Covenant Words
Covenant Words

Episode · 1 year ago

Hidden Wisdom of God: Revealed


Rev. Christopher Chelpka

And let's give our attention to God's word. Yet among the mature we do in part wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away, but we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God which God decreed before the age. Is For our glory. None of the rulers of the age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of Glory. Amen. You may be seated. So, as we consider last time, Paul is speaking in a context in which his speaking is being challenged. I'm he speaking in a context in which people 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 of a deal. It's true. Is letters are weighty and there's some good at them, 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 standards of much of the world either. You remember what he said earlier. He said that the Cross of Christ is folly to the Greeks, a stumbling block to the Jews. They wanted something else. They wanted wisdom, as they saw it. They wanted signs of power, as they saw it, and the gory body of Christ hanging on the cross that we just sung about is not either of those things. As they saw it, there were important people in the world in Jesus's Day and in Paul's Day as well, and in Corinth who were telling them that this wisdom that you're speaking about, this gospel that you preach, doesn't look like wisdom. It doesn't look like wisdom, looks like 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 things and 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 a moment here in these verses that we read this morning, Second Corinthians or first Corinthians, 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 and it is not weakness. It is, in fact, truly powerful and the very wisdom of God. That's what it..., despite the way it often looks and despite the way it is often attacked. In this passage, Jesus tells us, through his impossible that he does indeed give wisdom, but it's of 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, you know 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, people are going to at least ignore you, maybe laugh at you. You might even 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 should I 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 based in this sense of the weakness of the Gospel, the apparent arrant weakness of the Gospel. So I'm going to tell this guy that this man was the 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 we tell ourselves and honestly, it's often true. People often don't believe it, they don'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 perceive it, and some people are very explicit about this. They they go around and 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, of not being a part of the moment of history, but being tied with foolish 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 for this, as he says, if they hadn't thoughts so they wouldn't have crucified 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 have done this, and they did, because that's the world that we live in now. Why do they think that? I think it's helpful to meditate on this for a moment. Why does the world not think about the Cross of Christ as we do? Well, part of it is that Jesus does everything upside down. He says, lose your... to gain your life. Think of others as more important than yourselves, to use a line from a him. Let goods and kindred go this mortal life. Also, he spends time with tax collectors, prostitutes and sinners. He chooses unimportant people to do work that he considers important and great. The Gospel that we preach is that the son of God was sent into the world by the father in order to save sinners from their sins through the death on the cross, and this message is something that no other religion even comes close to proclaiming. It's a message that neither rides high above the history of the world and some kind of spiritual abstraction or pithy sayings, nor is it tied to this world in something, in a way that human beings could accomplish it if they would just set their minds to it. Now, the Gospel that we preach, that we proclaim that we hold to, is God above the world, in the world, and that's a very humble thing. The Lord of Glory being born in a manger is a humble thing. The Lord of Glory calling a tax collector to be one of his main disciples is a humble thing. Dying on a cross is a humble thing. And even after his resurrection from the dead, Jesus doesn't go around Zapping people with lasers. He eats fish. That's breakfast with his disciples. These are humble things. Now, we're not discounting here the healing of the paralytic, the healing the healing of the blind and other lame or the feeding of the five thousand, or the turning of the water into wine or 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, as this age would, perceive them. We're just saying that those things were done by the son of God in human flesh who is frequently homeless and despised by anyone who was important. But the thing that the world really doesn't like about 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 of average mind or less than average mind can understand what the Bible says about the Gospel. That's not the problem. God...

...doesn't speak nonsense and people believe way stranger things than the things that the Bible proclaims. The problem is that it's different, 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's powerful. 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 was going to do. All these people are following him. They didn't rejoice in that fact, as we might. They felt threatened by that fact because it 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 meaning in this world. Let me put it this way. There's nothing like being told that the son of God, the son of God, had to take on human flesh and die on a cross in order to knock you off your high horse, that that's what it took, and that you have nothing to bring to God to earn his favor, that you only have your own righteousness and 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 is left of human ambition after that? What's left? What? What possible thing could you say? Well, I'll just do this or do that, or we're left with nothing. If we look at the Cross of Christ and we see the Lord there as he truly is, we are left with nothing to stand before God except our sins, or the forgiveness of our sins through this crucified 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 just foolishness, 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 he is exposing the lie and revealing the truth. The Gospel is powerful, the Cross is true wisdom, and he tells us this because we need to know it. This age and the rulers of this age are doomed to pass away. If we tie our cart to that..., we are doomed to pass away along with them. And even if you don't think of yourself as a ruler 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, but we are all tempted to believe the lies that this age tells us. These accusations, in these lies, they are temptations for us and we need to know the truth about the Bible. We need to know the truth about its power and its wisdom of the Gospel so that we can be courageous, bold and 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 want you to serve Christ, and when you don't, it will call you obstinate, ridiculous, not a team player, disruptive, rebellious and worse, and in 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 his circles. Paul had a certain measure of power, and now he's getting beaten wherever he goes. He faces all kinds of dangers and here among his own church he's now getting any accolades. They're all saying, why aren't you more like Apollos? He speaks nicer. But we must not give up. We must be bold and go forward like David on the battlefield or esther over her people. We need to be ready to put our lives on the line for the truth of the Lord, knowing that it is powerful, that it is true wisdom, that the lies are the lies. And that's not what we believe. And we do so because of what Paul says here. He says that the wisdom of the world will pass away, but not the wisdom of God. The world may call the God usbo foolishness, but beloved, it doesn't mean that that's true. Somebody can say I'm twenty feet tall, that doesn't make it true. And so we can't get rattled simply when people say stuff. We must stand firm in what God says, in what God has revealed. So here's what's clear. That Jesus Christ and him crucified is the wisdom of God. Think about the world...

...for a moment. It's all puffed up about itself, but is it really delivering on its promises? Go to go to Bookman's and look at the Diet self or the business shelf or the pick any shelf in there, and what will you find? Fat after fat after fat, old books that were once best sellers and everybody was talking about and now it's gone. But we're and in some ways they're the same thing over and over. The world keeps telling us the same things over and over and there's some truth to them sometimes, but largely it's empty promises. The world wants to deliver utopia to us and it never comes. Generation after generation after generation it never comes. Everybody talks about how Babil the tower is going to be so great and then it falls down again. This world under the sun is this repeating cycle, over and over and over, a vanity? We ought not to trust in it. But consider that in contrast that with Jesus 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 now sits at the right hand of God, interceding for us, protecting us, keeping us, and then he sends this message out into the world and millions of people of every tribe and tongue and nation come to believe him. He promises US eternal life and he has delivered on that promise. Think about the wisdom 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 wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. Something has been and revealed that was planned for a long time, and there's wisdom in that. So first and considering the Cross of Christ. Just a moment ago I had you consider its power and its effectiveness and I want you to consider it's planning, the the will of God and perfectly meshing all of these things together. Sometimes you and I will fall into the right decision, but it wasn't really because we planned it to be that way. True Wisdom, really excellent wisdom, however, is knowing the means and the end and everything is perfectly matched up together. Think about a...

...skill, maybe something really simple, like hanging a curtain Rod. You know exactly the tools you need, you have all your materials, you're not overspending, you're not underspending. You put it up, you drill the holes, you put it in, you hang the curtain on. It's beautiful. Now. I suppose some of you can do that. 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 wise hanging 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 the right time, for the right amount of mine at money, with the right amount 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't even get you know, a curtain Rod Right. You have, I imagine your struggles and other departments as well. Now consider what God does with the salvation of the world through Jesus Christ. We're fools struggle to do the right thing and pull it off in some way. Think about what God did. The scriptures say he planned this salvation of his people. He planned this salvation of 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 history to 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 it through 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 we would look at the Cross and marvel at the wisdom of God, just stand back and marvel at it. So in the world, you know, strets around 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 ages for my glory. Every birth, every king, every movement of every planet, every army, every angel, led up to this moment, the moment of the crucifixion of his son,... which the Lord of Glory was crucified for our salvation. This demonstrates to us the real wisdom of God and it 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 world into a single, coherent and very true story, a story which he even then uses to change people's hearts, to lay aside their sin and cling to Jesus Christ, a miracle of miracles. Love of this world can't see past its own nose. Just pick up a newspaper, it's not that hard to recognize this. But in the gospel of Jesus Christ, in the revelation of the wisdom of God give God gives to us a telescope to see far out into things that are not yet and a microscope to see way down to the details of history, and he gives us meaning, not only an ability to see 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 all this was done for our glory, reflecting and Lee and and and redounding back to his glory. He gives us meaning, brothers as sisters. He gives us comfort for this life and the next. In his power and in his wisdom, he gives us hope because of these things, in the midst of grief and sin. He gives us strength for times of weakness and he allows us to stand strong when the world would accuse us and the devil would try to foolish so put your faith not in the rulers of this age, because if you do, you'll be doomed right along with them, but put your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be glorified right along with him. Let's pray and ask that God would do these things among us.

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