Your Accent Can and Will Identify You

SCRIPTURE:  Matthew 26:69-75

Different groups of people have distinct ways of speaking.  Englishmen, Scots, the Irish, Australians, Canadians, and Americans.  All claim English as their native language yet they speak differently.

When I first met my wife’s parents, I had difficulty understanding complete sentences when around her dad.  He was native Puerto Rican with a heavy Spanish accent.  I also learned that he never spoke Spanish around the house–ENGLISH was his adopted speech.

I also have family who lives in the State of Texas and though none have acquired a ‘Texas accent’, one of my nieces’ husband has a definite Texas drawl.  You know where he’s from.

Now we know the story of how Christ told Peter at the Passover that he would deny Him.  “Not a chance,” said Peter.  “I would die before I’d deny you!”  “Oh yes you will,” replied Jesus, “and you will do it before the rooster crows this morning.”

The flames cast eerie shadows over the mixed group crowding for warmth.  The talk was about a man from Galilee who had been arrested for blasphemy, who had seen him, what did they think.  Was he God or was he the devil?  And as they chatted, someone pointed to the burly young stranger in the corner.

“You, you were with the one called Jesus.’

“No, you’re wrong,”  he said.  “I don’t know the carpenter.”

But somebody else piped up and said “Sure you do, I’m positive about it” and this time Peter the fisherman ignoring the fact he was in mixed company answered with a string of oaths.  The group turned away from him and started talking amongst themselves when one broke away from the others and approached the scowling Simon Peter.

Matthew 26:73

“Surely you are one of them; your accent gives you away.”

Now one of two things happened.

The first is that we are told that Peter denied that he knew Christ with an oath, maybe this gave him away as a fisherman because after binge-watching the television series “The Deadliest Catch” about crabbing in Alaska, with all the conversational ‘bleeps’, fishermen can cuss the bark off a tree.  This is kind of backed up in Matthew 26:74 ~

“Then he [Peter] began to call down curses, and he swore to them, I don’t know the man.”

More likely though the man was responding to Peter’s Galilean ACCENT.

And so the literal meaning of the passage of Peter’s Galilean ACCENT gave away his true identity away.

Let’s for a moment disregard everything we know about interpreting the Bible.  I’m going to take a passage of Scripture out of context and venture into the area of conjecture that won’t relate in any way to what Matthew was trying to convey.  A message for this blog was given to me by Holy Spirit and a message I feel cannot be ignored:

“Your speech betrays you.”

The way we speak and what we say reveals a great deal about who we are in Christ Jesus–our character or lack thereof.

The TONGUE is the most powerful influence in the Church; able to build people up or tear them down.  I’ve heard people say “You know Mel, those ‘unknown tongues’ can destroy the church.”  I don’t know, there sure have been a lot of churches destroyed by the known tongue.

James 3:9-12 ~

The vast majority of the world doesn’t know what James says and yet almost everybody recognizes and acknowledges this TRUTH of the Scripture and that is  “Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring?…Can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear gigs?  Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.”

Whether you want to accept it or not is up to you but the FACT is that many of the JUDGMENTS made both inside and outside the church is based on the depth of our spiritual walk and may be based on what we say or how we say it.

Galatians 5:19-21 READS 

[19]  The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity, and debauchery; [20] idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions [21] and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like…

Notice how many of these that are listed in the verses are manifested through SPEECH.  That is they are all ACTIONS expressed, enlarged or revealed through our words.  And by the way, if you think the apostle Paul is finished here look at the next two verses.

Galatians 5:22-23 (AMP)

[22] But the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes] is love, joy (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness, [23] Gentleness (meekness, humility), self-control (self-restraint, continence).  Against such things, there is no law [that can and bring a charge].

And so on a day to day basis, we are JUDGED not just by our ACTIONS but on our words, and our tone of voice.  And you’re not just JUDGED by the person you are talking to or about but you are JUDGED by everyone within earshot.

So does your speech betray spiritual flaws, or does your speech reveal spiritual strength?

YOUR SPEECH CAN REVEAL YOUR FAITH (Numbers 14:7-8) –

Not only did Caleb & Joshua BELIEVE God was able to deliver them to the promised land but they were willing to put their FAITH out there by verbalizing their BELIEF.

Funny how FAITH often doesn’t become real until it’s spoken aloud.

Now to be truthful, I don’t know if it’s accountability or if God just wants us to verbalize our BELIEF AND FAITH in Him.  But I do know this, that we have to get beyond “No I can’t” and get to “Yes God can!”

  • “I CAN’T kick that habit’
  • “I CAN’T overcome that sin”
  • “I CAN’T love that person”
  • “I CAN’T tithe”
  • “I CAN’T, I CAN’T, I CAN’T!”

But remember Philippians 4:13 ~ “I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency]”  (Amplified)

Your SPEECH reveals YOUR CONTENTMENT ~

In writing to the Christians in Phillipi, the Apostle Paul says in Philippians 4:1 “I am not complaining about having too little.  I have learned to be satisfied with whatever I have.”

I need to say here, CONTENTMENT isn’t complacency.

Discontentment tends to raid against things and people, while CONTENTMENT moves consistently toward Godliness.  It’s never willing to stand still and be stagnate.

We can be CONTENT to live in 2018 without becoming complacent with the evils which surround us, and instead, we will seek to change them.  The CONTENT person is the person who says “I BELIEVE THAT GOD IS IN CONTROL AND WILL SEEK TO SERVE HIM REGARDLESS OF THE SITUATION.”

Does your SPEECH betray your lack of LOVE?

Over the years as a believer in Christ Jesus, I can think of no other thing that does as much damage to the BODY OF CHRIST as the TONGUE of Christians.

“But I was just sharing so and so’s problem so we could pray about it.”

Yah right.  If you got a problem, it doesn’t go to the person down the street, it doesn’t go to the Pastor or the board.  The Scripture is very plain.  If you personally have a problem with someone in the church then go to that person privately and get it straight.

Gossip isn’t the only problem with the TONGUE.

Another one is FRANKNESS or Candor.

A woman once told the English cleric and theologian John Wesley,  “I have a talent for always speaking my mind.”  His response, “That’s one talent that would be best buried.”

It’s sometimes too easy to point out a person’s shortcomings and sometimes the damage is devastating.  It’s been wisely said that we need to apply a three-fold test to what we say:  1) Is it true? 2) Is it kind? 3) Is it necessary?  As my mother use to say “If you can’t say anything nice, then don’t say anything at all.”

In Philippians 4:8 Paul presents some guidelines for what we should be thinking.

[8] “Summing it all up friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious–the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse”  (The Message Bible).

I don’t think it would do an injustice to the Scripture to add to what Paul is saying, to SPEAK ABOUT SUCH THINGS.  If we SPEAK on those things listed in verse 8 then we won’t have time to be malicious, nasty and hurtful.

PARENTS must realize the damage we can do to our children with harsh and critical words.  And as evidence, the words spoken by my parents in growing up was perpetuated in my life and thoughts that the Holy Spirit within me is still working out.

CHRISTIANS realize the damage you can do to your brothers and sister in Christ.

And LAYMEN, realize the damage that can be done to PASTORS.

And PARENTS, if you are going to discuss your church’s problems and shortcomings (all churches have ‘problems and shortcomings’!), PLEASE do it out of earshot of your children.  Don’t let your SPEECH betray your lack of love.

Your SPEECH REVEALS YOUR love (Romans 1:8)

As difficult as it might be for some folks, it is imperative when we talk to and about people to be positive.

It is so important to hold up people’s achievements and give PRAISE where PRAISE is due.  As PARENTS we need to verbalize our LOVE for our children and tell them how proud we are of them daily.  Our WORDS mold our children and become self-fulfilling prophecies, and not just your children, but our spouses as well.

Billy Sunday said, “Praise your wife, even if it does surprise her at first.”  Take time to say “I LOVE YOU!”  My wife and I have re-emphasized this godly practice during the day and every day.  No phoniness, please!  Do it with sincerity!!

The old farmer’s wife said, “You never tell me that you love me anymore.”  And he replied, “I told you I loved yo 40 years ago, and if I change my mind I’ll let you know.”

How about telling your friends how you feel about them or your brothers and sisters in the Lord, or the workers in the church.  I’m not talking about flattery, I’m talking about sincere PRAISE.

Let’s make a conscious effort to be POSITIVE in our comments to one another; to speak up more in PRAISE & ENCOURAGEMENT.  Everyone needs a BARNABAS in their lives.

If your children get more attention when they do something wrong than when they do something right, what do you think they’re going to do?  And it’s the same with church members.  

LET YOUR SPEECH REVEAL YOUR LOVE.

______________________________________________________________________________________________

CREDITS –

Photos:  Google Image Search, Advance settings.

Bible Study Online Tools.

Bible Translations:  New International Version (NIV) except where noted in the text.

 

 

Things Aren’t Always As They Seem

Looking At The World From A Different Perspective:

2 Timothy 3:1-5 (AMP):

[1] BUT UNDERSTAND THIS, that in the last days there will set in perilous times of great stress and trouble–hard to deal with and hard to bear.  [2] For people will be lovers of self and [utterly] self-centered lovers of money and aroused by an inordinate (greedy) desire for wealth, proud and arrogant and contemptuous boasters. They will be abusive (blasphemous, scoffers); disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy and profane.  [3] [They will be] without natural (human) affection (callous and inhuman);  relentless–admitting of no truce or appeasement.  [They will be] slanderers–false accusers, trouble makers; intemperate and loose in morals and conduct, uncontrolled and fierce, haters of good.  [4] [They will be] treacherous (betrayers), rash [and] inflated with self-conceit. [They will be] lovers of sensual pleasures and vain amusements more than and rather than lovers of God.  [5] For [although] they hold a form of piety (true religion), they deny and reject and are strangers to the power of it–their conduct belies the genuineness of their profession.  Avoid [all] such people–turn away from them.

A Praying Mantis & A Tree Limb
A Praying Mantis & A Tree Limb

Looking at the world from a BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVE, it is not difficult to reach this conclusion from the title to this blog-post: “Things Aren’t Always As They Seem”–

Although this planet is inhabited by more than six billion human beings, there are only two types of people: Those who BELONG TO CHRIST and those WHO DON’T.

Now that, at first, may seem like an oversimplification, but the fact is reflected in…

1 Corinthians 10:21: 

You cannot drink the Lord’s cup and the demon’s cup. You cannot partake of the Lord’s table and the demons’ table.”

Unfortunately, in comparison to the rest of the world, the TRUE CHURCH, that is to say, ALL BELIEVERS not willing to compromise, do not compromise their FAITH by following the norms and the evil current running through this world, is a FACT.

It is a sad fact to think that out of more than six billion people, only a small group or percentage will be SAVED.

Look at the words JESUS speaks in clarity–John 14:6:  “I am the Way and the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father except by (through) Me.”

THIS WORLD is full of people who are just like described in our text (2 Tim. 3:1-5), appear to be one thing, but in all reality something very different.

The world is full of people who profess to be “Christians”; people who with their mouths loudly (and some, not so loudly) DECLARE they are men and women of God, but in REALITY are very far from God.

How do I know this?

Because there are numerous doctrines and teachings that appear to be beautiful and good, but when examined against the Truth, the Word of God, quickly find that there are DOCTRINES & TEACHINGS designed to separate men from God’s presence.

The apostle Paul tells us here to SEPARATE ourselves from them–yet way before Paul’s instruction to us in Timothy, Jesus warned us to stay alert, “take heed”; don’t let the world catch anyone napping.

Mark 13:21-23 (NASB):

[21] “And then if anyone says to you, ‘Behold, here is the Christ; or ‘Behold, He is there’; do not believe him;  [22] For false Christs and false prophets will arise, and will show signs and wonders, in order, if possible, to lead the elect astray.  [23] “But take heed; behold, I have told you everything in advance.”

At this point, I want to take a pause–a “time out”.  I am NOT stating nor implying we should JUDGE and CONDEMN someone.  None of us are worthy to judge anyone!  There is but on Judge!  (John 5:22-23)

I want to make myself very clear on the fact that we are not called to JUDGE or CONDEMN anyone because they may be confused or find themselves trapped in a RELIGION or a SECT.  Let’s always remember when we find ourselves in a situation to EVANGELIZE…our first words must never be “you are going to hell.”  

Our responsibility is to PREACH God’s TRUTH.

So I am NOT implying that we must judge, rather what I am trying to convey to you is we can not trust everything that we see or hear.

The MAJORITY of people, I believe, allow themselves to be led by first impressions, being it positive or negative, and these influence their attitude and behavior toward others.  How do I know this?  Because I am in a spiritual battle as I write–concerning my attitude, my first impressions of others.

If we are honest with ourselves, we are ALL GUILTY of doing just this.  Look at what JESUS tells us regarding our attitude toward others; our judging based on first impressions or otherwise:

Matthew 7:1-2:

[1]  DO NOT judge and criticize and condemn others, so that you may not be judged and criticized and condemned yourselves.  [2] For just as you judge and criticize and condemn others, you will be judged and criticized and condemned, and in accordance with the measure you [use to] deal out to others, it will be dealt out again to you.

But then the question arises in our minds, “How can we distinguish between good and the bad without counting on appearances?”

The LORD tells in Matthew 7:15 (VOICE):

“Along the way, WATCH OUT for false prophets.  They will come to you in sheep’s clothing, but understand that quaint and innocent wool, they are hungry wolves.”

I capitalized two words in this verse, for the KEY to answering the question is to “WATCH OUT” !!!

There are many people in this world who appear to be something that they are not. People that disguise themselves by wearing masks of religions, that seem to speak eloquently with fancy words, but “inwardly they are ravenous wolves.”

WATCH OUT!

There is but ONE WAY that we can prevent ourselves from being deceived; to distinguish these persons from the rest.

EXAMINE THE FRUITS that they produce (Matthew 7:20):

“You will fully know them by their fruits.”

In other words, although my first impression may be good or bad, although the appearance of a group or individual is good or bad, as a true believer, I have to start by learning to wait on God.  This “waiting”, many will say, places the BELIEVER in Christ Jesus at a disadvantage.  

But in reality, the opposite is true.

What happens is, that once we receive conviction, we separate ourselves from all of those things that we have learned that displease God; we will be accused by many saying that a TRUE CHRISTIAN is called to LOVE.  That as Christians, we are CALLED TO LOVE GOD and our neighbors.  That we are CALLED TO FORGIVE even those that may have seriously offended us in the past, and because of the “callings”, we can never distance ourselves from, or stop sharing with, a particular group or individual.

I can tell you that there is some TRUTH to these types of accusations; a Christian Believer IS called to love God and to love his neighbor (Matthew 22:37-40).

Therefore, ONE TRUTH IS…Christians are CALLED to LOVE & FORGIVE.

BUT another great truth is that Christians are NOT CALLED to be Accomplices; Doctrines, rituals, and Sects that serve only to drive a wedge between man and God.

Our responsibility is to TEACH the TRUTH, to PREACH the Gospel of Salvation through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

BUT if they are unwilling to HEAR, unwilling to ACCEPT the Truth, wishing to continue in those things that don’t please God as pointed out in 2 Timothy 3:1-5, then we are to SEPARATE ourselves from them.

Look at how this instruction from Jesus is clearly reflected in Matthew 7:6 when we read…hqdefault

“Don’t waste what is holy on people who are unholy.  Don’t throw your pearls to pigs!  They will trample the pearls, then turn and attack you”  ~ New Living Translation (NLT).

WE MUST BE CAREFUL–WATCH OUT!!!

We must be take care of what God has given us–our “PEARLS” of wisdom and understanding.

Read in Revelations 2:11 at how our Lord tells us,  “Behold I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown.”

We must AVOID those persons who disguise themselves to confuse us; we must SEPARATE ourselves from this wicked and evil world, no matter the form we see it appear.

But we must also EXAMINE ourselves very closely to find the FRUITS that we are bearing are in fact pleasing to God.  [See Footnote [i] for a reference to read]

We must examine ourselves to find, if perhaps, that we have become so preoccupied with those around us that our life has stopped testifying of our Lord Jesus Christ.

I…we have to examine ourselves closely, because we find that by CRITICIZING, and HATING those around us, we must realize that we are not bearing GOOD FRUIT.  We must be very careful with what we HEAR & SEE, we have to TEST EVERYTHING using the Word of God.

But just as important, is our self-examination; we have to EXAMINE ourselves and discover if our life is truly hidden in Christ, or perhaps just hidden.

APPEARANCES can be deceiving, so let’s be very careful that we may not be deceiving ourselves in the process.

 


Footnotes & Credits:

Footnote [i] :  https://theworddetective.wordpress.com/2012/05/03/its-not-easy-b…ruit-inspector/

Photos:  Google Search Images

Bible Translations:  Amplified Bible (AMP), except where noted.

 

 

 

Separating the Gold From the Junk – (Part One)

A TREATISE ON SPIRITUAL DISCERNMENT:

With the my conversations this past week [Adult Sunday School time;  plus trying to define the word “DISCERNMENT” and its meaning with my wife],  the Spirit directed me towards obtaining a clearer understanding.  I hope, as you follow along, you too will have a deeper understanding of discerning.

In its simplest definition, DISCERNMENT is nothing more than the ability to decide between TRUTH AND ERROR, RIGHT AND WRONG!  It is the process of making careful distinctions in our thinking about truth.  In other words, the ABILITY to think with DISCERNMENT is synonymous with an ability to think biblically [I will discuss the “GIFT OF DISCERNING SPIRITS” and the differences in Part Two].

1 Thessalonians 5:21-22 teaches us that it’s the responsibility of every Christian to be discerning–

21  “Test ALL things; hold fast to what is good. 22  Abstain from every form of evil”  (NKJV).

Paul’s Admonition in a Letter:

Now my pastor used several bible verses relating to the topic of DISCERNMENT, but in particular, my focus in PART ONE will be directed to…

1 Corinthians 2:1-2:16– [The New King James Version].

Christ Crucified–

2  And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God.  [2] For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.  [3] I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling.  [4] And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power,  [5] that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

Spiritual Wisdom

[6]  However, we speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing.  [7] But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery [“secret”] of the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory,  [8] which none of the rulers of this age know; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

[9] But as it is written:

“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,

Nor have entered into the heart of man

The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”

[10] But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit.  For the Spirit searches all things, yes the deep things of God.  [11] For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man who is in him?  Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God.  [12] Now we have received, not the spirit of the word but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.

[13] These things we also speak not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.  [14] But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them because they are spiritually discerned.  [15] But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one.  [16] For “who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?”  But we have the mind of Christ.

8413196065_fb484f0a2f  The Truths Are Deep, and Yet Simple–

There are no commands in this chapter of I Corinthians 2.  No rebukes given to the First Church of Corinth.  Instead, Paul is calling us all to appreciate and puzzle over what God has given in Christ by the Spirit.  While the truths are deep, at heart, they are very simple.

Paul is arguing against the Corinthians for trying to find some deeper, profound, scholarly wisdom.  When all the depth they ever need is found in Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.

Unfortunately, DISCERNMENT is an area where most Christians stumble.  They exhibit little ability to measure the things they are taught against the infallible standard of God’s Word.

“SPIRITUAL WISDOM IN A FOOLISH WORLD”

Waylon Jennings lyrics in the classic Country Tune, Lookin’ For Love, started out with the conundrum this way:

“I was looking for love in all the wrong places

Looking for love in too many faces…”

Paul’s Letter to the Corinth Church–

A Church in Greece
A Church in Greece

The church members in a large Greek city also were in a “conundrum”; they were searching for spiritual wisdom in “all the wrong places”.  They had formed elitist groups based on certain teachings and opinions.

We do the same today in our towns and cities.  Church people form groups based on some new spiritual guru, the latest best seller and seminar, seeking with levels of advancement in “spirituality”.  It can get really silly!

In Corinth, what the church thought was WISE…

What was WISE ends up being foolish sometimes and in modern Christian circles, some groups use “buzzwords” to express our take on what it means to be “spiritually mature.”

Ever have someone ask you if you were “full of the Spirit”?  Have you got the “second blessing”?  Does your church believe in the “full gospel”?  I’ve certainly asked the same questions.

Corinthian “Catchwords”–

The apostle Paul uses their buzzwords to reclaim them; re-defining them in the light of Christ and the Holy Spirit.

 In using their language but filling it with his own content, Paul rejects them.  He uses terms that the Corinthians had adopted to justify their spiritual elitism (“wisdom,” “mature,” “secret,” “spiritual”); showing that when these terms are properly understood, they include that which is available to ALL believers, not just the super-spiritual.

The Problem in Corinth–

The problem was not that some Christians didn’t have the Holy Spirit, for all the Christians in Corinth had the Spirit.  The problem was they were not living as spiritual persons ought to live!

Our problem today isn’t that we don’t have what we need to live Christ-like lives, but that we are not embracing what has already been given to us.  We are instead,  “Misfocused In Unfruitful Directions”.

WE’VE BEEN BOMBARDED WITH CLAIMS. 

Claims like: THE KEYS to a happy and healthy Christian Life is to be found in some new technique [Prayer, self-help therapy, a Christian book, spiritual warfare, certain style of worship, personal revelation, a prayer tongue], and on and on.  When these so-called “KEYS”, move away from the humbling, central focus of the Cross of Jesus, we risk becoming elitists, potentially divisive, and if not rejected…can cause a ‘church split.’

Ironically, many deeper life Christian movements have evidently appealed to the church in 1 Corinthians 2; to justify their approach, which is the opposite of Paul’s intent.

Paul’s Intent–

The Apostle’s intent is that we should embrace “spiritual discernment” in God’s wisdom in Christ and by the Spirit.  When we shift our focus off Jesus, to some other secondary teaching or emphasis, we have lost our way.  When we seek and pursue some “deeper” meaning or “better way” that only we and our group have seen, we’ve missed the opportunity of reaching SPIRITUAL MATURITY available to ALL… through Christ and by the Holy Spirit.

Now the Corinthian church members thought they were mature and spiritual in their pursuit of wisdom, but in fact, they were but spiritual infants, missing the TRUE WISDOM of God through His Son.

THE HOLY SPIRIT IS THE “KEY” IN DISCERNMENT:

(Verses 10-12):  “But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit.  For the Spirit searches all things, yes the deep things of God.  [11] For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of man which is in him?  Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God.  [12] Now we have received, not the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.”

The Spirit of God knows ALL the things of God, including the DEPTH of who God is, and His thoughts.  So the Spirit can and does enable us to know what God has already given us!

What is amazing to me is what the Holy Spirit does for us; providing for us to know the things God has graciously given to those who believe.

What are the “THINGS” He has provided?

The NIV bible translates “freely given” from the Greek word Charisthenta, from the word GRACE, charis.  So Paul is talking about Christ and everything we have available through JESUS through His cross and we are to grab hold of the WISDOM that is present in Christ Crucified!  This is TRUE WISDOM, which the Spirit makes possible for us to know–to “discern”.

So what do we do with this knowledge?

“…which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words”  (verse 13, NASB bible).

We are to DISCERN SPIRITUALLY, then we are to explain spiritual truth to others around us, all by the POWER of the Holy Spirit.

Then Paul continues the thought in verse 14, sharing that the person without the Spirit doesn’t accept “the things” or “the depth” or understand because…only discerning is through the Spirit.

The ‘natural’, ‘nonspiritual man’ doesn’t accept the truth.  They appear foolish, not understood.  The Greek phrase here doesn’t describe a ‘weak Christian’, but rather a person who doesn’t have the Holy Spirit, so they’re NOT a Christian.

This is a person who lives on a purely human plane, so following Christ crucified doesn’t make sense to them.  It’s like a deaf person trying to listen to music; or like trying to get email on a phone that’s not smart.

THE AMAZING TRUTH REVEALED: 

Separating the Gold from the Junk
Separating the Gold from the Junk

The last two verses in our text brings us to the Amazing Truth:  The ‘Spiritual’ person discerns [or “judges”, “separates”] ALL things–what is wise and foolish, by sifting out the gold from the junk.

[15]  But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one.  [16] For “who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?”  But we have the mind of Christ. 

The Holy Spirit of God enables us to DISCERN WISDOM as we evaluate ALL LIFE with the mind of Christ.

Paul Verifies His Final Point:

Paul’s reference to a Scripture quotation in the Old Testament from Isaiah 40:13, asking rhetorically: ‘for Scripture says who can know God’s mind?  Who can instruct God?’

Of course the answer is that no one can; no one knows the mind of the Lord, which makes the final phrase seem so outrageous.  He says…we can know God’s mind.  He says…but we have the mind of Christ.

By the Spirit we have the mind of JESUS which is to have the mind of God.

If you want to continue looking at the word DISCERNING, you might look up and read some other *Bible verses in reference to this study in 1 Corinthians 2:1 – 2:16.

 In Part Two, we will again look at DISCERNMENT, but as a spiritual gift of discerning “spirits” and the understanding within the context of the verses found in 1 Corinthians 12 and 1 Corinthians 2..

*Bible References for DISCERNMENT:  [1 John 4:1; Hebrews 4:12; Philippians 1:9-10; Hebrews 5:14; Proverbs 3:1-12; 1 Corinthians 14:33; 1 Kings 3:9; Proverbs 18:15].