Online Worship for Epiphany Six, Sunday February 12, 2023
Sermon for Epiphany Six – 2,16,14 - Sunday February 12, 2023
Calvary/Marquette ●Soli Deo Gloria Grace be unto you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus the Christ. Amen.
1 Corinthians2:6-13 (ESV)
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”—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.
In the Name of Jesus, Dear Fellow Redeemed – What have we learned so far in our readings from 1stCorinthians?
God’s choices often seem foolish to the wise of this world. In part that’s because God chooses the foolish to make the wise ashamed of their wisdom. God chooses the weak to make the powerful ashamed of their strength. God chooses the unknown and the despised to shame those who think name recognition important. We learned that the Apostle Paul’s message to the Corinthians was Christ Crucified. Furthermore, He didn’t use big words to parade his learning. He didn’t try to gain influence or impress. He pointed to Christ – a demonstration of the Spirit’s power. He wanted the faith of the Corinthians to be founded on God’s power, not man’s wisdom. If we were to summarize we might summarize with two words: foolish and simple.
However, that doesn’t mean that the message that the Spirit of God used Paul to proclaim was really foolish. The message that Christ was crucified for sinners that they might be forgiven was – and still is – true wisdom. It is a wisdom however that didn’t come from a human being, but originated in eternity in the Triune God. While the Corinthian Christians were looked upon as lacking by the wise of their society and time…they were not lacking in the wisdom that counts –Godly Wisdom. They possessed what the best and brightest of that age – and of our own – do not possess. They had – and you have – been given the Secret and Hidden Wisdom of God. They learned – from the Spirit of God what God had prepared for them in Christ.
We seek – through the Word of God before us this morning – to better understand what the best and brightest don’t know. Since we are considering Godly Wisdom this morning, we ask that the Spirit of God guide and teach us that we may grow in our faith toward God and our love for one another.
We therefore pray: “Sanctify us by the truth, O Lord, your Word is Truth.” Amen.
Who would you say are ‘the best and brightest’ that this world has to offer? I think that most people define ‘the best and the brightest’ as the wisest and most impressive students and companies in this world.
There is a ‘Best and Brightest Academic Achievement Award’ given every year to students with the highest grade point average in the most difficult subjects. There are also ‘Best and Brightest Awards’ given out to the 100 best companies to work for; the 100 must sustainable companies and the 100 best businesses chosen for worksite health and wellness. Who decides who the ‘best and the brightest’ are? Why the ‘best and the brightest.’
In the Word of God before us this morning the Spirit reveals what the 'best and brightest’ of his day (and our own) …don’t’ know. They don’t know that they and their wisdom is passing away…but the Gospel of Christ (which they mock) has eternal benefits. 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. When I was a child, one of my siblings liked to talk about how she was ‘mature.’ I don’t think she was really boasting about being ‘all grown up’ – she was saying that my brother and I were being ‘immature’ and ‘childish’ (which we generally were, especially toward her).
When the Apostle Paul explains that he and his fellow workers imparted wisdom to the ‘mature’ he isn’t talking about an age bracket. The word translated ‘mature’ refers to those who have reached a goal, who have in some way become complete. In this case ‘the goal’ is not a certain age but a reference to one’s coming to believe in Jesus. We might say that those who trust in Christ have reached the goal the Almighty God wants for them. Those who have come to trust in Jesus are complete; they have what they need to reach heaven. Those who believe have been enlightened by the Holy Spirit, born again through Baptism.
While we have what we need, it is still God’s will that we grow in faith. So we gather for worship and Bible study to better understand what God has done for us through Christ. The Word of God offers wisdom with lasting benefits, for through faith in Christ we obtain forgiveness of sins and the promise of eternal life. What the best and brightest don’t know is that they and their wisdom are passing away. It was the case in the 1st Century. The Apostle Paul didn’t proclaim the wisdom of that age (period of time) or of the rulers (the best and brightest)of that age. The wisdom of the best and brightest of that time was doomed to pass away. The thinkers and philosophers of Paul’s day are dead and gone. Our children in many ways understand this world more accurately than the wise of that age. It will be the same in the 21st Century. The best and brightest of this time are also doomed to pass away. There have been tremendous advances in technology and medicine in the last 50 years and there will doubtless be others. They are great advances…but at best they only make this life better, more organized, safer. Their benefits aren’t eternal. The wise of this time and their wisdom will also pass away. This isn’t a disparagement of earthly wisdom. We may use and benefit from some earthly wisdom but we have to understand that earthly wisdom doesn’t have benefits that last beyond the grave…the benefits aren’t eternal. God’s wisdom in Christ is different. God offers to those who believe in His Son the forgiveness of sins, peace with God and eternal life. Those who trust in Christ Jesus have an inheritance that is (1 Peter 1:4, ESV): “…that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you.”
There is more that the ‘best and brightest’ don’t know…
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.
We by the grace of God have come to understand that God determined to rescue humankind by sending Christ before time began. It’s both mindboggling and wonderful to think that before we were even a ‘glint in our father’s eye’ God had determined to send Jesus to the Cross to pay for sins which we had not yet committed!
Who would have guessed? No-one could have guessed God’s plans. We know that God determined to save before this world was ever created to spin, but we only know it because God Himself has revealed it through His Word. God did not openly reveal His ‘Salvation Wisdom’ in Eden, but only hinted at it afterward through Old Testament Prophets.
When God revealed parts of his plan through the Prophets, they studied the words He gave hoping to understand God’s plan of Salvation (cf. 1 Peter 1:10-12).
The ‘best and brightest’ didn’t know God’s plan of salvation because it was hidden in the mind of God. If the rulers of that time had known, they would not have howled for Jesus Crucifixion. They had no idea that His death was not an execution but a willing sacrifice (John 10:17-18). It was not their good fortune that enabled them to put Jesus to death, it was God’s decision determined before time began(cf. Acts 2:23ff). They had no idea that Jesus death would save millions, because when it comes to God’s ways this world’s great minds are fools.
The ‘best and brightest’ of our age still can’t fathom or find out God’s wisdom…if they are even looking. The world’s libraries are filled with books relating astounding discoveries, yet no one has ever discovered that God in Christ made plans to save every sinner on a little hill outside of Jerusalem in 33 AD.
This should come as no surprise because God himself confirmed the hidden nature of His Wisdom 700 years before Christ came through the Prophet Isaiah, when he moved him to write (Isaiah 64:4): “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined,…what God has prepared for those who love him”
Wait…Pastor. If all the best minds that this world has had to offer couldn’t discover God’s secret and hidden wisdom…then how could we possibly come to know it? How can we ever hope to find out what God has prepared for those who love him? The answer is right here…read on: 10 these things (what no eye has seen…what God has prepared) 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.
OK...what am I thinking…right now? Anyone? Can you know what I am thinking? Nope…you can’t know my thoughts unless I tell you. Oh, I know there are folks who think they know what other people are thinking, but the truth is only GOD and we ourselves know our thoughts (and GOD knows them even before we think them, cf. Psalm139:1-4).
OK…so do you know what God has planned for you? Can you know what God has prepared for your future? Well, not unless He tells you. Yes, what the ‘best and brightest’ can’t know or find out – the Spirit of God reveals in the Word of God, as the Spirit here reveals through the Apostle Paul: 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.
We don’t need the spirit of the world…it offers no lasting wisdom…because this world is passing away. This world’s wisdom concerns only this world. We need someone to impart a wisdom that has benefits beyond this world, lasting, eternal benefits. We need someone to reveal and teach what God has planned and prepared for us in the future. There is no better teacher than the Spirit of God, because the Spirit of God searches and knows everything, even what the ‘best and brightest’ don’t know – the depths of God. The Holy Spirit reveals and enables us to understand what God has freely given to us – now and in eternity.
The Spirit of God imparts this wisdom to us in the Word of God. There the Spirit teaches spiritual things in spiritual language, explaining spiritual truths to those who have been given spiritual life and understanding (the mature).
So what have we learned? While the ‘best and brightest’ don’t understand why ‘good people’ do wicked things and why in an enlightened society we still have crime and war; we know that out of the heart of sinful human beings proceed ‘murder, adultery, fornication’ and other wickedness. While the 'best and brightest’ still seek answers to sickness and suffering; we know that Christ can and will deliver us from every evil will and counsel and bring us to His Heavenly Kingdom (cf. 2 Timothy 4:18). ü While the 'best and the brightest’ strive to extend life and if possible defeat death; we know that in Christ death is already defeated, it’s sting forever removed (cf. 1 Corinthians15:55ff).
While the 'best and the brightest’ can only guess whether there is an afterlife or not; we know that we shall join Christ in paradise (Luke 23:43ff). The Wisdom of God is not imparted by human wisdom, but the Spirit of God through the Word of God. I know you’ve heard this already…but have you been listening and learning? Have you been seeking the Spirit’s Wisdom in the Word of God to learn and grow? As you apply yourself to search the Scriptures you will learn things that the ‘best and the brightest’ of this world don’t know and don't understand. You will come to see and believe things that no eye has seen, no ear has heard and what no heart has imagined; and you will come to see that God has prepared those things for you. Yes, you will come to better understand what God has freely given you, Spiritual wisdom with eternal benefits. What is still secret and hidden from the ‘best and brightest’ you in Christ already possess.
You have been given a rare spiritual wisdom to share…so share it using the Spiritual Words provided in Scripture. Amen.