Audio clip and bulletin notes for a sermon preached at Morden Mennonite on Feb. 5, 2017, in a series called “Jesus: Our Church’s One Foundation.”
This sermon continues our reflection on Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians through the story of Gaia, a fictional woman in first-century Corinth. In this sermon Gaia wrestles with Paul’s words about “God’s wisdom” being discerned only by those who are “spiritual”—and comes to realize that true wisdom is about following the crucified Christ in humble, self-giving love (1 Corinthians 2:1-3:4).
Audio: “Jesus, God’s Wisdom”
- In 1 Corinthians 2 Paul contrasts “human wisdom” with “God’s wisdom.” In speaking of “God’s wisdom” Paul says some things that are difficult to understand: that it is “secret and hidden,” that it is only “revealed by the Spirit,” and that the “unspiritual” cannot understand it. Many Christians have taken this to mean, “We are the truly spiritual people who have special knowledge of God or special insight into the Bible; those who don’t agree with us are clearly unspiritual.” But this way of reading the passage goes against Paul’s whole point in this section of 1 Corinthians, calling for humility and unity among Christians who think differently.
- The key to understanding the passage is to realize that “God’s wisdom” is not “correct interpretation of Scripture” or “correct theology”; “God’s wisdom” is “Christ crucified.” We show that we know “God’s wisdom” when we follow Jesus in humble, self-giving love for one another. This is the “mind of Christ” that Paul says we have (2:16; cf. Phil 2:5-8), the “same mind” that Paul has called the Corinthians to be united in (1:10).
- The irony is that those who claim to be the “spiritual” ones and so hold other Christians in disdain or judgment, even seeking to divide from them, are showing that they are in fact “unspiritual” (3:1-4).
Questions to Ponder:
- In what ways to I hold other Christians in disdain or judgment because of their different ways of thinking about or living the Christian life?
- What can I do to better understand the “wisdom of God” in “Christ crucified”? How can I better live out this true “wisdom of God”?