Are You Serving in Word or Power?

February 13 ·

This entire chapter is awesome if we would take the time to really read and digest what Paul is saying here. Here is my understanding of it.

1 Corinthians 2 NLT

2 When I first came to you, dear brothers and sisters, I didn’t use lofty words and impressive wisdom to tell you God’s secret plan. 2 For I decided that while I was with you I would forget everything except Jesus Christ, the one who was crucified.

***Paul says that he did not come speaking an eloquent or intellectual message which appeals to men’s minds. He came with one message to be preached, Jesus Christ and Him alone.

3 I came to you in weakness—timid and trembling. 4 And my message and my preaching were very plain. Rather than using clever and persuasive speeches, I relied only on the power of the Holy Spirit. 5 I did this so you would trust not in human wisdom but in the power of God.

***Pay special attention to this verse. Paul came in weakness meaning he did not exalt himself as men do in the natural. Rather when he came he was well aware of the danger of the situation and came fearful of what may lie ahead (remember how many times he had been beaten, stoned and imprisoned). He did not try to sway people by argument or human reasoning. Instead he came demonstrating the Power of the Holy Spirit so that people would not have faith in a discourse but rather in a visual display of the power of the living God.

*** Think about it. This is how Jesus did it. There is no doubt that He preached the most magnificent and wise sermons ever spoken by man but He displayed the power of God and that drew men to Him. The apostles testified to this in Acts 10:37-38 “You know what happened throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee, after John began preaching his message of baptism. And you know that God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. Then Jesus went around doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.”

***Paul is saying here that he followed the same model. He came preaching the simple gospel relying on the power of the Holy Spirit to draw men. He walked in the power of God and the demonstration captured the hearts of the people. He showed them the Kingdom of God at work in their midst. Again let’s look at Jesus and what He said about what He was doing from Luke 11:20-22 “ But if I am casting out demons by the power of God, then the Kingdom of God has arrived among you. For when a strong man is fully armed and guards his palace, his possessions are safe— until someone even stronger attacks and overpowers him, strips him of his weapons, and carries off his belongings.”

*** I love the way this is worded when He says that the enemy is safe until someone stronger overpowers him and takes away his toys. Didn’t Jesus tell the Apostles who were 100% believers after the resurrection not to minister until after the Holy Spirit came with Fire? Remember when He said “Do not leave Jerusalem until the Father sends you the gift he promised, as I told you before. John baptized with water, but in just a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” Acts 1:4-5 and then in verse 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

6 Yet when I am among mature believers, I do speak with words of wisdom, but not the kind of wisdom that belongs to this world or to the rulers of this world, who are soon forgotten. 7 No, the wisdom we speak of is the mystery of God—his plan that was previously hidden, even though he made it for our ultimate glory before the world began.

***Now Paul shifts his attention from the initial introduction of the gospel to unbelievers to speaking to those who are already saved and mature in the faith. For them He will speak of the glorious mysteries of God, meat instead of milk. It is at this point that a soul can now start to comprehend the deep things of God because they have been born again spiritually to a new life and a new citizenship.

8 But the rulers of this world have not understood it; if they had, they would not have crucified our glorious Lord. 9 That is what the Scriptures mean when they say, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.”

***Note that when Paul is talking about the rulers of this world he did not directly mean the chief priests, Herod and Pilate but rather he is referring to Satan’s kingdom and his legions of demonic forces. They crucified the Lord thinking it would forever solidify their power and throne on earth but instead it totally disarmed them. Colossians 2:15 says “ In this way, he disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross”. Remember when Jesus says you need a stronger power to overpower the strong man? Satan cannot out think or out smart God, there is no contest. God wins end of story.

10 But it was to us that God revealed these things by his Spirit. For his Spirit searches out everything and shows us God’s deep secrets. 11 No one can know a person’s thoughts except that person’s own spirit, and no one can know God’s thoughts except God’s own Spirit. 12 And we have received God’s Spirit (not the world’s spirit), so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us.

***Paul now teaches those who have believed and have the Spirit of God living within the truly deep things of God. They could not understand these things before because they did not have the Spirit within. The Spirit of God knows the thoughts of God and as He is living within us He is able to reveal those thoughts to our spirits.

13 When we tell you these things, we do not use words that come from human wisdom. Instead, we speak words given to us by the Spirit, using the Spirit’s words to explain spiritual truths. 14 But people who aren’t spiritual can’t receive these truths from God’s Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them and they can’t understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means. 15 Those who are spiritual can evaluate all things, but they themselves cannot be evaluated by others. 16 For, “Who can know the Lord’s thoughts? Who knows enough to teach him? But we understand these things, for we have the mind of Christ.

*** We have the mind of Christ. The same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead lives within us (Romans 8:11). Jesus told His disciples that when the Holy Spirit came he would “teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you” John 14:26

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