Summary: How can two different groups of people read the same love letter from God and yet one sees it as the source of their lives and the other as yesterday’s trash? This sermon is going to answer.
Online Sermon: http://www.mckeesfamily.com/?page_id=3567
For some the Bible is the linguistic medium in which God chooses to communicate His personal love letter to humanity. The words are full of Spirit, life (John 6:63) and flawless truth (Psalms 12:6; John 17:17). They are sharper than any two edged sword, for its precepts judge the thoughts and attitudes of the heart (Hebrews 4:12) not with the intent of destroying one in hell (2 Peter 3:9) but to offer salvation to all whom believe (John 3:16) and partake in the living waters and bread of life (John 7:38, 6:25-59)! Even though His word constantly convicts them of their sins (2 Timothy 3:15-17) they still meditate (Psalms 119:47-48) and see it as a light (Psalms 119:105) that through confession (1 John 1:9) and obedience (James 1:21-23) equips them to rightly serve and please their Creator. To others the Bible is nothing more than whimsical nonsense written by a bunch of sinful authors about a realm that cannot be seen and therefore in their minds does not exist! For them the words do not leap off the page as if they had any meaning but represent a bunch of sayings that merely restrict human freedom. They see the Bible as nothing more than a mere fantasy of simpletons and bigots. How can two different groups of people read the same love letter and yet one sees it as the source of their lives and the other as yesterday’s trash? This sermon is going to answer that question by exploring in 1 Corinthians 2:14-16 Apostle Paul’s statement that only those with the Spirit can rightly discern and understand the word of God!
Natural Person’s Limitations (verse 14)
The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit
Apostle Paul begins this section by stating that those whom do not have the Spirit of God cannot help but see His words as mere “dreams of simpletons.” It is not a lack of intellect, riches or even good deeds that keeps this “natural person” from understanding or positively responding to God’s love letter but their carnal nature and reprobate minds. Their “soulish human nature” inherited from Adam has been corrupted and entangled by sin (Hebrews 12;1) and as a result is incapable of comprehending the significance of the light of God’s glory (John 1:5) that shines all around us. Such a person is “volitionally prejudiced” against the truth concerning God because their “unregenerate appetites” to gratify the sinful desires of their hearts has made them spiritually blind (James 1:14-15). While they can know of God and therefore are accountable to respond rightly (Romans 1:20), until they possess a “higher nature” than they received from Adam they will not be able to receive the wisdom of God’s love letter “regardless of their intellectual abilities or human accomplishments (1:20).”
It is not a lack of intellect that keeps the natural person from knowing God but the attitude of his/her heart! Not only is said person unequipped to discern the activities and word of God but in his/her “natural condition he/she cannot prefer Christ over their self-glorifying attitude!” Even when they read about how “death can be destroyed, the grave swallowed up and life and immortality brought to life” by being forgiven, transformed and adopted into God’s family; this unmerited grace remains foolishness to them and not worth understanding! It is not that their ability to discern the basic truths concerning God is lost but that the “evil inclinations and wicked principles” by which they live their lives makes them unwilling to “enter into the mind of God, in the spiritual matters of His kingdom, and yield to their force and power.” Morally such a person refuses to assign the right value to God’s love letter because that would mean giving up self-reliance, self-exaltation and the autonomy of choosing to live their lives to gratify their own sinful pleasures. How foolish they are to cherish low, earthly sinful values over the life saving power of the Gospel!
Not only does the natural person lack the nature to value God’s love letter but according to Spurgeon they also lack the “organs” to do so. Imagine taking a blind person to the Sistine Chapel and then wondering why he/she did not appreciate the amazing artwork or imagine taking a deaf person to a theater performing Handel’s Messiah and wondering why he/she did not enjoy the symphony? Why would such persons be willing to spend their time or money to see what for them is unseeable or hear what for them is unhearable? One of the main reasons why the natural man perceives God’s love letter as mere foolishness is that he/she cannot see or hear the value and transforming power of His words! “The eye of the Christian is his faith; but the natural man, being destitute of a living faith in the living Saviour, is like a man without eyes. He says it is foolish; it is nothing to him.” For the natural person to truly understand the love letter takes an incredible leap of faith that once his/her will is surrendered to God, He will heal his/her spiritual blindness and deafness by transforming them into a redeemed child and heir of His kingdom!