Monday, December 22, 2008

A stumbling block and foolishness.

1Co 1:23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness;
The first century church was used in some incredible ways by God, on one occasion God used street preachers to save over three thousand people on one day, other times He used miracles and signs and wonders Men of God preached the truth regardless of their surrounding conditions and God used them for the conversion of souls and the glorifying of Himself. However Paul knew that God uses means and tools to bring about His will, and he knew that there was a great difference between the Jews and the Greeks. When Paul preached to his own people, the Jews, he was preaching to a group of people that understood the creation of the world, the fall of man, the universality of sin, the truths of God's interaction with men, and the inerrancy of the scriptures. So then when he preached Christ, and Him crucified to the Jews, they understood everything he was saying; the problem was they did not want to believe it because that would mess up their idea of getting to heaven through good works and personal sacrifices. On the other hand, when Paul preached to the Greeks he was preaching to a culture that was completely humanistic. The Greeks believed in many gods, none of them all powerful, in fact they believed that most of their gods were simply highly evolved men. So when the gospel was preached to the Greeks, it could not simply be said, "believe on Jesus, the son of God, to save you from your sins." The Greeks would throw this off as the empty babbling of unlearned men because they had no idea what the true meaning of "believe" was, they had no idea what was meant by a singular God and His son, they didn't understand what "sin" was. So Paul rightly classified the Jews as those who didn't want to believe, and the Greeks as those who could not believe.
Now what is the point of all this? How does it apply to us today? It has a great application in how we, as Christians, present the gospel. Most of us are too frightened or ashamed to ever present the gospel at all, but if and when we do, I'm afraid we go about it all wrong. We have to identify which culture we live in, not in order to pamper to it and become more like it, but so we know how to approach it with the gospel. Contrary to popular belief, not everyone in the bible belt is a christian and further more not everyone in the bible belt even understands some of the most foundational truths about the bible. This used to be a largely "Jewish" culture (meaning that the majority of people understood the fundamentals of the scriptures). There was prayer not only in school but at almost every public event, the bible was taken seriously and taught as fact, most people attended church at least sporadically if not frequently. The make up of this country has changed drastically over the past 100 years. There is now no mention of anything remotely christian allowed in any public place, evolution is taught as fact in our education system, the scripture is ridiculed and quickly disposed of by anyone with any aspirations of national acclaim and recognition. We are living today in the picture of a Greek culture. If the gospel is to be heard and accepted by our culture, we must start relaying the foundations, reteaching the authority of scripture, reinforcing the truth of man's depravity and God holiness, rebuilding the fortress of salvation through Christ alone. Otherwise, our preaching will continue to be rejected as foolishness and we will be found as unwise stewards of what God has given us, holding the truth in unrighteousness.


  1. Very Good!!! I love it when people understand the importance of always going back to the foundation... and in this sense, going back to the true and only foundation. It is so true (and too often true) that those who are giving the Gospel to men don't understand why this blinded man is not understanding. That is one reason why so many people resort back to the "Jesus, I take you" method. Thanks for showing us once again what true Salvation is, and what the true foundation is! Thanks, your posts always inspire me!

  2. There is going to come a day when I tune in and find that there is nothing for my soul...surely...because you are but a man. But so far, that has never happened...thank you for continuing to operate as a genuine word-smyth...