Summary: Christians have the Holy Spirit, which should cause them to have the mind of Christ, which should lead to humility and unity, rather than pride and division.
A. Kids do say the darndest things! Listen to a few conversations between teachers and their students.
1. You be the judge if its wisecracks or wisdom.
2. TEACHER: How old were you on your last birthday? STUDENT: Seven.
a. TEACHER: How old will you be on your next birthday? STUDENT: Nine.
b. TEACHER: That’s impossible. STUDENT: No, it isn’t, Teacher. Cauze, I’m eight.
3. TEACHER: George, go to the map and find North America. GEORGE: Here it is!
a. TEACHER: Correct. Now, class, who discovered America? CLASS: George!
4. TEACHER to 8 year-old: Billy, name one important thing we have today that we didn’t have ten years ago. BILLY: Me!
B. Kid’s wisdom is different than adult wisdom, and adult wisdom is different than God’s wisdom.
1. In the passage of Scripture under consideration today, we will learn that there is a vast wealth of wisdom sealed off to everyone except Christians.
2. Paul wants the Corinthians and us to learn that the words “taught by human wisdom” alone are woefully lacking in comparison to those “taught by the Spirit.”
C. These words about God’s wisdom are not given by Paul as just an important truth, rather they are offered as part of a discussion or argument that Paul is making to the Corinthians.
1. They are a second point that Paul made as he tried to heal the wounds of division in the church at Corinth.
2. Last Sunday we looked at the first remedy that Paul gave for division, and it was a proper appreciation for the Cross.
3. Today we will see that the next remedy is to encourage the Corinthians to focus on true godly wisdom.
I. Paul’s Preaching
A. The first five verses of Chapter two act as a bridge from Paul’s discussion of the Cross to his discussion of the wisdom given by the Spirit.
1. There is hardly a more moving passage in all of Paul’s letters than these verses.
2. Paul really reveals his heart as he discusses the manner and motive of his preaching.
B. Paul’s manner of preaching at Corinth, and everywhere else, was designed not to call attention to himself.
1. He employed no empty rhetoric or cleverness.
2. The modern imagery might be to say that Paul did not “sell” his gospel at Corinth with the manipulative techniques of an unscrupulous used-car dealer. Like Billy Fucillo, “It’s Huge, Tom, Huge.”
3. No, Paul simply exalted Jesus. He preached the Cross.
4. He took seriously the words of Jesus when Jesus said, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto myself” (Jn. 12:32).
C. When Paul says in verse 3, “I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling,” some have supposed that this refers to his sense of defeat over his ministry at Athens, where he was preaching just prior to his arrival in Corinth.
1. But from reading Acts 17, one would hardly get the sense that his work there had been a failure.
2. It is much more reasonable and suits the context much better to see these words as descriptions of Paul’s sense of unworthiness to be preaching such a wonderful message.
3. I can tell you personally that I labor continually with a sense of inadequacy similar to Paul’s sentiments. I am not worthy, nor capable without God’s grace, wisdom and power.
4. Every faithful preacher, minister and elder ought to have that sense of inadequacy for the task of ministering to God’s people and sharing the greatest story ever told with the lost.
D. Paul’s motive in ministry was to glorify God and to cause people to put their trust in the power and wisdom of God and not in the power and wisdom of men.
1. Some of the evangelistic methods used in our modern times do give cause for alarm.
2. Some of them are centered on charismatic personalities, or use manipulative presentations.
3. The “conversions” produced under such methods must be sustained in some artificial manner by keeping the group very tightly knit in some type of cultic allegiance.
4. Paul’s motives were pure and so he refused to use such methods.
5. When he wrote to the church at Rome, he warned them about persons causing divisions in the church at Rome, “I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people” (Rom. 16:17,18).
6. Paul’s own example with the gospel stood in sharp contrast with those who, whether at Rome or Corinth, would use the gospel in a self-serving way and thereby generate divisions.