This teaching includes a free sermon outline to download for personal use, message preparation or Bible study discussion.
We have been dealing with total man, the combination of spirit, soul and body. Speaking about the believer, not the unbeliever, the believer with the regenerated spirit. We said the spirit is God conscious, the soul is self conscious, the body is world conscious. We’ve spoken about the functions of the spirit, three great functions: worship, fellowship and revelation. The functions of the soul: will, emotions, reason. The functions of the body: to provide a vessel for the Spirit, to provide physical instruments that the spirit and the soul can use to fulfill the will of the total personality. We took an example of related experiences in the three areas, we took the three concepts: pleasure in the physical realm, happiness in the soulish realm, joy in the spiritual realm. We pointed out that happiness is essentially dependent on circumstances, situations. Joy is dependent only on God. When you do not have happiness, when you are in the midst of great sorrow you can still be filled with joy if you’re filled with the Holy Spirit and your heart and mind are stayed on God.
Then we began to deal with the relationship between the believer’s spirit and soul. We took that statement of Paul in Romans 1:9 that he served the Lord in his spirit. I pointed out to you that I believe that’s very different from serving the Lord in your soul. That true service acceptable to God must be initiated in the spirit. I suggested that most of the service and the activity that we see in the church today is soulish and it is not truly acceptable to God.
I took the example from Ezekiel’s temple of the priests who ministered to God who had to be clothed with linen and not with wool because wool produces sweatiness. There is, I think, Watchman Nee in one of his books who said how much sweaty service we have today in the kingdom. Busy people trying to do their thing, promote their objectives, extend their denomination, uphold their doctrines. So busy in the soulish realm.
But, service in the spiritual realm is service that’s clad in linen, it’s relaxed, it’s restful, it doesn’t push itself, it doesn’t argue, it doesn’t promote. It relies on God, it has a quietness, a serenity and an authority about it that is totally different.
The primary purpose of the study today is to clarify the distinction between spirit and soul in the believer. That which is spiritual and that which is soulish. For our first text we’ll turn to Hebrews 4:12. You will say to me, “Brother Prince, I want to know how to distinguish between spirit and soul. Will you tell me?” The answer is, “No, I cannot tell you, I can just lead you to the fringe of this study and from then on you have to go in for yourself.” There’s only one instrument that divides between spirit and soul and that is the word of God. See what it says here in Hebrews 4:12:
“For the word of God is quick [alive], and powerful [energetic, it’s full of energy], and sharper than any two edged sword [sharper than any surgeon’s scalpel], piercing even ...”
I want you to notice “even” because this word “even” indicates that these two things are the hardest of all to separate between.
“... piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
Somebody said remember when you’re reading the Bible the Bible is reading you. It’s a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And as you look into this mirror it shows you what is spiritual and what is soulish. As you open up your being to this divine scalpel it separates within you between the spiritual and the soulish. But, you have to live in the word to live in its understanding. No preacher can give you a set of six rules by which hereafter you’ll always know the difference between the spiritual and the soulish. The only way to know it is through the revelation and illumination of God’s living word.
Now, in the remainder of the study I want to deal with six places in the New Testament where the Greek word psuchekos is used. You’ll remember that psuchekos comes directly from psuche—soul. But the King James translation does not use the word soulish. In fact, soulish is really a word that you have to invent in English and you must invent it because there’s nothing else that will do its place. In the Scandinavian languages they have a word “soulish” which is directly derived from the word soul. We must make it in English. Jesse Pen Lewis, I believe, in her books uses the word soulish if I’m not mistaken. The King James translates it either natural or sensual. Either translation completely misses the point that it’s related to the soul. In every one of the six places in the New Testament where it is used it is used directly in contrast to the Greek word pneumatikos which means spiritual. So, in every place where the word soulish is used it is used in contrast to spiritual.
Let’s look at these places. The list is given you there at the bottom of Page 3 in your outline. 1 Corinthians 2:14, 1 Corinthians 15:44, twice in the one verse. 1 Corinthians 15:46. James 3:15 and Jude
19. In the passages in 1 Corinthians 15 where it occurs three times it is used to describe a kind of body.
This may surprise some of you but it’s very clear. Paul talks about two kinds of body: a soulish body and a spiritual body. We’ll look at those passages for a moment. This is not the main subject of our study but it’s just to clarify these passages in 1 Corinthians 15 which, of course, is the great chapter dealing with the resurrection of the body. Paul is here speaking about the differences between the body that’s buried and the body that’s resurrected. In our study in God’s provision for the body we will look in detail at five differences between the body that’s buried and the body that will be resurrected.
This morning we’ll only look at the one difference which relates to our present theme, 1 Corinthians 15:44:
“It is sown ...”
In other words, it is buried.
“... a natural body ...”
But the Greek word is soulish. A soulish body.
“... it is raised a spiritual body.”
And then Paul interjects there is a soulish body and there is a spiritual body. Obviously he anticipates some people saying, “Could that possibly be true?” He says it certainly is true, there is a soulish body and there is a spiritual body.
And in verse 46 he uses the words again.
“Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is soulish; and afterward that which is spiritual.”
You have your soulish body first in this life, you’ll have your spiritual body second after resurrection. Paul says there is a soulish body and there is a spiritual body. What is the difference? Well, you remember we said in Leviticus 17:11 the soul of all flesh is where? In the blood. So, a soulish body is a body which has blood. But I am pretty convinced, I only offer you this as my opinion, a spiritual body does not contain blood. That was the kind of body that Jesus himself had after resurrection.
Look at two passages which I’m not going to deal with at length. Luke 24:39. This is Jesus appearing to his disciples after the resurrection and he is very careful to show them that he has a real body, that he’s not just a ghost of a phantom.
“Behold my hands and my feet [see the marks], that it is I myself: handle me [touch me], and see, for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.”
But notice he does not say flesh and blood. He says flesh and bones. Many, many passages of the Bible talk about flesh and blood in relation to the natural body that we have. But Jesus says, “My body is a real body, it has flesh and it has bones.” But, he does not say anything about blood.
In Hebrews 9 we have one of the great mysteries of the Christian faith which I will not attempt fully to explain but I can state that when Jesus had suffered on the cross and completed the atonement and poured out his soul in his blood as the atonement for our sins, he completed the work of atonement in accordance with the pattern of the ordinances of atonement under the Mosaic law. And, he entered in with his own blood into the holiest place. Hebrews 9:11–12:
“But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle [not the tabernacle of Moses but the tabernacle of his own body], not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building ...”
And elsewhere it says “through a veil which was not the veil of the tabernacle of the temple but the veil of his own flesh.”
“... neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.”
Jesus entered in as high priest with the blood that he himself had shed on the cross as the sacrifice. Bear in mind that in fulfilling the types of the Levitical law Jesus both fulfilled the types of the sacrifice and the types of the priest. First he was the sacrifice, then he was the priest who offered the blood of his own sacrifice before God in the holies.
Turn on to Hebrews 12 and you see there again there’s a clear reference to the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus in the heavenlies. Hebrews 12:22, the writer says:
“But ye are come unto Mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect [the Old Testament saints], to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.”
Notice the blood of Jesus was sprinkled in heaven as the final evidence of the completed atonement. His blood is contrasted with that of Abel in two respects. Abel’s blood was shed upon earth, Abel’s blood called out for vengeance. Jesus’ blood was sprinkled in heaven and Jesus’ blood pleads for mercy for the sinner. It is very clear that Jesus entered in to the presence of God after his death, burial and resurrection with his own blood. If you do not understand that just put it in your pending file, that’s all. But, it’s there in the Scripture.
To me it has become increasingly clear that after resurrection he had a bloodless body, a spiritual body. A different kind of body from the body that he had as a natural human being. You and I are going to have the same kind of body that he has when we are resurrected. We are going to be resurrected with a spiritual body, a body in which the spirit is in direct control of the body as I see it. I can’t fully explain this but at the present time when my spirit wants things done my spirit has to go through my soul to get to my body. It’s like having a car in which you have to change gears. But my resurrection body, my spirit is going to get its way in my body without changing gears. It’s going to be like having an automatic drive. I’ve got so lazy now I resent having to change gears in a car. Perhaps that example is a little crude but I think it will give you an idea of what I mean.
Years back in the Pentecostal assembly in Denmark that my wife attended there was a rather strange character who was the local barber. He was a Spirit baptized believer. One day he told me, he said, “You know, last night I had a dream. In my dream it was like this. Wherever I wanted to go I just pointed and when I pointed I went there. When I pointed sideways I went sideways. When I pointed upwards I went upwards.” I think that’s what the resurrection body will be like. Wherever your spirit is to go that’s where you’ll go. That’s how it was with the living creatures that Ezekiel saw in chapter 1 in the wheel. Where the Spirit was to go thither they went. There was no problem in getting cooperation from the soul and the body. That is just a little picture to me of what a spiritual body is. That is not the theme of our study. I’m just pointing out in three places in 1 Corinthians 15 Paul distinguishes and contrasts a soulish body and a spiritual body.
The theme of our study is the other three places where the word soulish is used in contrast with spiritual. Because, in all the other three places it’s used in a bad sense. In these other three places to be soulish is to be in some sense wrong. That which is soulish is wrong. It implies, I believe, the exercise of the faculties of the soul not under the control of the spirit. In other words, God’s pattern for controlling the believer is from above. The Holy Spirit is united to the believer’s spirit, controls the believer’s spirit. The believer’s spirit controls his soul and his soul controls his body. It’s a direct line downwards. The Holy Spirit, the believer’s spirit, the believer’s soul, the believer’s body. This comes from above.
We’re going to deal this morning with a type of revelation, a type of control which the Scripture says is not from above. There are other influences that reach the soul of the believer without going through his spirit. These influences are called soulish and in the Scripture they are evil in every case.
Now we’ll look at them, there are three passages. We’ll begin with Jude 19. I want to say now that I believe every part of what I’m going to say is very relevant to the Charismatic movement and to your personal needs and situations here. This is not abstract theology, it relates in a very vital and important and practical way to you and your situation. You notice verse 19:
“These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.”
But where the King James says sensual the Greek says soulish. You’ll see immediately there’s a contrast. They’re soulish, not spiritual. Let’s look back to the 18th verse where we are told the apostles warned the believers that there should be mockers. The word mocker doesn’t exactly give the total sense. It’s people who play with religion. It’s people that use religion as an opportunity to do their own thing. In other words, to express their soulish ego, their religion is the vehicle of their own will, their soulish activity.
And, they walk after their own ungodly lusts. Notice the hidden motivation is lust. It’s clothed under spiritual labels. These are what I call the in group, these are the super-spiritual. They separate themselves because they’re so spiritual. But the Bible says they’re not really spiritual, they’re soulish. They think they’re spiritual but they’re soulish. Here is the first mark of soulishness that I want to emphasize. It’s exclusiveness. It’s making your own little group and saying, “We are the people and if you want to be right you’ve got to join us.” Let me tell you one thing you could be sure of, when you join them you’re wrong.
This is very, very prevalent in the Charismatic movement. I could name offhand three groups that have got high sounding, scriptural titles that say, “We are the people.” One group say, “We are the overcomers.” You know, all you have to do to be an overcome is overcome. That’s all. You don’t have to join any special group. If you don’t overcome, friend, you’re not an overcomer no matter if you’re in the overcoming group. That’s all unnecessary. It’s all self deception. You’ll find—and I speak from fairly close experience and observation—when you get under the surface the motivating power is lust. The particular group I have in mind are home breakers. You’re so spiritual that your wife isn’t your real mate. It doesn’t take long for error in teaching to end up in soul mates. You know, that’s where they all head sooner or later breaking down God’s requirements of marriage and the home. We have a group very near us in Florida—this is the group I have in mind. Let’s be honest. The Manifested Sons. You can count home after home after home that’s been split and divided by their teaching. If they get into your prayer group, friend, they’ll split and divide your prayer group. They’re divisive, exclusive, soulish and the underground force at work is ungodly lust. The Scripture draws the veil aside and shows them the way they are.
Any time you meet a group who says, “We are the group” you know they’re wrong. This is soulishness, it is not spirituality.
We’ll move on to the next, James 3. I believe we dealt with that the other night somewhat but we’ll deal with it again. James 3. The key text is verse 15.
“This wisdom descended not from above ...”
Notice it doesn’t come the straight way down. The Holy Spirit, the believer’s spirit, the soul. It comes by a crooked, slanting course.
“This wisdom descended not from above, but is earthly, soulish, demonic.”
That’s the correct translation. Where the King James says sensual the Greek says soulish. Where the King James says devilish the Greek says demonic. Notice the downward slope. You get into the earthly, you move down into the soulish and you end up in the demonic. That’s where it’s headed.
Now let’s read James 3:8–18. I want you to see that the theme of this is the difference between the true wisdom which is from above and the false, deceptive, counterfeit soulish wisdom. I want to emphasize that we’re dealing with something this morning that is a counterfeit, it’s very clever, it’s very subtle, it’s very close to the real thing but it’s altogether wrong. This is why I’m laying such emphasis on it, because all Charismatics are going to be confronted with the need to see the difference. All of us everywhere. This bounds on every hand. Reading in James 3, beginning at verse 8.
“The tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God.”
Notice “we.” James the apostle is writing, he’s writing about Spirit baptized believers, he’s not talking about unbelievers. When you read the words “bless” and “curse,” remember, cursing is not necessarily what we would call swearing but it’s using abusive, vile language, reviling, speaking evil. The same people that pray like angels in church go out and gossip about their neighbors at the meal tables.
Do you know why some Christians find it hard to convince their young people that the church they’re in is the right church? Do you know why? Because those young people regularly hear their parents criticizing the other members of the church and pointing out all their weaknesses and failures. And then, those same parents say, “Come with us to church.” The young people may not say it out loud but in their minds they’re thinking, “What for? If that’s what your church produces, why need we go there?”
The same people, friend, I’m being very frank with you. The same people that prophesy and speak in tongues and interpret in the meeting go out, criticize the preacher, criticize the pastor, criticize their fellow believers. That’s cursing. That’s included in the word cursing.
“Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing.”
Bear in mind this is all addresses to Spirit baptized believers.
“My brethren [my fellow believers], these things ought not so to be.”
Then James gives us two pictures. The picture of the tree with its fruit and the picture of the fountain with the water that comes out of it. He says in effect, every tree is known by its fruit, every fountain is known by the water that comes out of it.
“Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? Either a vine, figs? So can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh.”
Now we have—and your outline, I think, makes it clear—two pictures combined. We have the problem of out of one person’s mouth there come at different times that which is good and Christ honoring and scriptural, and that which is evil and bad and bitter. How can we explain it?
First of all, let’s face up to the problem. It exists. Let’s acknowledge it. I’ve been Pentecostal for more than 30 years. There’s one group of people you can’t fool me about, it’s the Pentecostals. See, the great problem Pentecostals have is they’ve been taught to believe that when you’re saved and baptized in the Holy Spirit and speak in tongues you’re therefore automatically all right. The Scripture doesn’t teach that, it isn’t true to experience. But, the problem with the Pentecostal is he’s baptized in the Spirit, sits in the church and he’s not allowed to have any more problems. He sits there and kids himself that he doesn’t have any. But, he has plenty. His theology doesn’t permit him to acknowledge any more problems. So, the whole thing becomes a religious facade and the reality is not dealt with.
Here’s the reality. Out of the same mouth we get two entirely different kinds of product. One is good, one is bad. James says what’s the source? He compares this to trees. In Scripture, I believe, a tree represents a nature. A fountain represents a spirit. I believe this is true, scriptural typology. So, there’s a possibility of two natures within the one person. There’s the possibility of two fountains, two spirits within the one person. The old man, the unregenerate, the old Adam is a bad tree, a corrupt tree. Jesus said the corrupt tree cannot bring forth good fruit.
The new nature is pure and holy and it cannot bring forth evil fruit. So, wherever there’s evil fruit it does not come from the new nature.
Look at two Scriptures. Keep your finger in James, we’re coming back there. Look in Ephesians 4:22–24. Without going into the background:
“Put off concerning the former conversation the old man, who is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts ...”
The key word that describes the old man is the word corrupt. Now then, in place of the old man you are told to put on, verse 24:
“... the new man, who after God [in accordance with God’s plan] is created in righteousness and holiness of truth.”
There are three distinctive words to describe the new man. Righteous, holy and truthful.
Now turn to Matthew 7 and read what Jesus says there about the kind of tree and the kind of fruit.
“Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.”
Notice the sheep is the type of the disciple of Jesus. The wolf is the natural enemy of the sheep. False prophets wear sheep’s skin in order to pose as believers. But their inward nature is exactly opposite. They are the natural enemy of the disciples of Jesus Christ, the true believers. They wear sheepskins to get in amongst the sheep. But, there’s one thing that they can’t change and that’s their smell. The sheep dog is not fooled by the sheepskin on the wolf because the dog doesn’t judge primarily by its eyesight but by its nose. God’s shepherds in Isaiah are compared to sheep dogs. The business of the sheep dog is not to be fooled by the wolf. God complained about the shepherds of Israel in the Old Testament, “they are all dumb dogs that cannot bark, sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber.” The business of the shepherd is to bark when the wolf comes. A shepherd that doesn’t bark has failed in his responsibility.
We are to be like Jesus in Isaiah, we’re not to judge after the seeing of our eyes nor after the hearing of our ears. But, we are to be quick of scent in the fear of the Lord. The discernment of the Holy Spirit is contrasted with the senses of eyesight and hearing but compared to the sense of smell. When the wolf comes he looks so nice and white and woolly in his sheepskin but he still smells like a wolf. Those with spiritual discernment can smell him. And, the business of the leader of the flock is to bark when he comes.
The tragic thing, so many of God’s silly sheep prefer the wolf to the shepherd. They’ll go running after the wolf until they get bitten and then come back mauled and lame and bleeding and say, “Why did it happen?” It happened because you were just plain silly.
Let’s go on. Matthew 7:15:
“Beware of false prophets which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits ...”
Don’t judge them by their gifts, friends. It’s possible to have many gifts and a very dramatic ministry and still be an evil person. Did you know that? Don’t judge people by their gifts. The gift doesn’t tell you anything about the person who has it, it only tells you about the person who gave it. You see, you cannot judge people’s characters by their gifts. But you can judge by their fruits.
Charismatics have just got to learn, you cannot run after every miracle worker, every prophet. I’ll show you. We’ll skip a few verses, go down to Matthew 7:21 and then we’ll come back in a minute.
Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day [the great judgment day], Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out demons? and in thy name done many miracles? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
Listen, that couldn’t be anybody but Pentecostals or Charismatics, could it? Who else would ever claim to prophesy, to do miracles and to cast out demons? See, the mistake these people made was they based their claim to a place in heaven upon their miracles. Many miracle workers will be shut out because the claim to heaven is to have your name written in the Lamb’s book of life and lead a life of purity.
This is a very, very important thing to understand. When any preacher comes along don’t just listen to his words, smell his spirit. Don’t just be dazzled by his gifts, check on him. Who’s wife is he traveling with? That’s an important thing to find out. Does he pay his bills? Does he exaggerate and tell lies in his personal publicity? Because the word of God says no one who loves or makes a lie will ever get into heaven. All liars are going to end in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone. Even lying preachers. It’s a very, very solemn thought.
Now we’ll go back a little bit in Matthew 7. Verse 16:
“Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.”
Here’s the crux in verse 18:
“A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.”
Every time you see good fruit you know it came from a good tree. But every time you see evil fruit you know it came from a corrupt tree. Never attribute evil fruit to a good tree, it’s impossible. So James says when we’re dealing with nature—going back to James now—the old man is a corrupt tree. He cannot bring forth good fruit. But the good man is a good tree, he cannot bring forth corrupt fruit. So, if it’s the nature that’s responsible, we discern between the old nature and the new nature in Christ by the fruit. But, James says, we don’t only deal with the tree, we deal with the fountain. I believe the fountain is the spirit. James says out of the same mouth—and he goes on to say immediately out of the same fountain—there cannot come forth salt water and sweet. One fountain cannot produce both salt water and sweet. But, he says, both salt water and sweet come out of the same mouth. So what’s the resolution of the problem? There is only one possible answer. There are two fountains in the one person. The one fountain is sending forth the sweet water and the other fountain is sending forth the salt water.
So, the lady stands up and interprets in the church and goes back home and is as mean as could be to her husband and her children. There are lots of ladies like that. They are the ones that give pastors nervous breakdowns and divide churches. I tell you friends, I can preach on this for half an hour without stopping because I’ve been right next to them. These are the people that really throw you a curve, as they say. I don’t know what that means but I know it’s got something to do with baseball. You see, they can be so spiritual and use such wonderful language and quote so many Scriptures and yet, there’s something else in them that’s deadly, destructive, divisive and deceptive.
Then, friend, the ultimate comes when people’s theology tells them there can’t be two fountains in one person. “But, Brother Prince, I heard her speak in tongues. She can’t have a lying spirit.” Oh yes she can. Now we’re really facing what the people call today the nitty-gritty.
Going on in James now. James 3:13:
“Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? Let him show out of a good conversation [a good way of life] his works with meekness of wisdom. But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This applies to churches and homes. In homes where there is bitter envying and strife and arguing and quarreling, please don’t tell everybody you’ve got the whole gospel, you’re Spirit filled. Because, friend, you’re not going to make anybody else want to be the way you are. My challenge to married couples who are both believers is this: If it doesn’t work at home don’t talk about it. Keep it to yourselves. If all you’ve got is disharmony, don’t export it. The world has got enough already. To cap all that with being super-spiritual and saying, ‘We’ve got it all,’ it’s offensive. James really uses very, very strong language. Don’t lie and boast against the truth.”
And it’s true of the churches. You see? We’ve seen so many churches be “the church, the spiritual church.” If you want to come, get a blessing, come to us. That is a soulish attitude, it’s not spiritual. Brother DuPlessis says you’ve got a choice. He doesn’t say these words and he probably would not wish to be associated with everything I’m saying. He says you can choose between the Roman Catholic pope and the little Pentecostal pope. The one rules about 500 million and the other rules about
50. But he’s just as much a pope, he just doesn’t have the same amount of people to pope it over!
We’re going on in James 3. Verse 15:
“This wisdom descendeth not from above ...”
It doesn’t come by the direct route: Holy Spirit, believer’s spirit, soul. It comes sideways. Your little diagram shows you it’s earthly, soulish, demonic. Notice it’s very clear this demonic fountain comes out of the mouth of the believer. It’s inside the believer. Here is the clearest proof if you want it. Verse 16:
“For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above ...”
Now we’re talking about the pure Holy Spirit wisdom. It’s got certain distinctive marks. The first one is pure, bear that in mind. It’s absolutely pure. It doesn’t compromise on morals and ethics or the truth. It’s in a pure spirit.
“It’s peaceable [it’s not argumentative, it’s not self assertive], it’s gentle, it’s easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality [it doesn’t favor one at the expense of another], and without hypocrisy [it doesn’t put on any religious acts]. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.”
It’s the peacemakers who can sow the peaceable fruit of righteousness.
Now we turn for the conclusion of our study to 1 Corinthians 2. The theme of James 3 was the wisdom that is from above. The theme of 1 Corinthians 2 is the hidden wisdom. It is the same, it is two different names for the same thing. This is the most glorious chapter and I would love to be able to take hours over it but I want to conclude this morning if I possibly can. I’m going to read to you, first of all, the entire chapter, 1 Corinthians 2, because I’m talking about the difference between soulish and spiritual. I’ll show you, first of all, where these words are found. 1 Corinthians 2:14 says this:
“But the natural man ...”
But the Greek is soulish.
“The soulish man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”
You see the contrast between soulish and spiritual? Verse 15:
“But he that is spiritual judgeth [or discerneth] all things ...”
Again, that’s the direct contrast between that which is soulish and that which is spiritual. The soulish man cannot receive spiritual revelation because it must come by the Holy Spirit through the believer’s spirit. That which bypasses the Holy Spirit and the believer’s spirit is not true spiritual revelation. It is soulish.
Now I’ll read the chapter and bear in mind that the theme of this chapter is the hidden wisdom.
It’s spoken of in verse 7:
“But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom ...”
James calls it the wisdom that is from above. Paul calls it the hidden wisdom but it is the same.
“And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought: but we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 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. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. 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. But the natural [the soulish man] receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.”
Notice the climax. It’s the mind of Christ. That’s the hidden wisdom, that’s the wisdom that’s from above, that’s the mind of Christ.
Let me take you step by step through the truths of this chapter, understanding that the climax is the hidden wisdom, the mind of Christ. To me, this is exactly parallel to the phrase that’s used in the book of Hebrews, “the way into the holiest.” For me, this is the way into the holiest. This is the way into the place of direct face to face revelation and encounter with the living God in the Holy Spirit.
“Let’s look at the way and I’m going to follow my outline closely, you can have it in front of your eyes. Verses 1–3. It is not with human oratory or wisdom. Not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, not with excellency of speech or wisdom. There’s only one doorway into the hidden wisdom. Paul says, “I determine not to know anything among you.” He forgot all that he knew of human wisdom. He deliberately laid it aside. He decided to know only one thing: Jesus Christ and him crucified. The only doorway is Jesus Christ crucified. See, these are where all the cults and all the occult go astray because they’re seeking for the hidden wisdom, believe me. That’s what they’re looking for but they don’t come by the only door which is Jesus Christ and him crucified. And so they get into an area of Satanic wisdom and deception. The only doorway is Jesus Christ and him crucified. John 10:9:
“I am the door: by me if any man enter in ...”
Please note it’s not a doctrine, it’s a person. “I am the door: by me if any man enter in.” It’s not knowing about Jesus, it’s coming through Jesus. John 14:6:
“I am the way, the truth and the life ...”
There you have the three divisions of the tabernacle. The outer court, the holy place, the Holy of Holies. The way, the truth and the ultimate, the life.
“... no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
Please bear that in mind. You cannot get to God the Father by any other route but Jesus Christ and him crucified.
Jesus said in John 10, the passage that we just referred to, “I am the door.” And a little later he said, “I am the shepherd.” Have you ever stopped to consider how Jesus can be both the door and the shepherd? It’s so simple and yet so profound. Jesus crucified is the door. Jesus resurrected is the shepherd. But if you want the resurrected Christ for your shepherd you’ve got to come by the crucified Christ who is the door. Only those who come by the crucified Christ have the resurrected Christ for their shepherd.
And Ephesians 2:18 says this:
“Through him [Jesus Christ] we both [Jews and Gentiles] have access by one Spirit unto the Father.”
There’s one way, Jesus; there’s one spirit, the Holy Spirit that leads us to the Father. If you do not come by Jesus you do not have the Holy Spirit to lead you to the Father. The Holy Spirit will not honor any other approach to God but through Jesus Christ and him crucified.
Then notice in verses 4 and 5 it’s human weakness supernaturally attested and empowered by the Holy Spirit. When you come through Jesus the door, you have the supernatural testimony of the Holy Spirit. All true God centered religion always receives the supernatural testimony of divine approval. If it’s lacking we better ask why because God has promised to honor the truth with supernatural attestation and he always has all through the history of the Scripture.
There are two kinds of religion and they’re found in the forefront of human history. The first examples of religion are the religion of Cain and the religion of Abel. They’re set in exact contrast one to another. The religion of Abel was by faith through revelation received from God. The religion of Cain rejected revelation and relied on reason. The religion of Abel offered a propitiatory sacrifice with shed blood acknowledging the fact of sin. The religion of Cain refused to bring a propitiatory for shed blood but offered the fruits of toil in the earth which was already cursed of God. God bore supernatural testimony to the religion of Abel, refused supernatural testimony to the religion of Cain.
And notice two more things. The products. The religion of Abel produces a martyr. The religion of Cain produced a murderer. There’s just those two choices. If you look down prophetically to the close of this age you’ll find there are only going to be two kinds of religion in the world at the close. The religion of Abel and the religion of Cain. The religion of Abel will produce a bride, the religion of Cain will produce a harlot. That’s where it’s going to end. The harlot is going to be the chief persecutor of the bride.
If you look at the book of Revelation at the revelation of spiritual Babylon it says: “In her was found the blood of the martyrs, the prophets, the apostles and all that were slain upon earth.” False revelation and false religion is behind all murder. It’s an extraordinary statement but the Bible sustains it. The kind of religion you have will decide the kind of person you are. One religion produces a martyr, a witness. The other produces a murderer. Which kind of religion did the Pharisees have? The religion of works and self-righteousness. They were the direct lineal descendants of Cain. And, sure enough, they murdered the one who had the religion of Abel. The one whose righteousness and ministry were supernaturally attested by the Father. Why did Cain hate Abel? Because God bore testimony to Abel’s religion.
See, the first murder was based entirely on religious motives. There’s oh so much truth in this. You can follow it all through the Bible. Why were Pentecostals persecuted? Do you know why? Because they had a supernatural testimony. Why are we going to be persecuted? For the same reason. Human, self- sufficient, man-centered religion hates a religion which has a supernatural testimony. But the true religion always has the supernatural testimony. If we don’t have it we better stop and ask why because we’re entitled to it.
Look in Romans 15:18–19 for a moment. I must go quickly. Paul says:
“I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ hath not wrought by me ...”
I like to turn that around and say, “I only want to talk about the things which Christ has done.”
“... to make the Gentiles obedient, by word and deed, through mighty signs and wonders ...”
Paul said, “I’m not going to talk about what I’ve done, I’ll talk about what Christ has done. By mighty signs and wonders to make the Gentiles obedient, the nations.
“... so that from Jerusalem and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel.”
That’s the full gospel, friend. It’s attested with mighty signs and wonders. Don’t let’s talk about the full gospel till we have the mighty signs and wonders. We may be on our way there but we haven’t arrived.
Believe me, it is the mighty demonstration of the supernatural that truly makes the stubborn, rebellious heart of man obedient. Till you have supernatural attestation you can get outward religion and conformity but you don’t get the inward submission of the heart that comes when God supernaturally attests the truth. I’ve seen this on the mission field. I’ve seen that you can work and labor and sweat with sweaty, soulish activity and you can get people to conform and sit in church and sing hymns but their hearts are far from God. As it’s written in the 29th chapter of Isaiah, “This people’s heart is far from me. They honor me with their lips but their fear toward me is caught by the precept of man.” You can get an outward conformity by teaching the precepts of man but you don’t get real, surrendered, yielded, devoted hearts without the supernatural. Paul didn’t attempt it.
You look in 2 Corinthians 10:10. Some people have got a strange picture of what kind of a preacher Paul was. They think of him as a tremendous pulpit personality. It’s far from being true. See what his enemies said about him. He’s quoting his critics, 2 Corinthians 10:10:
“For his letters, say they, are weighty and powerful; but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible.”
He didn’t depend for results on a pulpit personality and tremendous oratory. What did he depend upon? The supernatural attestation of Almighty God.
2 Corinthians 12:9–10:
“He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”
God’s strength is made perfect in our weakness. When we can do it we don’t need God. And as long as we don’t need God, God stays off the scene, believe me. As long as we can handle it with our methods and our homiletics and our organization and our promotion and our learning, why should God impose himself on us? We have to come to the place where we know we cannot do it. Step back and make way for Almighty God. And Almighty God can do more in five minutes by the power of the Holy Spirit than we can do in five years of soulish endeavor. This is the lesson of this chapter.
Come back to 1 Corinthians 2, we’re going on. Verse 6:
“Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect ...”
The word there, I believe, can well be rendered mature, grown up. This type of wisdom is for the mature. You’ll never mature if you don’t live in your Bible. That’s not the only condition for maturing but it is a basic condition. Don’t nibble little sermonettes, live in the word. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, all Scripture is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for construction, for correction. That means the book of Ezra, the book of Nehemiah, the book of Habakkuk—they are all necessary. They’re not optional. The total man of God, to be thoroughly equipped, has got to know the whole counsel of God revealed in his word. That’s an essential condition for maturity.
Somebody said sermonettes produce churchettes and Christianettes. That’s one thing nobody can accuse me of, is sermonettes!
Verse 7, I’m not taking all the references but only some.
“But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom ...”
Oh, how that word gripped me once. The hidden wisdom. As a philosopher I had been pursuing that for years but I never went by the only door, I never arrived.
What’s the hidden wisdom? It’s in the hidden area, it’s in the spirit. Let’s look at those Scriptures there, they’re beautiful. Psalm 51:6. I believe Paul was quoting Psalm 51 in that very passage. I’ll show it to you. Psalm 51:6:
“Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.”
That’s what Paul was quoting in 1 Corinthians 2:7. The hidden wisdom. He was referring to Psalm 51:6. Where is the hidden wisdom? It’s in the inward part. What’s the condition? Truth, purity. It’s the pure spirit.
Let’s look at the other Scriptures. 1 Peter 3:3–4. This is spoken specifically to married women, but taking it beyond its context it has a truth that applies to all.
“Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible ...”
You notice what we’ve been saying all along? The new man in Christ is incorruptible because he’s born of incorruptible seed.
“... even the ornament of a meek and a quiet spirit ...”
Notice those three words. The hidden man, the incorruptible, the spirit. What kind of a spirit? A meek and a quiet spirit. That’s the spirit that receives genuine revelation.
Then Matthew 5:8, the beatitudes. We don’t need to turn there.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”
That’s not just in the next world, that’s now. What are the requirements? Truth, quietness, meekness and purity. It’s to that spirit that true revelation comes. If you are not walking in truth, in meekness, in quietness and in purity and you receive revelation, it’s very liable to be soulish and not spiritual.
See, anybody can prophesy, let me tell you that. Not everybody’s prophesying edifies. I’ll have to say that I’ve come to the conclusion it’s possible to speak in tongues in a very soulish way. I can’t understand the inner mechanics of it but I’m convinced it’s so. There’s much prophesying which is essentially soulish in its origin rather than spiritual. The requirements for spiritual revelation and ministry are very searching, they search the inward parts of the belly. Let me say them again. Truth, meekness, quietness, purity.
Verse 8, we’re going back to 1 Corinthians 2. Talking about this hidden wisdom:
“Which none of the princes of this world knew; for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.”
You see the implication? The hidden wisdom reveals Jesus the Lord of glory. That’s the supreme purpose of this hidden wisdom, it’s to reveal Jesus in his glory.
Take John 16:13–15, Jesus said:
“Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come ... he will glorify me; for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you. All wisdom that comes from the Holy Spirit glorifies and reveals Jesus. Whenever we get off on a tangent we’re absorbed in a doctrine, a personality, an institution or a movement, we’re already moving away from the line of true revelation. True revelation glorifies Jesus.”
Verse 9 of 1 Corinthians 2:
“Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man ...”
It is not by the senses, it is not by the reason, it is not by the imagination, it is not through the soul. It does not come by soulish channels.
Verse 10–11, how does it come?
“But God has revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? Even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.”
True revelation comes by God’s spirit to the believer’s spirit. It is spirit to spirit, not spirit to soul. That which bypasses the spirit and comes to the soul is not true spiritual revelation. We have to be in that living union with God through the Spirit before we can receive true revelation.
Verse 12, it reveals our inheritance.
“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.”
You see, they’ve already been given. We saw that the other day in 2 Peter 1. God hath already given us all things that pertain unto life and godliness. But we don’t have them because we don’t know them and we don’t know them because we don’t have the revelation of them. The revelation of them comes by the Spirit. We have received the Spirit, he has revealed, God has given, the inheritance is there. Without the revelation we don’t enter into it.
Verse 13, and this is very important.
“Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Spirit teacheth; using spiritual language to spiritual people.”
I think that’s a better translation. See, whenever you hear a person who’s bogged down in the jargon of psychology, they cannot present spiritual truths. One of the favorite concepts of psychology is the subconscious. There is nothing in Scripture that exactly corresponds to that.
I was with a preacher in a series of meetings once, a lady preacher. She was what’s called a Universalist. She preached what she called the gospel according to Barbara. I tried to preach the gospel according to the Bible. There was a distinct clash, believe me. Not of personalities, she was a very charming person. But, we came to this point where we had to decide does the Bible speak the truth or is there another version? The thing that amused me about it was almost every sentence she spoke contained the word “concept.” I thought take away concept and she’s got nothing left to preach about.
That is not really spiritual language. You study the language of Scripture, it’s very simple, practical. These long sounding, complicated, psychological concepts are not for the believer who is seeking true revelation. Whenever you find a person that’s got to use that kind of language, question the source of their revelation.
Verse 16—and we’re missing out verses 14 and 15 because we’ve dealt with that essentially.
Notice the climax, and we must come to this climax.
“For who has known the mind of the Lord ...”
It doesn’t come to natural man, it doesn’t come by reason, it doesn’t come by understanding; it comes by revelation. God’s Spirit to the human spirit illuminated.
“... that he may instruct him?”
We don’t have to tell God, God has to tell us.
“But we have the mind of Christ.”
This is the climax, this is the Holy of Holies. This is the supreme. Notice two things and I’m going to close. First of all, it’s we, it’s not I. I do not believe that the mind of Christ is imparted to any one individual believer in its totality. It’s when the body comes together and matures collectively that we will be able to say we have the mind of Christ. Compare Ephesians for a moment. Ephesians 3:18–19. Tremendous verses. Paul prays for the believers:
“That ye may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height ...”
Notice, you cannot comprehend that on your own. But with all saints you can. See? It’s not “I have the mind of Christ,” it’s “We have the mind of Christ.” It’s given to the body collectively. No one person has a monopoly on that.
And verse 19 of Ephesians 3:
“And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.”
Collectively the church can be filled with the fullness of God. Individually there’s only one person who was filled with the fullness of God and that was Jesus. In him dwelled all the fullness of the godhead bodily. But for you and me to comprehend the length, the breadth, the depth and the height and be filled with the fullness of God—it’s not going to come individually, it’s going to come collectively. We have the mind of Christ.
Not I, don’t change those words. I mean, every one of us is entitled to come into the holiest and receive revelation but the total revelation will be for the total body. That’s why I’m concerned with your maturing and you’re concerned with my maturing. We depend on one another. I can’t go it alone and arrive there and say, “I’ve finished, never mind about you.” We’ve got to get there together.
The other truth that I want to bring to you is the nature of what it means to have the mind of Christ. Turn to the parallel passage in Philippians 2 and this is our last Scripture for this morning. Philippians 2:5–11.
“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus ...”
Here is the mind of Christ and it’s stated in the next three verses, 6–8
“Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”
Notice the next word, “wherefore.” Shall I tell you something in a nutshell which is breathtaking? Jesus earned his exaltation. He wasn’t promoted because he was the Son of God, he was promoted because he deserved it. He laid it aside and he had to win it back. He did. He’s now at the Father’s right hand because he deserves to be there.
“Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
Let me show you the seven steps down and the seven steps up and with this I’ll close. The seven steps down are found in Philippians 2. Verse 6 gives you the level from which Jesus started.
“Being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God.”
More correctly, “thought not equality with God something to be grasped at.” He had it by divine, eternal nature. He was eternally equal with God. You could see the contrast, who did grasp at equality with God? Satan. When he reached up he slipped and fell. Jesus didn’t have to grasp at it because he had it. Here’s a deliberate contrast with Satan. Jesus was in the form of God on perfect equality with God.
Notice the seven steps down. Number one says he emptied himself. The King James says “made himself of no reputation.” But, the literal language is he emptied himself. Charles Wesley’s hymn says “he emptied himself of all but love.”
Number two, he took upon him the form of a servant. Instead of being Lord he was servant.
Number three, the Adamic race. He was found in fashion as a man. He could have been an angel and been a servant but he was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death.
Number four, he was found in fashion as a man. He didn’t walk in the perfection of the setting in which God placed Adam in the garden but he was an ordinary man of the day of his time in the streets of Nazareth. When Peter identified him as the Son of God Jesus said, “Flesh and blood has not revealed this unto you.” You cannot see it by your natural senses. That’s what it means, he was found in fashion as a man.
Number five, he humbled himself, he was not a haughty or proud man. He wasn’t a prince and he wasn’t a priest. What was he? A carpenter. I knew of a brother in the Lord back in Britain upon whose heart God laid this prayer. “Lord, show me your hands.” And he prayed, “Lord, show me your hands.” One day God answered the prayer and in a vision he saw the hands of the Lord. He expected to see them pierced with nails but God showed him the hands of a working man used to the hammer and the saw and the nails. And it was a greater revelation because he understood Jesus was a working man. He was a carpenter.
Number six, he was obedient unto death. Not merely did he live as a man but he died as a man.
And, number seven, the ultimate, the death of the cross. See that? Those are the seven great steps down. He emptied himself, became a servant, in the likeness of the Adamic race, in the fashion of a man of his day, a humble man the carpenter, obedient to death and the ultimate in degradation and shame, the death of the cross.
Now do you want to see the seven steps up? The seven aspects of the exaltation of Jesus. He’s highly exalted, a name above every name, is that right? Verse 9:
“God hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name ...”
Number three, every knee bows at the name of Jesus, will bow. Number four, things in heaven. Number five, things in earth. Number six, things under earth. And, number seven, every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.
See the truth? The way up is the way down. If you want to go higher, go lower. You want to be exalted, abase yourself. This is the unchanging principle. Everyone that exalteth himself shall be abased. And, everyone that humbleth himself shall be exalted. The perfect example of that truth is Jesus. He abased himself to the uttermost and God exalted him to the uttermost. The Scripture says, “let this mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus.” You say, “Brother Prince, I want to be spiritual, I want to have the mind of Jesus.” That’s it. That’s the way to the hidden wisdom. The way down is the way up. You go down and let God take care of the up just like Jesus.
Let me quote Moody and I’ll finish. Moody said this. He said as a young man, “I used to think that God had his gifts arranged on shelves and that the best gifts were on the highest shelves and I would have to reach up. But I discovered later I was wrong. The best gifts were on the lowest shelves and I had to stoop down.” That’s the mind of Christ.