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1 Corinthians 3:18-23
Wednesday AM Bible Study
May 2, 2007
Theme: Paul calls the Corinthians to free themselves from sectarianism by rejecting worldly wisdom.
Paul has been dealing, in the first few chapters of 1 Corinthians, with the problem of sectarianism in the church. He now deals with the problem by showing the true nature the believer in Christ. He shows how utterly inappropriate it is for us to align ourselves up under other men, when we see the truth of what we have in Christ. Paul thus calls the Corinthian believers to remember certain things that are true of them in Christ; and as they do so, they will loosen their grip on mere "sectarianism".
This passage teaches us that we cease boasting in mere men when we . . .
I. REMEMER THAT TRUE WISDOM MEANS BECOMING FOOLISH IN THIS WORLD'S ESTIMATION (v. 18).
A. Sectarianism is a product of self-deception. The Corinthians were focusing on human teachers as a way of boasting in human wisdom. In doing this they acted in a way that was contrary to true wisdom. They were fooling themselves in thinking they were being "wise". They were thinking themselves to be wise in the estimation of this "age" (which may suggest the philosophies that were the fashion of the day). They were, however, engaging in sin (as much of the remainder of this letter shows us). How "wise" is that?
B. To be truly wise in God's sight means becoming a "fool" with respect to this age. We have to recognize that true wisdom is going to lead us in a different direction than the "wisdom" that this age esteems. We will be looked upon as "foolish" if we follow the way of Christ through the cross. This will require that we humble ourselves.
C. Humbling ourselves before God, and separating ourselves from the wisdom of this age, will lead to our becoming truly "wise" in the wisdom that comes from God.
II. REMEMBER THAT THE WISDOM OF THIS WORLD IS FOOLISH IN GOD'S SIGHT (vv. 19-20).
A. The wisdom of God is considered "foolish" by this world's standards; but that underscores the deceptive nature of the situation. The reality is that the wisdom of this world is "foolish" before God.
B. This world's "wisdom" is its own downfall. In quoting Job 5:13 and Psalm 94:11, Paul shows that God knows the thoughts of those who consider themselves wise in this world and is in no way ignorant of them; that the thoughts of this world leads to futility; and that, because of the pride and arrogance of those who consider themselves wiser than God, He allows them to be trapped and brought down by their own boasted "wisdom". How much wiser it would be to stay away from such "wisdom" and be considered "foolish" by those who God calls foolish!
III. REMEMBER THAT, IN CHRIST, WE ARE ALREADY THE POSSESSSORS OF ALL (vv. 21-23).
A. We gain nothing from alinging under human treachers. We are already the possessors of all things in Christ. We possess all human teachers in the church. We possess the world; because we are promised it as an inheritance. We possess life and death; because one leads to our preparation for heaven, and the other brings us to it. We posses all things present and all things future. (Note that the past is omitted; because we are to forget what is behind--Phil. 3:13-14). Truly, all things are already ours (Romans 8:32).
B. We are the possessions of the One through whom we possess all. We are Christ's; and Christ is God's. All things will be summed up in Him (15:28). Therefore, it's not appropriate for such gloriously possessing possessions as us to boast in men. To do so is to "step down"!
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