We Need The Spirit - 2:13-16
Painting the wall.
Have brush, roller, pan, stir stick, everything except for paint.
Why isn’t the wall changing color?
What am I missing?
I have everything else lined up, but I am missing the most important part.
This is what life with the Holy Spirit is like.
When we fail to depend on the Holy Spirit, life will not go well.
Everything else in life can be lined up. Without dependence on the Holy Spirit, we will not succeed.
Because that is true, I want us to contemplate a statement and a question as we go through the message today.
The Holy Spirit is everything in the Christian life.
How am I depending on the Spirit every day?
When Daryl spoke on vv. 6-9 he mentioned the problem the Corinthian’s had of blending man’s wisdom and philosophy with the things of God. With Scripture.
The concept of human wisdom versus the wisdom of God was introduced in ch. 1.
God, in His infinite wisdom, sent Jesus to suffer and die for the sins of the world.
We looked at that in detail last week.
The concept of a suffering Messiah and a dying Savior seem foolish to the wisdom of man.
To those of us who believe it is the power of God.
Paul says in chapter 2 verse 4 that he didn’t speak in human wisdom but in the Spirit and with power.
Paul then describes the difference between human wisdom and the wisdom of God.
It isn’t that we preach foolishness, it’s that what we preach seems foolish to those who do not believe.
Jesus and all that He is and has done, seems foolish to those who do not have the Holy Spirit of God dwelling within them.
That is why we hear people call Jesus a great man and a good teacher, yet they do not believe.
The things of God are revealed to us through the Holy Spirit.
The point of v. 11 is that the only way we can know the things of God is through the person and work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
V. 12 declares that we are given the Holy Spirit so that we can understand the things we have been given by God.
Here’s why all of that is important.
The purpose of the Holy Spirit’s presence in our lives is to teach us about God.
That is why we have the Holy Spirit.
The purpose of the Holy Spirit is to guide us into truth.
The truth that He reveals to us then transforms our lives.
There are many blessings we receive from the Holy Spirit.
Today we will focus on the two blessings revealed in these verses.
The description of these blessings will convince us that we need the Spirit.
We must commit to living with dependence on the Holy Spirit.
1. The Spirit Gives Ability vv. 13-14
1. The Spirit Gives Ability vv. 13-14
Have you ever been asked a question about something, and the topic in question is something you know nothing about?
What do you do?
The right thing to do, is admit your ignorance and allow someone else to answer.
To my shame, that is not always the route I have taken.
There have been many times in my life where I will give an answer on the spot that makes sense to me and sounds good, but it is totally made up.
One of the problems with doing things like that is we end up remaining in ignorance.
Admitting our ignorance and allowing others to inform us gives the ability to correctly speak about topic next time.
Apart from the Holy Spirit there are many things we will not know.
There are many abilities we will not have.
Paul gives us two here.
The call for us as Christian’s is to submit to the Holy Spirit and live in the ability he gives.
Ability #1. The Holy Spirit gives…
a. The ability to speak v. 13
a. The ability to speak v. 13
READ v. 13
13 These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
What things are we speaking?
v. 1 - the testimony of God.
v. 2 - Jesus Christ and Him crucified.
v. 7 - the wisdom of God.
v. 10 - the deep things of God.
v. 11 - the things freely given to us by God.
These are the things we speak. And we speak them in the wisdom of the Holy Spirit.
Because the wisdom of man can teach us nothing of God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ!
This is what we are to be speaking!
The mystery of God.
What is the mystery of God? In Ephesians Paul says it is Jews and Gentiles in one body in Christ.
Basically, the mystery is the gospel.
That we, as selfish, self-serving, sinners, can be reconciled to God and given unity in Christ is not something human wisdom can comprehend!
This takes us back to verse 9.
Some of the things that God has prepared for us are revealed in His Word.
These are the things we speak of.
But. This verse reveals something very important.
The ability to speak is only given as we are taught by the Spirit.
As we read through this chapter we find references to wisdom and mystery and how the Spirit of God is the only one who can understand these things.
Now we find that we are taught by the Holy Spirit.
The mystery of the gospel and the hidden wisdom of God are taught to us by the Holy Spirit.
Being taught by the Spirit requires submission to Him.
We can only be submissive to the Spirit if we are not quenching Him or grieving Him.
What am I talking about?
Go with me to Ephesians 4:25-32.
25 Therefore, putting away lying, “Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,” for we are members of one another. 26 “Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, 27 nor give place to the devil. 28 Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need. 29 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. 32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.
In this passage Paul lays out what it means to grieve the Holy Spirit.
We grieve the Holy Spirit when we live in unrepentant sin.
Anger, theft, corrupt speech, bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and malice.
These attitudes and actions grieve the Holy Spirit.
Instead we are called to be kind, tenderhearted, and forgiving.
We grieve the Holy Spirit when we live in sin.
Now look at 1 Thessalonians 5:19.
1 Thessalonians 5:19
19 Do not quench the Spirit.
This word quench means to extinguish, suppress, or stifle.
We quench the Spirit when we refuse to heed His promptings or listen to His voice.
These two passages teach us something very important.
The action of the Holy Spirit in our lives is determined by our obedience.
The final phrase in this verse is actually very diversely translated.
There is a big debate about what Paul us trying to say.
The word “comparing” is the Greek word συγκρίνω (synkrinō) and it means compare; combine; explain. To give an interpretation or explanation to.
Comparing – συγκρίνω (synkrinō)
When we look at the context, “explain” seems to be the better translation here.
Paul is talking about explaining the gospel message and the mystery of the body of Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit.
To do that we must use spiritual words and examples.
We speak as we are taught by the Holy Spirit.
As we explain Scripture we do so using words, phrases, and ideas given by the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit gives us the ability to speak.
Apart from dependence on the Holy Spirit we cannot share the gospel.
That’s the bottom line.
We need the Holy Spirit to give us the words to say.
We need the Holy Spirit to give us the ability to speak!
In order to be taught by the Holy Spirit we must be living in submission to Him.
This requires that we confess our sin and listen to the prompting of the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit gives the ability to speak. That’s ability #1.
Ability #2. The Holy Spirit gives…
b. The ability to receive v. 14
b. The ability to receive v. 14
READ v. 14
14 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 term “natural man” is used here to refer to someone who is not a believer, someone outside the body of Christ, someone who is not a Christ-follower.
This is made clear in Jude 19 where this word is translated “sensual” and it is made clear they are not believers.
19 These are sensual persons, who cause divisions, not having the Spirit.
According to Romans 8:9 someone who does not have the Spirit does not belong to Christ.
The natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God.
He does not accept them or believe them.
Instead of accepting the things of God, the natural man views them as foolishness.
This is the same word we encountered in chapter 1.
The preaching of the Cross is foolishness to those who don’t believe.
The things of God are foolishness.
Paul takes it a step further.
The natural man cannot even know the things of the Spirit of God. He cannot understand them.
What exactly is Paul saying?
The natural man does not accept the things of God because he cannot understand the things of God.
This makes sense when we understand that the ability to evaluate Spiritual issues is a product of the Spirit.
That’s what the end of the verse is talking about.
To understand the things of the Spirit of God you must have the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit.
Those who are not believers do not have the Holy Spirit. Therefore, they cannot understand spiritual things.
Those who are apart from Christ are spiritually dead.
What do we do with this information?
Stop expecting unsaved people to understand spiritual things.
As Christians we get bent out of shape when a politician takes verses out of context. We get up in arms when they misrepresent Christ.
Beloved, they don’t know Him! Stop being surprised when sinners sin!
That brings us to admonition #2.
Stop expecting unsaved people to live like spiritual people.
We want to see our culture change, amen? The primary way to accomplish that is not through better laws or regulations.
The way to transform our culture is to bring People to Jesus!
We don’t want a cultural reformation, we want a spiritual revival!
For that to happen lost people need to know they are lost!
Don’t be surprised or offended when a lost person acts like it.
Instead, demonstrate the goodness of God that leads people to repentance.
This brings us to admonition #3.
Start sharing the gospel and lead people to Christ.
If you are unsure how to do that.
Go on our website and listen to the Sunday School series we did on Personal Evangelism.
Let me just give you a really quick thought.
The best tool you have to advance the gospel is your own salvation testimony.
This verse is intended to be a contrast. We, as spiritual people, are able to receive the things of the Spirit of God.
Look back up at v. 10.
We are to be learning the deep things of God through the Holy Spirit.
Go with me to Hebrews 5:12-6:2.
12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. 13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. 14 But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. 1 Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, 2 of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.
As we grow and mature in Christ we are to move past the basics.
What are the basics? Repentance, faith, baptism, laying on of hands, resurrection, eternal judgment.
The author of Hebrews lists these as the basics.
What’s he saying?
The mature believer understands that salvation is not by works it’s by faith.
The mature believer understands that we are baptized by water as a public confession of faith, we are baptized by the Spirit at the moment of salvation placing us into the body of Christ.
The mature believer knows that all who die will be resurrected, some to eternal life, some to eternal judgement.
That’s the basics!
Move past that. What is past that?
In context, the High priestly ministry of Jesus, the reason for his death, burial, and resurrection.
Basically, the rest of Hebrews.
What is interesting is where the author of Hebrews ends.
He ends with practical Christian living.
The Holy Spirit gives us that ability to receive the things of God.
Once we have received them, we put them into practice.
Here’s the lesson.
What we know and believe must drive us to proper behavior.
Let’s put it another way.
Because of what I know to be true about Jesus, I live for Jesus.
That is what it means to receive the things of the Spirit of God.
To the child of God these things are not foolishness, they are guidelines to live by.
The Holy Spirit gives ability.
He gives the ability to speak the things of God and the ability to accept them.
That is 1 blessing we are given by the Holy Spirit.
2. The Spirit Gives Maturity vv. 15-16
2. The Spirit Gives Maturity vv. 15-16
Our children became homeschoolers this year.
One of the fun things with homeschooling is getting to be more a part of what they are learning.
This leads to some very interesting discussions, sometimes those are educational, sometimes they are just their dad being weird.
Anyway, let me tell you about an educational conversation.
The other day we were discussing words that have the same sound but different meanings.
Things like ant and aunt. Or hi and high. Or ate and eight.
These are difficult words to master when you are young.
As we grow older, mature, and learn, we are able to tell the difference between these things.
Maturity enhances our ability to communicate and to learn.
The Holy Spirit works in our lives to mature us.
In the final two verses of chapter 2, Paul describes two results of the maturity the Holy Spirit gives.
a. The mature discern v. 15
a. The mature discern v. 15
The contrast we were given in v. 14 ended with the word “discerned.”
As we grow in Christ, we grow in our discernment.
READ v. 15
15 But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one.
This word “judges” is the same word translated “discerned” in v. 14.
The person who is spiritual refers to someone who has the Holy Spirit. Someone who is a believer.
The believer in Jesus Christ exercises discernment in all things.
Judges is the Greek word ἀνακρίνω (anakrinō) meaning examine; judge; question. To evaluate. To form a critical opinion of something (either positive or negative) by examination or scrutiny.
Judges – ἀνακρίνω (anakrinō)
The ability to discern all things comes with time and maturity.
Let’s look again at Hebrews 5:14.
We already read this verse and we will probably read it again next week, but it is very powerful in this discussion.
14 But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
There are several things here.
First. Discernment comes with maturity.
Those who are of full age.
Second. Discernment must be practiced.
By reason of use.
Third. Discernment is exercised on good and evil.
That’s the end of the verse.
I wish that I could tell you how discernment is supernaturally given the moment we believe.
I wish that was how it worked.
But it’s not.
Discernment is a hard won discipline.
Discernment comes when we study the Word of God and compare the words, actions, and attitudes of ourselves and others to the standard revealed in Scripture.
We are not always going to get it right.
However, we are commanded to try.
I want to emphasize that the discernment called for is not just exercised when there is disagreement.
The call here is to be discerning in all things.
This means we discern when there is agreement and when there is not.
The is a step beyond being able to discern. This is expressing discernment as a necessity.
Plug: Sunday School starts again next week. Critical Thinking: The practice of Biblical discernment.
This isn’t optional for the child of God!
As we exercise discernment through the wisdom granted by the Holy Spirit, we are a puzzle to others.
The end of this verse is actually more clearly translated in the NIV.
15 The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments,
Those who only have human wisdom with which to judge are puzzled by the discernment of believers.
How we live our lives is a mystery to them.
Thomas constable puts it this way.
The profane person cannot understand holiness, but the holy person can understand the depths of evil. Even carnal fellow believers cannot fully understand the spiritual person.
We need the Holy Spirit because He brings maturity.
As we grow in Christ we are discerning.
A discerning child of God lives a life of holiness.
That life of holiness is what makes us so difficult to understand.
Darkness cannot understand light (John 1:5).
The Spirit grows us, He brings maturity and the result of that maturity is the ability to discern.
b. The mature understand v. 16
b. The mature understand v. 16
READ v. 16
16 For “who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ.
The firs part of this verse is a reference to Isaiah 40:13.
Paul quotes this to emphasize how the thinking of the child of God is transformed.
We are “judged by no one” because we have the mind of Christ.
It is impossible for those who have not come to Christ to know the mind of the Lord.
We can know the mind of the Lord because we have the mind of Christ.
How do we have the mind of Christ?
Look back up at vv. 9-12
We have the Holy Spirit who teaches us the things of God.
Go with me to John 16:5-15.
5 “But now I go away to Him who sent Me, and none of you asks Me, ‘Where are You going?’ 6 But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. 7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. 8 And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9 of sin, because they do not believe in Me; 10 of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; 11 of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. 12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. 14 He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. 15 All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you.
One of the roles filled by the Holy Spirit in our lives is guiding us into all truth.
Now, this is not like the matrix or some Sci-fi movie where the truth is automatically downloaded into our brains.
In John 17:17 as Jesus is praying for us this is what He says.
17 Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.
His Word is truth.
We have the mind of Christ through the Holy Spirit helping us to understand the Word of God.
This must be coupled with hard work and study.
That is what Paul emphasized to Timothy. 2 Timothy 2:15.