God leads us into some very unusual situations. Sometimes He sends us into the wilderness to face the Devil, or calls us to walk on water, or asks us to preach the gospel to people we are unfamiliar with. Time and time again, God leads us into a spiritual crisis or an impossible task so that he can show us His glorious power and teach us amazing lessons.
In this chapter, we will learn about being taught by the Spirit. God speaks to the deepest part of us to teach us the things of God. His Spirit speaks to our spirit declaring Heavenly truth in spiritual forms:
1 Corinthians 2:9-16 9 But as it is written: What eye did not see and ear did not hear, and what never entered the human mind — God prepared this for those who love Him. 10 Now God has revealed these things to us by the Spirit, for the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. 11 For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man that is in him? In the same way, no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who comes from God, so that we may understand what has been freely given to us by God. 13 We also speak these things, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual things to spiritual people. 14 But the unbeliever does not welcome what comes from God’s Spirit, because it is foolishness to him; he is not able to understand it since it is evaluated spiritually. 15 The spiritual person, however, can evaluate everything, yet he himself cannot be evaluated by anyone. 16 For who has known the Lord’s mind, that he may instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ.
- God is downloading heavenly truth into us, things that eye has not seen, nor ear heard, or entered into the mind of man. The natural man cannot grasp this spiritual truth at all. It is knowledge that is received from a heavenly source.
- We have been given the Spirit who is from God so that we might understand what has been freely given to us by God.
- We are able to receive this incomprehensible truth because He has given us the spiritual mind of Christ.
- Paul expressed these spiritual truths in spiritual words and not in the philosophical arguments of Greek rhetoric.
- These spiritual truths enable us to correctly judge life’s situations and to fully understand the gospel and the work of Christ.
The apostle Peter was directly taught by God. Peter’s spiritual intuition was so razor sharp that Jesus made Peter the head of the church and used him to resolve church disputes such as the clash between the conservative Jewish Christians, and Paul and Barnabas, in Acts chapter 15. It all starts in Caesarea Philippi:
Matthew 16:13-19 When Jesus had come to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” They said, “Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He asked them, “But who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God!” Then Jesus told him, “How blessed you are, Simon son of Jonah, since flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, though my Father in heaven has. I tell you that you are Peter, and it is on this rock that I will build my church, and the powers of Hell will not conquer it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom from heaven. Whatever you prohibit on earth will have been prohibited in heaven, and whatever you permit on earth will have been permitted in heaven.”
Jesus calls Peter “blessed” because Peter was able to receive accurate spiritual knowledge from God. In this case the revelation that Jesus was “the Christ, the Son of the Living God”. God Himself had taught the apostle Peter the deep theological truth that Jesus was not just the Christ (which some had already guessed) but was also the Son of the Living God.
Jesus praises Peter for being able to know things without human instruction. Peter had received something that “eye had not seen, ear heard, nor had entered into the mind of man”.
Peter’s spiritual sensitivity, his accurate reception of divine truth direct from heaven, made him the leader of the young band of disciples. Jesus called Peter the “Rock” (Petros) and said that he would be the leader of the early Church. And that is exactly what happened.
Another instance of Peter’s exceptional spiritual intuition was when he walked on water:
Matthew 14:24-33 By this time the boat was in the middle of the sea and was being battered by the waves, because the wind was against them. Shortly before dawn Jesus came to them, walking on the sea. When the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified and cried out, “It’s a ghost!” And they screamed in terror. “Have courage!” Jesus immediately told them. “It’s me. Stop being afraid!” Peter answered him, “Lord, if it’s you, order me to come to you on the water.” Jesus said, “Come on!” So Peter got down out of the boat, started walking on the water, and came to Jesus. But when he noticed the strong wind, he was frightened. As he began to sink, he shouted, “Lord, save me!” At once Jesus reached out his hand, caught him, and asked him, “You who have so little faith, why did you doubt?” As they got into the boat, the wind stopped blowing. Then the men in the boat began to worship Jesus, saying, “You certainly are the Son of God!”
Peter sensed that Jesus could cause him to walk on water. Peter suddenly understood that by faith in Jesus, he could do all that Jesus could do. When Jesus said: “Come”, Peter stepped out and walked on the water. Peter did what Jesus was doing, not because Peter was the same as Jesus, but because Peter had faith in Jesus. Peter learned two big lessons:
1. By faith in Jesus, he Peter could participate in all that Jesus was doing and even work the extraordinary works that Jesus worked.
2, That without faith he was just an ordinary man subject to the ordinary laws of nature and would sink like a stone.
The first lesson has to be learned from God alone. The power of faith in Jesus is something that has to be personally realized. I cannot teach it to you. In fact, the best Bible teacher in the world cannot teach the power of faith in Jesus to you. You have to go “Aha” and get it. It is the opposite of all common sense and traditional religion. It bends our minds to think that we can work the works of Christ by faith (John 14:12). We think that we have to be super-holy. Peter “got it and did it” (though only for a short while). That is being taught by God!
Let us look at a few other times when the Apostle Peter seems to have received a download from Heaven and a direct teaching from the Lord:
- The Day of Pentecost – Peter speaks in tongues, prophesies, and interprets the mysterious work of the Holy Spirit citing a prophecy from Joel 2. Peter then goes on to preach a sermon that saw three thousand people saved.
- The Healing of the Lame Man – In Acts 3 Peter commanded the lame man to walk in the name of Jesus. Jesus was not around physically. However, Peter still believed that he had the power to work miracles by faith. This miracle astounded Jerusalem. It was the first major healing performed by the new Christian community.
- The Salvation of Cornelius – In Acts 10 and 11 a series of visions and angelic visitations gets Peter to preach the gospel to the Gentiles, possibly against his will, and then to understand that God had opened the door of salvation to the Gentiles also.
- The Jerusalem Council – In Acts 15 God gives Peter the wisdom to resolve a huge dispute in the early church over whether new converts had to obey the Jewish Law.
Sometimes God leads us into a crisis so that we can cry out for wisdom and receive it from God via the Holy Spirit. God took Peter into numerous crises so that Peter would seek out, and then receive, God’s wisdom for that time and place.
The apostle Peter was a highly receptive natural learner, who easily tuned into God, sought out Jesus, followed Him, and learned from Him. So how can we do the same?
Firstly, we should be eagerly curious about spiritual things, hungering and thirsting after righteousness:
Matthew 5:6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
Matthew 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Matthew 7:7-8 “Keep asking, and it will be given to you. Keep searching, and you will find. Keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who searches finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
Next, we should expect to receive wisdom directly from God whenever we need it in life:
James 1:5-8 Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without criticizing, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith without doubting. For the doubter is like the surging sea, driven and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. An indecisive man is unstable in all his ways.
God will give us wisdom “generously and without criticizing”. God will never say to you: “That is such a dumb question, why on earth do you need wisdom in that area, don’t you ever learn?” God will graciously give His wisdom to you in abundance!
You need to expect heavenly downloads. God wants to teach you. Divine knowledge is not just for saints and apostles; it is also for every normal Christian so that we might be able to live holy lives. God’s instruction is part of the New Covenant and part of Pentecost:
Acts 2:17,18 And it will be in the last days, says God, that I will pour out My Spirit on all humanity; then your sons and your daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, and your old men will dream dreams. I will even pour out My Spirit on My male and female slaves in those days, and they will prophesy.
God promises wisdom for all who ask, even supernatural wisdom in dreams, visions and prophecy! God wants to teach you in the way that you should go.
Now the main thing that God wishes to teach us is how to love one another:
1 Thessalonians 4:9 About brotherly love: You don’t need me to write you because you yourselves are taught by God to love one another.
God directly taught the Thessalonians how to love one another! Which is no surprise because “love thy neighbor” is the Great Commandment (Romans 13:8-10) and the goal of all Christian instruction.
1 Timothy 1:5 Now the goal of our instruction is love that comes from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith.
Therefore, if you pray and as God to teach you wisdom on how to love people better, you will certainly receive His divine instruction.
God is constantly trying to teach you about Jesus Christ His Son, and about how to have faith, how to love, how to have joy, and how to do the work of God. You just have to believe that this wisdom is available to you and receive it!
- Has God ever used a crisis to teach you an important life lesson?
- How did God instruct the apostle Peter? How did Peter’s worldview change?
- Do you have a problem believing that God will download wisdom into you?
- What are the prerequisites for receiving wisdom from God?