Faithlife Sermons

Konami Code

Corinthians  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  37:28
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The Secret to Life

The Konami code. Up. Up. Down. Down. Left. Right. Left. Right. B. A. B. A. Select. Start.
How many people know what I’m talking about?
This has entered into legend. This game Contra, you start with a little gun and 3 “lives” and you have to defeat level after level of invading aliens, it was CRAZY hard.
But there was a little trick.
I want the “secret knowledge” so bad! The hidden tricks, the “cheat codes”.
Today: all about life’s cheat code!

Rejecting Wordly Wisdom

The Corinthians were competing for who was the wisest, the holiest, the “best”… just like the city around them. Some of the words were different, but the game was the same. Paul turns it all upside down: don’t pursue the world’s wisdom; pursue God’s folly. This is against our (my) every instinct… but Paul steps forward as an example of what that looks like in his own ministry… and holds up the cross as the epitome of God’s upside down Kingdom. Our “hero” is the executed criminal. How do we reject the “World’s Wisdom?” In “weakness and in fear and much trembling.”
Our absolute wisest moments are going to look like foolishness to a watching world.
To look to the cross is to reject the world’s system of value, wisdom, rightness and worth.
So what about wisdom then????

True Wisdom

1 Corinthians 2:6 ESV
Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away.
It’s not the wisdom they knew… it’s way better
1 Corinthians 2:7 ESV
But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory.
Oooooh. Secret wisdom. And Hidden! I like that. I love the way the Message captures this:
1 Corinthians 2:7 The Message
God’s wisdom is something mysterious that goes deep into the interior of his purposes. You don’t find it lying around on the surface. It’s not the latest message, but more like the oldest—what God determined as the way to bring out his best in us, long before we ever arrived on the scene.
THAT’s SOME GOOD WISDOM! I want that!!!
It’s the oldest wisdom, the best wisdom the secret wisdom.
My favorite definition of wisdom is one I heard from Pastor Rod many moons ago:
Wisdom is knowledge rightly applied to life.
Wisdom is knowledge rightly applied to life. Sometimes it is the ability to know what is true or right.
And the world’s wisdom is based on the world’s knowledge which is partial and flawed, often wrong… and so that applied to life, a very narrow view and window on life… that’s always going to be inherently and forever flawed. It isn’t wisdom… it’s short-sighted guessing!
Want proof?
1 Corinthians 2:8 ESV
None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
Some of the “leaders” killed Jesus. Not smart. Even if “rulers of this age” means the Jewish leaders, least likely, or the Roman leaders (more likely)… or the princes and powers, demonic “rulers” of the age (most likely). None of them understand the wisdom of God.
God sees the beginning and the end, He is the beginning and the end. And with infinite processing power, with infinite intellect, He is able to know the absolute best at every moment along that path.
1 Corinthians 2:9 ESV
But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”—
How do we get it? How did Paul get it?
1 Corinthians 2:10 ESV
these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.
From the Spirit. The Holy Spirit, of course from the Spirit because:
1 Corinthians 2:11 ESV
For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.
1 Corinthians 2:12 ESV
Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God.
What is the wisdom of God and how do we get it? The Spirit gives the wisdom, freely given by God. Free. No $$.
God isn’t running out of wisdom! He has plenty to give.
But isn’t this a bit scary??? This is the Spirit of God within human beings… that’s the wisdom? Can’t people be wrong about what the Spirit is telling them? Or worse, can’t they lie, use this to manipulate and deceive… to take advantage?
Of course they have. Of course they do!!! This is ripe for abuse. This is such a dangerous idea!
The next verse Is SO important!
1 Corinthians 2:13 ESV
And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.
And Paul is pouring out this in words. Paul receives it from the Spirit… and his readers back then are “interpreting” by the Spirit. Spirit infused inspiration of the words, Spirit led, fueled interpretation of the words. This is our doctrine of Scripture right here! This is the whole thing!
The Holy Spirit helped write it. The Holy Spirit helps us read it.
This is our entire doctrine of Scripture right here!!! Holy Spirit inspired. Holy Spirit interpreted.
And it only only only works in the context of “those who are spiritual.” That will come up in a bit.
This is a Contrast here: natural person vs. spiritual person
1 Corinthians 2:14 ESV
The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.
1 Corinthians 2:15 ESV
The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one.
Oooooooh.... that sounds dangerous, too. Imagine the immature person taking hold of this. Someone who isn’t really shaped and led by the Holy Spirit, but who claims to be… or even fools themselves into thinking they are.
I judge all things, I am judged by no one. So I am the sole arbiter of what God says to me!!!
That isn’t what it says, is it? This isn’t free-for-all. That would only work if the Holy Spirit isn’t real.
What’s scary about this is it feels like a recipe for absolute chaos and disaster. And it is dangerous. It is radically personal.
1 Corinthians 2:16 ESV
“For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.
“I have the mind of Christ!!!” I’m going to put that on my Resume! Jake, college applications?
I have the mind of Christ! Also, I know the secret hidden wisdom of God, decreed before the ages for our glory!
Do you hear how personal it all is?
To make it even more so, Paul actually laid it out even clearer in the previous verse:
1 Corinthians 1:30 ESV
And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption,
He “became to us” what? Sophos, Sophia, WISDOM!
Right knowledge.
The Word contains God’s secret wisdom
The Holy Spirit conveys God’s secret wisdom
God’s secret wisdom is Jesus
Kind of feels like a cheat. “The real treasure is the friends you made along the way!”
The real “wisdom” is the Jesus you already knew. Or the Holy Spirit you have already received.
There is dramatic and practical application to come. The “freely given wisdom”, the “maturity for the spiritual”… that is going to come in fruits of the spirit, spiritual gifts - divine super powers. And it will be every bit as powerful and mysterious as we hope: prophecy and magic languages and angels and demons and all the things...
But it all comes back to this. Ultimately all God has to give us, the very best He has to give us, is Himself. He is Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
He offers Himself.
But we, in our sinfulness, in our flesh, we keep choosing something (anything) else.
And Paul seems to think that is incredibly dangerous for us. In fact, there are things we can’t even hear the “good stuff” if we aren’t living as spiritual people.
Hear how sad these words are. There is this profound wisdom available to them, but...
1 Corinthians 3:1 ESV
But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ.
1 Corinthians 3:2 ESV
I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready,
What happens if you feed solid food too soon to a baby? It isn’t good. They choke, they gag, they reject it. It is dangerous for them. Unchewable because they don’t have teeth, unmanageable because they couldn’t chew it… undigestable because nothing about their systems has been prepared for this kind of sustenance.
He can’t address them as spiritually mature… because they are SO CLEARLY not. I think this is a plague on the church: “Christians” who swear up and down they are “spiritually mature” choking to death and concepts they can’t handle.
I have friends obsessed with calculating the years of the beast from the hairs on Daniel’s head… but they have no love of Jesus, mind of Christ, life of the Spirit to be seen.
How does he know they are immature??? Incredibly simple litmus test. If they had the mind of Christ, they would be united because there is only one Christ and he has one mind. There is only one Spirit and the Spirit is not divided. Instead:
1 Corinthians 3:3–4 ESV
for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way? For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not being merely human?
Hear that? They are choosing “merely human.”
They are living as if they were still merely human. They could choose to be the Spirit-filled immortals they have been recreated to be… listening to the Spirit of Christ, having one mind, the mind of Christ, humbling themselves to, with all they have, listen.

What are you hungry for?

Are you ready for spiritual food?
We have this hint from Paul: if your life is characterized by divisiveness, by separation from the rest of the Body of Christ… the answer is no.
We need to sit in the simple gospel - weakness and fear and trembling - sacrifice, submission and trust - decide to know nothing but Christ and him crucified.
If we walk forward and we aren’t so fully rooted in that, filled by His Spirit… of COURSE we are going to disagree about the “mature spiritual things...” and OF COURSE that is going to divide us because we aren’t rooted in His love and grace. We can’t handle the truth!
We are trying to take on Calculus 2 and we can’t do Algebra. We can’t add two numbers together.
This isn’t too shame anyone, I think we all often need a refresher course on pure gospel. I expect Paul needed that periodically. We return to simple grace over and over again. We return to “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.”
We return to Immanuel… and the cross… and the empty tomb over and over again. We literally can’t live without it.
Absolutely rooted in the mind and Spirit of Christ… then we peer into the deeper mysteries.
If that’s not where you are, that’s okay. It’s time to read the gospel. It’s time to sit with Jesus in prayer. It’s time to invite the Spirit to be active in you again. That’s not shame, I do that too.
Do you recognize a divisive spirit in yourself? Where your instinct is to argue before you love? Where you feel like you have to choose between truth and grace… Jesus is full of truth and grace always.
The truth is we started in camps. Apollos and Cephas and Paul and Christ… we were pre-sorted over the last 2000 years. It’s hard to overcome that. Jesus manages.
1 Corinthians 1:30 ESV
And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption,
We are going to press on to deeper things. Not beyond the gospel, we never go beyond the gospel… deeper into it.
But you can’t go there unless you know this. Unless you hold on to this. Unless you put this at the forefront of your mind and heart - at the center of your identity.
You were full of sin and stupid… and the penalty for your guilt and shame is death.
God became a man - Jesus - and took your guilt and shame to pay your death penalty on the cross.
And three days later, God raised him from the dead… victory over sin and death. So that you can forever be free of sin and death, free from guilt and shame, free to learn to love your Creator God, your Savior, and love one another as He does.
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