This is the sermon for Sunday, August 21st 2011.
Bless God part 4
Explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words.
This is the fourth sermon in our topical series entitled, “Bless God: God, hell, heaven, and the chief end of man.”
The title of this sermon is taken from 1 Corinthians 2:13.
1 Corinthians 2:13 NIV 2011 – This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words.
This passage is found within the context of 1 Corinthians 1:17b-4:21. As Paul is beginning to deal with many of the issues that the Corinthian church has, he will basically be distinguishing man’s wisdom and God’s wisdom. He is appealing for them to repent and turn to God and his wisdom. God’s wisdom is the answer to every problem that they face. And it is in the midst of that context that Paul reveals of whom He is speaking by, therefore explaining spiritual realities.
Realities are more than what we can experience with our five senses. They are very limited. There are parts of the world that I’ve heard about, but I’ve never seen, either by being there or by virtue of a photograph, but I know they exist because they have been explained to me.
This is the same with these spiritual realities. I believe there is a supreme being named God, I believe in a heaven and a hell and that they are eternal because they have be explained to me in the clear readings of Scripture.
This morning as we are building our foundation, let’s look at all of 1 Corinthians 2 and interpret it in light of the questions many within our churches are asking.
Our faith must not rest on human reasoning, but God’s power.
1 Corinthians 2:1b-5 – 1 ….when I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. 2 For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3 I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. 4 My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, 5 so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.
Paul’s explanation of his teaching ministry to the Corinthians.
He didn’t come with profound speeches and human wisdom as he was teaching them concerning God. While He was with them, his message centered on one thing: “For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” He came not as some charismatic influencer, but in weakness, yet demonstrating the Spirit’s power. The purpose of this he says, “so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.”
When seeking answers or seeking to answer questions people may have we must not rely on our ability, or human reasoning; but on the Spirit and His power.
This power is found within the Scriptures themselves. More specifically, within the Gospel message of our Lord Jesus Christ. Notice what Paul says.
Romans 1:16a – For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes…
The message that must be received is the message revealed to us by God’s Spirit.
1 Corinthians 2:6-10 – 6 We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. 7 No, we declare God’s wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. 8 None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9 However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived”— the things God has prepared for those who love him— 10 these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.
This message is not wisdom of this age, but God’s wisdom and we must be mature enough to receive it.
Now Paul is writing to Christians here, not non-Christians. They have been governing their lives and actions according to the wisdom of this world. But Paul has been proclaiming to them God’s wisdom, and they must grow up and receive it.
Notice what the author of Hebrews says.
Hebrews 6:1-3 – Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, 2 instruction about cleansing rites, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. 3 And God permitting, we will do so.
Appealing to worldly wisdom will not mature us in the faith.
It will stunt our growth in Him, plus give us false answers to many of our questions.
This message of God’s wisdom is revealed to us by His Spirit.
There is a charismatic element to God’s wisdom. His Spirit that fills every Christian reveals to us the wisdom of God that is found within the Holy Scriptures.
We receive the message the Scriptures teach because we have the mind of Christ.
1 Corinthians 2:11-16 – 1 For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12 What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. 13 This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words. 14 The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. 15 The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, 16 for, “Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.
Human reasoning will not explain the message or thoughts of God.
It is only the Spirit of God that reveals these things to Christians. In fact, to appeal to human reasoning is to deny both Whom we have received, and the wisdom He provides: “What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us.”
Scripture is Spirit-taught words.
They explain the spiritual realities. Let me give an example. Someone just doesn’t believe in the reality of an eternal hell, and they will use human reasoning to support their belief and at the same time use the same human reasoning to twist the Scriptures to support their claim. Well, no matter how repulsive an eternal hell is to us, the fact remains that if the Scriptures teach it, it is because it is Spirit-taught, not some human philosophy.
The good news is that all Christians have been given the mind of Christ.
It is this gift from the Father that matures us as we receive the wisdom of His Word.
As we conclude this morning, let’s admit that it is easy to allow human reasoning to enter in to our interpretation of Scriptural doctrine. But God has given us His Spirit-taught words – The Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments. It is these words that provide His wise answers to many of our questions and matures us in our faith.