Jealousy & Foundations 1 Cor 3:1-23 : Andrew S

Andrew picks up on what we have learnt from Chapters 1 and 2 that the Corinthian christians had every spiritual blessing but no grounds for boasting and divisions wrought by delusions  of spiritual superiority. The Corinthians thought of themselves as being spiritually superior, in contradiction to the mind of Christ. But Paul describes them as behaving as 'merely human'. 

The only work that matters is work laid upon the foundation of the Lord Jesus.

True spiritual understanding goes hand in hand with character growth. Wisdom does not start with a statement of learning but a statement of relationship.  Prov 9:10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.
The Corinthians problem was not that they were not smart enough; they were just not applying it. Discernment comes from constant practice to discern between good and evil. Heb 5:12-14. If we want the Christian life then we need to live the Christian life.

God's Wisdom 1 Cor 2:1-16 : David S

David looks at question of division in the church that was being caused by the cultural mindset and popularity. Greek philosophy, the quest for knowledge considered that man was ultimate judge of truth and meaning. If men decide what is true then there cannot be any unity because we all believe our own truth to be correct with no room for God. God’s wisdom claims salvation is in Christ alone but man says salvation is found in man. The Cross becomes foolishness to those perishing. Paul presents a God centred message with Christ at the centre,  prepared by God before time.

If we observe that churches are closing down as numbers fall then something in their message isn’t working. The response is to undertake customer focussed re-branding but Paul doesn’t resort to worldly wisdom. He does not get a speech writing or put on a drama or elaborate powerpoint; no! Paul criteria for successful gospel presentation are: be a poor public speaker, be afraid to the point of trembling with no stage presence, but must preach the gospel of Christ crucified and be filled with the power of the Holy Spirit. 

The method God blesses is for those who love Gods word and people filled with the Holy Spirit. This is the growth strategy for the church. The foolish things of the world.

God's wisdom is true wisdom.  All the questions of life, purpose, origin, destiny can be found in the wisdom of God, vs 7, 8.  Hidden wisdom from God. The gospel has been fully revealed to us in Christ. Gods eternal plan. A mystery hidden, now in full display to those God has chosen to reveal it to. The Spirit of God had to reveal it to us. We would never perceive it ourselves. One day we didn’t believe, the next day we believe.  God has to open our eyes before we can see Christ. It takes the power and wisdom of God for us to see the dying Jesus on the cross as the Lord and King, vs 14.  The matters of God must be spiritually discerned. Spiritual sight is a result of life giving illuminating power from God on whom he blows on whoever he wills. Hidden from some and revealed to others. We are still commanded to believe the gospel but how can we believe unless God first opens our eyes. God is in control, not us. We are completely dependent on the Holy Spirit. All God needs is people who love His word, who preach Christ crucified, who are filled with the Spirit and who trust that His spirit will bring the spiritual life to whoever He is calling.

The Scandal - 1 Cor 1:17-31 : Sam M

The importance of the Gospel message is not found in it delivery but in its content, the cross of Christ. The power and wisdom of God is the message of the cross. 

Through attempts to make the message of the cross culturally relevant, the message can be emptied of its power.  The cross is scandalous message and folly to unbelievers. A stumbling block. It must not be re-interpreted to suit our religious sensitivities. Our wisdom is a person and that person is the Lord Jesus Christ.