Sunday, 11 May 2014

The Wisdom of Christ - Part 1 1 Cor 1:18-2:5 and 2 Cor 10:1-18

The King of Denmark stands out in World War II as one who quietly defied the Germans, by riding un-guarded through Copenhagen each day, and by suggesting that should the Jews be required to wear badges then all Danish people should wear the same badge too. This was simple non-violent opposition, laying down power.

This and other examples echo the principle Paul writes of in Corinthians: that God came down and allowed himself to be taken to death, even death on a cross, to be raised again by God alone. This is the power of God - totally different to the power of the world.

Its a nonsense message for most ('foolishness' 1:18). For Greeks and Jews alike it just didn't compute. Today, for Secularists and Muslims to name a few, it also simply does not add up. Yet this is the power of God all the same. So much so that Paul resolved to nothing but this power (2:2). He didn't need clever words, just this basic power (2:4-5).

We too must return to this principle in our churches. Like us the Corinthian church had various issues - the pair of letters makes this clear! Yet see Paul's approach - in the 2nd letter he appeals with the 'meekness and gentleness of Christ' (10:1). He will not use the world's ways, but instead looks again to the power of God, i.e. the power of Christ crucified-yet-raised (10:3-4).

Rather than wading in with fists, law-suits, tribunals, or plain institutional authority, he lays his apostleship on the line, seemingly prepared to give it all up ... in the hope that the church members can be 'built up' rather than torn down (10:8). Don't forget Paul had every right to lay into them, but instead he lays down his right to power.

We must surely do this too. Its not about appearances (10:7), or cleverness. In fact as per the 1st letter chapter 1 God is pleased to use the 'lowly, despised' for His work (1:26,28). So no matter how uneducated, how messed up you feel, you have a role to play. God laid down everything for you, so that you can be raised with Him in His purposes. Hence the key question:

Key Qn: [UP] Where is God calling you to lay things down and trust Him?
Key Challenge: Offer to pray for someone, knowing the power is from God

Let us resolve to know nothing but God's power made available through Christ crucified and then raised. Paul urged the Corinthians to be a spent people, lives laid down for others. Let us be the same for Ely and whoever we meet. As we encounter people, we do not bring our CV, our cleverness, our strength ... but our own experience of the risen Christ. We can offer this for people, praying in their situation to know this same power - the power of the Spirit made available when human power is laid down.

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