The Mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:6-16)

February 12 2023

Series: 1 Corinthians

Book: Matthew

All right, let’s turn our Bibles to 1 Corinthians 2. I think it really depends where you live, how the lyrics to that last song hits you. Like, thunder and the lightning can be very frightening, but God is in control. If you’re from Orlando, we’re like the lightning capital of the world. So it’s a little different. I think the songwriter is from California who wrote this. And I think in Southern California, I don’t know if they see much lightning. And then we used to sing this song in Scotland all the time. And yes, it rains there all the time. But let me tell you, they don’t know about lightning. One time, and I think some of my Scottish friends may be watching this, but I love you. But yeah, literally, if there was a report several days ahead that there could be lightning, it was like, we’re canceling Church, right? It’s like thunder and lightning when they sing that in Scotland, they are serious. It is very frightening. And you may not leave the house for weeks. So it’s all a matter of perspective. All right, 1 Corinthians 2. Today, we’re going to continue our study of Paul’s first letter to the Church in Corinth.`

If you’re new to our series, I’ll give you a brief review in just a few minutes. You can also watch a replay of each lesson on our YouTube channel or the sermon page of our website. I did want to share with you a piece of history. This is my baptism, August 18, 2000. I’m coming up on 23 years as a Christian. I barely made it into this century, which is good. It’s something about the 1900s. This is 2000, just barely. It’s interesting. I was thinking about as well as Lepatic was sharing her first experience in our family of churches with the Sun Rise Church of Christ in Tampa. The man who baptized me, Ron Drabow, that’s my brother in law, he was converted in Tampa at the USF Ministry at the Sun Rise Church of Christ. So small world that we live in when Jesus is at the center. All these great connections. I was baptized at the University of Florida 23 years ago. Bet you didn’t know that I’m naturally blonde. That has gone away over the years. But as a new Christian, yeah, I had a lot to learn, a whole bunch to learn.

And there’s so many stories I could tell you of the mistakes I made and the things I had to learn along the way. The biggest transformation or one of the challenges for me was to go from being an unspiritual man my entire life to actually learning to become a spiritual man. And I remember one piece of that. I remember getting advice when I first considered having a Christian girlfriend. That was a first for me to do it in a Christlike way, to have a girlfriend. I started talking to some of the guys and getting advice. One of the catchphrases back then surrounding dating, and I think it’s still used today, I think it’s important, but the question was asked to me, Bro, are you ready to lead her spiritually? I was like, Oh, wow. That sounds scary. What does that mean? I think I thought I knew what that meant. And so, of course, I was like, Yeah, I think I can do that. I can try. I don’t even know if the person asked me, even knew all of that meant it just sounded good. But anyway, it was an important question. And so same thing before I wanted to get engaged to Amy.

It’s like, Bro, you know you got to lead your wife spiritually. And so from time to time over the years, it’s that conversation, are you leading your wife spiritually? So I think it’s an important discussion, but spiritual talk, and it leads us to this question, it sounds really good, but what does this mean? There’s a lot of talk today about spirituality. I think it’s all around us, inside the church, outside the church. Spirituality, and it’s on a variety of different subjects. Okay, well, is this spirit led or is that spirit led, or the spirit led me to make this big decision. And that could be the case. I’ve said that to people before as well about decisions I’ve made, but it actually does shut down the conversation a little bit, right? There’s a case closed, no more discussion. I can’t argue with the Holy Spirit if the Holy Spirit has made this decision. But yeah, it’s all around us inside, outside the church. You’ve heard this before. I don’t participate in church, but I am a spiritual person. Or I’m not a Christian, but I consider myself very spiritual. So that’s out there and that’s the conversation.

And it becomes almost cliche, even in the Church, to do something spiritually or to be spirit led or to think about the spiritual. And it has me thinking, what does it really mean to be a spiritual person? And this is a very complex question, and I cannot promise you that we’ll explain this thoroughly in the next 30 minutes. We’re going to start. It definitely takes a lot more time, a lot more study, a lot more discussion, talking about it, prayer, of course. But here’s why I bring this up and why I bring out this question. First of all, it’s very important to search for the truth and know the truth on this, especially for as much as we talk about it. And second of all, in the Church in Corinth, you can tell from Paul’s writing, there was a ton of talk about this. There was also this undercurrent of competition of… They would use catchphrase s and talk about these things, Well, who’s really spiritual, or Who’s wise, or Who are the mature and the immature among us? And what started to do… You could tell it was starting to hurt the Church. And I think we do need to learn from them.

That’s what this is here for. So what does it mean to be a spiritual person? So what happens next in the letter is the Apostle Paul, as he often does, he opens this can of worms on this specific question. And in the coming weeks, we’ll do our best to start making sense of this topic and apply it to us here today. So let’s go back just a moment as we’ve been in this 1 Corinthians letter for about three or 4 weeks now. Starting things off, Paul jumps in there. He warmly greets the church. He makes sure that he thanks them specifically for their gifts from God of speech and knowledge. He loves this church. He helped start this church. They’re his very heart. But we also find out right away that this church is in grave danger of imitating a divided culture more than imitating Christ. So Paul then immediately appeals to the church to be united in both mind and judgment. And that’s a very difficult, challenging expectation, right? That comes from 1 Corinthians 1, verse 10. But Paul doesn’t leave them hanging after he says, I want you to be completely united in mind and judgmen, he tells them the only way to make this happen. And the only way for that to happen is all the Christians must have a radically different mindset shaped by the cross. It’s the only way that’s going to happen. So he spends a lot of time on this. And then last week, we looked at the first five verses of chapter two. Remember this and let it be an encouragement to you. You do not need to know everything to become a Christian. Far from it. You don’t need to know everything to help someone else become a Christian. But you do need to know something, and that something is this, Jesus Christ and Him crucified. That’s all because Paul says here in verse 5 of chapter 2, This is so your faith might not rest on the wisdom of people, but your faith would rest in the power of God. So that’s where we pick up reading today in Chapter 2, verse 6. Let’s dive in. Paul writes, And yet among the mature, we do impart wisdom, although it’s not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age who are doomed to pass away.

But we impart a secret and hidden 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 the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love Him. So here in verse 6, Paul writes, Hey, come to think of it, I do have some wisdom to give you. And that comes on the heels of saying, I didn’t come to you with these plausible words of wisdom and lofty speech. It was just Jesus Christ crucified. But then he turns the tables a bit here and he says, Yeah, I do have wisdom for you, but I’m telling you, not everyone’s going to appreciate this. Even the brightest minds of our age refuse it. The most powerful and influential people in the planet, they will not understand it. Then verse 7, he tells us this wisdom from God is just too profound for human discovery. In other words, it has to be revealed or given to them.

They don’t discover it on their own. It’s a wisdom. It’s an incredible wisdom. It’s a plan of saving us. It’s a plan of redeeming you and me. And this plan was made. It was decreed long before anything or anyone was ever created. And don’t miss that remarkable phrase he makes right there at the end of that statement, right there at the end of verse 7, this wisdom is for our glory. And that’s how incredible this wisdom is when it’s revealed to us. So what is it? I think we’ve learned by now, if we’ve been reading 1 Corinthians in this section that we’re talking about here, what is this profound and hidden wisdom to create before the beginning of time? Jesus Christ crucified. A stumbling block to Jews, folly to the gentiles. Jesus Christ crucified. Today, it’s foolishness to those who are perishing, but to those of us who are being saved, it is the power of God. Jesus Christ crucified. It’s God’s wondrous plan to meet people like you and me, to meet us with love and forgiveness. God’s wondrous plan, his wise plan to bring us in and to bring us into our Father’s glory.

In verse 8, the reality is none of the rulers of this age understood this. They didn’t get it. People smarter than us didn’t get it. People more powerful than us in this world didn’t get it. For if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. So you think about it during that time, and we’ve heard the story so much. But during the time of Jesus, the Emperor of Rome is Tiberius. He’s the Cesar. The Cesar works through a local governor by the name of Pontius Pilate. Pilate works with the King of the Jews. King Herod and the Jewish chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders of the Jews. And then the religious leaders work together to keep the people on the side of Rome’s decision to crucify Jesus. It’s been said the highest religion and the best government this world has ever seen got together and executed the Lord of glory. That’s it. I hope that gives us pause today. I don’t think we’ve evolved that much or we’re so advanced to be on this today. No matter who’s in charge, red, blue, purple politics? Do you really think Jesus would escape any less public humiliation today than he did 2,000 years ago?

Do you really believe the most adored, famous, influential people today really understand Jesus and the wisdom of the cross? So in this portion of the letter, Paul seems he’s very concerned. He’s concerned that the Christians in Corinth were getting sucked in, sucked into that same worldly thinking that crucified Jesus. And keep in mind, and we studied this last year in James. It’s a theme in the New Testament scriptures. We have to watch out for the wisdom of the world. It does have grains of truth in it that will sound like the truth of Jesus, but we have to discern this. And we do have itching ears. We have to be very, very careful because the wisdom of the world is self serving. It’s competitive and it’s broken. It always has been, always will be. The world’s wisdom breeds insecurity. The world’s wisdom is a hamster wheel of proving yourself. But in stark contrast, God’s wisdom is a gift. It’s God given, it’s received, it’s revealed wisdom that constantly promotes growth into the character of Christ. So that’s why Paul reminds them, and he reminds us, there’s no greater wisdom than the wisdom we find together as equals at the foot of the cross.

That’s where we find God’s wisdom. As we learned in 1 Corinthians 1:19, truly God has destroyed the wisdom of the wise at the cross. Here’s what I mean, and this is just one example. Just think of the great irony. Follow me on this. The great irony that God actually used the rulers of this age and their wisdom as his chosen instruments to carry out his own wisdom when they crucified Jesus. Did you follow me on that? That’s God. His ways are not our ways, far beyond. And again, you and I must view this as a wonderful encouragement to our souls today. You have been given a deeper wisdom, much deeper than anything this world will ever have to offer. When you’re tempted, right? And we’re going to be tempted all the time because we’re in this world and everything’s coming at us so quickly and everything sounds so good. And it’s just a roller coaster ride of emotions and passions and things coming at us all the time when you’re tempted to view anything in a worldy way. And that could be any number of things that we could start molding our opinions and thoughts in the ways of the world and it’s thinking. It could be how the church functions or how to do relationships, justice, sexuality, living your best life. When the wisdom of our culture looks good to you, watch out. Do not be deceived by appearances. That’s the context and the encouragement Paul gives us here with this beautiful passage of hope in verse 9. Human eyes have never seen, human ears have never heard. It’s never entered human hearts all that God has now prepared for those who truly love Him. Amen. Amen. For those who truly love God, for those who obey God, it’s extraordinary. It’s stunning. It’s breathtaking. We now have access to the mystery of God’s wisdom revealed to us in Christ. Living life through the lens of the cross, that’s the greatest gift you and I could ever receive. Living life through the lens of the cross of Christ.

So remember our question from the beginning. What does it mean to be a spiritual person? So Paul here has set the stage to open that can of worms in verse 10. So we’ll go ahead and read and continue our reading here. What does it mean to be a spiritual person?

Verse 10, Paul writes, These things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. Just to review here, what are these things that God has revealed to us through the Spirit? We just read it in the previous verses, 6 through 9. These things are the hidden and secret wisdom of God by the way of Jesus Christ crucified. These things, this deep wisdom 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 this world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom, but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. The natural person, the person of this world, does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to Him. Same theme again, right? It’s just foolishness. It’s folly. It doesn’t make sense.

He’s not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual person judges all things, but he himself is 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.

A lot of faces going, Okay, I’m feeling the same way. There’s lots to chew on here. Lots to chew on. Just imagine the Corinthians when they first got this. It’s a lot to take in. Paul, what he’s doing, he’s laying the groundwork for what it means to be a spiritual person, to be a man or woman led by the Spirit. Paul’s going to drill down on this theme in the next chapter and really for the remainder of this letter. This is a very important foundation for what he’s building and the practical that he’s going to get to with the church in Corinth. But I do think this is where you and I need to leave here today and put in the work of personal Bible study. We have a handout that’s going around. If you didn’t get it, we have some helpful scriptures on the Holy Spirit.

You can raise your hand while the ushers can get one to you. But hopefully this is something to help you begin or refresh your understanding of the Holy Spirit. It’s important to study this out. These scriptures, and there are many more, these scriptures reveal who the Spirit is, who the Spirit is not, what the Spirit does, what the Spirit does not do. I’ve hit just some of the highlights on this slide, and you’ll find this on the handout as well, the Holy Spirit is received at baptism. That’s why as a church, man, we feel like that’s an essential part that God has created of someone coming into a relationship with God. Repentance and baptism, that’s when you receive the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the seal that a person is saved. The Holy Spirit is given to those who obey God. So implication there, the Spirit and what God’s Word says and His commands, those are never, ever in conflict. They work together. They’re in perfect unity. The Spirit convicts us of sin and Amen, it gives us the power to defeat sin. The Spirit gives us hope. Who here today needs hope? If the Spirit lives inside of you, you still have hope.

Whatever the situation may be, there’s hope. The Spirit, as Paul writes, and we just read this, it provides the ability to understand spiritual things, which Paul will start to hit on very soon. This is an important one. The Spirit, it’s one of the most important things, I think, it produces the character of Christ. The Spirit, what it’s doing is it’s revealing to you God’s character. It’s showing you who Jesus is and who Jesus is at the cross. We find in Galatians 5, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. No matter the situation, that’s being spiritual, living in such a way. That’s building a spiritual home or spiritual relationship. The fruit of the Spirit. Self control is not just one of those, Well, this person over here is just talented in the area of self control. No, it’s the Spirit of God. Any of those areas. Another key point here is the Holy Spirit wants to lead us, but the Spirit will never lead us by force. We learn in Galatians 5 that the Spirit teaches us that daily we make the choice. Am I going to live by the flesh today or am I going to live by the Spirit today?

Am I going to live by the flesh in this situation that’s really bothering me? Or am I going to be spiritual and live by the Spirit? Will it be governed by the fruit of the Spirit? So all of this, study it, wrestle with it, look at it, do the work. But bottom line, to be a spiritual person means to have the mind of Christ. And the implication of this is come what may, no matter what situation we face, no matter what’s bothering us, no matter what the circumstances, good times, bad times, and suffering, when there’s injustice, when our emotions are running wild, and our relationships inside the church, outside the church, and how we view anything and everything that happens in this world, a spiritual person will bring love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control to that situation. That’s the mind of Christ. To be a spiritual person, no matter what is going on, to be a spiritual person, means you follow the man on the donkey all the way to the cross. You can’t stop short just because it gets hard. And trust me, I’m preaching to myself. This is the mind of Christ.

This is what it is. This is deeper wisdom. These are the hidden and secret things revealed to us by God’s Spirit. I think tying it together a bit here, this is why Paul has the highest of expectations for the church. When he says back in Chapter 1, Verse 10, I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, by the name of the Lord Jesus Christ that all of you agree and there will be no divisions among you. But here’s the point. Get this, that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment. Are you kidding me? How do you do that? How’s that even possible, being united in mind? When we have the mind of Christ, everything’s possible. The mind of Christ is unstoppable. The mind of Christ is glorious and it’s been given to us. Paul also emphasized the mind of Christ in his very famous passage in Philippians 2. And you can turn there. We’re going to look at that. But in Philippians 2, Paul says, Hey, to the church, he said, Complete my joy. How? By being of the same mind. So it’s the same thing, the same expectation, being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord.

In other words, working together in full accord of one mind. And then he goes on to say in verse 5, Have this mind among yourselves. And he says, You know what? It’s yours in Christ Jesus. You have it. Tap into it. So what does it mean or what does it look like to be a spirit led person? I think this was very helpful to me to read Philippians 2 and go, this is it. We’ve read it so many times, but to see it through this lens, just listen carefully to this. If you’re wondering, what does it mean to be a spirit led person? What does it mean to have the mind of Christ? Here we go. Philippians 2, verse 5, have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, in the very nature God, Jesus did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped. That’s the mind of Christ. Nothing to prove secure in his position. But Jesus emptied himself by taking the form of a servant. That’s also the mind of Christ letting go of entitlement, letting go of here’s what I deserve in this moment, here’s how I’m supposed to be treated.

No, the mind of Christ says I’ll be the servant. I’m secure where I’m at. Being born in the likeness of men and being found in human form, Jesus humbled himself. How? By becoming obedient to the point of death. Take that in. That’s the mind of Christ. Obedient, no matter the suffering, no matter the emotions, no matter the injustice. Obedient. That’s the mind of Christ. Conventional wisdom is not teaching this. You get this, right? This is deeper wisdom from God. A high calling. Then verse 9, it says, Therefore God highly exalted Jesus and bestowed on him the name that is above every name so that the name of Jesus every knee should bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth. And every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. That’s the mind of Christ. That’s what it means to be a spiritual person. Now, we’re going to dig more and more into this in your own personal Bible study. You need to learn this, that this becomes more than just some cliché that we can tend to use. But what does it really mean to be spiritual?

It’s to have the mind of Christ. That’s the glory of it. That’s the secret wisdom of God and store for all who really love Jesus and follow Jesus all the way to the cross. So this is just the start. Next week, Eddie will take chapter 3. He’ll tackle chapter 3 and start getting into some of the practicals for the Church in Corinth about their thinking and acting spiritually and how he’s addressing them. And we look forward to that next week. But for now, here’s some living water challenges. These are deep waters, so get ready to swim. In the perspective that we’ve gained and learned and what Paul’s taught here so far, it’d be good to go back and reread chapter 1 and see how it flows into chapter two now. It makes a little more sense to me, especially chapter one, verse 10, where Paul says you need to have the same mind. What? Okay, now I’m starting to understand that. So reread that, cruise into chapter two, start looking at these things and breaking it down. I’d encourage you to take the handout that we gave today, review, refresh, study, learn the Holy Spirit and know what you can expect from the Holy Spirit.

And perhaps just as important, what the Holy Spirit is not doing. I think sometimes it’s like, yeah, Holy Spirit. Holy Spirit is saying, I never said that. I never really agreed to that. I wasn’t on board with that. All right, leave my name out of it for a minute here. So it’s important to know what the Spirit is doing. If you’ve been baptized in the Christ, you have the Spirit. Get down deep and find out what that is and what that’s all about. It’s a gift from God. And I’d say last but not least, if it helps, I think it will. Read Philippians 2 with that lens of, Wow, this is the mind of Christ. This is what it means to be spiritual in each and every situation. This is what it looks like in real time for me to be a spiritual person. So in summary, to be a spiritual person, to be led by the Spirit, a person must have the same mindset as Jesus Christ crucified. I just encourage us today, let’s leave behind the thinking of the world. It is enticing. It is coming after us. It is all around us.

Let’s leave that behind. Let’s embrace the glorious wisdom of our Father because human eyes have never seen, human ears have never heard. It’s never entered human hearts all that God has prepared for those who truly love Him. Our best days as Christians are right in front of us.

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