Today we start the book of 1 Corinthians! – This is what God gave me today in his word:
What I mean is that each one of you says, “I follow Paul,” or “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Cephas,” or “I follow Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, so that no one may say that you were baptized in my name. (I did baptize also the household of Stephanas. Beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized anyone else.) (1 Corinthians 1:12-16)
So what’s the problem here? The church is divided, some people over here say, “we follow Paul” while the guy over there says, “I follow Christ” and even still the guy in the corner claims to follow Apollos (the disciple of Jesus, not the, “god”). So why exactly is this wrong? Because Paul isn’t Christ, and neither is Apollos, or Cephas… Not only that, but this issue was of course, dividing the church! This is the issue Paul is addressing with the Corinthians, and how does Paul go about addressing it?
First, how does Paul address this issue with the Corinthians? … So that we can learn and avoid such problems.
For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. (1 Corinthians 1:17-18)
He addresses it, typical of Paul, with the Gospel of Christ. But why does Paul consider now an appropriate time to bring the Gospel into the situation? Wouldn’t it be better to concoct a fancy, reasonable and rational speech that the Corinthians would have no choice but to listen to, and obey? No, it wouldn’t be better, as Paul himself brings out. The power isn’t in the words, it’s in the Gospel! That’s why Paul seems to “consider” every situation and problem a pretty good time to bring out the Gospel, because it’s what fixes the problem(s)!
For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.” Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but 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. (1 Corinthians 1:19-24)
This is Paul’s point, that it’s foolish to follow anyone but Jesus and him because he died to give us life… Paul addresses the problem with the Corinthians, by calling it foolish. More importantly than his calling it foolish however, he helps them fix the problem by giving them the means to do so.
Second, we now know how Paul addresses the issue but how does he help them fix it? … Pretty much just as important as the first question.
For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. (1 Corinthians 1:25)
Paul gives them the, quote, “foolishness” of God. Which is as I already mentioned the Gospel, to help them fix it. He, through his words, tells them how to fix the division in the church, by being united in the Gospel. But of course, the question which I’m sure you’re no doubt thinking of now, comes, “How can the simple seeming knowledge that Christ died and rose again to save you, bring a church together?” Because in this case, the problem they were having, was with the people of the church, following different people. In essence Paul says, “what I says, what they say, it’s foolishness! But out of that foolishness comes the Gospel, which is the power of Christ to salvation.”
This is the point. What I say (and/or type), what Paul said, what any man says is worthless, without any real power to save, change, or effect the heart of anyone. However, through the power of the cross; the power of the Gospel of Christ, people can and will change (be saved). This is the point Paul was trying to get through to the Corinthians: the Gospel! The Gospel is the most important thing and should be treated as such. In the Corinthians case it brought unity to the church because of the reasons I’ve already mentioned, but it also “fixes” our problems too!
You are Loved!