Posted by: St. Mark Lutheran Church | December 15, 2011

Sermon on 1 Corinthians 2:9-14

The Holy Spirit Makes His Report

  • Order of Service: Meditation on the Creed, CW: Supplement, p72-73
  • Lessons: Luke 1:57-80, 1 Corinthians 2:9-14
  • Hymns: 190, 753, 271:3, 6

In the name of Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh.

 Have you ever called the Third Person of the Holy Trinity, God the Holy Spirit, a journalist?  I doubt it.  But Paul does.  Oh, you’ll search in vain for the word “journalist” or “reporter” or “media” in all of Scripture, and especially in the portion of 1 Corinthians 2 we consider tonight.  And yet, it’s there.

 What do reporters do?  They find the news.  They report the news.  They tell you what’s happened.  They explain it to you.  Usually, the news consists of things you either would never know otherwise, or might have a vague understanding of because you stand far off at a distance from the events, cut off by thousands of miles, or massive seas, or by a language.

 We have such a relationship with God.  We need someone to tell us about Him.  We need someone to give us the inside scoop on Who He is and what He does.  It didn’t used to be this way.  We used to be on the inside, walking and talking with God, helping Him in His work of creation and preservation.  But no more.  We lost our access.  Our credentials were revoked.  Permanently.  Because we abused those credentials.  We went to another source for information.  And that snake tricked us.  And we bought it, because we wanted to get an exclusive without God.  We wanted the credit, the glory, the prize.  We were sick of being spoon-fed pablum that just wasn’t exciting enough.  We wanted to be like God.  We wanted to be the source.

Well, that didn’t work out so well.  No we’re totally on the outside of God.  Our eyes see, but they don’t see.  Our ears hear, but they don’t hear.  Our hearts conceive any number of ideas, but none of them are God’s.  Because He cut us off from the source of that information when we rejected Him.  From that moment on, He became an “Unknown God.”  And we became persona non grata anywhere near where God lived.  In fact, He condemned us to a place of punishment because of our ethical emptiness.

 But God just couldn’t help Himself.  Angry as He was, rightfully angry, He turned to someone else, another reporter, and gave Him the scoop.  He made Himself known.  And Paul identifies the Holy Spirit as that reporter:  Now God has revealed them to us by the Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:10, HCSB).

 “Them” what?  What no eye has seen.  What no ear has heard.  What has never come into a man’s heart.  This is God, the God Whose mind remains unknown.  The God Whose ways and thoughts are not our ways and thoughts.  Even more than that, Paul says God sends out His Spirit so that we know what has been freely given to us by God (1 Cor. 2:12, HCSB).  God gave the Spirit an exclusive and said, “Report it!”

 But we remain leery.  We’ve read enough newspapers and blogs to know that they don’t always get the story right.  Facts get missed, or ignored.  Bias creeps in.  New developments render moot what got reported moments ago.  So, maybe the Spirit knows part of the story, or yesterday’s version, but there’s no way that what He tells us is totally complete, totally up to date, totally irrefutable.  No one’s that good.

 Except, Paul says, The Spirit searches everything, even the deep things of God (1 Cor. 2:10, HCSB).  The Spirit gets total access.  To everything.  He gets to go everywhere and penetrate everything.  No depth of God remains unexplored in the Spirit’s reporting work.  That means when He makes His reports, He hasn’t failed to find some secret, hidden will of God in which God the Father regrets His plans or doesn’t care to go through with His plans.  The Spirit finds the real dirt.  And dishes it.

 How can that be?  No one knows the mind of the Lord.  Ah, again, Paul, For who among men knows the concerns of a man except the spirit of the man that is in him (1 Cor. 2:11, HCSB).  In other words, only you really know what you’re thinking, your hopes, your dreams, the sincerity of your words.  Because you know you and you are you and no one else is.  In the same way, no one knows the concerns of God except the Spirit of God (1 Cor. 2:11, HCSB).  Paul tells us just how intimately connected the Spirit is to God.  They are, in fact, one and the same.  The Father is God.  The Son is God.  The Spirit is God.  He’s not just a thing which is in God.  He’s not just some mere self-consciousness.  He is within God as God’s own spirit, mind, and will.  He knows God from personal experience because He is God!  So He speaks from knowledge.  He knows the mind of the Lord.

 And then He reports.  More than reports.  The news He makes known, He makes owned.  Now we have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, in order to know what has been freely given to us by God (1 Cor. 2:12, HCSB).  The Spirit doesn’t just report.  He calls.  He takes you from unaware to aware.  And more than that, because plenty of people know about God and the Bible and Jesus and stuff.  He gathers.  He enlightens.  He sanctifies.  He makes Christians.  He reports the news and convinces you of its truth.  He opens your hands to grasp Him and cling to it in faith.

 The news?  What God has prepared for those who love Him….what has been freely given to us by God.  The Spirit makes the Unknown God known as God the Father and God the Son.  The Father who freely gave His Son for you.  The Son who freely took on your flesh and then gave His life for you.  The Father and Son who restored your credentials and gave you a pass back into His presence.

 And the Spirit doesn’t stop His reporting work.  Recall Luther’s cherished words:  the Spirit keeps you with Jesus Christ in the one true faith.  And in this Christian church He daily and fully forgives all sins to me and all believers.  He keeps reporting about God the Father and God the Son.  He keeps showing you the mind-blowing plan that included an old barren couple, a young, engaged virgin, and 33 years of hard-scrabble living ending in execution before resurrection.  He keeps explaining these spiritual things to the spiritual people He has made you.  Because without Him, it’s all foolishness and garbage.  Without Him you’d revert to the old way, the natural way, the sinful way and you wouldn’t welcome His words but laugh at them.  And you’d forget them.

 But He doesn’t want that.  So He stays on this story.  He tells it in different ways through different people. 66 different ways, in fact, with about 40 other reporters.  And then He gives that story to a host of others to pass on again and again and again.  He even has different means of communicating that story to you.  One a watery rebirth.  One a food for the soul.  Daily and fully He forgives.  Because daily and fully we start over with God being unknown and trying to define God in our own way.  So the Spirit makes Him known again and again and again.  Because God the Holy Spirit wants the last line of the story to be: On the Last Day [I] will raise you and all the dead and give eternal life to [you] and all believers in Christ.

 Paul to the Corinthians, chapter 2:  But as it is written:  What no eye has seen and no ear has heard, and what has never come into a man’s heart, is what God has prepared for those who love Him.  Now God has revealed them to us by the Spirit, for the Spirit searches everything, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the concerns of a man except the spirit of the man that is in him? In the same way, no one knows the concerns of God except the Spirit of God.  Now we have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, in order to know what has been freely given to us by God. We also speak these things, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual things to spiritual people.  But the natural man does not welcome what comes from God’s Spirit, because it is foolishness to him; he is not able to know it since it is evaluated spiritually (1 Corinthians 2:9-14, HCSB).  Amen.

 

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