Okay, so how many of you remember that in I Corinthians 2, Paul explained the limitations of the human mind when it comes to divine truth and God’s provision for Christians in the light of these limitations.
Instead we speak the wisdom of God, hidden in a mystery, that God determined before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age understood it. If they had known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory [I would think not]. But just as it is written, “Things that no eye has seen, or ear heard, or mind imagined, are the things God has prepared for those who love him.”
Did you catch that? No one has seen, heard, or even imagined what God has prepared for us. However, “God has revealed these to us” Oh, I see that blank look on your face. You’re saying, “He has? How?” So Paul answers you, “by the Spirit. Because the Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the things of a man except the man’s spirit within him? So too, no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God.”
Well, that makes sense. I know what I am thinking, and you know what you are thinking . . . however, you can’t know what I am thinking! Well, the same goes for God! He knows what He is thinking . . . but Isaiah said, His thought were not my thoughts. In fact, they are higher and wiser than I could possibly grasp.
Let’s try to grasp that. I know what I am thinking because my spirit knows my thoughts. You know what you are thinking because your spirit knows your thoughts. Oh, do you see where I am going with this?
“We have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things that are freely given to us by God.”
Stop right there! Read that again:
“We have not received the spirit of the world, but [we have received] the Spirit who is from God, so we may know the things that are freely given to us by God.”
So we can know those things! “and we speak about these things, not with words taught us by human wisdom, but with those taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual things to spiritual people.” Are you a spiritual person? (Answer yes), then you can understand the things of God!
However, “The unbeliever does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him.” Sure, we know what that’s like.
“And he cannot understand them.” But why? “Because they are spiritually discerned.” It’s like taking a shower with all your clothes on. You can hear the Word, but it means nothing to you.
“The one who is spiritual discerns all things, yet he himself is understood by no one. For who has known the mind of the Lord, so as to advise him?” Remember? “His ways are higher than our ways, His thoughts are higher than our thoughts . . .” “But . . .” But what? “We have the mind of Christ —I Corinthians 2:7-16
Whoa!! I didn’t write that, the Apostle Paul did as the Lord revealed it to him. “Oh, you’re just bringing God down to down to our level.” No, He is exalting you closer to His level. Are you a God? You better not get that idea in your head. But neither should underestimate what He has done in bringing you into His Kingdom! Jesus paid a heavy price for you, so don’t belittle what He has done.
But knowing all this, there are two ways we can look at everything that has happened in Acts 25. You can look at them from a purely human viewpoint, the events that have transpired in chapters 21-25 have been sort of a “comedy of errors.” It is a litany of human failings. Paul goes to Jerusalem in spite of endless warnings (remember, this is the human perspective). When he gets there, he unwisely takes the advice of James and the elders and gets into trouble with the Jews. The Asian Jews totally misinterpret Paul’s actions and leap to the false conclusion that Paul has defiled the temple by bringing Gentiles into its forbidden precincts. A Roman commander suppresses the riot and, fortunately for Paul, spares his life. Rather than remain silent, Paul convinces the commander to allow him to address the crowd, and then, a second rito begins. Then, when standing in front of the Sanhedrin, Paul offends the high priest and sets the whole Council into yet another riot. Paul is once again taken into custody (for his own safety), and a group of assassins take a vow to kill Paul. Fortunately for Paul, his nephew overheard the plans and told Paul, then the commander who arrested him. The commander arranges for a large contingency to take Paul to Caesarea. Felix didn’t have the courage to let Paul go, and now Festus wants to send Paul to his death. Paul then appeals to Caesar. It all looks like a sequence of human failures, weakness, and outright evil.
But now for “The R-r-r-e-e-e-st of the Story,” or as I prefer to call it, “The Best of the Story.” You see, there is a divine perspective, which allows us to see these chapters from an entirely different point of view. Throughout the Book of Acts you continually see the sovereignty of God. In the “Great Commission” of Acts 1:8, it was clear that the church was to take the gospel to the farthest parts of the earth. The way this came about was not through the church establishing a missions program, but through God using persecution to scatter the church. Whether men obey God or oppose Him, God uses “all things” to further the gospel. In spite of all kinds of human weakness and failure, God moves Paul (and the gospel) toward Rome, where Acts will end. He continues to operate this way. Our task is to be aware of His work and seek to labor with Him. But whether you do or not, He will advance His Kingdom.
If interested, you can download the entire study of The Story of Acts