|From the Pastors Desk|
Manchaca Bible Fellowship
|23 May 2004||Bible Lessons
The book of Exodus is often referred to as The Book of Redemption. It received this distinction both from the fact of Israel's redemption from slavery in Egypt, and as examples of our Redemption from the slavery of sin, both original and personal.
In reality, the entire Bible is the account of and the instructions for God's redemption of mankind. For a person to receive this redemption from God, they must receive Christ as their personal Savior.
Receiving Christ as Savior is an act of simple faith. The Word of God says, Christ is the Savior of the world.
Therefore, I believe God and receive, by faith, His Son as my Savior. From the human perspective, it is a simple process, in which the only action on my part is obedience.
Praise God for the "simplisticness" of this acceptance process of God's redemption. If I or any human had to do anything to be "good" enough to gain God's favor, NONE of us would ever receive God's redemption.
Some time ago, a person said something like, "I revel in the simplisticness of Salvation, and I think it is a waste of time and a dishonor to God, to try to "dig-up" all the details!"
I too revel in the simplicity of Salvation, but a statement of that nature demonstrates either:
If the Bible is the account of and instruction for redemption (and it is), then such a statement would indicate that God did not know what He was doing when He had all that unimportant material written.
Of course, we are too Spiritual to make such a statement, in that type of verbiage, but sometimes our actions speak louder than our Spiritual façade.
If we really thought that the information in the Bible has the "secret" to freedom from daily sin, wouldn't we spend more time finding out what the Bible says than with other extra curricular activity?
Psalms 1:1 Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; 2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night. 3 He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper.
Deuteronomy 6:6 "And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart; 7 "you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. 8 "You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.
Psalms 119:11 Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You.
Psalms 119:97 Oh, how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day. 98 You, through Your commandments, make me wiser than my enemies; For they are ever with me.
John 15:7 "If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.
The fact that we DO NOT spend much of our time and effort searching the Scriptures speaks volumes to the fact that maybe…
Question are ask like.., "Is a detailed study of God Word really necessary?" "Since receiving Christ as Savior is so simple, shouldn't we stick with the simple things of the Word of God? After all isn't that the most important thing?"
"Simple things for simple minds"
Hebrews 5:12 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.
If the Scriptures say anything.., and IF we believe the Scriptures at all,
There is something
That does not make the simple things unimportant. It does mean that if we stay ONLY with the simple things of God's revelation, we have missed the importance of God's overall program, and the value of the totality of God's Word.
Please allow me to illustrate. The "flu bug" or the "common cold" is easy to get. That's pretty simple.
However, both are so complex that the best of science can't solve the mystery of preventing them or curing them. On the other hand, I'm sure that most would think that the scientists should try to figure out the complexity of these little rascals, so we could have a little relief from them. Right!
Sin, like the flu, is pretty easy to get, only sin lasts longer and has far worse consequences.
The great news is that God has a "cure" for sin!
The "cure" for the penalty of original sin is real easy to get. We receive that "cure" through the simple act of faith in Christ as Savior.
The "cure" for the daily slavery to personal sin involves simple faith also, plus a constant obedience to the instructions in the Word of God.
1 John 2:1 My little children, these things I write to you, that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.
However, even in this portion, we see that victory over sinning is not simple. John wrote these things to them so they could put sin out of their living. Yet, he is quick to remind them that if anyone sins, there is still a hope. That hope is the Advocate, Jesus Christ, through our confession of those sins to Him, as John pointed out in the first chapter verse nine.
Folks, please see that God is not standing up in heaven just waiting to clobber us when we sin. The "clobbering" comes because we do not use what God has provided, so that we need not sin, and because we do not turn to the God provided remedy when we do sin.
God has provided ALL we need to have victory over personal daily sin. We must realize that sin NO LONGER has the exclusive rights to our lives. Even though God, through Christ, has broken the power of personal sin, the Believer can allow sin to dominate their every move.
I know, it may seem like there is no hope over sin in your daily life. However, the reason for that feeling is because we have NOT learned about the God provided "tools" for prevention and cure.
Christ BROKE the power of sin on the cross. If sin is controlling our lives, it is not because of the power of sin, but because we do not KNOW about the power of God over sin, NOR do we KNOW how to release that power in our lives.
If you really want release from the power of sin, then listen up, because that is what we are going to be learning -
HOW to be holy.
However, if you are not willing to AT LEAST give the same time and effort to learning about God's provision and learning how to use that provision, AS you would to perfect your game of golf, or baseball, or cooking or/?!/?????
If you are looking for easy victory, quick relief, WITHOUT the willingness to give yourself to the battle, then you are in the wrong place, and you need to look elsewhere.
However, if you want victory over sin, and are willing to give the attention of a good soldier or athlete to this matter, then may I extend to you the hand of welcome!
If on the other hand, you only want a religious feeling and a little worldly fun in a churchee setting, then you will find more comfort watching TV.
If you really want God's best (most do not know what they really want) and are willing to give obedience to God's instructions,
Then you are in the right place!!
May I warn you!! You don't overcome sin by praying for victory. You need to pray, but the Holy Spirit says that victory come through obedience which translates into proper actions, words and attitudes (obviously included in those things is prayer).
As we will see, this takes time, consistency, discipline, dedication, and the proper fellowship and attitude with the Body of Christ, as well as the other areas we have alluded to already.
Folks, please hear me!!! Any one of these aspects can be a "pain in the neck" to us, on a human level. YET, we will give ourselves to most anything else, BUT learning to live the life of holiness.
We will give time to sports. Please, I'm going to use sports as an example, because it is a good Biblical example. I'm not against sports (except when that sport become a controlling force in the life), and neither is God, as is easily seen by looking at the many illustrations in the Bible of sports.
What is wrong, is when we give ourselves in the area of sports or anything else, BUT then do not have time to give AT LEAST the same amount and intensity to God in obedience to His Word.
Do I hear that faint cry of, "That's not fair! I would lose all my fun in life."
I wonder if Christ thought leaving heaven's glory to live a life of disrespect on this earth for 33+ years was…
fun and fair???
I wonder if Christ thought the suffering of the Cross was…
fun and fair???
Folks, we need to get our heads out of the bubble of self-indulgence and self-satisfaction, and come to the reality…
life is short and eternity is sure !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
What we do in this short period of time will be
Some of those rewards and punishment may also come during this life.
It is admirable to see Christians that know it takes time, consistency, discipline, dedication and a proper relationship with others to excel in a sports activity. BUT it is exceedingly sad to see some of those same Christians who think that the "SKILL" of Christian living, in victory over sin, DOES NOT take time, consistency, discipline, dedication and a proper relationship with others in the body.
Somehow, they think because they are WHO THEY ARE (and they often think they are the most important thing in all creation), God should just shower a holy life down on them while they defy the commands of God.
Folks, it doesn't work that way!!!!!!!! That is the essence of all false religions and cults.
It is so, SO, SO sad, to see Christian parents who live in this manner and then expect God to raise their children for them in a godly manner.
No parents!! If this is you attitude of life, you more than likely will pass that same attitude to your children, only in a more degraded form, in the same manner as Israel in the Wilderness.
I would not want to be some parents (even some within our church) when they stand before the judgment of Christ, and have to answer for the manner in which they raised their children, and the attitude they passed along to those eternal souls.
I pray for our MBF parents and your children with fear and trembling, because you will have NO excuse when you must answer God, as you will!
At MBF, you have been exposed to truth like very few places in this country or history. To those to whom MUCH has been given, MUCH will be required. If God is talking to your heart in this matter, DON'T let another moment go by until you have made it right with God and others.
Hebrews 10:28 Anyone who has rejected Moses' law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know Him who said, "Vengeance is Mine; I will repay, says the Lord." And again, "The Lord will judge His people."
Please note that the Holy Spirit is speaking to those who are Believer. Also please note the comparison or the example of Israel in the Wilderness TO the response of N.T. Believers.
It is important to see several things here:
Let's look at a few thing here.
As you will recall, when we looked at the O.T. account, the people of Israel said over and over again, "All that God says we will do", BUT they didn't.
They pushed God's Law aside as you would a dirty plate, after you had eaten. They did not give God's Law the proper esteem. They treated it with disrespect. The Law was seen as a common thing or a play toy to be used by the people as they pleased.
The Holy Spirit is talking to the Christians, in this passage, NOT the unsaved. (I can't repeat that too often!) We MUST keep that fact in mind.
Those Believers who treat the New Covenant as a play thing for their own use, and to elevate themselves WILL receive a punishment WORSE than death. Notice the next phrase…
31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. 32 But recall the former days in which, after you were illuminated, you endured a great struggle with sufferings: 33 partly while you were made a spectacle both by reproaches and tribulations, and partly while you became companions of those who were so treated; 34 for you had compassion on me in my chains, and joyfully accepted the plundering of your goods, knowing that you have a better and an enduring possession for yourselves in heaven. 35 Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward.
If we treat the New Covenant simply as a common play thing, we will receive a punishment worse than death. That punishment will not be death. It will be worse than death!! Therefore, the explanation by the Holy Spirit in verse 31.
It is a fearful thing to fall into
On the contrary side of punishment worse than death, is the reward of God, which He says is a great reward.
The choice as to which one of these you will receive, MUST be made NOW not in eternity. This is NOT in reference to your eternal salvation. Your action, words, attitude right NOW will determine these future events.
We need to examine each of our actions, words and attitudes in the light of eternity and the Word of God, because the Bible says that all the ways of a person are right in their own eyes.
Don't evaluate what you do and think by means of your own depraved mind. We MUST evaluate and compare these by the standard of the Word of God, administered by the Holy Spirit. What is right in our own eyes will not "cut it" before Christ at the judgment.
Some of you right here, right now are standing between these two choices. The results of your choice will be either …
Matthew 25:21 "His lord said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.'
2 Corinthians 5:9 Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.
1 Corinthians 3:15 If anyone's work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.
2 Corinthians 5:11 Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are well-known to God, and I also trust are well-known in your consciences.
There are your choices, AND there are the results of those choices. Some of you know that if you met the Lord today, you would meet Him on the basis of His TERROR, NOT as the complimenting and rewarding Master.
I can't make that choice for you, I can only make those choices clear. To the best of my ability and by God's grace I have tried to make those choices crystal clear.
There will be NO way that you can look into the eyes of the Lord and say,
Please pause right now in your reading and make sure that your choices are RIGHT!! If they are not right (and you know which ones they are) start RIGHT NOW to make those choices proper in the sight of God.
Let's look again at the passage in Hebrews 10. After the warnings concerning improper use of the Word of God and our attitudes towards proper Christian living, he continues to explain that this process of being freed from the slavery of personal sin, is not a one time mental decision.
If you want to experience this freedom, you must be willing and actively giving yourself to an allocation of time, consistency, discipline, dedication and a proper relationship with others to excel in this process of freedom from sin.
Even with all that human dedication, you need to know that freedom does not come over night, nor will it automatically continue because you raised you hand, sang praises or prayed, etc.
Speaking of the soul, let's have a look at the make-up of the human soul, in the natural state. God made the human body to function perfectly. He provided all that was needed for that perfect function.
God went beyond what was needed to simply function as a living body, and gave mankind many "gifts". Five of those gifts, that allow the human to go far beyond simple existence, are:
These gifts of God are not absolutely necessary for the existence of the human body. They were given as a grace that allows us to more fully enjoy the creation of God, have close fellowship with other humans and have fellowship with God. We will see later, that these "five" play an important part in the development of the soul.
Then, God breathed into that newly God formed body His Own "breath", and mankind became a living being (soul), made in the image and likeness of God.
Mankind while in this glorious state could fellowship directly with God. Through obedience to and fellowship with God, they could have developed a soul "like" God. More about that subject later in our study.
Instead of following God's pattern for becoming "like" God, they chose to follow Satan's pattern for becoming "like" God.
Genesis 3:4 And the serpent said to the woman, "You will not surely die. 5 "For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."
As a result of that choice, they did "develop" (for lack of a better word) the human nature to be like God, in that they had experienced or they came to know "good and evil". However, they were not like God in that they now knew ONLY human good and human evil.
As long as the nature of the human soul is human, instead of divine, the only thing a human soul can produce is either human good or human evil. Both fall short of the standard of holiness.
The human soul, bound by the human nature CANNOT produce any quality of holiness. Therefore, because of this choice to follow Satan instead of God, mankind became TOTALLY DEPRAVED of any godly of holy qualities.
Even after Salvation, IF Believers allow the "flesh" (the Old Sin Nature) to control their lives, then the only thing that Believer can produce is works and attitudes that are totally depraved of ANY holy qualities. These actions and attitudes may be humanly "good", but those works are as far from righteousness as darkness is from light .
|© Clyde White, Austin TX, 2004|