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1 Corinthians 2:6-16

February 17, 2013 Speaker: Chuck Hickman Series: 1 Corinthians

Topic: New Testament Passage: 1 Corinthians 2:6–2:16

1 Corinthians 2:6-16 | February 16, 2013

V. 6-9 The nature of true wisdom – WHAT IS TRUE WISDOM?
6 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. 7 But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. 8 None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9 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”—

As a source of power to change, save, or defeat evil, Paul completely rejects human wisdom.

Up to this point, Paul condemned all pursuits of wisdom. But now he says that he does impart a special kind of wisdom different than what the world can offer.

The world offers its own wisdom.

Wisdom is not the same as knowledge. Anyone can collect information and knowledge. Wisdom is the understanding that comes as a result of that information; wisdom are the spectacles through which perceive life; wisdom is applying what we know to how we work, relate, suffer, and live.

But the wisdom of the world is even changing.

Each new “progressive” generation flies past the previously ignorant generation that didn’t have as much insight, knowledge, or technology. And each new generation offers new voices—rulers who influence the beliefs and behavior of the masses. This includes political leaders, social leaders, religious leaders, business leaders, and even reality TV stars.

And left to themselves, men will allow these voices to shape how they view the world and reality.

Claiming to be wise, apart from God, the world fills ups with adult-sized children.

What are children like?

Children make large claims. Children do not listen. Children are impulsive. Children are pleasure-seekers and pain avoiders. Children speak before they think. Children are self-centered. Children compete for attention. Children struggle with identity. Children react.Children are a emotional roller coasters. Children are foolish. Children are naïve. Children are messy. Children are over-confident. Children are vulnerable. Children complain. Children make excuses. Children are easily frustrated, easily tempted, and easily frightened. Children choose the easier wrong over the harder. And Children never ever admit they are children.

The Mature Wisdom of God

Paul preaches a different kind of wisdom—one that is other worldly.

And Paul also says that this wisdom, the word of the cross, is received by the MATURE—spiritual adults. That does not mean that there is group of spiritual-elite Super-Christians who understand more than the common-Christian.

Paul is confronting those who have dismissed the gospel as childish.

The mature are those who accept foolishness of the cross as wisdom,and reject the wisdom of the world as foolish.

Paul contrasts the wisdom of the world with the wisdom of God.

FIRST, Paul says the wisdom of God is secret. It is mysterious.He does not answer every question we ask, but he does give us the answers we need.God’s wisdom does not always satisfy our intellect, emotion, or experience—it often confronts it.

SECOND, Paul says the wisdom of God is hidden.

The wisdom of God is not discovered, achieved, or obtained by our own efforts. If God’s wisdom could be understood by the educated, powerful, or wealthy—Jesus would never have been killed. God must reveal it.

THIRD, Paul says that the wisdom of God was decreed before the ages for our glory.

Unlike the world, God’s wisdom does not pass away with each generation—it is eternal. It does not change because it was founded before the world began. God planned for his children to find meaning, joy, and hope in the cross of Christ before creation.

2 Timothy 1:9 9 who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began. In his wisdom, God planned for grace. And if he planned for grace, he planned for sin. And if he planned for grace and sin, he planned for us to be holy with Him some day.

Ephesians 4.1 - he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.

Chronicles of Narnia – Lion, Witch, Wardrobe: “It means,” said Aslan, “that though the Witch knew the Deep Magic, there is a magic deeper still which she did not know. Her knowledge only goes back to the dawn of time. But if she could have looked a little further back, into the stillness and darkness before Time dawned, she would have read there a different incantation. She would have known that when a willing victim who had committed no treachery was killed in a traitor’s stead, the Table would crack and Death itself would start working backwards.” We think we are big.We think we are in control.

We think we are wise. We think we know how our God works. But we are finite creations, and there is a depth of wisdom to our Creator that, like an ocean, cannot be comprehended by finite men.

V. 10-13 The source of true wisdom – WHERE DO I GET WISDOM?
10 these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. 11 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. 12 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. 13 And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.

Where do we get this wisdom? Why does one person mature and another not?

Spiritual maturity is different than any other kind of maturity. Physical maturity happens naturally. Intellectual maturity develops through education and knowledge. Likewise, someone matures emotionally through life-experience. In both cases, you naturally throw off what is “ELEMENTARY” whether it be ignorance or naïveté, as you achieve greater knowledge and discernment.

The experience of becoming AND maturing as a Christian is completely different.

First, Christian birth is anything but natural because it comes through revelation. No one ever decides to follow Christ before Christ calls you to follow Him. And the call of Christ speaks life into that which is dead, opens the eyes which are blind, and removes the heart of stone and replace it with a heart of flesh. God adopts as children and, by grace, the foolishness of the cross becomes the wisdom of God.

The eternal Spirit of God dwells in the believer. 6 And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” (Galatians 4.6)

The distinguishing characteristic between a believer and a non-believer is the presence of the Holy Spirit who fills an individual the moment he believes.

And as he resides in our hearts, he is not silent or passive. He does what Jesus said he would—he helps teach all things and remember everything Jesus did and said (John 14.25).

Christian growth is not moving beyond what is elementary, but seeing remembering what is elementary, taking it deeper into your hearts, and applying it to your life.

Blinded by sin, the world cannot see, hear, or imagine God’s purposes in Christ.

There are many spirits who propose to be God, many men who propose to speak for God, but only the Spirit of God reveals the heart of God. There are things about God (thoughts, motivations, desires, and plans) that only God knows.

The Spirit of God, whom we possess in our hearts, searches the depths of God. And if He knows the depths of God, He knows everything there is to know.

And the Holy Spirit is someone received, not something achieved. We can access him, talk with him, listen to him, be comforted by him, helped by him, even grieve him. And the Holy Spirit is not like the world which is devoted to false promises of sin—momentary pleasure that leads to death; it is the Spirit of God which leads us in the way of eternal life.

And God the Holy Spirit desires to teach us and help us understand everything God wants us to know about creation, its fall, its redemption, and its restoration.

We all desire to be wise, to have more insight into who God is, what He thinks, and what He wants me to do.

The question is, where or who do you look first, or most often, for those answers?

Being spiritual is not about memorizing verses, understanding more theology, or even serving sacrificially—it is walking with, living by, and learning from the Spirit of the living God.

V. 14-16 The test for true wisdom – HOW DO I KNOW I AM WISE?

The question remains then, how do we know when we are doing this?

How do we know we are wise in the ways of God, listening to the Spirit of God, and not just following that little voice in our heads?

Paul says that: 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. 15 The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. 16 “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.

There are only two kinds of people in the world—the believers and the unbelievers,

the people of God and the people of the world, the natural and the spiritual.

The natural man is the person who lives entirely on a human level—without the Spirit of God.

There is nothing beyond the physical life. There is nothing beyond material needs. There is nothing to hope for beyond this world.The natural person lives only by the flesh, only by what they can see or comprehend, and NOT in response to the living God. The natural man may admire Jesus but essentially believes the cross is little more than a tragedy. The natural man makes God into his own image and makes all decisions according to his own desires. The natural man does not accept or understand because he does not have the Spirit of God dwelling in him

He cannot understand.

There is no understanding of sexual purity only satisfaction;there is no understanding of sacrifice only selfishness;there is no understanding of generosity only greed;there is no understanding of the eternal only the moment.

He is in rebellion emotionally, materially, intellectually, physically because he is in rebellion spiritually.

And when pleasure of sin fails to satisfy, or the pain of sin causing suffering, they resign themselves to believe that this is life, and that they are “only human.”

But that is not life and our humanness well short of God’s design.

Of course, while there are MANY who will claim to be spiritually wise, there are FEW who truly are.

But rather than evaluating everyone else, let us test ourselves.

Paul will say this very thing to the Corinthians in his second letter: 5 Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test! (2Corinth 13.5-6)

The question then is: How do we know Jesus Christ is in us? Or as Paul says, how do we know we have the mind of Christ and, thus, the Spirit of God instruct us?

The spiritual man knows there is more to this life than living and dying.The Spiritual knows that his decisions have eternal consequences. The Spiritual man walks by faith, not by sight, and lives in response to the Holy Spirit living in Him.

The Holy Spirit takes the foolish words of the cross and makes them the core of our identity.

The world’s judgment of our value or success is meaningless.

Through faith in Christ, we have been judged by THE JUDGE as innocent. The Holy Spirit takes the word of the resurrection and gives us a hope beyond this body, this situation, and this world.

The Holy Spirit in us causes us to accept the words of the Bible as God’s very words—it becomes our governing authority.

The Holy Spirit in us compels us to listen to God, to talk with him, to want His guidance in our lives. And as we are instructed by the Holy Spirit about God’s ways, as hard as it is sometimes, we submit our desires to God’s.

The Holy Spirit in us fights against the desires of the flesh and the temptations of the world—we no longer desire to practice sin, so we confess is regularly and repent from it often.

The Holy Spirit in us leads us toward obedience, not out of fear, but of out of love and a desire to honor God with our minds, bodies, and work.

And the Holy Spirit in us gives us a love for the people of God—we do not sit in judgment on the church, we are the church, we love the church, because Jesus died for the church. And the Holy Spirit even takes away our judgment of the world, and replaces it with compassion.


In essence, those who are mature, those who are wise, those who are spiritual want nothing more than to love Jesus, to know Jesus, to be like Jesus, and to be with Jesus.

This is not a new and improved Jesus for today’s world, this is Jesus as revealed by Scripture.

The Spirit of God always leads us to God’s Word. Those who do not love Jesus could care less about Jesus, His Word, His bride, or his mission because they believe this is all there is. This is not all there is.


More in 1 Corinthians

November 17, 2013

1 Corinthians 16:1-24

October 20, 2013

1 Corinthians 15 The Resurrection

October 6, 2013

1 Corinthians 15:12-20

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