(You can find a recording of this sermon here.)
This Touching Base is a useful tool for small group discussion, personal reflection or in a one-on-one conversation. We believe that if the Sunday teaching is discussed outside of the morning services, it will be an opportunity to go deeper and build healthy community because God's Word needs to be discussed in community.
Has anything helped you gain or appreciate another perspective on a particular issue? When I think of this question I think of three factors that help with perspective:
- Experience: We might not understand what someone is going through until we go through it ourselves
- Education: Study can help us see things we have not seen before
- Friendship: Listening to others can help us see things in ways that our own set of eyes might not see
Text: Our text is 1 Corinthians 2:6-16. This is a text that is about perspective. It is about what people see and why some can see what others cannot see.
Big Idea: The Spirit of God uses the Word of God to grow the people of God.
Let’s work through the text together.
V.6-9 The Ground Level
On the ground level we cannot see everything. On the ground level our view is limited and our understanding is dwarfed. As a group, scan these verses and answer the following questions:
What terms indicate that there is a lack of understanding?
How does the bigger context (i.e. Chapter 1) define this wisdom? See 1:24,30
How is this wisdom described?
Where was it hidden? If you need a clue check out Romans 16:25-27
What is the ultimate example that the rulers have rejected this wisdom?
I love v.9. This conveys such child-like excitement. The word that I think catches the mood of v.9 is ANTICIPATION. This is the theme of our Move prayer focus this week (join us at 4pm Sunday for prayer).
When have you been filled with anticipation? Perhaps as you drink your cup of coffee at Tim’s, full of anticipation that as your roll up the rim YOU WILL WIN? This verse is obviously talking about so much more than winning a free coffee.
Note how man is portrayed in these verses - blind, unable to see, hear or conceive what God has prepared (v.9)
Note how God is portrayed as the giver of a great gift. Then notice how God moves us from the ground level to the rooftop (v.10).
V10-16 The Rooftop
How does God the Holy Spirit reveal this wisdom/Christ?
• First we see He has the ability to reveal.
V.10,11 What does the Spirit of God know?
What illustration does Paul use?
What does Paul say about the Spirit of God in 2 Cor. 3:17,18?
How does this help explain why the Spirit of God knows the thoughts of God?
• Secondly, He takes up residence in the Christ follower.
Note the really mind-blowing point Paul makes.
V.12 Who resides in believers and what is His function?
In context, the understanding He brings has to do with the person of Jesus and all that God has freely given us in Christ. Note Paul’s prayer for believers in Ephesians 3:14-19.
• Thirdly, He uses the word of God to reveal the Word (Jesus the Son) of God
V.13Notice how often words are mentioned. What did God use to reveal spiritual truths to Paul? What did God use to reveal this Jesus to the heart of Paul? Another way of asking this is what was Paul’s primary source?
Read the following verses to see what God used.
Texts: Romans 1:1-6, Romans 4:1-4, Romans 16:25-27, 1 Cor. 15:3-5
Note how often Paul talks about the Scriptures. God used the Scriptures which was the OT to reveal to Paul the person and work of Jesus Christ.
Paul preached in synagogues all over the Mediterranean. Each synagogue had its own biblical text, its own scrolls. God used the Scripture to reveal this wisdom to Paul and then Paul, in turn, used the Scripture to reveal this wisdom to his audience.
Notice v.14-15: unless the Spirit of God opens blind eyes, deaf ears and limited minds, they will think the message is foolish. See 1:18.
(A quick explanation of v.15: When Paul writes that the spiritual man ‘is not subject to any man’s judgment’ he does not mean that we cannot be called to account for our speech or behaviour (cf. 14:29), but that the natural man—that is to say, the unregenerate man—is in no position to understand our actions and the motivation of our lifestyle when we live according to God’s wisdom. They might in fact call our message foolish!)
Does God still want to deepen our understanding by his Spirit so that we might understand all that God has given us? Paul certainly believed so. This was not a unique experience for Paul. For many who heard the word, their eyes were opened. Read what he says to Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:14-17.
Today the main food group that God the Holy Spirit wants to use to grow us and deepen our understanding is the Word of God. Things have not changed. We are in the privileged position, not only to have the Old Testament, but the New Testament as well. Notice v.16 makes it very clear that our example of what it means to be spiritual is Christ. Having His mind refers to a way of living and thinking.
Here are some questions to ponder:
- Are you praying specifically for the Holy Spirit to open the eyes, ears, and minds of those who don’t follow Christ? Who are you praying for?
- Are you, as a Christ follower, feeding on the word? There are no shortcuts to spiritual growth.
- Is there something you need to take off your plate so you can prioritize God’s word in your life?
- What community are you part of that helps you understand the word of God?
There is an exercise you can use to help you get into God’s word. I would suggest starting in the gospel of John. Jesus is clearly revealed in John.
If interested in joining or starting a small group contact firstname.lastname@example.org
S is for Scripture
Take time reading and allow God to speak to you. When you are done, look for a verse that particularly spoke to you that day, and write it in your journal.
O is for Observation
What do you think God is saying to you in this scripture? Ask the Holy Spirit to teach you and reveal Jesus to you. Paraphrase and write this scripture down in your own words, in your journal.
A is for Application
Personalize what you have read, by asking yourself how it applies to your life right now. Perhaps it is instruction, encouragement, revelation of a new promise, or corrections for a particular area of your life. Write how this scripture can apply to you today.
P is for Prayer
This can be as simple as asking God to help you use this scripture, or it may be a greater insight on what He may be revealing to you. Remember, prayer is a two way conversation, so be sure to listen to what God has to say! Now, write it out.