The Things of God
(Sermon Notes) By Warren Zehrung 5/16/2021
Do we seek to be like God, (as much as is possible while we are in the flesh), in every thought and action that we perform? We should. How well do we understand what God is really like? When we understand that God’s Spirit reveals even the deep things of God, it behooves us to learn what those things are – and make them an integral part of our lives.
1Corinthians 2:10 But God has revealed them unto us through His Spirit: for the Spirit searches all things, yea, the deep things of God.
God reveals the deep and secret things by way of His Holy Spirit: That is what this Day of Pentecost shows.
We read in Daniel 2:21-23… [God] gives wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding:
Daniel 2:22 He reveals the deep and secret things: He knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with Him.
Daniel 2:23 I thank thee, and praise thee, O thou God of my fathers, who hast given me wisdom and might, and hast made known unto me now what we desired of thee:
Since God gives wisdom to the wise – how do we go about obtaining wisdom?
James 1:5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that gives to all men liberally, and does not reproach us for asking; and it shall be given him.
That is the power of God’s Spirit at work. In today’s sermon we will scrutinize a number of Godly traits, characteristics and attributes of God – like wisdom and love – so that we can know how to grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2Peter 3:18)
The Feast of Pentecost pictures God’s Holy Spirit being bestowed on the called out saints. God’s goal for mankind is that we become His eternal children, God-beings, possessing His complete image in form, in Spirit, and Godly character. Pentecost pictures how that has become possible.
The Feast of Pentecost pictures God’s Spirit coming upon His Church people, – not the world – and enabling those brethren to become the Children of God, – able to walk according to God’s Way, and become immortal and incorruptible spirit beings, and firstfruit brothers and sisters with Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God (1Corinthians 15:20). Jesus had told them:
Acts 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Spirit is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
Acts 2:1 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
As we saw, they were expecting the Spirit of God. They were looking forward to it. They did not realize that for the first time in their lives they would be able to look back and see how incredibly foolish and sinful they had been without the revelations that God’s Spirit would bring. What would it be like?
Acts 2:2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, [like a tornado] and it filled all the house where they were sitting.
Acts 2:3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, [it wasn’t fire, but it looked somewhat like fire] and it sat upon each of them.
Acts 2:4 And they were all filled with Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other languages, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
For the first time in history, God was giving to an assembly of believing people — every single one of His Godly traits and attributes. For the first time they realized their vital need of God’s Spirit.
More than ever before, God was giving those brethren the spiritual things that would change them entirely – to become the kind of people, the kind of beings that He is – having His Divine Nature.
Those spiritual things were intended to grow and grow – without limit – until each person comes into the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ: (Ephesians 4:13)
Each saint would come to realize that the measure of the gift of God’s Spirit was determined only by their ability to utilize it reliably and conscientiously. On that Day of Pentecost, unto every one of them was given spiritual gifts. We see for example:
Ephesians 4:7 But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.
We find that these gifts are like a seed that needs of grow, mature and be implemented in our lives. Too many have had their spiritual lives wither away and decline because they did not exercise and develop their spiritual gifts. On the day they were baptized and received God’s Holy Spirit – they thought they had arrived – they thought they had it made – and they withered on the vine.
What are the things of God? His topics, His gifts, His qualities, His grace, His attributes. Things, things, things, things, things… Paul will use this word over a dozen times in the next few verses… I’ll emphasize the word “things,” because it is too easy to read right over it.
We’ve seen these verses a thousand times, but this time, let’s ask ourselves this question: What are the things of God – and more importantly, how do the things of God describe me – and the kind of person I am becoming? That is the purpose of God’s Holy Spirit—to change us into being LIKE God is.
1Corinthians 2:6 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 naught:
1Corinthians 2:7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:
1Corinthians 2:8 Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
1Corinthians 2:9 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.
Paul is alluding to Isaiah 64:4:
Isaiah 64:4 For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, what he hath prepared for him that waits for Him.
1Corinthians 2:10 Yet, God has unveiled them and revealed these things unto us through His Spirit: for the Spirit searches [fathoms] all things, yea, the deep things of God.
…for the Spirit fathoms all things, yes, even the depth of God. [Conybeare and Howson, “The Life and Epistles of St. Paul” page 385]
[The amplified Bible has] … the Spirit searches all things [diligently], even [sounding and measuring] the [profound] depths of God [the divine counsels and things far beyond human understanding].
Paul did a lot of sailing – and was a sail maker too. He used nautical terms in his writings. Sounding [a nautical and maritime term] meaning the action of measuring and determining the depth, characteristics and property of the sea floor by use of a sounding line thrown from the bow of a ship. Paul wrote:
Romans 11:33 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and His ways past finding out! How unfathomable and untraceable are His ways!
We speak of God’s Holy Spirit being comprised of the summation of His divine attributes of Love, Life… But consider this. Every attribute of God, be it His mercy, His righteousness or His forgiveness, is as boundless as the far reaches of outer space.
Psalm 103:12 As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. (the distance grows eternally)
Job searched for the things of God:
Job 11:7 Canst thou by searching find out God? [No] Canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection? [No, we come far short of God’s perfection]
Can you find out the limits of the Almighty?
Job 11:8 It is as high as heaven; What canst thou do? Deeper than [death’s grave] hell; What canst thou know?
Job 12:22 He discovers deep things out of darkness, and brings out to light the shadow of death.
God’s Spirit searches out everything and shows us His deep qualities and His deep secrets. (We see the title of the sermon in the next verse:)
1Corinthians 2:11 For what man knows the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? Even so “The Things of God” knows no man, [except] the Spirit of God [reveals the things of God].
By His Spirit, God opens up our understanding to the things of God.
1Corinthians 2:12 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.
1Corinthians 2:13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teaches, but which [God’s] Holy Spirit teaches; comparing spiritual things with spiritual [things].
1Corinthians 2:14 But the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
1Corinthians 2:15 But he that is spiritual judges [better translation: appraises, evaluates, discerns, scrutinizes, examines, interrogates, questions, and applies what God’s Holy Spirit reveals about] all things, yet He Himself is judged of no man.
There is no way we are able to appraise or scrutinize God. “The deep things of God” are given different names: They are called, “The testimony of God” (1 Corinthians 2:1) and, “The secret and hidden wisdom of God” (1 Corinthians 2:7).
The knowledge of God is spiritual knowledge – divine knowledge. The wisdom of God is spiritual wisdom. His Spirit opens our mind – when we walk in His ways. God reveals Himself to us in His Word, the Bible.
Psalm 111:10 The reverence of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that keep His commandments: His praise endures forever.
1Corinthians 2:16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? [no one] But we have the mind of Christ.
We see the workings of God’s Holy Spirit.
Romans 8:26 Likewise the Spirit also helps our weakness: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
Even when we cannot put things in into words – God knows.
Romans 8:27 And He that searches the hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because [the Spirit] makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
God’s Spirit in us brings us into alignment with the will of God.
Romans 8:28 And we know that all things [these are those Godly things] that work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.
God’s Plan is being worked out – even in us.
Let’s just speak of one of the things of God – His love – to see the increasing facets of this single quality of God that is to be growing and growing in us – if we are to become like Him. It is not enough for us to say, “God has given us of His love.” We need to learn precisely what Godly love is, incorporate it into our lives, and then greatly develop the gift of love originally given to us until it mirrors the love of Christ.
But brethren, “God’s love” is only one of His many, many attributes. God’s Holy Spirit enables us to obtain a portion of every feature of His personality and character. We are to then increase in Spirit as Paul admonished the Macedonians:
1Thessalonians 4:9 But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another.
1Thessalonians 4:10 And indeed ye do it toward all the brethren which are in all Macedonia: but we beseech you, brethren, that ye increase more and more [in Godly love toward one another].
We can actually enter into a warm and intimate family relationship with Him when we love the brethren. We are to learn to love one another to the point that we are more than willing to lay down our lives for others – just as Jesus did for us. Then, and only then, do we begin to approach ‘agape,’ Godly love. And, we’ve only touched on one of a multitude of God’s qualities that we are to attain to, if we are to be like He is. It is important to find and recognize all the traits, characteristics and qualities that God’s Holy Spirit has revealed about Him.
1Corinthians 15:49 And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.
How can we hope to have a grasp on God’s true characteristics? The Bible tells us that man does not naturally comprehend God or His ways. We know of the physical world through our five senses – touch, sight, hearing, etc., but how do we learn about the spiritual realm of God? We see that through the Holy Spirit, the profound and mysterious things of God are revealed to Christians who have God’s Spirit.
God’s Holy Spirit is the Life, Mind, Love, and Power of God the Father and Jesus Christ. That Holy Spirit is what a Christian has been baptized into (Matthew 28:19).
Besides our human life that we received from our father and mother, we have been conceived with the Spiritual Life of God the Father and Jesus Christ. (Being born into the Kingdom of God with eternal Spiritual God Life will come at the resurrection – if we endure until the end.) (Matthew 24:13)
God’s Spirit is every divine attribute and means of God. It is the very essence of who and what God is. God’s Spirit is the motivating action of God at work. In the same way that breath is necessary for human life, God’s Spirit in us is essential for our future eternal life.
When speaking of God’s Spirit, it is appropriate to add “hagios” [holy] – Holy Spirit. Holy Spirit, “hagios pneuma,” represents the Life and Spirit of God.
1Corinthians 2:16 Who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ.
It is God’s Holy Spirit that transforms a Christian into the Life and realm of God, making him a partaker of God’s divine nature (2Peter 1:4). Man begins to make the transition from his physical existence to growing in Spirit toward the perfection of Christ when he receives the first token of God’s Spirit at his baptism with the laying on of hands.
Ephesians 1:13-14 You were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of His glory.
Being begotten (fathered) by God makes us His children with His Spirit. That is the earnest and the promise of eternal life through Jesus Christ. Why do we need God’s Holy Spirit? Because without it, we lack the strength and ability to follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ (Acts 1:8).
God is able to bring every single one of His Godly traits and attributes to His saints. The measure of His Spirit given to us is determined only by our willingness to seek God and follow in His ways.
Jeremiah 29:13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
And, with God’s Holy Spirit, that is now possible. Jesus said that the Holy Spirit is a gift:
Luke 11:13 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give Holy Spirit to them that ask him?
The Holy Spirit is God’s mind, love and life. It is His unlimited power, His personality, His manifold traits, His character. God’s Holy Spirit is every characteristic of God – His righteousness, gentleness, peace, compassion, excellence, generosity, mercy… the list is endless.
We are totally unable to comprehend every characteristic of God’s Spirit with our human intellect for God is far too great. Let’s scrutinize a number of Godly traits, characteristics and attributes of God so that we can know how to grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2Peter 3:18)
What are some of those things? Let’s pick “compassion” for an example. We all possess some compassion. We all feel a measure of compassion for those who are hurting. But, we must realize that our compassion comes nowhere close to the compassion of God. But it should be going in that direction.
Psalm 86:15 reads, “But You, O Lord, are a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering and abundant in in mercy and truth.”
God does not expect us to stay the same as when we were first called. Our lives are all about expanding every attribute and quality of God’s nature to its utmost. One of the revealed things is God’s Plan as shown by His annual Sabbaths – God’s Holy Days. In our own era, one of the greater things, the greater gifts, God has given His Church brethren is the knowledge of His Plan of redemption – the Plan of God – as represented by knowledge of His Holy Days.
He is Loving: He is powerful – all-powerful. Are we ready to use that kind of might? His creation is a reflection of His power and might.
Psalm 19:1, “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork”
Are we making an attempt to utilize the power of His Spirit to become like Him and His Son?
Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.
His Life… God is alive. God is infinite. He tells us to choose life – God life. We must allow the truth about God and His marvelous nature to transform us. These are some of the things of God.
His Mind is perfection… God has revealed His traits to us so that we can know Him as He is.
God not only wants us to view Him correctly, He wants us to know Him intimately. God is joyful… Do we try to embrace that Godly joy, or do we prefer to wallow in our misery?
God has so many attributes that we must emulate to the fullest – we cannot begin to touch on them.
Peace, you could write a book on how to obtain His peace.
Patience…, Our perception of who God is, is important because we are to be growing in His image. Kindness…, goodness, generosity, His disposition to bear injuries patiently (or long-suffering), His mildness (or gentleness), His understanding… He is Holy…
The more accurate our understanding of who and what God really is, the more highly motivated we can become to excel in Him and all of His spiritual qualities. His counsel… His fortitude… His knowledge…, His Light – Enlightenment, His mercy…, His righteousness… His resilience, strength and courage… His forgiveness… – He will never betray our confidence in Him. His wisdom and understanding…
1Corinthians 12:4 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.
1Corinthians 12:7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit everyone.
1Corinthians 12:8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;
1Corinthians 12:9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;
God is completely trustworthy – are we?
Romans 1:17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to [ever increasing] faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.
In the same way we began by expanding on the concept of God’s love, we see that we must do the same with faith… and then – -every one of God’s characteristics and qualities — if we are to become like Him. Those are some of the things of God, but that is not a comprehensive list by any means. Peter was thinking along this line when he wrote about things:
2Peter 1:3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:
2Peter 1:4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
2Peter 1:5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;
2Peter 1:6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;
2Peter 1:7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity [‘agape’ the love of God].
2Peter 1:8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
2Peter 1:9 But he that lacks these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and has forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.
2Peter 1:10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:
We find another partial list of the things of God here:
Colossians 3:12 Put on [develop] therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;
Colossians 3:13 Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.
Colossians 3:14 And above all these things put on [Godly love], which is the bond of perfectness.
Colossians 3:15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.
Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom;
The word of Christ tells us of spiritual gifts, spiritual fruit, that enable, or capacities that are divinely bestowed upon individuals. An apple tree produces apples. That is the fruit of an apple tree. A peach tree produces peaches. That is the fruit of a peach tree.
God’s Spirit produces spiritual fruit.
Question: What fruit of the Spirit have you been producing in more and more abundance.
We certainly do not want to be lopped off and thrown in the fire.
John 15:5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same brings forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
John 15:6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.
Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
Galatians 5:23 Meekness, temperance:
Let’s ask ourselves, have we made a study of how to produce a bushel of those things? Do we have a sense of urgency?
Those are the things of God. How much of the deep things of God do we appreciate? Are we gaining – growing?
2Peter 1:3 According as His divine power has given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that has called us to glory and virtue:
The Holy Spirit is the power through which God accomplishes His will. He uses it in a person to widen and deepen their comprehension of spiritual truth. Pentecost makes that possible.
John 16:13 Howbeit when the [Holy Spirit], the Spirit of truth, is come, [God’s Holy Spirit] will guide you into all truth: for [the Holy Spirit] shall not speak of itself; but whatsoever [the Holy Spirit] shall hear, that shall [the Holy Spirit] speak: and [the Holy Spirit] will reveal to you things to come.
John 16:14 [The Holy Spirit] shall glorify me: for [the Holy Spirit] shall receive of mine [Jesus’ teachings], and shall disclose it unto you.
John 16:15 All things that the Father has [God’s Doctrine] are mine [Jesus says]: therefore said I, that [the Holy Spirit] shall take of mine, and shall release them unto you.
Brethren, that means:
After you have received God’s Spirit at Pentecost, [the Holy Spirit] will bring all God’s teachings clearly into our minds – those spiritual concepts that Jesus received from the Father – will be understood by us.
Spiritual depth cannot be achieved or attained by the will of man. We cannot go where we shouldn’t go and expect to grow. The work of the Holy Spirit is to open to the converted mind the precious things of God.
The things that this world cannot even dream of. They cannot be seen heard or imagined. How does the Spirit search the deep things of God?
Brethren, God has given us freely of His Holy Spirit. Let’s take each and every attribute of God and measure ourselves.
Isaiah 55:9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
God did not tell us that to discourage us – but to show us how high to aim.
Let’s put God’s Holy Spirit to work, and begin to close the gap.
End: The Things of God