God’s Spirit

No automatic alt text available.Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany (February 5, 2017)

1 Corinthians 2 | New Living Translation (NLT)

When I first came to you, dear brothers and sisters, I didn’t use lofty words and impressive wisdom to tell you God’s secret plan. For I decided that while I was with you I would forget everything except Jesus Christ, the one who was crucified. I came to you in weakness—timid and trembling. And my message and my preaching were very plain. Rather than using clever and persuasive speeches, I relied only on the power of the Holy Spirit. I did this so you would trust not in human wisdom but in the power of God.

Yet when I am among mature believers, I do speak with words of wisdom, but not the kind of wisdom that belongs to this world or to the rulers of this world, who are soon forgotten. No, the wisdom we speak of is the mystery of God—his plan that was previously hidden, even though he made it for our ultimate glory before the world began. But the rulers of this world have not understood it; if they had, they would not have crucified our glorious Lord. That is what the Scriptures mean when they say,

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard,
    and no mind has imagined
what God has prepared
    for those who love him.”

But it was to us that God revealed these things by his Spirit. For his Spirit searches out everything and shows us God’s deep secrets. No one can know a person’s thoughts except that person’s own spirit, and no one can know God’s thoughts except God’s own Spirit. And we have received God’s Spirit (not the world’s spirit), so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us.

When we tell you these things, we do not use words that come from human wisdom. Instead, we speak words given to us by the Spirit, using the Spirit’s words to explain spiritual truths. But people who aren’t spiritual can’t receive these truths from God’s Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them and they can’t understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means. Those who are spiritual can evaluate all things, but they themselves cannot be evaluated by others.For,

“Who can know the Lord’s thoughts?
    Who knows enough to teach him?”

But we understand these things, for we have the mind of Christ.

In this week’s passage, Paul is continuing his thought…that the gospel is Jesus Christ.  Paul is speaking these words to a church that is divided as we saw in chapter 1.  We were reminded last week that the cross is foolishness to those who don’t believe, but to those who do believe, it is the very power of God – it is the way to salvation.

This week Paul reminds us that our wisdom as proclaimers of the Good News comes from God’s Spirit.  Pam and I have been reading a book by Wesley Duewel titled “Ablaze for God.” It has been a powerful book reminding us just how powerless we are as leaders without God’s Spirit working in our lives.

I love the fact that Paul tells us that when he preached Jesus, he didn’t do anything fancy – no lofty words – no impressive wisdom – just Jesus Christ, the one who was crucified.  Paul doesn’t rely on fancy words and speeches – just the power of the Holy Spirit.  It is so easy to rely on our human wisdom, but that same human wisdom is foolishness to God. So we should rely on God’s wisdom and that comes only from the Holy Spirit.

What is God’s wisdom?  It is the mystery of God.  What is the mystery of God?  It is a plan that remained hidden.  The people of God in the Old Testament where unaware of God’s plan.  Paul quotes the words of Isaiah:

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard,
    and no mind has imagined
what God has prepared
    for those who love him.”

The people of Israel might not have been aware of the plan – but God revealed himself to them – they might not have understood. Let’s face it, the mystery of God has been revealed to us and sometimes we don’t understand.

However, Paul reminds us that no one knows a persons thoughts except that person’s spirit and no one knows the thoughts of God except through God’s Spirit.  How amazing is that?  Through the power of the Holy Spirit working in us, we can know the “wonderful things God has freely given to us” (vs 12)

We are reminded that only when we speak out of the Holy Spirit’s wisdom do we speak spiritual truths. Human wisdom can’t speak spiritual truths. Only those who are spiritual can understand spiritual truths. To others, it just sounds like foolishness.

I think this speaks to us as leaders.  Paul did not speak from human wisdom but from God’s wisdom – from God’s Spirit.  There will be those who do not understand when we speak from God’s Spirit, but we need to pray that God reveals himself to them.  We need to speak from God’s Spirit and not our own wisdom and cleverness.


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