|From the Pastors Desk|
|Redemption||The Deep Things of God||Lesson 5|
Manchaca Bible Fellowship
|4 July 2004||Bible Lessons
The events and circumstances of last Sunday were not conducive to proper teaching or adequate learning. Someone said something like, "Pastor, I'm sure it was a good lesson, but I'm not sure I heard much of it."
I can sympathize. When I opened my notes to start the lesson, I thought to myself, "Whose notes are these? I've never seen these things before, in my life."
That's not all bad. As a local body of Christ, we are to "cry with those who cry, and laugh with those who laugh". It's good that the hurt to part of the body is felt and shouldered by the rest of the body. May this concern ever be and grow into all aspects of our "body relationship" as a church.
Therefore, I am going to summarize the part of the lesson we did cover last week, then move on to the completion of that lesson, and add today's lesson to the mix. That means, I'm going to have to move right along through a great deal of material.
Because of the current situation in this Body and the events of our nation, I considered changing the lesson structure and topic. However, the subject of this series is vital to the acceptance and understanding of both the world and personal situations. Therefore, I strongly urge you to be faithful in attendance, read and reread the material given in these lessons.
If you get a "handle" on the truths of this series and apply these truths to your every day living, it will forever change your life and living for your Spiritual and physical good.
Someone said of this study of the soul that it is real psychology - Biblical psychology. That is certainly true, BUT this study goes FAR beyond the limits of psychology. The study of God's redemption for the soul of mankind falls in the realm of the "deep things" of God.
1 Corinthians 2:9 But as it is written: "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him." 10 But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. 11 For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God.
To have a proper comprehension of the temporal and eternal workings of the soul and God's provision, we need a broad base of Biblical information and a clear understanding of the overall plan of God. In this study, I have tried to develop a skeleton of Biblical information upon which to attach and build these "deep things" of God.
The natural mind cannot come close to fully understanding the miracle of human conception, birth and life. Neither can our finite human minds fully understand the miracle of the Spiritual New Birth and Eternal Life "in Christ" that removes the consequences of sin and gives us power to be victors over daily sin AND a whole lot more.
Even though the truths of God cannot be understood by natural means, alone, God has provide a way for the Christian to enter into those "deep things" of God. (glance back at 1 Cor 2:9) Our inability to understand every nuance of God's working should not deter or discourage us from continuing to explore the depth of this eternal truth, or any truth of God's Word
We should continue to gather information and gain understanding of that information through comparing Scripture with all Scripture. Gathered and understood information, on any given subject, allows us to gain more information on that subject. As our knowledge and understanding of a subject increases, we realize that we have not exhausted, nor will we exhaust what can be known about that subject.
As someone put it..
"The more we know of any subject,
We know this to be true in the natural realm, the realm of creation. However, we seem to forget that same basic principle of "discovery" when it comes to Biblical subjects. The fact that all knowledge of any given subject cannot be fully explored has not stopped mankind from using what they do know AND reaching for more and more information about that subject.
Sad to say, it seems that the Christian community is content to live in the realm of Biblical truth discovered centuries ago, without continuing to reach for greater and greater insights and understanding of those Biblical truths, using as a foundation the discoveries of the past.
Our inability to comprehend the totality of Spiritual reality is NOT due to the misguided idea that God does not want us to know or has not made such understanding available to us. Simply knowing all the revealed facts of the Bible is not enough to know Spiritual truth. Spiritual truth is perceived ONLY as it is taught to us by the personal tutoring of the Holy Spirit through His unique method of teaching.
Note one aspect of this divine method of teaching.
Titus 1:1 Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God's elect and the acknowledgment of the truth which is according to godliness, 2 in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began, 3 but has in due time manifested His word through preaching, which was committed to me according to the commandment of God our Savior;
1 Corinthians 1:21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through (fleshly) wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe
We also know, from Scripture, that the Holy Spirit uses, in combination with preaching, many other methods. Such as:
(1) Personal searching and comparing of Scripture.
(2) Meditating on the Scriptures (NOT New Age meditation).
(3) Edification by other members of the Body.
(4) And many more, some of which we will examine in this series.
In these first few lessons, I've tried to emphasize some very vital areas that seem to have been forgotten or abused within the Christian community, over the years. However, these underused areas to Biblical truth are absolutely essential to our understanding of God's redemption.
(1) Commonly held doctrines MAY only be a small portion of the inexhaustible truth of that Biblical subject
(2) Commonly held doctrines MAY be based on faulty research and discovery (Ill. the world is flat
(3) Commonly held doctrines MAY only be traditions of past generations, not Scripture
(4) God's revelation is not to be taken lightly
(5) For those who treat the revelation of God as "common", there will be a punishment "worse than death"
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."
Most Christians are woefully ignorant of the truths of Scripture, BUT some are well versed on what some humans have said about the Scriptures. They have set aside the Scripture in favor of human thought. The Scripture is held in disesteem, NOT as the precious living Word of God, our only source of Spiritual truth and food.
When we accept, at face value, what a human teacher presents (including yours truly), without carefully searching the Scriptures to see if that human presentation is Biblically true, we have put human thought in FULL ESTEEM and the Mind of Christ in DISESTEEM.
Sad to say, some feel that the reading of Scripture is "ok", BUT the sermon is essential. Through such a concept, God's Word is seen as "second place", just common compared to all the other trappings of the church service and program.
We saw earlier in our study, by example and shadows, how Israel rejected the Law of Moses, even though they said they would do all that the Lord instructed.
Israel wanted God's instructions and Laws to be "like" the other religions, even "like" Egypt from which they had been redeemed. Only days after they declared they would do all that God commanded, they turned to the common ways of the world of that time, and ask for a god of gold, like the people around them.
They wanted what God offered,
God's people are to be different (not odd).
Because Israel wanted their religion to be "common", like the world around them, there was punishment from God in the form of death by the thousands.
In similar manner, only with greater intensity, those who consider the New Covenant as a common thing will receive a punishment "worse than death". Christianity, as a whole, has turned from the uniqueness of the New Covenant, to the common practices of the world around us.
Much of the Christian community wants our "Proclamation Services" (preaching services), to be more like "Saturday Nite Live" or a "rock concert" rather than a "Proclamation Service" where the Word of God is proclaimed, as we are instructed in that Word to do.
2 Timothy 4:1 I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: 2 Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; 4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.
Many in the Christian community want a church program that "appeals" to the world, so the world will be attracted to the church. That approach sounds good to human reason, BUT let's put the Scriptures in proper "esteem", and see what the Mind of Christ is concerning such a plan.
Luke 6:26 "Woe to you when all men speak well of you, For so did their fathers to the false prophets.
1 John 4:5 They are of the world. Therefore they speak as of the world, and the world hears them. 6 We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.
John 15:19 "If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.
The motive of the church should not be to appeal to the world, but according to Christ, our motive should be to lift up Christ so the world will be drawn to Him, and the Bible tells us that the Cross is an offence to the world. Therefore, people are not "drawn" to Christ, but to a program that appeals to the World.
The church, according to Christ's own words, should be concerned about unity, so the world will know that the Father sent the Son. Peter tells us that the church should NOT be concerned about running with or being like the world, but we are to be ready with an answer for the hope that is within. (Our hope is, or should be, different than the world.)
Sad to say,
It is high time that the church stop competing with Las Vegas type night club programs, only with a slight religious flavor, and got back to the job of "Preaching the Word", and when needed (which is often) by means of "convictions, rebukes, exhortations as per 2 Tim 4 and elsewhere.
It is also time that the program of the church stops trying to emulate a YMCA, and began to have activities that disciple people Spiritually. That is our job as a church, at least according to the Word of God.
Now the question comes, will we esteem the human mind OR the Mind of Christ. By the way, you can't become a disciple of Christ, without discipline.
The Church program
Let's hear the inspiring and uplifting words of Christ, on this matter.
Luke 14:26 "If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. 27 "And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. …33 "So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.
The job of a church
Should we make our services and program "distasteful"? NO!! However, the proclamation of the truth will be "distasteful" to the unsaved and carnal Christians. Discipleship is NOT pleasant, BUT the results of discipleship ARE more than pleasant to those who are willing to participate.
Hebrews 12:1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. 4 You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin. 5 And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: "My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; 6 For whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives." 7 If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? 8 But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons… …11 Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but grievous; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
John 6:60 Therefore many of His (Christ's) disciples, when they heard this, said, "This is a hard saying; who can understand it?" 61 When Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples murmured about this, He said to them, "Does this offend you? 62 "What then if you should see the Son of Man ascend where He was before? 63 "It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. 64 "But there are some of you who do not believe." For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who would betray Him. 65 And He said, "Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father." 66 From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more. 67 Then Jesus said to the twelve, "Do you also want to go away?"
Whether it be the program of our personal life, or that of the church, we MUST be careful about the purpose and goals that motivate either.
If the goal is to attract people to the church by a certain type of program, the Church will be on a continual downward slide, Spiritually.
In such a case, the goal is to attract people by worldly flavored activities. With such a goal, when people do not fill the chairs, we will do whatever it takes to get them in.
That would mean doing what is pleasing to the world, which would not be teaching the Word of God because that is foolishness to them, nor would it include discipleship which is unpleasant to all. However, it is hard to escape or rationalize away the command of Christ "to go and make disciples", and to do so without fear or favor of the world or worldly Christians.
Proverbs 29:25 The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD shall be safe. 26 Many seek the ruler's favor, but justice for man comes from the LORD.
Proverbs 29:5 A man who flatters his neighbor spreads a net for his feet.
Proverbs 19:6 Many entreat the favor of the nobility, and every man is a friend to one who gives gifts.
Please remember! After 2+ years of ministry, the crowds no longer followed Christ. In the hour of Christ's greatest ministry, the Cross, even His disciples forsook Him.
Popularity, acceptance and crowds do not equal Spiritual victory. I'm sorry, I would be a false prophet if I told you otherwise, or led the church into a program based on popularity, acceptance and numbers. These factors and many more will greatly influence what we teach and what we discover in the depths of the Word of God.
For this aspect of our study, let's keep in mind that:
(2) The truths of the Word of God are inexhaustible.
(3) The deep things of the Word are only understood through searching the Scripture, comparing Scripture with Scripture, and allowing the Holy Spirit to teach in His unique manner.
(4) We must not allow the favor or fear of humans to influence what or how we discover the truths of God.
In the beginning God….
All we can know or will know MUST start with God. All we can know or will know MUST come from God. All there is or will be MUST fit within the purpose of God. All there is or will be MUST be for the honor and glory of God. All there is or will be IS under the control of the Sovereign hand of God.
Students of human behavior draw their conclusions of what mankind is or should be by observing the behavior of mankind as they are today or were in the near past. That type of observation is not all bad, but their conclusion are based on a very limited knowledge base. So let's go back, observe and draw our conclusion from an unlimited knowledge base, the Word of God.
Genesis 1:26 Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." 27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth."
Genesis 2:7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being (soul).
From these simple statements, compared and paralleled with many more throughout Scripture, we can learn a great deal about mankind and our Creator. From this basic knowledge, we will be able to move on to the reason for the creation of man, the purpose of mankind and the details of God's redemption for mankind.
There are a number of things revealed by the Holy Spirit in this Genesis account. This passage is often referred to as the account of the creation of all things. Certainly, there are creative acts in this passage, but there is much more here than simply a listing of the creative acts of God.
Plus, we learn from other passages, that there were creative acts before the creation of the world or mankind. To some, that fact is a little disturbing, because they have come to think of our little universe as the only factor in God's creative mind, but that is an examination for a latter time.
For now let's review some facts that we have already seen and add a few details, just to get up to speed. There are at least two major factors in the term man or mankind
There is the body or soul house, and there is the soul, the real essence of the human. Both are referred to as mankind. At other times, these two factors are separately referred to as mankind.
For now, we need to see that the body was formed of the dust of the ground, temporal elements. God gave gifts to the body that will assist the soul in it growth and its expression to others. Among those gifts are five that will be highlighted in our study, sight, sound, smell, taste, touch.
The inner being of mankind, the soul, is unique and was brought into existence in a very different manner than the body.
The soul was not formed from the elements of creation, as was the body. The soul was actually breathed by God into that body, formed by God from the elements. (that was the first "mouth to mouth" resuscitation, or maybe it was just "suscitation" without the "re")
The soul is, in reality, a "by-product" of God's Own person. Because the soul is the shadow image of God's own essence, it has many capabilities. I have summarized these capabilities under 6 headings. We will look at these in some detail later in this series.
Each of the capabilities "shadow" the essence of God Himself, making mankind compatible with God. This "shadow" image did not make them "LIKE" God. Being "LIKE" God was the goal to be achieved. Hang in there. We will see this as the study moves alone.
Because Adam and Eve were in the image of God, they had the ability to fellowship with God face to face, before the Fall. This fellowship and Spiritual growth was dependent on one thing.
Obedience to God's Own Word (Which, by the way, is faith)
The fact of obedience through faith has never changed, and was true before the Fall. When Adam and Eve "disobeyed", they did the one thing that brought separation or incompatibility with God's nature. Therefore, they were cut off from the source of "nourishment and life" for the soul.
With that disobedience came instant "Spiritual death". The soul, because it was a "by-product" of God's person, could not cease to exist. However, the nature of the soul was no longer Spiritually compatible with God's nature. Instead, the only thing the soul could do now was draw from the natural realm, through the "five gifts" of sight, smell, taste, sound and touch.
The nature of the soul was now helplessly HUMAN or physical. After the Fall, the soul was not able to "filter", through the mind of God by faith, the information provide to the soul by the "five gifts".
Since the Fall, the soul can only receive information that has been "filtered" by the human nature, and that nature is corrupt and grows more corrupt day by day.
1 Corinthians 2:14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
The Bible uses several descriptive terms to present this Spiritually depraved condition of mankind. This Spiritual depravity is called "dead" in trespass and sins. It is called "blind", and many other terms.
Therefore, there is nothing you can do to correct this condition. You cannot be good enough, smart enough, religious enough, etc.
Isaiah 64:6 But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; we all fade as a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.
|© Clyde White, Austin TX, 2004|