1Corinthians 1:18 For 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.
We all know these very simple words, we have heard them countless times. The question is, do we understand them? If folly is foolishness put in action, it would appear then, that all those who had better things to do than to worship the one true God, such as sleeping in are in danger of perishing in an everlasting punishment; and indeed they are. God commands worship, and God will judge all mankind according to the law. It is not hard to see or imagine all those who ought to hear the Word, so that they might have faith worked in their heart, that they might believe and be saved. If only they had been here to hear these words. We often feel good about sermons which call other sinners to repent, lest they perish.
But since the word of God is for us hear and now, its focus is not, at present on the others, but it is on us. We need to hear: "For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing"- these words are spoken to us. Why are we in danger of perishing? After all, we didnít sleep in, we did come to worship, we did prepare our offering, look at all weíve done! And that is why we are in danger, because often we look at what we have done, and begin to think that it ought to count for something, we begin to think that weíve made a small contribution to our salvation. After all we read the Bible, we go to church, we even god to Bible class. We are clearly better than most. And that is why we are in danger, not because of what we have done, for reading the Bible, going to Bible Class, preparing your offering, all these are good things! But the danger comes in this way, we begin to trust in what we have done and not in what God in Christ has done. We begin to take pride in our power, and we forget that when it comes to being saved the power is ALWAYS the power of God. And what is worse, we begin to give God advise, as from our perspective, he is doing everything wrong.
So when we hear about a man having 100 sheep and loosing one, our plan is to stay and guard what we have, Godís plan is to go and find the lost, even leaving the 99. If this offends us, we are in danger of perishing. And if this offends us, we will not rejoice when the shepherd returns carrying the one that was lost. And we will be offended to hear that there will be more joy in heaven over 1 sinner who repents, than 99 righteous people who need no repentance.
But who is righteous? Does not the scripture tell us:Romans 3:10 None is righteous, no, not one;
Have not the scriptures said: Isaiah 64:6 We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. Did not we hear Godís Word speaking to us: Romans 3:23
all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
We are all sinners, and as long as we are all sinners, then the grace of God is for us. The good shepherd leaves to find us. Jesus dies for us. The grrace of God is for us. For without Godís love mercy and grace we would all perish. But there is more! For each and every time we gather and confess our sins and receive absolution, it is an occasion for great rejoicing. For we were lost, and now have been found, we were dead, and have now been made alive, all by the power of God in Jesus Christ our Lord.
Often the people who do not go to church tell me, they could never go to church, because the church is filled with hypocrites, itís a half truth. For the real question is this, where could even a hypocrite go and find forgiveness? If the church is filled with sinners, we pray that it may be filled with repentant sinners seeking the grace of God in Jesus Christ and the forgiveness of sins, for themselves, and bringing this good news to others. You see, since we are all sinners, we would all perish except for the grace of God in Jesus Christ. We might not understand Godís live, Godís grace or even Godís plan Ė but then, we donít really have to. It is enough to know that except for the grace of God we would all perish. It is enough to remember that, we are being saved, not by our works, nor by the lives that we live, but by the power of God in the cross of Christ.
And because we are being saved, we seek to show our thanks and gratitude, rejoicing that God finds and forgives sinners. And so we live lives in which we seek to bring the light of salvation in Christ Jesus into the darkness of the world around us, that they too may be found, forgiven, and have life everlasting by the power of God in Jesus Christ.