This Worlds Wisdom Made Foolish
A Sermon on John 1:16
16For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace.
16And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.
How does the wisdom of the world compare to the wisdom of God? Listen to “The World’s Wisdom Made Foolish” as Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones explains how the world cannot understand Christ because what the world sees as wise, Christ says is folly. God’s ways are wholly opposed to this worldly wisdom. He uses the weak and the base to shame the false wisdom of the world. This is seen clearly in the incarnation and the birth of Christ. Jesus was not born in a palace or amongst royalty, but He was born in a manger amongst the poor and weak. In His ministry He confounded the wisdom of the world by teaching the lowly and humble. He lived and died a poor man with few possessions, but He revealed the true wisdom of God in His life in ministry. He amazed the scribes and the Pharisees with his wisdom and authority. In his weakness, God’s wisdom was manifested and in His humility, God’s power was displayed. From His birth in a lowly manger to His death on the cross, in Jesus the wisdom of God shamed the wisdom of the world. No Christian should be ashamed of Christ, for in Him is all wisdom and truth.
- The sermon begins by introducing the verse John 1:16 which states that out of Jesus's fullness we have all received grace upon grace.
- The sermon then establishes that everything Christians have and are is due to Jesus coming into the world. Without Jesus, Christians would have nothing.
- The sermon discusses how Jesus's fullness has been applied to Christians. Jesus has always had this fullness, but Christians are now able to receive it and partake in it.
- The sermon states that Jesus did everything necessary for salvation and now sits at the right hand of God, interceding for Christians and waiting to return.
- The sermon asks whether the audience understands life, people, history, and the future in a Christian manner or non-Christian manner. There are only two options.
- The sermon then begins to discuss how Jesus's birth exposes the false glory of humans and the world. Jesus's birth shows the wisdom of the world is foolish.
- The sermon establishes that the world views glory in terms of bigness, power, pomp and circumstance, magnificent buildings, and pedigree. The world views glory as that which is big, powerful, and able to display itself.
- The sermon contrasts this by showing how Jesus's birth was the opposite of the world's view of glory. Jesus was born a Jew in a small nation, to an unknown mother, as a helpless baby placed in a manger, in poverty, and in a stable.
- The sermon states that these contrasts show God making the wisdom of the world foolish and revealing true wisdom is found in Jesus.
- The sermon acknowledges the paradox of Jesus's birth showing the world's wisdom as foolish while also revealing God's wisdom. The world sees the ordinary while missing the hidden, heavenly nature of Jesus's birth.
- The sermon highlights how Jesus's birth was announced beforehand to Mary, was miraculous as Jesus was born of a virgin and conceived by the Holy Spirit, and was heralded by angels singing to shepherds while the world remained unaware.
- The sermon states that the world cannot understand Jesus and rejects him because they try to measure him by human standards. The world calls Jesus's birth and life folly and nonsense, not seeing the hidden wisdom and glory of God in Christ.
- The sermon establishes that one can only know and understand Jesus through God's revelation. God first revealed Jesus to ordinary shepherds, showing God saves by grace and the gospel is for all.
- The sermon concludes by stating Jesus is the light of the world, and those who follow him will have the light of life. Jesus is the power and wisdom of God which makes the world's wisdom foolish. Thanks be to God for the gift of Jesus.
The Book of John
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) was a Welsh evangelical minister who preached and taught in the Reformed tradition. His principal ministry was at Westminster Chapel, in central London, from 1939-1968, where he delivered multi-year expositions on books of the bible such as Romans, Ephesians and the Gospel of John. In addition to the MLJ Trust’s collection of 1,600 of these sermons in audio format, most of these great sermon series are available in book form (including a 14 volume collection of the Romans sermons), as are other series such as "Spiritual Depression", "Studies in the Sermon on the Mount" and "Great Biblical Doctrines". He is considered by many evangelical leaders today to be an authority on biblical truth and the sufficiency of Scripture.