Sunken Treasure

“For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.” Ephesians 1:15-23.

Whatever happened to the Ephesians when they believed in Christ, it made an impact that Paul had heard about. This was the fledgling group of believers that he met in Acts 19, when he asked if they had received the Holy Spirit since they believed.

“And he said to them, ‘Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?’ And they said, ‘No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.’ And he said, ‘Into what then were you baptized?’ They said, ‘Into John’s baptism.’ And Paul said, ‘John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, Jesus.’ On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking in tongues and prophesying.” (Acts 19:2-6).

I revisit that powerful encounter to point out that Paul was now praying for them to receive much more. Much more? How much more is there?? Apparently, there is quite a lot. Receiving the Holy Spirit, speaking in tongues and prophesying are only scratching the surface. Beyond that there is a spirit of wisdom and revelation, and having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, etc. May we all want this, so that we will continue to be transformed.

God’s Channel

“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.

“Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away. But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But, as it is written,

‘What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
nor the heart of man imagined,
what God has prepared for those who love him’—

“these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. 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. The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. ‘For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?’ But we have the mind of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 2:1-16.

When Paul first met the people of Corinth, they were in their totally natural state: unable to understand the things of the spirit. Paul got their attention through the signs and wonders he performed. Those are incursions into the natural world. After they believed Paul’s message, and received the Holy Spirit, the wisdom of God could be understood.

I remember this kind of experience first hand. In my case, the incursion into the natural world that got my attention was the alarming sense from the news media and Bible prophesy that the world could end in my lifetime. When I put my faith in Christ, suddenly those dead liturgies I recited as a boy in church came alive. And when I read the Bible it made sense.

Over the past decade I have immersed myself more and more in the Word of God and the wisdom of the spirit. It is more real to me now than the physical things of this world. To me, money is increasingly just a necessary nuisance and possessions are a burden. I am longing to enter the city of God. But as long as I am stuck here on earth, I just want to do the works that have been prepared for me from before the foundations of the world.

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10.

We Are So Dumb

“For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written,

‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.’

“Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

“For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, ‘Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.'” 1 Corinthians 1:18-31.

This is one of my favorite passages because it is a reminder that I don’t have to measure up to some ridiculously high standard to be chosen by God. In fact, He chooses the unworthy to make a point: He sent His son to save sinners, not the righteous. We cannot say we have no need of Him. We cannot “outgrow” God.

Today it should be painfully obvious that for all of its wealth and technology and accumulated learning, that America is dumber than ever. God and the Bible no longer inform our culture. We have learned to live and govern and educate and heal without Him. As a result, we are becoming Frankenstein’s monsters: man-made humans stitched together according to what we want and desire. We are now uncertain about what makes a man a man and a woman a woman. We sow sexual confusion among our children, and teach them that it is their race that makes them good or bad. We call fascism anti-fascism and racism anti-racism. And anti-semitism is back, baby!! That is a sure sign that the monster is on the loose.

So, do not be embarrassed that the so-called wise of this world mock your faith and insult God’s word. This is what makes them open to the doctrines of demons that they embrace.

“The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12).