First Corinthians Fourteen
The Tongues Question
Fred R. Coulter


pdfIcon - PDF | Audio - Track 1 | Track 2

  • Why do we have false doctrines?
  • Why do we have heresies?
  • Wouldn't it be nice if we lived in a world where we didn't have to fight and combat all the deception of the world?
  • Wouldn't it be nice if we lived in a world where we didn't have to fight and combat all of the deception in religion?

Especially at this end-time, false doctrine is a plague and a real curse. But there is the also the other side of the coin, which is it makes you get your nose in the Bible.

Note sermon series: Refuting Sunday-Keeping, and going through the book Sunday Facts and Sabbath Fiction by Russell Tardo. We need these kinds of things so that we really understand the Truth. That's the other side of the coin.

Paul said the same thing in writing the Corinthians. Of course, that church in Corinth was a wild church. I don't think any of us have experienced anything like it.

1-Corinthians 11:17: "Now in this that I am commanding you, I do not praise you, because when you assemble together, it is not for the better but for the worse." Can you imagine? He's really telling them that they are so bad that when you come together it would really be better if you had stayed at home, because it gets so bad. For first of all, I hear that there are divisions among you… [sects] …when you are assembled together in the Church, and I partly believe it" (vs 17-18). One was of Peter, one was of Paul, one was of Apollos and one was of Christ.

Verse 19: "For it is necessary that heresies… [from the Greek 'dei'—it's obligatory] …be among you, so that the ones who are approved… [of God] …may become manifest among you." That certainly applies to the broader/greater Church of God today.

The other side of the coin is that you get your nose in the Bible and you understand.

Administration of Death

I've done The Administration of Death and it's the first time I put it together quite that way. You will, I hope, understand it even more. But it's sufficient to say that under the Old Covenant it was also a sovereign nation with Israel, and God gave all sovereign nations the right of capital punishment by death (Gen. 9).

So the reason that the Church does not have the administration of death is because we are to preach in all the world, in all nations; therefore, we become an organization within a sovereign state, like California or America in general.

God does not violate His own laws. Since He gave the death penalty—the administration of death—to the governments of this world, the Church does not have it. So, we cannot possibly be under the administration of death.

There was a group in Florida, near Miami, and the man who ran it was Yahweh Ben Yahweh. This was a group of blacks that believed that they were Israel and this man, who was their leader, was the Son of God. They had good works that they did in the community. They would go into the slum areas and clean them up, make the people behave and get rid of the drugs. The whole group even got a meritorious commendation from the mayor of Miami.

But one of the initiatory rites for the men was that they had to go out and kill a white man that they called 'white dog.' They had a whole rash of serial murders in the Miami area, and other areas in the United States where there were members. There was a nine-state investigation; they had many, many murders.

The way that the one who committed the murder was, in murdering a white man, he was to cut off the ear and bring it to Yahweh Ben Yahweh. So, they finally got all the evidence and shut him down and put him in prison.

Here was a group within a sovereign nation that took upon themselves the administration of death according to the rules of their sect. Rightly it was shut down, because God never gave that to any sect or any Church of God. I think it will give a great deal more understanding to you.

Speaking in Tongues

The Corinthians also had the problem of speaking in tongues. You need to understand, every religion in the world, including—Muslims, Catholics, Protestants—have certain sects that speak in tongues. These are demonic apparitions, and the Greeks called it 'the tongues of the gods.' They would be so possessed that they would just utter gibberish and role on the floor and froth at the mouth. In America we have those that do that; they're the snake handlers.

1-Corinthians 14 talks about that partly, but also having to do with speaking in foreign languages, because there were a lot of different peoples passing through Corinth.

1-Corinthians 14:17—this is for those speaking in an un-understandable tongue: "For you may indeed give thanks well, but the other is not edified. I thank my God that I speak in languages more than all of you" (vs 17-18). This has to do with languages.

Paul spoke many languages. He undoubtedly spoke Hebrew, because we know from the book of Acts that's how he stilled the riot of the Jews in Jerusalem when they were ready to get him.

He spoke Latin, because he was a Roman citizen. He spoke Greek because that was the common language of the time. He probably also spoke Aramaic. What other languages he spoke we don't know, but we know that Paul did not lose his senses and just speak in gibberish.

Verse 19: "But in the Church… [when the congregation is together] …I desire to speak five words with my understanding… [talking about those languages that were the demonic gibberish with no understanding] …rather than ten thousand words in an unknown language… [that can apply to a known language or to gibberish] …so that I may also instruct others. Brethren, do not be children in your minds; however, in regard to malice be babes, but in your minds be fully mature. It is written… [in Isaiah] …in the law, '"Therefore, in other languages and by other lips will I speak to this people; but even then, they will not hear Me," says the Lord.' Consequently, gifts of languages are a sign… [there's a purpose for it] …not for those who believe…" (vs 19-22).

If you have a group of people who say they believe in Jesus Christ, they should never have tongues of any kind within the congregation except for a foreign language with an interpreter.

Now let's see the 'sign,' and here was a powerful sign:

Acts 2:1 "And when the Day of Pentecost, the fiftieth day, was being fulfilled, they were all with one accord in the same place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound…" (vs 1-2). I want you to understand the parallel between this and the giving of the Law at Mt. Sinai on Pentecost. The trumpet blew and the voice of God came from heaven. It was for all the children of Israel, and they all understood and were afraid, saying, 'O God, don't…' They went to Moses and said, 'Don't let God speak to us anymore lest we die. Moses, you go do it. You come and tell us.' The real motive behind it was that 'if we have a man in between God and us we can discount the man and do' what we want to do, which they subsequently did. So, you can always blame someone else: 'He made me do it. He said…'

Here God is going to perform a miracle on the Day of Pentecost and in giving the Law, He gave the Law. On the Pentecost in Acts 2 He sent the Holy Spirit, which is the power of God:

  • not only to understand the Word of God
  • not only to hear the Word of God
  • but also the power to keep the Word of God; keep His laws

Also, in a way, if you go back to the Tower of Babel He is undoing the confusing of the languages to a certain degree. In addition to this, God is proclaiming that the Word of God goes to all nations, all kindreds, all tongues, whereas, before it was only for Israel under the letter of the Law through the covenant that God established with Israel through Moses.

Verse 2: "And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like the rushing of a powerful wind, and filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them divided tongues as of fire, and sat upon each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit; and they began to speak with other languages… [known tongues] …as the Spirit gave them the words to proclaim" (vs 2-4).

We're going to see that God is not the author of confusion. This was not confusing.

Verse 5: "Now, there were many Jews who were sojourning in Jerusalem, devout men from every nation under heaven."

I imagine there were a lot of them there, because they had heard about the miracles of Jesus. Remember, this is after the three and a half-year ministry of Christ. Those who would come to the pilgrimage feast, to Jerusalem, every year would hear about Christ. Some of them may have even traveled over to Galilee and followed Him around when He spoke in some of the synagogues. We don't know, but you know that He was the topic of conversation.

Remember what Paul told Festus: You know that this was not done in a corner! So, the whole ministry and the beginning of the New Testament Church was a mammoth and fantastic thing! Especially when you understand that the geographical area is really very small. You're dealing in no more than a hundred miles north and south and no more than 50 or 60 miles east and west. So, 100 by 50-60 miles maximum.

All that Jesus did:

  • all those that He healed, and they went around and proclaimed that they were healed.
  • the feeding of the 4,000 and the 5,000
  • all the teachings that He taught
  • all the confrontations that He had with the scribes and Pharisees and priests

When you come to the Feast of Tabernacles there in John 7-9, they were wondering:

  • Is He here?
  • Is He going to come?
  • Why do they continue to let Him speak?
  • Are the authorities going to arrest Him?

They were divided. Some of the people said, 'Yes, He's the Christ.' Some people said, 'No, He's not the Christ.' Others said, 'He has a demon.' Other's said, 'He's the Son of God.'

You know that when the pilgrims went back to whatever country they came from they told these stories. You know they did! All of the communities of the Diasporate Jews knew about Christ, whether for good or for bad. I just imagine that there were more that came to this Pentecost because of those who were there for the Passover. Remember, there are 50 days—in the case of the Passover being in the middle of the week, it's 54 days—and they went back to their different countries they had their synagogues and they told everyone what was going on and that this man Jesus was crucified but He rose from the dead!

The priests say that the disciples stole away the body, and the disciples say that He was risen from the dead, 'we saw Him.' If you are a devout Jew, what are you going to do? You're going to saddle up your ass and you're going to go to Jerusalem as quickly as you can get there! Or if you live in Asia Minor you're going to get on a boat and come on down to what is now Tel Aviv and you're going to go on to Jerusalem.

This is the scene: Picture the temple area jammed packed with thousands of people there on this Day of Pentecost:

  • because God brought them
  • because they wanted to come

What about devout Jews? Do we mean the equivalent of Orthodox Jesus today? No! Orthodox Judaism did not come until way, way later! Orthodox Judaism actually came out of Eastern European Jewry.

What we are talking about is those who would attend synagogue, those who would read Scripture, and though they had certain of the laws of Judaism, it's not like it is in its full-fledged development today. We have all kinds of Jews here that we're talking about.

Verse 6: "And when word of this went out, the multitude came together and were confounded… [not confused; they were seeing something that had never occurred in the history of the world] …because each one heard them… [the apostles] …speaking in his own language." Here are 'tongues' that are understood.

Verse 7: "And they were all amazed, and marveled, saying to one another, 'Behold, are not all these who are speaking Galileans?'" Like saying you're from Idaho or Texas.

Verse 8: "Then how is it that we hear each one in our own language in which we were born?…. [notice vast area that they come from]: …Parthians and Medes… [all of the area that is Iran to Pakistan today, all the area between the Black and Caspian Sea] …and Elamites… [that area of Elam was little further west] …and those who inhabit Mesopotamia… [Iraq today] …and Judea and Cappadocia… [on of the major provinces there in Asia Minor] …Pontus… [northern Asia Minor] …and Asia… [all the rest of Asia Minor] …both Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya which are near Cyrene, and the Romans… [Gentile proselytes] …who are sojourning here, both Jews and proselytes, Cretes and Arabians…" (vs 8-11). That's a wide geographical area.

 "…we hear them speaking in our own languages the great things of God" (v 11). All of these were non-believers. Tongues is a sign to the non-believers.

Verse 12: "And they were all amazed and greatly perplexed, saying to one another, 'What does this mean?'" Just mentally picture yourself there and you're seeing these 12 men speak, and you know they're fishermen from Galilee, and you know they've never been to your country or educated in the language of the country you come from. Yet, everyone from every country understands what they are saying because they are two things in this miracle:

  • the speaking in tongues

They had to understand in their own mind what they were saying, but out of their mouths would come the different languages.

  •  the hearing—that they would be able to understand

Verse 13: "But others were mocking and saying, 'They are full of new wine.'" Then Peter stands up and gives this profound sermon. He preaches Christ and he tells them to repent and be baptized. On that Pentecost day there were 3,000 that were baptized that very same day. Then we go through the rest of the story in the book of Acts.

Some of them had traveled and this was so great and exciting that they didn't want to go home. Everybody shared everything together. That was for the need. That's why tongues are a sign to them that believe not!

1-Corinthians 14:22: Consequently, gifts of languages are a sign—not for those who believe, but for those who do not believe. But prophecy…"

There are two kinds of prophesying that it's talking about:

  • to be telling forth of God's Word—inspired speaking
  • to foretell the future

Most of the time it means to be giving inspired speaking. Example: How would it be when you came to church all you heard were sermons on prophecy? Nothing on doctrine, nothing on Christian living, nothing of going through the Bible word-by-word, but it was always prophecy!

This gives you a good example as to why this word does not mean to be prophesying future events. We have also learned to be cautious in prophesying future events, because if you put your own ideas into it, and you want to speed up the return of Christ according to your timetable, you're going to fail!

Concerning prophesying future events, it is the event that you look for. Don't set a date for the even to happen because that may not be the date that God has in mind. Look for the event!

Remember all the peace things we had during the Clinton era? We were so close to getting peace in the Middle East? It looked so good! Remember when Clinton had Rabin and Arafat to the White House and they shook hands and embraced each other? Everyone thought that it was just around the corner! However, that's not according to God's timetable, so now, at the least, we are many years from peace in the Middle East. You have to see the completed event, then you know that's God's timetable.
Prophesying or preaching from the Word of God "…is not for the unbelievers…" (v 22). When we get into detailed studies like this and we have some who just walks in off the street who knows nothing about the Word of God or a Bible—maybe they have one at home but they may have never opened it—and they sit down here in the congregation, and we start going through a detailed study, they're going to be lost! That kind of teaching is not for the non-believer.

"…but for those who believe" (v 22).

  • we grow in grace and knowledge
  • we grow deeper in our understanding of the Word of God
  • we get into the Scriptures
  • we know what it means

Verse 23: "Therefore, if the whole church is assembled together in one place… [apparently there were several congregations in Corinth] …and all are speaking in unknown languages… [Paul is saying that this is the scenario] …and unlearned persons or unbelievers come in, will they not say that you have lost your minds?" In this case he's certainly talking about the unintelligible gibberish.

If you see Benny Henn or those who speak in tongues, he puts his hand on them and they fall over backward. That's a sure sign of satanism, because when you worship God you fall on your face. They speak in 'tongues.' What happens when you see that? You say they're crazy! That's what Paul is saying here.

Verse 24: "But if all prophesy… [inspired speaking] …and an un-believer or unlearned person comes in, he is convicted by all, and he is discerned by all. And in this way the secrets of his heart are exposed… [obviously bringing a sermon on repentance] …and so, bowing down on his face, he will worship God, declaring that God is indeed among you" (vs 24-25). That's what has to be the most important thing.

Now, get this view of the Church: Suppose you walk into the Church for the first time. Some of us have attended large congregations. What happens when you have large congregation? They tend to break down themselves into little groups within the large congregation! This is what happened when all the churches came together.

Verse 26: "What is it then, brethren? When you assemble together, each of you has a psalm…" You have a group over here in the corner singing a psalm. Maybe different ones have psalms to sing.

"…has a doctrine…" Someone over here is teaching a doctrine.

"…has a language…" You have your tongues group over here in this corner.

"…has a revelation…" Someone says, 'God revealed to me…' When anyone says that to me, I'm gone!

"…or has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification" (v 26). This is the whole purpose of coming together in the Church; to edify the brethren, to up-build in Christ! When we come together on the Sabbath Day, Christ is here:

  • to fellowship with us
  • to encourage us
  • to uplift us
  • to instruct us
  • to edify us
  • to build or construct

What is the greatest thing to happen through teaching that is to be built in you through the Spirit of God?

  • the character of God
  • Christ in you, the hope of glory.
  • let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus

That's what we should say church is all about. If it is not, then it is political church. What do I mean by political church? Can people learn things in a political church? Yes, they can learn certain things! But what are they really doing? They are playing Church and they have a social club. Then, especially when the income is the top measurement of spirituality, they are merchandized to keep the income coming. You have lost the whole purpose of why God has called you in those cases!

It's gone! Christ is gone! He's not going to stay there very long and fellowship with that kind of teaching and with those kinds of congregations.

  • one has a song
  • one has a doctrine
  • one has a tongue (language)
  • one has a revelation
  • one has an interpretation

"…Let all things be done for edification. If anyone speaks in a foreign language, let it be by two, or three at the most, and let that be in succession… [one by one; not all at the same time] …and let one interpret" (vs 26-27).

If we had someone come here from Germany and wanted to tell us about their church in Germany, if he couldn't speak English we would have to have someone interpret. If he spoke in German you might be able to pick up a word or two. I studied German years ago, so I could pick up on some of it. Or whatever the language may be.

Verse 28: "But if there is no interpreter, let him be silent in the Church, and let him speak within himself and to God." That is if he wants to.

Verse 29: "And let the prophets speak… [those who do the inspired teaching] …two or three in succession…" It's all right to two speakers, three at the most. Notice that in both cases it is two or three, no more.

Here is the responsibility of the congregation, "…and let the others discern" (v 29). Does it square with the Word of God? This ties in with:

1-Thessalonians 5:21: "Prove all things. Hold fast to that which is good." That's what's to happen on the Sabbath Day when we get together.

1 Corinthians 14:30: "But if anything be revealed to another who is sitting by, let the first one be silent." We had a perfect example of that right here. We had some questions. We wait for an opportune moment and raise the hand.

Verse 31: "For your prophets can all prophesy one by one, so that everyone may learn and may be encouraged." It's talking about a situation much like a Bible study, where we're talking together. Different ones have input, we put it all together and search out the Scriptures.

Women's Role within the Church

Verse 32: And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets…. [in other words, control your mind] …For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints. Let your women be silent in the churches…" (vs 32-34).

That is when they're all gathered together and you have a large group. It's not wrong for them to ask a question in a Bible study. But to get up and speak out, such as giving sermonettes, etc. Let's see why that is so. This is not male chauvinist pigism. This is the Word of God.

1-Timothy 2:9: "In like manner also, let the women adorn themselves with clothing that shows modesty and discretion…"—being able to blush. I tell you, we have a generation that cannot blush anymore: the younger generation coming up; hard, crass and almost freakish monsters, some of them. It's amazing!

"…not with elaborate braidings of the hair… [stacked way up] …or with gold, or pearls, or expensive apparel… [to weave it all in some classic design, etc.] …but with that which is fitting for women who profess to have reverence for God—with good works" (vs 9-10). That has to be with all men, too.

Verse 11: "Let a woman learn in quietness and be submissive in every respect." We're all to do that, not just women. That's not to say that the men can stand up and say and do things anymore than the woman. But here's the key:

Verse 12: "For I [Paul] do not permit a woman to teach, nor to exercise authority over man, but to be in quietness." It would not be wrong for all women to get together in a group so that they can discuss things pertaining to women only. Nothing wrong with that; that would be fine:

  • how to be a better wife
  • how to take care of children

What do you do when this new bambino comes, especially when it's your first one? The first one is always an experiment. You never had one before. Those things and that knowledge needs to be passed on. That's perfectly all right; absolutely nothing wrong with that.

But God does not want women to be teaching and preaching. One of the main reasons is because the way that God has made, emotionally, men and women. Men are more geared to facts. Women are geared to feelings. They have to be! God wants us to have our conversion based upon the facts and the Scriptures, because of the very fact of His creation. This is not to put women down at all. Please understand that! We are talking about how much time out of a week? Two hours? Three hours?

Verse 13: "For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived; but the woman came to be in transgression by being deceived" (vs 13-14). That doesn't mean that she alone sinned. It talks about sin entering into the world through one man: Adam.

Verse 15: "But she shall be saved through the childbearing, if they continue in faith and love and sanctification with self-control."

That's why Paul said that women are to keep silent in the Church. That is, they are not to teach or usurp authority over men. If we have a Bible study, like we're having today, it's perfectly all right if ask a question of you, or you ask a question of me, that's fine.

Why does it say that they shall be saved in childbearing? Was it because there were so many infant deaths? Much less than we have now? Probably! That's a good point! I've never heard it quite expressed that way, but that's true! It's not that it's obligatory to have children, and you must have children in order to be saved. But they shall be saved in childbearing. In other words, their lives will be spared and that of their children. That's the promise that is given there.

(go to the next track)

Women being silent in the Church is not necessarily saying that they do not have the capacity to speak. Some of them can speak better than some men. I know for a fact that women can probably speak longer than most men. I also know for a fact that women just like to sit down and talk, talk about many things. And if a man happens to be sitting there, in a little while he gets bored; at least I do. So, I have to be careful how I exit lest I offend. We all still have our human nature involved.

One of the things that happens with human beings is that the way that most human beings make themselves feel better is to tear down someone else by talking against them, or comparing themselves among themselves that Paul says that you're not wise in doing so. That's different than comparing doctrine.

If you compare a teaching or doctrine you're comparing something that is written. Never compare yourself with anyone else, because you're not that other person. God never made you to be the other person. Love and appreciate everyone for what he or she is, for the talents and abilities that God has given to each one of them, which may be entirely different than yours. That's why it is completely wrong in a church to try and make everyone conform to the thinking of certain people.

The only conformity in thinking that we need is conformity to the thinking of Christ in carrying out our lives and how we live. Everyone has talents. God made us all different. There's no such thing has equality.

We have equal opportunity for salvation. But we're not all equal in the sense that men try and equate equality. Therefore, they don't appreciate the differences that all people have, and the special talents and things that different ones have in different areas and different abilities. Always remember that.

1-Corinthians 14:34: "Let your women be silent in the churches, for they are not allowed to speak… [to teach] …but they are to be in subjection, exactly as the law says. And if they wish to learn anything, let them ask their own husbands at home…." (vs 34-35). Some say that's because they had the women's section over here and the men's section over there, and the women would ask the men, 'What did he say, I didn't hear it?' That may be a possibility.

What happens if your husband doesn't come to church? Now you're confronted with a different proposition! What if you have a question in a Bible study? That is a different proposition!

The Purpose of Our Calling

Verse 36: "WHAT? Did the Word of God originate with you? Or did it come only to you and no one else?" Now that you've got all these new and different and strange doctrines.

Verse 37: "If anyone thinks that he is a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things I write to you are commandments of the Lord." The writings of the apostles that are canonized in the New Testament are in an entirely different category than the writings that we do now, such as letters or articles or books. Those are not the Word of God, or the commandment of God. We can copy it and put it in a book and say that this is what God's says and give the Scripture quote.

Verse 38: "But if anyone chooses to be ignorant, let him be ignorant." That is willfully, which is obviously implied here.

Verse 39: "So then, brethren, desire to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in foreign languages. Let all things be done decently and in order" (vs 39-40). So that we don't have a bunch of strange doctrines coming around. That's why we have heresies; that's why we have different things that come along.

In this age we have oh so many! It's really hard sometimes for people to hold onto the Truth.

  • Which Bible should I read? There's a whole array of Bibles out there!
  • Which church should I go to? Hundreds of denominations!
  • Where is God?
    • The scientists tell us that we don't know, and probably doesn't exist!
    • Theologians and ministers say the same thing!

Now we are in a situation at the end of the age that if we draw close to God and ask Him to give us understanding, which He will—God won't withhold understanding—and if we truly seek it with all our heart while we're seeking the Lord, we have to seek Him first, then God will give us great understanding of His Word.

This is what Paul was trying to talk about here in the first part of 1-Cor. This is what Paul was trying to teach them, because he knew that he was going to get into this a little later on concerning all these teachings.

1-Corinthians 1:18: "For to those who are perishing… [those in the world] …the preaching of the cross is foolishness… [it surely is today] …but to us who are being saved… [salvation is a process] …it is the power of God." That's what we want it to be; to grow in that.

Verse 19: "For it is written, 'I will destroy the wisdom of the wise…'" Remember that! How many things were you told years ago that you ought to do this or that or the other thing, and then they find out, no, that's the opposite?

"'…and I will nullify the understanding of those who understand'" (v 19). They've even found now that Einstein was wrong. In some things he was right, but some of his other conclusions they now understand were wrong. Here was the greatest mathematician in the history of the world in our time, and it's fulfilled right here. "…to bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.'

Verse 20: "Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Did not God make foolish the wisdom of this world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its own wisdom did not know God, it pleased God to save those who believe through the foolishness of preaching."

That sure is true today! All their great pronouncements! What you need to do is take God's perspective. When you see some great thing pronounced on television or some great teacher pronounces something with great aplomb, just listen and wait and see. Be patient, it may take some time. It may take years. But sooner or later you're going to find out that this Scripture is true. That's why God has done what He has done.

That's why the world is not filled with Churches of God today. In the wisdom of men they want to go one better than God. It all began with Cain.

Verse 21: "For since in the wisdom of God the world through its own wisdom did not know God…" See Rom. 1. They knew God but they exchanged the Truth of God for a lie. Look what happened; we see it happening in the world today. 'We don't need God; we'll take care of ourselves. Everything will be just fine.' Not only their wisdom, but also their behavior. God has a very special way of doing it; a small, little virus.

I have two books that are good for teenagers, both by Rick Jones:

  • Stairway to Hell
  • How to be a Successful Teenager

In Stairway to Hell the author says that the only way to have safe-sex is sex in marriage, which is true. The blessing of God for sex in marriage is what God created.

  • no venereal disease, of which in the world there are over 60
  • no mental illness because of the fear and perversion
  • no corruption of the mind because of live pornography

God's way is right. But the world says that's foolishness. The world says, 'Our wisdom is that we'll have the medicine; we'll figure it out; we'll get a cure for AIDS.' Never happen! They may be able to prolong the life, but guess what's going to happen? It's going to mutate into a stronger strain. He's done that with everything; those who reject God!

 "…it pleased God to save those who believe through the foolishness of preaching…. [who really believe in Christ; to the world that's foolishness] …For the Jews require a sign… [didn't do any good] …and the Greeks seek after wisdom… [but they know nothing] …but we proclaim Christ crucified. To the Jews it is a cause of offense, and to the Greeks it is foolishness" (vs 21-23). 'Our gods are better.'

What did they do with the false Christianity? They took all the ancient philosophies and superimposed it upon Christianity and now they have the big Babylon the Great out there!

Verse 24: "But to those who are called—both Jews and Greeks—Christ is God's power and God's wisdom." You need to understand that in your life; it's through Christ that you have the power of God:

  • the power to overcome
  • the power to change
  • the power that God gives through His Holy Spirit that you are converted

and the wisdom of God:

  • that you know how to live your life
  • that you understand the right and proper things in life

Verse 25: "Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men… [if there be any foolishness with God] …and the weakness of God is stronger than men…. [that is if there be any weakness of God] …For you see your calling, brethren…" (vs 25-26).

Here's how Paul started out. This is the foundation and framework that he wanted them to understand so that when he got to 1-Cor. 14 then they would be willing to understand and the important thing is your relationship with God and understanding the Word of God.

"…that there are not many who are wise according to the flesh…" We're all really, when you come down to it. I remember just driving down the road after all the trials and everything that I'd gone through, I just prayed and said, 'God, teach me how to think; I don't know how to think. I'm making so many stupid and dumb mistakes, I don't know where to begin.' God has to give it to us.

"…not many who are powerful…" No! A lot of us have afflictions.

"…not many who are highborn among you" (v 26). Are there any princes or princesses among us, any relation to the throne of England? No!

Verse 27: "Rather, God has chosen the foolish things of the world…" Sometimes we have a hard time getting along. That's why we need to be converted, so we can get along.

"…so that He might put to shame those who are wise…" They're not going to be confounded until the resurrection, then it's going to blow them away!

"…and God has chosen the weak things of the world…" They would look at someone like a 91-year-old who is weak and frail and just discount them entirely.

"…so that He might put to shame the strong things" (v 27). How many great basketball or football players do we have? None!

Verse 28: "And the lowborn of the world… [those that are rejected] …and the despised has God chosen—even the things that are counted as nothing—…"

  • Who are these people?
  • Who is this little church, wherever it may be?

The Catholics and the Jesuits survey their conquest of the world.

  • Who are these little people, just little flies to annoy us?
  • We'll get them one day!
  • They're nothing!

But God has called us who are nothing, "…in order that He might bring to nothing the things that are" (v 28).

Remember Rev. 3, God is going to cause those of the synagogue of Satan to come and worship before our feet. Just think of it this way: One day, everyone who is in the U.N. today is going to come and worship before the feet of the saints of God, to acknowledge that they are of God and that they are wrong!

  • today, they're the mighty
  • today, they're the powerful

That's why it's imperative that Christ be in us and we be converted! God has given us a great and fantastic calling. Here's the reason:

Verse 29: "So that no flesh might glory in His presence." That's the lesson that Job had to learn. Job couldn't understand why God would do to him the things that He did, because, after all, he [Job] was so great. No flesh is going to glory!

No one is going to say, 'God, I knew You had to call me because I was this and that or the other thing.' Be guaranteed, God isn't going to call that person! That's what repentance is all about, that you come to repent, and you understand your calling.

Verse 30: "But you are of Him in Christ Jesus, Who was made to us wisdom from God, even righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption; so that, as it is written, 'The one who glories, let him glory in the Lord'" (vs 30-31). Everything that we do comes to be for the glory of God!

Not that we set out to: 'Oh, God I'm going to glorify You.' No, but you love God, you serve Him and you love the brethren and do the things that are right. You ask God for His help, His blessing, Spirit and understanding. We glorify in God!

1-Corinthians 2:9: "But according as it is written… [this is what God wants to do for all of those whom He's called]: …'The eye has not seen… [not going to come through human perception] …nor the ear heard… [it's not going to come from hearing the philosophies of men] …neither have entered into the heart of man… [that's because he's not capable of thinking the thoughts of God on his own] …the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.'"

That's why Paul started out this way: for them to really focus on Christ. This is a great, great key in understanding. Whenever you have problem you need to overcome, first come to Christ, then go to the prophet.

Verse 10: "But God has revealed them to us by His Spirit…" The things that he gives to us and we understand that the knowledge and the Truth comes from God.

"…for the Spirit searches all things—eventhe deep things of God" (v 10). Here we are at the end-time right now. Just exactly how it's all going to play out we'll have to wait and see.

So, we have on the one hand a world that is headlong leaving God. And we have those whom God has called that He wants to give them the deep understanding of His Word. What a contrast! That is an amazing thing to contemplate.

That's what God is doing, and that's the whole purpose of the book of 1-Corinthians.

All Scriptures from The Holy Bible in Its Original Order, A Faithful Version by Fred R. Coulter

Scriptural References:

  • 1-Corinthians 11:17-19
  • 1 Corinthians 14:17-22
  • Acts 2:1-13
  • 1 Corinthians 14:22-29
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:21
  • 1 Corinthians 14:30-33
  • 1 Timothy 2:9-15
  • 1 Corinthians 14:34-40
  • 1 Corinthians 1:18-31
  • 1 Corinthians 2:9-12

Scriptures referenced, not quoted:

  • Genesis 9
  • John 7-9
  • Romans 1
  • Revelation 3

Also referenced:

  • Sermon Series: Refuting Sunday-Keeping
  • Sermon: The Administration of Death
  • Books:
  • Sunday Facts and Sabbath Fiction by Russell Tardo
  • The Stairway to Hell by Rick Jones
  • How to be a Successful Teenager by Rick Jones

Transcribed: 4-26-15