The Imperfect Church- Decluttering the Cross

The Imperfect Church- First Corinthians Part 1

Speaker: Pastor Ty Neal
Date: December 31, 1969

A perfect church is as elusive as finding a Yeti riding atop a Unicorn in flight toward Atlantis. Perhaps you've heard the saying when it comes to modern church, "No perfect people allowed," but that is not totally true. There is one perfect person who actually leads the church-His name is Jesus! And He gathers imperfect people together to be His people on His mission for His glory and their good! Yet, along the way, we have a hard time playing nice together, laying down our personal preferences, and giving up the sins that destroy us, our unity and our witness to the outside world. Welcome to The Imperfect Church! Join us as we follow the perfect one-Jesus-and discover how He loves the imperfect church as we walk through the book of First Corinthians.

Title: Decluttering The Cross

1 Corinthians 1:18 - 18For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

1 Corinthians 1:19- 19For it is written, "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,

                             and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart."


1 Corinthians 1:20-21- 20Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. 


1 Corinthians 1:22- 22For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, 


Deuteronomy 21:22-23- 22"And if a man has committed a crime punishable by death and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree, 23his body shall not remain all night on the tree, but you shall bury him the same day, for a hanged man is cursed by God. You shall not defile your land that the Lord your God is giving you for an inheritance.


Clutter: False Expectations & Demands


                           The gospel is not some new sophia (wisdom, or philosophy), not even a new divine sophia. For sophia allows for human judgments or evaluations of God’s activity. But the gospel stands as the divine antithesis to such judgments. No mere human, in his or her right mind or otherwise, would have dreamed up God’s scheme for redemption—through a crucified Messiah. It is too preposterous, too humiliating, for a God.


Clutter: Humiliation


1 Corinthians 1:23- 23but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, 


1 Corinthians 1:18- 18For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.



Quote:                 “It is hardly complimentary to God that we should choose him as an alternative to hell.  Yet even this he accepts.  The creature’s illusion of self-sufficiency must, for the creature’s sake, be shattered.  And by trouble, or fear of trouble on earth, by crude fear of the eternal flames, God shatters it, unmindful of his glory’s diminution.  I call this “divine humility”, because it’s a poor thing to strike our colours to God when the ship is going down under us, a poor thing to come to him as a last resort, to offer up our own when it is no longer worth keeping.  If God were proud, he would hardly have us on such terms.  But he is not proud.  He stoops to conquer.  He would have us even though we have shown that we prefer everything else to him, and come to him because there is nothing better now to be had. C.S. Lewis


1 Corinthians 1:24- 24but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.


1 Corinthians 1:25- 25For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.


1 Corinthians 1:26- 26For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. 


Clutter: Achievement


Quote:                         “Achievement is the alcohol of our time . . . the more you achieve, the more you feel dynamite. These days the best people don’t abuse alcohol; they abuse their lives. When you complete a project, you feel dynamite, or when you start something new and you’re able to show your visionary entrepreneurial skills and you can be somebody who can start something from nothing, something that is so highly praised in our culture . . . There’s a feeling of euphoria. And, of course, your self-esteem—the way you evaluate and form your identity—is on the line here. Remember? That we’re so concerned about protecting our status and the reason why we are engaged in status anxiety is for this very reason, that somebody might actually find out that I might perhaps be a fraud. So, our self-esteem is on the line because we have been gathering our self worth externally. Living out your life dependent upon the judgments of the people outside of you.” Mary Bell



Clutter: Power


1 Corinthians 1:26- 26For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. 


1 Corinthians 1:27-28- 27But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, 


1 Corinthians 1:29- 29so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.


Clutter: Boasting


Quote:                 Anyone who says they're "trying" to be a good Christian right away reveals they have no idea what Christianity is. It's not something you do as much as something that gets done to you. Ian Morgan Cron


1 Corinthians 1:30- 30And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 


1 Corinthians 1:31- 31so that, as it is written, "Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.


1 Corinthians 2:1- 1And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom.


1 Corinthians 2:2-  2For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.


Quote:                 "I never got away from Jesus and him crucified, and I found that when my people were gripped by this great evangelical doctrine of Christ and him crucified, I had no need to give them instructions about morality." David Brainard


1 Corinthians 2:3-5- 3And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, 4and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.


                             False Expectations & Demands






Quote:                 In every human heart there is a throne and a cross. Somebody has to be on the throne and someone has to be on the cross. We prefer us on the throne and Jesus is sort of in the copilot seat. Yet, there is no copilot seat. There is only a throne and a cross. If Jesus on the throne, then you are on the cross which means you have died of control of your life for you have given it to him, and you died to any supposition that you are good enough to earn his favor or earn your way to heaven. In every heart there is a throne and a cross; if self is on the throne, Jesus must be on the cross; if Jesus is on the throne, self must be on the cross. - JD Greear