Basics of New Testament Worship (2) – sermon


The Wisdom of God Revealed

We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. No, we declare God’s wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. However, as it is written:

“What no eye has seen,
what no ear has heard,
and what no human mind has conceived”—
the things God has prepared for those who love him—

these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit.

The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.

1 Corinthians 2:6-10

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Basics of New Testament Worship (1)

A Brief Introduction to 1 Corinthians

Christ is the Wisdom and Power of God

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written:

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”

1 Corinthians 1:18-19

In verse 17 Paul began to take a turn into a discussion of the contrast between human wisdom, and the wisdom of God. Keeping context in mind, this comes as Paul’s explanation for why the division is taking place in the Corinthian church community. In this subsection, Paul appears to be making the case that wisdom in this world brings about a great social divide between the wise and the unwise; the strong and the weak. This may seem like a rather strange line of reasoning for many of us today, but let’s pause a moment and consider…

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Paul Opens His Letter

Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother,

To Philemon our dear friend and fellow worker— also to Apphia our sister and Archippus our fellow soldier—and to the church that meets in your home:

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Philemon 1-3

In his customary manner, Paul begins this letter by saying who the senders are, and to whom it is written. Since we have inferred that it was sent at the same time as his letter to the Colossians, it is very interesting to compare the two openings:

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,

To God’s holy people in Colossae, the faithful brothers and sisters in Christ:

Grace and peace to you from God our Father.

Colossians 1:1-2

Aside from the obvious difference in recipients, it appears identical… well, almost. Notice that in his letter to the Colossian church, Paul describes himself as “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God”, and in Philemon, he describes himself as “Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus”.

Why do they differ?

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An Introduction to Philemon

Tychicus will tell you all the news about me. He is a dear brother, a faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord. I am sending him to you for the express purpose that you may know about our circumstances and that he may encourage your hearts. He is coming with Onesimus, our faithful and dear brother, who is one of you. They will tell you everything that is happening here. Colossians 4:7-9

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