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Thomas F. Fischer, M.Div., M.S.A., Editor

Third Sunday In Lent
Series B

Option #1: "How To Save Dissatisfied Customers"
 1 Corinthians 1:22-25
Rev. Wayne Dobratz, M.Div.

  I. Recognize where they are coming from--Matt 16:1-4; Gal 3:1-5: "Salvation to the Jew means deliverance from the sin which separates one from the holiness of God." "Salvation to a Gentile would signal deliverance from fate, fear of death and insecurity and anxiety of life." (Donald Abdon "Evangelism Saturation Training")

 II. Show them that the cross of Christ is God’s wisdom and power--1 Cor 1:18ff, 2:2; Lk 24:44-49; Acts 10:39-43

III. Teach them that a choice must be made: human "wisdom" or God’s wisdom in Christ; 1 Cor 1:26-31; 2:14-16; Col 2:3-10

RICHARD LENSKI: Interpretation of First Corinthians, pp65ff (published 1937): The Jews ask for signs because they had the Old Testament. It promised great signs in connection with the Messiah, and when Jesus came they felt that they had the right to require them. Now Jesus met the OT promises most completely and performed the very signs foretold by God in great abundance. He more than accredited himself and thus pleads with the Jews: "Believe the works," John 14:11. But instead of following, the Jews expected a Messiah who was equipped, not with signs of grace and mercy, but with signs "from heaven"...

The Greeks were of a different type. Having no Bible, they were left to their own thoughts and reasoning. They tried to attain "wisdom," something in the way of a rational explanation of the universe and of their own being. They demanded principles, chains of reasoning, systems of philosophy which began with some fixed point and reached out as far as possible from that. But what they found was like shifting sand, for one system canceled out the other, and they finally ended in skepticism, such as that of Pilate who asked: "What is truth?"

Both of these kinds of worldly wisdom are still with us; only the form has changed. Some want the Church to heal all social and even physical evils. They demand a huge political organization that will sweep the world before it. Many still look for miraculous signs--physical healing, more revelations from God. Others band on their reason; they assume that their intellect is able to penetrate anything. So they follow the latest philosophy, "science" with its claims and theories, other kinds of modern learning, and refuse to take anything else seriously. All these fail and must always fail.

That Christ is God’s power and God’s wisdom is seen from a subjective fact, that experienced by the called who are actually and in fact saved through Christ. Paul does not rest with that thought. He adds the objective proof, for even apart from the called it is true and mighty fact which the Corinthians and all of us should keep before our eyes that God’s power and his wisdom are supreme. "The foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men." 

Barnes Notes on the New Testament: "We proclaim a crucified Messiah as the only Redeemer of lost people." To the Jews a stumbling-block--the word "stumbling-block" means properly anything in the way over which one may fall; then anything that gives offence, or that causes one to fall into sin.

(1) They had looked for a magnificent temporal prince; but the doctrine that their Messiah was crucified dashed all their expectations. And they regarded it with contempt and scorn, just in proportion as their hopes had been elevated, and these high expectations cherished.

(2) They had the common feelings of all people, the native feelings of pride, and self-righteousness, by which they rejected the doctrine that we are dependent for salvation on one who was crucified.

(3) They regarded Jesus as one given over by God for an enormous attempt at imposition, as having been justly put to death; and the object of the curse of the Almighty. Isa 53:4, "We did esteem him stricken, SMITTEN OF GOD." They endeavored to convince themselves that he was the object of the divine abhorrence; and they, therefore, rejected the doctrine of the cross with the deepest feelings of detestation. To the Greeks--the term "Greek" denotes all who were not Jews; thus the phrase,

Folly: that is, it appears to them to be contemptible and foolish, or unworthy of belief. To the great mass of the Jews, and to the pagan philosophers, and indeed to the majority of the people of this world, it has ever appeared foolishness, for the following reasons:

(1) The humble origin of the Lord Jesus. They despise him that lived in Nazareth; that was poor; that had no home, and few friends, and no wealth, and little honor among his own countrymen.

(2) They despise him who was put to death, as an impostor, at the instigation of his own countrymen, in an ignominious manner on the cross--the usual punishment of slaves.

(3) They see not why there should be any particular efficacy in his death. They deem it incredible that he who could not save himself should be able to save them; and that glory should come from the ignominy of the cross.

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Lamb's Message: Human Wisdom or God's Wisdom?

Object: toy airplane

I brought along one of my toys this morning. Have you ever flown in a big jet plane? I have flown many times. One time we even went across the ocean to Germany. That was a huge plane, a 747; it carried about 500 people at one time! This plane had four huge engines the size of your dad’s truck!

The Bible tells us today that God is a lot smarter than we are. You know that already; but a lot of people don’t. Here’s an example. Many otherwise pretty smart people think that this beautiful world came about all by itself, that there is no God who created it, as you have learned in the Bible. They might tell you this when you get to high school and when you get to college. They might laugh at you for believing that God created all things.

Here’s one thing that you could tell them: Think back to that airplane we see fly over or the one you took to go to Florida or Arizona. Where did that airplane come from? Right! It was made in a factory after somebody designed it.

To believe that this world has no Creator is the same as to believe that a tornado ripped through the factory where they build planes. And that’s where this airplane comes from. Would you want to ride in a plane built that way?

I wouldn’t either. God made this world because He loved us so much that He wanted to give us a great place to live. God loved us so much that He sent His Son to be our Savior from sin. God loved us so much that Jesus is preparing a place for us to live forever in heaven.

Jesus said: "I am coming back to take you to be with me that you also may be where I am." Now there is something to look forward to! And you won’t need to buy a plane ticket to get there!

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 Option #2: "Heavenly Housework"
John 2:13-22
Rev. Kelly Bedard, M.Div.

A.;Cleaning His House

    1. A bank for exchanging and and taxing and laundering money


    2. A barnyard for animal sacrifices, noisy and smelly

B. Claiming His House

    1. As a place for worship of The Great Exchanger and Launderer 

    2. As a house of prayer for outsiders--both repentant and smelly buyers and repentant and noisy sellers


1. When Jesus cleans house, therefore, He is not just cleaning out a mess; He is making room. He is opening up the house for all nations. He is beginning work on a spiritual temple that does not charge admission, that does not position anyone on the outside, and does not make anyone second-class, but brings life and joy to all. (Henry Rowold)

2. The problem is the sense of business as usual in the temple of God--the selling of sacrifices and paying temple taxes, etc. All of these things leave the temple a symbol of the old and passing era, within the realm of the ordinary (and old) economy of the "marketplace"--you get what you pay for. (Michael Hoy)

3. What Jesus did is best classified as an act of prophetic symbolism... The only place within the temple precincts which was open to people of "all nations" (apart from the Israelites) was the outer court (sometimes called the "court of the Gentiles"); if this area were taken up for trading it could not be used for worship. Jesus' action reinforced His spoken protest. (F.F. Bruce)

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