Michael Youssef - Healthy Living in a Sick World - Part 3
I know that our priorities in life is an indication of our spiritual maturity, that our priorities in life is a barometer of our spiritual temperature, of our spiritual health. Our priorities in life are clear indication, it's a clear picture of where we are in our walk with the Lord. And the Corinthian believers chose to stay in the spiritual nursery when they could have graduated from college.
We see people who are filled with anger instead of being filled with the Holy Spirit of God. They accept and they acquiesce to the world's definitions and the world standards and undermine God's power that's available to them. They easily back off from their commitment the moment they find or face an obstacle instead of standing their ground and anchoring their hope and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and his Word. They follow false teachers who are teaching falsehoods that are easy on our flesh instead of being willing to pay the price of living the truth of the Word of God. They spend more time watching the tube than watching and praying. They're more concerned about appearances than spiritual conditions. They are forever arguing, and squabbling, and striving instead of praising and glorifying God.
That's a sad condition. 1 Corinthians chapter 2, the Apostle Paul uses a Greek word for the flesh, I want you to memorize it. It's only four letters and the word he uses for the flesh here is the word sarks. Can you say that with me? It is translated in the English language as the flesh but, in reality, it has nothing to do with this flesh and blood, the body that we live in. That word sarks has nothing to do with this body in which we are housed until we receive a new body, we go to glory. Sarks is a word that refers to the old nature before Christ came into our lives. Sarks is the natural mind before Christ transformed our minds. Sarks is that sinful nature that dominated us before Christ came in.
In fact, Psalm 51, verse 5, David said, he said, "By that sinful nature I was conceived, and by that sinful nature I was born," and so did every one of us. We all were born with that sinful nature, but when we become born again, when our rebirth takes place, that sinful nature does not disappear. Sadly, sarks remain dormant inside of us, always ready to move, and act, and be stirred up the moment the devil and the world sets him off. I know when that sarks raises its ugly head in me, I know it, I know it, and so do most of you. I am, therefore, grateful to the Lord that he has given us three musketeers to defeat those three enemies. He gave us a renewed nature, he gave us his Word, and he gave us his Holy Spirit.
All of these gifts of God are given to us so that we may live victoriously above the enemies who are trying to get us down. In 1 Corinthians chapter 1, verse 18, in fact, if you look from verse 18 all the way to 2:16, to the end of chapter 2, you're gonna find that the reason the Corinthian believers were not united in Christ, that they were not united in the vision that God gave them, is because they've allowed the sarks to run wild in them. The reason they were not living in and through the power of the Holy Spirit of God is because they have allowed the sarks to open the door to the world and the devil to come in.
Look at verses 10 to 13 of chapter 2. Paul said, "It is the Spirit of God who helps us to learn, and grow, and understand the Word of God". Now, I want you to remember this. The Holy Spirit is the ultimate author of the Bible. If I have a choice, I would call it the Holy Spirit's book. It really is. He is the author. He's the ultimate author. He held the hands of the writers as they were writing. The Holy Spirit of God is the one you go back to and you say, "What do you mean by this"? And the Holy Spirit is more than willing to illumine our minds. Imagine our desperate need when we go to the Holy Spirit of God, who is the author of his book, and ask him to illumine our minds. He'll do it.
Beloved, listen to me, one of the grieves that I have in my soul is that, in so many evangelical circles today, they are afraid of the Holy Spirit. How can you be afraid of your best friend? It is a fallacy. They read the Bible, which is inspired by and written by the author, but they never go to the author directly and ask him to illumine their understanding so that they may understand and obey what he wrote. Make no mistake about it, the Holy Spirit of God either takes control, or we take control. Why? Because when the Holy Spirit is rejected, when the Holy Spirit is ignored, when the Holy Spirit is bypassed, when his leading is refused, when his guidance is ignored, we get totally messed up.
And Paul is saying that the Holy Spirit is the director of communication in the Godhead, in the Holy Trinity. He knows perfectly the mind of God. Therefore, he is the only one who can explain, he can train, and he can lead us into understanding of the mind of God. Look at verse 11, who knows the mind of an individual except the individual himself, right? Nobody, listen to me, nobody knows you like you know yourself, nobody. In a similar way, the Apostle Paul argues here, he said, "Only the Holy Spirit of God can know intimately and perfectly the mind of God". And here it comes, here comes, are you were ready for it? Are you ready for it?
The Spirit of God, who knows the mind of God perfectly, is constantly ready to reveal and illumine our minds through the Word of God. Why? So that we may truly grow and mature. Look at it this way, the Holy Spirit is a flashlight that lightens all the dark areas of our hearts and minds in our lives. And beloved, this is the same Holy Spirit that helps you, not only grow in knowledge, but grow in grace. He is the same Holy Spirit who is our tutor, and our teacher, and our instructor. He is the same Holy Spirit who's willing to give you discernment, to give you wisdom, to give you understanding, to give you anointing, to give you a favor with God and man. It's the same Holy Spirit who helped you to believe. He wants you to know the mind of God.
Look at verses 6 to 16. In fact, in those verses, Paul gives us two reasons why we desperately need the Holy Spirit. Two reasons, first of all, because they're not mind can never, never, never, never discover the mind of God, or the wisdom of God. Secondly, because God's wisdom can only be received from God's Holy Spirit. He's the Spirit of God. You see, God's wisdom can never be discovered without the Holy Spirit. And he said if people in leadership at the time of Jesus, if they had this wisdom, if they really could discover it without the Spirit of God, they would never have crucified Jesus. But it was hidden from them and it was hidden from them because that way, God was going to reveal his plan of salvation and allow Jesus to go the cross.
Oh, but thank God. It's not hidden from the believer who seeks it. Look at verses 9 and 10, chapter 2 again. Here Paul quotes from the Book of Isaiah chapter 64, verse 4 and Chapter 65, verse 17. This is a quote directly from the Book of Isaiah, it's directly from the Old Testament. Look at it with me please. "As it is written: 'No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God prepared for those who love Him.'" He is not talking about heaven. Did you get that? A lot of people quote those verses referring to heaven. No, that is why I plead with you Sunday after Sunday, put the text in its what?
And in the context of this passage, he's not talking about heaven. Here is a reference to the wisdom of God that God has prepared for the believers who love him and seek him with all of their heart. He is saying that the natural eye, and the natural ear, and the natural heart and mind cannot comprehend the amazing treasures of wisdom that God has for us. And his wisdom is only prepared for those who love him with all of their hearts. But secondly, God's divine wisdom is divinely communicated to us by the Holy Spirit. As I said earlier, the Holy Spirit is the director of communication, is the director of transmission in the mind of the Holy Trinity, in the Godhead.
And the first step he takes is to reveal the wisdom of God in showing us that we are sinners and going to hell, and we need to be saved. He is the one who was entrusted by God to reveal that to the writers, to the human authors. While the Holy Spirit may use human agents, somebody who witnessed us, somebody who brought you to an evangelistic event, somebody who has done something. God uses human, or the Holy Spirit himself, uses human agents but also, the Holy Spirit used human agents when they were writing the Scriptures. There are certain revelation were given only to them. As they were writing, the Holy Spirit jumped in the ink.
Verses 12 and 13, "We have not received the Spirit of the world but the Spirit of God, that we may understand what God freely has given us". What is Paul saying? Listen very carefully, he is speaking about the verbal inspiration that the Holy Spirit gave to every one of the writers of the Old and the New Testament. When he talks about we and us here in this particular area, he is referring to the biblical writers who received the revelation and the inspiration directly from the Holy Spirit. It's not just illuminating their mind to understand what is written. He gave them something completely fresh. And this verbal revelation is only given to the Scripture writers.
And the moment the canon is closed, the canon of the Scripture is closed, nobody can add or take away from it. And that is why in 2 Timothy 3, Paul could say, "All," how much is this? "All Scripture is inspired by God". It is God breathed. Here he said, all things freely given to us by the Holy Spirit, it's talking about the writers of the Scripture. Now, I know it's fashionable among some preachers and teachers to say, "Well, you know, I'm not really sure about the Old Testament. I'm not really sure about the epistles. I only take what Jesus said".
If they only want to take what Jesus said, what did Jesus do when he was tempted by Satan in the wilderness? You remember that? What did he say? He quotes the Old Testament, Deuteronomy chapter 8, verse 3. Here's what Jesus said quoting the Old Testament, "Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord". How many words? Jesus said, "Every word," not some words, not only the words that we like. Oh, yes. Not only the words that we approve of, not only the words that are acceptable by our society. No, every word.
Look at verse 13. With those spiritual eyes now, I want you to look at verse 13. "This is what we speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words". Whatever you do, do not listen to anyone who tells you that some of God's Word needs to be detached from our lives, or that there are some parts of the Bible where we need to be unhitched from its authority. How does God show this to us who are living on in 21st century, the 21st century Christians? By illuminating our minds.
God's Word can only be spiritually evaluated. God's Word can only be spiritually discerned. God's Word can only be spiritually understood. And when you reject the Holy Spirit of God, or ignore the Holy Spirit of God, regardless of how many seminary degrees you have, your spiritual eyes will not be illuminated. Martin Luther said the Bible cannot be understood simply by studying or talent. You must count only on the influence of the Holy Spirit, and that is why we believe that God's revelation and inspiration were given to the Bible writers, all of them, every single one of them. But his illumination is given to us.
We're not Bible writers. We're not Bible doctors. We're not Bible dissectors and that is why Paul concludes with asking a question, "Who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him"? Anyone foolish enough to take on this responsibility? The answer is no, no. But we have the mind of Christ when we come under, under the authority of the Holy Spirit, when we come under the authority of the Holy Spirit's book. Only then will we have God's wisdom, where we have God's mind where we discern the will of God, when we learn to come under, not above, but under the authority of the Word of God. Ask yourself the question, "Have I grown in my faith? Have I grown in my trust? Have I grown in the Word of God in the last 12 months"?