05 May 5/5/19 “Why Do You See Things Differently?”
The message this morning is titled “Why Do You See Things Differently?” I don’t know about you, but when you look at the media, when you look at what’s going on in our nation and in the churches, do you ever wonder to yourself, What’s wrong with me? Of course, we know, but we start to sometimes second-guess things. Why don’t I see things the way they see it? Why do I see things differently? I’m hoping I can shed a little bit of light on that. We are in 1 Corinthians 2, so if you have your Bibles, you can turn to 1 Corinthians. We’ll be putting it up on the screen as well. But let me just read you a quick paragraph that I read last week, and it transitions right into where we’re going.
Think about this. Paul said, “When I came to you”—this is the beginning of chapter 2—
When I came to you, [I] did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom. (v. 1)
So Paul, when he came to the church, he did not come with excellent speech and with worldly wisdom. He said:
And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom. (v. 4)
So how did he come to them? He came to them
in demonstration of the Spirit and of power. (v. 4)
That’s the key. So Paul did not come, and you will not go out into the world and make a difference in your family or in your communities or in your workplace with persuasive speech. Although it sounds good, and people might say, “Well, that’s a good point,” the ultimate objection of a Christian is to come with the power of the Spirit because then your words carry weight, then you have discernment. You know when to speak and when to listen. You know when to be quiet and when to vocalize your opinion. You have to go in the Spirit’s power.
But then Paul clarifies for us in verse 6. He says, “However,” and he’s not discounting wisdom, he’s saying,
However, we speak wisdom among those who are mature, (v. 6)
Just a minute ago he said, “We do not come to you with wisdom,” but then he says now, “We do speak to you with wisdom.” Well, what he’s doing there is contrasting the world’s wisdom with God’s wisdom. There is a big difference there. He says, “But we do come to you with wisdom to those who are mature.”
So he’s going to bring the Word of God to those who are mature. Now we might instantly think, “Well, that must mean all Christians.” Do you know there are a lot of Christians out there who are not mature? Maturity comes from spiritual growth. As we’re growing and obeying God’s word, living it out, we mature in our faith. Do you ever see a kid sucking their thumb? That’s cute at six months but at sixteen? What happened? They didn’t mature. So there’s a lot of Christians [like that]; Paul actually refers to them later as carnal in their thinking, carnal in their mindset, carnal in their lifestyle.
So he speaking to those who are mature, which are spiritual. So you have to ask yourself that question this morning: Have I not been growing? Have you ever met a Christian five years later who looks the same as they did five years ago? I mean, I’ve run into people I knew at church ten years ago. Guess what? Nothing has changed. There’s no maturity.
So Paul is saying, “I am going to speak to you wisdom among those who are mature.” Here’s what else I’ve noticed. When you begin to speak God’s wisdom, the carnal Christian doesn’t like it. Why? Because it challenges their carnality. It challenges their Las Vegas lifestyle. It challenges their movie choices and their lifestyle choices. They don’t want to be challenged, so they don’t want to hear what God’s wisdom has to say. That’s why he said,
Yet not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age who are coming to nothing.
And this is a good reminder that the rulers of this age, the world’s mindset, is coming to nothing. At some point all this confusion and chaos is coming to nothing. They are glorifying in it now. They are just enjoying it now. They are celebrating now. But there will come a time when it will come to nothing.
So the question I really want to challenge many of you with this morning is whose wisdom are you embracing? Whose wisdom are you embracing? Because there are two types of wisdom. There’s not really anything in the middle. It’s embracing the world’s mindset, or it’s embracing God’s truth, God’s mind, the mind of Christ. The Bible talks about that. You have the mind of Christ. Isn’t that amazing? The same Holy Spirit that was in Christ is in a believer, if they submit to the work of the Holy Spirit.
And here’s why this is so important. This is the difference between right and almost right. Gone are the days of black-and-white, crystal clear. Now the church is divided, America’s divided. Why? Because things are almost right, and that’s the difference today. Right, according to God’s Word, or kind of right, almost right, like “why can’t you just love people and let this sin slide?” Almost right.
And then he goes on in verse 7:
But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery.
Don’t get it confused, because many people think, “Mystery? That’s getting weird.” Mystery, really, in the Bible is something that has not yet been revealed. So mystery is not something spooky or weird. Mystery is actually, in this context, God’s truth that just hasn’t been revealed yet, so it’s still a mystery. It’s still unknown to many people. So Paul said,
We speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God has ordained before the ages for our glory.
Now you might read that like I did and say, “Our glory? Uh-oh.” So I bracketed this, in studying this word and looking into this, it really means “for our benefit.” We’re not to be glorified and lifted up. It’s for our benefit that God’s glory is shown to us in a mystery.
Which none of the rulers…
—this is amazing. Okay, wake up, don’t think about lunch. Don’t be texting. Don’t look at your phones. Listen to this. He said,
Which none of the rulers of this age knew;
In other words, when he says, “the rulers of this age,” he’s talking about the principalities, the governing spirit of this world. They had not known the mysteries of God,
for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
It’s interesting. Paul is saying that God’s mystery, His truth, was hidden from the principalities and the evil workers of darkness. Had they known what God was doing, they would never have put Christ on that cross.
That’s why I talked about a few weeks ago that hell was celebrating. Hell was actually celebrating when Christ was on the cross. The demons were popping the kegs open. They were running crazy. They were just celebrating. “Oh, this man, this man who never spoke like any other man, this man who would kill the demonic realm, He would cast them out—Beelzebub—and cast out demons, and this man is finally, finally, going to be killed. We have won!” Until the earth shook, and the temple was ripped, and when His body was in the grave.
It’s interesting the Bible talks about His soul going into not necessarily hell but He went and He spoke to those who were held in Abraham’s bosom. And in this time, this transition period, He spoke to them, and He released the captives and set them free, and Hell said, “Oh no! What have we done? We have actually played right into God’s hands. Not only has He risen from the dead, He’s set people free. He has overcome hell, death, sin, and the grave.” That was the big thing over everybody. Hell and death and sin and the grave. O death, where is your sting? That’s why we sing that wonderful song, “O death, where is your sting? My resurrected King is now resurrecting me.” Had they known what they were doing, they would’ve never put Jesus on the cross. And Paul is clarifying that: “They would not have crucified the Lord of glory.”
But as it is written:
“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
Nor have entered into the hearts of man
The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”
Now it’s interesting. I’ve heard this verse actually used a lot, and I might have been guilty of this myself, because it has some overarching truth to it, “Eye has not seen, ear has not heard, nor has it entered into your hearts the good things that God has prepared for those who love Him,” which is true. Even here on earth. But it looks like the context is supporting what God is doing for us in heaven as well. We have no clue what God is preparing for those who love Him in eternity.
But thank God that truth applies now. I don’t preach “your best life now.” I don’t preach that God has a wonderful plan for your life, even though I do if I could explain it, but the American version is “Oh, here comes the wealth. Here come the riches. Here comes the fame. Here comes my next record deal (if you’re in worship). Here comes my next big salary. And God has a wonderful plan for my life. Here comes the red carpet. The marriage is going to be great. All our kids are going to be healthy, and God has a wonderful plan for my life.” But what about if half of that doesn’t work out? And you go through hell, you suffer, you lose a child, there’s persecution (especially if you don’t live in America).
I’m hoping, I’m just throwing this out there, in August I’m trying to get in touch with Sister Sarah (some of you heard her on Wednesday night). She actually spent, I think, two different times in jail in China for three years—where they would put a metal, electric thing in her mouth, and you could hear the saliva sizzling, and not feeding her, and [telling her to] denounce Christ. That’s persecution. America, you better wake up. You don’t know what persecution is. You’d better be thankful for now. I’m trying to get her to speak here in August. If you don’t leave here in tears, then something’s wrong with your heart. Because there is your best life now, and God has a wonderful plan for your life, but it involves His sovereignty. God, I will trust you even in the storm, I will praise you even in the storm.
So “it is written,” which means when God writes it, it is true. You have no idea what God has prepared for you in heaven. I bank on this even now. Looking back ten years ago, I had no idea what God would be doing in Westside Christian Fellowship through all of us. It is amazing. I appreciate that you enjoy the messages, but I’m just the mouth. You know we have feet and hands and hearts? There are all different types of people who help get this church going in the right direction. God’s opened up amazing doors, and I’ll be sharing [them] with you. One is we heard from a large radio station in New York City. They have a tower on top of Trump Tower, and they want to air the programs there Monday through Friday from here. So God is opening a lot of doors.
And that’s why when I read this, it definitely applies now. I would have no clue what God would do with this church. Eye has not seen, ear has not heard. I’ve noticed—be careful in this area—I actually downplay what I think God’s going to do. “God, we would love to just be on the radio here in Los Angeles, just one time in the weekend.” God says, “No. Maybe fifteen stations. Maybe Monday through Friday.” Okay, well, that’s great for you, Shane. No, it’s not great for me, it’s great for the church. What God is doing in the church, what’s He going to do in your life? Well, maybe God will bring me a spouse that I can change (if you’re single). No, He wants what’s best for you. Don’t settle for second-best. Settle for God’s best. Eye has not seen; ear has not heard. We sometimes say, “Well, God, if you could just do this,” and God wants to do so much more, I believe, in our lives if we surrender and listen to Him and have a teachable, humble spirit. Eye has not seen, nor has a heart heard what God wants to do, prepared for, those who love Him.
I was wondering this week how many of you, maybe in this room and up there in the balcony, praise God, or listening later, but do you truly love God? Did you know that is the one true indication of genuine faith in a person: Do they truly love the one, true, and living God and Jesus Christ? Because people say, “I love God. Well, Jesus is good teacher. I’m not sure about that guy, but I love God. He’s in me. He’s in the trees. He’s in the flowers. He’s in all of us. It’s just this cosmic ambience of love. So of course I believe in God.” No, that’s not the God of the Bible. Do you truly love God? Because you can’t be saved and not love God, not love His truth. See there’s a yearning for it.
Why do I say that? Well, the Holy Spirit in a true believer actually wrote the Bible, so the Holy Spirit is going to love God’s truth. And that’s why it’s so critical in our culture today, isn’t it? We have to define truth. We have a person running for president who is openly gay. He’s a mayor. I read stories this week. He calls himself a very conservative Christian who loves God. How do you define God? God is defined according to His Word, according to His nature. We have to go back to His truth and look at that.
I hope you understand. I don’t want to get on a rabbit trail. I prayed all week, but there is so much going on in our nation, where we should be fasting, we should be praying. Guys, what we’re leaving for future generations is not going to be good. People are buying into the lie. Have you seen in the news the man in Canada who actually was charged for calling his daughter a daughter? She wants to be called a boy. Parents, you can’t call the gender—it’s coming. See, it’s coming. You say, “Oh, that’s up in Canada.” I don’t want to scare people; I want them to leave here joy-filled, but also reality check. A reality check.
Also this week I had the privilege of talking to someone who works at the White House, for the administration, on the coalition department, telling me about what’s going on there, all the things that are being passed that are wonderful for our nation but the media is not telling you. There’s a clear, a clear goal here, and what groups are wanting to do. It’s not the America you used to know. Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore. You are seeing radical shifts, and this is the time where you need to see things differently.
But back to that question: Do you truly love God, the God of the Bible? Well, how do you know it’s the God of the Bible? Because there’s no other God. Because then it becomes a god of “Well, I think God is…” Here’s what I think God is. Have you ever asked people that? It’s amazing to listen to them. “Here’s what I think God is.” “Well, here’s what I think God is.” And you have a hundred different opinions. So it’s the God of the Bible, clearly outlined in Scripture.
But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit.
So verse 10. Now look at verse 9 though.
“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
Nor have entered into the hearts of man
The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”
But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of 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. (vv. 9–11)
Wow, little confusing there? Let’s break it down. God has revealed things to us through His Spirit. What does he mean by that? The best analogy I can give you is when you go into a completely dark room and you turn on the light. The world without God’s Spirit is walking in that darkness. The Bible is clear. They walk in darkness. They grope for the light. They don’t know the truth. So actually it’s a badge of honor when you’re criticized in this area by the world. If nobody is criticizing you or what you’re saying and what you’re preaching—what was that old saying? If you don’t want to offend anyone, say nothing, do nothing, be nothing.
So they walk in darkness. So God has revealed many things to us through His Spirit. The light is turned on. I’ll never forget the day, maybe it was the week or the month, when I came back to the Lord, I started to read the Bible again. Where was all this when I was growing up? And just ministering to me, putting things in my heart, “Oh, look at this!” and things jumping off the page, and highlighting. “Look at this!” and “Oh, now [I understand.]” Light. But what did it used to be? Boring.
But there are a lot of Christians who still think the Word of God is boring. Here’s why: the light’s been quenched. The light in your heart has been grieved. You’ve grieved the Holy Spirit. He’s still there, He’s longing for you, longing for you to return to your first love. There’s a quenching and a grieving. That’s why, because I’m sure many of you can say, “But, Shane, that’s me. I’m a Christian though.” But the Holy Spirit has to be let loose. That light has to illuminate your heart, and then the Word of God becomes alive again.
So He reveals things through His Spirit, just like turning on the light. He also reveals things through His Spirit through commentaries or books. I wish I could do a whole sermon on discoveries and inventions. Do you know many Christians have invented things and discovered things? It’s amazing how God has allowed us and revealed all these things to us. How much wisdom has increased in the last hundred years? Knowledge is increasing at an alarming rate. I mean, think about how riding horseback was the way to travel for decades, hundreds of years, thousands of years, and then here comes a car—boom boom boom—now we’re on the moon. How does all that happen? I’m not talking about spiritual things now, but I’m also talking about God revealing things to us through His Spirit.
And the Spirit of God is knowledge, wisdom, and understanding. Think about that for a minute. If you want more of the Spirit of God, the Spirit is knowledge, wisdom, and understanding. If you’re not walking in God’s wisdom, you will not know His plans. You will quench that light in your heart. Does anyone want to know God’s will? I want to know God’s will. What’s God’s will for my life? Is this the right decision? Am I supposed to do this? Am I not supposed to do that? Who in this room doesn’t grapple with those questions? We all do. But the closer you draw to Christ and the work of the Spirit in surrendering and submitting to God’s wisdom and knowledge, the clearer these things will become.
You’ll begin to say, “Well, that’s just selfish motives.” Who showed you that? The Spirit, not the flesh. Listen, your heart’s not right. Why are you praying for those things? You need to be redirected here. “Oh, that’s right.” And the Holy Spirit will begin to illuminate things and begin to show you. I love when God shows me how to pray. Shane, be quiet for a minute. Remove your list of things. Don’t we come to God like a Christmas list? Boom boom boom boom boom. Now there’s nothing wrong with that. I think we have to have target points and things we’re praying for, but at some point, you just listen and let God direct your prayer life.
I’ll share something with you. I don’t know why I’ve shed tears on my jogs over this, but God has put just a heart, just a passion, for our nation and for what’s going on in Washington and legislation. I don’t want it, but God just has given me this desire. My prayer focus has changed in this direction. It’s really changed because I look at what we’re leaving for future generations. I look at where we’re going. I love when people come up to me and say, “Shane, we shouldn’t even talk about these things. None of that matters. Just be quiet and preach the gospel.” But the gospel affects every single area of our life, every area. Are you suggesting that God doesn’t desire godly legislation? Is that what you’re suggesting, that God couldn’t care less? Call a boy a girl and a girl, a boy. Who cares? Just preach the gospel. Slaughter innocent children? Who cares? Just preach the gospel. Don’t care about the definition of marriage. You guys, that’s so old-fashioned. Just preach the gospel. My Lord, that’s really coming from a coward who doesn’t want to say anything, doesn’t want to stir the pot. Maybe this message will be picked up in New York sometime.
The Spirit leads if you’re willing to follow. My heart has been for all of you this week because I know many of you so desperately want to follow God, don’t you? You want more of God. You want to know His will. And the Spirit leads you, if you’re willing to follow. That’s the key. We have to be willing. Lord, wherever you want to put me. He often gives us a glimpse, but He leads us one step at a time. So I want to encourage you in this area too. God will lead those who want to follow, and sometimes He will give you a glimpse. “Ah, that’s what He’s called me to do. I see it.” But you’re not there yet. And see, we want to go from zero to a hundred miles an hour in 1.2 seconds. God says, “I’m going to show you something so you can pray for it, so you can prepare for it. The things I’m going to do in your heart and your life, maybe in the lives of your children, be praying for it. But you’re not there yet. Take it day by day, one step at a time.” I’m glad God doesn’t show us the whole picture, because we’d run ahead of the line. Let me get up there. And the Spirit will lead you day by day by day. Daily choices.
And a lot of people ask, “Well, how do I know, Shane? How do I know?” Well, a couple different things. The Holy Spirit doesn’t push you, Satan does. The Holy Spirit doesn’t rush you, Satan does. Now there are times to make a quick decision. There’s a car pulling in front of you, you don’t need to pray. You need to turn—as you’re praying. Quick decisions, of course, but the Holy Spirit won’t push you or rush you. He’s not condemning you. That’s the wrong voice. And anytime I get into a pickle, I back up and say, “God, I don’t know. I truly do not know. I don’t know. Would you show me? I’m not going to move forward until I hear from you, until you show me, until you bring confirmation.” And I don’t think God’s going, “Hmmm, I don’t like that attitude. I want that renegade spirit of rebellion, Shane, that I used to see in you. That’s who I want. Just go take it by the horns and go for it.” Ask God. “Lord, I don’t know what to do. Should I move?” you might be saying—and don’t worry, I’m not praying that. “Should I sell this? Should I do this? Should I start this?”
And that’s why I think it’s so important for people to hear from God because I see Christians start things often and never finish. They’ll be so on fire one week, and then two weeks later… Something that’s interesting, many people over the years have come up to me and said, “I know God’s calling me to write a book.” Well, where is it? And they get discouraged because it takes a lot of time. It’s painstaking, it’s a process, it’s not fun. The fun part is when it’s done. But you have to know. “Okay, God, do you want me to do this?” Here’s why. And many people get upset because they want to be in this area, you know, the best-selling author, and “That’s how I’m going to pay my bills.” No, that often doesn’t happen. God wants you to bless people. I think books are a great idea for a tract. You know, here’s my story, and if God has put something on your heart, you have to take it to Him. Hope that’s for somebody because I don’t know where that came from.
Verse 12 though.
Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God
So see, as a believer, you went from the spirit of the world to now the Holy Spirit in you. Do you ever say, “Well, why did I like that? Why did I go with that group of people? Why did I enjoy that?” Now you’ve received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God. You’ve received that Spirit.
That we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.
And I instantly thought of John 20:21: “Jesus said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’” Now think about this. Jesus has just resurrected from the dead. He’s there with His disciples, and He said, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent Me, I am sending you. And with that He breathed on them, and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’”
Isn’t that interesting? He’s resurrected, He goes to His disciples, He breathes on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” Spiritual life, spiritual vitality. Now this can be a theological dilemma on this one, because the day of Pentecost, where they received the Holy Spirit, had not yet come. Hmm. So some commentators, for example, J. Vernon McGee and John MacArthur, would say that He was just giving them a pledge of what would come. I don’t believe that. They received the Holy Spirit. They received the Holy Spirit. But on the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they became bold witnesses. That’s why you’ll see a divide in the church where there are those who teach there’s a second work of grace or a second work of the Holy Spirit. Yes, you’ve received the Holy Spirit, but has He come upon you?
We can talk about that—I have many times. My thought is, and I’ve shared this many times with you, you have all of the Holy Spirit. As a believer, you have the Holy Spirit. There are not levels. Oh wow, pastors are up here, preachers are here. The Holy Spirit is given. Receive the Holy Spirit. But what do you do with the Holy Spirit as a believer? Do you continue a destructive lifestyle? Do you not worship much? Do you not read the Word? Do you not foster the filling of the Spirit?
And that’s why so many people, years after their life—I can tell you about Oswald Chambers. Have you ever read his book, Utmost for His Highest? Adrian Rogers, A. W. Tozer, John Bunyan, Whitefield, Wycliffe, Wesley, Amy Carmichael, D. L. Moody—many, many people who were Christians who had the Holy Spirit, but they had no power, had no fire. They were just normal people. Nobody knew about them. But then there came a day when the Holy Spirit fell upon them, and in every case it’s because they finally prayed, “Lord, I give you everything. My whole life is yours. Everything. My ministry, my focus, I don’t care if you put me, like D. L. Moody said, ‘My ministry is fruitless. I’m in it for the wrong reasons. I’m trying to build my name.’” He was a Christian but then when he gave all that up in total abandonment, total abandonment, then God met him, he went into room, I think it was in New York, and just closed himself in this room for a few hours, and the Holy Spirit fell upon him. Charles Finney, out in the wilderness, the Holy Spirit fell upon him. Adrian Rogers, I believe it was out on a football field, gave all his life. The Holy Spirit came upon him.
See, they received. I know this steps on toes, but I’m a “toes-stepper-onner.” This is the problem in the majority of the churches in America. Many people have received the Holy Spirit, but He has not come upon them. They haven’t received the fire, the anointing, the unction. Some call it the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Some call it subsequent fillings of the Holy Spirit. I love when people debate over exactly what the term is, but they don’t have the Spirit. That’s why it was R. A. Torrey who said, “I’d rather miss the theological term and have the Spirit’s power than not have the Spirit’s power and get the term just right.” Exegetically speaking, if you look at a hermeneutic approach to the pneumatology and the work of the Holy Spirit, then you would theoretically call it “a filling of the Holy Spirit.” Baptism comes from the word baptizo, which in the Greek means we’re all baptized into the body of Christ. And boy, that’s a wonderful presentation, but do you have the Spirit’s power?
Listen, as God is my witness, this is what many of you need. Maybe I should just change course on this whole sermon. Many of you need to be empowered, baptized, filled, anointed, overflowed with the Holy Spirit. That’s the problem. That’s the problem. Think about this. Jesus <makes blowing sound>, and my mind instantly went to Genesis when God breathed into Adam the breath of life, and he became a living nephesh. In the Hebrew language, he became a living being. He breathed into Adam the breath of life. Jesus breathed, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” “The Holy Spirit has not yet come because I have not yet been glorified,” so what did He do? It’s just a pledge? I don’t think so. They had the Holy Spirit, but they were not walking in the power of the Spirit until the day of Pentecost, when Holy Spirit came upon them.
Many of you serving in this church—oh dear, I’m going to get in trouble—many of you serving, many of you come here, this is exactly what the majority of you need. An overfilling, overpowering, anointing of the Holy Spirit of God. How do I know? Because you’ll have tremendous joy, tremendous love. The Holy Spirit will just be bubbling over in your life. You’ll love worship. You’ll love the Word of God. You won’t be rude and mean and critical and arrogant and mean-spirited and angry all the time. You’ll have a genuine love for people. You’ll start to witness. You’ll start to be broken before God. Not perfect. I actually believe Spirit-filled believers are number one on the enemy’s hit list. He sends his lieutenants after those individuals. This is what the majority of the church needs.
- W. Tozer said, “If the church was as worried”—I don’t know if I’m going to say this right— “If we were as concerned to prove that we can be filled with the Spirit as to prove that we can’t be filled with the Spirit, the church would be crowded.” There are so many people who say, “Oh no, that’s not true. Theologically, we have the Spirit…” and there’s all this stuff, “That’s charismatic cuckoo-ness. That’s hyper-this, and that’s…” No, that’s the Holy Spirit coming upon a person, being filled with the Spirit of God. That’s why many people walk around like the living dead in the church. Think about it: The Bible’s dusty. If Shane says “worship morning” again, I’m going to lose it. This is boring. How can they like this? I want to watch the Cowboys. I want to watch the Lakers. I want to watch NASCAR. I want to go make some IPA beer and smoke some cigars and drive to Las Vegas and spend all that I can. I love all this worldly stuff. I love to watch what’s on Netflix and the world. I hate worship.
What’s wrong? The Holy Spirit of God is being quenched and grieved because the Holy Spirit cries for holiness, the Holy Spirit cries for what’s going on in our nation, the Holy Spirit yearns for godliness.
Then in verse 12, he says, “That we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.” That could be a whole sermon. But what is “freely been given to us by God”? Salvation. A relationship has been given to us by God. The Bible says, “Ask, and you will receive.” What? This wonderful gift of salvation. That’s why many preachers get passionate about preaching about the cross—because it’s a free gift. I don’t care what your status is, I don’t care what your income is, it’s a free gift. What else has been freely given by God? Wisdom. Did you know that you can have the mind of Christ in you? You’ll still make bad decisions now and then and get off course, but you can be on the right path. The Bible says ask. Does it really? James says, “Ask for wisdom.” He says, “A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways. Ask for wisdom, and you will receive it.” He said, “You parents being evil”—oh gosh, I’m offended—“you know how to give good gifts to your kids, how much more will God give the Holy Spirit to those who ask?” He’s a good Father. Just ask. Ask and you shall receive. Ask, and I will work on your behalf.
What else has God freely given us? Communication. This just struck me this morning, during early morning worship. I was right here, and I cannot believe the lyrics I was singing. I was thinking that the God who created the universe, the God who created the Milky Way galaxy—do you know what a galaxy is? All these millions of stars, these planets, these gases, all trapped in a galaxy. They think there are millions of those. Like I’m getting a headache here. How big is that? That God who created all of that, the gravitational pull, everything, that God created your life and said, “If you communicate with me, if you pray, I will lead you, I will direct you, I will build you up. I will not only be your defender, I will be your mediator. Just come and drink of living water. Listen and pray.” See, that God wants a relationship with you. How exciting is that?
But why is that so boring to so many people? Because they are quenching and grieving the Spirit. The God who holds the waters in the palm of His hands. Have you ever tried to hold the Atlantic and the Pacific? Right here. It’s a big shark. He holds. Of course, not physically. You know, He’s not some big, like the Greek gods have Hercules holding up the earth, but the Bible, Isaiah 40, says He holds the waters in the palm of His hand. That God promises in His Word, if you are a believer, He says, “Seek me, and you will find me. Knock, and I will answer.” What do you want? Do you need wisdom? Do you need assurance? To me that blows my mind. That’s a personal God.
But what about if I’m not a believer? I don’t know this God. He says, “Just turn to me. Just turn to me and believe. Repent and believe.” I mean, if that doesn’t get you fired up, I don’t know what will.
And then verse 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. 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.
Let me just stop there for a minute. We are to compare spiritual things with spiritual things. I’ve told you this many times. I’ll tell you again. You are called to be a fruit inspector. I love when people say, “You Christians are always against something.” Yep. Yep. Get over it. We’re for things; we’re also against things. When you want to kill babies, I’m for life. When you want to redefine marriage, I’m for marriage. When you want to promote the sex slave-trade industry, I’m against sex trafficking. When you say that pornography is a freedom of speech, we want to come against that. Of course we’re called to be against things. Stop letting the world sidetrack you. We get pigeonholed and then, “Of course, you’re right. I’m so sorry. Maybe I won’t say anything.”
We’re supposed to come out as bold as a lion. We are. Then people say, “That’s not right. That’s not right. Why are you always against people? That’s not right. Why are you always against people? That’s not right. You hate gay people.” No, I love them, but the lifestyle is wrong. Call me bigoted, call me narrowminded, call me whatever, but I guarantee that I love that person more than you do. Take a lie detector test. Nobody wants to do that because the truth comes out.
See that’s a catchphrase right now: Hater. Prejudice. Hate speech. Don’t wear a hat that says, “Make America Great Again,” or you must be a racist. That’s how they get you. And you think it’s getting easier? It’s getting more volatile. This is a time for Christians to be filled with the Spirit of God and with love. Preach with love and boldness.
Don’t worry, I probably wouldn’t wear that hat just because of now all the negative stuff with it. You wouldn’t believe the stuff I’d post if I could. But I have to be careful, as a pastor representing different people. I don’t shy away from things, but I want to be careful. I don’t want to intentionally pick a fight. But we are called to discern spiritual things. That’s actually where this comes from. The pulpit is supposed to say, “This is wrong,” and “This is right.” Now you’ve got pastors across our landscape, large mega-church pastors, and I know they will not say one word because they have a political party in their church that doesn’t want to hear them speak the truth, so they’re not going to touch on anything because they want to please the members. I want nickels and I want noses, and I’m not going to say anything that contradicts that. That’s not the heart of God. The heart of God is to love people and speak His truth.
But it’s interesting here. He says,
The natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit, for they are foolishness to him.
So the world isn’t going to receive what I’m saying or what you’re saying. Okay? The sooner you realize that, the better. Boy, my worldly friends just don’t like what I have to say. I gave them one of your CDs, and they threw it in the trash. Yeah? This is all foolishness to them. But what is the context of everything we’ve been talking about? The context is God’s wisdom.
But it’s interesting, though, because some people will say this verse applies to salvation.
The natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
So they would say this Scripture proves that man is dead and lost in his sins and trespasses; he can never reach out and embrace God’s gift of salvation. Actually, the context is spiritual wisdom, and the word receive there is dechomai in the Greek language. It means he does not welcome, he does not accept, the things of God. So person does not welcome what God has to say.
So on this issue of salvation, I don’t welcome visitors at 1:00 a.m., just so you know, but it doesn’t mean I can’t open the door. Guess that was kind of mean, huh? I shouldn’t say that. Bad analogy. Just because you don’t welcome visitors at 1:00 a.m. doesn’t mean you can’t get up and open that door and receive them. So I believe that man is held responsible for his choices. He can repent and believe, or he can reject Christ and perish eternally.
So the context here is spiritual wisdom. This is why the Bible and God are foolish to many people. So you might say, “Well, should I keep telling them things?” Oh, it’s almost time to end, and I’m only halfway done. Want to come back next week for part two? Or I can just a little longer. But this is why the world will not like you or me.
Verse 15, here is what I was getting to:
But he who is spiritual judges all things.
You judge all things.
Yet he himself is rightly judged by no one
meaning Christians can judge me, but the world can’t. The world can’t judge us because God’s standard, God’s wisdom, judges us. We’re not judged by the world. We don’t go, “Oh, you’re right, world. Let me change my actions.” You look at God and say, “Let me change my actions.” And that’s the standard we live by. We are to judge and examine and discern all things. That’s why I believe future leaders must be forged in the furnace of affliction. We must be tempered in adversity. We must be bold as lions yet gentle as doves. We must be unwavering, courageous, and filled with the Spirit of God.
And then verse 16:
For “who has known the mind of the Lord that they may instruct Him?”
I think Paul’s being a little funny here. Who has the mind of the Lord, that you’re going to instruct God?
But we have the mind of Christ.
So let me leave you with a few things. You know God’s character. As a believer, you know God’s character, you know His nature, you know His plans, you know His personality. So if you want to be led by the Spirit of God, you must walk in it. You must obey, you must submit, you must listen to God’s still, small voice. That’s how we walk in His Word. We obey it, and we submit to that, and the Holy Spirit works in that.
But what I wanted to end on was this phrase he said here: “For ‘who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?’” Now it’s interesting. Paul went back seven hundred years, and he grabbed from Isaiah, and he’s telling the people, “Are you going to know the thoughts of the Lord?” Let me tell you what Isaiah said in Isaiah 40:
Who has measured the waters in the hollow of His hand,
Measured heaven with a span
And calculated the dust of the earth in a measure?
Weighed the mountains in scales
And the hills in a balance?
Who has directed the Spirit of the Lord,
Or as His counselor has taught Him?
With whom did He take counsel, and who instructed Him. (vv. 12–14)
The answer is no one. No one. That’s why I have a message for the United States of America. Who made you God, authorities and elected officials? Who made you God? Are you going to tell God what to do? Are you going to change His truth? Are you going to re-conform things and call what is godly and right perverted and then call perversion what is good and godly? Who told you that you are God? He sits on the throne.
Behold the nations are as a drop in the bucket. (v. 15)
China, Russia, Syria, all these nations, they’re a drop in the bucket, and
And are counted as small dust on the scales. (v. 15)
<Blows> Did you see that? God says, “Here’s all the nations on the scale.” <blows> What kind of authority is that?
Look, He lifts up the isles as a very little thing. . . .
To whom then will you liken God?
Or what likeness will you compare to Him? (vv. 15, 18)
And then he goes on, the famous verse, a lot of you know this:
Have you not known?
Have you not heard?
The everlasting God, the Lord,
The Creator of the ends of the earth,
Neither faints nor is weary. (v. 28)
That’s your God. That’s the God you need to trust in. Have you not known? Have you not heard? See that’s one point of preaching, is to get us back to these wonderful truths, because we go out in the world, and we hear all kinds of junk, all kinds of garbage, all kinds of negative press, and we remind ourselves, “Have you not heard?” Remember, remember
He gives power to the weak,
and to those who have no might He increases strength.
Even the youths [even young people] shall faint and be weary,
And the young men shall utterly fall,
But… (vv. 29–31)
—but, here you go—
But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength. (v. 31)
Lift up your eyes. Where does your help come from? Your help comes from God, maker of heaven and earth, so get your focus off the circumstances, off family dynamics, off the court system, off the news, and center your eyes back on God, who holds the nations in the palm of His hands.
So if you want to see things differently, you have to refocus, readjust your eyesight. You have to refocus this morning. Refocus and get back on track. Set your sights on Him again—or for the first time. I’m well aware that people hearing this, many for the first time, some been coming a while, others out on the radio and different things, if you don’t know who God is, if all of this has been very convicting, very unsettling, that means you need to repent and believe in the gospel.