Let us pray: Dear Savior, Thank you for sending us the Spirit with His power, His wisdom, and His comfort! Thank You for wrapping this glorious gift up in a useable form for us to employ in our lives: namely the Bible. Now move us to embrace the Bible as You have embraced us in and through it. Amen
GRACE MERCY AND PEACE ARE YOURS FROM CHRIST AND THE HOLY SPIRIT WHOM HE HAS SENT TO US!
TEXT: 1 Corinthians 2: 6-13
Dearly Beloved By Christ:
How many secrets do you know? I know a really important one that I’m going to share with you. I know where God buried all His gold! It’s true. God has secreted away all the treasures of heaven itself here on this earth. You don’t have to get out a shovel and dig for it, either. All you have to do is open your Bibles and your minds as you read His Word of truth and the riches of heaven will become yours. That’s because only in the Bible do we discover God’s grace, the rich mother-lode of His love.
To most people the Holy Spirit is mysterious and He appears to be secretive. As Jesus told Nicodemus: “The Spirit works where and when He pleases.” He appears as elusive as a breath of wind on an otherwise calm day. However, you and I don’t have to be frustrated by such elusiveness anymore because our lesson clearly reveals:
OUR SECRET GOD AND HIS NOT-SO-SECRET MESSAGE
St. Paul was writing to Greeks who prided themselves in their human wisdom. In the Roman world they were the intelligentsia of the day. In simple terms, “they thought they knew it all.” And to them the message of the cross was a tough nut to swallow. God’s Son dying on a cross to pay for all their sins and to free them from God’s judgment seemed unbelievable. How could this message be true? It seemed to go against every avenue of human wisdom which said: “God would never do such a thing for mere mortals.”
And yet, St. Paul says this: “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 speak of God’s secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began.” The wisdom is Jesus Christ and His grace. The wisdom is: “God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, not counting their sins against them anymore.” The wisdom is that Almighty God decided, before time even began, to save our souls through faith in His beloved Son. The angels desired to peer into these truths during OT times. The prophets proclaimed them and the faithful embraced them in hope. But now, in Jerusalem, on Mt. Calvary, they have been revealed to the world. Thus the glory of Christ, God’s Son, has become ours, all ours, through faith. No earthly ruler could ever or would ever dream up such a thing. No earthly ruler would ever willingly share, completely, His kingdom with His subjects, much less His enemies. But God has done exactly this—in Christ!
Paul goes on: “None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. However, as it is written: ‘No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him’—but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit.” It’s interesting how Paul quotes there from Isaiah’s words, chapter 64, and applies the prophet’s words so succinctly. How would or could God save us? How would or could God Almighty take on finite flesh, suffer, die, and rise again to a new life—for us? We would never dream of loving our enemies and dying for them—knowing most would mock us forever afterwards. But God did so in Christ and thereby He also worked a miracle!—His love changed our hearts and caused us to love Him in return. And all this was and is revealed to us—not by mental acuity or human wisdom, but by the most little-known member of the Holy Trinity: the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit knows every aspect and nuance of God’s nature because the Holy Spirit is God! And this 3rd Person of the Trinity has a very special role: to reveal and lay out to us the not-so-secret message of salvation for our souls. “The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.”
I recently came across an article about how certain scientists are devising algorithms and computer programs to enable law enforcement to read people’s minds and predict future unlawful behavior. All I can say to that is: good luck!—Especially when it comes to understanding the inner thoughts of a Christian. For the Divine is and always will be incomprehensible to mere humans. The Spirit alone reveals the Divine and the change He creates within the human soul.
“We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, 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, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words.”
The spirit of this world is: might makes right, tit-for-tat, only the strong survive, look out for # 1, what’s in it for me, and: everyone’s got an angle. None of that is taught to us by the Spirit. None of that has anything to do with Godly wisdom because it’s all based on sin-tainted pride-infused human wisdom. No, God’s wisdom is this: “I have loved you enough, in spite of your sins and failings, to save your soul and remake your life—in and through My Son, Jesus Christ. Moreover, My Spirit infuses Godly power in that Gospel to create and sustain saving faith within your heart. And just as all the gold in the world cannot buy your soul’s salvation, My love and forgiveness for you in Jesus already has! It’s my free gift to each of you!”
I started this sermon by saying that I’d tell you all about Our Secret God and His Not-So-Secret Message. And I have. One last thought: there are countless people who have already heard this age-old message, understand the words of it with their heads, but have still cast it aside and refuse to believe it. They have head knowledge, but no heart knowledge. They would say: “It’s not a secret at all! Anyone can read about it in the Bible!” But, of course, the real secret is: The Spirit has graciously given me the power and ability to embrace it in faith! That reality will always be a tremendous comfort for every Christian even as it causes the unbeliever to scratch their head at the mystery of it all. Amen