What We Speak

Sunday, April 13, 2014, 7:47 a.m. – the Lord Jesus put the song in mind, “Give God the Glory.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read 1 Corinthians 2 (NIV).

The Message

And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.

Wow! This is powerful! So much of today’s modern church movement here in America appears to represent just the opposite of what Paul stated here. It seems so many preachers in today’s modern church movement participate in or even lead the way in marketing the church just like big business. Many preachers are more like entrepreneurs starting their own businesses, trying to draw in large crowds of people through the use of marketing techniques (schemes), advertising, man-made gimmicks, entertainment, and sermons designed to both entertain and teach, often watering down the gospel to make it more palatable, acceptable and appealing to the crowds. My husband and I were church planters, and we went through the training, so we have some idea how this works. So much of what is taught, though somewhat based in the word of God, is also based in the wisdom, thinking and reasoning of humans whose objective is to draw in large crowds of people.

Yet, this doesn’t seem to be something new, as Paul apparently encountered those who used human wisdom and persuasive words instead of relying upon the power of the Spirit of God. Yet I believe this to be epidemic in evangelical Christianity today in America, and that the church is in a crisis situation. We need revival in America’s churches. We need to get back to the basics of the word of God and forget trying to build businesses of man. We need to stop spending so much time reading books on how to grow our churches and we need to spend more time in the word of God and on our knees in prayer and out among people in sharing with them the love of Jesus and the truth of the gospel. The early church grew through salvation of human lives, not through gimmicks and entertaining people. The apostles relied upon the scriptures and the Spirit of God within them to give them the words to speak and to show them what they must do to disciple Christ’s followers to maturity. That way the people’s faith did not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power. Amen!

They Didn’t Understand

We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. No, we declare God’s wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

Those who do not have the Spirit of God have a very difficult time comprehending what is of the Spirit, because it is not logical, visible, sensible or practical to them, because it is spiritually discerned. If they had understood God’s wisdom in Jesus’ days on the earth, they would not have crucified him. If they understood today, they would not reject Christ and his gospel and persecute his followers. From yesterday’s writing, Because of Him:

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God…

“The message of the cross is not only Christ crucified for our sins, and thus he put to death our sins, but it is also us individually accepting God’s invitation to his salvation, thus we are crucified with Christ, dead to sin, but alive to God, no longer enslaved by sin but free to walk in Christ’s righteousness and holiness in the working, power and strength of his Spirit within us. This is foolishness to those who are perishing, because they want to hold on to their own lives and be the ones calling the shots, living to do what pleases them, making their own decisions, etc. It seems foolish to them, not only that God would come to earth, take on human flesh and die for us, but that any reasonable and rational human being would submit and surrender to the cross of Christ, willingly allowing the Spirit of God to turn them away from living for sin and self to living for Christ and his righteousness. So, they may ridicule, mock and even misjudge us, because they don’t understand why anyone would willingly give up ownership of his or her own life in order to serve and live for God.”

No Human Mind

However, as it is written:

“What no eye has seen,
what no ear has heard,
and what no human mind has conceived”—
the things God has prepared for those who love him—
these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit.

Back in September of 2004 I attended a prayer conference for church workers. My husband and I were church planters at the time. The speakers there that day were definitely led of the Spirit of God, for God was speaking through them loud (but gently) and clear. I recall several things I heard the Spirit say to my heart that day, which were based in the teaching of the word of God. He said: “Give your ministry over to God – it is not yours, it is his. God may have something else for you to do that you have not even thought of.” And, “What you are going through is much bigger than you can imagine.”

The words “not even thought of” and “bigger than you can imagine” fit with this passage here in 1 Corinthians 2. It is true that we, in our human flesh, cannot possibly imagine or think of all that God has prepared for us, yet these are the things God reveals to us by his Spirit.

The Lord placed a calling upon my life that day I still did not fully comprehend, but that I realized two years later when God led me to begin writing out what he teaches me each day through his word and to place it on the internet. Truly my human mind would never have thought of that. It was not something I was seeking. We were church planters, but that is not where God had us remain. He had something else in mind, and he did reveal the part he had for me to me by his Spirit. And, it did mean giving up what I thought was God’s will for my life in order to serve and to live for God in a way I did not imagine.

The Spirit

The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words. The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, for,

“Who has known the mind of the Lord
so as to instruct him?”
But we have the mind of Christ.

The Spirit of God knows the thoughts of God. Those of us who have believed in Jesus as Lord and Savior of our lives have the Holy Spirit of God living within us, teaching, guiding, counseling, directing, nurturing, empowering, sanctifying, and enabling us to live for God, to walk in the Spirit, and to say “No!” to ungodliness and worldly passions and desires. The Spirit within us reveals Christ to us; reveals his word to us; and helps us to understand that which is spiritually discerned.

The Spirit teaches us what to say, guides us into all truth, makes known to us what he receives from Christ, empowers us to be Christ’s witnesses, and enables us to speak the word boldly. He also urges, warns and cautions. The Spirit helps us in our weaknesses and intercedes for us in accordance with the will of God. We are to walk and live by the Spirit so that we do not gratify the desires of our flesh. Because the Spirit is within us, we have the mind of Christ within us so that we can know Christ, his will, what is important to him, what grieves him and what pleases him. May we walk in his truth and do what pleases him.

Give God the Glory / An Original Work

Based off Psalm 19 / March 10, 2014

All of creation now proclaims:
“Give God the glory; honor His name!”
Each day the stars in heav’n above
Show forth His wisdom; tell of His love.

They do not speak. They have no voice.
Yet, they declare we have a choice:
“Worship the God of heav’n above;
Believe in Jesus; trust in His love.”

God’s word is perfect, just and good,
Refreshing souls who trust in the Lord;
Makes wise the simple; radiant -
Lighting our lives with God’s righteousness.

Joy to the heart His words now speak;
Pure and enduring, now we seek.
They are more precious than our gold;
Sweeter than honey; never grow old.

Keeping the word brings great reward.
By the word Jesus speaks and He warns,
Convicting hearts of all their sin;
Forgiving all who call upon Him.

Praying You keep me, Lord, from sins.
May they not rule my life again.
Then will I walk in all Your ways,
Following Jesus all of my days.