R C Sproul – Christ Crucified

When the Gospel is presented boldly and without compromise it will always encounter opposition. In this series of lectures from Ligonier Ministries’ 2000 National Conference, „Upsetting the World,” Sinclair Ferguson, Al Martin, R. Albert Mohler Jr., John Piper, R.C. Sproul, Joni Eareckson Tada, and Douglas Wilson explain how to face a world that is hostile to the Gospel. Reminding us that the Gospel is offensive to depraved humanity, the speakers emphasize the need for world missions, the reality of suffering, and our heavenly reward. Uploaded by on Jun 1, 2011

Paul’s third letter to the church of Corinth chapter 1:17-25

For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.

18 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. 19 For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wiseand the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.” 20 Where 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? 21 For 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. 22 For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom,23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

Then, in chapter 2, Paul says, „And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you exceptJesus Christ and him crucified.” And he who has ears to her, the word of God, let them hear it.

In the year 212 B.C., a very strange book was published, and it’s author was even more strange than the book he published. Because, in this book,  which the author dedicated to the king  of the city of Syracuse, in the southern coast of Sicily, in this book, the author sought to calculate how many grains of sand it would take to fill the entire universe. Can you imagine a work more bizarre than that? This is one of the last things this man did before he died. Recently, I’ve been preaching through the book of Acts, and I mentioned to our congregation, that when Paul came to Athens, and saw a city completely given to idolatry, and he began to proclaim Christ to the philosophers gathered at the Areopagus, the Bible says that they looked at the apostle and said, „What will this babbler say?” And it’s a strange translation, because the word that is translated babbler, literally means seed picker. A seed picker was somebody who went around the streets, scooping up seeds from the ground, eeking out a subsistence from them, much like a modern street person does by sifting through garbage cans. Well, if there ever was a seed picker, it was this man who tried to count the number of seeds that would fill this universe.

The name of the book was called ‘The Sand Reckoner’. The author died when his city came under siege by a Roman general, whose nickname was the sword of Rome- Marcus Claudius Marcellus. And, when he brought his troops, and his Roman navy  to move against the citadels of Syracuse, he was utterly astonished at the resistance that he met there during the siege. And he had to work feverishly to keep his troops from giving in to utter discouragement, because to their astonishment, they encountered  war machines that they had never seen before, that were far more sophisticated than any machines that the Romans had invented up to that point. One of those war machines was the catapult. But, another one that was even more astonishing, was that as the Romans’ ships approached, the cliffs outside of Syracuse, the sailors looked up into the sky and they saw these huge jaws descending from the sky. And the jaws came down and gripped one of the Roman ships and then hoisted it 100 feet into the air, the jaws were released and the ship and its crew fell to the rocks and were smashed to smithereens. They couldn’t believe what they were seeing, until the jaws moved to the next ship. And the sailors under Marcus CLaudius Marcellus were terrified. Well, finally, the Romans were victorious. And the command of the general was that the engineer that had developed these new weapons for the Sicilians was to be unharmed. But, that mandate was ignored by one of the rank and file soldiers, who was so annoyed by this man’s ingenuity, that he approached him as he was doing mathematical equations in the sand and killed him on the spot. And thus, Archimedes met his death. Archimedes is famous, for after discovering the laws of buoyancy in his bathtub, ran into the streets crying out „Eureka. I have found it”. And even his book the Sand Reckoner, which seems so absurd to us today, estimated the number of grains of sand that would fill the universe, matched almost exactly the estimates compilated  by 20th century physicists, only a few years ago. I think it’s safe to say that Archimedes was one of the most brilliant men, not only in the ancient world, but who has ever walked on this planet. And, I think you’ll remember the words that he spoke to the king of Syracuse on one occasion, when the king was amazed at all of these machines that Archimedes had designed. Archimedes said to him: Give me a lever long enough, and a place to stand, and I can move the whole world.

A little over 200 years after Archimedes made that statement, a lever was found that was long enough to move the world. It was a tree, about 10 feet high and the place that it was placed was Calvary, because the cross was the lever that turned the world upside down. It was the cross that revealed the power, the power of God Himself to right a topsy turvy world. And it was the message of that cross that changed the world forever. The cross, according to what the apostle teaches us here in 1 Corinthians had a visible and invisible significance.(14:00)

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