February 10, 2012
This week we have been talking about the ministerial gift of the Spirit – word of wisdom. For the body of Christ there has been a take it or leave it attitude. But Paul instructs the church on its necessity and need.
Today I want to take I Corinthians 2:4-16, dissect it and discuss it. I chose the Amplified Bible version for this. I have changed the color of the defining words in grey so that you may read only those words in black and then also read them with the explanations. This is Paul writing to the church at Corinth.
4) And my language and my message were not set forth in persuasive (enticing and plausible) words of wisdom, but they were in demonstration of the [Holy] Spirit and power [a proof by the Spirit and power of God, operating on me and stirring in the minds of my hearers the most holy emotions and thus persuading them],
Here Paul is telling them that when he came to them, his words to them were not from natural wisdom which can be presented in a way that can be contrived to convince them, but his words were straight from the Holy Spirit, by His power.
It was important for Paul to tell them this because a good orator can take conventional wisdom and state it in a way as to make it seem extraordinary. They can make a statement so that it sounds divine and therefore convincing in nature.
He knew that there were already many at that time out among the church attempting to interject their own message to manipulate the people into believing a different shade of what Paul had been teaching them.
In Ephesians 4:14 As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; he warns the church at Ephesus about those who would try and manipulate the scriptures in this way. This was and still is a ploy by the enemy to divide the church body into different beliefs.
Paul knew then just how destructive this was to the church, so he wanted to stress to each church that there was a natural wisdom used by man to convince and sometimes manipulate, and a true divine wisdom which comes straight from the Holy Spirit.
5) So that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men (human philosophy), but in the power of God.
If our faith is not based strictly on the divine wisdom of God we have no basis at all for our faith. Human wisdom is strictly that, human. But faith in the divine utterances of God possesses power unspeakable to transform our lives.
6) Yet when we are among the full-grown (spiritually mature Christians who are ripe in understanding), we do impart a [higher] wisdom (the knowledge of the divine plan previously hidden); but it is indeed not a wisdom of this present age or of this world nor of the leaders and rulers of this age, who are being brought to nothing and are doomed to pass away.
Paul continues here to differentiate the natural wisdom of man from the higher wisdom of God. This wisdom comes only from spiritually mature Christians who are ripe in understanding. I believe this type of person can quickly see the separation of man’s wisdom and God’s wisdom.
Man’s wisdom can and will pass away with man, but God’s wisdom is eternal and true for all ages. A specific word of wisdom is perfectly true for that specific person and supersedes the wisdom of man.
We see this all the time. In the food we eat – one day certain foods are found to be good for you and then they are found to not be good for you. In the way we use our money – one day we should invest in this or that and another day we should buy gold. In the way we raise our children – one day we should govern only by tough love and then another day we should govern by grace.
We have been tossed to and fro repeatedly by man’s wisdom. Each new declaration causes us to change course and believe that new truth, when all the while we should be getting that truth from God.
God knows our bodies more than any scientist or doctor out there. Maybe what is beneficial for one body is not for another and only the Holy Spirit can dictate which is which.
God knows how we as individuals should spend our money. Maybe for one they should invest in gold and for another they should give in excess to the poor. But only God knows what is right for each individual.
God knows our children. I believe tough love and grace should be delegated to each child as the Holy Spirit sees fit for the child and the circumstance. But only the Holy Spirit knows which one at which time.
I’ve used only three examples above but I could come up with many more. I am sure while you were reading this you were thinking of even more examples in your own life.
7) But rather what we are setting forth is a wisdom of God once hidden [from the human understanding] and now revealed to us by God–[that wisdom] which God devised and decreed before the ages for our glorification [to lift us into the glory of His presence].
Here Paul is talking about the wisdom for the church that God had held hidden until the appointed time. The same is true for individual words of wisdom. God will hold a specific word for a specific person until the exact time when it is needed.
This is walking by faith. We don’t need to know the entire roadmap of our lives that God hopes we will walk with His divine assistance, but as we need to know it. I believe as we walk through life if we are ourselves seeking the Holy Spirit on a daily basis we will be following the correct path.
But there are times when we all have difficult choices to make and, as I mentioned on Monday, have trouble discerning the truth due to the anxiety of the moment. It is at these times when we need to know beyond a shadow of a doubt, or when we need to get unstopped in our thinking, that God may send you to a mature Christian for advice or wise council.
Now that person may give you tons of godly wisdom, but they may also be instructed or led of the Lord to impart a specific word of wisdom, divine in nature, just for you and just for that time.
And what is the purpose in all of this? It is to lift us into the glory of His presence. By following the general godly wisdom given to us as a body and then by following the specific words of wisdom we will find ourselves living a life in the glory of His presence.
8 ) None of the rulers of this age or world perceived and recognized and understood this, for if they had, they would never have crucified the Lord of glory.
This wisdom, being divine in nature, is hidden from those who could use it to harm the church body. It is a secretive wisdom reserved specially for us. And had the enemy seen this at the time, and that Christ crucified was the vehicle by which each and every one of us could receive and thereby multiplying the divine gifts supernaturally, he would have never cruicified Christ.
When Satan plucked the divine dandelion (Jesus), he scattered His seed to the wind, never to be brought back or contained. And is multiplying throughout the world even today. Satan created his own worst nightmare. No longer just one man operating under divine guidance (Jesus), but now multitudes.
9) But, on the contrary, as the Scripture says, What eye has not seen and ear has not heard and has not entered into the heart of man, [all that] God has prepared (made and keeps ready) for those who love Him [who hold Him in affectionate reverence, promptly obeying Him and gratefully recognizing the benefits He has bestowed].
This is a favorite scripture of many Christians. It is wonderful to think of what God has in store for us. But many believe this is waiting for us in heaven in the sweet by and by. But it is for the here and now. Paul is talking about our lives here on this earth and the importance of operating in divine godly wisdom.
If we will take seriously the impartation of godly wisdom into our lives, we will begin to see a life unfold in a way where we will reside in the glory of God and will be amazed at what unfolds. Who is this amazing life reserved for? For those who hold Him in affectionate reverence, promptly obeying Him and gratefully recognizing the benefits He has bestowed.
Promptly obeying – the godly wisdom which is imparted to us, not necessarily the worlds wisdom. We must be bold and be ready to defy man’s wisdom if we believe in our hearts that God is leading us with His wisdom.
There are so many naysayers in life that tell you that you are wrong and going to fail if you – do it that way. But for those who are bold enough to follow God’s directed wisdom, quickly obeying before the naysayers can intervene and interject doubt, they will experience an amazing life.
10) Yet to us God has unveiled and revealed them by and through His Spirit, for the [Holy] Spirit searches diligently, exploring and examining everything, even sounding the profound and bottomless things of God [the divine counsels and things hidden and beyond man’s scrutiny].
This kind of amazing life is what everyone is seeking. Many seek to find it in things, relationships, success and so on. But it can only be found by those of us who affectionately revere God and promptly obey. He has reserved that kind of life just for us and us alone.
The Holy Spirit knows us each intimately from exploring and examining us. He knows exactly what it will be that will cause us as individuals to experience that Zoë life. These words of wisdom that will lead and direct us through each day of our lives are bottomless. You need never to think that you will be in a place that there is no answer for.
11) For what person perceives (knows and understands) what passes through a man’s thoughts except the man’s own spirit within him? Just so no one discerns (comes to know and comprehend) the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.
What we see on the outside of a person may not be reveal what is on the inside. And, only God knows the true dreams and goals that He has divinely planted in each person’s heart. So, another person cannot begin to think that they could look at a person, or where they are at, and believe that they could give godly wisdom to them without God first revealing it to them divinely.
12) Now we have not received the spirit [that belongs to] the world, but the [Holy] Spirit Who is from God, [given to us] that we might realize and comprehend and appreciate the gifts [of divine favor and blessing so freely and lavishly] bestowed on us by God.
We must begin to realize and operate under the realization that we are to operate completely different from the world and the way the world operates. Their way of reasoning and doing things is based on a natural way based on experience and advice from others who have been there.
But we have been given a much better, more glorious way to live. God himself, the creator of the universe and each of us individually, has chosen to communicate to us each in a way that will lead us to a glorious and divinely lived life, full of divine favor and blessings so freely and lavishly bestowed on us.
13) And we are setting these truths forth in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the [Holy] Spirit, combining and interpreting spiritual truths with spiritual language [to those who possess the Holy Spirit].
Paul is further explaining here that often times the wisdom that God imparts to us is delivered with spiritual language by those who possess the Holy Spirit, or by those who are filled with the Holy Spirit.
Why does God choose to do it this way? Remember they are divine secrets that He is imparting to us. For Him to choose to deliver them in a cloaked, secretive way that can only be discerned by the Holy Spirit, only makes sense.
14) But the natural, nonspiritual man does not accept or welcome or admit into his heart the gifts and teachings and revelations of the Spirit of God, for they are folly (meaningless nonsense) to him; and he is incapable of knowing them [of progressively recognizing, understanding, and becoming better acquainted with them] because they are spiritually discerned and estimated and appreciated.
Here Paul goes on further to explain the chosen delivery method used by God. He has chosen a way that non-spiritual man will not accept or welcome because it is so outside their comfort zone. Because they will not accept it, they will not admit into their hearts the spiritual gifts and revelations of the Spirit of God.
Now I believe that there are many who profess to be Christians who are non-spiritual. They acknowledge Jesus as their spiritual savior but stop right there. They do not want to go any further with these supernatural dealings. They don’t want to be condemned to hell but they are also not yet willing to completely submit their lives fully to a supernatural God who desires to operate in their lives in a supernatural way.
They fear a loss of control to something they cannot explain. To live in the supernatural requires that you walk by faith. Just how much do you trust your Father God?
15) But the spiritual man tries all things [he examines, investigates, inquires into, questions, and discerns all things], yet is himself to be put on trial and judged by no one [he can read the meaning of everything, but no one can properly discern or appraise or get an insight into him].
Wow! I love this. The spiritual man tries all things examining and investigating them and then discerning them rightly so. But what I have seen is that there are a lot of people who don’t try all things of a spiritual nature, but immediately shut down and disregard the things they do not understand or are fearful of. They are content to not live a supernatural life so that they do not have to explore things that may be uncomfortable to them.
If a person is walking by the Spirit their actions will not be understood by most people. But even though others may attempt to judge and criticize them, they cannot be judged by anyone. Others cannot understand with insight in the spirit of the man and the how and why that the Holy Spirit is leading them.
16) For who has known or understood the mind (the counsels and purposes) of the Lord so as to guide and instruct Him and give Him knowledge? But we have the mind of Christ (the Messiah) and do hold the thoughts (feelings and purposes) of His heart.