“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. For it is written, ”I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.” – 1 Corinthians 1:18-19
LIFE THROUGH DEATH
by Tori Haverkamp
Jesus said in Matthew 24:37-39, “For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.”
Though believers today aren’t commanded to build an ark as Noah was, we are commanded to build the kingdom of God. And just as in Noah’s day, our society is busying themselves with eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage. Many of us are so busy, in fact, that we neglect to see the gravity of 1 Corinthians 1:18-19; that “the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing.” We, the undeservedly rescued ones – the ones who have been enlightened to the truth and sanctified by the blood of Jesus by nothing we have done – should be motivated by this fact: our friends are facing sure destruction. We have sure salvation through the power of God. Shouldn’t we tell them?
Absolutely. But will they listen? Many won’t.
Those who don’t know they are perishing aren’t looking for a Rescuer. In fact, the offer of a Savior will seem ludicrous to them because they don’t understand that they are drowning. They are busy eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, and for them, these are the ultimate joys. Because their minds are darkened by sin and their consciences dulled by disuse, truth seems like folly and the cross seems unnecessary. They have no need for it. How could the word of the cross – the word of death – possibly be good news? Conventional wisdom would tell us that this message is foolishness.
But some will listen. The word of the cross is that true and lasting life comes through the death of Jesus. This word is the power of God to those who are being saved. But in order to be saved, they must first hear the message.
Since we are commanded in Matthew 28 to “go therefore and make disciples,” we have a life-giving job to do – even if those who hear it resist. God has given the world a choice…and a chance: repent and be saved or rebel and perish. Let’s take seriously the task of loving our neighbors. As 2 Corinthians 2:15 instructs us, let us be the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. May we live in such a way that when others observe our actions and listen to our words, that which was formerly “folly” in their minds becomes the power of God in their hearts.
“For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life.” – 2 Corinthians 2:15-16b
FAMILY LENT ACTIVITY
Spend time as a family focused on Jesus and the cross. Do all of these activities at one time or mix and match throughout the week.
• Make a “prayer jar” with names of people who don’t know Jesus on popsicle sticks (or paper) and take turns drawing names to pray for that person to find life in Christ.
• Look up other words for “foolish” in a thesaurus and talk about things that seem silly or irrational to you.
• Discuss: Talk about what it means that the cross seems foolish to those who don’t know Jesus. In addition to praying for the people in the jar, what are other things you can do to help them find life in Christ?
• Pray as a family.
Take time to be still before God and pray, using these starter prayers to guide your time.
• Open my eyes to see those who are perishing. Fill me with compassion for their eternal future.
• Take away my fear as I share Your wisdom with those around me.
• Help me to cease from needless busyness so that I can make others a priority.
Women’s Ministry Leader
Tori Haverkamp is the Women’s Ministry Leader at Cornerstone Church. She and her husband, Brent, have four grown children and have been a part of Cornerstone since its inception in 1994.