“THE SCHOOL OF CHRIST”
(A Sermon from I Corinthians)
Westgate Chapel 10-15-06 I Corinthian 2:16
PROPOSITION: God has prepared for those who love Him, the wisdom of God in Christ (the message), revealed by the person of the Holy Spirit (the Teacher), to the spiritual man or woman (the student).
- THERE were essentially two kinds of believers in the church in Corinth….the church to whom Paul wrote in his letters to the Corinthians:
1. There were the full-grown, mature believers who.....
• Understood spiritual things.
• Were growing in the deep things of God.
• Were moving on in their love for God and one another.
• Were growing in their worship of God.
• Who were expectant and full of faith concerning what God had in store for them each day.
• Who were spiritually discerning about what was going on around them.
• And were approaching circumstances in their lives with the mind of Christ.
- THEN there was a second kind of believer in the church in Corinth. As a matter of fact, it would seem that at the time of Paul’s writing of I Corinthians, there were more of the second type of Christian than the mature kind.
2. These were what we might call the worldly Christians who were......
• Boasting over their talents, or their giving, or their spirituality (1:29).
• Jealous of others who were doing well (3:3)
• Making light of sexual sin amongst them....in the name of tolerance (5:1)
• Exercising personal freedom in lifestyle issues to the destruction of the weaker brothers and sisters amongst them (8:9).
• Quarreling amongst themselves over which leaders they liked the most, taking pride in one over another (4:6).
• Mixing the table of the Lord with the table of demons (10:21)....mixing the holy with the profane.
• Stepping on top of each other in the confusion of worship services that were out of control and in the flesh (14:33).
- AND, not content to leave these Corinthians believers in this spiritually immature condition, the apostle Paul calls them, in 1 Corinthians 2, to what the Puritans used to call The School of Christ.
- THE School of Christ is what we are all in....until Jesus comes to take us to Himself.
* The first course is on the love God has for us….that usually gets repeated every semester.
* There is a course in the fear of the Lord.
* There are lessons on faith.
* There is a course on submission to the will of God.
* There are lessons on the attitudes of the heart.
* There are lessons on being a servant.
* There are courses on worship.
* There are courses on repentance.
* There are lessons on stewardship....of your whole life to the Lord.
- THE School of Christ is always in session.
- GRADUATION exercises will not be held until the judgment seat of Christ.
“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.” (2 Corinthians 5:10)
- THERE are no breaks, vacations or recesses in the School of Christ.
- SOME courses in the School of Christ have to be repeated...over and over again.
- SOME of us get held back a year when we have missed too many classes.
- SOME have been stuck in first grade....for fifty years.
- OTHERS have earned post graduate degrees and will graduate with honors.
- EVERY believer is in the School of Christ.
- TURN with me to the last 11 verses of I Corinthians 2:6-16.
ii. the curriculum is christ
- THE first thing the apostle Paul talks about is the curriculum in the School of Christ. Look with me at I Corinthians 2:6,
“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…” (1 Corinthians 2:6)
- THE word translated “mature” means “full grown, freed from the pull of the world.”
- THESE are the students who love God, are growing, worshipping....and the aroma of the presence of God covers their lives and their conversations.
- IT is to these students that Paul addresses his letter.
- AND what Paul speaks to them is a wisdom from above….
* a wisdom that is not of this age.
* that is not recognized by the rulers of this age.
- PAUL adds that the wisdom and the rulers of this age are “passing away.” The literal translation is “coming to nothing”, “being done away with.”
- THIS is the curriculum of the School of Christ. Verse 7,
“…but we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God predestined before the ages to our glory.” (1 Corinthians 2:7)
- THERE is a wisdom of God revealed in Jesus Christ......hidden from the world until He came, and destined by God before time began.
- LOOK at verses 8-9,
“…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; 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.” (1 Corinthians 2:8-9)
- HERE is the curriculum of the School of Christ.....it is the person of Christ, His death and resurrection, His life in you, His power at work in you.
- IN Ephesians 4, the apostle Paul is correcting the believers in Ephesus for their sensuality and greed, and says to them,
“…you did not learn Christ in this way, 21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus.” (Ephesians 4:20-21)
- THE curriculum for the School of Christ is Jesus.
- IN our passage from 1 Corinthians 2, Paul tells us that it is a curriculum that is greater than we will ever be able to fully comprehend.
* The natural eye has not seen what God has prepared for you.
* The natural ear has not heard it.
* The natural mind cannot conceive what God has prepared for you if you love Him.
- AND none of the rulers of this age understand the wisdom of God. As a matter of fact they reject it out of hand.
iii. the teacher is the holy spirit
- THEN, in verse 10, Paul goes on to describe the Teacher in the School of Christ.
“For to us God revealed [the curriculum] through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God.” (1 Corinthians 2:10)
- THERE is no other place to grow in the deep things of God except in the School under the instruction of the Holy Spirit.
- IN most worship traditions the Holy Spirit is barely mentioned.
- WE not only believe in His existence as a co-equal member of the Godhead (Father, Son and Holy Spirit), we actively invite Him into our lives daily as the administrator of the will and purposes of God in our lives.
- WHAT are these deep things of God? The epistle is full of them.
* The length, breadth, depth and height of God’s love for us.
* The love of God that compels us to love one another.
* The kind of love for each other that actively resists division.
* The kind of love that prefers one another in the fellowship.
* A love for God that compels us to live holy lives…..and to be tough on willful sin.
* A love that takes care of a weaker brother or sister.
* A faith in God that trusts.
* A faith in God that risks.
* A life lived in the opposite spirit of the world.
- THESE are some of the deep things of God that are taught us by the Holy Spirit in the School of Christ.
- VERSE 11 goes on to explain why the Holy Spirit is the Teacher,
“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.” (I Corinthians 2:10-13)
- THERE are a few very important things I want you to see about the “spirit” in these verses.
- PAUL uses the word “spirit” in three ways. He speaks of.....
1. The spirit of man in verse 11.
2. The spirit of the world in verse 12.
3. The Spirit who is from God in verse 12.
- BUT the Greek word for spirit, pneuma, means “air set in motion, considered a special substance with an underlying stress on its inherent power.”
* You can’t see it but it is in motion; not idle or it would not be spirit.
* You can’t see it but it is considered to be substance, not a vacuum or it would not be spirit.
* You can’t see it but it is has inherent power, not powerless or it would not be spirit.
- MOTION, substance, power.
- AND these verses indicate that this spiritual motion, substance and power is found in three places,
1. In man....it is what makes him tick.
2. In the world.....it is what gives the world spiritual hold over its subjects.
3. But the ultimate spirit, is the Holy Spirit of God, the third person of the Trinity.
- HE has ultimate motion, substance and power.
- WE who believe in God through Jesus Christ have received the indwelling Holy Spirit SO THAT we can understand the curriculum of the School of Christ.
- THERE is no other way for spiritual truths to be understood or applied.
- PAUL says that it is the person of the Holy Spirit who,
* Knows the thoughts of God (verse 11).
* Is from God (verse 12).
* Helps us understand what God has freely given us (verse 12).
* Teaches us the heart of God, “expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words.” (verse 13)
- HE is our Teacher in the School of Christ.
iv. the student has the mind of christ
- LASTLY, Paul turns his attention to you and me....the student in the School of Christ.
- VERSE 14,
“But a natural man [without the Spirit] 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.” (1 Corinthians 2:14)
- THIS is the natural man....the man or woman who is without Christ and has not been awakened by the Holy Spirit to spiritual realities.
* The dollar reigns supreme....in the life of the natural man.
* Possessions reign supreme..... in the life of the natural man.
* Career reigns..... in the life of the natural man..
* The stock market drives…the life of the natural man.
* Sports reign… in the life of the natural man.
* Children reign…. in the life of the natural man.
* Pleasure reigns… in the life of the natural man.
- SO the natural man or woman…
* Cannot accept the things of God.
* Cannot understand them.
* Rules them out of hand as foolish.
- BUT just look at the contrast in, verses 15-16,
“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.” (I Corinthians 2:14-16)
- THE student in the School of Christ has been given the mind of Christ.
- THAT means we are able to appraise spiritual realities and discern right from wrong….without having to have others tell us or give us lists of dos or donts.
- NOW, the purpose of this message is….
1. To inform you of the School of Christ. When you were saved you were enrolled.
2. To inform you concerning the curriculum (Jesus), the Teacher (Holy Spirit) and the student (with the mind of Christ.)
- LEARNING, submitting to the lessons, and advancing in the school is up to you!
- THIS is a simple message this morning....but your eternal future depends on your response to it.
- ARE you a student in the School of Christ?
- IS the Holy Spirit your Teacher?
- ARE you growing in the courses that God has set out in front of you?
- OR are you playing hooky?
- ABSORBING your mind in all others kinds of things?
- HAVE you been ditching classes lately?
- GRADUATION day may be closer than you think.
- ARE you ready?