Is Christianity Reasonable?
Our sermon series for March is: “Tough Questions For God” and today’s question would be: “Is Christianity Reasonable?” The answer to that question can be found in a story I read. It seems a dishonest accounting manager wanted to hire a dishonest assistant. So, when he asked the first applicant, “What does 2 + 2 =?” and he answered, “4”, the manager let him go. Then the 2nd applicant replied, “Well, it could be several things…2 + 2 = 4, but so does 3 + 1.” He didn’t get the job either.
But when he asked the 3rd applicant, “What does 2 + 2 =?” the man got up, closed the door and whispered, “What would you like the answer to be?” So, this morning I ask, “Is Christianity Reasonable?” Is it logical? Can you “hang your hat” on it? And the answer is: “What would you like the answer to be?”
You see, if Christianity gives you the answers you want…then it IS reasonable. But in our passage this morning, Paul says that many people don’t like Christianity because it doesn’t give them the answer they want. Let’s stand and read what Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 1:18-25:
“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, And bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.” Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.”
The truth. Can any of us really handle God’s truth? We certainly can’t always live it and we can’t always speak it but we can handle it, with God’s help. We read the truth in v 18, “the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” And v 23 says, “… we preach Christ crucified: to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks (Gentiles) foolishness…” To so many today, the cross is a stumbling block…and to many others it’s foolishness.
That would describe Billy Joel, the popular singer’s view of the cross. He once said, “I wasn’t raised Catholic, but I used to go to mass with my friends, and I viewed the whole business as a lot of very enthralling hocus pocus. There’s a guy… nailed to a cross and dripping blood, and everyone’s blaming themselves for that man’s torment, but I said to myself, ‘Forget it. I had no hand in that evil. I have no original sin. There’s no blood of any sacred martyr on my hands. I pass on all of this.”
Billy Joel and others are offended by the message of the cross. To them it is a stumbling block. But to the believers…the cross isn’t a stumbling block but a stepping stone! The cross IS the right answer…IF that’s the answer you’re looking for. But for many, it’s not. Because they want to be “in charge!”
And to them, even the Bible isn’t the right answer because it says God’s in control. And the cross isn’t the right answer because it declares that God bought you with a price. And the truth is if you accept the cross, then you’re surrendering to Jesus Christ. And a lot of people don’t like that answer. Many reject God so they can stay in control. But some will say they believe in God, but they really want a God who’ll change for them.
Many today are like the Jews in v 22, that “request a sign.” They want God to prove Himself and to do as they want. Now in His day, Jesus did miracles. He healed the sick, raised the dead, and fed 1000’s. And because He met their needs…great crowds followed Him. Well they did…until He went to the cross. As long as Jesus was giving them what they wanted…they’d follow Him. But once He was crucified…they walked away. The cross wasn’t the answer they were looking for.
Even folks today don’t want suffering and hardship…that’s not what they are looking for. That’s not the God they want. They want a God who’ll protect them and make life easier. But that’s not the ‘message of the cross’. The cross speaks of suffering, pain, and loss. It speaks of a world that is unfair and unjust. The cross declares that life won’t always turn out the way YOU want…but that life will always turn out the way GOD wants. Jesus said: “… In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
The cross tells us the truth about life and most people just can’t handle that truth! In this world there will be suffering. There will be pain. There will be hardships. But believers can find hope in v 25 which says “… the weakness of God is stronger than men.” But folks don’t like being thought of as being weak. They don’t like hearing that they’ve messed up. You see, they know they have…they just don’t want to hear about it. So, they tend to reject the ‘message of the cross’ because it says we are all sinners.
In truth, Jesus died for those who have failed, for the weak, for the broken, for the losers of life. And that’s why the ‘message of the cross’ is so powerful. Jesus didn’t come for the “healthy”, He came for the sick. But Satan says don’t be weak…be strong. Be all you can be!
Trust me, the cross isn’t weak. It’s all about power. Just not yours, but God’s. Verse 18 says “the message of the cross…to us who are being saved is the power of God.” The cross gives us power that the world can’t accept. The cross gives us the answer that the world can’t. The cross IS the answer to overcoming this world, because only through the cross can lives be changed. And that’s the TRUTH that the lost are seeking and need to hear.
People try every day to take control of their lives. They try every day to live by their own wisdom. They try every day to live by their own strength. And every day they fail. As Christians, we know the answer to changing lives is through the cross.
I asked earlier, “Is Christianity Reasonable?” Another word for ‘reasonable’ is ‘sensible’. So again I ask, “Is Christianity Sensible?” It is to the believer…but not to those that are lost and going to hell. It makes common sense to us…that only God can change a heart of stone. Perhaps you know someone who doesn’t believe that. Someone who sees the cross as foolishness or a stumbling block. Maybe it’s time to ask them: “How’s life working out for you?” “Do you believe that if you died today…you’d open your eyes in heaven?”
But first, you need to ask yourself the same thing!