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Redemption Lesson 17
Activities
Manchaca Bible Fellowship
27 February 2005 Bible Lessons
Operation Outreach

To have a clear understanding of Godís redemption for mankind, we must have a reasonable understanding of many other subjects presented in the Word of God. In past lessons, weíve listed 20+ subjects that are interrelated to redemption, and that list is only a starting point. We will not take time to study all of those in detail, but it is needful to see their relationship to the major subject of redemption. Letís start by looking at some very important areas that are especially needed for our understanding of redemption.

  1. The essence of God
  2. The essence of Mankind
  3. The essence of Satan
  4. The consequences of sin, both original and personal

Each of these four will need to be studied in some detail, because they each are an integral part of redemption.

May I emphasis, again, you donít need to know the details of redemption to receive Godís redemption. However, if you want to have an accurate understanding of the totality of the Word of God, THEN it is a MUST to have clear understanding of redemption and its many parts.

There are certain facts of redemption that stand out with a simple surface reading of the Scriptures. Those surface facts are referred to in Scripture by terms such as "the milk of the Word".

The Holy Spirit has some very interesting things to say about the "milk of the Word". So letís spend a little time looking at what is said about the need of this "surface" Biblical information, and the dangers of trying to live our Spiritual lives on this "milk" or "surface" information only.

1 Peter 1:22 Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, 23 having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever, 24 because "All flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, and its flower falls away, 25 but the word of the Lord endures forever." Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you. 2:1 Therefore, laying aside all malice, all guile, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, 2 as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, 3 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.

Please allow me, without the details, to simply touch on some very important issues in these next few passages. I want to do so in on order to see the overall picture without bogging down in the many side trails.

First, Peter is speaking to Believers about their Christian living. Even though he mentions our salvation, his main thrust is HOW to live the Spiritual life we received through redemption.

Not only is he talking to those who are Born Again, Peter is talking to those who are active in their Christian living and encourages them to go beyond the elementary.

These addressed in this passage are ones who have "purified" their souls through obedience to the "truth" of God by means of the Spirit. The outward evidence of this "purification" is their action towards other Believers. Then Peter mentions "how" they were "Born Again". The "how" was through the Word of God.

Peter has presented the importance of the Word of God in BOTH redemption (Born Again) and our proper living within this redemption. Both are VERY important and worthy of our careful study. However, the truth I want us to see is what the Holy Spirit says about the Word of God, itself.

In verse 23, he states the facts that the Word of God is living and is eternal. Once again, in verse 25 the eternal quality of the Word is stated, the Word will endure forever. It is important to see, know and remember thatÖ (1) The Word of God is "alive"

The Word is "living"! Not in the sense that itís growing larger or that more information is being added, but that there is life (Spiritual life) in the Word of God. That life is available to every Believer. This is a quality of life that goes beyond the initial New Birth.

There are many passages that deal with this truth, but please look at two passages with which MBFers are familiar. By using these familiar passages, we wonít have to spend several lessons to establish this point.

Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Yes, the Word of God is LIVING and it has the ability to move into every aspect of our earthly life..:

  1. Soul and Spirit (the very inner aspect of the soulish life)
  2. Joint and Marrow (the very inner aspect of the physical life)
  3. Thoughts and Intents (the very inner aspect of the physiological life)

It is important to understand that the Word of God MUST be an active part of our total living, NOT just our "Sunday-go-to-meeting" life. Hebrews 4:12 tells us what the "living" Word of God will do. 2 Peter 1:1-4 tells how we can have this "living" Word of God in our "everyday" life.

2 Peter 1:1 Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ: 2 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, 3 as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, 4 by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

The Japanese introduced a tree to the world that is called a Bonsai trees. These trees are measured in inches, instead of feet, as other trees.

These trees are not allowed to reach their full growth potential but instead grows in a stunted miniature form. The reason for this stunted growing is that when the trees first stick their heads out of the ground as saplings, the owner pulled them out of the soil and ties off their main tap roots and some of their branch feeder roots, then replanted them in a confining planter with very little soil.

By doing this, the grower deliberately stunts the growth by limiting the roots ability to spread out and grow deep. Therefore, it cannot take in enough nutrients for normal growth.

Then if you want the above ground part of the tree to be realistic, you can twist, bend and retrain the branches and trunk in such a manner as to look as though they had weathered the storms of time. In a short time, these stunted trees have the look of the real thing, but they are only good as a ornament on the coffee table, or somewhere.

What was done to the Bonsai tree by its owner, is what Satan wants for every Believer. Itís sad! But many Believers cooperate with Satan in this operation. If Believers fail to put their roots into the deep truths of the Word of God (Spiritual food), their Spiritual life will be stunted, even though they may be an attractive religious ornament to those who observe.

The Bible refers to this Spiritually stunted condition as being and remaining a Spiritual baby. There is nothing wrong with being a baby, BUT it is very sad condition to see a person remain as a "baby" year after year, throughout their entire live, with no evidence of growth.

Peter clearly states in 2 Pe 1:1-4 that heís talking to those who have (already) obtained Spiritual Life (redemption). Then Peter tells us several things that belong to us through the knowledge of God and Christ.

Obviously, the ONLY place we can obtain this knowledge of God is from the written Word of God. We canít find this knowledge by looking within ourselves, or by studying the stars of heaven, or meditation, etc., etc.

The ONLY place we can gain this knowledge is through a proper use of the Word of God. Look at some of the things that are ours as a result of the proper use of Word.

  1. Grace and Peace MULTIPLIED
  2. All Things that Pertain to Life and Godliness
  3. A Calling to Glory and Virtue
  4. Great and Precious Promises
  5. Partaking of the Divine Nature (on a continual basis)

That is a little glimpse into the "living" aspect of the of the Word of God. If we are not drawing our Spiritual strength from the "deep" things of God, these five great blessing cannot be fully realized in our lives.

1 Peter 1:22 Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, 23 having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever, 24 because "All flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, and its flower falls away, 25 but the word of the Lord endures forever." Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you. 2:1 Therefore, laying aside all malice, all guile, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, 2 as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, 3 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.

As we look again at our original passage in 1 Peter 1:22-2 :3, we see thatÖ

  1. The Word of God is "alive" (1:23)
  2. The Word of God is "eternal" (1:23 & 25)

Based on these qualities of the Word, Peter goes on to tell what our attitude and actions should be, and the results of such an attitude and actions.

Peter lists "5" things that we should not do. None of these things should be part of the general life of a Believer, BUT in this context, these "5" apply directly to how we approach the Word of God. We are to lay aside..:

  1. All Malice
  2. All Guile
  3. Hypocrisy
  4. Envy
  5. All Evil Speaking

We are to lay aside these "5" things so that..:
ē We will DESIRE the pure "MILK" of the Word
ē We may GROW because of that "MILK"

Please note that these "5" things hinders us from even desiring to feed on the "milk" of Word of God. We may still have other reasons to come to the Word of God, even with these "5" in our lives, BUT these "5" dampen the desire to "feed" for growth. If we do not "feed" on the Word, we will NOT grow Spiritually. It would be good to take a detailed study of each of the "5" hindrances, but for the sake of time, letís only take a peek at one of them.

Guile = (Greek) A trick; To bait; A wile

As I looked at the definition, I realized that I was familiar with what it meant to "trick" someone or to "bait" them, but what was a wile?? So, I ask my good "friend" Webster, and "he" popped-up the answer right on my computer screen. Isnít modern technology wonderful? I used to have to turn pages to get such information.

Wile = (Webster 1828) A trick or stratagem practiced for ensnaring; A deception

Stratagem??? Iíve heard retired military "talking-heads" on TV talk about a "stratagem" and I always thought they didnít know how to pronounce strategy, so they just said "stratagem". BUT Mr. Webster tells me there is such a word. So, we better know what it means.

Stratagem = (Webster 1828) An artful or ingenious device particularly in war; A plan or scheme for deceiving an enemy; A trick by which some advantage is intended to be obtained

Surely, no one would approach or use the Word of God with Guile!! Wrong!!! Sad to say, far too often, people come to the Word of God to prove a point of personal belief, instead of finding Spiritual food, so they can partake of Godís divine nature for daily living.

If the Word of God is used as a devise, simply to substantiate a point of view rather that to feed Spiritually, it wonít be long until the Word will be used and presented with guile. Look at what Paul had to say about the matter of using the Word of God to trick or ensnare.

Ephesians 4:13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness by which they lie in wait to deceive, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head - Christ

Surely, no preacher would use the Word of God in a manner that would lead people away from the truth of the very Word of God, would they??? This problem was true in the infancy of the church and has been a chronic problem ever since. Take a quick tour of Acts and the Epistles with me. Weíll look at a few verses from some of the books that state this problem.

Acts 20:30 "Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves.
Romans 16:17 Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them.
2 Corinthians 11:3 But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
Galatians 3:1 O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified?
Colossians 2:4 Now this I say lest anyone should deceive you with persuasive words.
2 Thessalonians 2:1 Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, 2 not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come. 3 Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition,
2 Timothy 2:15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 16 But shun profane and vain babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness. 17 And their message will spread like cancer. Hymenaeus and Philetus are of this sort, 18 who have strayed concerning the truth, saying that the resurrection is already past; and they overthrow the faith of some.

We could keep going to many other passages that say similar things. Almost every epistle has something to say about those who used the Word of God for their own benefit and were deceiving Believers. It is so important that we "lay aside" those "5" things of 1 Peter 1:22-2 :3 when we come to the Word of God.

1 Peter 1:22 Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, 23 having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever, 24 because "All flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, and its flower falls away, 25 but the word of the Lord endures forever." Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you. 2:1 Therefore, laying aside all malice, all guile, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, 2 as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, 3 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.

Lay aside..:

  1. All Malice
  2. All Guile
  3. Hypocrisy
  4. Envy
  5. All Evil Speaking

We have seen from this passage that the Word of God is at least 3 things..:

  1. The Word of God is "alive" (1:23)
  2. The Word of God is "eternal" (1:23 & 25)
  3. The Word of God is Spiritual "sustenance" (2:2)
We are to 
come 
to the Word of God 
to be "fed" 
Spiritually.
2 Peter 3:17 You therefore, beloved, since you know these things beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; 18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.

The Word of God classifies "Spiritual food" in at least two categories. We have seen from the 1 Peter 1 passage and others that the Holy Spirit likens the Word of God to "milk". We need the "milk", but we are to grow in our Spiritual life to the extent that we reach out to more "solid" Spiritual food. It does not say that we should not have any more milk, BUT we need more that JUST milk to mature properly in our Spiritual life.

1 Corinthians 3:1 And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. 2 I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; 3 for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men?

There are no short cuts to growing up. It takes years for us to grow to physical adulthood, and it takes a full season for fruit to mature and ripen. For the human to properly mature physical, it takes time and proper nourishment. Likewise for fruit to grow and ripen.

The same qualities are needed to develop a Christlike character. The Christlike life cannot properly develop without the needed time and the Spiritual food.

When you try to ripen fruit quickly or without proper nutrients, that fruit loses its flavor and texture. Most "store" tomatoes are picked un-ripened, so they wonít bruise during shipping. Then, before they are sold, these green tomatoes are sprayed with CO2 gas to turn them red instantly. Gassed tomatoes are edible, somewhat like colored cardboard, but they are no match to the flavor and texture of vine-ripened tomatoes that are allowed to mature properly.

I fear that many Christian get out their religious CO2 gas and spray themselves down so they will look like a real mature Believer, but they have not taken in the Spiritual nutrients, over time, that are needed to grow up into the image of Christ.

In this series, we will be digging deep into the "meat" of the Word. I will try to balance the "meat" with sufficient "milk" to make a good balanced meal, BUT there will be a lot of chewing needed.

Hebrews 5:9 And having been perfected, He (Christ) became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him, 10 called by God as High Priest "according to the order of Melchizedek," 11 of whom we have much to say, and hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. 12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. 13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. 14 But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. 6:1 Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, 2 of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. 3 And this we will do if God permits.
© Clyde White, Austin TX, 2005