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. (1 Corinthians 1:22-24)
We Preach Christ Crucified
Doctrine is a teaching or instruction setting forth a principle or position of a particular group. Whatever is taught is what becomes the basis of the belief held by the organization. Often, in the religious connotation, doctrine refers to the core beliefs of the religious group. Jesus referred to His teaching as the doctrine of His Father. The early church continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship. Paul calls the gospel of Christ the doctrine of God and warned Timothy of those who would oppose sound doctrine. The scriptures are profitable for doctrine. John writes those who do not abide in the doctrine of Christ do not have God. He goes further to admonish not to receive anyone who does not hold to the doctrine of Christ.
What is the core element of doctrine in the church Jesus built? Listening to many religious groups today and among many of the Lord’s body, it is difficult to know what the core doctrine of a group is supposed to be. Focus is given to the carnal side of things like the entertainment of bands, musical groups, concerts, and fun times. Churches have coffee shops and donut shops, gymnasiums, and family life centers with a myriad of fun and recreation activities. Lost in the noise of self-gratification is the sole purpose of the church: Christ crucified. It is argued all the entertainment venues seek to praise Jesus and honor His name, but that is in stark contrast to the message of Paul when he said he preached Christ crucified, and that was it. The Jews wanted something more than the message of a dead Jew. To the Gentile (Greek) mind, the story of Jesus dying on the cross was pure foolishness. It sounds like there are many like-minded Jews and Gentiles in the religious world today.
Jesus said He would build His church, and the gates of Hades would not prevail against it. Later, the Holy Spirit said that many hearts of the disciples would be drawn away and enticed. The gates of Hades have not prevailed, but its open doors begin in the lobbies of most churches and find fulfillment in their pulpits. There is little preached, taught, discussed, and valued about the true nature of the death of Jesus Christ. The crowds desire a sign, and the multitudes seek human wisdom, and Christ crucified is shunned. Preaching the gospel offends the delicate souls of the weak-hearted. Accepting the teachings of the Bible is viewed as narrow-minded and useless. Preaching the message of Jesus Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection is refuted with the modern principles of humanism, acceptance of immoral conduct, and contemporary religious thought. Health and wealth are the modern-day versions of the Jews and Greeks.
The pursuit of human wisdom, earthly possessions, the happiness of the flesh, and a form of godliness is more important than the message of Christ crucified. Paul offended many who heard him preach, but he preached the message of the cross. Many walked away from Jesus when He offended their delicate senses of religion. Drawing men with the honey of human wisdom will draw more souls to a movement, but it will take more souls to perdition where there is no honey or money. Christ crucified is the DNA of the gospel’s message, and preaching anything less will only bring eternal misery. Going beyond the message of the cross jeopardizes the eternal soul. Under the Law of Moses and in the writings of the New Testament, stern warnings are given of not preaching the whole truth and going beyond what is written. Paul said he preached Christ crucified. Nothing more. Nothing less. Preach Jesus. Tell the story of the crucified Savior.