1 Corinthians 2:9-16 – “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.”
The Bible tells us that no eye can see…no ear can hear, and no heart could comprehend the things which God has prepared for those who love Him. If we love Him, we are to keep His commandments…obey His words found in the Bible.
How then, can mere man get to see the things that God has planned for us?
God tells us how in the next verse – verse 10: “But God has revealed these things that he has prepared for us by his Spirit.”
God’s Holy Spirit that dwells within each born-again believer is the method that God uses to reveal His plans and His purpose for us while we live on the planet…and God has prepared a place for us in heaven that we cannot yet comprehend for all of its splendor and beauty.
In the last half of verse 10, God reveals that His Holy Spirit is the one who can, because He is authorized, search the deep things of God that man cannot comprehend.
We are then asked, in verse 11, “For who among men knows the things of a man? Only the spirit of man which is in him knows. Also, no man knows the things that God knows…but the Spirit of God knows the heart of God, and what His plans and purpose for an individual are."
The Holy Spirit, because He knows, reveals it to the individual as God gets that individual ready for what He has planned for him or her.
John, one of the twelve hand-picked apostles of Christ, also helps us to understand that when we are born again, we receive the gift from Jesus of His Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit will be our guide when we search the scriptures.
We do NOT know if what we hear, read, see on TV, is truth - or someone's version of what the Bible says...including this article that I write. So, the Holy Spirit will guide you so you can understand the truth and gain wisdom from the scriptures.
In 1 John 2:25-28, we discover this fact. "25-"This is the promise which He Himself made to us: eternal life."
We know that jesus gives us ETERNAL LIFE...life forever in heaven. Please read another of my articles - "Can I Lose My Salvation".
In verse 26, John says, "These things I have written to you concerning those who are trying to deceive you." Some things that are taught us from pulpits, or on TV, radio or in articles may be true - or they may not be true. This is why John tells us to rely on the Holy Spirit to guide us when we read the scriptures. Then, and only then, will we know if what we read or hear is the truth.
27 -"As for you, the anointing which you received from Him (that is the Holy Spirit) abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing (Holy Spirit) teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him."
28 -Now,little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming."
John wraps up his dialogue by telling us that we should not have to be embarassed (shrink away) at the time we see Jesus (perhaps in the rapture that is coming SOON) because His Holy Spirit should be leading us into all truth, and we must not rely o what man tells us - unless we can prove that what they tell us is the truth. You can only know the truth as the Holy Spirit guides you through God's word...the Bible.
So, God has a plan for each individual. To each, He gives gifts or talents to get the job done.
In God’s perfect timing, His Holy Spirit reveals to us what God’s next plan is for us, and this will always be to do God’s will.
What is God’s will? Jesus told us what it is in John 6:40 “For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day."
So, we know that God’s will for us is that we are to become witnesses of Jesus Christ to others. "God is not willing that any should spend eternity in hell, but that all should come to repentance and be saved." – 2 Peter 3:9.
Back to 1 Corinthians, chapter 2:9-12 - "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.”
We who have received salvation…the free gift of God, have also received the Holy Spirit as our comforter…our guide through life, and He is the one who will carry us to heaven when we die.
We have received this added gift of the Holy Spirit when we are saved so that, in addition to being led and guided by the Holy Spirit, we may also know what those things that are freely given to us to accomplish God’s will are.
Some people have the gift of financial wealth, and so they must give of their wealth to accomplish God’s will.
Some can teach, and so they must teach others of how they can get into heaven, and that is through the cross of Christ.
Others still, may have the gift of encouragement. The Holy Spirit reveals to those gifted Christians those people who need encouragement. They must then impart that gift of encouragement to those in need.
God has given me the gift of being able to write words down with a pen. God alone moves the pen, and moves this author to write things down that will help win the lost to Christ, or encourage Christians to trust God more…or to serve Him and others, which is our reasonable service.
What is your gift or gifts? Are you asking God to empower you with power from this same Holy Ghost that lives within you?
Every Christian is endowed with the gift of receiving the Holy Spirit when we are born again, but many do not ask for the power of that same Holy Spirit so that we can do what we are supposed to…and that is to be a witness for Christ.
I will explain in just moments about asking for that special power.
Verse 13 of 1 Corinthians 2 tells us that when we speak as a witness for Christ, in the power of the Holy Spirit, we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teaches us, but we speak in the words in which the Holy Ghost teaches us; comparing spiritual thoughts that He calls into our remembrance from spiritual words that we have read in God’s word.”
This is a promise of God - that He will empower us with the power of the Holy Spirit so we can effectively be a witness of Jesus to others.
When we pray, we should always pray that God would give us His Holy Spirit power so that we may be an effective witness for him each day.
If God can trust us with delivering the words of God…without fear, He will give us that power…that fearless power of the Holy Spirit to make us effective witnesses.
Why is praying like this the proper way to know that you are praying in God’s will? That’s easy…God is not willing that any should perish.
Read John 3:16, and you will see that this most famous verse in the Bible is famous for a reason!
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son (to come to the earth, die on the cross as a one-time sacrifice for the sins of all mankind),so that whosoever believes in His Son, Jesus, should not perish (be separated from God for eternity in a place of torment and fire – called hell), but that these believers should, instead, receive the gift of heaven for eternity.”’
Let us continue in 1 Corinthians chapter two and verse 14 – “The non-believing man does not receive the purpose or the words of the Spirit of God because to him or her, these thoughts and words of God are foolishness. He or she cannot possibly know the truths or words of God because they are spiritually discerned – after the Holy Spirit is given to that man or woman upon their salvation.”
And in verse 15 – we see why this is so. “But he or she that is spiritual is able to discern the thoughts, purposes, plans and words of God yet he himself is not to be judged of man…that job is God’s alone.”
Verse 16 will wrap up this portion of Corinthians, but then I want to share with you the two attributes of the Holy Spirit that come into us when we are saved. First, all born-again believers receive the gift of the Holy Spirit upon salvation. Then, if we ask, we are given His power - only if we intend to ask for this power to become an effective, bold witness of Christ toward others.
“For who could possibly know the mind of Jesus so that Jesus could properly instruct a man or woman? Born-again believers can know the mind of Christ because Jesus gives us His Holy Spirit to dwell within us until we get to heaven."
"Therefore, with the Holy Spirit living within us, we have the mind of Christ…because He has the mind of Christ/God,” …and as we pointed out in verse 10, “We can know the plans of God when we ask His Holy Spirit to show us those plans and God’s purpose for us at any given moment."
God will reveal His purpose when we are Holy Spirit driven and powered by this same Holy Spirit.
Now, to demonstrate that we receive the Holy Spirit when we are saved, but we then have to ask for His power, and why He is willing to give us that power, we need to visit the apostles in the upper room for a moment.
Read John 20:19-22. We discover that on Sunday, the first day of the week, Jesus had just risen from the dead. He would not ascend into heaven for 40 more days.
In 50 days from the day that Jesus was crucified (Friday), a remarkable thing would happen. This would become known as "The Day of Pentecost". God poured His Holy Spirit out on the multitudes of believers that day.
Before we get there, let's stay in that upper room. It is Sunday, and eleven apostles are present (Judas is dead), and Jesus appeared to them through the locked doors.
His apostles locked the door because they were afraid of retribution from the same Jewish leaders who crucified their friend, Jesus.
Although they walked with Jesus, and He told them what would happen, they just knew He was dead and in a tomb. They had not seen Him, nor did they really expect to.
Peter had just denied that he knew Jesus – three times. The last time was before a young girl who could do him no harm, but he didn’t want her to identify him – that he was one of the men who associated with Jesus.
Yet, there was Jesus – now in the midst of these apostles. Up until now, they knew Jesus. They trusted Him. They walked with him for the past three and a half years. They called Him their Lord, their master, so they were “saved” at this point.
Verse 19 – “Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were huddled - for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and He said to them, ‘Peace be unto you’. And when he had so said, He showed them his hands and his side.” He had to show proof that it was really Him because His apostles still did not believe He was resurrected…even though He told them he would rise on the third day!
“Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the LORD.”
Now, they finally had proof that Jesus pulled off the biggest miracle-perhaps since God parted the Red Sea. Jesus was raised from the dead…and therefore, if Jesus could raise Himself from the dead, it ought to be proof that He can raise you from eternal death to eternal life. It was proof enough for those who knew Jesus personally.
Verse 21 –“Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.”
God sent Jesus to be a one-time sacrifice and a Savior to all mankind.
Now, it would be time to for God's Holy Spirit to dwell inside of these men so they could go out into all the world and become powerful witnesses of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection to all who would believe.
These men had no power yet. They needed power to be witnesses. Where would they (or you) receive this power?
Verse 22 - ”And when Jesus had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost.”
This is the first time the eleven apostles received the Holy Spirit of God. Earlier, Jesus told them that He would be leaving them, but that He would send another who would represent Him in their lives…and that would be the Holy Spirit of God, and this Holy Spirit would lead them, guide them, direct their paths, and empower them to do God’s plan and purpose…and that was to seek and save the lost people of the world.
John 14:25-26 revealed this to the Apostles. Before Jesus went to the cross, He said, “These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”
This was NOT the first time that God's Holy Spirit was given to people. When John the Baptist was born, as recalled in Luke 1 and verses 15-17, "For he (John the Baptist) shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb. 16-And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. 17-And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord."
When God or His Son (two parts of the Trinity) wanted to endue people with the power of the Holy Spirit (the third part of the Holy Trinity), either would cause the Holy Spirit to reside in an individual, and the Holy Spirit would enable that person to go with power. Why? The power and duty of the Holy Sprit is listed above, but in John The Baptist's case, the Holy Spirit would point others to Christ. Christ would follow the birth of John the Baptist six months later.
John the Baptist was "filled with the Holy Ghost from birth." See verse 15 above. He would turn many Jews to God through his powerful preaching of repentance. He would also turn many to Christ as he would later introduce the Messiah to the world.
Please note that this same Holy Spirit, who has the mind of Christ/God, and who would also teach the apostles all things and who would bring to remembrance all things, which Jesus revealed to them so far, and all things that Jesus would reveal to them over the next forty days, will also do the same for YOU…and me.
The things that Jesus would reveal to His eleven apostles in the next 40 days, and the things which He would reveal to his twelfth hand-picked apostle, Paul….after He ascended back into heaven, would be what now constitutes the New Testament Books of the Bible.
Jesus reveals that the Holy Spirit will teach us all things, and cause us to remember Bible verses so we can be an effective witness for Him.
The “things” that the Holy Spirit will teach you and me are what He already had men write down, and these writings are written down in the Bible.
Anyone can read words in the Bible, so what’s the big deal?
Remember, those who are not born-again believers cannot discern the Bible teachings….it is impossible for them to read the words, and know what the intent and meaning from God’s mind and heart are.
This is why in 1 Corinthians, 2:14 we have previously discovered this: “The non-believing man does not receive the purpose nor the words of the Spirit of God because to him or her, these thoughts and words of God are foolishness. He or she cannot possibly know the truths or words of God because they are spiritually discerned, and discernment comes only after the Holy Spirit is given to that man or woman upon their salvation.”
So, the first time that Jesus fulfilled His promise to send the Holy Spirit to born-again believers was in the upper room, and He gave that gift to His apostles.
Why did they (or we) need this gift? Well, in addition to the reasons He gave them…to teach them and bring things they learn back into their remembrance when they needed to, Jesus told them why they would have this power.
In Acts 1:8-9, Jesus told His apostles that The Holy Spirit’s power would come upon them for a particular purpose. It was not to make them feel good. It was not to give them a gift of "tongues" or some spiritual language different from others. It would not be given to them for any purpose other than what Jesus told them.
Here is the reason Jesus told His apostles (and us) that they would need this Holy Spirit power: “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth."
"And when Jesus had spoken these things, while they watched Him, He was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.”
The power that they (and we) would receive from the Holy Spirit that already dwelled within them since the upper room incident (and in us at salvation), would be for them (and us) to become witnesses of Jesus…to preach His arrival on the earth, His sacrifice on the cross for the sins of mankind, his death, burial and His resurrection – to every creature …from where they lived in Jerusalem, then spread the “gospel of Christ” to everyone beyond their home town and out into the uttermost parts of the entire world. That is the reason for asking God to give us the power of the Holy Spirit…to be bold witnesses for Jesus Christ.
Just to clarify the mystery of how many apostles there were, Soon after Jesus ascended into heaven, Peter stood up in the midst of over 120 men in the upper room. He thought there should be twelve apostles…as was spoken of in the Old Testament. There would be 24 Elders in heaven. Twelve would be one leader from each of the twelve tribes of Israel (sons of Jacob), and the other twelve elders in heaven are the twelve apostles.
If Judas was number twelve, they would need a twelfth because Judas was not only dead, but he didn’t get to go to heaven. He was chosen by God to betray Jesus…way back in the Old Testament this was predicted.
So, rather than let Jesus do His own work, Old go-getter, Peter, decided to have the men choose out from among them, two men…Barsabas and Matthias.
A lot was cast (long straw, short straw), and Matthias was chosen to be the twelfth apostle.
Unfortunately, Jesus did NOT choose Matthias…man did. Jesus handpicked His original apostles, and would later choose Saul…renamed Paul, the apostle…in a miraculous way while Paul, a Jewish Pharisee and persecutor of the Christians, was on the road to Damascus.
Jesus chose His twelve. Matthias was not chosen by Jesus, and in fact, we never hear from Matthias again. He did not write any books in the New Testament. We don’t know what happened to him. We all know of Paul, the twelfth apostle handpicked personally by Jesus. He was probably the greatest apostle of them all.
Certainly he wrote the most books in the Bible, and he did it all AFTER Jesus ascended back into heaven. He never walked with Jesus as did the other eleven. Yet, he preached with Holy Spirit power wherever he went.
To demonstrate that the apostles (not us) represented Christ, Jesus gave them additional powers…the same ones the he had when He was on the planet. Acts 2: 43 -“And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.”
Jesus gave the apostles powers to raise the dead...as Peter raised Tabitha in once instance. He told them that anyhting they asked in His name, He would do it. They would heal the sick, cause the lame to walk...the blind to see...just like Jesus did. Some claim to have those powers...and the power to shake off poisonous serpents...or walk through fire, but they do NOT.
Read Ephesians 4 and 1 Corinthians 13.
Paul, the 12th apostle reminds us that some of the churches received those who had the gifts of prophecy. Yet, Jesus told us that the law and the prophets ended at the time of John The Baptist- Luke 16:16. So, does the Bible then contradict itself? No. Jesus said the prophets ended at the time of John the Baptist...because his Apostles would finish writing all the fulfillment of Old Testament prophets by the year 70 A.D. and this is called the New Testament.
So, Paul was right...to some churches, God gave prophets...all of the apostles were prophets. To some, He gave apostles. Apostles ended. Disciples are not apostles, but apostles were disciples. If you are an apostle, then you are one of the twelve hand-picked of Jesus, and you will be one of the 24 elders in heaven!
Do we have the "gift of tongues"...so we can speak in another language? For what? To edify yourself? To make others think you are special? Apart from Christ, we can do nothing. John 15:1-8.
In 1 Corinthians 13, Paul clearly tells us, "Love never fails: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. 9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away."
That which is perfect is Christ. He came. When He comes, all this prophecy, tongues, apostles and gifts other than faith, hope and love, will disappear.
11 "When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things."
And Paul concludes chapter 13 of 1 Corinthians with what i just said, "13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity."
Oh sure, we have gifts...gifts of giving, helping, encouragement....fruits of the Spirit of God. Can any of us raise the dead? Heal the sick? Walk on water? Cure the blind? Shake poisonous vipers off their hands like Paul did?
If you claim you can raise the dead, or heal the sick write me. I will invite you to any morgue and I will wait until the dead rises, and then I shall believe you. If you can heal the sick, I shall let you choose any cancer patient in Johns Hopkins treatment center. You pick him or her....and you cure them!
I'm not being flippant, I just believe the Bible.
Jesus can heal the sick. Prayer offered up to Him can heal the sick. I have seen it.
Can you cast out devils? The apostles could.
I recall reading in the Bible that others tried casting out demons in the name of Jesus. Let's see how they made out!
Acts 19:13-16 -"Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the LORD Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth."
14 -"And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so."
15 "And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye?"
16 -"And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded."
The evil spirits might cause YOU some problems if you try casting them out of someone!
Can you rebuke Satan and his demons? Yes, of course. God gives us that authority. He tells us to resist Satan...and he will leave us alone.
He tells us that we are not to fear Satan or his imps...and we should not. "For greater is He (The Holy Spirit) that is in us, than he that is in the world." (Satan or his imps).
Fear came upon every soul because Peter, the one who denied knowing Christ three times some 50 days earlier, now had this Holy Spirit power and he had just chewed out those same people in Jerusalem who crucified Christ.
He had the power of the Holy Spirit. He was afraid no more. He had seen his Savior and friend go to the cross, suffer, die, be buried…then resurrected, and then he saw Jesus ascend into heaven.
This Holy Spirit power gave him (and us) the boldness we need to be an effective witness for Jesus,and all we know about this one who can forgive the sins of mankind.
Do you want to have a “Spirit driven life?” All you have to do is trust God, then be dedicated to do what he has called you (and me) to do…then ask for His Holy Spirit power to get the job done. Then, God will trust you and will do what He said He would do…all that He said He would do….to accomplish His will and His purpose in your life.
Remember this, as we part company here: Anything that comes your way, and that seems impossible to remove….it is God’s job to remove that obstacle. Do you recall when the Israelites faced the Egyptian army in front of them…coming to destroy them, and faced the Red Sea behind them?
Do you think this obstacle came as a surprise to God? God put both things in front of Israel to test their faith and their trust in Him.
When things seem impossible to you…when you have obstacles placed in front of you….when you see illness in your family, or you are threatened with a job loss, and financial ruin….whatever the obstacle….trust God. The obstacle is there to help increase your faith and trust in God.
God parted the Red Sea…didn’t He? Do you think there is a problem or an obstacle that God cannot handle in your life or mine?
I’ll leave you with this wisdom from God’s own lips – found in Romans 8:28 –NAS - "And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.“
Do you want to be called of God to accomplish His purpose and His plan for your life? If so, pray and ask Him to give you the power and all the resources you need to get His job for you done…to become that effective, powerful witness for Jesus that He wants us all to be.
We have a "Prayer of Salvation" located at www.JohnTyler.com/Salvation.htm
John Tyler, Author of nine books.
FIVE of my books are bible-bases, so those are FREE!