Being and Becoming Christian
You can spend many hours studying, writing, rewriting, editing a sermon, trying to get just the right words so that others will know Jesus more. Then, if you allow Him, the power of the Holy Spirit takes over and goes deep into the wisdom of God, the Father. Words come out of your mouth that even surprise you! Were the hours of preparation worth it. Absolutely. For if you do not spend time with God the Father, going deep into the meaning of His Word, we cannot begin to understand the heart of God and what He wants to say through You to others.
Here is what Paul says to the Corinthians about going deep, to feel the heart beat of God beating in your own chest. To take the simple message of Jesus crucified and allow the Holy Spirit to touch the heart of those in hearing distance is watching God’s power intercede in ways that you cannot imagine. There are no story examples, readings, wordplay or fancy “make em cry” rhetoric that can replace the power of God’s Holy Spirit. Billy Graham was the perfect example of this. The message was simple. The Holy Spirit’s power took over and worked through Graham’s sincere, relentless heart for God. His complete undying honesty brought millions to Jesus’ saving grace.
I’m pretty sure this is what Paul is trying to say…let us reflect and learn well from this message to us this morning.
1 Corinthians 2, The Message
1-2 You’ll remember, friends, that when I first came to you to let you in on God’s master stroke, I didn’t try to impress you with polished speeches and the latest philosophy. I deliberately kept it plain and simple: first Jesus and who he is; then Jesus and what he did—Jesus crucified.
3-5 I was unsure of how to go about this, and felt totally inadequate—I was scared to death, if you want the truth of it—and so nothing I said could have impressed you or anyone else. But the Message came through anyway. God’s Spirit and God’s power did it, which made it clear that your life of faith is a response to God’s power, not to some fancy mental or emotional footwork by me or anyone else.
6-10 We, of course, have plenty of wisdom to pass on to you once you get your feet on firm spiritual ground, but it’s not popular wisdom, the fashionable wisdom of high-priced experts that will be out-of-date in a year or so. 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. The experts of our day haven’t a clue about what this eternal plan is. If they had, they wouldn’t have killed the Master of the God-designed life on a cross. That’s why we have this Scripture text:
No one’s ever seen or heard anything like this,
Never so much as imagined anything quite like it—
What God has arranged for those who love him.
But you’ve seen and heard it because God by his Spirit has brought it all out into the open before you.
10-13 The Spirit, not content to flit around on the surface, dives into the depths of God, and brings out what God planned all along. Who ever knows what you’re thinking and planning except you yourself? The same with God—except that he not only knows what he’s thinking, but he lets us in on it. God offers a full report on the gifts of life and salvation that he is giving us. We don’t have to rely on the world’s guesses and opinions. We didn’t learn this by reading books or going to school; we learned it from God, who taught us person-to-person through Jesus, and we’re passing it on to you in the same firsthand, personal way.
14-16 The unspiritual self, just as it is by nature, can’t receive the gifts of God’s Spirit. There’s no capacity for them. They seem like so much silliness. Spirit can be known only by spirit—God’s Spirit and our spirits in open communion. Spiritually alive, we have access to everything God’s Spirit is doing, and can’t be judged by unspiritual critics. Isaiah’s question, “Is there anyone around who knows God’s Spirit, anyone who knows what he is doing?” has been answered: Christ knows, and we have Christ’s Spirit.
Dear Heavenly Father, After all is said and done, we preach Jesus crucified. May Your Holy Spirit have Your complete way in us. Be our strength today as we plan dad’s celebration of life on this earth. Dad taught me well to study Your Word and follow Your heart. For that legacy, passed on by his parents, I am eternally grateful. In Jesus Name, Amen