Spiritual Wisdom 4th Feb
1 Co 2:1-5 And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.
I can really identify with this passage this morning – as we have begun looking at the Holy Spirit again and the whole state of “The Church” – and I never exclude us from “The Church”
It is easy sometimes for me in talking about the Holy Spirit to assume everyone knows Him the way I do. – In preaching and teaching assume we are all aware of that anointing that abides within us in the same way God has allowed me to know Him – but of course that is not true –
And I understand that many of you do not “feel” anything – or “Know” in the way the Holy Spirit has revealed Himself to me, I think perhaps this has created confusion and hurt in the past and I am really sorry if some of you are feeling that same thing now – I really want to address this but in all honesty I don’t know how – there is no formula or system I know of that can do this – nor am I sure that is what it is meant to be – I believe God treats us as individuals – unique!
The scriptures tell us that we were chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world, that God knew us as we were being formed in the womb, that there is nowhere we can flee from His Presence, that He knows all things, sees all things and that He has plans for us that are for good and not for evil – long before we become “The Church” He knows us as individuals – there is a personal call, a personal desire that God has for each of us –
So He doesn’t want us all to be the same, nor does He want to relate to us all in the same way.
I think when we receive the Holy Spirit – who is God – He leads us, guides us and shapes us in the best possible way for us and for His glory! One of the things we do in this modern church is try to “look like”, copy, become part of what someone else has – and I think as leaders we have liked followers more than making disciples and so we perpetrate this whole thing of
Spiritual superiority and exclusiveness and special revelation – and I think this is one of the great things undermining the church and the glory of God! Think about Acts when the Holy Spirit was poured out at Pentecost – they had crucified Jesus, we know the majority of the people thought they knew who God was, they were religious and attended church – that’s why they were there in Jerusalem – religion – but then the Holy Spirit was poured out –
Peter and the others now empowered to be “witnesses” and began to preach – then it says this
Ac 2:37-38 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Look they were cut to the heart – they had a revelation of God, His holiness and their sinfulness, that Jesus was the Christ, the Saviour, the way to salvation – then they became “The Church” – they began to spread out over the nation and as the same message was preached and conviction took place “ The Church” began to grow – “Church” being the gathering together of those who had believed the message, been cut to the heart and repented
It was never about the preachers, They never wanted followers – in fact as soon as “The Church” was established, (a place of mutual support, fellowship and honouring of Jesus) – the preachers moved on to spread the good news. Now we plant churches and get people to come and belong. We set ourselves up as the great ones and rob God of His honour and glory and deny that Christ is all that is necessary for salvation – and that by faith alone!
Please hear me this morning – you know me. I have no education or formal training, no denominational credentials – but I am truly concerned for you with Godly jealousy – with a passion in fact, and yet I feel so powerless and impotent to bring you to Christ – to present you to God – all I have is the Holy Spirit and the absolute certainty that Christ lived among us, was crucified and rose again – and He is our only hope!
The world is dying in their sin – literally – this week has been one of real anguish – you know I have experienced people lying to my face – blatantly – not just one person but a whole company – deliberate, premeditated lies – it was really challenging and confusing and I was severely tested to keep the right attitude – then I heard my son is back in prison and then yesterday afternoon I received an abusive threatening phone call – anonymous of course –
But more than that I heard of yet another pastor running off with a woman and leaving his church – and two other young men – fine Christian men brought up in the church and following after Christ – have both left the church disillusioned over the whole carnality of it all – prosperity and wealth and leaders bragging about their cars and houses and success while people in their congregations lose their jobs and homes ---
The situation within the church is the same as outside, one of these young men who moved to Auckland from a smaller city – his father is a pastor there, is deeply affected and doesn’t want to go to church because many of the young people his age are in sexual relationships, they drink and party and go to all the clubs and in fact are no different to the world – he stands out, I suppose, a prude and religious! – yet all of them would say they have the Holy Ghost!!
Once again I ask you to hear me this morning because I am not growling or complaining or being critical – I could say this with the apostle Paul though : --
2 Co 5:20-21 Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
I know you think “But that doesn’t apply to me, I’m okay Jack – I’m doing all right thank you” –
1 Co 2:6-9 However, we speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”
But you know I think we are bound by the wisdom of this age – by a sort of Christian immaturity, we compare ourselves with the world and the things of the world – possessions and materialism and the idolatry of this age – I am speaking to myself as well – technology and gadgets are idols and I have found myself repenting and asking forgiveness – but things and wanting more and more wealth and sport and recreation – we want what the world has got!
The pride of life the lust of the flesh and the desires of the eyes. We have lost sight of the mystery – the hidden wisdom that God has ordained from before time for our GLORY – look if the rulers of darkness had understood at the time they would not have crucified Jesus – it says it here! If they had understood then, the glory that is for us now, they would have suffered Him to live!! -- but we have not understood either – we are ignorant even yet of -----
The things that God has prepared for those who love Him!! You see there is a glory in being “of Christ” – a Christian – there is a glory that God planned from before time was – I think many of us knew a little of it when we came to salvation – that change, that life, that excitement
that evidence that made people ask –“What’s happened to you?”
O we were so brave then, so bold, so assured, so convinced – but how quickly we slip into complacency and familiarity. How easily we slip back into the worlds wisdom and comparisons. – but you know this – and I believe it with all of my being because the W.O.G. tells us so clearly – there is a glory for those who are Christ’s at His coming. – But it cannot be a carnal glory – there is no glory in the world and its wisdom.
1 Co 2:10-12 But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.
God is holy – gloriously, magnificently, indescribably holy – no man has seen God at any time because we can not look upon that glory with these eyes and live. God is so holy that even those angels in heaven that have never tasted sin or the things of the world cry Holy, Holy, Holy – God is three times Holy. Holy Father, Holy Son, Holy Spirit – God is so Holy that the spirits of just men made perfect, that is those who have entered in before us cry Holy x 3 –
God is so holy that Jesus Christ died that we might know that holiness! If God were not holy Jesus would never have had to die. God is so holy that the only way we, fallen, frail and broken humanity could possibly see Him, is through the sacrifice of someone who is just as holy and undefiled. O what holiness is this holiness of God, the ONLY Holy One! --- God is so holy and glorious that we should revere Him and worship Him forever -- and all of the time.
The Holy Spirit is the only one who knows the things of God – now we have received this knowledge freely given by God – yet we do not know that reverence – like they did on Acts –
Ac 2:43 Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles.
The first impact of the Holy Spirit upon those first saints was that He revealed to them the awe and wonder and holiness of God, so powerfully and clearly that He delighted in them –
Is 11:2-3 The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, The Spirit of wisdom and understanding, The Spirit of counsel and might, The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord. His delight is in the fear of the Lord,
We know God delighted in them as they accepted and embraced Christ – because there were signs and wonders – the evidence of Gods delight!! Healings, miracles deliverance – because the Holy Spirit delights in the fear of the Lord!! These first saints KNEW the glory of God in their own lives – the glory that God had prepared for them from before time was!! – now there is nothing to say it was about feelings – it was revelation and response!!
1 Co 2:13-16 These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. For “who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ.
But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. The natural/carnal, worldly man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God. Remember how trusting new Christians are, how expectant of miracles and how often they see healing – like the very early days of the renewal – before anyone had the chance to suppose anything else
We just believed and saw the most wonderful things – just comparing spiritual things with spiritual – no programs, ambitions, agendas or ministries
Just the Holy Spirit healing and opening blind eyes, deaf ears, cancer , deliverance from all sorts of addictions and bondages. The W.O.G said He cast out the spirits with a word – so we did! --- But the further we went the more structure, the more tired, the more affluent spiritually and materially – agendas, motives, ministries – desiring of titles and offices – and comparing the apparent success of other churches around – the Americanisation!!!
Right into the church natural men carnalized the Spirit of God – and He became a means to another end – there was no Fear of God before our eyes!! The Holy Spirit became a means to ministry, gifts power and position – but not reverence and holiness and the glory of God in Jesus Christ --- this whole thing robs God of His glory, us of our worship and the Holy Spirit of His freedom to glorify Christ in us!!
I think “feelings” are wonderful, encouraging, glorious – but there is nothing that says we should all feel something – that there are warm fuzzies and goose bumps – they are great and affirming – but at best they are fleeting things – what about 10:30 Monday morning at work??
We walk by faith and not by sight –
We walk by the W.O G. and obedience – and if we revere God – truly fear Him ---
Isn’t it a funny thing but we pray and ask God please make me Love You – Fear You, Trust You – please change me and do this in me --- when worship is a response to what we KNOW of God by His word revealed to us – and Fearing Him is a choice – a deliberate . predetermined choice that when taken allows the Holy Spirit to respond – He begins to delight in our Fear of God – our reverence and awe – and then miracles happen.
We do not fear for miracles but if we truly fear – miracles happen.
How do we fear – buy obedience to everything we know the W.O.G. says –
1 Jn 2:2-3 And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world. Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments.
1 Jn 3:18-24 My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth. And by this we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him. For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God. And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight. And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment. Now he who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.