Tags: 1 Corinthians 1, 1 Corinthians 2, Biblical knowledge, commentary on 1 Corinthians, divine revelation, humility, Isaiah 64, knowledge, mind of Christ, Sunday School lessons on 1 Corinthians
That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge;
I Corinthians 1:5
In the book of I Corinthians knowledge is seen as a gift. Those who have knowledge (“the Knows”) are not Knows because they are worthy. They didn’t “figure it out.” They didn’t acquire this kind of knowledge on their own.
For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.
I Corinthians 1:17-19
Those who do not have this knowledge (“the Know-Nots”) think they have wisdom – and the world around them confirms them in this – when really they are the opposite of wise: foolish. This is one of the most tragic things about being a Know-Not: You know NOT that you are a Know-Not.
This keeps us from discounting the possibility that we are secretly Know-Nots, except when we receive the knowledge of Christ from Christ Himself.
Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
I Corinthians 1:20-25
Good news: Just because you wake up and realize that you are a Know-Not, you do not have to stay in that camp.
For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:
I Corinthians 1:26
In fact, the Holy Spirit is calling you out of that camp into the tribe of the Knows.
But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:
I Corinthians 1:27-30
It is humbling to be a Know – even though you wouldn’t think so. The Knows have the knowledge, but it is a dependent knowledge. Our only source of so-called boasting is boasting in how great our God is and how unworthy we are.
The Apostle Paul was a know-not only in a purposeful way.
And I baptized also the household of Stephanas: besides, I know not whether I baptized any other.
I Corinthians 1:16
He determined not to know the record of his past accomplishments, and not to know things that would distract from the Gospel.
For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.
I Corinthians 2:2
This was a selective and special instance of voluntary “Know-Notism,” because the true Know-Nots crucified the Savior.
Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
I Corinthians 2:8
But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.
I Corinthians 2:9-11
These verses apply Isaiah 64 to progressive revelation. The Spirit searches even the deep things. Don’t sell yourself short concerning what you are able to comprehend about God’s Word, since you have its Author, His Spirit, residing in you to teach you. The Know-Nots want to know less. The Knows want to know more. And the Knows have received the Spirit of God
The “flesh” has a spirit, but it is a selfish spirit, and the world also has a spirit that is not a good spirit.
Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.
I Corinthians 2:12
Spiritual knowledge is ignorant of fleshly, worldly knowledge.
Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
I Corinthians 2:13
“Comparing spiritual with spiritual” is a good rule of Bible interpretation, but also a good rule to live by. Spiritual minds want spiritual truths.
But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
I Corinthians 2:14
The Bible holds no real attraction for a lost person. A big difference between the Knows and the Know-Nots is that the Knows know the mind of the Lord, because, through the ministry of the Holy Spirit, they have received the mind of Christ.
But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.
I Corinthians 2:15
The Knows should not be proud, but they also should not be intimidated by the Know-Nots.
For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? but we have the mind of Christ.
I Corinthians 2:16
Christ is knowledge and wisdom personified, so we ask not just “what would Jesus do?” but “what has Jesus done?”.
Tags: Biblical Parenting, Christian parenting, parenting, Proverbs 6, Titus 1
Previously we looked at some of the problems with parents who surrender their God-given authority in order to try to be more popular with their kids. Then we looked at the danger of bribery as a parenting strategy. Now we see that petulant parents make parenting decisions based their feelings, emotions, or moods.
One of the biggest problems with this type of parenting strategy is that it teaches kids that there are good times and bad times to ask for attention from parents. In other words, it teaches the art of manipulation and the sin of scheming.
Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.
These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,
Our children come into this world as fallen sinners, so, while their “purity” is a relative purity, we still, as Christian parents, need to do our best to protect it. The last thing we want to do is coach them in the ways of wicked imagination and mischief.
It can be a daunting and even exhausting task to bring our emotions into check when dealing with our children, and to refrain from responding to their (somewhat excusable) petulance with our own moodiness, but we must spend the time and the effort to do it.
For good or ill, our children, especially when they are very young, will form some of their ideas about God’s character from the way we exercise His ordained authority over them ourselves. When we are cruel or impatient or short with them because we are angry or preoccupied – or when we are too lenient or flattering when we happen to be in a cheery mood – we are accidentally forming in our children’s minds an inaccurate and dangerous picture of God. God is certainly not moody when dealing with us.
Furthermore, allowing our parenting interactions with our kids to be governed by petulance ingrains a defeatist attitude in them concerning prayer. They will be apt to think, “Why should I pray when God might not want to hear me?” Or, “I’ll wait to pray until my obedience makes Him favorably disposed towards me,” as though God could be bribed.
The bottom line is that petulant parents are idolatrous. They are ruled by feelings rather than by Scripture and its Author.
Tags: 1 Peter 3, Acts 8, Colossians 3, Colossians 4, Deuteronomy 6, Ephesians 4, Ephesians 5, James 1, Proverbs 15, Proverbs 18, Psalm 107
Knowing when to be quiet is an underappreciated Christian virtue. Teaching, preaching, counseling, audible prayer, even verbal praise – and especially evangelism – are the topics of frequent and numerous exhortations from the pulpit and from the Scriptures. However, the art of being quiet – perhaps even dividing our speech by as much as 50% from our accustomed habit – or at least making sure that our ears are working twice as hard as our tongue – is something that probably needs to be stressed more.
Still, this does does not mean that appropriate speaking is not also vitally important. So, in this lesson, I would like to identify some Bible principles that will help us know when – and how – to speak up.
And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man? Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.
Philip, not expecting this encounter with the Ethiopian eunuch, could have been too surprised to speak. He could have held his peace and just assumed that, since the Holy Spirit had worked it out so that the Ethiopian was reading a scroll of Isaiah already, he would figure it out on his own. But he didn’t. He opened his mouth. He opened his mouth and preached. He opened his mouth and preached JESUS.
This leads us to the first principle about identifying the right time and way to speak up:
WHEN: When there is an opportunity
HOW: Christologically (about Jesus)
Isaiah Chapter 53 is about penal substitutionary atonement. You don’t need to know the words “penal substitionary atonement” to speak about the concept, but you definitely need to know the truths for which they stand. Speak up for Jesus. Speak up about Jesus. Speak up on the Person and work of Jesus.
Here is another occasion to speak up:
WHEN: When grace is needed
HOW: Seasoned with salt
Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.
Grace is needed wherever sin, failure, fault, pain, frustration, or hopelessness abound, because where sin abounds, grace does much more abound (Romans 5:20). However, for grace to be heard as grace (because it is being heard in a place of sin, frustration, hopelessness, or pain), it must first be seasoned, and it must be seasoned with salt.
Salt stings, but it cleanses. Salt flavors and it preserves. Salt creates thirst. Too little salt and your attempt at grace will be bland. Too much salt and your attempt at grace will taste terrible.
A third opportunity to properly speak up is:
WHEN: When it’s time to grow up
HOW: In love
That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
We have an obligation as part of a family of faith to help each other to grow spiritually. Only truth will help true growth. When my oldest daughter was about to enter junior high school, she decided that she wanted to be a cheerleader. We had enrolled her in gymnastics as a toddler, but, because she spent most of the classes practicing her speed-talking rather than her cartwheels, we decided the money could be better spent elsewhere. I love her dearly, but as she progressed through childhood, it became clear that physical agility and athleticism were not her strong points. To put it kindly, when she attempted any sort of athletic or rhythmic movement, she had the dexterity of a drunken hobo trying to serve tea in a rocking rowboat. So, as her parents, her mother and I had to speak the truth to her about her prospects of making the cheerleading team (not to mention the probability of embarrassment and injury). Hopefully, though, we did it in love.
Another time to speak up:
WHEN: When anger is warranted
HOW: Softly, after listening carefully
Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.
“Be slow to speak” is not the same as not speaking. Unrighteous anger can not always be ignored. At times it must be confronted, but fighting fire with fire only creates a bigger fire. When we have to confront anger with our speech, we need to try to defuse the bomb, not set it off.
A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.
Be quick to listen, and, when responding, use temperance: control your own temper.
Another instance of speaking up correctly:
WHEN: When people ask what you believe about God (and when people don’t ask)
HOW: With joy, enthusiasm, meekness, and fear
Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy;
Before you became a Christian, you were a prisoner. You were in bondage to sin, Satan, and death, and you had no hope of escape in or of yourself. Created by God to be His servant, you had been taken captive. However, there was a way that you could be set free – “redeemed” – bought back. You may have heard of the practice of “prisoner exchange.” One king or government will sometimes release many prisoners (or one very important prisoner) for the exchange of another king’s or government’s captive citizens. How many servants were you worth? Normally, if the king himself is taken captive, he is ransomed for a great price. But in your case the King Himself ransomed the unworthy servant, and He redeemed you with His own blood! He became your ransom! “He gave Himself a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). How can we NOT speak about this?
There is really never a wrong time to declare your redemption, but it is an especially good time when someone makes an inquiry.
But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
I Peter 3:15
Then you do it with joy and enthusiasm (because you can’t help it), and you do it with meekness and fear (beause it is not really “your” message). Remember, when someone asks you about why you believe what you believe about Jesus, you are trying to win that person, not win an argument.
WHEN: When teaching or admonishment is needed
HOW: Wisely, spiritually, and with the Word of God
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
The “Word of Christ” is more than just the red letters in your Bible. It is all of Scripture. We are supposed to allow it to “dwell” in us. Not just visit with us occasionally, but remain constantly. It needs to take up residence in our souls. It is impossible to have a high view of the supremacy of Christ and a low view of Scripture at the same time.
The Word of Christ is supposed to dwell in us richly, the way that rich food – filling food – nourishes us and satisfies us, but also “richly” in the sense of us mining the depths of the riches found in Scripture. We are to seek out the deepest meanings and principles in the Bible, and not be content with a “verse of the day” calendar entry.
Then we are to teach and admonish one another. Teaching is instruction and admonishing is correction when wrongdoing occurs. Because the family of God is diverse, we have different experiences and backgrounds from which we can learn from one another. Because the family of God is unified, we have a shared set of precepts and principles from which we can correct each other in love.
WHEN: When you want to do God’s will
HOW: Thankfully and submissively
Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.
We want to know and to do God’s will in the general structure of our lives, and in dealing with specific questions concerning what God would have us to do when faced with problems or decisions. His spirit does not lead us to act drunk. Drunks are loud, arrogant, and foolish. Spirit-led Christians are controlled, wise, and temperate.
All Christians should want to do God’s will. God’s will is worked in us in a general way as we teach and admonish one another. God’s specific will is worked in us as we experience the filling of the Holy Spirit, so we speak to one another when we see needs or opportunities for teaching or admonishing each other, but we speak to ourselves continually to make sure we are remembering to give thanks to the Lord and to submit to the Lord. In other words, we need to be speaking – really, preaching – the Gospel to our own souls. Our fear of the Lord is a natural reminder to submit ourselves to Him, and to keep ourselves submitted. Gratitude is naturally humbling and humility is naturally submissive. Talking to yourself is a sign of mental illness for the person who is not saved, but, for the Christian, speaking to yourself is communicating with the Holy Spirit Who fills us.
WHEN: As a regular part of everyday life
And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
Communicating the truth of the Word of God from generation to generation requires both regularity and intentionality. Don’t compartmentalize your Christianity. There is no sacred/secular distinction in the Kingdom of God
In conclusion, there is life and death in the power of the tongue. We should use our tongue sparingly and judiciously, but there are times when, if we are to be faithful to Him Who called us, then use it we must.
Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.
Tags: chance, Colossians 2, Flood of 2016, Louisiana Flood, Louisiana Flood of 2016, luck, Proverbs 16, Psalm 115, sovereignty of God, The Great Flood of 2016
Although the flood which happened in southeastern Louisiana in August, 2016, was declared to be a “1000-year flood,” there is some confusion as to exactly what that meant. Some people were saying it was such a rare catastrophic occurrence, that it was the kind of thing that only happens once every thousand years. Others said it meant that there is only a .001 percent chance of such an event happening in any given year. For those who found themselves wading through three feet of rain-and-river water flowing through their uninsured living rooms, it did not make much difference at that point, other than the meager consolation that, having rolled the meteorological equivalent of snake eyes during their lifetimes, at least now they wouldn’t have to deal with such a problem again.
While it is dubious as to whether or not this makes sense even statistically speaking, Christians, of all people, ought to know better. God – Who controls the weather – does not deal in “odds,” “chance,” “luck,” or blind “fate.” He could bring a flood in 2017, 2018, 2019, and every year thereafter, or He might decide never to allow a mud puddle to form south of the Mason-Dixon line until Jesus comes back. Living in a world that is obviously designed, but subject to apparent randomness in the events that affect it, can cause us, if we are not careful, to forget that the Lord is in control.
The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the Lord.
He is under no obligation to follow a statistical pattern or to bow down to any so-called laws of probability.
But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased.
As faithful Christians, we have the privilege of praying that God would send favorable weather, but we also recognize that He knows best, and we joyfully submit to His supreme, perfectly wise will. Otherwise we run the danger of being “spoiled” by this world’s system, which gives praise to “fortune” or “luck” rather than the sovereign God.
Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
Tags: Douglas Wilson, Douglas Wilson quotes, Joshua 24, obedience, obey, quotes about swimming, Romans 6, swim quotes, the deep end
As we begin to obey, the Lord may continue to give us more obedience. But in order to wade in from the shallow end of the pool, we do have to get into the pool in the first place.
Douglas Wilson, The Neglected Qualification
Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?
And Joshua said unto the people, Ye are witnesses against yourselves that ye have chosen you the LORD, to serve him. And they said, We are witnesses. Now therefore put away, said he, the strange gods which are among you, and incline your heart unto the LORD God of Israel. And the people said unto Joshua, The LORD our God will we serve, and his voice will we obey.
Tags: Book of Mark, commentary on Mark, Gospel of Mark, Jesus as Servant, Mark, Mark 1, Sunday School lessons on Mark, temptation of Christ, the Gospels, wilderness
When we compare the different viewpoints of the four “Gospels” we see that Matthew shows Jesus as King, and that the Holy Spirit had him write with a Jewish audience primarily in mind. Luke highlights the humanity of Jesus, and is addressed mainly to a Greek audience. John has a broader, more universal audience in mind, and emphasizes Jesus as the Son of God. The Book of Mark (second book of the New Testament) places an emphasis on Jesus’s role as a servant, and seems to be addressed primarily to gentiles in general, and Romans in particular. When we read Mark, Jesus seems to be almost always in motion – on the move. Unlike Matthew and Luke, Mark does not contain the Lord’s earthly genealogy. Nor does it rehearse the Sermon on the Mount.
Mark, the human instrument which the Holy Spirit used to write the Book of Mark, is the “John Mark” who went went with Paul on his first missionary journey. However, he subsequently abandoned the mission, incurring Paul’s disfavor. He then went with Barnabus, and was reconciled to Paul later.
Words like “straightway” are used with great frequency throughout the Book of Mark. “Straightway” means “immediately” – almost “suddenly” – but there is a spiritual connotation to it, too. Jesus was always on the “straight” way even when it looked to men like He was meandering. Servants “do” more than they “talk.” Their genealogies are irrelevant. They are busy serving someone else.
And immediately the Spirit driveth him into the wilderness. And he was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted of Satan; and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered unto him.
Jesus was both led and “driven” by the Spirit into the wilderness. He was an obedient Servant, though He went willingly. Jesus did not delay His trip into the wilderness, although this wilderness would have been especially daunting, given the terrain, the lack of light at night, the wild beasts, the threat of lawlesss and desperate men hiding out. The terrors of the Judean wilderness were certainly formidable, but, on top of that, the Devil was coming to get Him! This is one of many instances in the earthly life of Jesus where He fulfilled all righteousness by performing ever-increasing acts of obedience, though He had no unrighteousness within Himself form which to turn.
Tags: closing argument, commentary on Hosea, Hosea 5, Hosea 6, Hosea 7, Hosea 8, idolatry, Jesus the Advocate, Sunday School lessons on Hosea
In Hosea Chapter 4 God listed the charges against the people, and presented evidence of their idolatry. In Chapter 5 He makes His summation or “closing argument.”
They will not frame their doings to turn unto their God: for the spirit of whoredoms is in the midst of them, and they have not known the Lord.
God had withdrawn His Spirit from among them. It didn’t matter how Godly they sounded in their protests or professions, nor how fervently they celebrated in their feasts. They would show up at a festival ostensibly to honor God, and then behave like pagans, allowing their daughters to engage in pagan fertility rites and fornication.
Blow ye the cornet in Gibeah, and the trumpet in Ramah: cry aloud at Bethaven, after thee, O Benjamin.
With the term “Bethaven” God used Hosea to make a very effective legal argument. Bethel – where they were supposed to worship – meant “house of God.” The pun on the word “Bethaven” meant “house of evil” or “house of deceit.”
Then God had Hosea read the penalty attached to the crimes of which the people had now been convicted.
Therefore will I be unto Ephraim as a moth, and to the house of Judah as rottenness.
Moths eat away from the inside, and turn objects into rot.
For I will be unto Ephraim as a lion, and as a young lion to the house of Judah: I, even I, will tear and go away; I will take away, and none shall rescue him.
Moths work secretly for a long time before the destruction they cause is revealed, but Lions attack suddenly from the outside, and the damage they cause is quickly and obviously apparent.
In Chapter 6 the people attempted an appeal of their conviction and sentencing.
Come, and let us return unto the Lord: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up. After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight. Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth.
However, their appeal was a false repentance, and it was rejected and denied.
O Ephraim, what shall I do unto thee? O Judah, what shall I do unto thee? for your goodness is as a morning cloud, and as the early dew it goeth away.
The Lord had no use for a half-baked cake.
They are all adulterers, as an oven heated by the baker, who ceaseth from raising after he hath kneaded the dough, until it be leavened. In the day of our king the princes have made him sick with bottles of wine; he stretched out his hand with scorners. For they have made ready their heart like an oven, whiles they lie in wait: their baker sleepeth all the night; in the morning it burneth as a flaming fire. They are all hot as an oven, and have devoured their judges; all their kings are fallen: there is none among them that calleth unto me. Ephraim, he hath mixed himself among the people; Ephraim is a cake not turned.
They have set up kings, but not by me: they have made princes, and I knew it not: of their silver and their gold have they made them idols, that they may be cut off.
These people would be cut off, and we all face a judgment in which God would be justified in cutting us off forever from His benevolence, kindness, and favor. However, for those of us who are in Christ Jesus – who have received His salvation – Jesus Himself stands as our Advocate. On the Cross of Calvary He was cut off from God so that we may be accepted.
Here are some previous highlights from Hosea: