1 Cor. 2:1-16† - Oh, What A Plan!
Intro: Tonight I am going to give a rather lengthy introduction to our study in the 2nd Chi. Or 1Cor. ( Ask you to pay close attention)
A.††††††† There is a certain point that I want us to see that will - be made even more clear by understanding a little bit of the culture in which Paul wrote
B. I also want us to see that the philosophies ideas problems & challenges that marked Paulís day are a lot like our own.
We saw in our last study where Paul is still dealing w/ the problem of divisions in the Church.
A.††††††† Divided over people - focused on man & not on Christ.
B. They were also divided over Philosophies . They had allowed the pagan philosophies of their time to influence their Christianity.
1.††††††† These varying Philosophical view points had caused there to be division amongst the church.
C.††††††† Some of the Philosophical ideas of that day -
1.††††††† EPICUREANISM Epicurean philosophy centered on the search for happiness. Pleasure is the beginning and fulfillment of a happy life. The goal of Epicureanism was to acquire a trouble-free state of mind, to avoid the pains of the body, and especially mental anguish. Epicureans sought seclusion from worldly temptations.
1.††††††† GNOSTICISM The Gnostics believed that knowledge was the way to salvation. The Gnostics also taught that man is composed of body, soul, and spirit. Since the body and the soul are part of man's earthly existence, they are evil. Enclosed in the soul, however, is the spirit, the only divine substance of man. This "spirit" is asleep & ignorant; it needs to be awakened and liberated by knowledge.
††††††† 3) Stoicism -- the doctrine of the Stoics, was a philosophy which taught that human beings should be free from passion, unmoved by joy or grief, and submissive to natural law,- calmly accepting all things as the result of divine will. The Stoics believed that man is part of the universe which itself is dominated by reason. Since man cannot change this grand design, it is best for him to cooperate and to take his part in the world order. Above all, he must be self-sufficient, living life with dignity and pride.
Sophist 1) nothing exists; (2) And if anything existed, no one could know it; and (3), if anyone could know it, be could not teach it to someone else.
††††††† ††††††† Another school
(1) all things constantly change; (2) knowledge, is perception; and (3) "Man is the measure of all things, of the existence of the things that are and the non-existence of the things that are not."
The Man-measure theory meant that everything is as it appears, no matter to whom.
Example A wind is chilling to a man with a fever; the "same" wind feels exhilarating to a man in good health.
But It is not the same wind because a wind is an appearance due to the combination of certain external motions and one's sensory organs. The wind is the perception. Since two people cannot have the same sensation, for my toothache is not yours, two people never sense the same thing. So Each person lives in a separate world of his own perceptions.
Conclusion is whatever a man thinks is true, that is true for him, and no one else can judge. This is the theory of relativism, the denial of fixed, eternal truth
Also had the Philosophies of Plato - Socrates & Aristotle
Now Imagine living in a society where the Government was all powerful - Rome -
A. A Government which thought it was all knowing -
B. Yet was completely immoral - homosexuality was rampant among the officials / sexual orgies where common.
1. Treachery - murder - adulteries were the common place of those who were in power.
C. Licentiousness / drunkenness & Revelry as well as pomp & pageantry were the normal modes of operation - that was Rome
Now consider living in a society where - there were many gods
A.††††††† At the head of the gods was Zeus, (the Roman Jupiter), god of the sky, originally the weather or storm god. All powerful
B. There was Diana. goddess of childbirth and fertility. Her temple at Ephesus was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world
C. Apollo the god of manly beauty
1.††††††† Aphrodites the goddess of Love / Athena - arts & crafts / Juno, was the wife of Zeus and goddess of marriage, women, and motherhood
D.††††††† That is what was going on in the 1st century - in Paulís day - and probably one of the most wicked cities in that day was Corinth.
1.††††††† As bad as I just described to you the mentality of the Romans they had a saying for those who were acting really wild & immoral
E.††††††† The saying meant - you are acting like a Corinthian. - worst thing a person can say to you. ( He must be a Corinthian )
F.††††††† Imagine living in a city where every single day - 1000ís temple prostitutes male & female descended out into the streets to solicit worshippers
††††††† 1) Corinth much smaller than SD
- Paul wrote in Romans 1 18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them.
20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man; and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.
24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
26 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature.
27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.
28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers,
30 backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.
What is interesting is that when Paul penned these words in the book of Romans - describing the low state at which man had fallen -
A.††††††† he was at Corinth - he only had to look out the window to get a living example of the words that he had written.
B. Now why did I spend all this time in painting this picture for you of what was going on in Paulís day . 3 Reasons
1.††††††† 1st because it magnifies the impact of what Paul is saying here to us in this Chapter. See in a minute
C. 2nd - Because the description of His world is a lot like the world we live in today.
1.††††††† Similar Philosophies - New age - god is in all - all is god
D.††††††† Humanism - states there is no God therefore man - is God and needs to look to himself to forge his way & create his destiny
1.††††††† Because truth is subjective to each mans opinion - no truth is absolute . Relativism all over again.
E.††††††† Newest Philosophy - most dangerous - Post modernism - takes the humanistic idea one step further - no god - therefore no truth
1.††††††† Truth isnít found in man - because truth is relative
F.††††††† So we read about Ellen Degeneres - coming against ABC because they put a disclaimer at the beginning. Of her show - ( Parental discretion is advised)
1.††††††† Because Ellen Character was going to kiss her homosexual lover
H.††††††† Ellen & her producers were up in arms / crying discrimination- in doing so they revealed their - agenda-
1.††††††† Parade Mag. The intent of our show is to reveal to children that the gay lifestyle is normal & ok and now they are telling children not watch our show "
J.††††††† People donít think that Hollywood doesnít have an agenda - they want to get into your homes!
Guys the Postmodernism philosophy is so bad that those who believed this way were asked if the Holocaust was wrong -
A.††††††† Response was - It wasnít right for me - but I canít say that it was wrong for them in Germany - they felt they need to do it.
B. When you start to think that way - you open up the door for rape to be Ok & murder & theft - You name it itís allowed
1.††††††† Everything is relative
C. So our Philosophies are similar - our gods are similar
1.††††††† people today worship the godís of power / knowledge / sex / art /
How do we deal w/ a society like this? What is the answer? I believe the answer is the same as it was in Paulís day. This what we need to see v.1
2:1 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.
2 For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.
3 I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling.
4 And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power,
5 that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.
Now did you catch what Paul said here - he comes to Corinth and sees all its wickedness & philosophies / temple prostitutes
A.††††††† And what Paul says is the answer is - the message of the gospel - the message of the cross.
B. Paul says when I came to you it wasnít w/ excellence of speech or of human wisdom -
1.††††††† No Paul says I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.
C. Now this is interesting when we consider where Paul was before he came to Corinth
1.††††††† We read in Acts 18 that Paul came to Corinth - but in Acts 17 Paul was in Athens
D.††††††† Athens was the home of Philosophies - philosophers every where as well as idols - they had a god for everything
1.††††††† Mars hill the place where the philosophers hung out - debates took place - people talk
In Athens - Paul looks around at these people & their culture -idols sees one to the unknown God
A.††††††† Paul says that is who I want to talk about the unknown God.
B. Paul goes on to preach this sermon that some have described as the greatest sermon ever preached.
1.††††††† Great intro. / relevant - gods / quotes their poets & Philosophers
C. Some look at this sermon & say it was utterly brilliant / in fact some Bible colleges & seminaries study it as a model sermon.
1.††††††† So for some it is greatest ever - model sermon/ but others look at this sermon as a flop!
D.††††††† Now why would someone say that? Well the answer is it didnít work
1.††††††† There were some people who got saved - but it wasnít what Paul usually saw
E.††††††† Usually repentance - Revival - followed by a Riot
1.††††††† In Athens no such thing took place - & it was one of the only places that Paul went that no church was started.
Now Personally I believe it was a great sermon - but I also believe that Paul learned something from this experience
A.††††††† See when Paul comes to Corinth - where the people are into the same things as those in Athens - Athens more sophisticated
B. Paul comes to Corinth on the heels of what he experienced in Athens & says I sought to know nothing exceptÖÖ crucified.
1.††††††† Paul preached the cross!
C. Didnít he do that in Athens - yes - we are told he preached Jesus and the Resurrection. - but I think maybe - the message got clouded by everything else.
1.††††††† So Paul comes to Corinth & says I kept it real simple
D.††††††† Paul didn't come as one of the Corinthian philosophers, trying to stand in the streets and persuade them by the brilliant oratory to believe and to accept Jesus Christ
E.††††††† He was not interested in discussing menís ideas or insights, his own or those of anyone else.
1.††††††† He would proclaim nothing but Jesus Christ, the crucified, risen, and redeeming Jesus Christ.
F.††††††† He did not preach Jesus simply as the perfect teacher or the perfect example or the perfect Manóthough He was all of these.
1) The foundation of all of his preaching was Jesus as the divine Savior.
G.††††††† Now Paul ministered in Corinth for a year and a half, "teaching the word of God among [them]" (Acts 18:11)
1.††††††† Confident as was his style give the whole counsel - but early on - it was the cross.
F.††††††† And remained -the focal point - see in this book for every problem he keeps bringing them back there.
Does that mean that there is not a place for apologetics in sharing
Absolutely not / doesn't mean that at all!
A) ††††††† But that is not to be the premise from which we begin / must
††††††† start w/ Christ! Cross
B) In Yugo & Russia street witnessing ( Jesus ...... Don't believe in God or the Bible) so we talked about origins / reliability of the bible
1.††††††† But we always came back to Christ / YOU MUST ! KEY
So Paul says v.3 3 I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling.
4 And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power,
A.††††††† Paul is basically telling these guys that their salvation had nothing to do w/ him.
B. Paul may have been discouraged & a little afraid by the experience in Athens - all been there.
1.††††††† But God worked any way - because the power isnít in the vessel or the instrument - it is in the power of Godís word.
Heb. 4: 12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.
C. We canít ever lose sight of that it is the word.
1.††††††† In our day the tendency that some fall into is that we only need the right method or the right topic or the right style.
D.††††††† Much Preaching - no power - gimmicks -
E.††††††† We need to also caution ourselves from thinking - need right style
1.††††††† Mexicans Raul / Yuppies Greg/ Fail to realize God can use any vessel -
F.††††††† So Paul says I didnít come with persuasive words of human wisdom, v.5 that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of
In other words, if human wisdom is used to win a man, then his faith stands on human wisdom.
But If a man is brought to faith through the power of God, then his faith rests upon that-
Because Paul preached the gospel - and wasnít leaning upon human wisdom His ministry was in the demonstration of the Spirit & Power.
V.6 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.
A.††††††† Godís wisdom, the truth about Him and His message for man, is a wisdom, however, not of this age, nor of the rulers of this age.
B. Word Age in Greek refers to a period of time, a historic age.
1.††††††† And Paul was speaking not only of the particular historical period in which he lived, but of all periods of history.
C. All human wisdom is passing away. It is empty, It is coming to nothing. 1) Even the rulers -meaning leading men, or men of authority) cannot claim it or even relate to it
Now Paul describes the wisdom of God in v. 7-9
7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory,
8 which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
9 But as it is written: "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him."
The Gospel Is Part of the Fatherís Eternal Plan
Salvation was purchased by the Son, but it was planned by the Father. Those who talk about "the simple Gospel" are both right and wrong. Yes, the message of the Gospel is simple enough for an illiterate pagan to understand, believe, and be saved. But it is also so profound that the most brilliant theologian cannot fathom its depths.
There is a "wisdom of God" in the Gospel that challenges the keenest intellect.
Here Paul describes this wisdom Notes 6 things
1st This wisdom comes from God, not man (v. 7).
This wisdom tells the mature saint about the vast eternal plan that God has for His people and His creation.
The wisest of the "princes of this world [age]" could not invent or discover this marvelous wisdom that Paul shared from God.
2nd This wisdom has been hidden v.7 Mystery
A) Musterion - something that was once hidden but has now been revealed
B. Mystery comes from the word meaning "mouth," and it means to shut the mouth -- it is something secretive.
1.††††††† However, Paul never used it in that way.
C. Rather, that which had been silent has now become vocal. That which had not been known and could not be known by human investigation now is known.
"Mystery" in the New Testament always means something undiscoverable by the activity of the human intellect but is revealed so that human intellect can apprehend it.
3rd This wisdom involves Godís ordination ( Ordained (v. 7).
This means that God made the plan, set it in motion, and will see to it that it will succeed. The great plan of redemption was not a hasty afterthought on the part of God after He saw what man had done.
4th This wisdom is hidden from the unsaved world (v. 8). 8 which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
A.††††††† Father forgive them Ö.. what they do !
5th this wisdom applies to the believerís life today (v. 9). But as it is written: "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him."
A.††††††† Awesome verse often misquoted - referring to heaven -
B. Does involve that - but it speaks primarily of the miracle of Salvation and all that entails as v. 10 makes clear
10 But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.
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.
Now in these remaining verses Paul hits on the key element of how to come into this wisdom
V.11 You know you like no one else - Spirit of God knows Him
But when a person is born again they enter into a new dimension - Spiritual dimension - born of the spirit
Paul says in v. 12 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.
Ever notice how boring spiritual things were to you before you were saved
Once saved - comes alive that is why
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.
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.
15 But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one.
16 For "who has known the mind of the LORD that he may instruct Him?" But we have the mind of Christ.
The life of Christ; walking w/ Him; living for Him - receiving from Him!
B.)††††††† The life God has for us - His plan is revealed through the spirit! New Covenant
††††††† 1.)††††††† key in on this!
V.12 - Spirit indwells us - think about that!
V.10-11 - Spirit searches
A.)††††††† I can't know what is in a man - can't see his heart - spirit can!
B.)††††††† Bears witness - man is of God! Spirit cries out Abba Father!
C.)††††††† Spirit - hunger for God! Passion for Christ!
V.13 - Spirit teaches us
A.)††††††† Conviction & instruction
††††††† 1.)††††††† How good husband - tuned into spirit
B.)††††††† Not the day decisions it is daily ones!
††††††† 1.)††††††† Take time kids - resist temptations - share w/ someone!
C.)††††††† Now here is the key - when you fail to respond to the voice of the spirit - heart gets hard
The spirit man - looks at things in a spiritual way
A.)††††††† Not mechanical not always rational - doesn't always make sense!
B.)††††††† Didn't make sense for David Goliath ; Jonathan armor
††††††† 1.)††††††† Gideon