Spiritual Illumination

Text: II Corinthians 3


I.         What does it take to understand the Bible?

            A.        I had one woman object to an article stating that the Ten Commandments were not directly in effect because they were a part of the Old Law.

                        1.         She told me to read several verses which stated not to add or remove from the Scriptures.

                        2.         But then she went on to say I couldn’t understand the Bible if I didn’t have the Spirit of God.

                        3.         So why direct a person to the Bible if you think the person can’t understand it?

            B.        The concept that a person needs aid by God’s Spirit to understand God’s Word has its origins in the teachings of John Calvin.

                        1.         Calvin did not believe a person could become a Christian unless God first chose him for salvation.

                        2.         He believed that people were too corrupt by Adam’s sin to seek or comprehend salvation without the intervention of God

            C.        Is God a respecter of persons?

                        1.         A core flaw is that Calvin made God the sole arbitrator of salvation. Calvin claims that God selects who He saves or destroys without any consideration for who is saved or lost.

                        2.         God doesn’t wish any to perish - II Peter 3:9

                        3.         God makes judgments without partiality - Romans 2:11

                                    a.         What are those judgments based on?

                                                (1)       God’s standard is the truth - Romans 2:2

                                                (2)       God judges deeds against that truth - Romans 2:3-10

                                    b.         Those judgments are without consideration of who is being judged - Romans 2:11

II.        If we are being judged by the truth, it would seem important to know the standard to which we are being held

            A.        The truth is God’s word - John 17:17

            B.        We are commanded to understand it - Ephesians 5:17

                        1.         If it requires the Spirit of God to understand, then we return to God deciding who saved or lost by His choice alone, not based on an impartial judgment against the truth.

            C.        How is the truth known?

                        1.         Ephesians 3:1-7 - Paul received his knowledge from God, which he then wrote, and which when we read we then understand

                        2.         Paul’s job was to teach God’s word, for which he desired prayers - Ephesians 6:19

                        3.         This is how God chose to spread His message - I Corinthians 1:21

                        4.         The word revealed through preaching - Titus 1:3

            D.        Where did that truth come from?

                        1.         It didn’t come through man’s wisdom - I Corinthians 2:6

                        2.         God prepared it things which men could not figure out - I Corinthians 2:7-9

                        3.         God revealed them to the apostles - I Corinthians 2:10-11

                                    a.         The same thing promised by Jesus - John 14:26

                                    b.         (Too many take this out of context to apply it to all Christians, but this isn’t who Jesus is talking to).

                        4.         The apostles received the revelation of God and passed it on to us - I Corinthians 2:12-13

III.       But not everyone wants the truth

            A.        The natural or worldly man depends on natural or worldly wisdom

                        1.         The divine revelation looks like foolishness to him and so he rejects it.

                        2.         Same thing Paul mentioned earlier - I Corinthians 1:18-24

            B.        The spiritual man, the one who depends on the spiritual wisdom from God, is able to accurately judge the truth of the matter and doesn’t fall under the judgment of mere men.

            C.        Now think: what makes the difference between the two? Is it God causing some to reject or accept or is it the man’s attitude toward true wisdom?

            D.        Not everyone loves the truth - II Thessalonians 2:10

            E.        Some prefer their own ideas - Ephesians 4:17-19

                        1.         Again notice that it is the evil man’s choice, not God’s, which leads to their not understanding God.

            F.        Wickedness blinds a person - Proverbs 4:19; II Corinthians 4:2-4

IV.      Where is the action of the Holy Spirit?

            A.        Is it in direct revelation of understanding to selected people, or is it in the revelation of God’s will through the apostles?

            B.        So the word goes forth, yet not everyone chooses to listen - Romans 10:14-17

V.        We are expected to understand God’s word

            A.        We must grow in our knowledge - Colossians 1:10; II Peter 3:18

            B.        Without growth, we will be unstable - II Peter 3:16

            C.        God wants everyone to understand - I Timothy 2:3-4

            D.        We are to work at it - II Timothy 2:15

            E.        We strive to become unified in our knowledge, having the same mind - I Corinthians 1:10; Philippians 2:2

VI.      These are not unobtainable commands because God is withholding understanding.

            A.        God is asking all men to do what all could do if they so desired.

            B.        What about you? What is your desire today?