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Watch 2022 online sermons » Robert Jeffress » Robert Jeffress - The Hidden Wisdom of God

Robert Jeffress - The Hidden Wisdom of God


Robert Jeffress - The Hidden Wisdom of God
TOPICS: Straight Answers to Tough Questions, Wisdom

Hi, I'm Robert Jeffress and welcome again to Pathway to Victory. Atheists think that Christians are foolish for believing in myths and fairytales. Christians think that atheists are blind for not seeing the scientific evidence for a divine Creator. But in reality, both sides of this argument are represented by highly intelligent people. So how is it that two people presented with the same evidence can reach polar opposite conclusions? Today we're going to discover why faith is more than just a matter of intellect. My message is tilted "The Hidden Wisdom of God" on today's edition of Pathway to Victory.

Have you ever wondered why it is that two children reared in the same Christian home can have such drastically different responses to the gospel of Jesus Christ? One child enthusiastically embraces the message of salvation, the other rebels against it. Or have you ever wondered why it is that that friend of yours who is at the end of his or her emotional rope when you're talking to them about the solution to their dilemma, Jesus Christ, they absolutely refuse to grab hold of the only lifeline that can save them? Or have you ever wondered why it is that that highly intelligent coworker that you share your faith with, even though they have an IQ of 160 it seems like, why it is they cannot understand the simple truth of the gospel, a truth that even a seven-year-old can understand and accept?

The answer to all of those questions is the same, and that is God's truth can only be understood through the supernatural illumination of the Holy Spirit of God. No matter how persuasive the speaker, no matter how intelligent the listener, the gospel, the wisdom of God cannot be understood apart from the supernatural working of the Holy Spirit of God. And that's the truth we see illustrated in tonight's passage. If you have your Bibles turn to 1 Corinthians 2 as we look at "The hidden wisdom of God". And so Paul continues this theme that God's truth can only be understood and grasped through the wisdom, through the power of the Holy Spirit, with two arguments beginning in verse six. First of all, Paul reminds us that God's wisdom is hidden from unbelievers. God's wisdom is hidden from unbelievers.

Look at verse six. "Yet we do speak wisdom among those who are mature". In other words, this message of the cross that is foolishness to people, it really is wisdom, it's God's wisdom, but only to those who are mature. I want you to underline that word mature. John macArthur notes that that word mature really can be used in two very distinct ways in scripture. Sometimes, the word refers to being fully developed, like an animal, a plant, a human being who is fully developed. We say that person is mature. That can also refer to a person spiritually, being fully developed. We'll see that next time, Paul talks about the spiritual man, the mature man, the one who is complete in Christ. But a second meaning of mature is fully initiated. That is it refers to people who have full membership in a group, and that's how Paul is using it here. He is saying that the gospel is only wisdom to those who are mature.

And notice two things Paul says about this wisdom of God, the gospel. He says the gospel is a mystery to unbelievers. It is a mystery to unbelievers and Paul is going to use two phrases to describe the mystery of the gospel. He says notice that the gospel is "Not of this age". Underline that in verse six. He said this wisdom of God, the gospel, "Is not of this age". The word age, ioanas, means a period of time. Literally what Paul is saying is this wisdom of God is not a contemporary message. Think about it with me. Man's wisdom says man is basically good. God's wisdom says man is basically evil. Man's wisdom says everybody is going to heaven. God's wisdom says only a few are going to heaven. Man's wisdom says we are saved by self-effort. God's wisdom says no, we are only saved by grace. Man's wisdom says there are many pathways to heaven. God's wisdom says there is only one way to heaven.

And that's why Paul says it doesn't matter what you do, how you try to reshape it, the gospel message, if preached faithfully, will always be out of step with contemporary thinking. Not only that, he says not only is it not of this age, he says nor is it of the rulers of this age. Not of the rulers of this age. He expands on that in verse eight, look at it. "The wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood, for if they had understood it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory". Who are the rulers of this age who did not understand the gospel? Well, the most likely explanation is he's referring to the Roman and the Jewish leaders who crucified Christ. If they had understood what they were doing, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

Notice what else Paul says about the gospel. Not only is it a mystery to unbelievers, but the gospel was predestined by God. It was predestined by God. Jesus' death was not some accident, it was not some tragedy. It was all a part of God's plan for redemption. Look at Matthew 20:28. Jesus said, "For the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many". Or in 1 Peter 1:18-20. Peter describes Jesus, "The Lamb of God chosen before the foundation of the world". It was all a part of God's plan. Or again, acts 2:23. "This man, Jesus, delivered up by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to the cross by the hands of Godless men and you put him to death".

That was the gospel message. It was hidden to unbelievers. The unbeliever cannot understand the gospel, and to support that truth Paul quotes in verse nine a passage from Isaiah 64-65, a passage that probably is one of the most misapplied passages in all of the New Testament. Now remember the theme here is the gospel, the wisdom of God, cannot be understood by unbelievers. And so Paul quotes from Isaiah 64-65, "But just as it is written, things which the eye has not seen and the ear has not heard and which have not entered the heart of man all that God has prepared for those who love him". How many times have you used that verse or heard that verse used in relationship to heaven? It's a favorite funeral passage. Eye has not seen, ear has not heard, nor is it entered into the heart of man what God has prepared for those who love him.

Ain't that the way we use that verse? This verse has absolutely nothing to do with heaven, okay? That's not what he's talking about. What he's saying is the human eye, the human ear cannot begin to comprehend what God has prepared for those who trust in Christ. But even though the natural man can't understand it, look at verse 10. Here's how I know this is the right interpretation. "For to us God has revealed them through his spirit, for the spirit searches all things, even the depths of God". Now you see how that makes sense? The human eye, the human ear can't understand it, it's not entered into their hearts what God has prepared for those who love him, but God has already revealed those things to us who are his people. We can know what God has planned for us, the mystery of redemption.

Now although God's wisdom is hidden from unbelievers, notice the second truth in this passage. God's wisdom is supernaturally communicated to believers. How does God open our hearts and our eyes and our ears so that we can grasp the truth of the gospel? How does he communicate truth to those who are mature, initiated, a part of the group? The first word we need to understand is the word revelation, revelation. God's wisdom was revealed to the apostles. Look at verse 10, "For to us God revealed them". What is them? It's these hidden truths. "For to us God revealed them through the spirit, for the spirit searches all things, even the depths of God".

Revelation, what is revelation? Here's a good definition of revelation, write it down. Revelation is the communication of God's message to the biblical writers. Special revelation is unique information about God that has been revealed by God to the biblical writers and is contained in scripture. This is special revelation. And that's what Paul is talking about in verse 10 when he says, "For to us God revealed this wisdom through the spirit". Now the word us there doesn't refer to every Christian. He's talking us meaning the apostles, the biblical writers, Paul and Peter and John and the writers of Hebrews. They were the recipients of God's special revelation. This book, the Bible, is the depository of all of God's special information about himself, and everything you need to know about God is contained in this book. This book is God's final revelation.

Now other religions around the world do not believe this. They don't believe it at all. For example, Muslims believe that the Quran is God's final revelation to man. They believe that between the years of 610 and 632 ad that the angel Gabriel revealed to Muhammad over this 23-year period certain information about God and they believe that the Quran is God's final revelation to man. The Mormons, on the other hand, they believe the book of Mormon that you see advertised on television if you call the 800 number, they believe that book of Mormon is God's final revelation to man. They believe that revelation even supersedes scripture.

You know what the teaching of Mormonism is? Joseph Smith claims that in 1827 the angel Moroni appeared to him and led him to these golden tablets that were buried by his home in New York, and on these golden tablets were the revelation of God, and three years later, in 1830, Joseph Smith published the book of Mormon and very conveniently the angel Moroni took the gold plates back so we don't have those today. But we have Joseph Smith's revelation, the book of Mormon. And Mormons believe that that book is the final, the most recent depository of God's revelation about himself. What do we say about sacred books like the Quran or like the book of Mormon? How do we know God has not given these so-called prophets new information about himself? The way we know that is from what scripture says.

Listen to the words or jot it down, Jude 1:3. The writer of the New Testament said, "Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith," underlined that, "Which was once for all," underline that, "Delivered," handed down, "To the saints". Jude is saying there is a body of information called the faith. That is the information of God and it has been once for all delivered to the saints. That means this book is a closed book. There is no more new revelation being given about God. And because there is no more new revelation about God other than that which is found in this book, we can say without hesitation that the Quran is a fake and Muhammad is a fraud.

We can say without hesitation that the book of Mormon is a fake, Joseph Smith is nothing but a fraud. And we can also say without any hesitation at all that any televangelist, any pastor, any friend who comes to you and says, "Oh, I have a brand new revelation about God. God has given me some brand new information about himself, information that nobody has ever had before. I've got some new information about God, some new doctrine to teach you". You can know without a doubt that person is either deceitful or delusional, okay? The fact is there is no more new information about God being given. The faith has been once for all delivered to the saints. I'm not saying the Holy Spirit doesn't lead people, of course he does.

God leads each of us, he speaks to each of us, that's how we know we're his child, that he leads and speaks to us. But what he is not doing is revealing new truth to us about himself. Everything we need to know about God is written in this book, that's what revelation is. God revealed this truth to his apostles. The second word is inspiration, inspiration. God's truth was inspired in the Bible, write that down, and here's a good definition of inspiration. The process by which God oversaw the composing and the recording of his message onto the pages of scripture. Inspiration is the process by which God oversaw both the composing and the recording of his message onto the pages of scripture. God revealed his truth to the apostles, now how did they get it down on paper without error? It was through the process of inspiration.

And notice the phrase composing and recording. Some of God's revelation was dictation. The 10 commandments, God told Moses, "Write this down. Don't get a word wrong, okay? Write it down verbatim, here are the commandments". In revelations we saw Jesus came to John and told him, "Write these things down". And he gave him specific direction of what to write down. Some of God's message has been recorded verbatim in the scripture. Other parts of the Bible have been composed. When David was writing the Psalms, do you think God dictated those Psalms word for word? How, okay, how. Blessed, blessed, is, is, the man who walks in the counsel. No, it doesn't work that way. David was expressing himself. He was expressing in some of the Psalms the height of his joy in following God, some of the Psalms recorded the depths of despair he faced. It wasn't a verbal dictation.

Nevertheless, every word in the Psalms was inspired by God. It was all part of God's message to us, he oversaw both the recording and the composing of scripture so that it was given to us without error. Here are some key verses to understand. Look at 1 Corinthians 2:13. "Which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with the spiritual words". That is inspiration. 2 Peter 1:20-21. Peter said, "Know this first of all, that no prophecy of scripture came about is a matter of one's own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by the act of the human will, but man moved," literally carried along by the Holy Spirit, "Spoke from God". God oversaw the inspiration of scriptures, making sure every word was recorded without error.

And of course 2 Timothy 3:16. "All scripture is inspired by God, all scripture". And you know that word inspired Theos, God, pneustos, breathed. Every word of this book is God-breathed. As Dr. Criswell used to say, "God doesn't have bad breath, okay"? Every word of this book is God-breathed and therefore it is true and therefore it's profitable for reprove, for correction, for training in righteousness. Now there's a third word to understand in how God communicates this message to us. He revealed the truth to the apostles through the process of inspiration, they recorded it in scripture.

The third word is illumination. God's truth is illuminated by the Holy Spirit of God. Here's the meaning of illumination. The understanding that God gives us about his word. That is when I open this book I still will not be able to understand it unless the Holy Spirit illuminates, opens my heart so that I can grasp its truth. D.L. Moody used to say trying to read the Bible without the Holy Spirit is like trying to read a sundial by moonlight, you can't do it. You have to have the Holy Spirit of God to open his word to us. And that's what he says in verse 14, "For the natural man". That is the person who is not regenerate, the non-Christian "Cannot accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him and he cannot understand them because they are spiritually appraised".

Now look at verse 15. "But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one". What's the application of this message, this truth about the wisdom of God being hidden from unbelievers but revealed by the Holy Spirit to believers? Let me give you two quick applications to this message for all of us tonight. First of all, this message has an application to non-Christians who might be listening tonight. If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior, if you really don't understand the cross, Christ's death for you and why that was necessary, pray that God would open your eyes so that you can understand and so that you can believe. But if you're a Christian tonight, a non-Christian tonight who does understand that concept, that we've all failed God, that we deserve to pay for our sins against God, but that Christ came to pay a debt we could never pay, and by trusting in him we can have the forgiveness of our sins, if you're not a Christian tonight but you understand that truth, understand that you didn't come to that understanding on your own.

The Holy Spirit has given you the ability to believe. But because you have that ability to believe right now doesn't mean you'll always have it. God said, "My spirit will not always strive with man". But there's an application for Christians tonight as well, and that is we need to understand that there is truth we need to ask God to reveal to us as well. There are truths beyond the message of salvation for every believer. Look at verse 12, 1 Corinthians 2:12. "Now we have received not the spirit of the world but the spirit who is from God so that we might know the things freely given to us by God".

You see, the Holy Spirit of God has some things he wants you to understand beyond the simple message of salvation. There are great spiritual riches he wants you to grab hold of in your life. Do you understand, for example, one thing that has been freely given to you is power over sin? You don't have to say yes to sin, you don't have to allow sin to destroy your life? Do you realize another thing God has freely given to you is the ability to have peace even when your world is collapsing in on you? Jesus said, "Peace I give you, peace I'll leave with you".

Do you understand that you can have the assurance, the mind to know that one day you're going to be raised from the dead imperishable, incorruptible, immortal? That assurance can be yours. Where do I find these things that have been freely given to me by God? I find them in this book, the Bible. In this book is the hidden wisdom of God. In this book is everything I need for Godliness, for life, for an eternal relationship with God.

If there's one truth I want to leave with you tonight it's this truth. This Bible that you hold in your hand, these are not just static words on a page. Through this scripture, through this book God pours his very life into our life. Remember what Moses said to the children of Israel in Deuteronomy 32? He said, "Take heart the words with which I'm warning you today, for it is not an idle word that I speak to you, but these words are your life". In this book I find that hidden wisdom of God, wisdom that is available to anyone and everyone who asks for the illumination by the Holy Spirit of God.
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