What does it mean to preach Jesus and Him crucified? Many who claim to be preaching Christ do not know what it means.
It means to preach that the wisdom of the world is foolishness with God!Many people rely upon and trust in the wisdom of this world. However, this is done in vain. Paul declared: "For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness. And again, The Lord knoweth the tough of the wise, that they are vain.. Therefore let no man glory in men…" (1 Cor. 3:19-21). "The world by [its] wisdom knew not God." (1 Cor. 1:21). "…The preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us who 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." (1 Cor. 1:18-19). God hath made "foolish the wisdom of this world."
The wisdom of the world (whe-ther of "the Jews" or "the Greeks" will cause people to reject Christ because the preaching of "Christ crucified" is "unto the Jews a stumbling block, and, unto the Greeks foolishness." We are thankful that there are a few "Jews" and a few "Greeks" who reject the wisdom of the world and accept the gospel of Christ which is the power of God unto salvation! (See 1 Cor. 1:24 & Rom. 1:16).
The wisdom of the world will lead people into error and prompt the preaching of false doctrines. It will prompt many people to obey false doctrines while believing them to be the truth of Christ. There were some who professed to be wise, but they became fools (Rom. 1:22)! The Scriptures are able to make sinners wise unto salvation. (See 2 Tim. 3:15-17; Psa. 19:7).
The wisdom of the world will cause people to reject certain statements or even commandments of the Lord because they are considered "foolish" or "weak" or "base", or are they "things which are despised" or they are "things which are not". Here are a few examples:
(1) Jesus said: "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (John 14:6) QUESTION: Why would any honest person deny that Jesus is the only way to heaven?
(2) Jesus said: "…and there shall be one fold and one shepherd." (John 10:16) QUESTION: Why would any sincere person say there is more than "one fold and one shepherd"?
(3) Jesus said: "…it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God and him only shalt thou serve." (Mt. 4:10) QUESTION: Why would any God-fearing person say that "it doesn’t matter what God you worship"?
(4) Jesus said: "God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth." (John 4:24) QUESTION: Why would any honest person con-tend that "it does not matter how you worship God"?
(5) Jesus said: "…Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned." (Mark 16:15-16) QUESTION: Why would any sincere person contend that "baptism is not essential to salvation?"
(6) Peter said: "…Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost." (Acts 2:38) QUESTION: Why would any God-fearing person say that "baptism is not for the remission of sins?"
(7) Paul said: "For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ." (Gal. 3:26-27) QUESTION: Why would any honest person deny that in order to become children of God "by faith" that sinners must be "baptized into Christ?"
(8) Paul said: "There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all who is above all, and through all, and in you all." (Eph. 4:4-6) QUESTION: Why would any sincere person contend that there is more than one God, one Lord, one Holy Spirit, one Faith, one Body, one Baptism and one Hope?
(9) Jesus said: "Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall mar-ry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery." (Mt. 19:9) QUESTION: Why would any God-fearing person contend that a person can put away (divorce) his wife for any other reason (than fornication) and marry another without committing adultery?
OBSERVATION: The above ex-amples are illustrations of God choosing "the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and… the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised…and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence." (1 Cor. 1:27-29)
The above examples are also illustrations of men following "worldly wisdom", that is, "fleshly wisdom." (See 2 Cor. 1:12). It is that wisdom which originated with men. It "is earthly, sensual, devilish." It causes "confusion and every evil work." (See James 3:13-16) In contrast with this, "the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy" according to James 3:17.
FURTHER NOTE: Only those who are willing to follow God’s wisdom are willing to preach Jesus Christ and Him crucified and/or to follow the preaching and teaching of Jesus Christ and Him crucified!
It means to preach that we are begotten through the gospel! There can be no new birth un-less there is a begetting. Many people contend that "a direct, miraculous operation of the Holy Spirit" does the begetting in the heart of the sinner to enable him to "be born again." Others claim that that one must have an "experience with the Lord" or "go to an old-fashioned altar and pray" until one has been saved (or born again).
However, the apostle Paul said: "…for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel." (1 Cor. 4:15) The reason he did this was because "the gospel is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek." (Rom. 1:16; also see Acts 11:14 & Jas. 1:21). In James 1:18 (speaking of the Father) we read: "Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth…"
We learn from Heb. 4:12 that "the word of God is quick and powerful…" We must have faith in order to please God and thus to be born again. Faith comes by hearing the word of God! (See Heb. 11:6; Rom. 10:17).
Peter said: "Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth…Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God…" (1 Pet. 1:22-23).