Covenant Words
Covenant Words

Episode · 7 months ago

Hidden Wisdom of God: Revealed

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Rev. Christopher Chelpka

And let's give our attention to God'sword. Yet among the mature we do in part wisdom, although it isnot a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, whoare doomed to pass away, but we impart a secret and hidden wisdom ofGod which God decreed before the age. Is For our glory. None ofthe rulers of the age understood this, for if they had, they wouldnot have crucified the Lord of Glory. Amen. You may be seated.So, as we consider last time, Paul is speaking in a context inwhich his speaking is being challenged. I'm he speaking in a context in whichpeople are looking at him and saying, what's so impressive about that guy?His knees shake, his hands tremble, his speech is not that big ofa deal. It's true. Is letters are weighty and there's some good atthem, but we want somebody impressive to follow. Paul wasn't that man.Indeed, in many ways, the Gospel that he declared wasn't meeting the standardsof much of the world either. You remember what he said earlier. Hesaid that the Cross of Christ is folly to the Greeks, a stumbling blockto the Jews. They wanted something else. They wanted wisdom, as they sawit. They wanted signs of power, as they saw it, and thegory body of Christ hanging on the cross that we just sung about isnot either of those things. As they saw it, there were important peoplein the world in Jesus's Day and in Paul's Day as well, and inCorinth who were telling them that this wisdom that you're speaking about, this gospelthat you preach, doesn't look like wisdom. It doesn't look like wisdom, lookslike foolishness, it doesn't look like power, it looks like weakness,that this mission that you're on as a church to go and proclaim these thingsand the people that you are sending and the people that you are gathering,none of it's very impressive. And maybe it's not just wisdom clothed in foolishness, but it is in fact foolishness and weakness. And so Paul takes amoment here in these verses that we read this morning, Second Corinthians or firstCorinthians, to six through eight, to get really clear with us about something. He wants us to understand that the gospel of Jesus is not foolishness andit is not weakness. It is, in fact, truly powerful and thevery wisdom of God. That's what it...

...is, despite the way it oftenlooks and despite the way it is often attacked. In this passage, Jesustells us, through his impossible that he does indeed give wisdom, but it'sof a certain kind. It's different than what we usually experience in this world. It's different, with the than what the rulers of this age expect.Now, of course, the world thinks that God's revelation is not wisdom,and you, I am sure, have experienced this. You know this.For those of you who have been Christians for even a little bit, youknow something about who Jesus is and what he said and what he's done,and you also know that if you say that, in certain places, peopleare going to at least ignore you, maybe laugh at you. You mighteven get in trouble, at least in their eyes and in their hearts,if not even more specific consequences, and that hesitation that you feel about shouldI really say this here, a sense of a little bit of embarrassment,of is anybody really going to believe this? That is that comes and that's basedin this sense of the weakness of the Gospel, the apparent arrant weaknessof the Gospel. So I'm going to tell this guy that this man wasthe son of God and he was crucified on a cross and because of that, somehow my sins are forgiven. They're just not going to believe it.They're just not going to believe that. In these are the things that wetell ourselves and honestly, it's often true. People often don't believe it, theydon't accept and hear those things. Of course many do as well,but we understand. But we feel that hesitation because we know how people perceiveit, and some people are very explicit about this. They they go aroundand they make fun of Christians and they accuse Christians of not being team players, of not being part of the culture, of not moving things forward, ofnot being a part of the moment of history, but being tied withfoolish myths and speculations and things like that. The World Thinks that the Gospel,just centered in the cross of Christ, is foolishness, when Paul's proof forthis, as he says, if they hadn't thoughts so they wouldn't havecrucified the Lord of Glory if they understood him to be the power of God, the wisdom of God, the Lord of Glory. They would not havedone this, and they did, because that's the world that we live innow. Why do they think that? I think it's helpful to meditate onthis for a moment. Why does the world not think about the Cross ofChrist as we do? Well, part of it is that Jesus does everythingupside down. He says, lose your...

...life to gain your life. Thinkof others as more important than yourselves, to use a line from a him. Let goods and kindred go this mortal life. Also, he spends timewith tax collectors, prostitutes and sinners. He chooses unimportant people to do workthat he considers important and great. The Gospel that we preach is that theson of God was sent into the world by the father in order to savesinners from their sins through the death on the cross, and this message issomething that no other religion even comes close to proclaiming. It's a message thatneither rides high above the history of the world and some kind of spiritual abstractionor pithy sayings, nor is it tied to this world in something, ina way that human beings could accomplish it if they would just set their mindsto it. Now, the Gospel that we preach, that we proclaim thatwe hold to, is God above the world, in the world, andthat's a very humble thing. The Lord of Glory being born in a mangeris a humble thing. The Lord of Glory calling a tax collector to beone of his main disciples is a humble thing. Dying on a cross isa humble thing. And even after his resurrection from the dead, Jesus doesn'tgo around Zapping people with lasers. He eats fish. That's breakfast with hisdisciples. These are humble things. Now, we're not discounting here the healing ofthe paralytic, the healing the healing of the blind and other lame orthe feeding of the five thousand, or the turning of the water into wineor walking on water or raising the dead. We're not discounting any of that.Those things are full of much glory, even as the Earth would, asthis age would, perceive them. We're just saying that those things weredone by the son of God in human flesh who is frequently homeless and despisedby anyone who was important. But the thing that the world really doesn't likeabout this upside down nature of the Gospel is that it turns them upside down. It's not that the logic of the Gospel is ill logical or incoherent.Are you can't understand it. You can understand it. It fits together,it makes sense. It's not confusing in that sense. An average person ofaverage mind or less than average mind can understand what the Bible says about theGospel. That's not the problem. God...

...doesn't speak nonsense and people believe waystranger things than the things that the Bible proclaims. The problem is that it'sdifferent, and the problem is is that it undermines the values of this world, it's aspirations, it's notions of what's important and what's what's wisdom and what'spowerful. It turns people's lives upside down and that's what they're afraid of.Think about the rulers at Jesus time right. They were afraid of what he wasgoing to do. All these people are following him. They didn't rejoicein that fact, as we might. They felt threatened by that fact becauseit threatened their way of life, it threatened what they thought was important,what they thought was valuable. They it threatened their sense of importance and meaningin this world. Let me put it this way. There's nothing like beingtold that the son of God, the son of God, had to takeon human flesh and die on a cross in order to knock you off yourhigh horse, that that's what it took, and that you have nothing to bringto God to earn his favor, that you only have your own righteousnessand that if you stay in that unrighteousness, you have nothing but death before you, and that the only way to freedom is to accept this crucified Lord, to Deny Yourself, pick up your cross and follow him. What isleft of human ambition after that? What's left? What? What possible thingcould you say? Well, I'll just do this or do that, orwe're left with nothing. If we look at the Cross of Christ and wesee the Lord there as he truly is, we are left with nothing to standbefore God except our sins, or the forgiveness of our sins through thiscrucified one. So this is why so called important people of this world,the rulers of this age will tell you that faith isn't power clothed in weakness, it's just weakness. They'll tell you that the mission of the Church,the message of the Church, is not wisdom clothed in foolishness, it's justfoolishness, and that's because they're threatened by it, as they should be,as they should be. And so what Paul does in this passage is heis exposing the lie and revealing the truth. The Gospel is powerful, the Crossis true wisdom, and he tells us this because we need to knowit. This age and the rulers of this age are doomed to pass away. If we tie our cart to that...

...horse, we are doomed to passaway along with them. And even if you don't think of yourself as aruler of this age, which a very high thing to say, I suppose, I imagine that most of us don't say that kind of thing, butwe are all tempted to believe the lies that this age tells us. Theseaccusations, in these lies, they are temptations for us and we need toknow the truth about the Bible. We need to know the truth about itspower and its wisdom of the Gospel so that we can be courageous, boldand stand strong. As we've seen, the world lies to protect itself.It also lies because it doesn't want you to follow Christ, it doesn't wantyou to serve Christ, and when you don't, it will call you obstinate, ridiculous, not a team player, disruptive, rebellious and worse, andin some serious cases, the world will sometime times make you make a choice. They will tell you you either stop following Jesus, believing in Him,obeying him, worshiping him, telling others about him, or suffer the consequences. Lose the job, not marry the girl, have disruptions in your family, go to prison, even die. Whatever it is, there consequences.Think about Paul. Paul was esteemed, Paul was doing very well in hiscircles. Paul had a certain measure of power, and now he's getting beatenwherever he goes. He faces all kinds of dangers and here among his ownchurch he's now getting any accolades. They're all saying, why aren't you morelike Apollos? He speaks nicer. But we must not give up. Wemust be bold and go forward like David on the battlefield or esther over herpeople. We need to be ready to put our lives on the line forthe truth of the Lord, knowing that it is powerful, that it istrue wisdom, that the lies are the lies. And that's not what webelieve. And we do so because of what Paul says here. He saysthat the wisdom of the world will pass away, but not the wisdom ofGod. The world may call the God usbo foolishness, but beloved, itdoesn't mean that that's true. Somebody can say I'm twenty feet tall, thatdoesn't make it true. And so we can't get rattled simply when people saystuff. We must stand firm in what God says, in what God hasrevealed. So here's what's clear. That Jesus Christ and him crucified is thewisdom of God. Think about the world...

...for a moment. It's all puffedup about itself, but is it really delivering on its promises? Go togo to Bookman's and look at the Diet self or the business shelf or thepick any shelf in there, and what will you find? Fat after fatafter fat, old books that were once best sellers and everybody was talking aboutand now it's gone. But we're and in some ways they're the same thingover and over. The world keeps telling us the same things over and overand there's some truth to them sometimes, but largely it's empty promises. Theworld wants to deliver utopia to us and it never comes. Generation after generationafter generation it never comes. Everybody talks about how Babil the tower is goingto be so great and then it falls down again. This world under thesun is this repeating cycle, over and over and over, a vanity?We ought not to trust in it. But consider that in contrast that withJesus Christ. He comes into the world to save sinners from their sin.He goes to the cross, he dies and then he raises from the dead. He ascends, he is seen ascending into the heavens, where he nowsits at the right hand of God, interceding for us, protecting us,keeping us, and then he sends this message out into the world and millionsof people of every tribe and tongue and nation come to believe him. Hepromises US eternal life and he has delivered on that promise. Think about thewisdom of God from the way that Paul Talks about it here. He says, excuse me, he says not the we impart the secret and hidden wisdomof God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. Something hasbeen and revealed that was planned for a long time, and there's wisdom inthat. So first and considering the Cross of Christ. Just a moment agoI had you consider its power and its effectiveness and I want you to considerit's planning, the the will of God and perfectly meshing all of these thingstogether. Sometimes you and I will fall into the right decision, but itwasn't really because we planned it to be that way. True Wisdom, reallyexcellent wisdom, however, is knowing the means and the end and everything isperfectly matched up together. Think about a...

...skill, maybe something really simple,like hanging a curtain Rod. You know exactly the tools you need, youhave all your materials, you're not overspending, you're not underspending. You put itup, you drill the holes, you put it in, you hangthe curtain on. It's beautiful. Now. I suppose some of you can dothat. I cannot. I make multiple trips to the hardware store.The thing is crooked, it ends up falling down after, you know,a few months. This is not wisdom, this is not well, the wisehanging of a curtain right now. You this is a silly example,but you can apply this to anything right, having all the resources perfectly matched,perfectly executed, all right there, in the right place, at theright time, for the right amount of mine at money, with the rightamount of energy spent, involving the right number of people, everything perfectly,and then it does its intended thing. That's that's wisdom. Now I can'teven get you know, a curtain Rod Right. You have, I imagineyour struggles and other departments as well. Now consider what God does with thesalvation of the world through Jesus Christ. We're fools struggle to do the rightthing and pull it off in some way. Think about what God did. Thescriptures say he planned this salvation of his people. He planned this salvationof his people before the ages, before the ages, for our glory.He determined exactly how he would use each and every person individually in human historyto accomplish that end. He overcomes every single obstacle, including death itself,using resources that don't even exist except for his making them and he does itthrough both very ordinary and normal ways and totally unnormal or whatever that word is, and extraordinary ways, just to prove his wisdom, just so that wewould look at the Cross and marvel at the wisdom of God, just standback and marvel at it. So in the world, you know, stretsaround and says that's not wisdom, we would just look at them and scoff. I don't know what you're talking about. The Lord plants this before the agesfor my glory. Every birth, every king, every movement of everyplanet, every army, every angel, led up to this moment, themoment of the crucifixion of his son,...

...in which the Lord of Glory wascrucified for our salvation. This demonstrates to us the real wisdom of God andit reveals to us the knowledge and his plan and his will for our salvation, a will that draws together all the events and the diversity of the worldinto a single, coherent and very true story, a story which he eventhen uses to change people's hearts, to lay aside their sin and cling toJesus Christ, a miracle of miracles. Love of this world can't see pastits own nose. Just pick up a newspaper, it's not that hard torecognize this. But in the gospel of Jesus Christ, in the revelation ofthe wisdom of God give God gives to us a telescope to see far outinto things that are not yet and a microscope to see way down to thedetails of history, and he gives us meaning, not only an ability tosee and understand the beginning in the end and how all the parts fit together, but he helps us to see how we fit into that, how allthis was done for our glory, reflecting and Lee and and and redounding backto his glory. He gives us meaning, brothers as sisters. He gives uscomfort for this life and the next. In his power and in his wisdom, he gives us hope because of these things, in the midst ofgrief and sin. He gives us strength for times of weakness and he allowsus to stand strong when the world would accuse us and the devil would tryto foolish so put your faith not in the rulers of this age, becauseif you do, you'll be doomed right along with them, but put yourfaith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be glorified right along withhim. Let's pray and ask that God would do these things among us.

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