A Bomb in a Basket

Sometimes we might be tempted to look at the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ and at those who preach the Son of God, crucified, buried, rejected and resurrected, and to scratch our head and wonder; ‘Is that it?’

God was about to change the world forever, through the service of a converted persecutor of the church;Saul of Tarsus. In Acts chapter 9 Pauls ministry gets off to an ignoble start as he is bundled into a basket and lowered down a city wall at night! Is this the man that will turn the western world upside down? Where is the power in that? The ‘dynamite’ of God lay not in who Paul was but in what he had found in Jesus Christ! This was a Bomb in a Basket. Taken from :

The Bomb in the Basket

Just added – The Meaning of Life and Other Minor Matters

Just added, a new message preached from 1 Corinthians chapter 2, by J Stewart Gillespie:

‘The Meaning of Life and Other Minor Matters’

The Meaning of Life and Other Minor Matters


As we open up the chapter we are presented with an overview of Pauls missionary endeavour at Corinth, a mission so successful that in modern times it would be referred to, perhaps inaccurately as revival.
The whole chapter is in essence a reflection of “when I came to you” (2:1)
Paul reflects on the success of his mission amongst them
This was no ‘boast in the post’
In fact when he reflects on his own contribution to the success of this missionary endeavour; he first focuses on all of the attributes he does not have:

Excellency of speech (2:1)
Wisdom (2:1)
Weakness (2:3)
Fear (2:3)
Much trembling (2:3)

These attributes were not uncommon in the Lords servants:

Excellency of speech (2:1) – Moses could have identified with that (Exodus 4:10)
Wisdom (2:1) – Peter and John could have identified with that (Acts 4:13)
Weakness (2:3) – Samson could have identified with that (Judges 16:20)
Fear (2:3) – Gideon, 3 times could identify with this (Judges 6:27)
Much trembling (2:3) – Ezekiel (12:18) and Daniel (10:11) could identify with this.

Despite coming in his weakness there was no shortage of power.
That power came from God

1. Character of the Preacher
2. Consequences of the Preaching

Demonstration of the Spirit (2:4)
Drawing, revealing, convicting, converting to Christ

Demonstration of Power (2:4)

Signs of the apostles (2 Co12:12)
Exposition of scripture (Acts 18)
Experience of the presence of Christ (1Co14)

3. Content of the Message (2:6ff)

No mere rhetoric
Deep content
Paul had as his content: “we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery” (2:7)

2 possible translations (after Gordon D Fee):

1. “we mysteriously preach the wisdom of God”
2. “we preach the mysterious wisdom of God”

“the mysterious wisdom of God” seems to fit well with the 2nd half of verse 7
They had an interest in that
They were not satisfied with what others were satisfied with:

Beyond Paganism – “eye could see”
Beyond Philosophy – “ear could ear”
Beyond Asceticism – “neither has it entered into the heart of man”

These people were looking for more
Only God could provide it: “mystery wisdom of God”
There are about 14 such mysteries running through the NT, all perhaps best viewed as aspects of one supreme mystery of all things gathered together in Christ and for His Glory (Ephesians 1)
These mysteries are the biblical answer to the question:

Why? – Why am I here?
What? – What is the meaning of life?
The mystery of the wisdom of God:

“Gods predestined and foreordained eternal purpose for His creation in Christ, hidden until the time of fulfilment and revelation, for the Glory of His Son and consequently the blessing of His people.”

This is Gods plan – He is in charge
There is purpose in life and the creation
The purpose given by God results in actions, attitudes and activities with eternal meaning and value – one of the first metaphysical thoughts I ever recall having – looking forward to Christmas and as it rapidly approached realising that it would equally as rapidly recede, leaving actions and experiences as past, done and gone, as transient and potentially as meaningless as the melting snow. God gives eternal and abiding meaning to His creation and His creature.

The mystery wisdom of God gathers together:

1. The Mystery of Israel in Unbelief (Rom 11:25)
2. The Mystery of Gods grace in Christ (Rom 16:25)
3. The Mystery of the Rapture (1 Co 15:51)
4. The Mystery of Gods Will (Eph 1:9)
5. The Mystery of the Jew and Gentile in 1 Body (Eph 3:4-11)
6. The Mystery of the Union of Christ and the Church (Eph 5:32)
7. The Mystery of Christ in you the Hope of Glory (Col 1:26-29)
8. The Mystery of Christ (Col 4:3)
9. The Mystery of the 7 Stars (Rev 1:20)
10. The Mystery of God (Rev 10:7)
11. The Mystery of Iniquity (2 Thess 2:7)
12. The Mystery of the Faith (1 Tim 3:9)
13. The Mystery of Godliness (1 Tim 3:4)
14. The Mystery of Babylon the Great (Rev 17:17)

As a consequence of this appreciation that the meaning and purpose of life and the universe are hidden in the secret counsels of God, Paul will drop a bomb shell, leaving a mushroom cloud so large that the entire Corinthians religious system collapses in the shock wave, namely that attached to knowing God and understanding the purpose and meaning of life there is a condition.

4. Conditions to Knowing God

These 8 verses (2:9-14) destroy the whole of:


Religious thinking
That if we look for more than:

Eye can see
Ear can hear
Entered into the heart of man

We are cast completely and utterly on the Grace of God alone!
Such a revelation is:

No one really knows what is going on in the heart and mind of another (2:11) only their Spirit (2:11).

If appearance and reputation and opinion is an unreliable way to assess what is really going on in anothers heart or what another person is truly like then why do we rely on it for something infinitely more important – our understanding of God Himself and His purposes?

Yet people deal in their understanding of God in an unbelievably superficial manner:

What I think about God
What I feel about God
Uncritically accepting popular culture
Embracing angles, myths, legends and fairy stories

verse 12 must have come as something of a bombshell:

“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.” (2:12)

That the Spirit of God was given to these believers with a purpose!

“ 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” (1Co2:12)

The end result of any genuine exercise of the Spirit of God must be to draw us deeper into an enjoyment of Christ.

“freely given” : charizomai: 5483 : from ‘charis’ : grace – to show someone favour, be kind to, to give or bestow a thing willingly.

The gift of tongues fulfilled this purpose in the Acts of the apostles!
This was news for the Corinthians!
This would hit at the heart of many of the Corinthian problems.
Gods Spirit is not present to amuse them nor entertain them nor to make them ‘big’ (1 Co 13:4), but He is for the general profit of all (1 Co 12:7; 14:3).

This would have resolved much of the issue over tongues at Corinth (1Co14) with their many words without profit (1Co14:19) and that we recall is spoken of the genuine gift of tongues.

So then:

The Spirit of God reveals the truth of God (2:10)
The Spirit of God gives the words to communicate that truth (2:13)
The Spirit of God is given to receive that truth (2:12) and empower our understanding

Thus the communication of the truth of the Spirit is by means of Spirit inspired and given words – the spiritual means of communicating spiritual truth (2:13).

a) The Spirit of God reveals the truth of God (2:10) – Sovereign and Spiritual revelation of God – The Source

How can I learn this?
How can I obtain this?
How can I buy this?

cf. Simon the sorcerer (Acts 8:18)
I can’t!
Such an understanding of God must be received by supernatural revelation by the Spirit (2:10).
Pauls religions destroying statement to knowing God:

‘the knowledge of God alone comes from God’

Such a statement requires and deserves some justification, so here it is (2:11)
Who really knows what is going on in my heart and my life but my spirit.
Likewise God.

This is a Gracious ministry of God – dependant on the Grace of God alone – unearned

Because this is Gods revelation of God it is by Grace.
Who can give to God anything in exchange?
It is “freely given” (2:12) : charizoma – from ‘charis’ – grace

b) Received only by those who have His Spirit, Conditional – on moral and spiritual qualifications for reception

The enjoyment then of Divine revelation depends upon our relationship with the Spirit of God
Moral qualifications are required to maintain the enjoyment of that link with the Lord to continue to grow and feed upon Christ.
This is the subject of chapter 3- some have grieved the Spirit and have become hindered in their spiritual growth.

c) The Spirit of God gives the words to communicate that truth (2:13)

Thus the communication of the truth of the Spirit is by means of Spirit inspired and given words – the spiritual means of communicating spiritual truth (2:13).

A Message for Easter

A selection of messages of hope and power for this Easter from our website:

Job Chapter 19 verse 26 – Easter 2013 – and Job had a hope – J Stewart Gillespie – 31032013

A Message for Easter – 1 Corinthians chp 15 – Mark Johnstone (Linwood) – 24042011

Luke Chp24 – An Unexpected Resurrection – J Stewart Gillespie – 04042010

Luke Chp 24 – When Everything Seems to Go Wrong – J Stewart Gillespie – 25032008

The Last Lecture – Just added

At a time in Western Christianity when it would appear that many are failing to appreciate the God given responsibility to both receive the truth from a previous generation and the responibility to preserve it and then pass it on to the next generation, Robert Revie brings a timely encouragement to remain faithful and consistent in the basics of the Christian faith and to see our God given place as part of a corporate body of Christ with both the privileges and the responsibilities it brings. It is time to ‘man up’ and to step up to the mark and take our place among Gods people. Capitalism, humanism and materialism have taught a generation to become self centred consumers, picking buffet style from the menu of choice. Responsibility is a conveniently forgotten concept. We go where it suits us and we drop what doesn’t. Such attitudes, as 2 Timothy chapter 2 reveals did not build Christs Church and such attitudes are not consistent in sustaining it. God will hold us accountable for faithfulness and for failure. Despite Paul having much to discourage him, in the inconsistencies of others, noted and named in the Word of God, yet he sees encouragement from the faithfulness of Timothy, to whom he passes on the baton of the faith, in this most poignant of Pauls ‘last lecture.’

2 Timothy chp 2 – The Last Lecture – Robert Revie 18032014.mp3

John Dunlop – Malachi Chapters 3 +4

Just added, a new message from John Dunlop, the third and final in his series of messages from the prophet Malachi:

Malachi chp 3 + 4 – John Dunlop – 25022014

apologies for the poor quality of recording on this occasion.