of those who think they are wise.” “The cleverness of the clever I will reject.” God does not want, nor has He ever wanted, human wisdom and intelligence on its own without Him. Our finite minds have never been able to comprehend His infinite plan. You’re just not smart enough. Why? ‘Cause you’re not God. Especially when you look at the Gospel, it doesn’t make sense to the rational man apart from God’s revelation.

But I will tell you this, church. How you look at the cross will show me how you understand God. Or the depth that you understand the cross is to the depth that you understand the wisdom of God. If you can’t understand the cross, if you don’t get the cross, if it doesn’t impact you, then you’ll never understand God. What I wanna do is start with verse 18 and kinda just own the reality that to the world, the cross may be foolishness. But to-

Kinda just owned the reality that to the world the cross may be foolishness, but to you, it should be the power of God. And then, I want to follow Paul’s argument here and show you three way to look at the cross.

The first two, I’ll go ahead and tell you they’re bad ways to look at the cross, and they’re going to reveal to you if you’re looking at the cross from a human perspective, or a godly perspective, whether you’re pursuing human wisdom, or godly wisdom.

And finally is the perspective that we should all have. This is the Christian perspective that the cross is the very power of God. So first, let’s take what would traditionally be called the Jewish perspective. This is the cross as a stumbling block, and my question for you this morning … is the cross a stumbling block for you? Because it was for the Jew in Jesus’ day, and it’s still a stumbling block for many Jews today.

The Jews just could not see their messiah crucified. Why? Human wisdom. Not the Bible, the Bible made it clear that Jesus was to come as the suffering servant, but they misunderstood or ignored those texts, and the human teaching for hundreds of years before Jesus was born was that the messiah was coming to be a conquering king, therefore, when he showed up as a suffering servant they said, we can’t understand that.

They trusted in their human wisdom over the godly wisdom that had been revealed in the scriptures, therefore, verse 22 Paul says they’re always looking for signs and miracles. Notice how many time the Jews were asking Jesus for a sign, Mark 11 38-39. Mark 8:11 and John 6:30 are just some examples of the Jews saying, we want to see a sign from you.

When you read that you should have that funny look on your face, like what? Jesus performed many signs and many miracles, just not the ones that they were wanting. See what they wanted, they wanted to see the miracle of Jesus, if he was the messiah, to prove himself as the messiah by overthrowing the Roman Empire, by restoring his kingdom on this Earth for them.

The messiah had to meet their human persona of who he was supposed to be, so when Jesus came and lived the life of self-sacrifice and wasn’t this larger than life character. When he didn’t restore Rome, when he didn’t restore the glory days for them, they couldn’t see him as the messiah.

See God had performed many miracles in mighty ways for them in the past and they wanted him to do it again in the same way. They wanted Jesus to be a conqueror and a deliverer, well, in fact church, he was, just not the way they wanted him to be. Did Jesus conquer? Absolutely he did but he didn’t conquer the Roman Empire, he conquered sin on the cross. They couldn’t see it.

Was Jesus a deliverer, absolutely he was. He gave them an opportunity to be delivered from their sin by bearing their sin for them as their substitute, but because they misunderstood Psalm 22, or didn’t read it, because they misunderstood Isiah 53, or didn’t read it, or manipulated it, they couldn’t see him for who he was.

It was their elitist pride that kept them from seeing Jesus as the messiah. For the Jew, the word messiah, meant power. The word messiah meant perfection. And the word messiah meant one who conquers, therefore, when they watched Jesus die on the cross do you know what they saw? Weakness instead of power.

They saw sinfulness instead of perfection because only a sinful criminal could be crucified on a cross and instead of conquering they saw defeat. Why did they see it that way? Human wisdom above the glory of God. Like, pastor I get it, the Jews missed it, they still miss it today, but what does that have to do with me?

Well, the cross was offensive to them. It was disgusting and degrading for them to think that the messiah would die as a lower than life criminal, and because they couldn’t think about it, they couldn’t accept it. They couldn’t get past it. They couldn’t get over that hurdle.

Is the cross offensive to you? Is it offensive to you to think that you’ve done something in your life that was so wrong that another life would have to be given so you could be forgiven of it? Maybe it’s offensive for you to think that you even have sin. That anything that you do in your life when you’re trying so hard, and feel like you’re doing so good, would ever been seen as anything but acceptable by God.

Maybe you even have a little bit of a elitist pride in your heart that’s preventing you from seeing your humility in the cross? I remember watching a TV commercial years ago, I have a little bit of pride myself, and in this TV commercial they were doing things I didn’t think they should be doing, or promoting things that I didn’t think that they should be promoting, so I could never shop at that store again.

I feel like I was justified in the thought but literally I couldn’t get over it. Is there something that so offends you by the cross that you can’t get over it. I’d encourage you today to get over it, because your human wisdom, your prideful thoughts are preventing you from seeing and grasping the greatest message of God’s love, grace, and mercy that has ever been known.

If you get to repent of your sin stop pretending your sin is something that it’s not. Call it what it is. Sinful, and deserving of God’s wrath. Humble yourself before the lord, repent of your sin, and believe upon Jesus Christ is the only way to receive forgiveness of your sin. Then you’ll have life and hope, and eternity.

So not only can you view the cross as a stumbling block, most of you would say oh, that’s not me, but I bet if that’s not you the second one could be. Not only did the cross become a stumbling block for the Jew, but for the gentile, the wise and intelligent of the world, the cross was a joke.

Look at verse 23. The cross is a stumbling block for the Jew and foolishness for the gentile. This term foolishness is the Greek word morio, and from the base of that word we get the English word, can you guess it? Moron.

If you’re a follower of Jesus Christ today and you believe in the supernatural power of the cross, and even call yourself a Bible thumping Christian, I wouldn’t necessarily call myself that, but a Bible believing Christian, the unbelieving world that is so intelligent just might call you a moron. Ignorant. Backwards. Archaic. And even worse, and if that’s the case then be a fool for the lord, because the wisdom of God is revealed in what the world says is the foolishness of the cross.

So many cannot believe in Christ because the cross does not make sense to them, and if you believe in it, they’ll call you naïve at best, in fact, it’s a joke to many people. Here’s my question, is the cross a joke to you?

Intelligent men and women, scholars and atheists around the world would say intelligent men and intelligent thinking women cannot believe in these kind of fairy tales. I mean, give me a break. A guy who called himself a god died on a Roman cross 2,000 years ago and because of his bloodshed you find forgiveness, or atonement, for your sin, and then three days later he rose from the dead and if you’d believe in him you’ve have eternal life.

It’s a joke to many people today. It’s not a joke to me. It’s not a joke to God. The Gospel’s the only way you can be saved. Trust in human wisdom or God’s truth. Paul says to the gentile the cross is foolishness. The Greeks were thanking people. They loved education. They loved philosophy. The Roman Empire respected knowledge and education, in fact, it was because of knowledge and education that the Romans eventually rejected the little G god that they worshiped.

Oh, and we love our intelligence today. We love scholarly thought today. It’s not much different than it was 2,000 years ago. See the Jews and the Greeks were very similar. They looked different in their mind but they both were prevented from believing because of the pride of their human wisdom, and not being submitted to God’s reality.

When I read about the Greek intelligence this week and the Roman intelligence it hit home for me, because I come in contact with a lot of smart people, and books, and on the internet, and in person. Here’s what they do. They use human logic, human rational, and human intelligence, to deny the miracles, therefore, the resurrection could never happen.

They use the human mind that God gave them to say, the Gospel, we should throw it completely out, it’s nonsense. And even, they use their human mind and their human intelligence to say, God cannot exist.

Richard Dawkins wrote a book about it, I mentioned it earlier, it’s called The God Delusion. That God is the weakness of your mind grasping for something to believe in. To sum up this thought I read a author who wrote a few words that I thought were helpful for you to understand much of scholarship today, his name is Jimmy Carr, and he says, believe nothing, no matter where you read it or who has said it. Not even if I have said it.

That sounds humble doesn’t it? Then he says, unless, it agrees with your own reason … here it is, now we’re getting somewhere, and your own common sense. Did you hear that?

How self-focused and prideful can you be? What this is basically telling you, and I think this is common. I think this is pervasive around our society. It’s telling you that there’s no absolute truth. That truth is relative to the individual, meaning, it’s not truth unless it’s truth for you and the truth for you can be different than my truth for me.

That’s nonsense, church. There has to be absolute truth, otherwise, why believe in things like gravity, and mathematics? It’s always been there and it always proves the same. It’s absolutely true. There’s another truth, and you can read about it in your copy of God’s word. That’s why we gave it to your children today.

We must believe in absolute truth and believe that God is the one who gives it. Many atheists and thinking people think that to believe in the cross as it’s revealed in the scriptures is foolishness, that’s okay. They thought the same 2,000 years ago, which is why I want to tell you that not only believe that modern thinkers apart from God are wrong. I also believe they’re not that intelligent.

Look at what Paul says in this passage. He flips the intelligence of man onto all of men. He says to call the cross foolishness is the definition of foolishness itself.

True intelligence is wisdom. The Bible says that the beginning of wisdom is the acknowledge of and the fear of God, so the very foundation of intelligence starts with God. If you start with any other foundation it’s gonna lead you astray into utter nonsense, and it’s propagated in our world today.

Libraries of books can be read that are full of nonsense because it doesn’t start with the fear of the lord. Let me be clear, I do believe that wisdom starts with God, but I’m not telling you to check your intelligence at the door. I’m not telling you to check your brain at the door of Christianity. If you truly follow rational thought-

If you truly follow rational thought and the evidence throughout history, you will find God every time. You want to study science? You want to look out into the universe? Look as far and as deep as you want to go. You know what you’re going to find? Not chaos, not accidents. You’re going to find exacting order. Are you kidding me? Just study the earth in relation to the rest of the universe. You tell me where else there is human life or anything close to what we call life on this earth.

The mathematics of that is impossible. It’s almost like somebody created it to work like that or take life on this earth. Go ask Dr. Hinson to explain the microbiology and how far we can see into a cell. The deeper we go, the more that’s there. You know what you find? Not chaos. You find order. Like a signature on the human cell, no matter how deep you go or how advanced it is, life is not an accident. It has a creator.

Or if you’re not quite there yet, go with me all the way back past your view of evolution, before your view of creation, all the way back, Genesis 1:1. Go all the way back to the nothingness of the universe, and you tell me how something, however you view that something, how something can come out of nothing, scientifically. Give it your best shot. You can’t do it. Something cannot come out of nothing. You go all the way back to the beginning when something happened and there is God.

God created something out of nothing, and I promise you, if you’ll follow me, I can go from there through human logic is revealed in God’s word and walk you all the way to calvary to show you the necessity of Jesus. I don’t have time to do that today, but it’s rational thought that allows you to go there. But rational thought, apart from God, is foolishness and utter dangerousness for your life, physically and spiritually.

Now I know I cannot completely dissect all of these arguments against Christianity for the things that we’ve been talking about like the creation of the world, the resurrection, or the creation of human life, but there are good guys have done that for me. You can go read them this week. You can start with men like Lee Strobel and read a book called The Case for Christ. Write that down if you want to read it. He wrote another book that I think is even better. It’s his defense for the resurrection. It’s called The Case for the Real Jesus.

Or you can go to other people who deal in the areas of apologetics. You could start with God that you can understand. Like C.S. Lewis, he wrote a great book called Mere Christianity. It’s helped millions of people understand the very basics of Christ and what he meant for this world. You can look at other people who dive into the apologetics world like Voddie Baucham. Anything that he writes on apologetics is good. He preached in this pulpit. I trust what he says.

You can start with this sermon, Why I Believe the Bible. If you wanna get a little bit more advanced, you can go to other men like William Lane Craig. He writes some good stuff, or Norman Geisler. There’s even a mathematician named John Lennox who is known for debating atheists on the necessity of a Christian worldview. I can give you many other books that fills your libraries with years of reading. I say all that to say this, Christianity is not a neanderthal religion. God wants you to use your mind.

Christianity is rational, it can be proven, and it’s been defended for a long, long time. But, big comma, Paul would say that I should not try, nor will I, to argue into belief in the gospel. Why? Because nobody’s ever argued into a relationship with Jesus Christ. Nobody’s ever argued into heaven. Faith is a gift that only God can give. I’m simply telling you, don’t check your mind at the door. The reality is that we cannot expect human reason or human wisdom to ever explain the things of God completely.

God’s wisdom, listen to me, is far greater than man’s capacity for understanding. He’s God. You are not. Now, you must never give up thinking. You must never give up the pursuit of learning, but you must realize this. There are limits to your finite mind and there are. I’m sorry, you’re just not that smart. At some point, you’re gonna have to turn from your finite mind and turn your mind over God’s infinite character.

And if you want to understand his wisdom, here’s what Paul’s saying, “Look to the cross.” To better understand God is to better understand what was accomplished for you in the blood atonement of Jesus Christ that was made accessible to you by the power of the resurrection. Go deeper in your understanding of the gospel and stop looking to the world to answer things that only God can answer, the most important things in your life. Things like morality, how you should live, sin, forgiveness, hope, life, marriage, human sexuality, and all matters pertaining to humanity.

He has taken the time to write these things down for you. It’s called the Bible. My encouragement would be for you to read it. Look what Paul says about human wisdom in verse 20. Where is the wise man? Meaning, where’s the wisest man that has ever been on this earth? Where is the scribe? Where’s the greatest Jewish scholar that’s ever breathed air? Where is the greatest debater of this age? Then he would say this, “Has god not made foolish the wisdom of the world?” The answer is yes.

Church, the greatest resource I could give you or offer to you today is not a book with a human author’s name on it. The greatest resource I could give you is a book, but it was written by God. It’s called the Bible. It was inspired by him for your benefit. Yes, read other men, but stop turning to men to receive the answers that only God can give. You have to turn to him as revealed in the spirit by his word.

First Corinthians 1:21 says, for since in the wisdom of God, meaning in God’s plan, the world through its wisdom did not come to know God. That was the plan. God instead was well pleased through the foolishness of the message of the cross that we preach to save those who believe. What does Paul say in there? It’s part of the plan that you couldn’t understand in your human mind. God planned it and knew it would work like this, that you could go as deep as you want to and receive all the PhDs that the world can give you and you will never receive a degree called salvation because the human mind can’t get you there.

It was God who revealed salvation in his son through the gospel that you must accept, and it was also God’s plan to send that message of the gospel to the winds of the earth through you. Talk about something that’s dangerous and maybe even a little foolish if you think about it. Why would God entrust us, as messed up as we are, and as sinful as we are, to take the most important message to the ends of the earth? I’ll tell you why. It’s his plan. It’s not your job to completely grasp it. It’s your job to obey it.

It’s foolishness and it’s foolish of men to think that they can completely grasp God on their own. For both Jew and the gentile, the problem may have looked different, but it was the same. It was pride. To the Jew, it was their elitist pride that did not allow them to accept a crucified Messiah. That was like saying frozen fire. I mean they just couldn’t get it. It was in the gentile mind, their prideful intelligence that could not accept the salvation that they couldn’t completely dissect and that they couldn’t completely explain.

Church, human pride is that the basis of all wrong views of the gospel and human pride is at the basis of all unbelief. So what human pride is keeping you from believing today is the question. Isn’t it pride that keeps you from admitting that you’ve done wrong? Is it not pride to keep you from saying that you’re doing something in your life that’s breaking God’s heart? Is it the pride of not being able to completely grasp the complexity of God or the cross that keeps you from believing? Is it pride that keeps you from admitting that you’re weak and need a savior?

If so, I would encourage you to let go of your human wisdom. Church, let go of your human pride and humbly come to God and Christ. Stop letting the foolishness of the world color your view of God, his ways, and the gospel that he gave to save you. So don’t view the cross as a stumbling block. I don’t want you to do that. Don’t view the cross as a joke. It’s not. Instead, look with me at the final view. I call it the Christian view. View the cross as the very power that fuels your life.

Look at verse 24. But to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God. Too many in our world today, I know that the cross is countercultural, meaning it’s going against the grain of culture, but I’ll tell you something else that the cross is. It’s cross cultural. What does that mean? It means that crosses every culture, every ethnic group, every language, every piece of land that’s separated by water, every color of skin, every financial status. The gospel is the great equalizer and the gospel is the great unifier.

That’s what the cross does. It brings us together and it puts us all on the same level. See the cross for what it is. It’s what gives hope to the hopeless and direction to the lost. It surpasses all human wisdom. In fact, if you want to know the wisdom of God, you have to look to the cross. If you want to see the power of God, you have to look to the cross. If you want to understand the mind of God, you have to make efforts to understand the message of the cross, and if you want to feel God’s love for you, you have to see Jesus Christ hanging on the cross for you despite you.

That’s the definition of love. And it was in 1707 when Isaac Watts first published the great hymn that encourages millions still today called At The Cross, and I just want to read a few lines because it expresses how my heart feels at the end of a passage like this.

Isaac Watts says, “Alas, did my savior bleed and did my sovereign die. Will he devote that sacred head for such a worm as I? Was it for crimes that I have done that he groaned upon that tree? Amazing pity, grace unknown, and love beyond degree, but drops of grief can never repay the debt of love I owe. Here Lord, I give myself away. ‘Tis all that I can do. At the cross, at the cross is where I first saw the light and the burden of my heart was rolled away. It was there, by faith, that I received my sight and now I’m happy all the day.”

Church, it’s at the cross where hope and true wisdom is found.