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What is At Stake?- Speaker: James White

Dr. White (who is feeling fine now and will be wearing his kilt tonight despite the cultural narrowness of unicalman) just delivered an excellent lesson on not making the word of the cross void, or empty. Here are my notes, which I hope will be edifying to you all.

1 Timothy 4:16- "Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers."

- we need diligent daily discipline to apply doctrine to our lives, and we live in an age where this is all too lacking in the church- we can have the perfect TULIP garden so to speak, but we need to apply these things to our own lives

- there is a tendency for one's concern for life and one's concern for doctrine to become unbalanced, and either extremem is deadly- on one hand we have those who would say "Let's just dialogue and share our own opinions and not offend anyone and just talk about feelings"- on the other side you have those who become so caught up in one particular doctrine that it becomes an end to all matters and the other important parts of the faith are ignored

- watching one's life and doctrine closely requires perseverance because we will come upon resistance- men want their ears tickled, men want to tell us we need better programs or CEOs or motivational speakers

- a person who does not examine himself is a hypocrite- to examine oneself does not take away from the sufficiency of Christ, but it is tied to such admonitions as "Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves!" (2 Cor. 13:5) and "For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead" (James 2:26)

- Titus 2:11-14 should be central in our understanding

11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men,
12 instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age,
13 looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus,
14 who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.

- the Gospel can be perverted into something that is not the gospel- an example of this is the mentality of "walk an aisle, fill out a card, join the church, then your ticket is punched and you are going to heaven" that is so prevalent in "evangelicism" (whatever that means anymore)

1 Corinthians 1:17-25
17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not in cleverness of speech, so that the cross of Christ would not be made void.
18 For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
19 For it is written,
"I WILL DESTROY THE WISDOM OF THE WISE,
AND THE CLEVERNESS OF THE CLEVER I WILL SET ASIDE."
20 Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?
21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.
22 For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom;
23 but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness,
24 but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.

- there is a way whereby we, while still talking about Jesus and the cross, can empty the cross of its power

- here Paul is talking about the means of proclamation- he says we are not to use "cleverness of speech." or "wisdom words"- in Corinth, there were people who would spend their time in rhetoric competitions in which the goal was to use words to move people's emotions and persuade them as a result

- Paul says the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing- the Greek here is "moronos," which is where we get our English word "moron"- because of this, no wonder we try to come up with programs and seeker-sensitive tactics (especially when a certain church wants to boost their numbers or be "culturally relevant")

- Paul knew what people wanted to hear- he wasn't ignorant of the times- like today, you can imagine people saying "Get with it Paul! Didn't you say 'be all things to all people' yourself? You need to be relevant, attract a crowd"- but Paul says that we "preach Christ crucified"

- Jews sought for signs, and the Greeks sought after wisdom- Paul could have had, like the "traditional" and "comtemporary" worship services of today, a "signs service" and a "wisdom service" but he didn't- that wasn't the way God commanded

- the means God has chosen is the preached Word- if we really believed this, we wouldn't be reaching for man-made methods- it is the power of God for those who are being saved- Christ is the power and wisdom of God to the called, to those God has elected and given to Christ

- the stumbling of the Jews and the crushing of the wisdom of the Greeks is God's means of humbling men- the rough edges of the Gospel are there for a reason purposed by God- it is meant to call sinful man to repentance- [I was reminded of an article written by Alan Colmes (a non-believer) on the church that said it was not something to be feared, saying that we really don't take things like hell and wrath and judgment seriously- sadly, he is right- we need to not be afraid of hardship and rejection and preach the Gospel boldly and leave the results to our sovereign Lord]