The Great Stumbling Block
1 Corinthians 1:18-31
Years ago a 14ft bronze crucifix, which had been placed there in 1930 by a Catholic Bishop, was stolen from Calvary Cemetery in Little Rock, Arkansas. You have to be pretty far down depravity's super highway to steal from a cemetery. This cross had stood at the entrance of that cemetery for more than 50 years. When it was given the cross, which was a work of art, was valued at $10,000.
The thieves, who came in the middle of the night, cut it off at the base and hauled the 900lb cross off in a pick-up truck. The police detectives working the case speculate that the thieves cut it up into small pieces and sold it for scrap and may have gotten around $500 for the metal. They obviously did not realize the value of this beautiful work of art. They did not understand the value of the cross.
On a much deeper and more spiritual level that has always been a problem - people do not understand the true value of the cross.
The message of the cross has been misunderstood, minimized and rejected in every generation. The Gospel message, the message of the cross is offensive to a lost world. It makes little sense to the world at large and from their perspective is contrary to human reason. There are a lot of denominations, churches, pastors and people who have tried to soften the message of the cross so that it will be more acceptable to a lost world.
The tactic of watering down the Gospel to make it more appealing is nothing new. The Church in Corinth - with whom Paul had a fairly tumultuous relationship - minimized the message of the cross by softening the message and forcing it to fit their culture. They tried to clothe it in cleverness of speech - they tried to tweak the content of the message so that the story of Jesus and the cross would be more appealing and accepted by the world around them. (Probably not so much concerned that the message would become more accepted but that they would be mo ...
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