THE FOOLISHNESS OF PREACHING
The history of the fall of Jericho through the blast of rams’ horns reminds us of Paul’s expression in the Corinthians, “The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds.” Let us read a passage in which the reputed weakness of the gospel is gloried in because the Lord, nevertheless, works by itÂ—
1 CORINTHIANS 1.18-31.
18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.
The same thing is different to differing persons. One sees in the gospel folly, and another omnipotence. These last have felt its gracious power, and therefore are well assured of what they believe.
19 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.
20 Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?
Let this be remembered still, and it will help to cure the era craving after learned and intellectual preaching. What have we to do with setting up what God means to destroy? The plain gospel of Jesus, simply preached, is infinitely superior to all the “deep thinking” and “exact criticism” of modern times.
20 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.
Philosophy left the world in the foulest mire of lascivious-ness and unbelief, but the unlettered men who delivered the Lord’s message of love just as they received it, became the salvation of myriads.
22, 23, 24 For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling-block, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.
Tastes are not to regulate the gospel. What men desire is one thing, but what the gospel gives them is another, instead of signs and wisdom. God’s ministers show unto men the crucified Saviour, and nothing else.
25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
It will be seen in the end that what men think foolish and weak in God’s gospel, will be more than a match for human power and learning.
26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:
27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;
28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:
29 That no flesh should glory in his presence.
As election thus makes no account of human greatness, the preacher must pay no deference to it in his ministry. He is to proclaim his message to the common people, and to be content if his converts are despised as belonging to the base things of this world. If God’s election ran among the grandees, he might have sent to them a philosophical gospel to be delivered with all the graces of classic oratory: but such is not the mind of the Lord. Let us, as a family, hold fast to the old gospel, and love the honest ministers of it who care more about winning souls than about being considered fine orators. The gospel which saved the apostles, the martyrs, the reformers, and our godly ancestors, is quite good enough for us. Let those who please seek after the wisdom of man, we will abide by the teaching of the Lord.
30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto JS wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:
31 That, according as it is written. He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.
All is of Jesus, from first to fast, and so all the glory is unto him who deserves it. Blessed be the name of the Lord, from the rising of the sun to the going down of the same.
A page from Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible republished by the Evangelical press and available from the Christian Bookshop, Ossett.