Summary: Why can't some people "get it" when it comes to the Christian gospel?
Sometimes the words we speak just don't connect with the person to whom we are speaking. During the first week of basic training, an army drill sergeant was explaining what was in store for his squad during the next two months. One young private raised his hand and asked, "Sergeant, when do we get our guns?" The drill sergeant quickly corrected him. "Private, we don't have 'guns' in the army. We use the M-16, A-1 Military Assault Rifle. If I catch any one of you calling the M-16 a 'gun' I'll have you drop and give me 50 pushups. Now then, Private, repeat your question." The young man nodded and then said, "Yes Sir, Sergeant. When do we get our guns?" Friends, I don't know about you, but Nancy and I have had similar experiences with our boys. We tell them something, we think they hear and understand, but their actions soon show they really did not get it. Some of you women would claim that happens on occasion with your husbands as well.
I also believe that those of us who seek to be ambassadors for Jesus Christ will sometimes have this type of experience as we try to encourage people around us to put their faith in Jesus Christ. We may work very hard at explaining the Christian gospel to someone, making sure we use words which are very clear. That person may seem to agree with everything we say, but then all of a sudden he or she says something which makes us realize that what we have said has not connected at all. Has that ever happened to you? I remember talking to someone about how one becomes a Christian. I shared that all of us are sinners who deserve God's wrath, but that the Lord offers us salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. I said a person becomes a Christian not by trying to do things for God, but by receiving what God has done for us. I even shared my illustration of how Jesus has taken the test for us, and we need to ask God to record His perfect score in place of our failing score. I thought he was right with me. I then asked, "Would you like to become a Christian?" His reply was, "I don't think I'm good enough to be a Christian." Nothing I said had connected. The person spoke English, he was intelligent, he knew what the words I was using meant, but he did not understand the gospel of Jesus Christ. Why not? Why can't some people "get it" when it comes to the Christian gospel?
Well, I think we find an answer to that question in our text today. As we continue our journey through 1 Corinthians we come to Chapter 2:6-16. In this passage the apostle Paul explains why the Christian message just doesn't connect with some folks. Now, I'm going to give a little warning. Some of you maybe won't like Paul's answer to our question, but I want you to pay close attention to what he says, because it has some very important implications for us as Christians today. Let's pause and pray that God would speak to us through His Word.
The New International Version heading of this passage is "Wisdom From the Spirit." Here Paul is making three basic points. #1) God has a plan, a wonderful plan that people often don't understand. Last week we talked about how the way God has chosen to save His people is seen as foolish by some. But in reality, it is a demonstration of His great wisdom. 2:6 We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. In other words, Paul's message makes sense to those who are spiritually mature, but to other folks, including people in high positions, it seems like foolishness. 2:7 No, we speak of God's secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. This secret wisdom that Paul speaks of is no doubt the same as the mystery which he refers to in his letter to the Ephesians. This is the truth that was once secret, but now has been revealed. Yet, 2:8 None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. This is really the ultimate irony. The secret wisdom is that God would send His own Son, Jesus, as the Messiah and that Jesus would bring salvation through His death on the cross. If the Jewish leaders and Roman soldiers would have understood who Jesus was, they would have never crucified Him. Yet, by killing Him, they carried out God's plan. But it is no surprise that folks don't recognize Jesus as the Messiah; no surprise that they scoff at the cross as the means of salvation, because people have often been blind to what God's purposes are. Paul quotes from a couple of verses in Isaiah 64 and 65. 2:9 However, as it is written: "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him --" God has a wonderful plan of saving all who put their trust in Jesus Christ and bringing them to an eternal home in heaven. That is the gospel, the great news. Yet, people are ambivalent to it. They don't seem to care. They don't seem to understand this marvelous message of grace.