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God's Wisdom

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We’ve seen in the last few weeks

        That Corinth was a really important town

               It was strategically placed

                       Between the northern and southern sections

                              Of Greece

                                      And was also a main artery

                                             For much of the world’s trade


Corinth was important economically

        Because of its location

               And it was important militarily

                       For the same reason

It had a really bad

        And well deserved reputation

               For being a city where anything goes

                       Corinth was the first century’s version

                              Of “sin city”

                                      (elaborate on Corinth)


All this stuff is going on in Corinth

        So, naturally, Paul decided to plant a church there

               The church was growing

                       But it had some problems

                              Most of its’ problems came from

Allowing the culture

to influence the church

the culture valued oration and style

        over content and truth

               the culture valued tolerance

                       over obedience to God’s Word

                              the culture valued personal freedom

                                      over structure and authority

                                             the culture valued celebrity

                                                     over integrity and honesty

and all this…

        this liberalism, tolerance,  entitlement and partisanship

               began to influence the church

                       and it was having devastating impact

                              on how the church functioned

so Paul was compelled to write this letter

        it’s not the first time he wrote the Corinthians

               but it’s the first one inspired and breathed by God

                       so we have it 2,000 yeas down the road

So far, in chapter one, we have seen;

        .The church has been gifted mightily

               That it may reach out to the people

                       In the city around it

         . Those gifts came from God

               And are for His glory

                       Not ours

        .The church had begun to experience division

               Based on who was thought to be

                       The best teacher

                              Paul told them

                                      All the good teaching

                                             Came from Christ and that

                                                     It wasn’t the messenger

                                                            That was important

                                                                    It was the message

        . the message was simple

               (gospel message here)


                       that’s the message we’re to tell people

we’ve also seen that….

        .God has given us all we need

               To be able to do that

                       But we have to remember

                              That’s all we need

        . Two weeks ago, we heard

               How God uses the simple things in this world

                       To do really marvelous stuff

                              And He does it this way

                                      So that it is He 

                                             That will get the credit

                                                     He that will get the honor

                                                            He that will get the glory

In establishing this point…

        Paul summed it up

               With the last two verses of Chapter 1

30 But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption,

31 so that, just as it is written, “Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord.”.

So that brings us to our text today

        In it, we’re going to see

               How important it is

                       That we receive the wisdom of God

                              Instead of the wisdom of man

                                      But we’re also going to look at

                                             The worldly pressure we’re under

                                                     To embrace man’s wisdom

And how we can avoid that pitfall….

This sermon is called “God’s Wisdom”

Let’s take a look


2:1     And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God.

2     For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.

Now, we’ve already seen, in vs 30…

        That the gospel in its fullness…

               Including righteousness, sanctification and redemption

                       And the realization of all that

                              Comes through God’s wisdom

                                      Not man’s

                                             Man can’t figure it out

                                                     And without the presence

                                                            Of the Holy Spirit to reveal


                                                                           It seems foolish

                                                                                   To man

And in these two verses

        Paul demonstrates that the gospel

 should be shared that way…

                       In the power of the Holy Spirit

And Paul shows the Corinthians

        What he means by this

               He has a practical application

                       Of what he’s telling them..

You see,

Paul could have come under his own power

        He could have gone toe to toe

               With Corinth’s finest philosophers

                       And orators

                              In order to understand the full impact

                                      Of Paul’s statement here,

                                             You have to know this about Paul…

He was brilliant!

he had it all!

    He was a star of the Sanhedrin!

           He was highly educated and accustomed to

                   Speaking to large audiences

                          And he was ruthless!

                                  He was a bad guy!

                                         How bad?

                                                 Look at Acts 7…

Stephen has just finished

        Preaching the gospel

               And the scribes and the Pharisees

                       Have taken great exception to what he said

                              And they began to chase him…

58     When they had driven him out of the city, they began stoning him; and the witnesses laid aside their robes at the feet of a young man named Saul.

Now, this is a defining moment for Saul

        Who would later become Paul

               A moment like this will usually have

                       On of two effects on a young man

                              It can be appalling and humbling…

                                      Or it can light a fire of hate

                                              And vengeance

                                                     How did it affect young Saul?

Look what happens next…

59     They went on stoning Stephen as he called on the Lord and said, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!”

60     Then falling on his knees, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them!” Having said this, he fell asleep.

So, Saul witnesses the grace

        And mercy and forgiveness

               That can only come from God

                       And how does he react?....

8:1     Saul was in hearty agreement with putting him to death.

And on that day a great persecution began against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles.

2     Some devout men buried Stephen, and made loud lamentation over him.

3     But Saul began ravaging the church, entering house after house, and dragging off men and women, he would put them in prison.

                   He was Saul, the killing machine, the jailer

                          A feared and dangerous man…

                          But then a change came over him

                                  And he had an encounter with the Lord

                                         (recount road to Emmaus incident)

And he began to demonstrate

                                                 A heart change

                                                        He started to become….


(Elaborate on God changing Paul so radically…

    Can’t he change us?)


Now here’s the beauty of how God changes us

        And still let’s us be ourselves

               Look what He did to Paul….

God changed Paul’s heart

    But He didn’t take away all the equipment

           He had given Paul

                   Even when Paul was at his worst

                          God was getting him ready to minister

                                  Ready to be what God wanted him to be

                                         God was educating him

                                                 And training him for a day

                                                        When he would use his gifts

For God instead of himself

So Paul had the talent

    And the capability to wow the crowds

           With his style

                   He would have fit right in with

                          What the Corinthians would have expected

                                  From a speaker and a leader

But look a this…

    He chose not to!

           He determined not to!

                   He made a conscious commitment

                          To set aside his own talents and abilities

                                  And to allow God to work his miracle

                                         Of changing hearts and lives

Through the power of the message

        Not the messenger

And look at this

        The message he delivers

               Is the testimony of God

                       The word for testimony here means witness

                              Paul was a witness of God’s message

Interesting terminology

        Almost like legal terms

               Terms you would use in a courtroom…

                       Testimony, witness…

A person can only testify

to what he himself has seen or heard or experienced.

A witness in a courtroom is to report

only what he knows objectively,

factually, and personally.

He is not to speculate, guess, or deduce.

Paul was a testifier only to God’s revelation,

not to his own human understanding

or reason or inclinations.

God’s revelation was everything;  

human wisdom was nothing.

Paul was after God’s wisdom….

We need to embrace this concept…


               Because it applies to us on Sunday morning

                       And any other time we hear the Word….

                              What am I talking about?


We should not come to church to hear

the pastor’s opinions about politics, psychology,

economics, or even religion.

We should come to hear

a word from the Lord through the pastor.

God’s Word edifies and unifies;

human opinions confuse and divide.


Here, Paul assures the Corinthians

that he had not come to them

with a lot of human verbiage and opinion.

He presented them with the testimony of God

and nothing else.

        He presented them with God’s wisdom

               Not Paul’s!

This was something that was dear to Paul’s heart

        And it keeps popping up in his writings

Many years later Paul will say this to his protégé, Timothy

        That his primary task

               The only task of the ministry

                       Is to present… to manifest

                              The truth of God

Paul taught this to Timothy

        Because he knew how people are    

               And how they react to the teaching of the truth

                       Some embrace it…

                              And some don’t…

Paul warned Timothy, in 1 Tim 4

The Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron”

He tells timothy not to pay attention to these folks

He told Timothy to…

 “give attention to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation and teaching” (v.13).

That was Timothy’s job.

That is every preacher’s job.

        To bring you God’s Wisdom

               Not man’s

Any other approach defiles the pulpit.

In his second letter to Timothy, in ch 4:1-2

Paul solemnly charged him

in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus” to

“preach the word”

        and be ready to do it in season and out of season”

Oddly enough, these days

Many people do not want their pastors

to preach only the Word.

They will not,

 as it says in the same passage,

“…endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires”.

You see?

Some folks want to form their own pastor…

And they have a pretty good idea

        Of what he should look like

               Of what he should sound like

These are people with good input…

        Good suggestions…

               Well meaning people

                       But the suggestions are along these lines…

“you should do more movie clips, people like those…

You’re using too much scripture, give us more of you…

Why don’t we do more dramas, they’re very entertaining…

Keep your sermons short, we have short attention spans…

Don’t offend anyone with a lot of theology or preaching about sin…we want to bring the world in and share with them…

Some folks get upset when these things don’t happen

That’s exactly what happened when

        We made the decision to go to expository preaching


So some folks left…

Some people will go from church to church

looking for the “right preacher”.

Unfortunately their idea of “right” preaching

is not sound biblical exposition

but interesting observations and stories

based on the preacher’s personal philosophy.

They are not looking

for a word from God to believe

but for a word from man to consider.

Paul addresses that here,

        “I’m not interested in discussing

               Any man’s opinion, even my own…

                       I don’t want to preach about

                              The latest political issue

                                      Or the coolest movie

                                             Or the most popular celebrity

                                                     I don’t want to give you great

                                                            Object lessons…

                                                                    I want to give you


Truth is gong to get you through the darkness!

        Truth is something permanent you can hold on to!

               Truth can pull you out of the mire!

                       Truth is what will save you!

                              And that truth comes in Jesus Christ!


All I want to do, is share Jesus Christ

        And Him crucified….

               The truth of God!”

These very things were see here

are some of the things we discussed

                On our Elders retreat


                       Who we are

                       Where we’re going

                       Style of preaching

                       Changes in order to affect

                              More personal ministry

                       Dress on Sunday morning


I think Paul would agree with all these things,

        You know, in Paul, we probably have

               The greatest preacher of all time

                       Apart from Jesus

                              Yet he probably would have been rejected

                                      By most pastoral candidating committees

                                             Looking for a pastor today

                                                     Look at him….


3     I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling,

4     and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power,

5     so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.


Now, fear and trembling

        Are not, I believe, Paul shaking and quaking

               In apprehension

                       Paul was capable…

                              Paul lived boldly

spoke boldly

                                              And encouraged other believers

                                                     To be bold…

                                             So I think he’s telling us

something else here…

He use the phrase, “fear and trembling” several times

        2 Cor. 7:15; Eph. 6:5; Phil. 2:12

               Each time Paul uses this phrase

                       He’s talking of a very deep

                              And urgent issue,

something he takes very seriously

I think he’s trying to say

        “I come to you with a deep reverence

And an awe at what I have to share

It is the Word of God!

And I don’t want to

Mess it up!”

You can just see this in Paul,

        He was not a large guy…

               Standing in the temple or synagogue

                       Or walking into the house…

                              The gravity of what he is about to teach

                                      All over him…

                                             He’s reverent…

                                             He’s serious, but not dark…

                                             He’s, maybe a little intimidated

By what he’s been given to share

                                             But most of all…

                                                     He’s humble!

                                                            Not at all what people

                                                                    Would expect

                                                                           He’s been


And there again is the extent of the transformation….

        He’s gone from this berserk guy,

               Trying to get all the Christians he can find…

                       To a humble and reserved character…

                              Depending totally upon God

                                      To get him through…

                                             And doing it in a way that

                                                     The people who listen to him,

                                                            Will give the glory to God

                                                                    And not to him…

                                                                           Doing it in a way

That put the focus

        On God

Not him...

Jonathan Edwards was like that…

        Great preacher from the 18th Century

               His preaching ushered in the Great Awakening

                       A spiritual revival that started in 1739

                              Authored some of the most famous

                                      Sermons of all time

                                             And probably the single most

                                                     Famous sermon ever…

Apart from those in the Bible….

        “Sinners in the Hands

               Of an Angry God”

Spoke in a monotone…


Biography by George Marsden “Jonathan Edwards, A Life”

I’m not Jonathan Edwards

        Probably will not hear a monotone

               Come out of me for a while

                       But I sympathize with Paul’s perspective here

                              I want to approach God’s Word

                                      With serious reverence

                                             And an awe at what God is doing…

Paul tells them he’s not being dynamic

        On purpose… so as not to

               Obscure the message he brings…

                       (Bob Dylan….bad voice…so folks will listen

                              To the words.)

So, Bob Dylan wasn’t being original …

He cribbed this approach from Paul…

        Paul never wanted his personality

               Or his style to get in the way

                       Of what he had to say

                              Paul never wanted his wisdom

                                      To cloud God’s wisdom

And Paul knew the Corinthians

        Valued style over almost everything else

               So he removed that factor

                       From his teaching while he was there

                              So that people would zoom in

                                      On the message

                                             Not the messenger

Corinth had plenty of great speakers

        There we plenty of celebrity personalities around

               And there was more than enough

                       Debate and discussion over

                              The extent and magnitude of

                                      Man’s wisdom

                                             Paul came to give them

Something different

        A new wisdom

               A new personality

                       And eternal one

So it was pretty radical

When Paul told them this…


6     Yet we do speak wisdom among those who are mature; a wisdom, however, not of this age nor of the rulers of this age, who are passing away;

Paul says the things we teach are wise…

        Wise to those who are mature in their spirituality…

                Not wise like your celebrities,



or even your kings and queens

are wise

                                                     They’re all going to die…

Their wisdom isn’t

Worth anything!


7     but we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God predestined before the ages to our glory;

8     the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it they would not have crucified the Lord of glory;

He says, I’m talking about God’s wisdom

        A wisdom that has been hidden from man

               Man has been seeking after it for a long time…

                       (elaborate on seeking wisdom)


Now we know God has this kind of wisdom

        And that He has known

               From before the beginning of time

                       That He would give it to us

                              And that it would lead

                                      To our glorification….

                                             Our being made holy and righteous

And in His presence forever


Paul says that wisdom is elusive

        And remains a mystery


Because that’s God’s plan

        if men really understood it

               they would never have crucified Christ!

 But God is not going to keep it hidden!

        Look what he says next….

9     but just as it is written,

“Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard,

And which have not entered the heart of man,

All that God has prepared for those who love Him.”

These quotes come form the book of Isaiah

        I want to look at them

               So we have a full understanding

                       Of what Paul is saying here…


Isaiah 52: 15     Thus He will sprinkle many nations,

Kings will shut their mouths on account of Him;

For what had not been told them they will see,

And what they had not heard they will understand.


So God will reign over many nations

        And bless them

               And what they thought was wisdom…


                              As a matter of fact,

                                      When God shows them true wisdom

                                             They’re not going to know

                                                     What to say!

They’ll see things in a new way!

They’ll understand things they could never understand otherwise!

The Holy Spirit is going to bring


               And their search for wisdom

                       Is going to have a miraculous end!

                              Why is this so?

look at…

Isaiah 64: 4     For from days of old they have not heard or perceived by ear,

Nor has the eye seen a God besides You,

Who acts in behalf of the one who waits for Him.


It is so…

Because God acts on behalf

        Of those who wait for Him!

               Think about that for a moment!

                       if we’re willing to wait upon the Lord…

                              He will act in our behalf!

How do we wait upon the Lord?

        1, Pray  

2. we have to know who He is

        3. we have to be willing to accept His timing

        4. We have to receive His actions

               As being on our behalf

How do we know all this?....

10     For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God.

We know it because God has revealed it to us

        And His revelation comes in a lot

               Of different ways

                       All of them supernatural…

                              He can revel Himself by

                                      Speaking through a brother or sister

                                      In our reading

                                      In our living in His creation

                                      In our prayer


There are a lot of ways for God to reveal Himself

        How do we know when it’s Him?

               It will align itself with his Word!

                       It will not contradict scripture…

                              It will not add to it (no new revelation)

                                      It will not subtract from it

                                             How can we trust this test?

Because it is God’s breathed Word

And it will not contradict itself

        It is not incomplete

And it is sufficient…

        God does this for us…       

        Not because we are so smart

               Not because we are better

                       Not because we’ve thought it through

                              And arrived at a logical conclusion

                                      Not because we love more

                                             Not because we are more spiritual

                                                     Not because we are less sinful

                                                            Not because we’re



                                                                    Hard working

                                                                    Know more scripture

                                                                    Have more money

                                                                    Have less money

Not because of anything else

        Other than






Do you see how this is a direct result

        Of God’s grace?

               How, without His grace…

                       There’s no revelation…

                              Without the revelation…

                                      There’s no knowledge of Him

                                             Without knowledge of Him

                                                     There’s no salvation

                                                            Without salvation…

                                                                    There’s only doom!

Praise God!

        He knows everything!

               And He wants to share that wisdom

                       With each of us!



11     For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God.

12     Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God,



13     which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.

14     But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.



15     But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one.

16     For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he will instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ.

We should see two things in these verses

        Two concepts that should further demonstrate

               God’s grace…

1. True wisdom is not humanly discovered

        We don’t have the capability to discern it

               We can try

                       And we can look good while we try

                              But we don’t get it…

Just look at our history…

        Whenever we make any progress..

               Technologically, medically, philosophically or culturally

                       A hundred years later,

                              Someone proves us wrong…

                                      And we look naïve

                                             And in each age…

                                                     For thousands of years…

                                                             We think we’ve got it!

The first thing we should see

        It that man is incapable of discovering true wisdom

And the second thing is this;

        True wisdom is divinely revealed…

               It comes from God…

                       Do you get it?

                              Does it sink in?

True wisdom is divinely revealed!

        That’s why all these things we have discussed

               Are important

It’s why it’s important we hear God’s Word

        When we get together in Sunday morning

It’s why we pay more attention to the content

        Than  the style

It’s why we approach it with reverence

        And a serious attitude

It’s why we have an understanding of God’s grace…

It is why we should,

        With all our hearts

               Pursue God’s wisdom

                       And not man’s

When we do…

        God will reveal Himself to us

               We won’t discover Him

                       We won’t find Him

                              He will reveal Himself


                                                     Because He loves us!

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