GRASSROOTS CHRISTIANITY

How to live my life wisely

1 Corinthians 2

Jerry A Collins

SCC

6/19/05

 

*        What is the content of the wisdom of God?

*        Why is it, that unbeliever cannot understand Gods wisdom?

*        How did we receive Gods wisdom?

 

I visited the father of a friend of mine last week. His father is over 80 yrs old and is an unbeliever in a hospice home. After exchanging some pleasantries I engaged him in conversation about Jesus Christ. He said he believed in God and in Jesus. After asking him about his own salvation, he clarified that life is meant to be lived for this side of the grave and when God assess everything it is those who have believed in God and taken care of their families and loved others that will be in heaven. He said the Bible was a good book but not a necessary book. I enquired as to how he was so sure of his own place in heaven. He said he has always believed in God and God would see to it he was there. When I quoted that the Bible clearly teaches only one way to enter heaventhat is thru faith in Christ and heaven was a gift not earnedhe said that was my problem not his. What I believed about God was my beliefwhat he believed about God was his. Then he pointed his finger toward me and said that I had better hear him when he said that and not think that my way was the only way because faith is a personal thing. I should have expected the conversation to progress this way. It always will with people who do not have spiritual discernment. Human wisdom is futile when compared with the power and wisdom of God. This is what we will learn as we track thru this passage.

1. GODS WISDOM IS PRESENTED IN THE MESSAGE OF THE CROSS 1-5

Presentation of Gods testimony is not marked by techniques designed to manipulate a response 1 & 4 Paul brot this gospel message to them in Acts 18. And when he came his presentation was not marked with superiority of speech. In fact he described himself as unskilled in speech 2 Cor 11:6, 1 Cor 1:17. Or did he present of wisdomthat is worldly wisdom or that devoid of spiritual discernment. In chp 1 redemption cannot be obtained by worldly wisdom. Here it cannot be presented by means of worldly wisdom either. His message was a simple, straightforward testimony of Gods salvation message in simple terms with sensationalism. Furthermore, his message and preaching vs 4 were not in persuasive words of worldly wisdomtechniques designed to manipulate a response, words void of the cross. It was not about the messenger but the message.

Presentation was in manner that demonstrated power of God 2-5 First, it had to do with message of the cross of Christ vs 2. It is about the message! The cross reveals 4 things: (1) What man issinful. (2) What God isjustice, holiness, mercy. (3) What sin isdeath & must be paid for. (4) What salvation isfaith alone in blood atonement. Second, manner presented was in weakness, fear, much trembling vs 3. His presentation unimpressive from human point of view. Only God could get the credit for persuading anyone in Corinth to believe. No reliance or confidence upon own abilities and methods but on God alone. Third, manner presented was in demonstration of the Spirit and power vs 4. Gods power is manifested thru human weakness. So faith in this message was not a product of human ingenuity but induced by power of God vs 5. So human weakness is not a hindrance but a means thru which Gods power is displayed. Noone can say I am of Paul or Apollos etc., because they can save noone. It is God alone. We should never think our responsibility is to save people. That is Gods job. We cannot do that anyway.

2. GODS WISDOM IS UNDERSTOOD BY DIVINE REVELATION NOT HUMAN DISCOVERY 6-16

Not humanly discovered 6-9 First, the ones who had believed his message, this wisdom of God, are complete now in Christ 6a. These are only ones among whom the gospel can be wisdom. To world it is only foolishness. Second, this wisdom (gospel) was not grasped by leaders of Christs and Pauls time in human history 6b & 8. (1) They are ones passing away meaning coming to nothing. They have a futile end. (2) They cannot understand this wisdom vs 8. Even the wisest and most powerful people were unable to grasp its meaning. The evidence for this lack of understanding was their crucifixion of Christ. There at the cross they obviously rejected Messiah as Gods means of salvation. Gods wisdom clearly demonstrated in person of Jesus Christ and the best of the age did not recognize Him. Gods wisdom was rejected. The man I spoke with carried on that tradition. You cannot reason your way to salvation. It will not be humanly discovered either. WW will even turn one against Gods wisdom. Instead, thirdly, it was Gods secret (mystery) wisdom known only by Gods revelation vs 7. (1) It was hidden wisdom. The product of gospel, the church, was not revealed in the OT. (2) God predestined her existence in eternity. God planned for this new venture before time began. (3) To our glory in order that we too can have our eternal destiny secured in heaven. God did all of this for us. We could have never done it for ourselves. He took care of things. Fourthly, vs 9 distinguishes between Gods wisdom and WW. Natural eyes, ears and hearts cannot know or comprehend Gods wisdom and the fruit of that wisdom in a persons life. Salvation is a first step but the there is the work of God in the life of believer that ripens and matures based on Gods love for him. The life of a believer is so far superior to the mere natural man. Productive, perspective, priority, purpose, pursuit are deeper, richer, powerful and eternal in nature! Gods wisdom divinely revealed 10-16 in at least 3 ways: (1) By revelation 10-11 First, God disclosed Himself and His view of the world thru the HS 10. What man in WW cannot discover, God has given. This special revelation was written down for us in pages of scripture. This revelation was entrusted to HS not an angel. Second, the author of Bible is HSthe one who knows the depths & thots of God vs 11. How they think in heaven. We could never come up with those thots ourselves. (2) By inspiration 12-13 First, Gods wisdom not received by WW by by HS from God vs 12. Gods wisdom cane be received because it is freely given. Bible is vehicle for bringing Gods revelation to us. Second, These words are not WW, clever speech or reasoning vs 13. But taught as Jesus told disciples in Jn 16 by Spirit of truth so that the heavenly thots of God the Father not become the words of the Bible 2 Pt 1:21.

(3) By Illumination 14-16 First, unbeliever without HS calls Gods revelation useless 14. Can read, memorize, study Bible & still not understand it like scribes & Pharisees in Jesus day. Reason is because Bible understood with assistance of HS. It is spiritually evaluated, discerned, understood & natural man without HS is dead, blind, lacks comprehension. Second, because believer has HS he can discern and make judgments about life from Gods Word 1 Jn 2:27 vs 15. But unbelievers will not understand that discernment and judgment about life and may even persecute, ridicule, marginalize or ignore one because of it. Third, unbelievers without HS can never think Gods thots after Him vs 16 but instead will only want to correct or change or contradict scriptural teaching and the discernment & judgment derived from understanding it. However, as Chirstians God instructs us since we have the mind of Christ to think Gods thots and understand His revelation. (1) Determine to know nothing more than OT & NT. (2) Communicate gospel thru truth of Word not by persuasive style. (3) Teach gospel as hidden from the past but also as hidden from world. (4) Understanding of God from Spirit of God to people of God who are spiritual. It is not available to natural man. There is n way to get to God. He must come to you. (5) When unbeliever interested in Bible, spiritual truth, evidence spirit of God at work in Him.