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How God Is FOR YOU! (1 Corinthians 1:18-31) Lent 3B

March 11, 2012

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1 Corinthians 1:18-31


“I am the Lord your God … [therefore] you shall have no other gods before me,” (Exodus 20:2-3).  The First Commandment!  It requires faith.  Faith in the one true God!  And no other false gods!  You are to look to God for all your good and for all your help.  For your salvation!  Faith is being DEPENDENT!  Faith is always being GIVEN TO!  Given to by the Lord!  “You shall have no other gods because I am the Lord your God.  I.E.  I alone am God for you!”


And just how is it that God is for you?  He takes on human flesh!  Then He hangs graveyard-cemetery dead on the cross!  Yes, that’s right, I said it!  That man Jesus, born of the Virgin Mary, is God in the flesh FOR YOU and FOR YOUR SALVATION in His bloody, humiliating cruciform death!


Do you realize just how scandalous and repulsive Good Friday is to the world?  I mean it is gargantuanly outrageous and foolish!  The cross of Jesus is despised! 


Why?  Well, first of all, in, with, and under the cross God is totally involved in your life!  Whether you like it or not!  You’d rather keep Him at a distance!  Be in control!  Call the shots! 


But God-Man Jesus, without any invitation, barges right on in to your life!  Then He has the audacity to tear you away from your sin!  All of it!  And it just kills you!  He has the gall to take all your sin from you and then He bears it in His very Body on the cross in order to answer for it all!  Without your permission!  Without asking you first!  While we were ungodly!  Still enemies of God!  He just goes and does it!  He does the salvation job.  He gives Himself to you!  He gives His heart to you!  He gives His life into death FOR YOU!  Completely.  Totally.  SAVIOR-ON-THE-CROSS-ALL-BY-HIMSELF-JESUS FOR SINNERS!  FOR YOU!


And you thought you were in control of everything!  You believed that you could handle all that sin yourself!  I have news for you!  You’re not!  Not at all!  Jesus is!  He’s in salvation charge!  “Foolishly and weakly” in His cross!  And all your sin is forgiven!  In crucified Jesus!


Here’s another reason why the cross is so appalling and foolish! In St. Paul’s day and even in our day we are dominated by the teaching of two of the wisest men the world has ever known.  You’ve heard of them before.  They are the Greek scholars and philosophers Plato and Aristotle.  In their very wise way of thinking, God can’t be doing anything remotely close to an enfleshment let alone a Good Friday dying!  That’s simply out of the question.  After all, God is the Almighty, Most Powerful, Un-Moved Mover!  “Un-moved” is the operative word! 


Un-moved means that God doesn’t and won’t pay attention to what’s going on down here!  He’s only concerned with himself!  He talks only to himself!  He looks only at himself!  He stays put!  He goes nowhere!  Timeless!  Eternal.  Spirit!  Holy.  Sinless.  All-powerful and all mighty!   


In this matrix God lives only for himself!  If He would move outside of his box or let’s say get involved with this wreck of a world, he would no longer be what?  That’s right!  God!  So the wisdom of the world influenced by Greeks is that God can’t do a Christmas Incarnation let alone a bloody Good Friday!  God can’t do any of that silly, weak, and shameful stuff!  He has to avoid it all like the plague.  Time, history, sin and death and divinity just don’t go together!  Can’t go together!  Ever!          


Such cultured and scholarly Greek philosophical underpinnings have influenced even Lutherans!  I hear it all the time from …  Lutherans!  It has two parts.  The first is this: “God can take on sin!  Sin and God have to be kept apart at all costs!”  The second is this:  “God can’t die!  God didn’t die!”


Well, what do you think about that?  If those two philosophical assertions are true, you are still in your sins and your faith in Jesus is a colossal waste of time.


But I tell you that just the opposite it true!   God has made “foolish the wisdom of the world!”  How?  By taking on our flesh and bones in the body of the man Jesus!  That man Jesus is God!  His body is the very temple of God on the earth!  All the fullness of the deity dwells in the bodily form of the man Jesus (Colossians 1:19)!


God has made “foolish the wisdom of the world!”  How?  By taking the sin of the world in His Body on the Cross and becoming sin.  Laid on Jesus was the iniquity of us all (Isaiah 53)!  He who knew no sin was made to be sin (2 Corinthians 5)!  In fact, by bearing all our sin and becoming THE sinner on the cross Jesus was “forsaken” (Matthew 27:46) and “cursed,” (Galatians 3:13)!    


God has made “foolish the wisdom of the world!”  By dying on the cross!  Yes, that’s right, God died on the cross.  The Second Person of the Holy Trinity – Jesus – the Word made flesh died on Good Friday.  “Destroy this temple [i.e. My Body] and I will raise it again in three days,” (John 2:19)!


Do you see how far God goes to be God for you?  He goes so deep that He gives Himself to you in the man Jesus who then goes deeper still into sin, death, and enduring the damnation of God’s eternal wrath against all sin and every sinner on the cross! 


The cross is the power of God!  For your salvation!  God Jesus in the flesh – God Jesus with all your sin – God Jesus stone cold dead and buried!  That man Jesus is God for you!  Wisdom from God!  Dying for sinners!  For the ungodly!  Redeeming you from sin, death and damnation! 


To ungodly sinners like you and me He gives His own righteousness and holiness in these words:  “I died for you!  I rose for you! Here’s my Body and Blood today for you! I forgive you!”    Now that’s a sermon.  After all, “God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.”   Happy believing only in Jesus who took all your sin, all your death, and all your damnation in His Body!  That’s the power of God for you!  That’s the power of God for your salvation!


In the name of Jesus.


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