Andrew Fountain - God Chooses the Weak
Sermon notes - God Chooses the Weak
God Chooses the Weak
- God delights in the weaker things of this world to show his strength. 1 Cor 1:17-31, Is 61:1-3, Luke 4:17-21, Luke 7:20-23, Luke 5:30-32
- We are to be like God in this way Leviticus 19:34, Deuteronomy 10:18–19, Matthew 25:35–36, Luke 6:32–36
- God particularly delights in saving the weak Luke 14:21–24, Luke 18:15–17, James 2:2–9
- We must not be surprised if God fills our churches with those whom the world would despise and think of as weak
- How do we respond?
1 Corinthians 1:17–31
- For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—and not with persuasive words, so that the cross of Christ would not become useless. 18For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
- In Greek society, there was a group known as the sophists. They studied the art of speaking in a persuasive and convincing way,
- Somewhere inbetween modern politicians and con-artists
- They boasted that if a city was interviewing candidates for the position of a doctor...
- Do we have any Christian speakers like this today?
- What was the foolishness of the cross? —that a man dying on a Roman cross outside Jerusalem could somehow save the world.
- My translation reflects this:
- For it is written,
“I will destroy the sophistry of the sophisticated,
and the ideas of the clever I will thwart.”
- Where is the wise man? Where is the expert in the law of Moses? Where is the debater of this age? Has God not made the wisdom of the world foolish? 21For since in the wisdom of God the world by its wisdom did not know God, God was pleased to save those who believe by the foolishness of the message preached. 22For Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks ask for wisdom, 23but we preach about a crucified Christ, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles. 24But to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God.
25For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom,
and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.
- Stumbling block to the Jews because the O.T. says that to hang up someone’s body is a sign of being cursed by God. Was Jesus cursed?
- Think about the circumstances of your call, life vocation brothers and sisters. Not many were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were born to a privileged position. many of them were slaves 27But God chose what the world thinks foolish to shame the wise, and God chose what the world thinks weak to shame the strong. 28God chose what is low and despised in the world, what is regarded as nothing, to set aside what is regarded as something,
29so that no one can boast in his presence.
- He is the reason you have a relationship with Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 31so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”
- Gideon, 32,000 – 10,000 – 300 Why?
- What about Paul? Was he not an intellectual?
- He is careful not to use techniques of persuasion
- This is important because it’s part of God’s character
- It’s vital that you don’t here me saying this, but the Scriptures saying it
- That’s why I have so many passages of Scripture
The ministry of Jesus Christ was prophesied in just this way: one of compassion on the needy
- “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
Because the LORD has anointed me
To preach good tidings to the poor;
He has sent me to heal the broken-hearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives,
And the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
- To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD,
And the day of vengeance of our God;
To comfort all who mourn,
- To console those who mourn in Zion,
To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning,
The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
That they may be called trees of righteousness,
The planting of the LORD, that he may be glorified.”
- Aren’t those beautiful words?
- That’s the reason Jesus came!
- When he began to preach, he read this very passage of Scripture. (They sat down to preach.)
- And he was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written:
- “The Spirit of the LORD is upon me,
Because he has anointed me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
he has sent me to heal the broken-hearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;19
To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.”
- Then he closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on him.
- And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”
- John the Baptist was expecting a great King to come in power and might
- When the men had come to him, they said,
“John the Baptist has sent us to you, saying, ‘Are you the Coming One, or do we look for another?’”
- And that very hour he cured many of infirmities, afflictions, and evil spirits; and to many blind he gave sight.
- Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and tell John the things you have seen and heard:
that the blind see,
the lame walk,
the lepers are cleansed,
the deaf hear,
the dead are raised, and then the climax, even greater than the healing
the poor have the gospel preached to them.
- “And blessed is he who is not offended because of me.”
- Why should people be offended by this?
- Like usually attracts like
- If the US president visit’s Canada, who do they hang out with?
- but Jesus gave special attention to the outcasts of society, the traitors, sinners and prostitutes
- And their scribes and the Pharisees complained against his disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?”
- Jesus answered and said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.
- “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”
- So we see that God shows mercy and compassion to the weak
- because this shows his strength
- but also,
- because his character is:
- to care for the needy
- to answer the cry of the poor and oppressed
- because this shows his strength
2. We are to be like God in this way
- God often tells us to follow him in this way:
- ‘The stranger who dwells among you shall be to you as one born among you, and you shall love him as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.
- In Deu 10:18–19, Speaking of God, we read:
- “he (God) administers justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the stranger, giving him food and clothing.
- “Therefore love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.
- On the Day of Judgement, God welcomes believers and says:
- “for I was hungry and you gave me food;
I was thirsty and you gave me drink;
I was a stranger and you took me in;
- I was naked and you clothed me;
I was sick and you visited me;
I was in prison and you came to me.”
- Probably the clearest place in the N.T. where we are told to be like God in this way is:
- But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you?
For even sinners love those who love them.
- And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you?
For even sinners do the same.
- And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you?
For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back.
- But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return;
and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High.
For he is kind to the unthankful and evil.
- Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.
- This is tough and challenging, isn’t it!
3. God particularly delights in saving the weak
- Parable of the wedding feast (story so far)
- So that servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house, being angry, said to his servant, “Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in here the poor and the maimed and the lame and the blind.”
- And the servant said, “Master, it is done as you commanded, and still there is room.”
- Then the master said to the servant, “Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.
- For I say to you that none of those men who were invited shall taste my supper.”
- The wedding feast is the kingdom!
- Why do you think that God choses the weak?
- not proud but humble
- not complacent
- they cry out to him
- ready for the Gospel for they see their need
- But we are likely to see things differently
- Did the disciples see things like this?
- Then they also brought infants to him that he might touch them; but when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them.
- But Jesus called them to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God.
- “Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.”
- Any other stories like this? (blind man near Jericho)
- What about after the Spirit came and the church got started, did they always get it then?
- For if there should come into your assembly a man with gold rings, in fine apparel, and there should also come in a poor man in filthy clothes,
- and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say to him, “You sit here in a good place,” and say to the poor man, “You stand there,” or, “Sit here at my footstool,”
- have you not shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts?
- Listen, my beloved brethren: Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which he promised to those who love him?
- But you have dishonoured the poor man. Do not the rich oppress you and drag you into the courts?
- Do they not blaspheme that noble name by which you are called?
- If you really fulfil the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbour as yourself,” you do well;
- but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors.
4. We must not be surprised if
our churches are full of those who the world would despise and think of as weak
- c.f. 1 Cor 1:26–28
- But God does want to raise peole up
Who is weak and despised in our day?
- Especially in the city we have many like this
- those in financial hardship –increasing in our society
- those who have been abused
- physical problems (disabled, chronic illness)
- emotional problems (maybe past traumas)
- I knew a man who made a mistake and some people died as a result.
- low achievers
- those with mental problems like schizophrenia
- not the world’s most brilliant minds
- those who can’t contribute much
How does God value their contribution?
- Widow’s mite (we think in human terms)
- Our attitude should be like God’s
The is the NATURE OF GOD —is the compassion of Christ in you?
- The church is often like a hospital with the weak caring for the sick.
NOT a club of “supermen” and “superwomen”
- are you all supermen and superwomen?
- or is God’s strength made perfect in your weakness?
5. How do we respond to this?
Luke 6:35 “But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil.
- Hospitality is heavily stressed in the Bible:
- Even if you don’t have a home...
- Rom 12:13 distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.
- 1 Pet 4:9 Be hospitable to one another without grumbling.
- More than anything else, Evangelism
- I once heard of a downtown Toronto church started for “professional people”
- If that had been Jesus’s mission statement it would have saved a lot of problem
Do it where you are! There are problems and needs all around you. You don’t need to go to some exotic location. Sometimes that is more appealing, but less of a testimony.
People who have been deeply hurt and damaged emotionally can take masses of our time. Are we prepared for this?
This is an amazing testimony to unbelievers (e.g. George Muller)
Show the love of Christ!
Updated on 2016-08-01 by Andrew Fountain