Wait on the LORD: be of good courage,
and he shall strengthen thine heart;
wait, I say, on the LORD.
- Psalm 27:14
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The Mind of Christ
Dear friend,

Grace, mercy and peace from God our Father and His Son our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ be with you today and always.

Our Scripture text is today is from 1 Corinthians, chapter 2:1-16 It is the fourth sermon in a series of six sermons in this letter that was written initially to the congregation at Corinth by the Apostle Paul and is a letter that is comforting, encouraging and instructive for all Christian congregations today. The letter is written to address the disunity that has come into the congregation and which if left unchecked will bring about division and fragmentation into this body of believers in Christ.

In our sermon text today, we will hear of the Apostle Paul's focus in his preaching, that it was centered on the person and work of Jesus Christ, which he referred to as the testimony of God.

We will also hear of the necessity of the message not only being centered on the cross of Christ, but also that it is to be delivered in the demonstration of the Holy Spirit and power so that our faith would not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.

And we will hear of the necessity of the Holy Spirit being the Channel by which we receive the things of God and how through the ministry of the Holy Spirit we have the mind of Christ. Our memory verse, which is the last verse of our text, makes that statement:

1 Cor 2:16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.

Let us review the letter so far so that we can get the right context of what we will hear today from this letter. Paul has opened the letter by greeting the beloved saints in the congregation with greetings from God, has reminded them that they have been given utterance and all knowledge in Christ, they are lacking in nothing and they will be preserved to the end for God is faithful in His promises.

He then approaches the main topic of his letter with the following two verses:

1 Cor 2: 10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.
11 For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you.

He then states that these contentions seen in their following of different men/gifts and through asking questions shows them that it is foolhardy to go down that road. He then points out that he was primarily sent to preach the gospel:

1 Cor 1:17 For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.
18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.

After naming various high profile names of that time, he points to the gospel, and that it needs to be clearly preached and taught. This is how he begins to address the division that is in this congregation. This is the point at which all division originates. It all hinges on whether we understand and live in the power of God as revealed at the cross. After opening the discussion which is intended to give his audience the clear difference between fancy words that may seem to be preaching the Gospel and yet lack the power so as to lose the effectiveness of it, he indicts both the Jews and the Greeks for their rejection of Christ's Gospel. He compared it to the wisdom of this world with the wisdom of God.

1 Cor 1:30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:
31 That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.

Do we remember how the Spirit through Paul wrote in the beginning of this chapter?

5 That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge;

He told them that they had all speaking ability and all knowledge because of Christ, who is our wisdom, righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption. He dwells in us by His Spirit, therefore we have what He has. He now is going to expand on what he has written thus far.

KJV 1 Corinthians 2:1 And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God.
2 For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.
3 And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling.
4 And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:
5 That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.

He now speaks of his experience of coming to them, not speaking anything to them but what God has given Him so say. This is seen in the words "declaring unto you the testimony of God." Or another way to say it would be "declaring unto you the witness of God." He then says that he is intentional in his preaching, referring to that which God has done through His Son Jesus Christ and that itwould be first and foremost. He is expanding on verses 17 and 18 of the last chapter.

Let us point out that just because Paul does not speak of the resurrection here does not mean that he is excluding that part of His work, but it is understood that the entire redemptive work of Christ is intended here. This is what he came to preach to them. He did not call a meeting to try resolve the many differences, (not to say there is not benefit in that) but he came preaching the cross of Christ as the means by which all division and disunity must be addressed. Too often it is easy for us to miss this truth. A W Tozer gave a great illustration which speaks to this:

"One hundred pianos all tuned to the same tuning fork are automatically tuned to each other. They are of one accord by being tuned, not to one another, but to the tuning fork. So one hundred worshippers meet together, each one looking to Christ, are nearer to each other than they could possibly be were they to become "unity conscious" and turn their eyes away from God to strive for closer fellowship."

In order to distance himself from the Greek emphasis on great speaking abilties,he then reveals to the listeners of how he is like any of them, that he is like any of us, in that he had his flesh to contend with. Paul writes about what people said about him....

ESV 2 Corinthians 10:10 For they say, "His letters are weighty and strong, but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech of no account."

In the book of Acts it is recorded that while in Corinth, the Lord came to him to encourage and strengthen him:

Acts 18: 9 Then spake the Lord to Paul in the night by a vision, Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace:
10 For I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee: for I have much people in this city.
11 And he continued there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.

The content of his preaching was the testimony of God, which was the cross of Jesus Christ.

And it was delivered in the demonstration of the Holy Spirit and of power.

4 And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:
5 That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.

Paul recognized that he was channel, a conduit, a delivery vessel. He recognized that the message must be biblically grounded, and it was his responsibility to speak that which God has spoken or revealed to him. We need to note that Paul had Apostolic authority which means that he was one of the persons to whom God revealed His Word to and which later became the Holy Bible. This revelation was never in contrast to any previous revelation that had been given by God in the Old Testament.

He also recognized that the Holy Spirit would empower him to speak the testimony of God and that he should not think that it was up to him to carefully choose words or oratory that in his mind would have the desired effect on the hearers. Since Paul had Apostolic authority, which we do not have today, there is a difference in how we would view Paul's and the other Apostle's preaching and ours today. To say it simply, Paul was given to write many letters in the New Testament which are a part of our Holy Bible today and it is a sealed book in the sense that the Bible is complete. He was not preaching in a time when the Bible had been completed, but yet he never spoke anything that was not given to him by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

It is somewhat different for us in the post Apostle age, for we now live in the Holy Spirit age.
Something that an older pastor shared with me when I first began in the ministry has been helpful to me in this area. He told me: "The depth of the message is the responsibility of the minister/speaker, but the breadth of the message is to be left to the Holy Spirit." I have since added to that short counsel by placing the words adding these two words to the beginning: "content and" which would then say: "The content and the depth of the message are the responsibility of the minister/speaker, but the breadth of the message is to be left to the Holy Spirit."

That has helped me immensely over the years, as I have sought to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ through prayer and meditation in the Word.

As I have grown in understanding of what it is to preach His Word, it has become increasingly clearer to me that it is my responsiblity to "get it right" what is being said from the pulpit and to explain it in a way that the hearers will understand what God is saying in the message of the day. And even if there are times when it seems like the message that has been spoken was unclear or disjointed, I am learning to leave it there and to ask God through His Spirit to deliver His Word into the hearts of the hearers. Also I have found joy in continuing to pray that the Holy Spirit would continue long after the message to reveal Christ into the hearts of the beloved hearers to whom it is my privilege to speak the Words of Life.

Those who have spoken the Word of God in humility and faithfulness to God have experienced at some time or another the anointing of the Holy Spirit as they have ministered the Word. There is a power that comes from heaven, and it is something that is very difficult to describe. The easiest way to say it would be that it is as if one is watching the sermon being delivered and one feels as if they are a hearer along with the rest of the congregation.

Paul now goes onto speak of the two wisdoms: The world's wisdom and God's wisdom. He moves towards speaking about the work of the Holy Spirit. We remember our memory work of our Confirmation days......

For the preaching must not only be the testimony of God, not only is it delivered in the demonstration of the Holy Spirit and in power, it also is received through the ministry of the Holy Spirit.

The Third Article.

Of Sanctification.

I believe in the Holy Ghost; one holy Christian Church, the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting. Amen.

What does this mean?--Answer.

I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Ghost has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith; even as He calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian Church on earth, and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one true faith; in which Christian Church He forgives daily and richly all sins to me and all believers, and at the last day will raise up me and all the dead, and will give to me and to all believers in Christ everlasting life. This is most certainly true.

Let us read the rest of the chapter.....

6 Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought:
7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:
8 Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.
11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.
12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.
13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
15 But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.
16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.

There is a lot said there, and I am not going to go through each verse, but I will attempt to write about the main point that Paul wants to make. He is comparing man's wisdom with God's wisdom and that man's wisdom regardless of how wise and craftily words can be put together, it never can deliver the things of God in Christ Jesus. Our mind like blocks our ability to see God and who He really is.

I seem to remember in the past of how the moon has been compared to man's reasoning which has no light of its own but only reflects off of the sun. Perhaps a recent conversation can illustrate this but first a scripture reference from the second letter of Paul to this same Corinthian congregation.

2 Cor 4:3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing.
4 In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
5 For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants1 for Jesus' sake.
6 For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.

God has come to this world in Christ Jesus and has purchased us back with His holy innnocent blood. He wishes all to come to know this reality, but as we see in verse four, there is a blindness upon the eyes of those who do not believe that which God has already done for them. If we are in that state, we have been blinded by the god of this world, the devil, so that we would not see and experience the forgiveness of our sins.

In 2017 there will be a total eclipse of the sun by the moon in the state of Colorado. As I thought about the inability for man's reason to understand and receive the Gospel, it seemed that there is a word picture here of the moon, man's wisdom, and God's wisdom, the sun. When our wisdom gets in the way of the wisdom of God, we yet remain in blindness and consequently in darkness, but thinking that we see clearly........

Jesus is Light of the World and we need His Light.

KJV John 8:12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
38 And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him.

John 9:39 And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.
40 And some of the Pharisees which were with him heard these words, and said unto him, Are we blind also?
41 Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth.

John 12:46 I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.
47 And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.
48 He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.
49 For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.
50 And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak.

John 14:16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. {comfortless: or, orphans}

John 16: 7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.
8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:
9 Of sin, because they believe not on me;
10 Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more;
11 Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.
12 I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.
13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.
14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.

Jesus came to reveal the heart of His Father through Jesus, by whom came grace and truth and it is through the Holy Spirit that we receive the Good News of the forgiveness of our sins.

We have many iphone and smart phones in this congregation today, but I dare say that many are not hooked up to the internet so only that which is stored in the phone is able to be accessed. But if you were hooked to the information highway, you would have access to all the information that is available world wide. So the internet is like a delivery system, even as the Holy Spirit is the means by which it is revealed to us of our need for forgiveness, we are pointed to our Redeemer, Jesus Christ and we are assured that the enemy, the devil, has been defeated by the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross.

The Holy Spirit is the promise of our inheritance, even as an earnest money on a purchase is the promise of our purchase being ours in the future.

Romans 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:

If we are believing and trusting in Christ Jesus for our souls salvation, the Holy Spirit abides in us. Even if we do not feel His presence at times, even if our heart condemns us, even if we are struggling with sin, we are His.

If we are not believing and trusting in Christ for the forgiveness of our sins, let us come to the throne of grace now, whereby we can be assured that God's forgiveness belongs to us when we come to Him convicted of our guilt before Him and desire to draw upon His great storehouse of grace and forgiveness. If we are this person, let us believe the gospel message which reveals to us that our sin has been carried away on the cross by Christ, let us believe that we are forgiven by God Himself because of the love offering of His Son. Believe that for your soul's salvation and peace today, dear friend.

Yes, the Holy Spirit is the delivery system which brings Christ to us, which is the Father's desire for us.

Let me close with a couple of illustrations which hopefully will bring this closer to our own life's situation.

A few years ago I was visiting two men and one man asked me about our practice of proclaiming the forgiveness of sins to one another and if it was something that was necessary. As I began to explain this to him, and as I looked over at the other man who was listening to me share the doctrinal basis of the privilege of confession and absolution, I noticed that he was crying. I asked him, "what is wrong?" I will never forget the words that came from this brother's mouth. He said, "I must have the Holy Spirit, because I feel like a sinner." I looked at the brother to whom I was answering his question, and told him, "This is what I am trying to explain to you,, your brother has need of the assurance that Christ's atoning work is for him" as I put my arm around him and encouraged him to believe all his sins forgiven in the name and blood of Jesus Christ. No more words were necessary.

When I was a young lad living in the state of Washington, I remember the minister speaking about the Holy Spirit in his sermon. I do not remember what points he was wanting to teach, but I do remember the story he told to illustrate his message. He said that many years ago this Christian man grew despondent so much that he wondered if he still had the Holy Spirit. Living in Finland in the winter time, he got out his skis and began the long trip to see his brother in Christ so that he could have his brother help him to see if he still had the Holy Spirit. After a long trip he arrived at his brother's home, and when the door opened and he saw his brother in Christ, they hugged each other, went in the home, and began to share together of their journey in Christ. They had a wonderful time, the time grew late and he begin his journey home. Halfway home he all of sudden realized, "I forgot to ask him if I still had the Holy Spirit," but then as he continued on in joy unspeakable after being ministered to by Christ in his brother through the same Holy Spirit, he continued home in great thankfulness and joy.

1 Cor 2:16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.

In our human wisdom, we think we know the mind of God, but how foolish is that? Having the presence of Him in us, the Holy Spirit, we have the mindset of Jesus Christ. The primary thoughts of Christ towards us always and which are channeled to us by the Holy Spirit are of forgiveness toward us, acceptance of us and joy in us.

May we rejoice in this knowledge today which is given to us through the ministry of the Holy Spirit.

In Christ's love,

Pastor Orval Wirkkala

Posted on 09 Feb 2014 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
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The Cross of Christ 2.25.2018
- Posted by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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*Wendy and Dan Salo: Strength & courage to trust Him w/her health concerns