Monday, September 01, 2008

God's Word Reveals True Wisdom

When it comes to sharing God's wisdom (as revealed in the Bible), often, non-believers are either offended, confused, or taken aback by it. They want to know by what "authority" any particular Christian has to proclaim that he/she knows the truth.

The answer is that we need to back up our arguments with Scripture. However, when we do, it is often rejected or ignored by the person who asks us questions about God, but at the same time, refuses to acknowledge God's authority contained in His written Word.

In previous posts, I have often discussed the fact that those who are not born again in Christ often think that sharing Bible verses with them is useless, and/or meaningless.

Note this one example that I recently received in the comment section of a previous post:

...Don't pretend to 'teach' them with Spurgeon quotes and marginally apropos Bible exerpts [sic]...


The Bible reveals precisely why such a person would say something like this:

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. 1 Corinthians 2:14 (KJV)

This is not meant as a put down. I know that those who don't understand the concept of being born again in Jesus Christ might think that this is a "you think you are better than me" kind of verse.

No. That is not the reason. That is not the purpose.

The reason that such a verse (as well as the corresponding verses below) is in the Bible is for instruction. It is a teaching kind of verse that lets believers know what they (we) are up against when attempting to evangelize non-believers with the gospel.

Cross References to this verse:

John 14:17 that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.

1 Corinthians 1:18 For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

1 Corinthians 15:44 it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.

1 Corinthians 15:46 However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual.

James 3:15 This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic.

Jude 1:19 These are the ones who cause divisions, worldly-minded, devoid of the Spirit. (NASB ©1995)


Those who profess to be Christians, yet refuse to adhere to God's Word, are also leading their lives "in the flesh."

I have seen how confused non-believers are when they can't understand why Christians tell them their need to repent.

It doesn't help, either, that the current post-modern, seeker-sensitive (a.k.a. don't mention repentance of sin and/or the cross of Christ) emergent church, purpose-driven distraction is out there - leading seekers astray and into heresy.

Note what the Treasury of Scripture Knowledge tells us:

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. (NKJV)

the natural man. [Psuchikos,] the animal man, one who lives in a natural state, and under the influence of his animal passions; for [psuche] means the inferior and sensual part of man, in opposition to the [nous] understanding, or [pneuma,] the spirit.


There are MANY GREAT commentaries written about this verse. Here are two of the best:

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

14. natural man-literally, "a man of animal soul." As contrasted with the spiritual man, he is governed by the animal soul, which overbears his spirit, which latter is without the Spirit of God (Jude 19). So the animal (English Version, "natural") body, or body led by the lower animal nature (including both the mere human fallen reason and heart), is contrasted with the Spirit-quickened body (1Co 15:44-46). The carnal man (the man led by bodily appetites, and also by a self-exalting spirit, estranged from the divine life) is closely akin; so too the "earthly." "Devilish," or "demon-like"; "led by an evil spirit," is the awful character of such a one, in its worst type (Jas 3:15).

receiveth not-though they are offered to him, and are "worthy of being received by all men" (1Ti 1:15).

they are foolishness unto him-whereas he seeks "wisdom" (1Co 1:22).

neither can he-Not only does he not, but he cannot know them, and therefore has no wish to "receive" them (Ro 8:7).


The previous commentary informs us why it is necessary for people to have faith and believe in Jesus, realize the truth in what Christ did for us at the cross, confess sin and repent FIRST, and then receive Christ as Lord and Savior. In that order, salvation works. Out of that order, it doesn't.

Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

2:10-16 God has revealed true wisdom to us by his Spirit. Here is a proof of the Divine authority of the Holy Scriptures, 2Pe 1:21.


In proof of the Divinity of the Holy Ghost, observe, that he knows all things, and he searches all things, even the deep things of God. No one can know the things of God, but his Holy Spirit, who is one with the Father and the Son, and who makes known Divine mysteries to his church. This is most clear testimony, both to the real Godhead and the distinct person of the Holy Spirit.
The apostles were not guided by worldly principles. They had the revelation of these things from the Spirit of God, and the saving impression of them from the same Spirit. These things they declared in plain, simple language, taught by the Holy Spirit, totally different from the affected oratory or enticing words of man's wisdom.


The natural man, the wise man of the world, receives not the things of the Spirit of God. The pride of carnal reasoning is really as much opposed to spirituality, as the basest sensuality.


The sanctified mind discerns the real beauties of holiness, but the power of discerning and judging about common and natural things is not lost.


But the carnal man is a stranger to the principles, and pleasures, and actings of the Divine life. The spiritual man only, is the person to whom God gives the knowledge of his will.


How little have any known of the mind of God by natural power!


And the apostles were enabled by his Spirit to make known his mind. In the Holy Scriptures, the mind of Christ, and the mind of God in Christ, are fully made known to us.


It is the great privilege of Christians, that they have the mind of Christ revealed to them by his Spirit. They experience his sanctifying power in their hearts, and bring forth good fruits in their lives.

12 comments:

spud tooley said...

wond'ring aloud...

mike rucker
fairburn, ga, usa
mikerucker.wordpress.com

neverlosethatfeeling said...

The problem isn't that the words you use (other people's words..) don't sound great - they do!

But they don't have the effect on people that you imagine they do.

Non-believers don't read your Bible quotes and feel mysteriously rebuffed by them.

"False" Christians don't put their eyes away as if they couldn't stand their sight.

The words don't make you appear special either. They don't create any kind of spiritual force field around you that makes others go weak.

At first, to a stranger you don't have any more credibility than the next guy - so when you open up and start up the quote / commentary teaching machine and purport to call the crude strings of homelitics you generate "wisdom", you just seem odd.

My point remains, if you want to communicate with other people, you should stop complimenting yourself with Bible verses about the wisdom God gives people like you, and do so.

If you DON'T want to communicate, you can devote as many posts as you want to fielding "attacks" from people who you imagine are afraid of you, and keep pretending your sizable and growing catalog of condemnations for all things homosexual isn't distractingly obsessive.

Otherwise, you seem to be an inconsiderate and willfully obtuse person. And that's no way for a child of God to be.

Ultimately, you'll probably say that the Holy Spirit constantly gets criticized when people really have the Spirit.

Of course, we both know that's foolishness. Those who truly have the Holy Spirit are instructed by the Spirit to be gentle and considerate, and don't raise themselves up to mock others who sin, safely adjourned to their petty proprieites. They don't inflate themselves to assume that whenever any criticism is being offered them, it is proof that the word of God - which they can't seem to demonstrate beyond question that they actually understand, having puree'd good sense into mellifluous jargon with all your haphazard cross-references - makes sinners and heretics 'uncomfortable'. They are meek and moderate and peaceful because they are coming to know in greater fullness what God's work for them in this life is.

I reprove you because I'm convinced that the way you write is retarding the promulgation of the Kingdom of God, and I ask you a last time to think about who you are and what you say, and how you might better spread the wisdom you have to those whom God shows you.

Christinewjc said...

Mike,

I see that you have ignored what this post was about and instead, wanted to make some kind of a political point (or, use it as a "football"??) against the Palin family.

Since my comment at your blog is awaiting moderation, I will also include it here:

It is sad to realize, but probably a fact. If this had been a liberal, pro-abortion type family, we may never have even known about the teenager’s pregnancy. The baby would have most likely been aborted several months ago. There would have been no need to announce such a development because it would have been taken care of in secret.

It is amazing to me that so many people cheered over the movie “Juno,” where the pregnant teen decided against abortion, had the baby, but gave it up for adoption.

Yet, when in real life a teen (whose pregnancy would have gone unnoticed [nationally speaking] if her mom wasn’t selected as McCain’s V.P. candidate) gets pregnant, apparently, it isn’t something that the public is willing to accept as a personal, family matter and leave them alone. The parents acknowledged the situation (and are prepared to welcome the baby into their family). Plus, the young couple is engaged to be married - so why are liberals trying to smear Palin and her family over this?

I liked what Teresita wrote (copy below). I second such sentiments.

Teresita's comment:

[quote from]Mike: those who on friday were positively beside themselves that sarah palin was everything they’d hoped for had to tap dance around the revelation that her 17-year old daughter was pregnant.

[Teresita's response]: No tap dance. The Palins choose life, always. Obama defended abortion-on-demand, saying he would never want to punish his daughter by making her have an unwanted child. The Palins tried to teach their daughter the importance of waiting until marriage, but when she fell short of perfection, they encouraged her to get a belated marriage and gathered around her as a family, the ultimate support network.

Teresita said this on September 2, 2008 at 11:11 am

Christinewjc said...

One more point on the issue of the Palin teen's pregnancy.

I heard a preacher once quip [paraphrased here] that 'There is no such thing as an unplanned baby. Unplanned parents? Yes. Unplanned babies? No.'

Christinewjc said...

"Never" wrote: "The problem isn't that the words you use (other people's words..) don't sound great - they do!

But they don't have the effect on people that you imagine they do."


And...you know this for a fact...how?

Perhaps they don't have the desired effect on you, but how can you speak for other people?

If you don't like what I write then don't read it! Go to a blog that will cater to your own sentiments and ease your conscience!

You aren't answering my questions or addressing what I put forth here anyway.

You aren't answering other commenters questions or addressing what they put forth either.

What's more, there is NOTHING in your writing that indicates that you have the needed Christian belief that people need to repent of their sins. That's not evangelism. That's compromise and appeasement.

Can you go to the Bible and show me the verses where Jesus compromised and appeased people about their sin?

Christinewjc said...

FYI Everyone,

I just had a comment "zapped" by blogger (the brief one about the preacher's quip). Hate when that happens!

I often forget to copy my comments to the clipboard before posting. But when this happens - it serves as a reminder!

Gary Baker said...

Never,

"My point remains, if you want to communicate with other people, you should stop complimenting yourself with Bible verses about the wisdom God gives people like you, and do so."

I'm still asking for some examples of how this can be accomplished with regards to homosexual conduct that do not condone sin or deny scripture. Are you interested in reaching with people with truth, or are you trying to shut people up who offend you?

lynch-patrick said...

Mike, there's a huge difference between wielding the Bible as an offensive weapon - and using Biblical truth and all that Jesus left us in a very un-Biblical way at that - and real dialogue that DOES reach people with truth.

Truth doesn't "offend" people. Being offensive is offensive.

Calling people names, slandering them, and refusing to interact with them offends - no matter what your sexual orientation or religious persuasion, and no matter who is rebuffing you.

Pretending otherwise isn't conducive to missional Christianity. Pretending otherwise is delusional.

The Gospel shouldn't permit you to delude yourself about your own conduct, especially when presenting the image of Christ to those who don't know him is at stake.

Jesus didn't come for the righteous but for sinners: we have to BEGIN our evangelical efforts having thoroughly digested that.

If homosexual conduct is the sin of others you choose to make the focus of your evangelical business, you better have a LOT of compassion, understanding, and heart for people who commit it if you want to connect with them. You better be willing to RELATE, so that through you, God can work.

And if you have to ask how, in good conscience, you can relate with sinners, you have officially lost any grip on what the ministry of Jesus was about.

All things to all people, so that by all means you might save some.

And Christinejwc, I know for a fact that you aren't reaching people BECAUSE OF THE DOZENS OF COMMENTS YOU POSTED ON YOUR OWN BLOG FROM PEOPLE TO WHOM YOU HAVE NOT BEEN A CREDIBLE WITNESS OF CHRIST.

You dropped the ball. Pray about it. You know you have. You're facing the choice: either look inward, admit it, ask God for forgiveness and endeavor to do better towards sinners, or pretend that I am "not really saved", that I have no business criticizing you or noticing the wrathfulness with which you detest sinners, and keep on imagining that there is NO WAY that God would ever find you guilty of judging the sinners among His people.

And as for Jesus appeasing people, he did exactly that on numerous occasions: he rewarded sins with GRACE and FORGIVENESS on the cross, he appeased the desperate who sought Him by giving them instruction often when he didn't feel like it, and he constantly, in dialogue and through miracles, gave succour for the sick, the emotionally disturbed and possessed, and gave sound and understanding moral counsel to the troubled. The whole ministry of the Son was an appeasement to God for OUR sins.

And if that's the Truth, then there's no reason to respond to lists of Bible verses - you string them together to prove your points without any reference to their context; it's sophistry, and engaging in verse-for-verse disputation with a sophist is pointless. You're confident that with an avalanche of sources you can excuse some bad behavior, and frankly, we both know it's a child's diversionary tactic. It's not me you need to prove yourself to; it's God you have to repent before.

Christinewjc said...

Question: So...is "lynch-patrick" "never's" new screen name?

It seems to me that someone who chooses not to identify himself/herself? in an honest, forthright, and consistent manner and does not answer direct questions should not be calling other people to to task for what they write. You may think you are being wise here, but it isn't very clever to side-step the repentance issue by telling me to repent.

You still have not answered my questions (about repentance) or Gary's questions...unless, of course, you had mistaken "Gary's" comments for "Mike's."

In case you missed Gary's awesome response to you in the previous post's comment section (which, quite frankly, I highly doubt...it's more likely that you chose to ignore it like all of the rest of the questions being posed to you) - here is a copy of it:


Gary Baker said...
["never" previously wrote]: "I think it's quite out-of-our-league to say that a mortal person, composed of conflicted opinions, emotions and rationality, could ever be an enemy to God."

[Gary]: I guess that you and I define enemy differently.

[Never]: "And I disagree that the Pharasees were enemies of God - they believed as strongly as anyone - as strongly as Christinejwc, certainly - that they were doing God's work and were beyond criticism or need of redemption. As a result, they had an markedly adversarial relationship with Jesus on Earth, but he never condemned them to Hell or raised armies against them or did anything that showed that He thought His other actions - preaching and dying - insufficient covering for their sins."

[Gary shared these verses]: "Mat 23:15 "How terrible it will be for you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over sea and land to make a single convert, and when this happens you make him twice as fit for hell as you are.
Mat 23:16 "How terrible it will be for you, blind guides! You say, 'Whoever swears an oath by the sanctuary is excused, but whoever swears an oath by the gold of the sanctuary must keep his oath.'
Mat 23:17 You blind fools! What is more important, the gold or the sanctuary that made the gold holy?
Mat 23:18 Again you say, 'Whoever swears an oath by the altar is excused, but whoever swears by the gift that is on it must keep his oath.'
Mat 23:19 You blind men! Which is more important, the gift or the altar that makes the gift holy?
Mat 23:20 Therefore, the one who swears an oath by the altar swears by it and by everything on it.
Mat 23:21 The one who swears an oath by the sanctuary swears by it and by the one who lives there.
Mat 23:22 And the one who swears an oath by heaven swears by God's throne and by the one who sits on it.
Mat 23:23 "How terrible it will be for you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites! For you give a tenth of your mint, dill, and cummin, but have neglected the more important matters of the law: justice, mercy, and faithfulness. These are the things you should have practiced, without neglecting the others.
Mat 23:24 You blind guides! You filter out a gnat, yet swallow a camel!
Mat 23:25 "How terrible it will be for you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but on the inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence.
Mat 23:26 You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup, so that its outside may also be clean.
Mat 23:27 "How terrible it will be for you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs that look beautiful on the outside but inside are full of dead people's bones and every kind of impurity.
Mat 23:28 In the same way, on the outside you look righteous to people, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.
Mat 23:29 "How terrible it will be for you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You build tombs for the prophets and decorate the monuments of the righteous.
Mat 23:30 Then you say, 'If we had been living in the days of our ancestors, we would have had no part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.'
Mat 23:31 Therefore, you testify against yourselves that you are descendants of those who murdered the prophets.
Mat 23:32 Then finish what your ancestors started!
Mat 23:33 You snakes, you children of serpents! How can you escape being condemned to hell? "

Christ was very specific about their actions. He said that they hated both him and his Father. That certainly meets my definition of enemy.

[Never]: "we aren't soldiers, we're medics."

[Gary]: Baloney.

Paul also declares that we are at war and that we are to take up the armor. That armor is used in battle, and the Word is the only weapon we are given. As for the idea of Paul employing hyperbole, I don't think our God is prone to exaggeration, and I don't think his prophets were either.


In the end time, God will win the victory, and along the way he provides the power, but to say that we are to remain out of the battle is ridiculous. Almost from the time of the fall, God used men to transmit his messages and in large part to destroy evil that festered. God didn't directly destroy the high places in ancient Israel. He told the Israelites to do it. He didn't keep Christ present in bodily form to continually oppose wrong doctrine. He gave that responsibility to men (and by that I mean humans, not gender specific). To say that we are to remain out of the conflict is to ignore Christ's last command - Go and make disciples. That isn't just making converts, that's discipling, that's teaching the truth. If we were just supposed to stay around spreading words of comfort, Christ would not have declared that we would be persecuted and killed and hounded. No one goes after that kind of Christian, because that kind of Christian makes very little difference in the long term. Oh, you will ease the suffering of some, but without conversion, teaching, correcting, and overcoming, you build nothing that will survive this world. God desires us to build for his kingdom to come, not to simply perform triage on the present.

I would still like to hear some kind of example of how to reach people without condoning sin or denying the truth.

September 2, 2008 11:52:00 AM PDT

John said...

"It is sad to realize, but probably a fact. If this had been a liberal, pro-abortion type family, we may never have even known about the teenager’s pregnancy. The baby would have most likely been aborted several months ago."

I will be anxious to see the statistics that you have to back that statemant up Christine. Otherwise I'll just assume you're pulling that out of your...air!

I'm one of those liberals... most of my friends and family are Democrats/liberals and not one of them...not one is "pro-abortion". They are however pro-choice. All of these people, without exception, want abortion to be safe, legal and rare. And what is you're alternative? What would happen if abortions were suddenly made illegal. Would they disappear? Or would we just return to days of back alleys and coat hangers?

Christinewjc said...

So John - where's the "choice" for the baby?

Choose life! Your mother did!

Gary Baker said...

Hi John,

"I will be anxious to see the statistics that you have to back that statemant up"

As an engineer, I agree. I would like to see some data. Unfortunately, the ACLU and Planned Parenthood have lobbied so effective that any useful specifics are buried under a mile of privacy law.

"not one is "pro-abortion". They are however pro-choice. "

That's terrific. Please tell me which choices you support:

School choice by giving parents vouchers so that they can get their kids out of failing schools quickly,

Work choice by ensuring that all states are "right to work states" and that all votes to unionize remain by secret ballot.

Retirement choice by allowing people to choose how to invest their retirement taxes.

Allowing people to choose how to spend their money without paying up to fifty percent of their income on taxes.

Allowing people to choose to defend themselves by owning firearms.

Allowing people to choose their legal structure by referendum without blockage by extraneous lawsuits.

You see, most of the people who label themselves "pro-choice" really support very few choices for people. The major choice they support is abortion on demand, and that's why I aptly call them "pro-abortion." The day that they really stand up for choice in a broader sense, I will reconsider the label.

It's also false that liberals want abortion "safe, legal, and rare." If they really did, they would do something about it. The privacy laws they have set up effectively prevent monitoring the system so that it can be kept safe, making it impossible in many cases for a parent to gain access to their child's medical history. Likewise, their mantra of "rare" seems very weak considering the number of abortions performed. It's odd though that they never shout very much about the other two. As long as it's legal, they seem to be satisfied.

I can't speak for Christine, but my alternative is personal responsibility. BTW - The old "coat-hanger, back alley" line is mostly propaganda. Rare cases, and very tragic, but very few cases of illness can directly be tracked back to things. If you know otherwise, I would like to see some reliable statistics.