We Can Know the Wonderful Things!
We Can Know the Wonderful Things!
1 Cor. 2:1-12
† In Jesus Name †
As the grace of God enfolds you, as the mercy and peace comes through like a cleansing wave, may you realize the greatest blessing is simply… beyond your imagination!
A Pastor Parker Parable….
It is time for another of “pastor parker’s parables!”
Side note – it’s been a good year for parables already – this is the fourth one and we are only 6 weeks into the year! So this one seems clearly appropriate!
You see, the Parable is, “The Kingdom of God is revealed like…. (long pause) a Parable!
Told you it was somewhat appropriate!
Parables are simply word pictures that we enter into, stories with the purpose of teaching us, introducing us to deeper truths that we might be able to think through on your own.
They start our simple, like the parable of the sower, and the basic teaching that sometimes things grown, sometimes they do not. The reasons growth doesn’t happen is explained, as is the glory that when things do grow, oh my, do they grow!
That’s the simple story, basic truth, but with an application that takes it far further. In that case Jesus was talking about how people would receive His message – the news of the depth of God’s love, that was about to be revealed to them in a way that would be beyond belief.
Do you remember the old Jack Nicholson quote, “You can’t handle the truth!?” Parables are tools to help those who can’t handle the truth, and that is everyone, as to them is revealed the very glory of God, revealed to us in Jesus birth, death, resurrection and His glorious message that God is with us!
Such is what St. Paul is trying to explain to the church in Corinth – as He is going to spend the entire letter refocusing them on what is important in life, the very mystery of God.
A Time for simplicity
As Paul starts out the chapter, he talks about forgetting everything but one thing – Jesus Christ, and His crucifixion. Nothing else! That is enough to focus on, keeping it simple. Jesus is God, Born of Mary, was crucified for your sin, rose from the dead and is in Heaven with the Father – there to plead for us.
It is the basic story of our faith, the part that we need to focus on, as we talk to people about Jesus – about faith – about Christianity! Too often we get focused on other things, the things we want to save people from, the sins they have, or the bizarre ideas about Christianity or the universe, or just life.
St Peter says it this way, “15 Simply proclaim the Lord Christ holy in your hearts, and always have your answer ready for people who ask you the reason for the hope that you have.” 1 Peter 3:15 (NJB)
Paul talks of this being so critical of a message, that the responsibility of giving it clearly caused him anxiety, and to become an introvert it was so heavy. It caused him to use plain and simple language, this man who would be a professor in any university, in the religion department or philosophy department or languages.
Yet this message is too critical – like the parable it has to begin simply.
Why? Because if it was easily recognized, Paul wouldn’t be able to say what he says in verses 7 and 8, “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. 8 But the rulers of this world have not understood it; if they had, they would not have crucified our glorious Lord.”
They may have understood the first part of the parable, the clearer lessons that were seen at the time of the Old Testament. They were able to see that, and waxed eloquently on those things. The Greeks were able to do this to, learning basic ideas like God is just, and that they tried to draw conclusions about God and the universe based on their limited knowledge. With all of their wisdom, with all of the wisdom of the world today, we might understand the basics of the parable, but can we see the plan that God had hidden in plain sight of all? Not at all! Indeed much of their work obscures anything of the cross. As does the work of some today, who think they are wise.
So instead of speaking eloquently, Paul realized what the Old Testament prophets said was right – that’s why he said,
9 However, as it is written: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him”– 1 Corinthians 2:9 (NIV)
And let me tell you, God has conceived some pretty amazing things….anyone interested in knowing one? Nah…..
Paul said just to focus on Jesus, and the cross…
A Time for Wisdom
But there is a time, among mature believers, to discuss that which is revealed to us, the very mystery of God – hear verse 7 again…
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.
Did you hear that?
God’s plan is for our ultimate glory – and that’s been His plan – all along
That is even more mind blowing than anything else you can hear. More mind blowing winning the lottery. Understand that God is going to bring us into His glory, is more mind-blowing than finding out your wife is pregnant. Way more mind blowing! Take my word for it – I’ve had to deal with both this week!
(did you get that – okay – back to the sermon)
God’s plan for us – since the beginning – to share in His glory – no wonder we can’t see it clearly – no wonder just the forgiveness of sins and the restoration of our relationship with Him.
No eye could have pictured this – when all around us we see sin.
Ears that have rejoiced when hearing the words, “I love you”, hear it from God, the creator of the universe, as He comes and abides with us, and makes our hearts come alive…
and everything, everything, working out for good for us, because we are loved by God, and He calls to us.
That is why Jesus was nailed to the cross, that’s why we are here, it is why we listen to sermons, to know of this love, a love for us. That is the wonderful thing He has freely given, this relationship that we’ve believed was impossible.
That’s the deep thing of the parable, that makes it like the kingdom of God. The deep meaning is all about Jesus Christ – the crucified one, who came to bring us home to God the Father.
Knowing the depth of this mystery – Christ in you – the hope of Glory the apostle told the Colossians – we find ourselves in peace… God’s peace.
Which has been His plan since the beginning.