1 Corinthians 1:17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect.

It is sad to say that a lot of preaching that goes on today in the name of Jesus is not apostolic, meaning it is not based on the teachings of our Lord Jesus and the apostles. There is a whole movement today in the so called church that does not want to preach the cross of Christ, because people are afraid of offending others. There was the “seeker sensitive movement” that focused on telling people how much God loves them, but never preach on repentance from sin. Yes, Jesus loves you beyond human comprehension, but you still need to repent and accept His free gift of forgiveness of sins. Others methods are friendship evangelism, which is just live you life in front of the person, but wait for a considerable amount of time to tell that person about Jesus. Pretty much it is summed up, “My life does the talking.” And when you do get around to share about Jesus, do everything in your power not to offend the person, such as don’t use words like “repent”, “sin”, “judgment”, etc. Others are to attract people to come to “church” by having relevant sermons, up beat music, food and games. All these methods are done under the guise of the “flesh”, which is the part of us that is independent from the life and will of God. Often referred to as the natural, carnal, or soulish man. The apostle Paul in the above verse (1 Corinthians 1:17), says that he does not preach using the wisdom of words, meaning out of the resources from the natural man, since this is the very purpose that the cross of Christ seeks to slay. Resources from the natural man are intellectual knowledge, strength of argument that is cleverly crafted, own power of preaching, and self-righteousness. When Adam sinned against God, the whole human race died spiritually, meaning that they received an image or nature that is contrary to God, some even refer to it as the Adamic nature. Man in the it’s Adamic nature stands condemned in the sight of God. This is where the cross of Christ offends people, since we are basically telling people that they are sinners in need of a Savior and there is nothing they can do to offer God for salvation. This hurts people’s pride and dignity, since our flesh wants to boast that it is a “good person” and can surely please God with works.

Galatians 5:12 “Those who desire to make a good showing in the flesh try to compel you to be circumcised, simply so that they will not be persecuted for the cross of Christ.”

Proverbs 15:8 “The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord.”

Isaiah 64:6 “But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags.”

Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

These verses speak of the lost condition of mankind, that only by the cross of Christ can people be saved from sin and it’s consequences. That is why Jesus said that He is the only way to the God the Father (John 14:6), and He came as the Lamb of God who took away the sins of the world (John 1:29). The Holy Spirit was sent to convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment (John 16:8). The sacrifices that God will accept is a broken and contrite heart (Psalm 51:17), meaning when we come to the cross in a state of brokenness over our sin and ask God for forgiveness of sins. We must come to the end of our old man, where we surrender our will and desires to the Lordship of Jesus. The cross of Christ is the plume line to God, because it releases the power of God through the exchanging our old life that is grounded in self to a new life that is grounded in Christ. The cross of Christ doesn’t just stop at salvation, but as disciples of Jesus we are called to bear our own cross daily, meaning we die daily to the sinful nature, our will and way of life.

1 Corinthians 1:18 “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.”

The message of the cross to the natural man is foolishness, because it needs to die at the cross of Christ. Many think that Christians just follow the teachings of Jesus and do their best trying to live a godly life, but my friends that is a false notion, our old man needs to die.

Matthew 16:25 “For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.”

Romans 6:6 “Knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.”

Jesus not only takes our sins away, but our old man literally dies with Jesus on the cross, and we are resurrected to a new person in Jesus. Let’s look at some of the reasons that the natural man fights against going to the cross.

  1. The natural man loves it’s pride and dignity: The natural man is constantly trying to exalt and boast in itself in front of others. It loves to be seen and praised by men. We hate to be humiliated in the eyes of others. When we come to Jesus we need to be willing to suffer reproach for His name sake. The natural man doesn’t want to look weak and poor in ourselves. The natural man is held under bondage to the fear of man, which is directly related to us holding onto our pride in this world.
  2. The natural man loves to be self-sufficient: The natural man loves achievement, where it is done under it’s own strength and power. The natural man loves to do works than to rest and receive a free gift. This is where a lot of people stumble over the gospel, because it does not come down to your works, but rather placing your faith on the work of what Jesus did on the cross for our sins. The cross crucifies whatever self-righteousness that we have. A popular teaching among the world is that “good people” go to heaven and the “really bad people”, like the child molesters and murders go to hell. The cross pronounces that there is none righteous (Romans 3:10), that only what Jesus did on the cross will save us.

    Romans 3:24 “Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”

  3. The natural man loves to be autonomous: The natural man wants to rule it’s own life on it’s own terms. This saying fits perfectly, “It’s either my way or the highway!” The carnal mind sets itself up as an enemy against God. It is always acting independent of the will of God, and hates to submit to the will of another, especially the will of God. People that fulfill their lusts are despising the Lord Himself. We tend to minimize sin and hate to think of it as evil, but sin is really opposing the very framework of the Lord Himself.  People really want to be “gods” themselves, meaning they want to be the lord of their life.

    Philippians 3:18,19 “That they are enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their mind on earthly things.”

  4. The natural man loves self-worship: The natural man loves to be praised by man. It loves to be esteemed in the eyes of man as special and unique. Jesus made a profound statement about this in John 5:44 saying, “How can you believe, who receive honor from one another, and do not seek the honor that comes from the only God? Another verse is out of 2 Corinthians 4:4 that speaks of the god of this age blinding our eyes to believe the gospel of Christ. I like to take this to mean that we yourselves are “gods” that want to be worshiped.  We are blinded to the glory of Christ, who is the image of God and have replaced it with the glory of ourselves (man). This same thought is seen in Romans 1:23 – 25, where after we have reject the true God, we are left to your own lusts to fulfill, where we worship and serve ourselves rather than the Creator who has created all things.

    Romans 1:23- 25 Changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

     

 

For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

1 Corinthians 2:2