Listening to the Author
2 Corinthians 2
January 31, 2021
Pastor Craig Ledbetter
Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland
I. Introduction (Proverbs 1:23)
A. All the things that are clearly spiritual activities of a Christian…
B. …are dead without the Holy Spirit active along-side us, in us, under us, holding us up, empowering and enabling us!
1. Like Praying, Reading the Bible - boring
2. Listening to Bible preaching and teaching – not relevant
3. Soul-winning - out-dated
4. Loving an enemy - impossible
5. Doing the will of God, sacrificially serving others at all costs! No desire at all!
C. No wonder even CHRISTIANS don’t enjoy the Christian life!
1. No interest in the quiet place of prayer that God calls us to every day
2. No wonder the Bible is dry, and empty, and hollow words to this generation
3. No wonder church is so hard to get ready for and never really enjoyed when people actually DO come
D. Why? Because the influence, the power of the presence of the Holy Spirit is missing in our lives!
1. HE has been neglected, ignored, rejected, quenched, and replaced!!!
2. We are so influenced by media, but not by the Spirit of God
3. What we desperately need is the influence of the Holy Spirit of God in our thoughts, our activities, our routines, in our Bible reading time, and especially in our worship!
a. Proverbs 1:23 Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you.
b. Did you notice that promise?
1) If we will HEAR God’s reproof and correction (from this Book), and repent of whatever He is showing is wrong in your life…
2) That is when God will pour out His spirit into us… PAUSE
3) And THEN He will open up our understanding of His words to us!
4) THAT is what we NEED
5) Because people are driving in the dark (GRAPHIC)!
E. Because the Holy Spirit is…
1. The Author of the word of God
a. 2Timothy 3:15,16 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness
b. 2Peter 1:21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
c. THAT is inspiration! More about that in March!
2. The Teacher OF the word of God - He is essential to understanding the Scriptures
a. He explains stuff
b. He guides the reader through the events and lives of people, to learn what THEY learned
c. He is the best teacher, because HE wrote every word, and can show you what He meant by every word!
3. And He is the Power BEHIND the word of God, that God wants to let loose in you and me as we read!
a. 1Thessalonians 2:13 For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually [POWERFULLY] worketh also in you that believe.
b. NEXT WEEK’S FOCUS!
II. The Point
1. Why is the Bible so hard to understand and enjoy?
2. THAT is THE question today
1. Because the Holy Spirit is the key to unlocking an understanding of the word of God!
2. And secondly, God’s words are the key to unlocking access to the Spirit of God
3. They both have to be in the heart of the believer, and both have to be active in the life of a believer!
4. In other words…
a. Every person must hear what God has said in the Bible – must read it, and hear it
b. And every person must also listen to the Holy Spirit of God teach them AS they read the words of God
c. One of the main roles of the Holy Spirit in our lives is to help us understand and live by the Bible.
d. Jesus said, “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come” (John 16:13).
5. How many of you HAVE a Bible that you READ, and ARE reading?
6. Good. You are HALF-WAY there!
A. The Treasures of This Book (1Corinthians 2:9,10)
1. Look at 1Corinthians 2:9,10 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.
2. There is so much treasure in this Book of books!
a. Yes, there is so much science and history and psychology that God stuck into the pages of this Book… but…
b. This Book tells us how to have a Relationship with an infinite, almighty God, every second of every day!
c. It tells us Everything that we need to LIVE, and live FREE from sin and its consequences
1) 2Peter 1:3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:
2) 2Peter 1:4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
d. And it explains how to have hope and joy and peace and rest, and confidence and saneness in the midst of the darkest moments of your life!
3. I couldn’t even BEGIN to tell you all that I have discovered in this Book of books! It is like finding priceless treasure, almost every day!
4. Psalm 119:72 The law of thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver.
B. The Treasures Are Hidden to The Spirit-less Man (1Corinthians 2:10-12)
1. The Bible’s words can be understood on its surface by anybody (GRAPHIC)
Romans 3:23, All have sinned
Or Romans 3:10 There is none righteous, no not one
1) Is that confusing? Sounds pretty clear to me?
b. Jesus said in John 14:6, I am THE way, THE truth, and THE life; no man cometh unto the Father but by ME
1) Anybody breathing can understand those words!
2) Jesus is the only way to God
2. But there are things no one can fathom, imagine or even dream about, that God is doing right now, and has planned for us in the future, unless He opens your understanding!
a. Luke 10:21 In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight.
b. Luke 18:32–34 For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on: And they shall scourge him, and put him to death: and the third day he shall rise again. And they understood none of these things: and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken.
c. Luke 24:44,45 And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures.
C. God Only Reveals His Treasures BY His Spirit, TO Our Spirit
1. Fact: We are more than what we see (1Thessalonians 5:23)
a. 1Thessalonians 5:23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
b. We are three part beings – there is a spiritual side to all of us
c. A spirit - A soul - And a body
2. It is the same with the word of God – more than just a book!
a. Yes words on pages in a book - But so much more!
b. In this book are undiscovered treasures, instructions on life and true success, the voice of God, recorded for the hearts and minds of every soul on earth to hear and follow!
3. The Holy Spirit Knows the “Deep Things of God” (2:10,11)
a. He knows the Father’s will
b. He Knows what He is thinking, and wants to do, and why He is doing it
c. Your spirit does the same in YOU
1) Your heart doesn’t know itself – deceives itself
2) Your flesh doesn’t know itself, it is just a bunch of molecules
3) But your spirit knows you inside and out, if only we listened to our spirit
4. We Need to “Receive” What the Holy Spirit Teaches (2:12,13)
a. 1Corinthians 2:12,13 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
b. Do you want to hear what the Holy Spirit is saying? Listen to the words written in this Book (John 6:63) It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.
c. Do you want to understand what the Holy Spirit is saying in the words of this Book? Listen for His voice behind the words
1) Matthew 10:19,20 But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.
2) John 16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.
3) 1Timothy 4:1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils…
4) The Bible therefore is the Holy Spirit speaking to us today, right now!
d. By the way, He never speaks independent of the written word
1) The Holy Spirit NEVER says anything new since the completion of the Bible
2) But He makes this Book come alive, catch on fire, become new every time you read it!
3) The Bible is like firewood, without any fire… The Holy Spirit is pure oxygen, igniting and then breathing upon every page until it burns bright!
5. HE is the missing ingredient in most people’s lives – the Teacher! People are not listening to THE Power behind the words on every page! The Holy Spirit of God!
D. So, Why Can’t People HEAR the Spirit of God from the Bible? (1Corinthians 2:14,15)
1. Why isn’t the Bible working for so many people?
2. People read the words, but they are just words to them…
a. “Wah, wah wah, wah wah wah, wah, wah.”
b. They are hollow, empty, strange sounds in their ears.
3. The words of God are not understood without the Holy Spirit speaking them – people only hear the letters and sylables, but not the spirit of the words
a. 2Corinthians 3:5,6 Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.
4. Natural men and women cannot receive what God is saying
a. EXAMPLE: Like a radio, unplugged – cannot receive anything from the broadcasting radio station – it is out there, but cannot hear anything, can you?
b. The power and truths of this Book are only spiritually “discerned” / understood and enjoyed!
5. The Natural Man is (2:14)
a. The way a person is from birth
1) What he or she is naturally – without trying
2) Natural, rational, physical, intellectual
b. The Bible calls it, “the old man”
c. It is driven by Animal like instincts
1) Selfish, Self-centred
2) Fighting to get and have… Competing for scraps
d. Influenced and empowered by the world around them – fashions, fads, pressures
6. The Spiritual Man is (2:15)
a. The way a person is because of the new birth – the second birth on inside
b. What he or she is BECAUSE of the Holy Spirit in their life
1) You get the Holy Spirit of God, the very moment you humble yourself and ask for the Son of God, to forgive you and save your soul!
2) Spiritual is what he or she is by the Spirit of God in them now
c. The Bible calls it “the new man”
d. Is influenced / lead by the Holy Spirit of God, with new desires, and new hungers, and new purpose and goals
E. So, ALL that God has for you, is available ONLY by His Spirit (1Corinthians 2:12)
1. You can’t imagine what God has prepared and is doing! No one has ever dreamed, or imagined, or calculated what God has prepared for those who love Him
2. But God has revealed the most amazing, unbelievable, incredible, mind-blowing, fantastic things about life, about ourselves, about the future, about forgiveness, about love, about grace, and about heaven
3. In the pages of the Bible – the written word of God!
4. But only when we are listening to and yielding to its Author, the Holy Spirit AS we read its every page!
5. The Holy Spirit actually teaches us AS we read and study what God said, and AS we ASK Him to teach us and guide us and change us
6. 2Corinthians 3:17,18 Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.
7. Everything depends on the presence of the Holy Spirit in your life
a. Not your reading level, or you social standing
b. Not your education, or your memory ability
c. Just the Holy Spirit of God IN you!
IV.What Do We Do?
A. Get Quiet
1. The Holy Spirit speaks very quietly - “a still, small voice” cannot be heard unless you are very quiet!
2. Shut off everything - Make time to just sit with your Bible, and no interruptions
B. Read, read, and read this Book, page after page after page, start to finish
1. Have you started yet? Have you quit already?
2. Pick up your Bible and start in Matthew chapter 1
3. Read maybe one chapter a day, but at LEAST one chapter! 4 is best!
C. But AS you read, PRAY… ASK God to teach you, to talk to you, and to guide you to the truth and the promise you need today!
1. Over and over and over again, the Psalmist begs God to teach him His words!
a. Psalm 25:5 Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day.
b. Psalm 119:18 Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.
c. Psalm 119:33 Teach me, O LORD, the way of thy statutes; and I shall keep it unto the end.
2. When was the last time you did that?
D. Listen – pay attention to every word (Revelation 2:29)
1. Rev 2:29 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
2. You do not have to read 100 chapters at a time, just read the words, and LISTEN!
a. Rev 1:3 Blessed is he that readeth and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.
b. Notice that it is possible to read words without hearing what God saying
3. So, OPEN the pages of this Book and HEAR what is said in every line!
4. The Holy Spirit is ready to teach you, if you will take the time to LISTEN
E. And as he speaks, DO whatever He says for you to do as you read
1. It is possible to read God’s words, and hear them, and yet refuse to obey them (see Rev 1:3 again)
2. When God shows you something wrong in YOU, Repent of whatever it is
3. Rejoice at every blessing
4. Repair whatever damage He shows you that you have caused
5. Repay whatever debts you owe
6. Return to doing whatever you stopped doing you should have kept doing all along!
A. You probably know what the Bible says about your sin, and its consequences
B. But you don’t know what better things God has for you!
C. Have you hardened your heart? Does preaching and reading the bible do nothing anymore for you? (Hebrews 3:7,8) Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness:
D. Ask God to forgive you of the sin of turning away from Him speaking right to you
E. Will you do that TODAY?
F. And then ask Him to start all over with you! That is His best work!
1. If you are not born again, then today, believe the words of Scripture that say plainly, You MUST be born again OF the Spirit of God!
2. Cry out to Almighty God in heaven, and ask Him to forgive you of every sin and to make you His child
G. If you ARE a Christian, but numb, and backslidden and living like the world…
1. Then confess your hard heart as well,
2. And ask God to ignite His word as you commit to reading it like never before… LISTENING to the Holy Spirit’s voice AS you read every word!
3. It will ignite your worship, and your walk with God, and change your life