Cross Fit – Week 1 (The Foolishness of The Cross)
Jason White


The finished work of Jesus on the cross is the crux of Christianity.  We must understand the power of the cross, what happened there, and what it means for us today!

In 1 Corinthians 1:18, the apostle Paul says, “For 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.”




Sermon Audio Transcript
“CrossFit” Series (Week 1 – Discover the Cross)1 Corinthians 1:18-2:5ME – So, I hope that you had a great Christmas and New Year’s Day…I have really enjoyed having some family time and just a time to relax…it’s been great for us…I got to play a little golf, do some fishing, watch some movies, hang out w/my family…so thankful for that time off…but I’m ready to get back to work and ready to dive into this new year! Speaking of…how are you doing w/those NY resolutions? Still going strong on day 2? Already failed? Never made any lol?So regardless of where you stand on those right now, it certainly is the time of year where a lot of us are thinking about our lives…looking back over this past year and evaluating where we are at in life compared to where we want to be…and how to get there. And one of the phrases that has become kind of popular and that a lot of people are using when thinking about these kinds of things is “living my best life.” People will share pictures of something they are doing and say, “living my best life,” or as we are thinking about this new year, we might say “I’m gonna live my best life in 2022”…And again as we say that we are thinking about what we need to change and what we need to do differently in order to make that happen…in order to be able to truly live our best life…and while we are thinking about these things, there are certainly a lot of people out in our world who are trying to get our attention and tell us how we can actually make that happen…I mean there is no shortage of books/blogs and all kinds of content that gets flashed in front of our faces during this time of year. As a matter of fact, here are some popular book titles that get thrown around this time of year…“The Power of You: How to Live Your Authentic, Exciting, Joy-Filled Life Now,” “Can’t Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds,” “Atomic Habits: Tiny Changes, Remarkable Results,” “Your Best Life Now: 7 Steps to Living at Your Full Potential,” and my favorite title “Girl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies About Who You are So You Can Become Who You Were Meant to Be.” And if you were to pick these books up, let me give you a sampling of what you’d see…“You, and only you, are ultimately responsible for who you become and how happy you are.” (Rachel Hollis)“Life is one big tug-of-war between mediocrity and trying to find your best self.” – David Goggins“You have the ability to change your life. You’ve always had the power... You just have to stop waiting for someone else to do it for you. There is no easy way out of this; there is no life hack. Just you and your God-given strength and how much you desire change.” (Rachel Hollis)“Don’t just accept whatever comes your way in life. You were born to win; you were born for greatness; you were created to be a champion in life”(JO)WE – So, are you ready? You fired up and ready to go “live your best life?” I mean it does sound good, doesn’t it? I mean these quotes are from best-selling books. And they wouldn’t be “best sellers” if people didn’t like what they were reading. These are things we like to hear… someone else who has made a big name for themselves telling us if we try harder like them that we can make a name for ourselves too! That we can “live our best life.”But here is the question I want us to think about, “Is trying harder, cutting certain things out of our lives, and implementing new habits what will give you your best life?” I mean it does sound right to most of us I think, and honestly it can be a msg we hear in church…Here’s a quote from one best-selling pastoral author…“No matter how many times you get knocked down, keep getting back up. God sees your resolve. He sees your determination. And when you do everything you can do, that’s when God will step in and do what you can’t do.” (JO)So, according to one pastor this kind of thing is some good advice, to try harder…have more resolve to cut things and implement other new things… b/c when we do it’s the thing that God sees and will cause Him to want to step in and get us over the top. But is it true? Is this what the Bible actually teaches? Well, let’s find out. Please turn to 1 Cor. 1:18… GOD Paul is writing to a group of Christians who were being heavily influenced by the culture they lived in which valued human wisdom. They looked to leaders & those who stood out in society b/c they showed signs of wisdom & were eloquent in their speech…& w/that going on in the culture & creeping into the church, look what Paul says in v. 1818 For 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.In other words, the idea of God, who Jesus claimed to be dying on a cross is absolutely foolish to most people. B/C if you are really God who is an all powerful being and you die in a humiliating, weak way like on a cross then some “God” you are. And also the message Jesus sent was that He was dying on that cross because we couldn’t save ourselves…we couldn’t do anything about the problem of sin in our lives…and that just seems foolish to most people…b/c first, we don’t think of ourselves as that bad (we look around and find people who are making a mess of their lies and think, “I’m a pretty good person). So we just don’t see it usually. But here’s the other reason the cross sounds foolish…even if we do start to sense that we aren’t doing very well in our lives and that things are wrong with us, we always feel like there is a way out. We can just try harder and we’ll be better…I can follow the 7 steps to make myself into a new me and live my best life! So, the message of the cross is foolish to most, BUT Paul says “to those of us who are being saved it is the power of God.” …When the lights get turned on for us to see that compared to a holy God that we can never make yourself into a new you that would be good enough to merit God allowing you to be in his presence, then you start to get it… “Oh that’s why Jesus had to come, b/c it’s the power by which our sins are forgiven and that bondage gets broken and that I receive eternal life!But again that doesn’t sound as good initially as the worldly wisdom that we always here (I can follow the steps and get myself out of the situation I’m in), so Paul pulls an O.T. quote from the book of Isaiah next in v. 19 and says this…19 For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”Paul is saying that human wisdom and intelligence have nothing on God and through what He accomplished in Christ at the cross destroys the wisest and most intelligent wisdom that we as humans can try to come up with b/c we would have never come up with that…God coming here to die a brutal and humiliating death in order to rescue His creations and put His life in them through the power of the Spirit…No one would have ever come up with that on their own, which shows we aren’t on His scale of wisdom and intelligence. Paul goes on in v. 20…20 Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.In other words, Paul is saying that “through all of the wisdom found out in the world,” the world never came to know Him…never figured God out. Now that’s not to say that people wouldn’t be able to see evidence for the existence of God b/c the Bible tells us that it’s reasonable to look around the world and see evidence for the existence of God, but this is saying that man’s wisdom never resulted in coming to know Him intimately…to be reconciled to Him. But Paul says through the “foolishness of what was preached” that “God was pleased saved those who believe.” God would do the saving…not us…He would do the work and we would just receive. That’s not a popular message! NO, just give me the 7 steps…no I can do this…I want to know I earned it. You mean you are just going to hand it out to anyone who would believe regardless of how they’ve lived their life???That is a stumbling block to people…we stumble over this kind of message b/c the world screams something different… and that is what Paul said was happening in his day too…V. 2222 Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24 but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.So Paul says for the Jews of his day what was imaginable was a God who showed signs of power…if Jesus would have showed up and delivered them in battle against the Roman Empire then that would make sense. Or what was imaginable for those who were Greeks was a God who they could deem to be reasonable through their wisdom. And so Paul says the message of the cross would be a stumbling block to the Jews of his day b/c they were looking for a different kind of Messiah (one who would show them signs of power & he came to be a Suffering Servant)…but this msg would also be foolishness to the Gentiles b/c this was a msg of a God who got himself crucified by his enemies…that is scandalous & outright foolish for someone who was God, an all-powerful beingSo this is what Paul saw in his day, but if you think about it, it is still what goes on in general within our world today! We are looking for God through signs or we are looking to be able to reason God away and fit into our understanding of who He should be!You know what?!? If God would show up right here, I would believe in Him! That’s all he’s got to do!///You know what, my situations/circumstances in life are terrible! If He’d show up and make them better then I’ll believe in Him…HE’S JUST GOT TO SHOW UP AND DO THE SIGNS!“You know this thing can’t be true b/c it just doesn’t make sense that Jesus could be the only way to heaven…there has to be more than one way,” or… “I can’t make sense of a God who would allow suffering in the world so there must not be a God.” IT DOESN’T FIT INTO MY UNDERSTANDING OF WHO GOD SHOULD BE!So the msg of the cross is a stumbling block to many of us today and seems like foolishness to many of us today, but Paul says in v.24 that IT IS ACTUALLY A MESSAGE OF BOTH POWER & WISDOM! It is a message of POWER b/c it overcomes sin & death & gives eternal life, & it is a msg of wisdom b/c it is the only way sinners could ever be reconciled to a holy and perfect God. So b/c of this, in the end Paul is able to say in v. 25… 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength. Amen to that. But listen, I want you to see what Paul goes on to do next, b/c he just keeps showing how the msg of the cross is in direct contradiction to human expectations about God..& he uses the Corinthians as his next example of this…26 Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him. Paul says, “You want further proof that the central message of your Christian faith is in contradiction to what you are looking for in human wisdom and eloquence in speech from others? Then take yourselves as an example! B/C human wisdom would say that if God were impressed by humans then He would have come after those in society who were most wise, the most influential, the most powerful…the ones we lift up on a pedestal! BUT HE CAME AFTER YOU! HA! I mean actually over and over again we see Jesus going to the outcast and the lowly in society, and I think a large part of that was to make sure it was absolutely clear that God is not impressed by “what you make yourself into.” B/C you can’t make yourself into anyone that God is going to be impressed by. God is not impressed by your performance.2022 resolutions… how impressed could he be that you made it to the top of your company? That you were in better shape than 98% of the people in our world? That you made all A’s in high school? I mean you’ve got nothing on Him! But worldly wisdom says, we do…that if we achieve success and live lives well, then we should be justified before God. But Paul says, NO, this would only lead to you being able to boast about yourself and this isn’t about you, it’s about God. Look how Paul finishes this section…30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31 Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”Paul shows them that it is not their worldly wisdom and power that they might achieve that will bring them anything from God…how you achieve your goals…NO, as a matter of fact Paul shows them how much they already have through what Jesus accomplished at the cross! He says that b/c of Jesus’ sacrifice at the cross and b/c you accepted Him into your life through faith, Jesus has become your wisdom already (you are looking for it and you already have it!). And in Christ, you are already righteous (right with God…don’t have to try to make yourself right with Him by how you perform this year). You are already holy (you don’t have to try and make yourself more holy this year b/c you already are holy in Christ!)And he says in Christ you have been redeemed…through the cross Jesus purchased you…paid the price to rescue you from slavery (slavery to sin and death)…and so all that you are searching for you already have in your life through Jesus! So quit looking for it out in the world and by how you perform and try to achieve in life and boast in the Lord! Look at what Paul says next in the first few verses of ch. 2, which is where we’ll conclude…And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. 2 For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.3 I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. 4 My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, 5 so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.YOU – “So that your faith might not rest on human wisdom,”… I wonder how many of us during this time of year are trying to rest on “human wisdom instead of on God’s power through the cross?” How many of us who are Christians, like the Corinthians who understood the initial message of the cross, that we are sinners before a holy God and that we needed Jesus to die for us for forgiveness and to be reconciled to him…that we understood that and received him into our lives, but are now looking around at “human wisdom” to try and make our Christian lives work?We think, “it just makes sense that I can take what all of these people are saying in these self-help books about discipline and hard work and trying harder and add them to my Christian life in order to “live my best life.” (some of these book are on Christian best seller lists)…we put the Christian stamp of approval on the world’s message & add it to the crossBut this is not the message of the cross! Paul said, “we preach Christ crucified.”And so we are going to be going through this message series that we are calling CrossFit. CrossFit as many of you know is a workout plan that many people participate in, especially this time of year when we are trying to get in shape and make ourselves into a better us. And listen, there is nothing against physical exercise…but the real message is that if we want to be “fit,” like not just physically fit, but fit for our entire life then it all starts at the cross! Just as Paul said, “we preach Christ crucified!” This is the central core of Christianity. And not just for initial salvation but to live the Christian life. If you want to “live your best life,” then you have to understand what Jesus accomplished for you at the cross! How your life is radically different than it was before you came to know Him.And as you discover more about the life that you already have in Him, you will quit trying to make yourself into a “new you,” and begin to learn to live out of who you already are through what Jesus accomplished for you at the cross! That you are righteous, that you are holy, that you are redeemed already! And then you can start to live in the victory that has already been achieved for you!So, we are going to be unpacking much more of this as we continue to meet each Sunday, but as suggested place to start we have a 21-day devotional that focuses on the new you that Jesus made you into through His finished work on the cross. I want to encourage you to make a commitment to read through this over the next 21 days and begin discovering more about the new you that you have become. There are other books that would be great to read along w/this series. And also if you really want to dive into God’s word read, start reading thru the epistles (Gal, Eph, Phil, Col)Now some of you are here today but you have never received Jesus into your life. Maybe you came after thinking about your life at the start of this new year and church seemed like a place to get some help from and hey this church is doing a series on “new year, new you.” Maybe I can find out some good advice, some wisdom to help me become a new, better me. But as you’ve heard me say over and over this mng…that’s not the message of the Bible. The message is that you will never be able to make yourself into a good enough you to be in good standing with a holy and perfect God but that God loved you so much that He came to be good enough for you and died in your place so that you could receive Him into your life and allow Him to make you into a new you…the you He created you to be in the first place but that you couldn’t be with sin in your life. And so maybe while that might have sounded like foolishness to you originally, it’s starting to make sense to you this morning b/c God is revealing this truth to you by His Spirit…and as it’s starting to make sense to you, there is this tug/this pull on your heart to respond to this truth…to receive it into your life this morning.