Sermon: Worship *was* at Sound Doctrine Church

Written by Timothy

Sunday worship was at 1:30 in the afternoon so we could give our best to God.

Sound Doctrine Church was remarkably busy and productive in the community.

Persecution and prosecution of one individual that was setup drove Sound Doctrine Church out of town.

We had previously suffered and been insulted in Philippi, as you know, but with the help of our God we dared to tell you his gospel in spite of strong opposition. For the appeal we make does not spring from error or impure motives, nor are we trying to trick you. On the contrary, we speak as men approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please men but God, who tests our hearts. You know we never used flattery, nor did we put on a mask to cover up greed–God is our witness. (1 Thessalonians 2:2-5)


Worship *was* At Sound Doctrine
sound doctrine church was persecuted out of town
year 2000

We’ve had several calls from people thinking about coming to church here, so I want to go through 12 questions people usually ask. They have questions about what it is like to worship and fellowship here. If I were them, I would be shy about coming, to put it mildly. 1 Thessalonians 5:21 says, ‘Test everything. Hold on to the good.” The reason for doing this is so they might test us, just as we test them.

1. In Luke 6:14, it says Jesus Christ gave Simon the name “Peter.” People often ask me why the church is named Sound Doctrine. That was the name the Lord gave us when we moved to here in 1986. That’s the plain and simple answer.

2. People usually ask me if are we connected to any other church. The answer is no, we are not affiliated with any others. I tell people that we are non-denominational. This isn’t something that we brag about; these are just the facts; that we don’t have another church over us.

Revelation 3:6-7 – He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write:

The beginning of Revelation says to write to the church in Philadelphia, to the church in Thyatira, and so on. Each angel is directed to communicate the gospel to each church in that location. There wasn’t one central church to whom Jesus said, “Tell everybody this what I told you because everybody is under you.” In a sense, every church is independent. Each church is responsible before God, as well as each person. No, we don’t have another church over us nor has there really been a desire for that. We desire fellowship, but not to have a hierarchy. The reason most people ask that question is because they want a sense of security. If somehow we move off into sin or we begin to go crazy, then this church above us would step in to take care of things. Let’s look at 1 John 1:5, because the reason for that question is the lack of understanding of the gospel of Jesus Christ that really comes with power, because there still is no security if we had a church over us. Look down through history. There are churches that had one main church over them and all kinds of atrocities still happened. Yet not having anybody over us does not mean security either. The only thing that is secure is:

1 John 1:5 – This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.

The only security we have keeping us from being in sin or the body becoming corrupt, is if each of us resolves to walk in the light. That is all the security we need. If people knew the power of God and the cross to crucify and reveal sin, then they would have the peace and serenity that they want concerning leadership, the congregation, and individuals. It’s because light makes everything visible.

1 John 1:5 – This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light.

If we are moving towards a relationship with God, then there is no danger that I’m going to brainwash you or that we are will go to the jungles of Brazil drinking Kool-Aid. If you are in the light, you are going to be able to see everything as it really is. You will be able to see whether a man is sinful and wicked or whether he is righteous and seeking after the Lord. If you’re not in the light, then the responsibility falls upon you, not upon the leadership.

1 John 1:5 – God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.

As we move in closer to the Lord, as self is crucified and our flesh disappears, we will be able to see all things clearly.

1 John 1:6 – If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light…

That is the crucial element. Are we walking in the light, as he is in the light? Men have all kinds of light they walk in. Isaiah says that trying to walk among the light that you have or by the light of your torches will do you no good. Men examine to make sure a church is sound, and the leadership is what it needs to be, but they use their own light, their own wisdom, and their own flesh to see what is correct. I guarantee you, if you use your flesh to examine anybody else, you are going to be taken captive because of it. It is darkness looking at darkness. All you are really looking for when you are not walking in the light is something that your flesh agrees with, and that will always end in disaster.

1 John 1:7 – But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another…

When people ask that question, what they really are asking is, “Who do you have over your life? Who is it that you are accountable to?” The answer is, I am accountable to everybody, especially to those who walk in the light. If I begin to sin (or leadership in general) I am accountable to everyone in the church. You are responsible to make sure that I don’t go off into sin. The only way you can see that, clearly, is to walk in the light. Verse 7 says, “We have fellowship with one another.” Fellowship is of the Lord. It is so powerful that it can keep the body clean. Fellowship that is in the light can reveal everything for what it is. Our flesh doesn’t want a light that reveals an Ananias for who he is. If somebody says something that you know is a lie, the light is able to show it. There is security in sin being exposed.

1 John 1:7 – …we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

Those that are in leadership are held in the same light as everybody else. If they have sin in their life, it is going to be dealt with. God is going to make sure that it is brought out into the open, and exposed, so it can be dealt with. If a man won’t repent, I guarantee you, he will leave. He will not hang around the light. We are talking about a fellowship that is powerful and holy, so it doesn’t matter if we’re accountable to someone else. We have to be walking in the light and that is where the power is. Let’s look at 2 Corinthians 4:2, we are accountable to people who are in the light, because they are our brothers and sisters with whom we walk and seek to love. They seek to purify us and to make us perfect. But, we also are accountable to every man. That doesn’t mean that every man is going to be able to judge me honestly for who I am in the Lord, but it means that my life and all who are in leadership are open so that everybody can see exactly who we are.

2 Corinthians 4:2 – Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways…

There has to be a unity in the body that says we will not use shameful or secret ways in order to promote the gospel. We won’t put on a mask that makes ourselves appear more holy than we really are. If we as a body are wrestling with sin, or have fallen into sin, we will stand up and say, “This is the sin we are in, this is what we are wrestling with.” We will expose everything under the light and keep it in the light. We won’t preach the gospel, and then behind the scenes do something else. We have renounced those things. We will not participate in those things.

2 Corinthians 4:2 – …we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.

We read Scripture and say, “This is what it says. This is the simplicity of the gospel. Now, examine my life. Do you see that in my life or not?” Now, that doesn’t mean that every man is going to see you clearly, because you have to do that within the sight of God.

2 Corinthians 4:3 – And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing.

We open up ourselves to every man, and say, “This is the truth. This is who we are and what it is in the Lord.” However, not all men will appreciate or accept it. We will not use any other means other than the simplicity and the purity of light that God gives us to declare the gospel, and men have to decide for or against Jesus based on that light.

3. People often ask me why church is at 1:30 in the afternoon. Not the deepest question, but an important question. Let’s look at Numbers 18:29. This has really been one of the biggest joys the Lord has given us as a body. We started this almost twenty years ago. God had moved us to worship on Sundays at 1:30 in the afternoon. At the time, we didn’t see all of the wisdom in it, but as we began to move and live it, it has been a real joy all the way around. The Broncos are worshipped in Denver. They are a major idol and kick-off time was at 1:30 in the afternoon. When we invited people to church and they were all excited about coming, they would ask, “What time is it?” We would say, “At 1:30.” You would see faces drop because the contest was on.

Numbers 18:29 – You must present as the Lord’s portion the best and holiest part of everything given to you.

This is the time and the day that God has given us. Sunday at 1:30. The whole day is really given to him, not just a block of time. We come together as a body at 1:30, but the morning is to be a preparation for coming before the Lord. One reason is that everybody is not rushing around trying to get ready, fighting on the way to church and then sitting down at 10:00, looking at the clock to find out when we go eat lunch and thinking about what restaurants are open. This is a time when everybody gets up, has a quiet time, and rests before the Lord. Then we are ready to come worship. When worship is over, you have the busy evening of fellowshipping together. The whole day, the best of the day, the holiest part is given to the Lord.

Numbers 18:29 – You must present as the Lord’s portion the best and holiest part of everything given to you.

It is true that we are to give the best to the Lord through out the week, but this is the day that God has given us to worship him. If we were in culture or another land, it might be a different time. It might even be a different day. But, this is the day, and the time the Lord has given us. We want to be prepared to present the best to him.

John, chapter 19, says that it was the day of preparation of Passover week, about the 6th hour. Verse 14 says, “‘Here is your king,’ Pilate said to the Jews.” What we are giving to the Lord on the Lord’s Day, on Sunday, is participating and celebrating in the death of Jesus Christ. The body comes together on Sunday to participate more and more in the death of Jesus Christ, that we might share in the resurrection during the week. Really, church is a place where we can come together to be convicted, inspired, and cleansed so that we can go out during the week and walk in the resurrection that he wants to give us.

4. That brings me to the next question, which is about the Lord’s Supper. Let’s go to 1 Corinthians 11:25. Again, the idea is that we come before the Lord on Sunday to give him the whole day, sacrificing, participating in his death and losing our own life for Jesus by saying, “Our will be your will.” Then, during the rest of the week, to live out the resurrection life that is in Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 11:25 – In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.”

Verse 26 is so often left out.

1 Corinthians 11:26 – For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

You would think we’d want to emphasize the resurrection, but that is not the main reason. When we take the Lord’s Supper, we are to remember the dying process, the crucifixion, and waiting upon the Lord in the tomb. We come before the Lord to have communion, in essence saying to one another, “I am reminded we need to pick up our cross and follow Jesus Christ daily. I am reminded of what it means to walk in the light, to be exposed before everyone, to be vulnerable before the Lord and before men.” When we sit down to take the Lord’s Supper, and we are saying to God that we want to participate and have more of the death of Jesus Christ in us in order that we might share in the resurrection of Jesus. One more time:

1 Corinthians 11:26 – For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

We talk and sing about the cross and rejoice in the crucified life. We participate in the blood that was poured out for us. Then we go to lose our lives and we count it all joy.

1 Corinthians – 1:27 – Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord.

Another reason for 1:30 is that when we get up in the morning, we should be asking ourselves, “Am I in a place where I can participate in the death of Jesus Christ? Have I been losing my life all week long? Have I been coming before the Lord and giving my life fully to him, or have I been pleasing self?” Church begins with a very serious tone. If we take of this cup in an unworthy manner, we bring judgment on ourselves. People won’t find a “party” atmosphere or what they call “joy” here, because we participate in the death of Jesus Christ so that we might have his life.

1 Corinthians – 1:28 – A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup.

He should say, “Do I know what it is to hate my own life? Am I participating in that more and more? Am I cleansed from sin? Am I in unity with my brothers and sisters in the body? Am I declaring the death of Jesus Christ not only during the week, but today also?” If not, then he needs to get that taken care of before church. This keeps sin from growing in the body. This keeps purity increasing. It keeps our joy what it should be in Jesus Christ. It keeps us in the light.

1 Corinthians 11:29 – For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself.

When we talk about getting together to have the Lord’s Supper on Sunday, we talk about avoiding judgment by examining our lives, our hearts, and our spirits before God. Are we asking, “OK, am I clean? Am I holy? Am I prepared? Am I where I am supposed to be?” If we did these things, we’d have no need of revival in our lives, ever.

1 Corinthians 11:30 – That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep.

We want God to be so powerful among us that, if necessary, he makes some of us sick so we will judge our lives. If necessary, he will cause some of us to go to sleep if that is the kind of discipline we have to have. This is the kind of light that we walk in. If God is working among us like this, and leadership is running off into sin, who is going to deal with leadership even if the congregation can’t see it? If you are walking in that kind of relationship with God, you can be sure that he will protect the body.

1 Corinthians 11:31 – But if we judged ourselves, we would not come under judgment.

Getting together at 1:30 in the afternoon on Sundays is preparation to participate in the blood of Jesus, to judge our own lives, to examine the body, and to make sure that our brothers and sisters are clean.

5. People want to know, “Who is Tim Williams?” Well, let’s go to 1 Corinthians 1:28. To put it in a nutshell, he is nobody important, that’s for sure.

1 Corinthians 1:28-29 – He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things and the things that are not to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.

I am nobody, just a brother. Yes, my job may be a pastor, but you can refer to me as “Tim.” I’ve never been to Bible College. You can look that up in Acts 4:13. I am nothing to boast of so I will move to the next question.

6. Let’s go to Titus 1:4, and talk a little more about leadership. The last thing this body is going to be is a one-man show. It never started that way and will not continue that way. Titus 1:4 tells us that when the time comes, when we have been qualified, we will have elders and deacons appointed to this body.

Titus 1:4 –5- To Titus, my true son in our common faith: Grace and peace from God the Father and Christian Jesus our Savior. The reason I left you in Crete was that you might straighten out what was left unfinished and appoint elders in every town, as I directed you.

We want and are praying for a whole group of men that are spiritual. It won’t be one man in control, except that man being Jesus Christ. God will be moving and working with all men, but we will have elders and deacons who will protect the body and who will know what they are supposed to be in Jesus Christ.

2 Corinthians 4:5 – For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord.

This isn’t Tim Williams’ Ministries. That would be an abomination before the Lord. We do not preach ourselves, but that Jesus Christ is Lord. That is what are holding up and what we are going to fall in love with. How do we preach ourselves? He says, “As your servants for Jesus’ sake,”

It is true that the women in this church wear a sign of authority.

1 Corinthians 11:10 – For this reason, and because of the angels, the woman ought to have a sign of authority on her head.

That is, the men are supposed to be ones in charge. They are the ones responsible for the purity and the holiness in the church, and for declaring the truth to other people. The women wear a sign of authority. Women recognize that men are supposed to be in leadership. There are plenty of other things that God has called women to do. That is the purpose for a sign of authority. Anyone who comes to visit does not have to wear a sign of authority. Indeed, they can visit for a year and never wear a sign of authority because we want this commandment to come from the heart and understanding, not from some law or custom or just because we do that.

What kind of worship and preaching style can one expect? Basically, there is no particular style. It may change from time to time, as the Spirit wants to work. You are not going to come here and find praise and worship every Sunday. You are not going to come here and find a mourning service every Sunday, either. You will find:

Psalms 2:11 – Serve the Lord with fear and rejoice with trembling.

You will find a mixture of both, not one style or another to worship the Lord. People will be serving the Lord, but they will be doing it in fear and trembling before God because they know that he is holy and demands righteousness. You are going to find rejoicing and joy in the Lord, but with trembling. People are so used to finding the joy and the hype that draws people in. They have seen all of the foolishness, and when they come here, they won’t see that. Ecclesiastes 5:1 says what they do see. Another reason why God has set down 1:30 in the afternoon is to prepare us to come to church with the proper attitude.

Ecclesiastes 5:1 – Guard your steps when you go to the house of God.

Our attitude says, “OK, I’m getting ready to go to church. I need to watch each step I take and how I come before the Lord.”

Ecclesiastes 5:1 – Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. Go near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools…

You are going to find a quietness that says, “We are here to be silent and serious about what we are doing.” Yes, there is a deep joy and thanksgiving for God. But it is not the emotional highs that are taking place in some churches.

Ecclesiastes 5:1 – Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. Go near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools, who do not know that they do wrong.

We’ve talked about learning to be quick to speak and slow to listen. We don’t come together with much talk, and emotionalism or to promote ourselves in any way, but just to come before God and be silent. We may come to church sometime to just sit and be silent before God. I don’t know what he will call us to do, but there is no one style that you are going to see. 2 Corinthians 11:28 tells us there won’t be any insanity in the worshipping or preaching. In 2 Corinthians 11:23, Paul speaks of the qualifications of who he is. Right in the middle of it, he says he is out of his mind to talk like that. We’re not going to boast of numbers, activities, any one man, or any miracles that might happen. We are out of our minds.

2 Corinthians 11:23 – Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.)

We are going to guard our steps and shut our mouths. We are going to worship God in awe of his splendor. We are not going to boast of any man except maybe of his weaknesses. We will invite people here and say, “We sing off key. We don’t have anything to offer you except the living God, and that’s it.”

2 Corinthians 11:23 – (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again.

He says this kind of boasting is total insanity in Jesus Christ. We declare:

2 Corinthians 11:30. If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.

Tell people what we do not have, if you have to boast. I am not telling you to go boast, but if you are boxed into a corner and they ask, “Why should I come to your church?” you say, “Because we meet in a small house and there is no room to do anything. Our pastor can’t even get the Old Testament names down correctly, that’s why you should come.”

9. The next question people usually ask me is if we believe in spiritual gifts. Let’s go to 1 Corinthians 14:27. Often they will ask, “Are you Charismatic, or are Pentecostal? Do you believe spiritual gifts are for today?” We are in between. We believe in spiritual gifts, but we don’t idolize them. We believe there are gifts of tongues, but not that everybody has to have it. It is not a sign indicating anything.

1 Corinthians 14:27 – If anyone speaks in a tongue, two or at the most three should speak, one at a time, and someone must interpret.

Not everybody is going to have the same gifts in the body. Colossians 2:5 also tells us that everything is to be done in an orderly and holy fashion with a deep seriousness, guarding our steps and coming before the Lord with fear and trembling.

Colossians 2:5 – For though I am absent from you in body, I am present with you in spirit and delight to see how orderly you are and how firm your faith in Christ is.

It is the noisy people that show their faith is weak. It is those who need the clamor and activity who have shallow faith. If you want to test what’s in your heart, go in and sit alone, and find out what you think about and what wells up within you. As a body, God is going to be working more and more silence to show us what’s in our hearts.

Colossians 2:5 – For though I am absent from you in body, I am present with you in spirit and delight to see how orderly you are and how firm your faith in Christ is.

When it is of God, everything that we do will be in order.

10. We do not pass the plate for money. We don’t beg or have programs for money. I wish we had time to pursue this further, but for now let’s look at 2 Corinthians 9:7.

2 Corinthians 9:7 – Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

When you get up Sunday morning, that’s when you should sit down and decide what you are going to give. It is interesting, when Paul talks about giving and the fact that he is getting ready to visit, he says, “Take up an offering so when I get there it doesn’t have to be done.” By then the emotionalism is gone. Nobody is reaching into their pockets to give just because Paul is preaching a fire-and-brimstone sermon. Everything is done well ahead of time. In the morning is when you need to ask, “What should I give and in what manner I am giving it in the Lord?”

2 Corinthians 9:7 – Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion for God loves a cheerful giver.

That means that nobody is putting pressure on you. Nobody is saying that you should do this or is twisting your arm. If all you can give joyfully is a quarter, then give a quarter. It is really that simple. In the past we have turned down offerings and money simply because people weren’t giving out of a joyful and cheerful heart before the Lord.

As a church, we will give away everything for free. That has been going on for probably twenty years or more. Let’s go to 2 Corinthians 2:17.

2 Corinthians 2:17 – Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit.

Today you see that there are a lot of people peddling the Word of God. I’ve had men tell me, “We’re not making a profit, we are just covering our costs.” We’re not going to play these word games. You have received your reward in full if you are doing it just to cover your costs. You will gain nothing before the Lord.

2 Corinthians 2:17 – Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, like men sent from God.

They hate and despise money. They understand, rejoice, and give thanks to be able to do it. God wants to see us living it out. I want us to give as a body to be sure that we never fall into the trap of selling things. You are certainly not going to find an espresso bar here or the like. We will keep it refined and holy so that we will give joyfully and freely in every way. In John 2:15, Jesus showed an outward anger. It says that he looked around the temple, and then went out and spent the night in prayer. When he was all through praying for the night, he made a whip and went back into the temple and began to drive out the money changers and those who were selling things within the temple. I want to see that within this body to keep the church clean and pure. I don’t want the wrong activities to creep in slowly if we begin to worry about money or paying bills. It is better not to do it than to fall prey to selling things along with preaching the gospel.

John 2:15 – So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables.

This is one area where you are free to overturn tables and to do it with great joy before the Lord.

John 2:16 – To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! How dare you turn my Father’s house into a market!”

One reason the government wants to taxes churches is because of the way they are busy marketing everything.

12. People ask, “What is so different about you from other churches?” The answer is 1 Corinthians 2:1, because this issue solves all other issues. This is what we live. People say we focus too much on this.

1 Corinthians 2:1-2 – When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.

We talk about the cross. That is what we preach. With every issue that we’ve had in this body, we bring it back to the cross. All the work that we have done and everything that God has called us to do comes from the cross. Almost everybody who opposes us tells us not to talk about the cross. They ask, “Why are you always focusing in on the cross? Why are you always talking about hating your own life?” Because I have resolved to preach nothing else but that.

1 Corinthians 2:2 – For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.

It does take resolve, because men will try to draw you off in discussions, arguments, works, and things other than the gospel of Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 2:3 – I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling.

Paul didn’t come as an expert speaker. He didn’t come with the talk and confidence that we see going on today. He was weak and fearful. He was trembling as he said, “Do I have the right words? Are you in the words, Lord?” He stood up before them shaking as he declared the message.

1 Corinthians 2:4 – My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words…

After hearing Paul, you though, “Man, he is nothing. All he does is shake up there at the pulpit. He doesn’t entertain us in any way. He doesn’t give us stories. In fact he even stutters. He can’t get things out as clearly as they should be. He isn’t a good speaker.” Yet, they left with the cross of Jesus Christ which put the new life in them, the resurrected life.

1 Corinthians 2:4 – My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power.

That is what we are going to declare and that’s what we are going to do, nothing more, and nothing less.

1 Corinthians 2:5 – …so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.

The reason why churches have to have more and more entertainment is because entertainment fades and wears off. But the cross never goes away. If you have the cross in your faith, I guarantee you that you will need to rest upon God, because you are going to have doubts. You are going to think that what’s being preached is totally crazy. You are going to rebel against it. Your flesh is going to kick and scream, and the only way you are going to get an answer is to go back to prayer closet and ask, “God, is this true? Is this real?” Then your faith will rest not on me or anyone who is preaching the message but upon God speaking to you directly.

This is a cross that has the power to reveal men for who they are, a cross that divides all men. It either makes them more holy or makes them reject Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 1:18 – For the message of the cross…

This is our message. This is what this church is about because this is what Jesus Christ was about. Jesus Christ came into this world and his whole goal was to go to Jerusalem so that he could die on the cross. That is what he lived for. If he had done everything else but that, it would have been a complete failure.

1 Corinthians 1:18 – For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing…

When we declare the message of the cross and someone says, “This is ridiculous and foolishness,” then you can be assured that they are perishing and they have need to repent.

1 Corinthians 1:18 – …but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

It is the power of God to deliver me from sin. It is the power of God to keep me righteous and holy. It is the power of God to protect me from sinful things and men who are in error. All of you have experienced that to one degree or another.

1 Corinthians 1:19 – For it is written: I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.

That is one thing about the message of the cross; it drives people crazy. They don’t know what to do with it.

1 Corinthians 1:20 – Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolishness the wisdom of the world?

Where is the man who has been to Bible College, who knows Greek and Hebrew, and knows the entire Bible backward and forward? They cannot grasp the message of the cross. They know not of its power.

1 Corinthians 1:21 – For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.

The very thing we are declaring is foolishness to some people. We are going to be embarrassed by it at times. We will start to speak of the cross and think, “Man, this sounds really stupid.” Our tendency is to try and explain it, to take away the foolishness. If we do that, we are going to rob the cross of its power. This is how contrary the cross is from the world and from those who are worldly. Verse 21 and 22:

1 Corinthians 1:21-22 – For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom.

There is a whole group of people out there that want miraculous signs that “show” if a message is true. People are attracted to that type of entertainment. The Jews (then and now) demanded miraculous signs to say, “Show me that it is true by the good things that happen.” Then you have the Greeks who look for wisdom. Men always want to know what the Greek say s. When we talk about hating your own life, the first place they run to is the Greek. There are two camps; the entertainment camp and the intellectual camp, and they are both going to miss it.

1 Corinthians 1:23 – …but we preach Christ crucified:

That is, we understand fully what it is to look at a Jesus Christ who is crucified and we declare him.

1 Corinthians 1:23 – … a stumbling block to Jews…

It causes them all kinds of problems. They fall all over it.

1 Corinthians 1:23 – … and foolishness to Gentiles…

They stumble because they are attracted to miracles. They think they have to have them in order to walk with Jesus Christ. We preach Jesus Christ crucified. This is a relationship with the living God not based on anything outward, but upon a crucified life. Then you have those who want to understand all the Greek and Hebrew in what it means to hate your own life and carry your cross. It seems like foolishness to them to say, “OK, let’s do it.”

1 Corinthians 1:24 – …but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.

What we are to preach, live and have is the message of the cross.

Finally, let’s turn to Romans 8:13, because one of the most important aspects of this body is a reliance on the Holy Spirit. The biggest fear we have is that we might act in our own wisdom, flesh, strength, or thought. We want to be relying on the Holy Spirit by way of the cross in everything. A lot of people talk about relying upon the Holy Spirit, but they don’t have the cross. That is why you see a lot of flesh pleasing going on in the name of the Lord.

Romans 8:13 – For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die…

All men agree with that, but look at the next part.

Romans 8:13 – … but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.

Men try to put to death the sins in their life, but not by the power of the Holy Spirit. They seek to do it by man’s efforts, outlines, prayers, and all the things that they can work in their life. We need to go before God and say, “OK, God, give me the cross from the Holy Spirit that you have for me and begin to crucify the sin in my life.” That will hurt. But as long as a man is offered outlines, study guides and anything other than the cross of Jesus Christ, he will be able to handle and tolerate that.

Romans 8:13 – For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live…

One of the greatest fears we have is that we will seek to deal with the sins in our lives with our power and wisdom, though it be “religious” wisdom. If we seek to do it of our own efforts, we will fail. We will become a Pharisee.

Romans 8:14 – … because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.

How do we know whether we are really of God and led by the Holy Spirit? Men say that they are led by the Holy Spirit all the time. They tack on the name of Jesus Christ with everything they do.

Romans 8:15 – For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him, we cry, “Abba, Father.”

We are talking about a very personal relationship with God. Men like to rejoice and give thanks in this. Verse 17 says:

Romans 8:17 – Now if we are children, then we are heirs heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ.

Everyone likes to think about that, but it is the next part that shows whether or not our guidance is from the Holy Spirit, if the cross is there or not. Look at what it says:

Romans 8:17 – If indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

We can cry, “Abba, Father,” and talk about being led by the Holy Spirit if we are sharing in the sufferings of Jesus Christ. We can say we are in Jesus Christ as if we are receiving from God the cross he has for us. This means we will be sharing in the sufferings of Jesus Christ in our lives. This is what men hate and reject. One more time; verse 17 says;

Romans 8:17 – Now if we are children heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

We preach, live, and declare the death of Jesus Christ. It is manifested by walking in the light, fellowshipping and preaching. Each one of us picking up our cross and following God.

These are the basics of what somebody can expect when they come here to worship.

Let’s go ahead and pray:

Father, we do ask so much that you glorify your name, that you take from us, Father, all the vain pride that we have. Take from us, Father, the effort that would act for you or to get something from you. Father, we can’t work any of these things we looked at tonight. If we had all of the outlines in the world and all of the steps laid out before us, who of us has the grace and the strength to do it? We ask, O Lord, that you come and work your holiness and your righteousness. Magnify yourself, humble and break us, O Lord, so that we might just be able to fellowship with you and to glorify your name. Amen.

This transcription has been edited to a reader friendly format. Every effort has been made to be true to the speaker’s original message. Any mistranslations are unintentional.

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Host of The Consider Podcast
Examining today’s wisdom, madness, and folly.