“The Mystery of the Word and the Work of the Spirit” A House Divided: Week 6 (1 Corinthians 2:6-16)

Kody Alvarez October 15, 2018 A House Divided

This passage can be one of two things for the Church. It can be a battle cry, or a eulogy. The churches that rely on the wisdom of God to go out into the world will stay passionate and close to the heart of the Great Commission, but churches that try to impress people into faith will slowly fade away.

Sermon Notes:

  1. The Holy Spirit of God Reveals the Wisdom of God
  2. The Holy Spirit of God Brings Understanding
  3. The Holy Spirit Of God Illuminates the Message of God and Enables the Messenger of God

 

Sermon Transcript:

One thing pastor Todd does with us that I like is highs and lows or wins and losses at staff meeting. I got a couple of wins this week. One is this new sweet tee shirt, for free. A loss was I thought I was an extra large and that was not the case when I put it on. You win some, you lose some, highs and lows, right?

So this morning if you will open with me to first Corinthians chapter two. We’ll start in verse six and we’ll go to verse 16. Now, this passage this morning, it’s a heavy passage. It’s a passage about the spirit and the work of the spirit. And if you want to make some baptists nervous, start talking about tithing or the spirit. We don’t feel super confident when whenever we’re talking about the spirit or his work and my prayer is that we would find biblical truth and clarity as to the role of the spirit in our lives. So this passage will either be our churches battle cry, or our church’s eulogy. It’ll either be our church’s battle cry or eulogy. If you want to see true kingdom growth, we need to apply this passage to our lives and let that be what we determine everything by in our church.

So what’s the truth? What’s the truth of this passage? The truth is that we can do nothing apart from the spirit. There is no power for Gospel ministry apart from the spirit and the work of the word. So I hope I say that so many times that you wake up in the middle of the night and go, “The power of the spirit and the work of the word.” Because apart from these things, we have no power. I heard an old preacher one time go, I was in chapel at seminary, “All right boys, we’re about to storm the gates of hell with a water pistol.” Well, what that is is zeal without power. No, we’re going to storm the gates of hell with all the power of God if we stick to the work of the word. Because when we stick to the work of the word, we have the power of the spirit. It’s not zeal without power. We have the power of God living in us.

So if we don’t move away from the spirit, we will have power, but how could this be a church’s eulogy is the real question that we might need to ask now. When churches move away the work of the word and they replaced the work of the word with some flashy, cool program that might have just a little sprinkle of Jesus, you know the guy on Instagram that sprinkles … No? Okay. Just a hint of Jesus. When we replaced the work of the word for something flashy, some program, when we replaced the work of the word with some personality, like we gotta have this personality come here so that we can grow. Or whenever we … we replaced the work of the word with entertainment, like nobody will want to hear somebody work through the Bible. Nobody will want to hear a weekly opening up from one passage to the next to see what the full counsel of God is. We need other things. No, we don’t.

Power comes from the word. We must plumb the depths of the word. We must study this thing. We must work hard. That’s where power will come from when. When the word goes, so goes the power of the spirit. So what we’re hoping for is kingdom influence. We want kingdom power. We want to see kingdom growth. We want, when we’re gone, for our work to be an eternal work. We want to be a part of a work that will last and won’t be burned up in the fire, and if we build it on any other foundation than the word of God and the work of the spirit, then it will not last.

So this is important not only to the work of the church as a whole, but I talk to people all the time. They feel like they are dead spiritually. Like “Cody, I know God. I believe in God. Just when I pray, just feels like I’m praying to the wall when I read, it’s hard to. So I just kind of stop. I kind of feel bored. It doesn’t feel like I know it should feel.” Well, I can diagnose this thing. You’ve got away from the word. You’ve got away from the word. We have to stay in the word because the spirit speaks to us through the word. He grows us through the word.

So let’s read the passage together. What I want you to take away this morning, we can’t do anything apart from the power of the Holy Spirit and the spirit of God works through the word of God. “Yet among the mature, verse six, we do impart wisdom, although it is not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age who are doomed to pass away, but we impart a secret wisdom of God which God decreed before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had they would not have crucified the Lord of Glory, but as it is written, what no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor heart has imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him. These things God has revealed to us through the spirit, for the spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person which is in him. So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the spirit of God. Now, we have received not the spirit of the world, but the spirit who is from God that we might understand these things freely given to us by God.”

Verse 13. “And we impart this word, not taught by human wisdom, but taught by the spirit interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. The natural person does not accept the things of the spirit of God, for they are folly to him and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerning. The spiritual person judges all things but is himself to be judged by no one, for who has understood the mind of the Lord, so as to instruct him, but we have the mind of Christ.”

Will you pray with me? God, we desperately need your spirit now to interpret these things to us that we might be spiritually discerning in that we might stop trusting in ourselves and in our own ability, but to trust in you. To trust in your work the way that you’ve planned it through your word, that you might receive all the glory. God help us now. In Jesus name, amen.

I would like, I would love to deal with everything that’s in this passage. We just simply do not have time. So if I miss a particular peeve of yours that you want to talk about, come find me later. We will. We’ll hash it out. But what is it? The mind can only comprehend what the seat can endure. And there’s a million truths to be found here. So I’m going to tell you three things and I’m going to sit down.

So our first point will be, the Holy Spirit of God reveals the wisdom of God. Point two, the Holy Spirit of God brings understanding. And then point three, the Holy Spirit of God illuminates the message of God and enables the Messenger of God. And all those points seem kind of like the same point cause I kinda think Paul’s making the same point all the way through this passage. It just nuance of each point.

So look with me now at verse six. Yet among the mature, we do impart wisdom. But wait a minute, isn’t this book a book where Paul’s getting onto these people constantly? You are right. To the mature, he’s going to give spiritual wisdom and he’s kind of hinting at it, but who is this people? Well, chapter three, verse one says, if you’ll look with me, “But I brothers could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ.” This church, they are not mature. They are but spiritual infants in Christ, and how did this infancy manifest itself? Through quarreling, through division, through preacher worship. I follow Paul. Through suing one another, through sexual misconduct, through just go read the subtitles of this book, of all the way that all the ways that Paul’s reprimanding these people. Through using the spirit, using tongues, using prophecy to to impress others. He’s getting them for all kinds of things. But that’s just how it’s … That’s how their immaturity is manifesting itself. Where does it come from is the question we need to ask.

Well, we find that in a chapter four, verse six, if you’ll look over with me, I got to turn the page. And it’s gonna be towards the end, I’m just going to read a portion of it. These people, what they’re saying is we have this wisdom. We have this special wisdom. We have this deep wisdom. We have this spiritual wisdom not everybody has, and they’re like making classes of believers. And Paul, he was like, you neither have wisdom, nor do you have power. And why do they not have wisdom and why do they not have power?

Verse six. “That you might learn not to go beyond what was written.” They have no power and they have no wisdom because they’ve went beyond what was written in the word of God. They were looking for something deeper, something what they thought was more special. In chapter four, Paul is levying an indictment against this church as to why they have no real power in the spirit, even though they’re claiming it. There are so many people under the banner of Christianity claiming power that have none. Because they’ve went beyond what is written. Now, are they willing people? Yes. Are they impressing people? Yeah, but whenever the end comes and all things are brought before God, these works will not be eternal. Neither will the ones who follow them, they will be punished in the fire.

We have to be sure. We have to be sure that we build on the word and not go beyond what is written. Their actions are immature because the word of God was not in their heart. So many churches have died because they blasphemed the name of God and they went beyond what was written and God has stripped away the Holy Spirit power from these churches.

I mean, look at Ephesus. Look at all these churches that John’s giving warning to in the book of revelation. God said he would remove their lamp stand and he did.

It should bring fear in us that we would not go beyond the word. But Paul’s not … The section we find ourself in isn’t the section of scripture where Paul is speaking to the immature. He’s speaking to the mature, so from this point on, we’re talking about the mature things of Christ. But I’m going to constantly be bringing us back to that which is immature. Those things that are apart from the word. That go beyond the word, like numerology.

If you’re into Christian numerology, stop. Stop it. I was flipping through the channels of the day and that was on the history channel. Just by the way, stop it. I have a million soap boxes on this, but that’s the one we’ll hit right now. Stop it.

So let’s, let’s now look at the secret wisdom that Paul has to offer to us. We’ll find it in verses six through 10, and we see three things distinct about this wisdom. In six and seven, we find that it is distinct from the world’s wisdom. Verse seven shows that it’s a secret wisdom. And the end of seven b and versus eight show that it’s an eternal wisdom. So there’s wisdom that we’re finding from God, that Paul’s revealing to us, it’s secret. I like how he’s like enticing us. Oh, you want some wisdom? You want the secret wisdom? You want, you want a hidden wisdom, you want an eternal wisdom? Well, I got to reprimand y’all first.

So he never comes out and clearly defines what this is in this passage, and I tried to do a thorough study and I have read some very moronic things as to what this wisdom is. I’ve read lots of things. You can find thousands of things as to what this wisdom is, but if you will, it’s okay to write in your Bible, write in the margin, right by this wisdom, write [inaudible 00:15:38] 1, 26 and 27. Paul is the same author and he explains what the secret wisdom is there.

And I’m not going to read the whole thing. I’m just going to read the end of 27. Alright, I’ll read all the 27. It’ll be good. “To them, God chose to make known how great among the gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery.” So here’s the mystery again, buckle up. Are y’all ready to be blown away by the secret hidden eternal mystery? “Which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

That’s it. This secret, this eternal, this hidden wisdom that is not the wisdom of the world, is Christ in you, the future, hope of glory. Stop looking for other things, stop looking for something deeper, stop looking for something greater. This is the greatest. This is the best. This is where you’ll find all joy and all happiness. Christ in you, the future hope of glory. So what is this mystery? What is this mystery? It’s that the trinity in eternity

… History is that the trinity, in eternity past, decided that Christ would come and die for us. The wisdom is that the creator came to his creation and allowed us, these rebellious creatures, to kill him on a cross. That’s the mystery, but we’re so good at killing Jesus. Like in a Baptist church, we talk a lot about the death of Christ, but it’s so, the gospel, the mystery is so much more than the death of Christ. The gospel is that Christ didn’t stay on the cross. The gospel is that Jesus was placed in a tomb and three days later rose from the dead, proving that he had power over sin and death, proving that he drank the wrath of God to the last drop, that he’s atoned for you and me, but that’s not where the gospel ends.

The gospel doesn’t end with the Holy Spirit, now dwelling in you, God being in you. It’s the hope of future glory. The gospel is eternal, that one day, he’s going to make this fallen world go away. He will create a new heaven, and he will create a new Earth, and he will place us in his Jerusalem where he will dwell with us. That’s the gospel. The gospel is so much more than being saved from hell. If that’s all the gospel is to you, you’re missing so much. The gospel is Christ with you. The gospel is the future hope of standing around the king of eternity and singing praise and proclaiming his name forever and ever. Amen.

That’s the gospel, and we get to receive this eternal reward, but how is this a mystery? How is this a mystery? Lots of people know about Jesus. Lots of people know that message I just told you, but they don’t have the hope of future glory. See, knowledge is not wisdom. Wisdom is knowledge applied. Wisdom is knowledge applied that you are trusting in this thing. You can know every apologetic about creation, about the empty tomb. You can have a PhD in theology, you can know everything one could possibly know about this book, if that were even possible, and still not know Jesus because the truth has not been applied to your life, the spirit has not illuminated your soul.

I can go talk to a person on the street, and I’ve had this conversation lots of times, where I’ve been as compelling as I could be. I have argued for their soul as hard as I can, and they’d be like, “I get what you’re saying, like I get it, but Jesus is more than likely maybe a good guy, maybe a prophet, maybe, but I just don’t see it. I just don’t see him being the only way to heaven.” Why can they not see it?

Verse 14 is the hinge to this entire passage. Let’s read it real quick. The natural person does not accept the things of the spirit of God, for they are folly to him and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerning. The natural man, the man apart from the spirit, has no ability to know the things of God. The only way that person on the street that I’m talking to will know what I have to say is if the spirit of God reveals that truth to them. So when we get this truth, it takes a burden off.

I remember when I first started seminary, I thought people weren’t coming to Christ because I wasn’t compelling enough. Do you understand that? That they’re not believing because it’s my fault, because I’m not … And I’m then the cause of all these people going and having an eternal rest, well not resting place, but eternity in hell. When it’s on you, your shoulders are not meant to bear that weight. A hard job is nothing more than to tell the simple gospel message.

The Holy Spirit is the one who gives that illumination, and this hits home for a lot of people. A lot of us had … I remember when the first family member of mine died, apart from knowing Jesus. We asked the question, is this my fault? Is this my fault? It’s not. They’ve rejected the wisdom of the spirit. Take that burden off yourself. That might not be speaking to everybody, but I know that’s speaking to somebody that is not your weight to carry, that was their choice to reject the truth of the Gospel. Let’s keep going. Let’s press ahead. Let’s look at verse eight now.

None of the rulers of this age understood this. This is talking about the secret hidden eternal mystery of God, wisdom of God. None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified our Lord. Man, think about this. Pilate. These Romans, they were very interested in in wisdom and truth, and they loved a good debate, and he’s sitting across from Jesus, inches away from his salvation. He asks Jesus this very, very simple question. What is truth? It’s deep, it’s theological, philosophical, but it’s simple, right?

He says, “What is truth?” And he didn’t accept the answer that he heard. Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world, and I am the truth.” This man was speaking to God himself and did not hear the truth. It was a mystery because he was blinded. Understand if the spirit would have spoke to him, he would have heard and he would have believed, but he didn’t. He was blinded to that truth. Knowledge is not wisdom, right? Because Pilate received the wisdom. Then think about this, or Pilate received the knowledge. He just didn’t apply the wisdom to his life.

But think about this. You had Pilate, you had Herod, and you had the Sanhedrin. These are all very, very powerful men. If God was using the wisdom that we were using, wouldn’t those be the ones we need to get? Like shouldn’t those be the ones who believe if we want real change to happen? In the story, who believed? In the story of Christ’s death, like these people had the truth of the resurrection. They all knew the resurrection. They all covered up the resurrection. None of them believed in it, and they had real physical proof. They still didn’t believe, but who believed? The man dying on the cross beside Jesus and this nobody soldier who killed Jesus.

God, those guys and a couple uninformed fishermen, uneducated fishermen. That’s who you’re going to take the world over with? Yes. Paul from chapter one to the beginning of chapter two has went to great pains, great lengths, to show us that is not about us. It’s not about our wisdom, it’s not about our smarts, it’s not about our eloquence, it’s not about us, because if it were, we had claim on the power of the gospel. If it were, then Jesus isn’t receiving all the glory.

He says, “It’s about me. It’s about the power that I do through you.” I mean, remember Pentecost. Remember all these stories from Acts when these guys who were uneducated stood up and speak and thousands believed because it was the spirit speaking through them, and they weren’t going beyond what was written. And at the time, they had the Old Testament. And there are so many churches right now that are saying, “Well, the Old Testament no longer matters because we have the record of the New Testament.” That’s what these guys were standing on. We need both the Old and the New Testament, but that’s the soapbox, so I’m going to get off it real quick.

Christians, we’re told that the wisdom of God is not the wisdom of the world. Right? And the wisdom of God is foolishness to the world. Can I tell you something? When we go out into the public square, I cannot stand listening to Christians whine about the world. I can’t stand it. Quit being a bunch of whiny babies. Oh, they don’t believe what we believe about life. They don’t believe what we believe about sexuality. They don’t believe what we believe about meh, just on and on and on. They want to pick on us. They want to act like we’re stupid.

What does the passage clearly say? You look like a fool to them. They are at war with you, and not only that, we’re told that these people that we’re warring against in the public square is not them. We’re not battling flesh and blood. We’re battling the spirit of the age. Imagine these two knights and it’s about to be this battle, right? They’re squaring off. One knight pulls out a sword, the other knight pulls out his sword. This knight over here, he looks at that knight over there and he’s like, “Hey bro, your sword is much larger than my sword. For this to be a fair fight, you need to put your sword up.”

Knight’s over here like, “That doesn’t really make sense, but gosh, since you asked, okay.” Puts his sword up. Other knight walks over, chops his head off, end of story. That’s absurd, correct? Nobody would put up their sword in battle. Nobody would purposely put up their only defense, nobody would put up their only weapon, the only place that they have real power, nobody would do that. Where does our power come from? The word of God and the spirit working through us, and now whenever we go in to debate people, whenever we’re having a discussion of worldview, of ethics, of the word of God, of anything, people will say, “We’ll have that conversation, but what I need you to do is not talk about the Bible.”

You’re putting your sword up, and then you wonder why we’re getting kicked around. Well, I don’t want to look like an idiot. I don’t want people to treat me like they’re stupid. They’re going to. Pull out your sword and go to battle. Learn the word, speak the word. Don’t go beyond what is written in the word and argue for the word and the power of the spirit. They probably won’t agree with you, and that’s fine, but if you want to go to battle, take out your sword and quit crying in the corner.

So let’s now look at the second point. We’ll be in verse 10. And the Holy Spirit of God enables understanding of the spiritual. These things God has revealed to us through the spirit, for the spirit searches everything, even the depth of God. So where does this say revelation and understanding of God comes from? Somebody who’s really great Bible studier? Somebody who’s super educated? Nope, the spirit of God. The spirit of God is where biblical understanding comes from. We have to be completely dependent on the spirit. And here’s just a little aside.

So the spirit searches out God, right? If God is infinite, how can he be searched out? Because the spirit himself is God. The spirit is deity, and the spirit has the ability to search the depths of God. Please stop. I’m not going to like yell at you or anything. I probably won’t even correct you. I hear it when you say it, and I’ll probably want to bop you between the eyes, but I won’t. The spirit is not an it. He is the third person of the trinity. He is the one who revealed salvation to you. He is the one who, as you read this Bible and as people help you walk through this, is illuminating your soul to these truths.

He’s the one that brings you understanding. He’s the one who helps you fight sin. He’s the one constantly always working in you. He’s not an it. He’s not a fog. You hear some churches like, “Man, the spirit was thick up in there today.” You’ve got as much spirit as you’re going to get. The spirit of God dwells in you. Trust in the spirit and treat him as if he’s God because he is. So don’t take this illustration too far, but I want to … Because this one can go very far. Just limit your mind to the word said because when I was writing it, mine was going everywhere.

So imagine that the trinity were in a rock band. See, just don’t let your mind go too far. Let’s say Jesus is the word. So maybe he’s the vocalist, word of God. God the father is leading all things, so maybe maybe lead guitar, but like what does the spirit really do? And I’ve heard somebody talking about the spirit like, you know, just the drummer or the bass playing in the background. You only really notice if he’s not there. Nope. So what would the spirit-

So what would the spirit’s role be in this? The spirit’s the sound booth, the spirit’s the amplifier, the spirit’s the speaker, God, the father and God the son are mute apart from the spirit. The spirit is the one who speaks to us always. It’s all about the spirit to understand these things that are in this book. The spirit searches the depths of God and he’s not finding something new. Stop looking for somebody with a new word from the spirit, God has spoken sufficiently in this word. There’s nothing else we need. This word is everything we need for life and Godliness. Everything we need to know about God is in this book. Stop looking for someone with a new word from the spirit. The Spirit’s not searching for new things. What he’s doing is he’s searching the depths of God and then he’s affirming to our soul that these things are true. Because I know I’ve searched these things out myself.

That’s what it means that the spirit’s searching out God, we need nothing new. This is sufficient, but I will talk about that way too long. Our pilgrimage, maybe faith seeking understanding, but we’re brought to faith by the spirit and all the understanding that we receive on the way comes from the spirit so you don’t stop needing the spirit once you’re saved, we need the spirit every day. This is not a message that you can conquer like, “Oh tick, I’ve got the spirit every day.” No, you have to war. You have to battle. You have to fight that natural man to put him aside and to rely on the spirit because if not, we’ll start doing things in our own power and when we do things in our own power, is there any real, even any really power to be found there? Absolutely not.

So verse 11, so also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given to us by God. The spirit isn’t bringing abstract concepts, the spirit, he’s bringing concrete discoveries. He’s bringing concrete truth to our lives. There is no understanding for a believer apart from the spirit. Let’s move on or we won’t have time to finish. We’re there, I promise. Just hang with me. So let’s look at our final point. And this is concerning the natural man that the Holy Spirit of God illuminates the message of God and it enables the messenger to have proclamation. I told you, if y’all walk away not getting, it’s the spirit of God and the work of the word. I’ve done something wrong. I pray that that’s what you walk away with because that’s what this passage is screaming to us.

So let’s look verses 13 and 14, and we do not impart this in words, not taught by human wisdom, but taught by the spirit interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. So for us to have this conversation, for us to be able to interpret what I’m saying and for me to interpret this book, what do we need? The spirit. So believer to believer, we need the spirit. We need the spirit’s working, but not only that, verse 14, so the spirits empowering me to speak. He’s empowering you to speak words of truth. The natural person does not accept the things of the spirit of God, for they are folly to him and he is not able to understand them because they’re spiritually discerned. The truths of God can only be spiritually discerned. So why can the natural man not do this?

Well, the theological word for it is deprived, that we are born into sin. We don’t have time to, but I would love to in Romans 1:18 through chapter three, Paul is making this case like a lawyer and he tells us that all people, no God, there’s no one who looks at creation, no one born that doesn’t go, “Oh, there’s a God.” But we reject God and all people have suppressed that truth so that we can live in our fallen and evil desires. And then he tells us that there are no innocent people. No one’s innocent from transgressing the law of God. And then Romans 3:20 says this, there’s no righteous. No, not one. All men are condemned.

Ephesians two tells us that we are dead spiritually because of our trespasses. Hey God, say something nice real quick, but there’s nothing we can do to to to make a move towards God. That’s why God made a move towards us and if we think we can impress someone into following Christ, what you need to understand is apart from Christ, people hearing this message apart from the spirit illuminating their eyes, opening their eyes, they are deaf, they are blind. They are lame, they can’t stand up and walk after God because they’re are lame spiritually. They can’t see the truth of God because they are blind spiritually. They can’t hear the truth of the word because the Bible says they can’t hear it spiritually. They could hear the words, but they’re not comprehending anything. That’s why we have to cry out and go to the throne of grace every day and plead that he would empower us and enable us to speak in the power of his spirit.

I made the point about the Old Testament a minute going to go. Y’all know what the word Testament means? The youth do, because we talked about this not too long ago, they’re sitting there like, “Oh don’t call me.” So maybe they don’t. A testament simply means covenant, so you have the Old Covenant and then you have the New Covenant. Where do you think it explains the New Covenant in the Old Covenant, so we can’t do away with this Old Testament? I hear preachers right now just claiming that we don’t need the Old Testament. All we need is … He doesn’t even call it the Bible. He just say, “Ask for the accounts of the New Testament. Ask some of the accounts of the believers who were there, and that’ll be enough.” Well, let’s see. In Ezekiel 36, man Ezekiel is my favorite, Ezekiel 36, 34 to 36, that’s my just favorite part of scripture and if you want another new covenant passage, we’re not going to read that, but that’s Jeremiah 31:31.

Let’s look at how powerful and how invasive the work of the spirit is. He says this, God says this, I will give you a new heart and I will put a new spirit in you and I will remove your heart of stone and I will give you a heart of flesh. The spirit gives life to the dead. Ezekiel 37. I don’t know if y’all have ever noticed the valley of dry bones passage, but if you haven’t, Halloween’s come and that’s the perfect Halloween story. So we’re in the valley of Jezreel is where a lot of wars have happened and God by the spirit takes Ezekiel there and he’s standing there and he sees all these dry bones, armies and armies and armies and armies who have fought battles there. He sees their bones laying there in the valley.

And God just asked the simple question, “Can these bones stand?” Ezekiel response is, “God only you know.” Well Ezekiel speak that they would stand and the bone stood up and he says, can this … I’m going to skip a few steps for the sake of time, “Can they have flesh? God only you know, speak that they would have flesh and muscle and he spoken. They had flesh and muscles.” He said, “Ezekiel, can these bones live?” Ezekiel, he’s kind of got this thing down by now, and he says, “God only you know.” And he says, “Speak that they might have life.” And their heart started beating in their chests and they went on their way.

We don’t know who’s going to be saved, but y’all are all standing there. I’m standing there as Ezekiel and we’re called to speak life to these people. Not to go beyond the word, just speak life. We don’t know who’s going to be saved and our response must only be, God only you know, and then we speak because apart from the spirit working in them, they will die and spin us. Eternity separated from Christ. And you know what’s worse than hell? Not being with Jesus. They don’t need more information. They need the clear gospel message. They don’t need a new word. Remember Lazarus and the rich man? And they both die and Lazarus is in the bosom of Abraham and the rich man he’s in hell and he’s looking up and he sees his brothers and he’s got compassion on his brothers and he asks, who says, “Can I go speak to them? Can I return? Surely they’ll here if I returned from the dead and tell them what awaits them if they do not believe.”

What was the response he received? “If they’ve rejected the law and the prophets, they’ll reject you also.” Learn the law and the prophets. Learn the gospel. That is the only hope for your father, for your son, for your wife, for your daughter, for your friends, salvation, and we see all over the New Testament. I don’t have time. I wish I do. Look at John 16, that the spirit’s the one who’s going to speak through us with power. He brings salvation, not us.

So like I told you, this passage will either be our churches eulogy or it’d be our battle cry. So many churches on that last day I can imagine before they close that door, they’re like, “How did we get here?” Maybe they had a vibrant ministry in the past. Maybe it’s the church of emphasis who had everything going on, “How did we get here?” Because they went beyond what was written. They trusted in the personality of a preacher to grow them. They trusted in a new wisdom. They trusted in a new word. They trusted in a new prophecy or they trusted in something else than building their work on the word.

I praise God for our leadership with Todd and Mike who drive us to work through the word, that every week we come here and we go through this book because that’s where understanding and growth will come from. Now, Todd is probably one of the single most entertaining people I’ve been around. He could probably be way more into entertaining and crack you up and make you smile all, but that’s not real growth. When we start caring about things that are entertaining, we’re going to die. It might not be tomorrow, it might be in 15 years, but whenever we do the hard work of going through the word and wrestling with these truths, we’re going to be building on a foundation that will last.

Our work will last an eternity. It will not be burned away in the fire, so we’re gonna have our prayer partners in the front, and I pray you just go away encouraged this morning, that you have the spirit of God dwelling in you, and that means you have all the power of God living in you to go and change the world for the kingdom. We have all the power of God.