Summary: Message 5 in our exposition of Paul's first letter to the Corinthians continuing our exploration of the Holy Spirit's ministry of enlightening believers.
Chico Alliance Church
Pastor David Welch
“The Power and Wisdom of the Spirit”
Address and Introduction (Greeting and Thanksgiving) 1:1-9
I. Reproof for fleshly behavior 1-6
II. Response to questions and issues 7-16
I. Reproof for fleshly behavior 1-6
A. Reproof concerning divisions 1-4
1. Opening appeal for unity 1:10-17
a) Encouraged them to unity 1:10
b) Exposed their disunity
c) Confronted their man-centered focus
2. The Biblical foundation for Unity 1:18-4:5
a) The priority of Christ and the cross 1:18-31
b) The Power and wisdom of the Holy Spirit 2:1-3:4
(1) The Holy Spirit’s teaching ministry through Paul 2:1-5
(2) The Holy Spirit’s enlightening ministry in believers 2:6-3:4
The Holy Spirit and Paul
I came declaring the testimony of God.
NOT with superiority of speech (words) or wisdom.
FOR (reason for avoiding high sounding words and ideas)
I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified
AND I was with you in weakness and fear and much trembling.
Paul describes his emotional state with three words.
“Weakness” = to be without strength. Paul realized that even with many credentials and a superior education and training, the task of accurately proclaiming the Words of Almighty God left him feeling helpless. He struggled with a sense of personal inadequacy.
For they say, "His(Paul’s) letters are weighty and strong, but his personal presence is unimpressive and his speech contemptible." 2 Cor. 10:10
I think perhaps we are most usable when we feel useless. It is when operate out of our own power and abilities that we forfeit the power of God. Paul struggled not only with a sense of personal inadequacy but experienced fear.
“Fear” = panic, fright, terror, intimidation, sense of awe, reverence. Number one fear in America is the fear of public speaking even above fear of falling. This is not light word. It is the word “phobos” from which we get our English word phobia. What is the deal here? You rarely get the impression that Paul was afraid of anything except God.
Some try to discount the fact that Paul was not afraid of people at all but his fear related to the weight of the responsibility of establishing and maintaining the church. I think it was genuine fear because God addressed it according to Acts 18. It seems that the Jews in Corinth rejected his message and he confronted their unbelief.
But when they (the Jews) resisted and blasphemed, he shook out his garments and said to them, "Your blood be on your own heads! I am clean. From now on I will go to the Gentiles." Acts 18:6
And the Lord said to Paul in the night by a vision, "Do not be afraid any longer, but go on speaking and do not be silent; for I am with you, and no man will attack you in order to harm you, for I have many people in this city." And he settled there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them. Acts 18:9-11
Beyond the personal threats from opposition who drug him into court Paul also understood the awesome task of establishing a church in a metropolitan city and faithfully proclaiming the testimony of God. Such fear seems contradictory to many other passages that direct us to “Fear not!” At times David displayed great confidence in the face of fearful circumstances.
When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You. In God, whose word I praise, in God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid. What can mere man do to me? Psalm 56:4
Yet other times we find David dreading what man might do to him.
Then David said to himself, "Now I will perish one day by the hand of Saul. There is nothing better for me than to escape into the land of the Philistines. Saul then will despair of searching for me anymore in all the territory of Israel, and I will escape from his hand." 1 Samuel 27:1
The ideal is to so trust God that we need not fear people or circumstances.
"Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Matthew 10:28
Fear has been a way of life since the fall. It was the very first emotion expressed. Adam was afraid so he hid. It will be a continual struggle and provides continual opportunities to increase our trust. God does not promise to protect us from every painful person or circumstance, but He does promise to never, never, never leave us or abandon us.
God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline. 2 Tim. 1:7