And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. (1 Corinthians 2:13-14)
Christ’s truth looks…stupid. Dumb. Foolish. That is, to a person who is not born again. It is, as Paul says, only by the Spirit that anyone is able to recognize the wisdom of God. After all, so blind is the fallen human heart and mind that as Paul puts it “the rulers of this age” killed the most innocent man who ever lived!
If you find yourself in a local church, for example, where things are being pretty much run as a secular corporation, you can be sure that you are in the midst of a place and people devoid of the Spirit of God. Listen to Paul again:
And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. (1 Corinthians 2:1-5)
Think about it. Is THIS the philosophy of ministry most pastors and churches and seminaries embrace?
If you read the autobiography of Charles Spurgeon (2 big volumes, Banner of Truth publishing), you will see this very thing in play. Spurgeon was absolutely hated by the prevailing religious establishment in England. He was actively and terribly mocked, accused, and scorned. The hotshots in the Church of England were the worst ones. Why? Because Spurgeon did not match their paradigm for “ministry.” Their fleshly minds, from which the Spirit of God was absent, could not recognize the Spirit working right in front of them!
Think of Christ Himself as described by Isaiah centuries before His incarnation:
For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. (Isaiah 53:2-3)
Or consider how the Pharisees looked – the ones the people were just certain were the most holy people ever:
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. (Matthew 23:27-28)
So how is it with you? Do you have eyes to see and ears to hear? Or when you evaluate a pastor or teacher or writer or church, do you look for the big, happening, program-for-everyone, led by a charismatic personality who can make everyone laugh or cry regularly? If so, if the latter describes what you consider to be the work of God’s Spirit, it is time for you to search your own heart carefully. You will most likely find that your inside is full of dead men’s bones too, and that you are in desperate need of being born again.