As you know, last Lord’s Day I kind of opened my heart a little bit to you just to share a perspective that I think is essential to the life of our church as we enter the ‘90s, and that is to reiterate the foundation of our ministry as being the Word of God. It would seem that anybody who’s a part of Grace church, or anybody who knows about Grace church, would understand that if there’s one thing characteristic of us, it is a commitment to the systematic teaching instruction of the Word of God. That’s what we’re really all about. And, as I examine the Word of God, and as I study the Scripture, and as I look as deeply as I can into the things of God, I am continually affirmed and confident that this is indeed what the Scripture says the church is to be.
In fact, the church could be very simply defined, in terms of its function, as a place where people go to worship God. And in worshiping God, of course, they study carefully the revelation of God so that they know who they’re worshiping and where they are trained to evangelize the world.
There’s a sense in which that’s really all we’re all about. We gather that we might understand the Word of God. And in response to that worship, we scatter that we might evangelize and reach those who do not know Jesus Christ. In our contemporary society, the church has become many things. Churches take on many shapes and forms and many emphases and focuses, but we are committed to continuing the teaching of the Word of God because we believe that is our mandate.
You remember the apostle Paul said to Timothy, “Until I come, give your attention to the Word, to reading it, explaining it, and applying it.” Doctrine exhortation. And so, we’re committed to that, and we believe that that has a direct – direct impact on life.
Sometimes, as I said last week, people will suggest that to be always teaching the Word of God is to be irrelevant. It is my conviction to be teaching the Word of God is relevant. It is to be imminently relevant. It is to hit proverbially the nail on the head because the Word of God reveals the wisdom of God, and the wisdom of God alone speaks to the spiritual needs of man.
So, last Lord’s Day and today and probably one other time, I’ve been talking about the sufficiency of God’s wisdom - the sufficiency of God’s wisdom. It is a very simple, a very straightforward, and a very basic concept – and for many of you will be repetitious and, I hope, somewhat of a rehearsal of what you already know. But for others, it might be brand new. Nonetheless, it is essential for us to remind ourselves of the importance and the priority of the wisdom of God.
Now, we have a simple issue to face, and that is that in the world there is the wisdom of man and the wisdom of God. And they are mutually exclusive. That becomes very apparent in 1 Corinthians chapter 1, which I noted for you last time. Paul presents there the contrast between the wisdom of God, which men think is foolish, and the wisdom of men, which God says is foolish. God does not need the wisdom of men, and men do not want the wisdom of God. God does not accept the wisdom of men, and men do not accept the wisdom of God; they are mutually exclusive.
The church, then, is a redeemed community of people who live according to the wisdom of God, which wisdom is revealed through the Word of God and applied by the Spirit of God. That’s the basic formula that I emphasized last time.
We believe, then, that every spiritual need in life, every aspect of life, spiritually speaking, is covered comprehensively, completely, and sufficiently by the wisdom of God.
Now, let me just give you a little bit of general insight into God’s wisdom. All right? In Psalm 147, verse 5, which we read earlier in the service this morning, the psalmist says, “God’s wisdom is infinite.” It knows no limitation; it has no boundaries; it has no end. It is infinite.
In Psalm 139, verse 6, scripture says god’s wisdom is so awesome and so great, that it is utterly beyond our grasp. We cannot embrace it all. It is beyond us.
In Romans 11:33, Paul says, “The depths and the riches of God’s wisdom are unsearchable and past finding out!” God’s wisdom then is infinite. God’s wisdom is so awesome and so great that it is beyond our grasp. It is so deep and so rich that it is unsearchable. We cannot find it out. It is unfathomable; we cannot plumb to its depths.
In Isaiah chapter 40 and verse 28, the great prophet of God says, “God’s wisdom is inscrutable.” In other words, by the human mind inexplicable, not comprehensible, too vast for man to grasp. Isaiah’s words are matched by the words of Jeremiah in chapter 10, verses 6 and 7, where Jeremiah said, “There is none like Thee, O Lord; Thou art great, and great is Thy name in might. Who would not fear Thee, O king of the nations? Indeed it is thy due! For among all the wise men of the nations and in all their kingdoms, there is none like Thee.”
Now, the sum of all of this is to show you how great God’s wisdom is. It is infinite; it knows no limitations. It is awesome. It is beyond our grasp. It is unsearchable, unfathomable, past finding out, inscrutable. And there is no individual, nor is there any collection of individuals who are as wise as God is.
Now, all of that to say this. Looking at the church today, you might assume that God’s wisdom has limitations; it only goes so far. And then we’ve got to add to God’s wisdom man’s wisdom. And so, we come along and say, “Well, that’s fine as far as it goes, but God’s wisdom doesn’t go very far. And so we have to add man’s wisdom; we have to add human wisdom.”
Now, that is absolutely contradictory to everything I just read you from Scripture which says God’s wisdom is unlimited; God’s wisdom goes beyond what we can even grasp or understand; God’s wisdom is comprehensive, sufficient, infinite, unfathomable, unsearchable, inscrutable. To say, then, that we supplement the limited wisdom of God with the wisdom of man is ludicrous.
Now, let me say it to you as simply as I can. All spiritual issues of life are resolved in the wisdom of God. That’s as simply as I can say it. All spiritual issues of life are resolved in the wisdom of God.
Now, God’s wisdom is on exhibit everywhere. In Psalm 104:24, it says, “O Lord, how many are Thy works! In wisdom Thou hast made them all.” Everywhere you look you can see how wise God is. Everywhere you look you can see how infinitely wise He is. In an infinite universe, perfectly balanced, the macrocosm of the universe in which we live speaks of the wisdom of God, all the way down to the atom, the microcosm of our universe, which also speaks of the infinite wisdom of God.
I don’t know if you know this, but there is an infinity in the largeness of the universe, and there is an infinity in the smallness of the universe. It is all infinite and reflects the infinite wisdom of God. Not only are the works of God the evidence of His wisdom, but the words of God are the evidence of His wisdom. Everything God says is so amazingly profound and wise. Isaiah 28:29 says, “The Lord of hosts, who has made us, His counsel is wonderful, and His wisdom great.” To say it in the vernacular, “His counsel is awesome, and is wisdom super” – beyond that of men. Awesome, super, stupendous, monumental, amazing wisdom of God is revealed in His works and revealed in His words.
His wisdom is also exhibited in His understanding of the human heart. God’s wisdom is sufficient to understand the human heart perfectly. He is, without question, the truest diagnostician of your condition and mine.
First Chronicles 28:9 says, “For the Lord searches all hearts, and understands every intent of the thoughts.” Did you hear that? He not only understands the thoughts, but He understands the intent of the thoughts. He understands every single heart to the absolute consummate degree. He understands about you what you don’t even understand about you. He can diagnose you when you can’t.
In Revelation 2:23, it says, “I am He who searches the minds and the hearts.” And the psalmist in Psalm 139:2 said of God that He understands my thought from afar. God knows your thought. God knows your attitude. God knows your motives. God knows your intent. He knows your spiritual condition perfectly. Psalm 44:21 says, “He knows the secrets of the heart.”
In Proverbs 15:11, it says, “Sheol and Abaddon” – the grave – “lie open before the Lord” – in other words, He sees into death; He sees into the place you can’t see. Then it says, “How much more the hearts of men!” If the grave and hell are open to Him, then how much more are the hearts of men open to His understanding?
Luke 16:15, “God knows your hearts,” it says. He understands the heart perfectly. He understands the heart infinitely. And because of that, He can understand what we do and why we do it. In Psalm 139:3, it says, “Thou dost scrutinize my path and my lying down, and art intimately acquainted with all my ways.” You not only know my thoughts, but you know everything I do. You know what I do when I’m lying down; you know what I do when I’m walking on the path.
The next verse is Psalm 139:4. It says, “Even before there was a word on my tongue, behold, O Lord, Thou dost know it all.” You knew everything I’d say even before I had a tongue to say it. You know everything about me. Infinite wisdom. God knows everything about the human heart and about every human heart. And every diagnosis of the true condition of the human heart is bound up in the wisdom of God, and every solution to that situation is bound up the wisdom of God.
And so, beloved, if we have infinite wisdom from God, then it doesn’t need supplementation; it doesn’t need assistance from the wisdom of men. Nowhere is the wisdom of God more obvious than in the matter of salvation, for in the matter of salvation, the wisdom of God is on display.
First Corinthians chapter 1, verse 24, if you go back to that verse for just a moment, talks about the fact that salvation reveals not only the power of God, but the wisdom of God. And in the work of Jesus Christ on the cross, you see God’s infinite wisdom. You see how God dealt with sin. You see how God dealt with justice – His own requirement of justice. You see how God dealt with righteousness. You see how God provided a perfect sacrifice for sin and yet conquered death and sin in hell.
All of the wisdom of God in its facets are revealed in salvation. That’s why in Ephesians 3:10, it says that in redemption or salvation, God has made known His manifold, multicolored wisdom. Every aspect of salvation goes back to the wisdom of God. And may I remind you that salvation is a three-tense reality: past tense, present tense, future tense. We were saved from past sins. We are being kept saved from present defection. We will ultimately be saved when we are made like Jesus Christ in glorification.
You have justification, sanctification, glorification. All of that is salvation. That’s all redemption. And all of that is the wisdom of God. It is only the wisdom of God to know the human heart and to bring to the human heart justification. It is only the wisdom of God that can know the human heart and bring to the human heart sanctification. It is only the wisdom of God that can understand man’s great need and the glorious reality of glorification and bring it to pass. It’s all God’s wisdom at work. That’s why, when you go through the book of Romans, and you study every aspect of the Christian life, from justification, to glorification – actually from election, to justification, to sanctification, to glorification – when you study all of that, you see that it is all God’s work done in God’s way with God’s wisdom.
And that’s why in the end of Romans chapter 16, verse 27, there is a doxology that says, “To the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, be glory forever. Amen.” Because all of our redemption is the work of the wisdom of God. Your salvation was by the wisdom of God. Your sanctification is being accomplished and only being accomplished through the wisdom of God. Your glorification will be accomplished through His wisdom as well.
So, what I’m trying to say to you, from a practical standpoint, is that we live in a day when human philosophy and human wisdom is encroaching on all our thinking and diverting us away from the Word of God. And trying to satisfy the deep needs of the human heart in another way is a false satisfaction.
So, is this new? No. The Corinthian church had the same problem. The Corinthians were living in a world that was full of philosophy, and they had been deeply enmeshed in philosophical entanglements. And when they came to Christ, they still had all that philosophical baggage.
And so, Paul writes to them right off the launching pad in chapters 1 and 2 and says, “The wisdom of man and the wisdom of God are not compatible. They are mutually exclusive. So, you’ve got to drop the wisdom of man.
Now, when I talk about the wisdom of man, and when Paul talked about it, we’re not talking about man’s ability wisely to use physical resources. A man can take the physical resources of this Earth, study them, analyze them, categorize them, develop them, and use them to benefit physical life. But that’s where it ends. What man can’t do is understand the wisdom of the spiritual dimension. You understand the difference? He cannot understand spiritual wisdom. He can’t leave the earthly. He can accomplish much with the physical creation – science, technology – but he can’t do anything about the heart of man, about the moral character of man, about the spiritual needs of man. He can’t do anything redemptive. He cannot know God. And we’re talking, then, about that spiritual dimension. I don’t want to underestimate man’s ability in the natural world – he’s accomplished much – but I want you to know in the supernatural world he has accomplished – what? – nothing. Absolutely nothing. That’s beyond him.
So, Paul is saying to the Corinthians, “When it comes to the spiritual dimension, when it comes to sanctification, redemption, justification – any of those things – when it comes to understanding the human heart and resolving its great needs and issues, the wisdom of men makes no contribution. None.
And it isn’t as if it needs to make a contribution. Do you understand that? The first wrong assumption is that it needs to make a contribution. It does not need to make a contribution because God’s wisdom is so rich and so deep and so infinite that it needs no supplement. Now, that’s what’s in Paul’s heart as he comes into this section of 1 Corinthians.
Let’s look, then, at 1 Corinthians chapter 2, and he has been laying before the Corinthian church the mutual exclusivity of the wisdom of God and the wisdom of man, and now he wants to get into a little deeper explanation of this, starting in chapter 2, verse 6. And he begins – and we’ll review for a moment – by saying this, “Yet we do speak wisdom among those who are perfect.” Now, why does he say that? Well, he has been saying the wisdom of man is foolishness, the wisdom of man can’t know God, the wisdom of man we reject, the wisdom of man cannot deal with spiritual reality. And he’s also been saying that the world looks at the wisdom of God and calls it foolishness.
So, on the one hand, he is saying, “We say human wisdom is foolish,” and the world says, “Divine wisdom is foolish.” But in spite of that, we do speak wisdom. It is wisdom. They may think it’s foolish, but it is wisdom. But it is only wisdom – notice verse 6 – among those who are perfect. We pointed out to you that that refers to Christians, those who have been perfected in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, those who become believers, made positionally perfect before God in Christ. Among Christians, we understand that God’s truth is wisdom. The world looks at us and says it’s stupidity; it’s folly, nonsense, pointless. They mock it; they scoff at it; they jeer at it or they ignore it. But it is wisdom. It is wisdom.
Then he says this, “However, it is wisdom not of this age” – not of this world, not of this society, not of this culture. It is not wisdom like the wisdom of this world; it isn’t like that; it’s isn’t that kind of wisdom. It isn’t that earthy, sensual, demonic wisdom that James spoke of. It’s not that worldly wisdom. “It’s not the wisdom of the world, nor” – look at that, verse 6 – “of the rulers of this age, who are passing away.” They are temporary and temporal. Their passing away. It’s not that wisdom, not the wisdom taught by earthly philosophers, psychologists, sages, and wise men. No, they’re passing away, and with them is passing their stuff, their teaching. It’s not that kind of wisdom. It is a wisdom not of this world and not of the teachers of this world.
Now listen, folks, this is so very important, because some people would tell us that we need to listen to the philosophers, and the psychologists, and the wise men, and the elite of this world, because they’re going to tell us what we need to know. Not so. The wisdom of God is totally apart from the wisdom of this world or the leaders of this world. There is no connection. And if you understand what I said at the beginning – I hope you didn’t tune out when I was reading those verses – if you understand that God’s wisdom is infinite, then you know it’s comprehensive in the spiritual dimension. If it’s unsearchable, unfathomable, inscrutable, all of that, awesome, great, it is so vast as to cover everything, then what do we need human wisdom for?
So, it is not only that it is comprehensive and doesn’t need human wisdom, it is also that it is of another kind; it is of another genre. It is not like the wisdom of this world; it is not like the wisdom of the teachers of this world who are passing away. Theirs is temporal; it comes and it goes.
Listen, I studied philosophy in college. And I studied not only lower-division philosophy, but upper-division philosophy, advanced European philosophy. I wandered all the way through all of that philosophical stuff, all the way from Plato, Aristotle, Socrates, down through Hegel, Kant, and on and on, up until contemporary time. And I wandered through all of that. And the thing that sticks out in my mind, after all of those studies of philosophy, is that every time you have a new philosopher, you have a new philosophy. And every time you have a new philosophy, it replaces an old philosophy. And so, you have this continual changing all the time as men and their ideas pass away. That’s the wisdom of this world. It comes and it goes.
Even in psychology, they tell us today psychology is the new philosophy. They tell us there are about 250 theories of human behavior. Why are there so many? Well, there must be about 250 psychologists who are giving their theories. Everybody has a different view. It has no continuity. It has no lasting impact. And so, the wisdom of God is different.
Verse 7. You remember we looked at verse 7 last time? God’s wisdom, which was hidden and is now revealed, is not something passing away, but something predestined before the ages to our glory. It was before time, and it will come to pass after time in eternal glory.
So, you take your choice. You want to mess around with human wisdom taught by human leaders passing away, or the eternal wisdom of God predestined before the world to come to fruition after the world? Take your choice. The wisdom of God so surpassing, so far reaching.
In verse 8 he says it another way, “The wisdom which none” – did you notice that word? – “none” – you might want to underline that – “none of the leaders of this age has understood” – they don’t understand it. They do not understand the wisdom of God. I don’t care how educated they are, how erudite, how brilliant, how high their INIQUITY, how clear their thinking processes, how wide their exposure to things, even if they study the Bible.
It’s amazing to me how many worldly minds study the Bible and come up with everything but the truth. Have you noticed that? They’re reminiscent of the little boy who was going to be spanked by his father and, anticipating that, loaded up the back of his pants with books. His father, apparently somewhat nearsighted, whaled on him for a rather extended time, which whaling never touched him, the books having absorbed it all. That is much like modern scholarship. They’ve so loaded their britches with academia, that when they get hit by God, they can’t feel it. They’re absolutely insensible to the things of God. They’re like blind men in an art gallery, or deaf people at a concert. They find their seat; they feel the frame of the painting, but they haven’t got any idea what it looks like or sounds like. And so, they come up with all kinds of ridiculous conclusions from Scripture.
You see, the only ones who know the wisdom of God are the ones who have been made perfect in Christ. You can take the finest scholar from a technical academic viewpoint, a guy who’s really bright, got all the earned doctorates and all of the mental capacities, and you can set him loose on the Bible and leave him there for a year, and if he doesn’t know Jesus Christ, his conclusions will all be wrong. And you can put beside him some simple, humble soul, who has no education at all, but who is converted to Jesus Christ and in whom dwells the Holy Spirit, given the same amount of time with the Scripture, and he’ll come up with the truth because it is not a matter of capability.
Human wisdom cannot know God. Now, that’s a very sweeping statement, and it is really Paul’s first point here. Let me just lay it down so you’ll understand it. His first point, and the thing that’s really on his heart that he wants you to grasp is a simple point. The point is that God’s wisdom is not humanly discoverable. God’s wisdom is not humanly discoverable. That’s really what he wants to say here. And that’s what is his primary initial point: you don’t know God’s will by human discovery. Rue wisdom is not humanly discoverable. And that’s what he’s saying in verses 6 through 9.
So he says, verse 8, “None of the rulers of this age understood.” None of the leaders. None of them. Not any of them. Why? Because it can’t be known by them. Well, how do you know they didn’t understand it? Well, look what he says in verse 8, “If they had understood it, they wouldn’t have crucified the Lord of glory.” Boy, what a point that is. That is a tremendous point. What he’s saying is this: look, if the current rulers of the world of this age, had understood true wisdom, they never would have crucified the Lord of glory. Right? Because the first truth of true wisdom is that Jesus Christ was the Lord of glory. And if they had understood true wisdom, they would have known He was the Lord of glory, and they would never have killed the Lord of glory.
Furthermore, moving off from that highest of all considerations, consider this, that Jesus, when He spoke, spoke only exclusively and always the pure wisdom of God. Is that not true? In fact, they even said, “Never a man spake like this man.” Every time He opened His mouth, the perfect wisdom of God came out.
Now, if they had known the wisdom of God, they would have recognized it. If those people in the world, in Palestine during the time of Christ, had been able to discern the wisdom of God by human ability, they certainly would never have killed Jesus Christ. Why? Because they would have discerned He was speaking the wisdom of God. He was the greatest communicator that ever lived. I don’t question that. There would never be a preacher on the face of the Earth who would have His skills in communication. Why? Because He had no sin. He must have been the most clear-minded person that ever lived, the clearest thinker, the most perfect mind. He never sinned. He had no flaws, no weaknesses, no incapacities mentally. And when it came to verbalization, he had perfect, uninterrupted, unfallen connection between His mind and His mouth – and not all of us have that, believe me; that is a challenge to get it from here to here; it’s a short distance but a long trip. So, whatever He said was the purest reflection in the most profound way of the purest wisdom of God.
And so, the people who heard him, then, would be hearing the purest declaration in the most profound, dramatic, understandable terms that had ever been heard on the face of the Earth. And if they didn’t know He was speaking for God, then that tells you how impossible it is for men to know the wisdom of God. They couldn’t know it. And the end of it was they killed Him. And what did they say? “Release unto us Barabbas.” Now, if that doesn’t tell you about human stupidity, I don’t know what would. Barabbas? Who is he? A criminal, a nobody who never made any contribution to human society. They want him. “And kill that Jesus.” That’s how utterly blind men are to the wisdom of God. We don’t expect the world to accept the wisdom of God.
I’ll tell you something else; it’s pretty bad when you expect the church to accept the wisdom of men. Why is it that we listen to the world spewing out all of its wisdom and assume that somehow God needs help because He hasn’t quite said what needs to be said.
So, the most monumental indication of man’s inability to understand the wisdom of God is the fact that they killed Jesus Christ, who was wisdom personified, who spoke the purest wisdom that had ever been spoken on the face of the Earth. And by the way, I might add, anybody else who hears the words of Christ by reading the Scripture, anybody else who hears the words of Christ by listening to a preacher or whatever, from the time of Christ on, anyone who heard the wisdom of God through Jesus Christ, whether by reading Scripture or listening to a preacher or the testimony of a Christian or whatever, and rejected it stands with the crucifiers and also identifies again the fact that man by his own capability cannot understand the wisdom of God. He can’t.
How do you explain the people who reject Christ? It’s nothing new. What did they do to all the prophets in the Old Testament? When the prophets came and spoke the wisdom of God, what did the people do to them? They killed them. Jesus said, “You killed all the prophets.” Then God sends His Son, the purest propagator of wisdom the world had ever known; they killed Him. Then God sent the apostles. What did they do to the apostles? Killed them, exiled them, chopped their heads off, whatever, get rid of them. Then God sends the missionaries. What do they do to the missionaries? Boil them in oil, burn them at the stake. It’s always been that way. And even in our contemporary world, they’re still killing the spokesman for God in some parts of the world. And others are not so volatile but are rejecting. It simply demonstrates to you that men can’t discern the wisdom of God. At best, they ignore it; at worst they kill the people who speak it. That’s the human condition. The wisdom of God is not discoverable to the human mind by any intellectual process. Did you get that? By any intellectual process. Man is not wise enough. All he can do is perceive in his own dimension. He can’t get into the supernatural-spiritual dimension and perceive reality.
Look at verse 9, “But just as it is written” – and here Paul borrows some thoughts from Isaiah 65:17, and maybe even 64:4, pulls them together in this statement, “‘Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, and which have not entered the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love Him.’”
Now, let me start at the end of that - okay? - that last statement, “All that God has prepared for those who love Him.” “Those who love Him” is simply a way to describe a Christian. We love Christ; we love God. That’s the bottom line definition of Christians. We love Him. John says, “We love Him because He” – what? – “first loved us.” But we love Him. “If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ” – 1 Corinthians 16 says – “let him be anathema!” Christians love Christ. We love God. We love Him.
Now, for all who love Him – all of us Christians – God has prepared all that we need. “All that God has prepared for those who love Him.” So, God has prepared, through His wisdom, all that we need. All that we need. But I want you to know something about this back in the verse further, “The eye doesn’t see it, the ear doesn’t hear it, and the heart doesn’t understand it.” That’s the point. From a human viewpoint, it is not perceivable. The world can’t see it; they can’t hear it; they can’t understand it. This is so very basic. The salvation which God has provided, the sanctification which He has provided, the glorification which He has promised, all the things that He’s provided for us are not perceivable to the human unregenerate mind.
Now, here we have a very, very interesting statement. Three things come out of that verse 9, three things indicating the channels for receiving knowledge. First is the eye, second is the ear, third is he reasoning of the mind. And that’s the way men come to conclusions. They see it, and on the basis of what they see they conclude. They hear it; on the basis of what they hear they conclude. Or they think it; they reason it, the logical process, and leading to conclusion.
Now, what he is saying is man comes to all his understandings through seeing, hearing, reasoning. But reasoning will never reveal what God’s prepared for those that love him, seeing won’t, and neither will hearing. So, man’s only three channels for receiving truth do not penetrate the spiritual sphere. That’s the bottom line.
Now, in dealing with purely earthly things, those channels are fine. And we all do that every day. I mean we see things, and we make conclusions about it. We say, “Because I’ve seen that, I understand that. I conclude that that’s true, that’s wise, that’s accurate and so forth about this physical world,” or, “Because I heard it I understand it to be true,” or, “Because it makes sense in my mind and I reasoned it, and in reasoning it I came to the conclusion that it was right.” Remember, that’s fine in dealing with purely earthly, physical reality. But when it comes to divine truth, spiritual reality, that doesn’t work. You can’t see it, you can’t hear it, and you can’t reason it. The wisdom of God, then, is not discoverable t the human mind. It isn’t. Even Peter when he said, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God,” heard Jesus say to him, “Flesh and blood didn’t reveal that to you. You didn’t get that from any human source but my Father who is in heaven.”
Why is this true? Let me show. Second Corinthians chapter 4, verse 3, “If our gospel is veiled,” he says – or hidden, covered – “it is veiled to those who are perishing” – they don’t understand it - why? verse 4 – 2 Corinthians 4:4 – “in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” They’re blinded. Satan has blinded their minds.
You can’t – you can’t get into that dimension; your fallenness, your sinfulness, your involvement in the satanic system precludes you from understanding God’s wisdom. So we would expect, right? We would expect the world that can’t know the wisdom of God to be running around thinking up its own solution. And when they try to figure out the deep problems of mankind, no wonder they come up with 250 different theories – because they can’t understand it. And they call them all theories because nobody knows whether any of them are right because they can’t discern the spiritual. When they try to solve those deep hurts of the human heart, they don’t know how to do that. When they try to change the moral character of a person, they don’t know how to do that. They can’t do that; it’s beyond them.
So, there is man, trapped in a very, very discouraging situation in which he can deal with physical, earthly data but has no capability to understand the spiritual dimension. Do you understand that is why everyone is so fascinated with demons? Everyone is so fascinated with mediums and spirits and witchcraft and occult? Because people long to understand what they can’t understand. They want some insight into a spiritual dimension, a spiritual reality. And they can’t find it. And when they play around with it, they don’t get to it. The best that men can do is come up with human wisdom and satanic blindness. They can’t know God’s truth; it is absolutely impossible.
And so, what do they do? They develop systems of human wisdom that purport to answer all of man’s problems. They invent them. They spin them out of their own minds and offer them as solutions to the problems of men. Are they? Of course not, because the only solutions to the issues of man’s spiritual needs come from the wisdom of God.
So, they are false substitutes; we understand that. What I’ll never understand is how the church can let some of that stuff come in and offer itself as if it were the true solution to the issues of men’s hearts. How utterly ridiculous. Beloved, it is a poor substitute for the proper means of gaining spiritual wisdom. What is that? The Word of God.
Would you look at verse 10, and we’ll stop right at the first part of verse 10, “What can’t be known by human wisdom is known by the wisdom of God.” Just look at verse 10, “For to us God revealed it through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God.” That’s Paul’s second point. His first point is true wisdom is not humanly discoverable. His second point, true wisdom is revealed by the Holy Spirit to believers.
We have the true wisdom. It’s revealed by the Spirit of God. It’s revealed by the Spirit of God in the Word of God. Verse 13 says, “Not the words of human wisdom, but the words of the wisdom of God.”
So, beloved, let me say it to you as simply as I can; you need to know the wisdom of God revealed in the Word of God. My role, my task and the task of any pastor-elder-teacher is to disseminate to you the wisdom of God revealed in Scripture. That’s step one. Step two is that you diligently, faithfully, regularly study the Word of God so that you continually are exposing yourself to this divine wisdom. Step three, the Spirit of God, then, who is the resident truth teacher in you, takes that wisdom - which is now not only spoken to you, but poured through you in your own study - and applies it to your life. That produces growth toward Christlikeness.
But you have a generation of people in the church who want to be entertained. They don’t want to be taught. They don’t want to study. They want to recreate. And then, when their life isn’t going right, they want to run off to somebody who can fix it. There is no shortcut. Sitting under the systematic teaching of the Word of God, diligently and faithfully on your own studying the Word of God will result in the Spirit of the Lord applying the Word of God in direct ways in your life.
Most people are content to gnaw the bark of Scripture without ever getting to the wood. Most people just never do what is necessary to get to divine wisdom. And then when their life is a mess, they run to worldly wisdom, which is a tragic, false substitute for the wisdom of God.
Well, you understand what Paul is saying, I’m sure. And the reason I want to share this with you is just to reiterate what we’re all about. I don’t think there’s any way we can change God’s plan. We are here to teach the Word. Paul said to Timothy, “Preach the Word in season and out of season. There are always going to be those people who heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; they want to hear certain things. But you be faithful; you preach the Word. Reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering. Just keep doing that.”
Why? Because this is the wisdom of God: infinite, inscrutable, unfathomable, great, awesome, comprehensive, sufficient. And when the Word of God is preached and taught, and when the Word of God is studied in the individual life of the believer, the Spirit of God, who is the resident truth teacher and applicator, moves in and makes application of that truth in the life. That then leads the person toward the image of Jesus Christ, becoming more and more like Him. That’s the spiritual process; there’s no other process; there’s no shortcut to it. None. And it demands a precise understanding of Scripture so that we understand the truth of God properly.
We talked last week about the Puritans, that seventeenth century group of English Christians who were so serious about the Scripture. And Lance Quinn gave me a quote by one of them this week. This Puritan was accused by someone. This was the accusation, “You are much too precise,” to which he replied, “I serve a precise God.” And that’s a very accurate statement. God is very precise, and He wants things done precisely. And a precise understanding of God’s Word is essential to precise Christian living. And so, we endeavor to teach it with some precision so that you can study it and apply that same precise approach in your own life. And out of the diligent study and the diligent hearing of the Word, the Spirit of God will then apply the Word, and you will move more and more to be like Jesus Christ.
Now, beloved, if we were to change the teaching of the Word of God, put it aside and do something else, at that point we destroy the whole spiritual process. It’s completely destroyed, for you cannot study the Word of God on your own without some kind of framework; that’s why we have to have teachers. And the Spirit of God cannot apply what you don’t know. So, typically, the average Christian goes to a church where there’s little, if any, precise teaching of the Word of God; so, they don’t really have much of a theology. They study the Scripture minimally, if at all, now and then reading some devotional things about it. And consequently, there is nothing there which the Spirit of God can directly apply. And then when their life goes bad, where do they go? Human wisdom to get it fixed. There are no shortcuts – not in human wisdom – believe me. They may offer you one, but there isn’t one there. It’s the wisdom of God.
And so, beloved, what I’m submitting to you is that all spiritual issues, in the life of a Christian, are resolved in the wisdom of God. All spiritual issues. So, we will teach the wisdom of God. You will study the wisdom of God. And in all our lives, the Spirit will apply the wisdom of God. And as we become more and more those who live the wisdom of God, we become more and more like Christ who perfectly demonstrated the wisdom of God. Let’s bow in prayer.
Father, thank You for our time this morning and the consideration of these truths. Thank You for the revelation in our hands, the mystery which was hidden but which is now revealed so that we might know the wisdom of God. We thank You that Jesus Christ is made unto us wisdom. We thank You that the Spirit of God dwells within us, and we have an anointing from God who leads us into all truth.
O God, help us to find satisfaction and sufficiency in Your wisdom, not the wisdom of men. You know the heart. You know its thoughts, its intents, its motives. You search it afar off. You know its problems, and You know its solutions. Make us faithful students of divinely revealed wisdom that we might live and become more like Christ, in whose name we pray, amen.
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