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The Futility of Human Wisdom

posted Jun 13, 2010, 2:59 PM by Website Administrator   [ updated Jan 9, 2014, 5:28 PM ]

June 6, 2010               

Key Passage: 1 Corinthians 1:17-31 

          “The Futility of Human Wisdom” 

“Our advances in knowledge and technology and communication haven’t really advanced us. It’s from among those who are intelligent and clever that the worst exploiters, deceivers, and oppressors come. We’re more educated than our forefathers but we’re not more moral. We have more means of helping each other but we aren’t less selfish. We have more means of communication but we don’t understand each other any better. We have more psychology and education, and yet more crime and more war. We haven’t changed, except in finding more ways to express and excuse our human nature. Throughout history human wisdom has never basically changed and has never solved the basic problems of man.” -  John MacArthur 

  • Disclaimer – First, let’s define and separate “knowledge” and “wisdom.” I want to make crystal clear that the Bible is “pro-knowledge.”  Knowledge is the pursuit of truth through facts.  Engineering, science, medicine, the arts and psychology are examples of studies worth pursuing in order to gain “knowledge.”  On the other hand, “wisdom” is the application of those truths – and this is where man completely falls apart…it’s also where the Scripture always throws down the gauntlet.  God doesn’t challenge our pursuit of knowledge, but his Word is replete that His Spirit provides the only way to apply it in ways that are useful.
  1. The Message of the Cross – 1 Corinthians 1:17-19
  • To those who are perishing, it’s “foolishness.”  The word “foolishness” is the Greek word “moria”-

          we get our word “moron” from this.  Not the noun, but a word that describes anything inconsistent,

          irrational, or illogical.  The “Message of the Cross” makes no sense whatsoever to non-believers. 

  • To those who are being saved, it’s “the power of God.”  This lifelong process, which is also called

          sanctification, is one of transformation.  Frankly, the cross is an inescapable part of the process of

          salvation, and there are only two responses: either you trust God and the salvation he offers, or

          you’re going to trust yourself and your own resources.  The cross divides humanity. 

  1. The Wisdom of Man – 1 Corinthians 1:20:23
  • The world’s wisdom is like Pirates who keep digging for a buried treasure that was delivered to their

          front porch!  Consider: Christianity is dismissed as being unscientific.  It’s too primitive, and too

          narrow-minded.  Instead, people embrace new age, the mystical teachings of eastern religions, or

          themselves.  They aren’t looking for truth…they’re trying to be God!  They want to define truth. 

  1. The Wisdom of God – 1 Corinthians 1:24-31
  • God has judged human wisdom because of its failure to achieve the highest good, to lead people into

          a relationship with him.  As a consequence, God saves us with a message that insults human wisdom

          and human pride.  To accept the wisdom of God is to accept that people are weak, sinful, and

          helpless before God…and frankly, this is the major stumbling block to most people in our world. 

    Bottom Line: First, can we all agree we’ll never argue anyone into Heaven nor implore them with programs, “progressive” worship that waters down the Gospel, or clever presentations that convolute the simplicity of the cross?  The American church has gotten confused.  We’ve put too much of our energy into trying to legislate morality.  We stand and we argue about abortion, sexual sin, a Biblical view of marriage, and a host of other political and moral issues…and for the most part we’re frustrated because we’re being dismissed by the world.  Listen, the “Message of the Cross” – Christ crucified, may be offensive, but it is simple and it’s the only thing that captures a person’s heart for eternity.  How we live out that witness, and the humility we present it with, ultimately determines whether people embrace God’s wisdom or in futility fall back on their own!