The Foolish Wisdom of the Old Rugged Cross

Sermon from CCM:City Centre


This sermon was preached by Tom O’Toole at the CCM:City Centre site of Christ Church Manchester on Sunday 18th February 2018.



This message was part of the ‘SERIES NAME’ series, preached at Christ Church Manchester’s church in Fallowfield in EARLY/MID/LATE YEAR. The full series included the following sermons:


This sermon was based on 1 Corinthians 1:18-31.

Christ the Wisdom and Power of God

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. 19For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”

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. 22For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, 23but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, 24but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

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. 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, 29so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. 30And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 31so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”



  • Often when we present people with watertight arguments for Christianity they are still not convinced.
  • The same can be true when they see miraculous signs and answered prayers.


  • Corinth was in ancient Greece, and this culture was steeped in a desire for philosopy, wisdom and reason.
  • When you try to speak about the cross in this kind of setting it can seem very foolish.
  • However, the cross has a power that human arguments never could – and the closer you look at it, the more you see Gods wisdom being displayed through the cross.


  • Jewish people at the time were looking for miraculous signs that proved the Messiah.
  • There was an expectation that the Messiah would be a powerful military leader.
  • The cross was a major stumbling block, because in Jewish thought a crucified Messiah was no Messiah at all.
  • And yet it was on the cross that God’s ultimate victory was won.


  • The simple message of the cross lowers the bar of who can be saved – which is very good news.
  • Most of the Corinthian believers did not have much status in the eyes of the world.
  • It doesn’t matter if we don’t have much to contribute – because Jesus himself is our wisdom, our righteousness, our santification and our redemption.



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