The Secret Ingredient for Wisdom

2023 February  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  33:35
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Doing the Gospel Paul’s Way

had worked for a while. At first, when he was converted on the road to Damascus, he was knocked down from his high horse and spent some days at the mercy of God’s spirit in the home of a believer.
He then started to tell the Jews in the synagogue that he had been wrong about Jesus, who he know knows to be the Christ.
After a while he had to be escorted out of town to save his neck.
So he went to Jerusalem. The Jews there plotted against him. He went to Caesarea, then home to Tarsus, then to Antioch, Cyprus, another place called Antioch, Iconium, then to Lystra, where the Jews stoned him and left him for dead, but he went back to Antioch.
He went back to those places in Asia Minor, and were called to go to Macedonia. He was imprisoned in Philippi, run out of town in Thessalonia, had to leave Berea, and ended up in Athens where he tried to convince the Greeks about Jesus and got dismissed when he mentioned the Resurrection.
So, Paul’s way, he used his learning and his insight and his connections and his debating skills. He made some converts, but was a marked man, suffering death plots, imprisonment, beatings, even was stoned for blasphemy, cut off in Athens and then
Acts 18:1 ESV
1 After this Paul left Athens and went to Corinth.
Acts 18:4 ESV
4 And he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and tried to persuade Jews and Greeks.
So he went back to what he was used to: to the synagogue, arguing that Jesus is the Christ.
But again,

Paul’s Wisdom Failed Him

and he had to learn a lesson from the scriptures he already know.
1 Corinthians 1:19–20 ESV
19 For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.” 20 Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?
For all the stuff he knew, all the reasons why people should believe, all the proofs he could present, in Corinth as in other places,

The Jews Did Not Respond to Paul

Acts 18:6 ESV
6 And when they opposed and reviled him, he shook out his garments and said to them, “Your blood be on your own heads! I am innocent. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.”
This is really a fulfilment of God’s call on his life: Taking this up-and-coming Jewish star Rabbi and changing his life so that he could become the Apostle to the Gentiles. He was raised to avoid them. Never have dinner with them. Don’t eat their food. But now he was God’s missionary to them.
So when the Jews didn’t respond to reason, Paul left them behind, and

The Mission Moved

to the Gentiles, right next door.
Acts 18:7–8 ESV
7 And he left there and went to the house of a man named Titius Justus, a worshiper of God. His house was next door to the synagogue. 8 Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, believed in the Lord, together with his entire household. And many of the Corinthians hearing Paul believed and were baptized.
This is really where God wanted Paul in the first place. It just took him a while to get it clear in his head.

Paul’s Focus Is The Cross

For he had already tried it his way.
1 Corinthians 1:22–25 ESV
22 For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

To Know Christ is Better

than being wise.
In other words,
I DIDN’T KNOW WHAT I THOUGHT I KNEW about how to convince people that Jesus is the Christ.
1 Corinthians 2:1–2 ESV
1 And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. 2 For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.

Paul Preached From His Experience

1 Corinthians 2:3–5 ESV
3 And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, 4 and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

True Wisdom Is From God

1 Corinthians 2:6 ESV
6 Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away.
James 1:5 ESV
5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.

A Secret Hidden Wisdom

1 Corinthians 2:7–8 ESV
7 But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. 8 None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

Wisdom Is Unmasked by the Spirit

1 Corinthians 2:9–10 ESV
9 But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”— 10 these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.

We Need the Spirit to Know God

1 Corinthians 2:11 ESV
11 For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.

The Spirit Brings Clarity

1 Corinthians 2:12 ESV
12 Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God.
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