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Rev. Ronald C. Purkey, an ordained Baptist minister, claims no originality for the contents
of these Bible study outlines. However, every Bible study posted on this website has been
taught by Rev. Purkey. To see more Bible study outlines go to the Archives Page:



February 5, 2023

READ SCRIPTURE: 1 Corinthians 1:17-31

KEY VERSES: And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: 29 That no flesh should glory in his presence. (1 Corinthians. 1:28-29)


A. The preaching of the cross to some seems old-fashioned.

1. Maybe even useless in the world in which we live today.

2. However, I contend that the only hope for this world is the preaching of the cross.

3. Because, as the song said, it's still the cross where new life begins!

B. I have to admit that it is not very popular to preach the cross today.

1. All too many people attend a church to hear some “little pep talk” to make them feel good about themselves.

2. Others attend with who knows what in mind, BUT they hear the preaching of the cross!

a. Some return.

b. Others do not.

C. Wouldn’t it be a blessing to see people getting saved?

1. To see people surrendering their lives for God’s service.

2. To see people repenting and confessing sin before God and finding victory?

3. To see people coming to Christ in obedience to God’s Word!

D. Why does that sort of thing happen?

1. It isn't because of the preacher, it isn't because of the buildings, it isn't because of the music, it isn't because of anything at the church, BUT IT’S BECAUSE OF THE PREACHING OF THE CROSS!!!

2. Jesus said, "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me." -- John 12:32

3. Why is it so important that the cross of Christ be preached?


For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. 18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. 20 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? 21 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. (1 Corinthians 1:17-21)

INSIGHT: Here is the Gospel of Jesus Christ: Christ died, Christ was buried, and Christ was resurrected. He lives forever more and Christ is coming again!

A. The Preaching of the Cross Sweeps Away our Pretense of Being Good Outside of Christ.

1. "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all." -- Isaiah 53:6

a. The picture represented by this verse is a sheep that has no shepherd and therefore continues to wander aimlessly.

b. Man apart from Christ is simply wandering in this world with no goal or promise at all.

c. They are going their own way: religion is just a collection of rituals that man has tried in a feeble attempt to please God on their terms.

2. Romans 3:23, "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;"

a. This verse simply means that even with all of man's attempts he still has fallen miserably short.

b. This is man's religion from God's viewpoint.

c. As a man looks at himself, he is often proud of his accomplishments.

d. Proverbs 16:2, "All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the LORD weigheth the spirits."

3. So to preach the cross of Christ means that man is hopelessly lost without Christ!

B. The Preaching of the Cross Sweeps Away our Pretense of Being Saved by Our Own Works.

1. If man cannot be good outside of Christ, it is for sure that he cannot save himself.

2. Ephesians 2:8-9, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast."

3. Some time ago on the Discovery Channel on TV, there was a documentary concerning man's attempt to fly, like a bird, under his own power.

4. Each contraption ended up the same way, in pieces on the ground...the force of gravity was too great for man to overcome by himself.

5. In the same manner, sin is too powerful a force for us to overcome by ourselves.

6. To preach the cross of Christ shows that man cannot reach God on his own!

The Thief On The Cross

(John 19:16-19) 16Then delivered [Pilate] [Jesus] unto them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led him away. 17And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha: 18Where they crucified him, and two other with him, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst. 19And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS.

(Luke 23:39-41) 39And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. 40But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? 41And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss.

THE QUESTION: On the cross after the first thief blasphemed Jesus, the other rebuked him, saying, "Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong."

THE REQUEST: He then asked something of Jesus. What was that request?

(Luke 23:42) And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.

THE PROMISE: (Luke 23:43) And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.


(1 John 4:9-10) In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. 10Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

A. At the cross we see the love of God.

1. The crucifixion of Christ was (1) the greatest exhibition, (2) the greatest demonstration, (3) and the greatest revelation of God's love toward men and women.

2. At the cross …

a. we see man's crime along with God's compassion.

b. we see man at his worst, but God at His best.

c. we see man's ruin, and God's plan of redemption.

3. The cross reveals that Christ didn't die for good people; Christ died for sinners.

(Romans 5:8) But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

B. At the cross we see the grace of God.

1. God's grace found us!

a. Man does not seek after God.

b. "...there is none that seeketh after God." - Romans 3:11 b

c. Jesus said, "No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him."

2. God's grace found the thief on the cross.

a. The thief certainly wasn't expecting to find eternal life at Calvary!

b. The thief went expecting death and found the Lord instead.

c. February 18, 1959, the day I received Christ, started out like any other day, I wasn't searching for Him...but by God's grace He found me!

3. God's grace is sufficient.

a. God's grace was sufficient for the thief to face death without fear.

b. God's grace was sufficient to answer all of my questions as well.

INSIGHT: When we look up and focus on God, something good happens. We get our eyes off ourselves and gain a new appreciation of our Lord.

Next time you are down, try looking up to God. (1) He is sovereign (Psalm 47:8); (2) He loves you (1 John 4:9-10); (3) He considers you special (Matthew 6:26); (4) He has a purpose for your life (James 1:2-4).


For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: 23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; 24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. 26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: 27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; 28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: 29 That no flesh should glory in his presence. 30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: 31 That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. (1 Corinthians 1:22-31)

INSIGHT: The famous preacher H. A. Ironside told people that there are not hundreds of religions, as most people think, but only two.

"The one," he said, "covers all who expect salvation by doing something; the other covers all who have been saved by something done -- the cross of Christ.

The whole question is very simple. (1) Can you save yourself, or (2) must you be saved by another? If you can be your own savior, you do not need the Gospel of Christ. If you cannot, you may well wish to listen to it."

A. Those who are saved.

1. On one side of the cross was a man who, by faith believed that Jesus was the Son of God who could save Him for eternity.

2. That day he received the promise of salvation.

3. That promise is given to all who will put their trust and faith in Him.

4. John 3:36a, "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life:'

B. Those who are lost.

1. Just as surely as the man who trusted Christ was saved for eternity, so the one who rejected Him was lost forever.

2. Imagine...so close to Jesus, but still he rejected Him.

3. The sad truth is that there have been those who have sat and heard the message of the cross proclaimed... (church, radio, TV, Internet, tracts, books, newspapers, etc.)

4. But they have rejected it and will die and spend an eternity in hell.


A. A young boy stood outside an art store looking intently at a painting of Jesus on the cross.

1. A man approached and asked,...

2. "Do you know who that is?"

B. The boy answered, "Yes, sir, that is Jesus the Savior who died on the cross to save me.

1. Those people around Him are the soldiers who killed Him.

2. And that woman who is crying was His mother."

C. The man patted the boy on the head and walked away.

1. He had not gone far when he felt a tug on his sleeve.

2. The same little fellow he had spoken to moments before said,...

3. "Please, sir, I forgot to tell you something else.

4. Jesus is not on that cross anymore!!!

5. He is alive because He rose again.

6. He is in heaven today."

D. That youngster knew...

1. The living Savior who died and rose and lives today.

2. He knew the truth of the gospel.

-- Devotional by M.R. DeHaan, “Our Daily Bread,” August 11, 1996

CONCLUSION: There is no Christianity without the cross of Christ!

A. It isn't a very popular message, the message of the cross.

1. By many it is considered to be foolishness.

2. But it is the power of God unto salvation.

B. The cross overshadowed the cradle the moment that Jesus was born.

1. He was born to die for you and for me.

2. It is up to us to receive Him or reject Him.

3. It is still the cross where new life begins!

4. It is still the day of salvation.

C. Christian, there is only one message that we need to be busy about proclaiming... “IT IS STILL THE CROSS!!!”

1. Do others know that you are a believer?

2. Have you shared with them the saving message of the cross?

3. Will you live for THE LORD JESUS CHRIST today?

INSIGHT: The Corinthian believers were divided and not living up to their standing in Christ because: (1) they were mixing the Gospel with the wisdom of the world, and (2) they were glorying in men and were confused about the meaning of the Gospel ministry.

First, Paul’s ministry (1 Corinthians 1:22-25).

Paul had preached to Jews and Gentiles across the Roman world. He knew that the Jews looked for miraculous signs and the Greeks looked for philosophical wisdom. But God bypassed both ways to make salvation available through a crucified Christ. This message about a crucified Christ was a stumbling block to the Jews, whose idea of the Messiah was far different; it was foolishness to the Greeks because it seemed contrary to their philosophical systems. But Paul saw that this “foolish Gospel” was God’s power and wisdom to those Jews and Greeks who were called. Christ is our wisdom and power; He is all we need.

Second, Their own calling (1 Corinthians 1:26-29).

“If God needs man’s wisdom and glory,” says Paul, “then why did He ever call you?” There were not many mighty people in the church at Corinth, not many nobles or worldly-wise people. But God still saved them! In fact, God deliberately hides His truth from “the wise and prudent” and reveals Himself to the humble. Reflect on the history of the Bible and recall how God called the “nobodies” of history, making great leaders out of them—Abraham, Moses, Gideon, David, etc.

Third, Christ’s sufficiency (1 Corinthians 1:30-31).

Every saved person is “in Christ Jesus” (verse 30), and Christ is to every person all that he or she ever needs. When it comes to spiritual things, we don’t need man’s wisdom or power because we have Christ. He is our redemption, our righteousness, our wisdom, our all. To add anything to Christ or His cross is to diminish Him and His work and rob them of their power.

Whenever Christians take their eyes off Christ and start depending on, trusting in, and glorifying man, then they cause divisions. Such divisions rob the church of its power.

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: “There is no Christianity without the cross of Christ!”

 * * *

REFERENCES: References used in these Bible studies are the Moody Bible Commentary, J. Vernon McGee’s Thru the Bible Commentary: (www.ttb.org), the Scofield Study Bible, the Believer’s Bible Commentary, Dr. Charles J. Woodbridge Bible Outlines, Dr. Lee Roberson’s Sermons, Dr. Charles Stanley: (http://www.intouch.org/), Don Robinson’s Bible Outlines, Women’s Study Bible, The Bible Reader’s Companion Ed. 3, The Nelson Study Bible: New King James Version, Dr. Tony Evans (https://tonyevans.org/), KJV Bible Commentary, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines of the New Testament ed. 4, Dr. David Jeremiah: (http://www.davidjeremiah.org/site/), Dr. Cliff Robinson’s Bible Outlines, Dr. Robert Jeffress’ Pathway to Victory (https://ptv.org/), Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines of the Old Testament, Dr. Alan Carr’s The Sermon Notebook (www.sermonnotebook.org), With the Word Bible Commentary, Wiersbe’s “Be” Series: Old & New Testaments, Radio Bible Class Ministries (http://rbc.org/), selected illustrations and other references.



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