He's talking about the wisdom of God in sending Jesus Christ for the sin of mankind. That's the wisdom of God. That's the power of God. And God has prepared salvation. Maybe that does include future glory, but that's not the context of that. God has revealed Himself and His vital truths to us.
We didn't discover them on our own. And today on Connect with Skip Heitzig, Skip shares about more of those truths, including how God's wisdom illuminates your life. But first, did you know that Skip shares important updates and biblical encouragement on social media? Just follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to get the latest from him and this ministry.
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800-922-1888. Thank you. Now, we're in 1 Corinthians chapter 1, as we dive into today's teaching with Skip Heitzig. One of the reasons to be unified is because people are perishing. Another reason to be unified is because all of us, including the earthly leaders that you are rallying against, are foolish things, are frail sinners who are redeemed.
So follow Christ instead of those individuals. Chapter 2 verse 1. 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. Paul came to Corinth after he was in the city of Athens. And when Paul came to Corinth, he came with a very basic, simple message. He came with the gospel. Now, typically, when people would go to cities like Corinth or Athens, any of the Greek enclaves, speakers would come, and typically in Greek thinking, they were called sophists.
Sophists were wisdom tellers, and the sophists would come with a carefully spun story or very clever and articulate ways of talking to attract a crowd to gain a following. Paul said, When I came to you, I deliberately did not do that. I came with a very straightforward, simple gospel message. Just to refresh your memory, in Acts 18, when he comes to Corinth, he goes to the synagogue, and he shares the gospel in the synagogue. He convinces some of the Jews and many of the non-Jews to believe.
It creates a stir, so he goes into a house next to the synagogue because he is kicked out of the synagogue, and he begins teaching there. It was pretty straightforward gospel stuff. Not that Paul couldn't speak in high terms.
Remember I said that there's not many mighty, not many wise, not many noble? Paul was an exception. He was pretty wise, and Paul could do philosophy with the best of them. Keep in mind, Paul was in Athens in Acts 17, and he stood on the Areopagus, Mars Hill, and there were the Athenian philosophers who were gathered around him.
It says that the men of Athens and the visitors came either to hear or to tell of some new thing. So Paul stood up, and he said, You know, I go around the city, and I notice you're a religious group. You even have a statute to the unknown God. So he starts using something in their culture, a philosophy of their culture, a religious icon, and begins to point to the one true God that they don't know. But then he starts quoting secular philosophers in his message.
For in him we live and move and have our being. That's a direct quote from Epimeneids, who is a Cretan philosopher. And then he says, For we also are his offspring. Another quote from a different philosopher, Aretas of Soli. So he pulls from the philosophical world, so he was very able to do that. But for the most part, usually, and in Corinth especially, he didn't come with excellence of speech.
He didn't come quoting the philosophers. He just declared, as it says, the blunt, simple testimony of God. For, verse 2, I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. The uncluttered message of the cross. Now, not everyone is ready to believe the simple message of the cross. I understand that.
I understand the world in which we lived. I worked for a long time in the secular world, and I dealt with people with science backgrounds, doctors, advanced scientific minds, people who had philosophical inclinations. And I understand that there are often roadblocks to just believing in God, or believing especially in Christ, and that those roadblocks have to be removed first. We would call that pre-evangelism, to ready the mind and especially the heart, the core of that person to receive the gospel. And so we use apologetics, scientific apologetics, philosophical apologetics.
I love that. On the other hand, not everybody is there. Some people are ready. I remember talking to this one person at the Huntington Beach Pier, and I went into all these explanations, and the whole while they were just ready to pray and receive Christ. They didn't need philosophical explanation.
They just need someone praying with them. And so finally I got around to it, and it's like, man, I just went around the block to get next door. So some people, you know, begin with this simple gospel, and then if there's objections to it, like the veracity of scripture, or science versus faith, or a number of other roadblocks, then deal with the roadblocks and engage that way. But I determined to not know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.
Now this is interesting. Verse three, I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. It's quite an admission, and most of us don't picture Paul this way. Picture him as fierce, able, articulate, always ready, brave. But he says, I was with you in weakness, in fear, and much trembling.
Now keep something in mind. Before he got to Corinth, when he was at Lystra, they stoned him, drug his body out for dead. He got up, went back in and preached, though I'm sure he went back with a limp. By the time he made it over to the Greco-Macedonian part of the world, he went to Philippi, got arrested, got beaten, put in jail. Then he left there and he went to Thessalonica, and they created a riot and a stir.
They had to sneak him out at night. Then he went down to Berea and shared there. The people followed him from Thessalonica and started another riot. Then he comes to Athens. He stands on the Areopagus and preaches.
They laugh him to scorn. So by the time he gets to Corinth, he's a little beat up. So with that as a background, we would understand for him to say, I was with you in weakness, in fear, and much trembling. But it's not like he's afraid to share the gospel as much as it's a nervous energy, not knowing what the response is going to be. An athlete gets this before they get on the track or they perform their athleticism. An actor feels that before the actor hits the stage.
It's that kind of nervous energy. So Paul admits it, and he says in verse 4, And my speech and my preaching were not worth persuasive words of human Safiya wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith not be in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. 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. We can speak about deeper subjects, and we do speak on deeper items and issues and subjects to those who are believers in Christ and are more mature and can handle it, 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, now watch this word, in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory. Okay, we hear the word mystery, and we think sort of like a murder mystery. We think it's like, ooh, you know, it's mysterious.
Nobody knows the answer to that. We've got to discover what the answer is. That's what it means to our ears. That's not what it meant to the ears of the ones he wrote to. When he says a mystery, he's using a Corinthian buzzword, a mystery. A musterion is the Greek, and a musterion, the Greeks believed in mystery religions.
So they believed that if you were initiated by certain ceremonies into these religions, only those who were initiated and given special wisdom could understand the mystery of the ceremony they were going through and the religious thing they were getting involved in. They called that their mystery, and they prided themselves in that. When Paul uses the term, though it is a Corinthian term, he'll use the term in other places, in other letters, and what Paul means is something that used to be hidden. It wasn't fully revealed in the Old Testament, but now there's no mystery. Now what was hidden is now disclosed, and everybody can understand it. So, for example, the idea of the church being comprised of Jew and Gentile, God's chosen people, not just Jews but Jew and Gentile in one body, Paul will say in the book of Ephesians, was a mystery kept hidden in the Old Testament.
Now it's revealed. I suppose that the idea of Jesus being both the crucified Messiah and conquering Messiah was also one of those mysteries. We understand that now.
We have the whole revelation. You won't understand that through human reasoning and human wisdom. So verse 8, which none of the rulers of this age knew, for had they known they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. The rulers of this world, the political rulers and the religious rulers, those are the ones I believe Paul is referring to, both those in the political realm and the religious realm, they were ignorant as to who Jesus was. They were ignorant. They didn't know for certain he was the Messiah. They could have known, but they didn't. Jesus asked his disciples in Matthew 16, who do men say that I am?
Answer, some say you're John the Baptist, some say you're Jeremiah, one of the prophets, etc. They had different ideas as to who this was. They were ignorant of this person.
Second thing they were ignorant of is how bad of a sin they were committing in rejecting him and thus crucifying him. Now their ignorance doesn't equal to innocence. Just because you're ignorant of the law doesn't mean you're innocent when you break the law. You could prove that. I hope you don't, but if you do 75 miles an hour in an area that's posted 35 miles an hour and the officer pulls you over and says you were doing 75 and a 35 and you said, oh, I didn't know, he's not going to go, oh, well, okay then. God bless you and have a great day.
He's going to write you up and say now you know and you will forever remember by this $250 ticket you have to pay. So ignorance doesn't mean innocence. When it says none of the rulers knew, they didn't know who Jesus was. They could have, but they didn't and they knew what they were doing was wrong, but they didn't know how big a sin they were committing in rejecting and crucifying him. Had they known they would not have crucified the Lord of glory, but as it is written, eye is not seen nor is ear heard nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love him. Now how many times have you heard that quoted by Christians when they talk about heaven and they use this verse, you know, eye is not seen nor is ear heard nor is it enter the heart of man.
We just don't know how awesome it's going to be, right? They should read the next verse for it says, but God has revealed them to us through the Spirit. First of all, he's not talking about heaven. He's talking about the wisdom of God in sending Jesus Christ for the sin of mankind. That's the wisdom of God. That's the power of God and God has prepared salvation. Maybe that does include future glory, but that's not the context of that. He's quoting a text out of Isaiah 64 and 65, but he says, but God has revealed them to us.
So here's the point. People by natural investigation will never find God. On their own, a person will not discover God. The only way to discover God is by outside revelation, not personal investigation. If you personally investigate things, it will point you in that direction, but you need a more complete knowledge base and that only comes through revelation. God has revealed them through his Spirit, for the Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. Now look at the analogy he uses. Verse 11, 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. Look at the person sitting next to you. You don't really know that person.
Oh, yes I do. I married that person. I dare say there are some things about that person you don't know. There may be some thoughts you don't know.
Really, nobody knows another person and the only one who really does know the person is the person himself. So the only one that knows the mind of God, the heart of God, is the Spirit of God. There's Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Spirit searches the deep things of God and reveals them. So we would never know about God or God's way of salvation or what God wants unless God reveals it to us through his Spirit. Remember in Psalm 19, David says, the heavens declare the glory of God.
The firmament shows his handiwork. Day after day, they utter their speech. Night after night, they reveal knowledge. But you keep going after he talks about the natural order of things, what we see around us in the natural world, he says this, the law of the Lord is perfect, revealing the heart. So he says, you can look around at the universe and you can learn certain things about God, his power, his order. So we have the big book of the universe, but you need more. It's not a complete revelation. You don't need just the big book of the universe, the big book of creation. You need the little book of the Bible, the revelation of God, which discloses the love of God, the plan of God, the way to God, salvation. You know that only through revelation. So man by human wisdom can never reach God, but God through Christ reaches us, and the Spirit of God reaches us, reveals himself to us so that we can know.
Nature is incomplete. So every now and then I meet somebody who goes, yeah, I don't go to church, man. I don't do church. I'm not into organized religion.
What they mean is they're into disorganized religion, and they go on to describe what that is. Yeah, you know, I just go out in nature, man. I just like look at the stars and the clouds and the rocks.
So my church is, I go camping. I'm sorry. You can only get a little bit doing that. It's majestic.
It's awesome. You get the power of God. You need the big whole picture. That comes from the revelation of God. That's why we teach it all the time. That's why we do verse by verse and chapter by chapter and book by book so we get the revelation of God. Now verse 12.
Let's finish out the chapter, and then we have four minutes, and we're almost there. Now we, now that's emphatic in the Greek language. Now we emphasize we have the Spirit. We have received not the Spirit of this world, but the Spirit who is from God.
Not that is, but who. Holy Spirit is a person. Spirit who is from God that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. 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 unto him, nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. Go back to verse 13 for just a moment. See where it says we speak these things not in words which man's wisdom teaches, but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. Talking about words here.
I just want to say this. Don't be afraid of spiritual words. Don't think that you need to dumb down the Christian faith by not learning spiritual words.
Salvation, justification, propitiation. Those are good doctrinal biblical words. Listen, every profession has its language. If you're in the medical profession, you learn certain medical words. If you're in the legal profession, you learn the parlance of the legal profession.
If you're in anything, there's a language base that goes with it. When it comes to spiritual life, there are certain spiritual concepts that only spiritual words will convey. Don't be afraid of them. Be conversant in them.
Learn them because it's a part of who we are, part of our identity. So let's finish out this chapter. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto 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. Who has known the mind of the Lord that we should instruct him? Well, God has given us the mind of Christ, but I don't fully understand the mind of the Lord, and that's why you and I should never instruct him. It says that we should instruct him.
Have you noticed how often Christians try to instruct God? God, I prayed about that. You had a chance to move after I prayed. Why didn't you do it then?
Why did you wait and how can you allow? And you know, here we are giving God our advice. Who has known the mind of the Lord that we should instruct or counsel or advise him?
And yet I found myself doing that in my life. Lord, you had a good opportunity. As if he doesn't know what he's doing or as if he doesn't have it all in control, just know tonight it's under control. God rules the universe with his feet up. It's okay.
It's okay. He's got it covered. Who has known the mind of the Lord that we should instruct him? Now, Paul divides humanity, usually I would say into two groups, into three groups, three groups.
And they're very important groups, but we're going to have to wait till next time to get what those groups are and the understanding and where we fit in. Sometimes it's tough, but exposure to the Bible, a consistent exposure to the Bible. And I would add on a daily basis with a consistent desire to obey it will do more for you than any other thing that I can think of in your Christian life. Take the mystery out of studying scripture with Pastor Skip's book, How to Study the Bible and Enjoy It. Our thanks to you when you give $25 or more to help connect more people with this Bible teaching ministry. Get the tips and tools you need to open your eyes, mind, and heart to God's truth. You don't have to be afraid of the Bible. Get your copy of How to Study the Bible and Enjoy It by Skip Heitzig today when you give online securely at connectwithskip.com slash offer or call 800-922-1888. Tune in tomorrow as Skip Heitzig shares important insight with you about spiritual growth.
So welcome to the gathering of sinners who are in different stages of sanctification. He loves us the way we are. He takes us the way we are. Now he loves us too much to leave us the way we are. That's the holiness process, but we come as we are, and that gets pretty messy. Connect with Skip Heitzig is a presentation of Connection Communications, connecting you to God's never-changing truth in ever-changing times.
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