The Foolishness of Preaching

by Charles Woodruff

“For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe” (I Corinthians 1:18-21).

God gave us some rain the last couple of days, for which we are thankful. I know of one church in Calhoun, GA that is meeting regularly to pray for rain. There are a number of others, some meeting several hours a day, but this one made the local TV news. More of us should be meeting to pray for rain, for we still need it desperately. Areas around Atlanta are 17 inches blow normal, and some places in Alabama are worse of than that. In my recent article titled Rain, I compared what was happening in the days of Elijah, and asked “How would you like to be without rain for Three years and six months?” Sobering isn’t it?

In California things are so bad that the fires and Santa Ana winds are spawning “fire tornadoes” in some areas. It is awesome. It sorta looks like what I imagine hell to be. Scary! Especially if you consider the origin of the name Santa Ana. Some folks claim that the name comes from the actual Santa Ana Mountains, while others believe that the name derives from the Santa Ana River. What I have long known may be the most plausible origin for these wicked winds. Many Indians and those of Spanish descent claim that the original form of the phrase is Santana winds, coming from the Spanish vientos de Sanatanas, which means “winds of Satan” (Sanatanas being a rarer form of Satanás). Besides their discomforting heat and dryness, the Santa Ana winds are strongly associated with high fire danger, particularly in the chaparral brush growing on the Southern California mountain slopes. For this reason they are often called devil winds or devil's breath.

During this time of drought here in the Southeast and the fires in Southern California, weather forecasters and reporters always have their little cute comments. I heard one today on ABC say “Things are improving, and we have to credit Mother Nature and the brave firefighters.” Now, the firefighters are brave, perhaps no one will deny that, just as they were brave on September 11, 2001, and as they, and our police officers, generally always are. Yet, this is a great example of a foolish statement by a man of this world, to ascribe to a non-existent, fictional personage Mother Nature that dominion which alone belongs to Jehovah God. He controls the weather. He controls the orbits of the planets, the positions of the stars in our galaxy and countless more galaxies. Actually He is in control of everything that exists.

You might reply “You can’t prove or see this God you speak of any more than we can prove Mother Nature” Wrong! He is nature’s God, and He set up the laws of nature as the Declaration of Independence nicely states. He set nature into action and He controls it. There would be no nature if there were no God. Jehovah God has a revealed ancient history, and has often overruled the laws of nature which He set up originally. After all He is the Ancient of Days (Daniel 7:9). He exists, as much of history proves. I am using His Hebrew name Jehovah by which He revealed Himself to Moses and the children of Israel so as to fully distinguish Him from the false gods of this world such as Buddha, Krishna, the Allah of Mohammedism, the Shinto gods, etc… He alone is the unique God, the Almighty God (El Shaddai), the Elohim, Adonai and Jehovah. Some scholars prefer Yahweh, and that is acceptable, for no one really knew how to pronounce Hebrew letters of the Tetragrammaton (which means the four Hebrew letters usually transliterated YHWH or JHVH that form a biblical proper name of God). Perhaps we don’t really know the pronunciation today! The King James Version translates as JEHOVAH five times including the one time it is shortened to JAH (Psalm 68:4).

Not only has both secular and Biblical history given proof to Him, but He has spoken in these last days through His son, the Lord Jesus Christ (Hebrews 1:1,2). Some believe because He walked this earth 2000 years ago that it is too far in the past, or simply mythology. My friend, 2000 years is nothing to Jehovah God “The high and lofty one which inhabiteth eternity whose name is Holy” (Isaiah 57:15). “But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day with the Lord is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” (II Peter 3:8). Competent historians do not deny Christ’s existence, they do not dare! Too many ancient sources prove He was here, and that He was crucified. Of course, they will deny His resurrection, but there are many infallible proofs of that. Yet here in I Corinthians, the Bible declares that preaching the cross would be foolish to men. It is like the days of Noah when all scoffed at this crazy man building an ark. It is as Peter said it would be so in the last days “Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation (II Peter 3:3,4).

Just as in the days of Noah evil is more prevalent as men and women walk after their own lusts, and denying that God will ever judge the land, or themselves as individuals. For those with an eye on the spiritual, who can deny that America and much of the western world is under judgment right now. It’s not coming -- it’s already here! In Jeremiah’s day Judah and Israel were under judgment. Jeremiah, the weeping prophet, cried aloud to the people, but few heard him and he was persecuted. One of the prevalent signs that the land was under judgment was drought. Read and heed! “The word of the LORD that came to Jeremiah concerning the drought: ‘Judah mourns, and her gates languish; her people lament on the ground, and the cry of Jerusalem goes up. Her nobles send their servants for water; they come to the cisterns; they find no water; they return with their vessels empty; they are ashamed and confounded and cover their heads. Because of the ground that is dismayed {parched}, since there is no rain on the land, the farmers are ashamed; they cover their heads. Even the doe in the field forsakes her newborn fawn because there is no grass”’ (Jeremiah 14:1-6, ESV).

Do you see the preaching of the old rugged cross as foolish, my friend? Our original text says it would be foolish “to them that perish”. All of us have to die someday, except for those who are alive at Christ’s return. All of us do not have to perish. You would think that anyone seeing the fire tornadoes would be reminded of hell, where the unregenerate will go. But how can they be reminded when most preachers and Bible teachers do not preach on hell. Most modern Christian books never mention it. In most theological circles hell is passé. But hell is real -- Jesus said so. He preached far more about hell than He did heaven. Check it out for yourself.

I preach to you the cross as the only answer. I preach to you Christ crucified as the only answer. When He died on that cross He bore the sins of everyone who would come to Him in faith. “All that the Father giveth Me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:37). Do you regard the message of a dying Savior as foolish? Then you are too wise for your own good. God said He will destroy the wisdom of the wise. He is not going to save everyone, yet many will hear His voice. “Today, if you will hear His voice, harden not your hearts” Hebrews 4:7b). “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish-” ( John 10: 27,28).The Spirit of God must draw you (see John 6:44)). The goodness of God must lead you to repentance (see Romans 2:4). Don’t be wise in your own conceit. “ For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13).

Hear carefully, my friend. You cannot find God by your own wisdom. You cannot be righteous enough, good enough, do penance enough, be kind enough, be well liked enough, be old enough, be young enough, be pretty enough, be handsome enough, be intellectual enough, be ignorant enough, be rich enough, be poor enough; you can’t even be desperate enough -- without the conviction of the Holy Ghost. I don’t care how elect you think yourself to be, how much assurance you think you have, if you have seen a ball of fire, spoke in unknown tongues, were slain in the spirit, think you found Jesus in the mass, or through a religious movie, or at Christmas time because your heart was moved, or you prayed through, or whatever you have done to think you can merit heaven -- unless you bow at the foot of the Cross of Christ in repentance and receive what He
has done in His finished work by His blood, you will not be saved! Isn’t this a foolish message? Be careful! Foolish to whom? To them that perish.

The remedy for salvation from sin is always the ransom paid at the cross. The remedy for the judgment of God is always repentance and faith. In Jeremiah’s day this was the cry: “We acknowledge, O LORD, our wickedness, and the iniquity of our fathers: for we have sinned against thee. Do not abhor us, for thy name's sake, do not disgrace the throne of thy glory: remember, break not thy covenant with us. Are there any among the vanities {false gods} of the Gentiles that can cause rain? or can the heavens give showers? art not thou he, O LORD our God? therefore we will wait upon thee: for thou hast made all these things”(Jeremiah 14:20-22).

Did you catch that? Only Jehovah can send rain, not false gods (idols). For the spiritual rain (revival), we need in the churches of our land we must cry unto Him from our hearts, and He will graciously visit, or else it may be all over for the USA. Repent and pray!

Ponder these revival comments mostly gleaned by W.F. Bell:

"Without the Spirit of God, we can do nothing. We are as ships without wind. We are useless." - Charles Spurgeon

"A revived Church is the only hope for a dying world." - Andrew Murray


"Revival is God revealing Himself to men in awesome holiness and irresistible power." - Arthur Wallis

"Revival is simply New Testament Christianity, the saints going back to normal." - Vance Havner

"I see the churches expanding their building facilities; increasing their office space; adding a new wing or new building for a family center, or for educational or recreational purposes; but, I say again, I never see a church having to increase the size of the prayer room. This, I am convinced, is because the preachers themselves are shrunken in the habit of prayer. A revival of prayer in the pulpit would mean a revival of prayer in the pew." -Leonard Ravenhill

"I do not understand Christian people who are not thrilled by the whole idea of revival." - D.Martyn Lloyd-Jones

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