Mind Vs. The Spirit

Wednesday, July 03, 2013, 7:07 a.m. – the Lord Jesus woke me with the song “Come and See” playing in my mind. Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read 1 Corinthians 1-2 (NIV): http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20Corinthians%201&version=NIV;

The church in Corinth was divided over its leaders. There were actually quarrels among the Christians there because some followed Paul, others Appollos, still others Cephas, and then there were those who said, “I follow Christ.” So, Paul addressed the issue, first by asking if Christ is divided, and if Paul was the one crucified for them, and if they were baptized in the name of Paul. Good thought provoking questions! And, they are so applicable to today’s church, too. We just have to change the names to Presbyterian, Baptist, Lutheran, Catholic, Episcopalian, Charismatic, etc. Or, we could insert such names as Rick Warren, Kim Clement, Joel Osteen, etc., or whatever preacher or teacher of the word you may follow. It is so easy to end up following mankind instead of God, if we are not careful.

Paul added that he was thankful that he had only baptized a few people so that the believers would not say they were baptized in the name of Paul. And, then Paul made a statement which I believe is foundational for this discussion here. He said, “For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with wisdom and eloquence, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.”

The Mind

Intertwined in these two chapters with the discussion concerning the true gospel of Jesus Christ is a discourse on human wisdom. Paul stated that God has made foolish the wisdom of the world. He also described this human wisdom in terms of it expressing itself by being influential, eloquent, humanly wise and persuasive (perhaps manipulative). This human thinking and reasoning is of the wisdom of this age, and the spirit of the world, and is not of Christ or of God’s wisdom. And, yet, this human wisdom and reasoning is predominant in the church here in America today, as well as the church today largely follows after the teachings, reasoning, philosophies, goals and objectives of humans, rather than God.

The church of the 21st century here in America has largely bought into humanistic teaching and business marketing schemes for how to build the “church.” This modernistic movement has swept across evangelical Christianity in America, and across denominational boundaries, so that if you go from church to church to church, you will find many similarities in philosophy, approach, technique, and goals and objectives, which have largely been prompted by man-made teachings and business plans. The church targets the world with worldly methods in order to persuade, influence, and entertain its attendees, in hopes that people will come back for more of the same. They use gimmicks and focus largely on the “show,” stage presence, appearance and making church fun, comfortable, and enjoyable so people want to come back. This approach to church and to the gospel focuses largely on human wisdom in trying to attract the world to the “church” and to “Christ.”

Yet, Paul said that if we preach the gospel with human wisdom and eloquence, the cross of Christ may be emptied of its power. And, I believe that is what is happening in the church today. The gospel is being diluted to fit in with making people comfortable and with the intentional goal of not offending people, so they will come back. Repentance and obedience are being removed from the gospel, so that it does not slay the sinner, but entertains him.

The Spirit

On the flip side of this human wisdom, which seeks to be persuasive through worldly means and methods, is the wisdom that is of the Spirit of God, which speaks the truth in love. It says we must die to sin and self if we want to live for eternity. It says we must forsake our old lives of living for sin and self, and we must follow Christ in obedience if we want to come after him. It says we show we love God by obeying his commands and that if we do not obey his commands, we don’t truly love him, and we are not truly one of his. And, it teaches us that we must make disciples of Christ of all nations, baptizing and teaching them to obey Christ’s commands.

This is the power of the cross Paul spoke about. Jesus Christ died that we might be set free from the control of and slavery to sin day-to-day. So, daily we must die to sin and self and follow Christ in obedience. If we do not teach that, we have emptied the cross of its power, because the blood of Christ set us free! And, it requires death to sin, a transformation of heart and mind, and a new life lived in the power of God. When we teach the true gospel of Jesus Christ in the power of the Spirit of God within us, and followers of Christ accept the true gospel into their lives, then their faith rests on God’s power instead of on human wisdom.

The Called

We who have put our faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior are the called of God. Paul asked the believers in Christ to think of what they were when they were called, not speaking of the fact that they were sinners, but that not many of them were wise by human standards; not many influential or of noble birth. This is not to say that God does not call those who have tremendous influence in the world or those with vast human knowledge, but it is to say, I believe, that we were not called of God because of our wisdom, influence, stage presence, charismatic personalities, etc. When I was called, I was a hurting child. And, I’ve never been particularly influential or book-smart, charismatic or eloquent or persuasive. Yet, God does not judge by human standards, and he does not choose as humans choose. In fact, I believe he often uses those least likely to be chosen of mankind in order to show God’s power through us. Then, it is God who gets the glory.

As I thought about this song “Come and See,” I thought about the simplicity of it all. They just told the simple truth that they knew to those in their lives, or whose paths they crossed. I remember a testimony I heard once of a man who came to Christ. A young woman shared the gospel with him. He said it was the worst presentation of the gospel he had ever heard, but the Spirit spoke to his heart, he was ready, and he said “Yes” to Jesus. I believe this is a great illustration of how God uses the weak, the foolish (by human standards), the rejected, despised, tossed aside, and the forgotten to shame the wise. We don’t have to have a college degree. We don’t have to attend an evangelistic training seminar. All we have to do is to be in relationship with Jesus Christ, to walk daily in his light and truth, and to share what light and truth we know with whomever God puts in our path.

God will use us if we are willing and we are obedient. All we may know is “Once I was blind but now I see.” Or all we may be able to express is to say, “Come and see.” The important thing is to yield to the Holy Spirit and to allow him to speak his words through us, and to then trust him with the results. Yet, we should never dilute the gospel of Jesus Christ in order to appeal to the flesh of humans, to be accepted of man, or to make the gospel more palatable, fun, entertaining and enjoyable, because nowhere in scripture are we taught to adjust the gospel to make it more appealing. We should always speak the truth in love.

Come and See / An Original Work / May 20, 2013

Based off John 1:35-51

John, the Baptist, called of God to
Make straight the way for the Lord,
Told his disciples about Jesus,
So two of them followed Him.

One of them who followed Jesus
Told his brother, Simon Peter,
Who then he brought to the Savior,
Who had told them, “Come and see.”

Jesus Christ, our Lord, Messiah,
On his way to Galilee found a man, Philip,
So he told him, “I want you to follow Me.”

Philip then found his friend,
And he told him, “We have found the one
The prophets spoke of – He is Jesus!”
Philip then said, “Come and see.”

Jesus saw the man, Nathanael,
While he sat beneath a fig tree,
Even before Philip called him,
So Nathanael did believe.

Nonetheless the Lord said,
“You believe because of what I told you.
You will see much greater things than these
If you will Come and see.”

Jesus’ calling to each one of us.
He tells us to believe in Him
As our Lord and Messiah,
And to follow where He leads.

He says we must turn from our sins,
Die to sin and self each day,
And put on our new lives in Jesus;
Bow before Him; humbly pray.