Sermon 3218. Preaching Christ Crucified
A SERMON PUBLISHED ON THURSDAY, OCTOBER 6, 1910.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON, ON LORD'S-DAY EVENING, AUGUST 23, 1863.
"But we preach Christ crucified." 1 Corinthians 1:23.
IN the verse preceding our text, Paul writes, "The Jews require a sign." They said, "Moses worked miracles; let us see miraclesworked and then we will believe," forgetting that all the wonders that Moses worked were altogether eclipsed by those whichJesus worked while He was upon the earth in the flesh. Then there were certain Judaizing teachers who, in order to win theJews, preached circumcision, exalted the Passover and endeavored to prove that Judaism might still exist side by side withChristianity-and that the old rites might still be practiced by the followers of Christ. So Paul, who was made all thingsto all men that he might by all means save some, put his foot down and said, in effect, "Whatever others may do, we preachChrist crucified-we dare not, we cannot and we will not alter the great subject matter of our preaching, Jesus Christ, andHim crucified.
Then he added, "and the Greeks seek after wisdom." Corinth was the very eyes of Greece and the Corinthian Greeks sought afterwhat they regarded as wisdom-that is to say, the wisdom of this world, not the wisdom of God which Paul preached! The Greeksalso treasured the memory of the eloquence of Demosthenes and other famous orators. And they seemed to think that true wisdommust be proclaimed with the graces of masterly elocution-but Paul writes to these Corinthian Greeks, "I determined not toknow anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing wordsof man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men butin the power of God."
Now, in these days there are some who would be glad if we would preach anything except Christ crucified! Perhaps the mostdangerous among them are those who are continually crying out for intellectual preaching, by which they mean preaching whichneither the heavens nor the preachers, themselves, can comprehend-the kind of preaching which has little or nothing to dowith the Scripture and which requires a dictionary rather than a Bible to explain it! These are the people who are continuallyrunning about and asking, "Have you heard our minister? He gave us a wonderful discourse last Sunday morning! He quoted Hebrew,Greek and Latin. He gave us some charming pieces of poetry-in fact it was altogether an intellectual treat!" Yes, and I haveusually found that such intellectual treats lead to the ruination of souls. That is not the kind of preaching that God generallyblesses to the salvation of souls and, therefore, even though others may preach the philosophy of Plato or adopt the argumentsof Aristotle, we preach Christ crucified, the Christ who died for sinners, the people's Christ and, "we preach Christ crucified"in simple language, in plain speech such as the common people can understand!
I am going to try to put our text into practice by telling you, first, what we preach Secondly, to whom we preach it And,thirdly, how we preach it
I. First of all, WHAT WE PREACH. Paul is the model for all preachers and he says, "We preach Christ crucified."
In order to preach the Gospel fully, there must be a very clear description of the Person of Christ, and we preach Christas God-not a man made into a God, nor a God degraded to the level of a man, not something between a man and a God, but, "veryGod of very God." He is One with His Father in every attribute-eternal, having neither beginning of days, nor end of years.Omnipresent, filling all space. Omnipotent, having all power in Heaven and on earth. Omniscient, knowing all things from eternity-thegreat Creator, Preserver and Judge of all-in all things the equal and the express Image of the invisible God! If we err concerningthe Deity of Christ, we err everywhere! The Gospel that
does not reveal a Divine Savior is no Gospel at all-it is like a ship without a rudder-the first contrary wind that blowsshall drive it to destruction and woe be to the souls that are trusting to it! No shoulders but those almighty ones whichbear the earth's huge pillars can ever carry the enormous weight of human guilt and human need. We preach to you Christ, theSon of Mary, once sleeping in His mother's arms, yet the Infinite even while He was an Infant! Christ the reputed Son of Joseph,toiling in the carpenter's shop, yet being all the while the God who made the heavens and the earth! Christ, who had nowhereto lay His head, the despised and rejected of men, who is, nevertheless, "over all, God forever." Christ nailed to the accursedtree, bleeding at every pore and dying on the Cross, yet, living forevermore. Christ suffering agonies that are indescribable,yet being at the same time the God at whose right hand there are pleasures forevermore. If Christ had not been Man, He couldnot have sympathized with you and me, nor could He have suffered in our place. How could He have been the Covenant Head ofthe sons and daughters of Adam if He had not been made in all points like them, except that He was without sin? With thatone exception, He was just as we are-bone of our bone, and flesh of our flesh-yet He was as truly God as He was Man, the Oneof whom Isaiah was Inspired to prophesy, "His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father,The Prince of Peace." So, in preaching Christ crucified, we preach the Glory of Heaven conjoined with the beauty of earth-theperfection of humanity united with the Glory and dignity of Deity!
Then, next, we must very clearly preach Christ as the Messiah, the Sent One of God. It had long been foretold that a greatDeliverer would come who would be "a light to lighten the Gentiles," and to be the Glory of His people, Israel, and Jesusof Nazareth was that promised Deliverer, of whom Moses in the Law and the Prophets did write. He was sent of God to be theSavior of sinners. He took not this office upon Himself without authority, but He could truly say, "Lo, I come: in the volumeof the Book it is written of Me, I delight to do Your will, O My God." He became the Substitute for sinners, but this didnot happen accidentally, but by Divine Decree, for we read, "the Lord has laid upon Him the iniquity of us all." A priestunordained, a prophet unsent of God, a king without Divine authority would have been only a mockery-but our great High Priestwas Divinely anointed, our peerless Prophet was sent of God and our king is King of kings and Lord of lords, rightly rulingas the Eternal Son of the Eternal Father! Sinner, this Truth of God should bring you hope and comfort-the Christ whom we preachis the Lord's Anointed! And what He does, He does by God's appointment. When He says to you, "Come unto Me, all you that laborand are heavy laden, and I will give you rest," He speaks for His Father as well as for Himself, for He has the warrant ofthe Eternal to support His declaration! Therefore, come confidently to Him and put your trust in Him!
When the preacher has laid a good solid foundation by preaching the Person of Christ and the Messiahship of Christ, he mustgo on to preach the work of Christ. I can only give a brief summary of what would take all eternity to expound. We must sopreach as to show how, in the Everlasting Covenant, Christ stood as the Surety and Representative of His people and how, inthe fullness of time, He came forth from the ivory palaces dressed in the garments of flesh-and how He first worked out anactive righteousness by the perfect obedience of His daily life-and at the last worked out a passive righteousness by Hissufferings and death upon the Cross. Beginning at the Incarnation, going on to the great work of Redemption, telling of Christ'sburial, Resurrection, Ascension, intercession before His Father's Throne and glorious Second Coming, we have a theme thatangels might well covet-a theme that may well awaken hope in the sinner's heart!
But it is especially Christ crucified whom we are to preach. His wounds and bruises remind us that we must tell you that "Hewas wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and withHis stripes we are healed." It is at Calvary that salvation is to be found! Where Jesus bowed His head and gave up the ghost,He overcame the powers of darkness and opened the Kingdom of Heaven to all Believers! There is one word that every true servantof Christ must be able to speak very distinctly-that word is Substitution. I believe that Substitution is the keyword to alltrue theology-Christ standing in the place of sinners and numbered with the transgressors because of their transgressions,not His own-Christ paying our debts and discharging all our liabilities. This Truth of God involves, of course, our takingChrist's place as He took ours, so that all Believers are beloved, accepted, made heirs of God and, in due time, shall beglorified with Christ forever! Brother ministers, whatever you fail to preach, make your hearers always clearly understandthat there is a Divine and all-sufficient Substitute for sinners-and that all who put their trust in Him shall be eternallysaved!
When we have preached Christ thus, we must also preach His offices. We must preach Him as the one great High Priest who alwayslives to make intercession for us. We must preach Him as the Prophet whose words are Divine and, therefore, come to us withan authority that cannot be set aside. And we must mind that we always preach Him as King, putting the crown of praise uponHis royal head and claiming from His people the unfaltering allegiance and loyalty of their hearts-and the undivided serviceof their lives!
We must also preach the qualifications of Christ for His offices. Is He a Husband? We must tell how loving and how tenderHe is. Is He a Shepherd? We must proclaim His patience, His power, His perseverance-and we must especially tell of His self-sacrificinglove in laying down His life for His sheep. Is He a Savior? We must show how He is able to save them to the uttermost thatcome unto God by Him. We must talk much of the gentleness that will not break the bruised reed, nor quench the smoking flax.We must delight to speak of Christ as bending over the broken in heart, binding up their wounds and having His ears alwaysopen to hear the cry of a contrite spirit! It is the Character of Christ that is the magnet that attracts sinners to Himself-andupon this blessed theme one might go on speaking forever! When Rutherford was talking of the beauties of the Christ whom heloved so dearly, one of his hearers was compelled to cry out, "Now, mon, you are on the right string, keep to that!" And,indeed, this is a theme that might stir the stammerer to speak with power and make the very dumb to be eloquent for Christ!Oh, how glorious is our blessed Lord! With the spouse we may well say, "Yes, He is altogether lovely." We cannot exaggerateHis excellence and charms and it must be our constant aim to paint such a portrait of Him that sinners may fall in love withHim and trust Him to save them with His great salvation!
We must mind that we always preach Christ as the sinner's only hope. In the olden times, there were certain simpletons whosought after a universal remedy for all diseases-a catholicon. But their search was in vain. All the advertisements of quackmedicines that ever deceived silly people will never convince sensible folk that such a catholicon for all the diseases towhich flesh is heir has ever been or will ever be discovered. Yet there is a catholicon for the diseases of the soul, andthat catholicon is Christ! Be your disease what it may-the raging fever of lust, the shivering fits of doubts and fears, orthe fell consumption of despair-Jesus Christ can heal you! Whatever form sin may take-whether it is the blind eye, or thedeaf ear, or the hard, stony heart, or the dull, seared conscience-there is a medicine in the veins of Jesus that we may wellcall the Divine Heal-All! No case that was ever submitted to Christ has baffled His skill and He is still "mighty to save."We must be very clear in telling the sinner that there is no hope for him anywhere else but in Christ. Nine out of ten ofthe arrows in a minister's quiver ought to be shot at the sinner's good works, for these are his worst enemies. That "deadlydoing" that needs to be cast "down at Jesus' feet"-that trying to be or to feelsomethingin order that they may save themselves-thisis the curse of many! O Sinner, if from the crown of your head to the soles of your feet, there is no sound part in you, butyou are full of wounds, bruises and putrefying sores, yet, if you will but believe in Jesus, He will make you whole everywhit, and you shall go your way a sinner saved by Grace!
We must also preach Christ as the Christian's only joy. We needed Christ as a life buoy when we were sinking in the wavesof sin, but we need Him to be our meat and our drink, now that He has brought us safely to land. When we were sick throughsin, we needed Christ as medicine, but now that He has restored our soul, we need Him as our continual nourishment. Thereis no lack which a Christian ever has which Christ cannot fully supply and there is nothing in Christ which is not usefulto a Christian. You know that some things that we have are good, but they are not altogether of service to us. For instance,fruit is good, but there is the skin to be pared off and the seed to be thrown away. But when Christ gives Himself to us,we may take the whole of Him and enjoy Him to our heart's content! Everything Christ is and everything Christ has, is ours.Therefore, Christian, make a covenant with your hands that you will lay hold on Christ's Cross for your only confidence! Makea covenant with your eyes that you will look nowhere for light but to the Sun of Righteousness! Make a covenant with yourwhole being that it shall be crucified with Christ and then be taken up to Heaven to live and reign with Him forever! Yes,let this be the utterance of your heart-
"You, O Christ, are all I need, More than all in You I find."
II. Now, secondly, TO WHOM ARE WE TO PREACH THIS?
Possibly, one Brother says, "You ought to preach Christ to the elect" But how are we to know who are the elect? I read a sermon,some time ago, in which the minister said, "I have been preaching to the living in Zion-the rest of you
are dead and I have nothing to say to you. The election has obtained it and the rest are blinded." Preachers of that sorthave life to preach to the living, medicine to prescribe for those who are whole, but what is the good of that? Fancy Peterstanding up with the 11 on the day of Pentecost and saying to the crowd gathered around them, "I do not know how many of youwho are here are elect, but I have to say to you that the election has obtained it and the rest are blinded." How many wouldhave been converted and added to the Church through such a message as that? Now Peter was, at that time, filled with the Spirit-andit was by Divine Inspiration that he preached Christ crucified to the whole of that mixed multitude and then, when they werepricked in their heart and cried out, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" He was equally Inspired when he answered, "Repent,and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift ofthe Holy Spirit."
I mean to do as Peter did, for I regard Christ's commission to His disciples as binding upon us today-"Go you into all theworld, and preach the Gospel to every creature." I cannot tell whether every creature to whom I preach is elect or not, butit is my business to preach the Gospel to all whom I can reach, resting assured that all of them whom God has chosen untoeternal life will certainly accept it! When a certain clergyman asked the Duke of Wellington, "Does Your Grace think it isany use preaching the Gospel to the Hindus?" he simply replied, "What are your marching orders?" As a soldier, he believedin obeying orders. And when the clergyman answered that the orders were, "Preach the Gospel to every creature," the Duke said,"Then your duty is quite clear. Obey your Master's orders and don't you trouble, about anybody else's opinions."
The main business of a true minister is to preach the Gospel to sinners and he is never so happy as when he is preaching tothose who know themselves to be sinners! When he is preaching to those who are self-righteous, he is in great trouble aboutthe effect of his message, for he fears that it may prove to be a savor of death unto death to them. But when he meets withthose who sorrowfully confess that they are guilty, lost and undone, then he rejoices in hope of blessed results from hispreaching. He feels that he is now among fish that will soon take the bait, so he drops his line into the river and soon hasthe joy of bringing many to land! He knows that bread is always sweetest to hungry men and that even bitter medicine willbe eagerly swallowed by the man who its very ill and who longs to be cured. He understands that it is the naked that needto be clothed and the penniless who clamor for alms. O Sinners, if you realize that you are foul and vile, full of all mannerof evil, with nothing of your own that is worthy to be called good-and if you are longing to be delivered from evil of everysort and to be made holy as God is holy, I am glad that my Master has given me in His Word such a message as this for you-"Ifwe confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
Still, a true minister of Christ will not confine his preaching to sinners who are sensible of their guilt, but he will preachthe Gospel to sinners of all ages. To the young, whose lives have not yet been defiled by the vices of age, he preaches Christcrucified as the children's Savior and he is glad, indeed, when the boys and the girls trust in Jesus and are saved. To youwho have reached middle life, he preaches Christ crucified as the balm for every wound, the cordial for all care and thankfulis he when you, also, are saved by Grace through faith in Jesus! To the old and gray-headed, to the decrepit, to those onthe very verge of the tomb, he still preaches Christ crucified! If he could find a sinner who had reached the age of Methuselah,he would have the same Gospel to preach to him, for he knows that there is no Savior but the crucified Christ of Calvary!And he also knows that, old or young, or if neither old nor young-all who trust Him are immediately saved and saved forever!
And as he preaches Christ to sinners of every age, he also preaches Christ to sinners of every rank. He has nothing betterthan Christ to preach to queens, princes and nobles-and he has nothing less than Christ to preach to peasants, artisans, orpaupers-Christ crucified for men of letters and learning and Christ crucified equally for the ignorant and illiterate!
He also preaches Christ to sinners of every sort, even to the atheist, the man who says there is no God! He bids him believeand live. He preaches Christ to the openly profane. When they pause for a while in their swearing, he tells them of that greatoath which God has sworn, "As I live, says the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked: but that the wickedturn from his way and live." We preach Christ to the harlots in the street and oh, how joyfully have many of them receivedHim and how gladly have they found cleansing from their foul stains in Jesus' precious blood! We preach
Christ to the drunk, for we believe that nothing but the Grace of God can rescue him from his degradation and sin-and manysuch sinners haves we seen reclaimed by the Gospel!
The preaching of Christ crucified, the lifting up of the dying Son of God, "as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness,"has power enough to turn the whole world upside down and to change innumerable sinners into saints, so we mean to keep onpreaching Christ to all sinners of all sorts! We do not intend to leave out one, not even you, my Friend, who think you areleft out, or ought to be left out. We know that there is a Book of Life before the Throne of God and that no more names canbe written there-they were all recorded before the foundation of the world when the Father gave to Christ those who are tobe eternally His. We cannot mount up to Heaven to read the names that are written there, but we believe the list containsmillions upon millions of names of those who have not yet trusted in Christ, so we mean to keep on preaching Christ to sinnersof every age, of every rank, of every sort, of every degree of blackness and vileness! And we believe that "there is yet room,"there is yet mercy for the miserable, there is yet forgiveness for the guilty who will come and trust in Jesus Christ andHim crucified!
III. Now, lastly, HOW OUGHT WE TO PREACH CHRIST CRUCIFIED?
I think, first, we ought to preach Christ very boldly. I recollect a young man going into a pulpit to address a small congregation,and he began by saying that he hoped they would pardon his youth and forgive his impertinence in coming to speak to them.Some foolish old gentleman said, "How humble that young man is to talk like that!" But another, who was wiser, though he wasyounger, said, "What a dishonor to his Lord and Master! If God sent him with a message to these people, what does it matterwhether he is young or old? Such mock modesty as that is out of place in the pulpit." I think that second man was right andthe first one wrong. A true minister of the Gospel is an ambassador for Christ and do our ambassadors go to foreign courtswith apologies for carrying messages from their sovereign? It would be a gross insult to the crown of these realms if theyshowed such humility as that in their official capacity! Let ministers of the Gospel keep their modesty for other occasionswhen it ought to be manifested, but let them not dishonor their Master and discredit His message as that silly young man did!When we preach Christ crucified, we have no reason to stammer, or stutter, or hesitate, or apologize-there is nothing in theGospel of which we have any cause to be ashamed! If a minister is not sure about his message, let him keep quiet till he issure about it! We believe and, therefore, we speak with the accent of conviction! If I have not proved the power of the Gospelin my own heart and life, I am a base impostor to be standing in this pulpit to preach that Gospel to others! But as I domost assuredly know that I am saved by Grace through faith in Jesus Christ, and as I feel certain that I have been Divinelycalled to preach His Gospel-
"Shall I for fear of feeble man, The Spirit's course in me restrain? Or undismayed in deed and word, Be a true witness formy Lord?"
But while we preach Christ boldly, we must also preach Him affectionately. There must be great love in our proclamation ofthe Truth of God. We must not hesitate to point out to sinners the state of ruin to which sin has brought them. And we mustclearly set before them the Divinely-appointed remedy. But we must mingle a mother's tenderness with a father's sternness.Paul was like both mother and father, in a spiritual sense, in his ministry. He wrote to the Galatians, "My little children,of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you." And to the Corinthians he wrote, "In Christ Jesus I havebegotten you through the Gospel." And every true minister of Christ can, in his measure, sympathize with him in both thoseexperiences. Yes, Sinners, we do, indeed, love you! Often our heart is well-near broken with the longing we have to see yousaved! We wish we could preach to you with Baxter's tearful eyes-no, rather with the Savior's melting heart and all-consumingzeal!
Then, next, we must preach Christ only. With Paul, every true minister ought to be able to say to his hearers, "I determinednot to know anything among you save Jesus Christ and Him crucified." The preacher must never mix up anything else with theGospel. Every time he preaches, he must still have the same old theme, "Jesus Christ and Him crucified." Christ is the Alphaof the Gospel and He is the Omega, too! The first letter of the Gospel alphabet and the last let-ter-and all the letters inbetween! It must be Christ, Christ, CHRIST from beginning to end! There must be no work-mongering or anything else mixed upwith Christ! There must be no daubing with untempered mortar in our building upon Christ, the one Foundation that is laidonce for all!
The preacher must also mind that he preaches Christ very simply. He must break up his big words and long sentences and prayagainst the temptation to use them. It is usually the short, dagger-like sentence that does the work best. A true servantof Christ must never try to let the people see how well he can preach. He must never go out of his way to drag a pretty pieceof poetry in his sermon, nor to introduce some fine quotations from the classics. He must employ a simple, homely style, orsuch a style as God has given him. And he must preach Christ so plainly that his hearers can not only understand him, butthat they cannot misunderstandhim even if they try to do so!
Now as the time has gone, I must close by saying that we must try to preach Christ savingly. O Sinners, I would that you wouldtrust Christ this very moment! Do you realize how great your danger is? Unconverted Soul, you are standing, as it were, overthe mouth of Hell on a single plank-and that plank is rotten! Man, you may be in your grave before another Sabbath dawns andthen, if unsaved, you will be in Hell! Beware lest you are taken away unprepared, for if that is your unhappy lot, there willbe no ransom that can deliver your lost soul from going down to the Pit! See your need of Christ, Sinner, and lay hold ofHim by faith! None but Christ can save you! Christ is the Way! You may go about all your days trying to find another entranceto Heaven, but you will not find it for this is the only one. Why will you not come to God by Christ? Why are you so ungratefulas to despise the long-suffering mercy of God? Will not the goodness of God lead you to repentance? Shall Christ die for sinnersand yet will you, O Sinner, turn away from Him who alone can give you life? If you will but trust Him, He will save you! Yoursins, which are many, shall all be forgiven you! You shall be adopted into the family of God and in due time you shall findyourself in Heaven to go no more out forever! If you would be happy. If you would enjoy the peace that passes all understanding.If you would have two heavens-a Heaven below and a Heaven above-trust in Jesus, Sinner, trust in Jesus this very moment! Gonot out of this building unsaved. One believing look will bring you salvation, for-
"There is life for a look at the Crucified One! There is life at this moment for thee. Then look, Sinner-look unto Him andbe saved- Unto Him who was nailed to the tree." Look unto Him, look unto Him now! May the Holy Spirit enable you to look andlive, for Jesus Christ's sake! Amen.
EXPOSITION BY C. H. SPURGEON: 1 CORINTHIANS 1.
Verses 1, 2. Paul, called to be an Apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, andSosthenes our brother, unto the Churchof God which is at Corinth. Note the humility of Paul in associating with himself an almost unknown Brother, Sosthenes. Althoughthe letter is written by Paul, yet, as if he did not care to stand in isolation even for a moment, he associates Sostheneswith himself in the salutation-"Unto the Church of God which is at Corinth."
2. To them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints. Called to sacred uses, set apart unto God. That is thecall of all Believers-they are like those vessels of the sanctuary which were not to be used by any but the priests of God,and by them only for God's service.
2. With all who in everyplace call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours. That is a very happy phrase,"both theirs and ours." There are multitudes of saints whose faces we never saw, yet Christ is theirs. There are some withwhom we might not agree in all particulars, yet Christ is theirs just as much as He is ours. All Christ is theirs, and allChrist is ours, and here is the grand bond of union between Believers of different nationalities and different tongues.
3. Grace be unto you, and peace from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ Grace first, for that is the fountain.Then peace comes, for that is the fitting stream to flow from the Fountain of Grace. Seek not peace first, for there is nopeace for unregenerate man! Grace first, then peace, and "both must come from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ."
4. I thank my God always on your behalf for the Grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ That is wisely written, forPaul was about to upbraid these Corinthians for many serious faults, yet he begins by acknowledging that they had certainexcellences. It gives you a ground to stand upon if you are willing to see all that is good in those whom you have to rebuke.But Paul did not merely use this as a polite way of commencing his Epistle. He really did, every day,
thank God for the Divine Grace which these Corinthians had! Yet how seldom do we thank God for the Grace that He has givento other people, especially if they outshine us, if they do more for the cause of God than we do-then we half regret thatthey have so much Grace! But it was not so with Paul.
5, 6. That in everything you are enriched by Him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge; even as the testimony of
Christ was confirmed in you [See Sermon #2875, Volume 50-CONFIRMING THE WITNESS OF CHRIST.] The Church at Corinth was an importantChurch, with more than the usual number of speaking men among the members. This led to mischief, but had they known how touse this talent aright, the Church at Corinth might have been of great service! Instead, it split itself up into little partiesand became one of the worst churches that then existed, as certain communities which imitate them in this present day, havealso done.
7, 8. So that you come behind in no gift: waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ: who shall also confirm you untothe end, that we may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ Paul continues to recognize the abundance of their endowmentsand to express for them the utmost of affection. And then he adds his full conviction that God would prove the power of HisGrace by keeping them unto the end, and then presenting them "blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ."
9. God is faithful, by whom you were called unto the fellowship of His Son Jesus Christ our Lord [See Sermon #2580, Volume44-PARTNERSHIP WITH CHRIST.] As Paul wrote to the Thessalo-
nians, "Faithful is He that calls you, who also will do it." To be called by the faithful God is the guarantee of everlastingsalvation!
10. Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name ofour Lord Jesus Christ, thatyou allspeak the same thing, and that there be nodivisions among you; but that you be perfectly joined together in the same kind and in the same judgment They could not speakthe same thing if they had not the same mind and the same judgment. Paul dreaded the introduction of anything that would dividethe hearts of Believers, one from another, and, Beloved, let every one of us, wherever we go, be on the side of Christiantruth, Christian unity and Christian love. There is no true unity outside of Truth of God and the nearest way to Christianunion is union in the Truth of God! When error shall be destroyed, that which divides will be taken away. When Truth is dominant,union will be universal, but it will not be so before that is the case.
11. For it has been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by they which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentionsamong you.He does not go beating about the bush, but he speaks straight out and gives the name of his informants, for personswho bring reports about others should always be ready to have their names mentioned. It may be unpleasant for them, but itis sometimes necessary to do unpleasant things and those who will not allow their names to be mentioned in connection witha statement adverse to character, deserve no notice whatever.
12. Now this Isay, that every one ofyou says, I am ofPaul; andIof Apollos; andIof Cephas; andIof Christ. The last were asbad as the others-it makes no difference what the party name is-for it may only thinly conceal the most sectarian spirit tosay, "I am of Christ."
13. Is Christ divided?Paul begins with that, for it is the worst of all divisions to make Christ the head of a party in Hisown Church!
13-16. Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name ofPaul? I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispusand Gaius, lest any should say that I had baptized in my own name. AndI baptized also the household of Stephanas: besidesI know not whether I baptized any othei. Paul considered that it was a Providential circumstance that He had baptized no moreof them, else they would have cried themselves up as superior to those who had been baptized by others.
17. For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the Gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the Cross of Christ shouldbe made of no effect.It is true that Baptism is in the original commission of all Christ's servants, but it occupies a verysecondary place compared with the preaching of the Gospel! It was an evil day when the Christian Church began to put ritesbefore doctrines, and ceremonies in the place that should be occupied by the Gospel, itself! Paul therefore says that hismain commission was "not to baptize, but to preach the Gospel."
18-20 For the preaching of the Cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Whereis the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this world? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?IndeedHe has! He has let it run the full length of its tether so that we may see the folly that can be taught by wise men!
21. For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching tosave them that believe. Not by foolish preaching, but by that preaching which men call foolishness.
22. For the Jews require a sign. They were always looking for supernatural manifestations.
22. And the Greeks seek after wisdom. They would believe nothing but what could be proved to them by logic.
23-25. But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness; but unto them whichare called, both Jews and Greeks, Christis thepower ofGod, and the wisdom ofGod. Because the foolishness of God is wiser thanmen; and the weakness of God is stronger than men They call it foolishness, but it is wiser than men's wisdom! God at Hislowest (if we can imagine such a thing) is wiser than man at his highest "and the weakness of God (if such a thing could be)is stronger than men."
26-28. For you see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble arecalled: but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God has chosen the weak things of thisworld to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, has God chosen,yes, and things which are not, to bring to nothing things that are. [See Sermon #587, Volume io-god's
STRANGE CHOICE.] Those that do not even seem to have an existence-those that are so despicable that men do not deign to takeany account of them-these are the very ones with which God shall break in pieces the many mighty errors of all the ages!
29-31 That no flesh should glory in His Presence. But of Him are you in Christ Jesus, who ofGod is made unto us wisdom, andrighteousness, and sanctifcation, and redemption: that, according as it is written, He that gloried, let him glory in theLord.