Category Archives: Bible Basics

Understanding the Parable of the Sower Part 3 – The Seed

seed of life(Ver 1.1) This is now Part 3 in the Bible lesson series focused on the subject of Understanding the Parable of the Sower.  We have already covered the basic introduction and one of the essential positive elements called the Sower.   Today we will be continuing to increase in learning concerning the second very positive parable element named the Seed.  I certainly believe that this “seed” element can easily be called the greatest and most important element in the parable.  Without it none of the other symbolic elements would have any purpose.  However, it is difficult to determine the greatest element of importance in this parable because of God’s design of how many of the symbolic elements work together in unison to produce His desired end positive product called “fruit”.  For example, the vital symbolic seed is ineffective without the existence and the participation of both the sower and the right soil.  The sower is completely unproductive without the correct and proper applied seed to be sown in the correct timing and type of soil.  Of course the soil is completely worthless (dead) unless it is prepared to be good ground without all of the enemy elements (birds, stones & weeds) that work diligently to fight the awesome seed from producing the positive fruit.  We will primarily be focused upon the seed in this lesson.  But, like the last lesson we will still need to cross into other subject boundaries in order to understand the overall concepts given. If you have not read the entire series from the beginning I would highly recommend that you go back and begin the series with “Part 1” first.

This is an amazing Bible subject.  We could spend a lot oftime writing books and books on it.  However, that is not reasonable for a blog Bible study.  There are many people who want only a couple of paragraphs on any subject and if it is too long they just won’t read it.  There are also those like me that enjoy reading and studying the Bible and can’t get enough to read.  Whichever one you are I pray you will at least give it your best effort.  I will try not to write too much or too little on the subject of the seed.  I pray that I will cover what the Holy Spirit desires me to teach.  Let’s begin.

 

INTRODUCTION

In the last lesson I asked some good basic fundamental questions about any Bible study subject.  Answering the basics of who, what, when, where and why found in the subject will help us to gain understanding of the fundamentals found in the topic.  Today we will be again looking into finding the answers to these questions concerning the symbolic “seed” element.  I may keep referring to this element “seed” as being symbolic but nothing could be further from the truth.  I have discovered that this “seed” element is actually a naturally created substance of truth that reveals a far greater spiritual reality.  This spiritual seed that I am referring to is by far superior to the natural seed type but both truths contain many of the exact same parallel characteristics.  Here are just a few basic natural seed sowing truths that are exactly analogous with the spiritual process being described in the Parable of the Sower:

  1. Selecting the Right Seed is one basic requirement for a good desired outcome
  2. Selecting the Right Environment (location, weather, timing, etc.) for the seed to be productive is absolutely imperative for the good outcome
  3. Planting the correct seed at the exact and correct time in good prepared ground is required to be successful
  4. Managing the growth process and protecting the seed to keep out the crop enemies that destroy the process is also a requirement for a productive good outcome

Hopefully we will begin to see how these truths run parallel in the natural and the spiritual processes.  We already addressed the “who” question concerning the sowing of the Good Seed in the last lesson.  It should be easy to logically reason that it’s totally up to this sower “what seed’ is planted.  We should have learned in the first lesson, that the sower was originally Jesus. However, when Jesus was here He still worked with the Holy Spirit’s leading to know what to plant, where to plant and when to plant.  That took Jesus through steps 1, 2 and 3 of the natural parallel truths between the natural and the spiritual.  But, Jesus also actually tried to perform step 4 to manage the growth process for those that would permit him.  For example, Jesus saw how Satan had demanded to sift Peter like wheat (Luke 22:31) and then warned Peter and informed him that he had prayed that his faith would not fail (Luke 22:32).  This was Jesus attempting to manage the seed that was already sown into the heart of Peter.  Perhaps we will talk more about this part of the subject later in another lesson.

After Jesus, the seed sowing spreading process was transferred to those that God used to originally spread the gospel in the book of Acts and this process has now produced a growing church that includes us now that are called to be believers, disciples and Christ followers.  It is truly an amazing process of multiplication through one seed.  Do not ever underestimate the power of planting one successful seed!  One seed can produce a tree that produces a whole lot of fruit for many years.  Each piece of fruit contains many more seeds that can be further planted in other soils to produce more trees to produce more fruit to produce more seed and on and on the process grows.  It is actually impossible for humans to number or measure the end process outcome of one successful seed.  This is exactly why God promised Abraham this:

Gen 15:5  And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy (ONE) seed be.

 

This is a mind boggling statement.  God promised Abraham a production level of fruit that is uncountable from just the planting of one successful seed and this One Seed was revealed to be Jesus Christ in Gal 3:16.  In this verse and chapter Paul writes that the statement was not naming seeds as many but only one seed that was given to us to be the promised Son to come.  This incredible promise that God made to Abraham was concerning one future spiritual seed crop of fruit.  I believe with all of my heart that this promise was describing the process given to us in the Parable of the Sower.  Jesus the Seed/Word of God incarnate came to the earth as a man to speak/plant God’s Words in human hearts to cause them to become trees of righteousness that produce fruit that permit the continued spread of seeds from their fruit to produce more trees of righteousness that produce more fruit that spread more seeds and on and on we could go.  Let’s review a few quick verses that teach us about this coming concept:

Psa 92:12  The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon.

Pro 11:30  The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.

Isa 61:3  To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.

 

Did you notice the theme of these three witnesses in the Bible?  They are all about “righteous” trees.  These all had to come from the planted Word of God seed.  These all produce fruit trees that produce fruit and more seeds to spread.   I really love Proverbs 11:30 because this literally teaches us that the spreading of seed is contained within a soul winning process that produces life.  We will be talking about this more very soon.

We should have been introduced to the answer of “what is the Good seed” question in our last lesson.  We should remember that the Good Seed was a natural symbolic representation of a far greater parallel spiritual reality of the Word of God.   We learned that the Good Seed sown by the Sower to produce “fruit” was specifically said to be the God’s spoken Word.  That knowledge will be expanded today to better understand new questions like “What was and still is the main purpose for sowing God’s Good Seed?”  “When is the Good seed effective or productive?”  “When is the Good seed ineffective or unproductive?”  “Why is this seed even important or necessary to the process of producing fruit?”  “Why does the Good seed work sometimes and at other times it does not produce any lasting fruit.”  “Why does the Good seed produce varying levels or amounts of fruitfulness in good soil?”  We may not be able to cover every answer in detail in this lesson but we will attempt to cover these answers in more detail later as we dig deeper into the subject of “soil types”.

Before we dive deeper into the subject of the seed, I would like for us to review some of the basic fundamentals of the subject of Bible faith.  I believe that understanding the subject of Bible faith is essential to understanding the Parable of the sower.  Without an understanding of Bible faith and how it comes and how it works, a complete understanding of Seed Sowing is difficult.  I believe that we will better understand this statement as we continue through the lesson series.

 

A FAITH FUNDAMENTALS REVIEW

I would like to begin this lesson with a short review of just a couple of the fundamental truths concerning the subject of “Bible Faith”.  I believe this review will help us to see some of the key parallels of subject of faith found in the “Parable of the Sower”.  The intimate knowledge of faith will especially help us as we study the subjects of the seed and the fruit.  If you have read the Bible series on “Understanding Bible Faith” you should have learned that real Bible Faith is a spiritual substance that God describes is observable, quantifiable and measurable (Part 3).   Jesus observed some people with a level of zero also known as “no” faith (Mk 4:40) and then commented on others with “little” also known as weak, tiny or small faith amounts (Mat 16:8).  Jesus also observed others with increasing levels of faith (Mt 9:28) to even a couple with stated “great” also known as big or large faith amounts (Mt 8:10, Mt 15:28).  Stephen mentioned in Acts 6:5 was declared to be “full” also known as packed or covered over or complete with faith.  Therefore, the implication to these revealed truths is that a human must possess some type of unseen faith container that permits God to be able to measure and quantify their faith levels from it being an empty bucket all the way to it being a full or overflowing container.

What is this quality that God can see and measure and how can we cooperate with Him to allow it to become filled?  Or do we even have a choice in the amount of faith that we can have at any time?  Of course, I believe with all of my heart that we do have the very clear choice, responsibility and a very significant role in the determination that helps God define the amount of faith contained in our spiritual heart container.  We will hopefully learn more about this as we continue in the lesson.

Please keep these facts concerning the variable nature of the amount of faith a person possesses in the forefront of your mind as we move later into the subject of fruit.  Remember that we were introduced already in lesson 1 that the amount of fruit produced in the life of a human is also variable, quantifiable and measureable as either a). 0% level b). 30 % return, c). 60% return d). all the way to 100 times production in 4 different types of soil.  I believe these two faith and fruit variable factors are important parallels of truth.  This knowledge will help us to better understand why some have no fruit and others in variations of increasing levels.

The next key Bible Faith verse that is infinitely important to learn for us understanding the “Parable of the Sower” is found in the book of Romans.  This verse very clearly reveals to us how our faith container (heart/spirit) can either be empty or full or somewhere in between based upon the amount that we choose to hear the Word of God.  Let’s read the verse and see what God says about how faith comes:

Rom 10:17  So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

 

We should be able to learn from this verse how the Bible Faith spiritual filling up process begins, continues or can even end by a human choice of hearing or not hearing the Word of God being spoken audibly.  This truth represents a very significant and powerful perspective describing how the God designed faith process for human salvation begins, continues or also potentially ends.  I know that this verse alone does not plainly mention that it is a hearing process for salvation but, it is certainly an implied application based upon the verse context and the application of other Faith subject verses.

Consider the truth that if Bible faith can come to a human then it certainly must have an implied beginning.  In other words, if a human has never heard the Word of God preached they would not have any faith for salvation!

Rom 10:13  For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. 

Rom 10:14  How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?

 

These two verses are found in the context of Romans 10:17 and we can clearly see how God defines and applies the process of word of God planting to be a requirement for salvation to occur.  The progression is clearly stated for a human requirement to hear from a preacher.  We learned in the last lesson on the “sower” that a preacher of God’s Word is simply a word seed sower.  Thus we have an emerging direct connection to the Parable of the Sower already.  These verses in this chapter are amazing parallels to our subject study.  This salvation process describes a sower that is sowing seed into a human heart soil by the sower speaking and the soil people hearing.  Then this planted seed produces an implied plant that grows to produce levels of faith for salvation that bears and this corresponds to having spiritual fruit.  I just gave away a lot of what we will be talking about in this lesson series.

Based upon this knowledge it must be the freewill choice of a human to participate in this process of salvation through their cooperation to hear and listen to God’s spoken Word that will cause faith to even begin to accumulate in their hearts.  Furthermore, if faith can “come” (begin) or be in a “filling up” state by our right choices the implication is given to us by reverse antithesis truths that faith can also “leave” or be “emptied” by our own wrong choices.  It further implies that it is even possible for “faith” to not exist at all in our heart if the Word of God was NOT HEARD or NOT VALUED or NOT LISTENDED TO, or NOT UNDERSTOOD.  It is evident to me that if faith has a beginning (an empty 0% state) that it must also have an implied ending (full state) along with an implied middle time period of increasing or decreasing filling.  I pray that you can see this and agree.

Joh 8:31  Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; 

Joh 8:32  And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

 

I also believe completely that the amount faith in a person’s “Bible Faith” container will only grow or increase to be filled by continuing to hear the Word of God over and over. The fact that Romans 10:17 includes the Greek Word G189 translated as “hearing” twice together joined with the Greek word G1161 translated as the word “and” implies a required repetition or continuation of hearing and not just a one-time experience of having heard.  The Greek Particle G1161 translated as “and” is a connecting word in this verse that further embraces the concept that the hearing of the Word of God is not a “One Time” action of an isolated choice.  We will hopefully soon see other verses in this lesson later that help confirm the fact that hearing God’s Word represents a lifetime commitment.

I take away from this verse in Romans that it means that we must be hearing and hearing and hearing and hearing and hearing and hearing and I could type forever and not get the point across strongly enough.  I believe viewing Bible faith in this way alone defines it to be a repeated step process for filling us up with “faith”.  I also view the filling process of faith to be like an automobile gas tank that when filled provides power for the engine to move it forward.  But, just because the gas tank was filled to capacity once does not mean that it will still be full in a week or more time of going forward.  You see even in the book of Acts the disciples were filled with the Holy Ghost in Acts 2 and this filling process occurred again in Acts 4.  Why would it be necessary for God to keep filling the same vessels again and again?  I believe part of the answer is because we are imperfect vessels.  We can hear something great today and totally forget about it tomorrow.

Why did some people in the Bible have so little faith and what caused some others to have up to very significant levels of faith, when they all potentially had the same opportunity to hear Jesus speak the same Word?  If everyone can hear the exact same Word of God to get filled with faith, it is a bit challenging to think why faith levels can be missing in some completely or at dissimilar levels in some others or even be increased to being at great or the full level in still others.  I mean think about what that is teaching us.  If it was God’s fault that some don’t have faith and others do, then that would make God a respecter of persons and we should know this cannot be (Rom 2:11).  I just refuse to believe that God causes diverse faith amounts by His sovereign choice in humans based upon my knowledge of scriptures that teaches otherwise.

It is exactly the same in the natural.  The Ford Motor Company builds automobiles but they are not responsible for filling up the gas tank to cause the power to be released.  This is the driver’s responsibility.  God created humans but is He now totally responsible for filling you with His Spirit, His Word or His power?  I don’t believe that is true.  Therefore, the responsibility for the level of faith must be placed on the human side of the God created Faith project and process.  There must be some human factor after hearing God’s Word that determines how much of a level of faith a human can receive or possess in our spiritual container.  I think Jesus gives us one important clue to answering this question about “how faith levels can vary so much” in this verse:

Mar 4:9  And he said unto them, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

 

I believe sincerely that one major determining factor for us having Bible faith is definitely based upon how we choose to listen to and hear the Word of God.  What are we focused upon or thinking about when the Word of God is being spoken or taught to us?  What levels of importance and priority do we give to hearing God’s Word?  Are there any distractions that easily take us away from giving our full attention while hearing the Word of God and on and on we could go asking other similar questions.

It is really not difficult to sit in a church service and observe people and see how they listen.  Many are paying close attention, reading along in their Bibles and taking notes to not let it be forgotten.  These people place great value in what is being said.  That must be a major contributing factor in the amount of growth in their faith level.  Others are listening halfhearted and are easily distracted by any noise of commotion that someone makes around them.  These types of listeners are clearly placing a greatly diminished level f importance on what was said and the Words spoken are easily lost.  Others are not listening at all and are reading messages on their cell phones or even playing games or flirting with their neighbor.  This attitude towards the Word of God makes sitting in the service under the sound of the Word of God entirely worthless.  The spoken Word of God can be a chosen priority or be just a background noise. We can all choose how we value the Word of God.  We can all choose the ranking position and precedence that we give the Word of God.  What we focus on and how we focus will be one of the most significant determining factors to learn what level of faith we will obtain from hearing God’s Word and His Seed spoken.

This Bible lesson series will hopefully help us to see a potential different perspective on answering these questions on how faith applies to understanding the “Parable of the Sower”.  I believe that the LORD wants to teach us that having faith is not a one sided formula or God only responsibility but rather more like a divinely designed project and process requiring our freewill choice to become a devoted person in cooperation to participate in the planting and growing development.  Let’s move on and grow in the “seed” study.

 

 

UNDERSTANDING THE SEED POSITIVE ELEMENT

There is literally so very much that I can teach on this one element alone that it is impossible to cover it all in a single lesson.  We will begin the study of the seed by reconfirming what the symbolic seed in the parable represents.  We were introduced to this element in the last lesson and even learned that the seed represented speaking God’s Word which we said was Good Seed.  The Good seed was then compared to the evil seed as words coming from Satan.  Let’s read our basic seed verse from Mark:

Mar 4:14  The sower soweth the word.

 

Let’s get past the preliminary subject introduction and setup to now direct our full attention on the extremely consistent & positive element that Jesus called the “Seed”.  Technically speaking the word “seed” was not found in the verses of the sower written in Mark 4.  But the word “seed” (G4703) is clearly used in the Luke 8 parable explanation more than once.  Also, Jesus’ selection of the word “sower” in Mark 4:3 clearly implies the participation of “seed” even though it is not specifically stated.  We should already clearly understand that this symbolic seed sowing represents a preacher speaking audible words.  We can see this truth in the definition again in the above Mark 4:14.  However, we will dig deeper into this confirmation to relieve any doubts.

In Matthew 13:19 the soil hearer is stated to be listening to the “word of the kingdom”.  This general reference could be words spoken from any kingdom being earthly, heavenly, natural or spiritual but we can comprehend logically that it is meant to be referring to the Kingdom of God based upon these are the recorded words of the speaker Jesus.  Jesus of course should be viewed to represent God’s Spiritual Kingdom.  In John 18:36 Jesus again speaking to someone asking him about his kingdom said clearly “My kingdom is not of this world”.  We gain from this statement three profoundly essential facts.  First, Jesus has a Kingdom, second it is not of this natural world and third therefore it must be a spiritual kingdom.  Keep these truths in your mind as we continue to study the subject of words/seeds and their origins.  This knowledge will certainly help answer the “where” the seeds came from further.

Luk 8:11  Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.

 

Recall that in Mark 4:14 we saw another general/generic reference that the seed is stated to just represent “the word”.  This vague type of reference implies any spoken words can be viewed as seeds as we learned in our last lesson.  But, in Luke 8:11 Jesus clearly states that the seed represents “God’s Word”.  The Greek word translated as “God” in this statement is G2315 and is transliterated as “theos”.  This Greek word is found in over 1100 verses and less than 1% of the time do they refer to any being other than our Omnipotent Creator.  It appears self-revealing that Jesus was referring to God’s spoken word is the seed sown in this verse in Luke’s explanation of the Parable of the Sower.

This information helps us to understand and confirm “who” MUST be speaking words in the attempt to plant Good seeds in human hearts to produce fruit.  I know that I keep calling God’s Word Good Seed but that is backed up scripturally and is not just my opinion.  For example, Hebrews 6:5 informs us very clearly that God’s word is good and this was a written warning to Christian people not to turn away from it.  I also believe that we should take note again of the Greek word G2098 which was translated as “the gospel” because it literally means “good news”.  There are so many verses with this Greek word in it which refers to God’s Word that it is impossible to deny that God’s Word and Good News are very synonymous terms.  Therefore, we can easily conclude that God’s Word is equivalent to Good Seed and I pray that you can agree.

We should remember the difference between “good seed words” and “evil seed words” in the last lesson in the series.  And we should know that the God seed words spoken are always revealed to be a God designed plan to produce ONLY HIS GOOD FRUIT.  In other words, the spoken Word of God seed can never produce weeds (evil fruit) just from learning the information found in the parable of the sower descriptions or explanations.  God’s Seed can truly only be GOOD seed that produces GOOD fruit and the evil seed can only produce evil fruit which potentially causes the Good Seed to fail.  This is in fact the true created nature of every seed.  For example, an apple seed can only produce an apple tree.  An orange seed can only produce an orange tree.  On and on we go.  This is the stated law of Genesis 1.  God informed us that every seed type of any create entity can only produce another one of the same kind.  God said this clearly 5 times in Genesis 1.  Please go read it if you don’t remember.

What we have just established is a basic truth of seeds.  Except for perverted seeds through controlled manipulation every pure naturally create seed type that has existed will always produce another variety of the exact same type of being.  Therefore we learn that God is good (Mark 10:18, Luke 18:19) and whatever that He produces from His good seed/word must also be good of His same type and nature.  We learn this again from Genesis 1 very clearly.  At least 6 times once in every day of creation God said (spoke seed) and then observed the outcome and said it was either “good” or “very good”.  Wow that speaks literal volumes of key information to understanding the Good Seed in the parable of the sower.    Furthermore, this exact same good truth is also true in the antithesis speaking of God’s enemy Satan.  Satan is evil (1 Jn 2:13-14, 1 Jn 3:12, 1 Jn 5:18) and whatever he produces from his spoken seed/word must also be evil and of the same exact same type, kind and nature.

It is certainly possible for both types of spoken word seed to be sown into any single human heart and even co-exist as we will explore when we study the subject of soils.  We will be primarily focused upon God’s “Good Seed” in this lesson. But, I may still briefly address the antithesis evil seed type that produces weeds also.  Let’s now explore further what this Good God Seed actually represents in the Bible and we will do this by starting to understand the original Greek words related to the Parable message of sowing.

Mark 4:14 stated very clearly that the symbolic seed type found in the Parable of the Sower represents the “word”.  This Greek word translated as “word” is G3056.  This Greek word is included in every explanation of the Parable of the Sower in Matthew 13:19, Mark 4:14 and Luke 8:11.  Also G3056 occurs in around 313 other verses of the New Testament.  This makes it a very popular and important N.T. word.  The transliteration of this Greek word is “logos”.  I have already referred to the transliteration “theos” before, but if you do not understand what a transliteration is I will attempt to explain it quickly.

A transliteration simply occurs when someone changes a word from one language into a new language using only the corresponding alphabet letters in an attempt to produce as similar of pronunciation sound as possible.  In a transliteration there is no concern for conveying the original word meaning of the original language’s name or word.  If we cared about this we would translate the word from one language into a word with the closest meaning and definition in the new language without any regard to the sounds of the two words.  Language transliterations emphasize sound alike words and language translations emphasize identical meaning.  Normally speaking and thinking, I believe transliterations have limited usefulness.  However, that does not mean they are not used in our Bible translations.

For example, transliterations are a very common technique used in many Bible translations especially with the names of people or places referenced in the Bible.  For instance, the name Jesus in the N.T. is a Greek to English transliteration originating from the name “Iesous” in the Greek language which was also transliterated from the original Hebrew name Jeshohua (Joshua).    I just gave you an example of two transliterations that occurred from three different languages to get us to the name “Jesus” that many English speaking people use today to name our LORD and SAVIOR.  This process of transliteration does not make any of the names wrong nor does it make one name superior, more important or more relevant than the others.  They are all the same name just written and pronounced in different languages using letters from the language’s alphabet being spoken and God understands them all and answers to them all when called by or spoken to using that name.  Let’s get back to the Greek to English transliteration word “logos”.

Logos is one of the most popular New Testament words used in reference to God’s written and spoken Word.  It is used more than once in reference to God’s Old Testament Word written by the prophets. It is clearly used to describe the Words of Jesus like those found in this Parable and others. Even angels were said to speak “logos” words to several people with messages from God. However, logos can also be used for other human spoken words.  Logos words can even be someone speaking words not of a divine nature and therefore logos spoken words can either be good or evil words.  This just further verifies that a spoken seed type can be of either good or evil.  If you search your Bible for H3056 to find all of the occurrences of this word’s usage you will discover that what I just said is easily confirmed.  I’ll give you a couple of scriptures that can verify this truth and to help prove the point:

Mat 12:37  For by thy words (logos) thou shalt be justified, and by thy words (logos) thou shalt be condemned.

 

In this verse Jesus is speaking to you and me.  He is warning us all that every human will either be justified or condemned by our own personal spoken “logos”.  It is infinitely clear to me from reading this verse that this means humans can choose to say right words (logos) or wrong words (logos), good words (logos) or evil words (logos).  Jesus clearly states that human beings speak one of these types of logos by their own personal choice and freewill.  Let’s explore that “logos” represents two types of seed in the Bible.  We will look at another example verse to confirm that “logos” spoken words can also be negative and fear based:

Mar 5:36  As soon as Jesus heard the word (logos) that was spoken, he saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, Be not afraid, only believe.

 

This is one verse in a longer narrative.  In this story a ruler in the synagogue came to Jesus for help with his daughter who was on her death bed very sick.  Jesus was delayed in going to his house to heal her by another woman with an issue of blood that also came by faith to get healed.  Faith always gets God’s attention.  This is actually one of the primary qualities that He is looking for in every human.   We should all remember that in Hebrew 11:6 God states that it is impossible to please Him without having faith.  This is how we know that the ruler of the synagogue pleased Him or he would not have set out to go to his house.  We’ll get into this more very soon.  However, notice what this verse says.  The Greek word G3056 “logos” is used here for a negative report that came from the ruler’s house.  These men with the negative message said “Don’t bother the master any further for your daughter is dead”.  God calls these spoken words a “logos” message.  What was the designed purpose of the negative seed message?  Jesus addresses it very clearly by asking the ruler to “fear NOT” but rather continue in faith and believe.

Wow, this is some amazing information about “logos” seeds that are found in spoken words.  Jesus countered the negative logos seed with a positive instruction to continue the ruler’s believing.  Jesus did not allow the bad news seed to overrule the previously spoken faith word seeds.  The ruler clearly had a choice to make in who he would believe.  He was wise and kept quiet and his daughter was raised from the dead.  We will be looking into this factor of believing good seeds and ignoring the negative bad seeds later.  This is such an important connecting concept to understanding the Parable of the Sower and how seeds work.

I am not going to teach the entire story about the ruler that came to Jesus with faith.  But, I do want you to understand that this ruler had to have heard someone telling him about Jesus and His ability to heal people that caused him to seek Him.  Someone sowed a seed into the ruler’s heart and this caused an action/reaction to take place.  Satan killed the girl before the answer fully came and then he sent human messengers that brought the negative seeds designed to overrule the positive message that was previously sown into his heart but Jesus helped him to keep in faith and to shut his mouth not to agree with the bad news seed and circumstances.  Can you imagine the battle of thoughts that were racing through the ruler’s mind after hearing the bad seed sown?  Jesus was clearly not fazed by the negative seeds.  This is a major factor for understanding how spoken words work and what type of spiritual battle we have every day.

We should hopefully be able to see that logos words can be used to produce either faith (believing positively) or for fear (believing negatively).  Both of these types of “logos” represent seeds that will produce a type of fruit outcome.  Only the good faith based logos will be a good resulting fruit.  The negative seed type of logos will only produce the opposite of faith type of the force called “fear”.  This is exactly why I believe the Parable of the Sower is a representation of a spiritual battle of words between two opposing spiritual forces.  Jesus immediately countered the negative seed planting attempt designed to remove every faith life producing seed from the ruler’s heart with His encouraging seed of redirection back to faith.  We could probably spend a lot of time on this subject but we are getting into soils and types of human reactions to the words that are being spoken to them by the enemies.  Let’s keep researching the word “logos”.

The literal definition of this Greek word H3056 “logos” from Strong’s Concordance is “something spoken”.  This definition appears to state that any human with a brain, mouth and working vocal cords is capable of emitting a “logos” (word spoken) to anyone.  This Greek word was translated as some of the following English words: utterance, speech, word, mouth, preaching, question, communication and account (not to list them all).  However, they all appear to mean the same general action of spoken words coming from a mouth.

In the previous lesson in the series which was focused upon “the sower” there were verses given that stated how others besides Jesus were sowers of seed.  But, I like to have a lot of witnesses to affirm the truth.  Let’s look at another scripture that relates to future sown seed and sowers as well as the key purpose for God using people for sowing His Word in human hearts:

Joh 17:20  Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word (logos);

 

Here in this verse is a part of the prayer that the LORD Jesus was praying for both the church saved believers and for those that were unsaved non-believers.  This verse represents further confirmation that seed sowing was meant to continue indefinitely even after Jesus was taken up and back into heaven.  Notice that Jesus very clearly states that people after him will be sharing “logos” seeds with people and He very clearly says it is for the purpose to get them to believe in Him.  There are three main facts that can be derived from this single verse that are relevant to our Parable of the Sower lesson:

  1. Christian disciples following Jesus can still speak the LOGOS seed (Word of God) into the hearts of other people.
  2. The main purpose for speaking the LOGOS seed (Word of God) is to produce a belief (faith) in Jesus Christ.
  3. It is because of someone choosing to hear the spoken LOGOS seed (Word of God) that Faith can be produced internally for salvation to begin the process of making fruit.

I pray that you will agree that the primary purpose of sowing God’s word/seed is to produce faith for salvation.  I believe that “salvation” is definitely the principal definition for what the successful “fruit” represents in this parable.  No fruit simply means no lasting salvation occurred.

So far we have been focused on the “logos” seed type.  But, there is another Greek word that needs to be made known in this seed subject discussion.  This Greek word “for spoken words” is the Greek word G4487.  The Greek word G4487 also means something spoken but we need to begin to grasp the difference and the similarities between rhema and logos seed types in order to understand why some soil types produce fruit and others do not.  I certainly believe that both Greek Words H3056 (logos) and H4487 (rhema) are “SEED” types and represent God’s Word Spoken as we will soon discover.  Let’s reread a verse that we covered in the Faith Fundamentals review section of the lesson:

Rom 10:17  So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

 

This verse defines the basis of how Bible faith comes to enter into a human heart and this is where we begin to make an important connection to understanding the Parable of the Sower.  You see, both the Parable of the Sower and this verse in Romans are clearly stated to be about the spoken Word of God.  Therefore, they must both be directly related to our study topic based upon God’s design of an identical direct subject matter.

We will very soon discover that Romans chapter 10 was written to describe another very important view into the basic process of human salvation through faith by hearing the spoken Word of God.  The Parable of the Sower is stated to be about the subject of speaking the Words of God to humans in order to produce “fruit”.  Based upon mathematical laws of truth created by God almighty if “Spoken God Words planted in human hearts can produce faith for salvation” found in Romans 10 and “Spoken God Words planted in human hearts can produce fruit” in the Parable of the Sower then “the resulting fruit” must correspond or be equal with “the resulting faith for salvation”.  This is based upon basic laws of physics also.  These are called “Cause and Effect” principles.  Because the Word of God can cause both results of fruit and faith for salvation they can be viewed to be very much alike or akin to each other.

I pray that you are getting into what this is teaching us.  We are using basic rules of interpretation that are very important and sound.  These are commonly used techniques in practically every Bible lesson that has been taught on this blog.  They are based upon laws and logic that were created by God, not me.  I believe that when we discover the fundamental laws of right interpretation it reduces or eliminates human opinions of interpretation.

But, you might question that each of these two scripture references use a different Greek word, doesn’t that change the direct relationship?  It could, but I believe the answer in this case is no.  I have discovered that God sometimes uses synonymous terms to increase our subject knowledge.  God uses synonyms very consistently to connect subjects together.  I believe that He does this in an intentional technique to cause us to search for the truth in a deeper way.  For example, why wouldn’t God want the whole Bible written in the same language?  It sure would be simpler if He had not changed languages from Hebrew in the Old Testament to Greek in the New Testament.  God automatically caused a challenge to be created by this language change.  Now we have subjects written in Hebrew that must be connected correctly to subjects written in the Greek.  Are any of these subjects meant to be joined?  I believe firmly that they are.

I believe that God changing one word in two verses can provide a different perspective that opens an entirely new aspect of a subject.  I believe God’s usage of “rhema” does not mean that Romans 10:17 is a completely different or new subject; but rather I believe that “rhema” only means that Romans is a narrowed more specific application or revelation of the broader “logos” subject.  It could be very analogous to the general subject of screws.  There are a wide variety of “screws” manufactured and sold in a hardware store.  If I asked you to go to the store and buy us some screws to fix a project that we were working on, you would probably get us the wrong kind simply because I was not very specific in the type of screw to buy.  I should be much more specific and say please go to the store and get us some inch and quarter stainless steel flat Phillip head wood screws.  Now you know exactly what we need for the project and all the other screw types have been eliminated.

In other words I believe the Parable of the Sower is God stating that FRUIT is potentially found in “any” human heart by the entrance of the general Word (logos) of God.  But, in Romans 10:17 God is specifically stating that a specific man’s “FAITH for salvation” is produced by the entrance of the very narrow specific and personal RHEMA application of God’s Word into their human heart.  I believe the Rhema seed is a more in-depth and personal revelation of a specific type of the Word of God seed.  This was very much like my example of the specific and personal “screw” type for our fix it project.  Any screw might work but only one type would truly do the personal and specific job correctly.  Let’s get into researching the differences between these two Greek words for “spoken words” also known as “spoken seed”.

I believe that there is a direct connection from the “logos” found in the parable to Romans 10:17 “so then faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God”.  Both are definitely teaching the exact same concept concerning God’s Word being spoken audibly and then being heard by humans.  Perhaps you have already done a deep study on these two Greek words before.  I believe that they both are essential to understanding the New Testament, faith, salvation and the Parable of the Sower.  You are welcome to share what you have discovered about these Greek Words with me and with other readers if you would like in a comment.

I would love to go into every element about the differences between “rhema” and “logos” but that would take an entire book.  I will try to summarize what I believe is important for this lesson in a few short paragraphs.  I believe the Logos Word of God is more of a general seed type that can be spoken to all humans.  Thus “logos” (seed) can appear in book form or sermon/spoken form which can be made available to anyone who chooses to read it or hear and listen to it.  But, it appears to me from several scriptures that the “rhema” Word of God represents more of a personal seed type that can actually even activate “faith” for spiritual life.

For example, Luke 4:4 when Jesus was tempted by Satan to change “stones” into “bread”, Jesus said “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every Word/rhema seed of God”.  God connects a human having spiritual “life” to receiving a special specific seed type called the “rhema” Word of God.  This Word type (rhema) is compared to be like a natural food/bread and it is also implied to be very direct and personal only given to a specific individual or specified group.  In other words someone feeding on God’s Word by hearing it personally does not cause any benefit to anyone else.  Only the eater’s personal hunger can be satisfied while everyone else not feeding or hearing remains empty and therefore gains no benefit to cause life to be produced in them.  Rhema appears to be a personal message spoken for a very special intentional designed purpose of producing or sustaining personal and individual life.  I’ll give some more examples to help clarify this belief:

Joh 6:63  It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words (rhema) that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.

Joh 6:68  But Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words (rhema) of eternal life.

Act 5:20  “Go, stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words (rhema) of this life.”

 

Here are three verses that contain the Greek word “rhema” used in conjunction with the Greek word G2222 (zoe) that is translated as “life”.  The Greek word “zoe” represents a very specific type of spiritual life associated with God Almighty.  All three verses convey the same basic truth that the “rhema” seed can produce life eternal in human hearts. First, John 6:63 is Jesus claiming that His spoken “rhema” words are a personal “life” (zoe) producing force.  This appears to be related to the Parable of the Sower since His Seed Words (logos) planted in hearts potentially produce new life called “fruit” in some people.  What makes it work in some and in others it does not produce?  Could it be some did not take the logos seeds and make it personal rhema seed words?  I believe that is true and we will find other confirmations as we continue.

Next, in John 6 verse 68 after Jesus asks the disciples if they wish to leave him also, they reply “Only you have the “rhema” of life.  They appear in this wise answer to be making His Word (logos) seeds personal rhema to them.  They spoke this while others in the hearing audience disregarded the spoken words, the disciples exemplify a much different attitude towards what was being spoken.  This is so very important in understanding why some people produce “fruit” and others do not.

Finally, in Acts 5:20 an angel releases Peter and other disciples from prison and then commands them to go speak to the people the rhema of this life.  Wow, this is really good stuff if you can begin to put it together with the Parable of the Sower.  You see the rhema seed that causes this spiritual type of “zoe” life comes from the logos seed that was originally spoken in the parable.  Something has occurred that we will get into more later that I believe changes the seed type from only being general “logos” seed to a specific personal life producing “rhema” seed.  I’ll introduce one additional verse that will begin to confirm our understanding of this seed transformation process.

Joh 5:24  “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word (logos) and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life (zoe), and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life (zoe).

 

According to Jesus believing in God through hearing the spoken logos seed appears to be a major part of allowing God’s connecting force that produces successful eternal life (zoe).   You see in this verse it references the same logos seed G3056 that begins the process of sowing seeds.  But, then Jesus connects the logos spoken to a requirement of human belief in God in order to be transformed out of the status of “everlasting death” into a new greater state of “everlasting life (zoe).  Wow, this is great news for some and really bad news for some others.  It places the entire responsibility of producing spiritual life on a human choice to believe and in the right attitude.  To believe or not to believe, that is my choice and your choice.

We are going to go into this more when we begin to focus on the soil types in this series.  But, I wanted us to begin to make the connections.  The “fruit” in the Parable of the sower from one viewpoint represents people obtaining new spiritual “eternal life” that they did not possess before they received the “seed” and “believed”.  Without “logos” seed being placed in the soil people were a dormant spirit and a spiritually dead piece of property that belonged to Satan.  But God the Seed producer sowed logos seed into human hearts and these spiritually dead people have the ability to receive it and believe it to begin the process of beginning a new life of being saved out of Satan’s kingdom.  Of course the fruit can also represent other additional spiritual truths simultaneously but this is certainly one that is essential to be understood.  We will continue to dig deeper into this subject with a verse from Matthew spoken by Jesus:

Mat 4:4  But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word (Rhema) that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

 

Jesus makes an amazing statement in this verse.  He is quoting a verse from Deuteronomy 8:3.  I found this fascinating.  Think with me if you will.  Jesus is speaking the Word of God, yes?  This is clearly the words that were written by the Prophet Moses in the Book of the Law.  Therefore, Jesus must be quoting God’s “logos” written words.  But, there is a major change taking place by His word selection to teach that this was also a reference to “Rhema” words.

In this statement Jesus takes literal natural bread which is very important for natural survival in this life and compares it to a far greater and superior substance inferring it to be like spiritual bread that produces spiritual life.  This spiritual bread is called the Rhema Word of God spoken to us personally and received individually.  This concept is very similar to the Old Testament type of manna (Exo 16:15) that came down to the children of Israel in the wilderness.  The children of Israel were commanded daily to go out and take enough mana home to eat for that day and they then were required to go back tomorrow and repeat the same steps.  This is an amazing natural pattern for Christians to follow in the spiritual realm today.  Reading and studying God’s Word logos daily is us feeding our spirits on a force of power that brings to us spirit life (zoe).

This is actually an amazing truth to apply to the entire Parable of the Sower.  Those that will produce new spiritual life/fruit will be those that continue in the Word of God daily.  Those that do not produce any fruit will be those that hear the Word once or twice and forget it.   We will get into this more later when we talk about the subjects of soils and the fruit.  But, let’s continue to examine a few more verses that reveal the importance of transforming a logos seed word written or spoken to everyone into a rhema seed word that is personal.

Luk 1:38  And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word (rhema). And the angel departed from her.

 

Again here is a quick confirmation that Words can be received as a special personal revelation.  In verse 31 that I did not give you the angel tells Mary that she will conceive a son and this was also a logos prophecy written by God’s prophet in Isaiah 7:14.  But, notice how this general and basic logos word written to everyone is being transformed into a personal rehma unveiling of truth to just one woman and then notice what occurs from it.

Do you understand the concept of what a “revelation” represents?   A revelation in simple terms is basically the unveiling of a previously hidden message that was unable to be seen or understood clearly before it was revealed.  The virgin birth of the Messiah was long before written down in a general logos form for every reader to receive, but no one really got it and it was completely unproductive to fulfill its purpose.  It took this hidden God breathed logos word being spoken/planted at the right time to the right person in the right way in order for it to bring forth the right fruit.

Mary is receiving a God revelation spoken from an angel of an intense personal nature.  Notice that the seed message is not to anyone else but to her alone.   This makes it extremely individual and special.  The message is also being brought to her in the symbolic form of a seed from God that will produce a new life on the inside of her “IF” she chooses to cooperate, believe and receive it.  If we read the context we should discover a very important reason why this “seed” message from God represented a personal revelation that was successfully received to produce fruit.  I do not have the time today to explain that last statement.  But, it is true.  We will hopefully dig into this part in the lesson on “fruit” to come.

After the angel told Mary that she would have a son, she asked him a very important question about how this would be possible seeing that she has never known a man.  Obviously Mary understood how babies were made.  The term “known” is a nice way of saying I am a virgin and virgins don’t have children.  The angel of course explains how this will be possible and Mary says “Be it unto me according to your “Rhema”.  Wow, this is so awesome. She obviously believed the God seed spoken to her and received this rhema seed into her spirit and the rest is history.  These are very important concepts being spoken of about why some seed bring fruit success and others bring only fruit failure.  Believing is one major factor for fruit success and understanding what was spoken is another.

Let’s take a look at a different opposing view of some people in the Bible that choose not to believe and not to understand a spoken Rhema Word from God that was delivered to them.  Notice in these verses how the clear role of their lack of understanding caused the seed failure to occur:

Mar 9:31  For he taught his disciples, and said unto them, The Son of man is delivered into the hands of men, and they shall kill him; and after that he is killed, he shall rise the third day. 

Mar 9:32  But they understood not that saying (Rhema), and were afraid to ask him.

 

Ok, in these two verses Jesus is speaking directly to his disciples and giving them a chance to understand a revelation of what is about to happen to him on the cross and his subsequent resurrection after 3 days.  Verse 31 is clearly Jesus giving them some LOGOS seed even if it is not plainly stated that this is what it represents.  But, notice in verse 32 God clearly states that the disciples did not understand the Rhema words that were being spoken (revealed) to them.  Jesus is again uncovering a great hidden mystery to them personally.  He has just taken the lid off of the most significant reason why He (GOD) had entered into this natural world in the likeness of human flesh.  Yet these 12 men had no clue what was just opened to them personally because they did not choose to understand the Rhema word’s meaning.  Instead they allowed a spirit of fear (from Satan) to take the seed away from their hearts.  I have just crossed again into the introduction of the subject of the “wayside ground” element found in the parable and why this “tread on firmly packed soil” type did not produce any fruit.  We can begin to see that it was Satan that came immediately as symbolic birds to eat the seed to cause it to be ineffective.

The disciples in these two verses are an amazing parallel example of how easy it is for Satan to steal away the Good God Seed that is being planted from a human.  But, this time the crop failure occurred because they failed to ask Jesus to explain how this could be.  They acted unlike a much wiser woman named Mary when she asked the angel  how.  I believe that a human must possess the passionate desire to understand God’s words spoken to them more than to remember or memorize words that have no personal meaning or application.

Understanding a personal spoken “Rhema” revelation from God appears to me to be a very important factor for obtaining faith and for producing fruit.  It also appears to me that God is teaching us a very significant difference between general logos and the specific personal rhema Word seed types.  Logos words are for everyone and anyone that choose to hear and ask to understand them and rhema words are specifically personal spoken words for one or only a few to also ask right wise questions.  Logos words are generally given to produce faith for any listener that will take hold of the Seed and chooses to make it a rhema for them personally.  And sometimes rhema words are targeted at specific individuals for a specific purpose at a very specific time.  Always remember that no faith or no fruit occurs when the hearer did not fully understand what was spoken to them.  Let’s look quickly at Matthew’s explanation of the parable of the sower describing “way side” soil that I just taught about for further confirmation to this truth:

Mat 13:19  When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side.

 

Here in this verse of Matthew Jesus explains a very significant part of the “way side” soil type’s failure to produce “fruit”.  It appears to me by the facts given that when a person hears the “logos” Word of God it is the easiest for Satan to steal it away from their heart and mind because of their choice to not “understand” what was spoken.   We just learned that asking the right question can help overcome this lack of understanding.  This same concept is true for any learning experience.  A child in school can hear the teacher tell them about the subject but cannot make them understand it.  For example, I struggled with algebra at first when I was in school.  But, I chose to keep at it until it clicked on like a light bulb and this is when I really learned how to apply it.

Wow, this is really important to know.  I believe that if a person hears the Word of God Logos or Rhema and does not understand them, then they better start asking God, the Bible teacher or someone with wisdom to help them and make the choice not to give up until the light bulb comes on.   I further believe that when they do this they begin a process of making the Word Logos Seed spoken to them a personal Rhema word and not just a general statement of unimportance.

 

UNDERSTANDING BASIC SPIRITUAL SEED QUALITIES

I have gone a long time on this subject of the seed but I believe we should continue into a different point of view of it using a new Greek Word.  The Greek word that is often translated as “seed” in the Bible is G4690.  The transliteration of this Greek word is “sperma”.  Yes, we get the English word sperm from this Greek word.   The male sperm is a natural seed that is planted in a sexual union in the body of the wife to produce new natural human life.  One perspective in the Bible describes this process as the two (male and female) becoming one flesh. I hope you can agree with this because the one male sperm cell (seed) joins with the one female egg cell (soil) and this union becomes an entirely new living person.

Another perspective in the Bible calls this sexual reproductive process as having “knowledge” of that person.  I just spoke of this in the previous section when describing Mary having not “known” a man.  Both of these realities of natural truth apply to the Parable of the Sower.  Both descriptions are direct parallels to the spiritual concepts found in the Parable of the Sower.  The same principles in the natural and the spiritual process came about by God’s design.  Let’s move into reading the first verse in this section.  This verse will begin to help us to understand why some seeds produce fruit and others do not:

1Jn 3:9  Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed (G4690) remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.

 

I am going to begin this section of the lesson on “seed” with this strange verse for us to read and study and then connect to the Parable of the Sower.  This verse unveils some basic vital secrets that teach us why some seed work and produce new life in the symbolic soil and why some seed do not work to produce new life.  I do want to emphasize repeatedly that the end result of the seed is to produce new life.  A new life production is the goal either in the sexual union or the Parable of the Sower.  If there is no “new life” then the spreading of the seed does not achieve God’s designed purpose.

Notice the terminology being revealed to us in this verse in 1st John.  According to what we can clearly read God’s Seed potentially causes births the same as a human male’s seed can cause births.  However, the “God kind of birth” is now a spiritual birth process for salvation.  We certainly learned that God sent His word/seed to Mary through an angel and she became physically pregnant with the baby Jesus.  We know that Jesus was born from this natural woman as a natural human male child even though his Father was the Holy God.  Therefore we know that God’s word can produce a natural child if He desires.  However, John chapter 3 describes a greater birth process that the Word of God can also produce.   Jesus speaking to a man named Nicodemus and tells him “Except a man be born again he cannot enter the kingdom of God”.  Jesus provides a spiritual law for the human entrance into God’s kingdom.  Let’s quickly explore another verse concerning the Word of God:

1Pe 1:23  Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word (logos) of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

 

Here is another confirmation of God’s primary goal of His Seed (Word).  According to Peter through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, we are born again not of corruptible seed (the human male sperm) but by the incorruptible (everlasting, ever living, immortal) seed called the Word (logos) of God.  This is an amazing statement.  The Greek word in this verse for seed is G4701 that literally means “a sowing”.  The implied meaning of this word is an action that initiates “parentage”, “fatherhood”, “paternity”, “maternity”, “motherhood” or “parenthood”.  Wow, did you get that?  In natural terms this is a sexual relationship between husband and wife that produces children.  Likewise, in spiritual terms it is the implied receiving of the Word of God that also produce a spiritual birth and a new child of God. I pray that you are receiving this.  God is describing the intended purpose for giving us the knowledge of His Word (logos).

It is interesting to note that this Greek word G4701 used in 1 Peter 1:23 is only used one time in the entire Bible, but this word is derived from the Greek word G4687 that was directly used in the Parable of the Sower to describe the sowing seed process.  No doubt we are on the right track to understand what Seed represents and its designed sovereign purpose.  All of this may sound pretty tough to understand for some but Jesus explains how this is possible.

Joh 3:3  Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
Joh 3:4  Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? Joh
3:5  Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. Joh
3:6  That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
Joh 3:7  Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.

 

Starting in John 3:3, Jesus begins to uncover the mystery of how a naturally born human can be born again without reentering their natural mother’s womb.  He says “Unless a man is born of water (the natural mother birth process) and then be born of the Spirit (a spiritual mother birth process) he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God”.  Jesus just described a dual birth requirement for being saved.  The first was completely natural and the second is totally spiritual.  One is a natural male sperm and natural female egg union and the other is the word (seed) of God being united with the human heart (soil).

Joh 3:16  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life (zoe)

Continuing to read in John 3:16, Jesus says “ For God so loved the world that He gave his ONLY begotten son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life”.  The Greek word translated as “only begotten” simply means there was only one natural birth that occurred or will occur to be called “His Son”.  According to the Bible no other naturally born children are coming from God.  However, this does not mean there are no spiritual children resulting from the hearing and believing of His Word.

This is very significant information.  Believing in God and His Son sent gives us a pathway to the never ending “zoe” life.  This again is confirmation for the reason that every human born on this planet must choose to receive His Seed into their heart (soil) to allow it to produce a new spiritual birth and a new spiritual life.  I just love the Word of God.

 

Conclusion

I am going to end this lesson here.   We could continue on the subject of the seed for a very long time.  There is just so much to learn about it.  I truly have only scratched the surface.  I hope you have learned something new to help you in your understanding of the Parable of the Sower and the purpose of us telling others about the Gospel of Jesus Christ in order to plant God’s Seed into their hearts.  This seed is designed by God to create new spiritual children of His kind.  This spiritual seed planting activity has enemies and is not successful every time.  But, this does not mean we stop trying.

If the Lord is willing, I may continue this series with a study of the fruit next.  I believe this is the lasting goal of the seed and we have already seen that it points us to the Saving Grace of God.  The fruit is the last potential positive element found in the parable.  As I stated before the soil can be either good or evil making it changeable and variable.  I love you all and appreciate your participation in this website.  Please share it with a friend and help spread the Seeds of the Kingdom.  God Bless you.

 

Understanding the Parable of the Sower Part 2 – The Sower

Planting-seeds2(Ver 1.1)  This is Part 2 in a series of very essential basic Bible lessons concerning the subject of Understanding the Parable of the Sower.  The first lesson was simply the introduction to the subject and it contained an overall perspective of the information taught by the LORD Jesus.  In that lesson we read the parable given to us in the Book of Mark.  We followed this by reading the explanation of the Parable in the same chapter given from the lips of Jesus to his disciples.  From this information we derived a list of the main named elements.  There were 8 in my list 1) a sower, 2) seed 3) soil, 4) enemy birds, 5) enemy stones, 6) enemy sun heat, 7) enemy thorns and 8) fruit.   I then called the sower, seed & the fruit to represent positive good elements and the 4 enemy elements to be recognized as negative evil elements opposing the good.  That only leaves the soil and I called this the variable element that will change.  I hope and pray that you were able to read this because this information will not all be repeated in today’s lesson.  If you have not read from the beginning of the series I would highly recommend that you go back and start with “Part1”.   We will begin the subject again with this outstanding foundational claim spoken by the LORD Jesus:

Mar 4:13  And he said unto them, Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables?

From this statement in Mark 4:13 we should begin to understand that if we do not know and understand this parable that no other parable understanding will be entirely possible.  Today we will be diving deeper into one of the fundamental positive elements taught by the LORD Jesus.  Our key subject today will be focused on the key positive essential element called the “Sower”.  This is an extremely indispensable part of the parable as evident by the name of the story being called “The Parable of the Sower”.  I believe this topic will be a blessing to us to learn.

 

INTRODUCTION TO THE SOWER

I believe Jesus was teaching his disciples a natural story about a significantly higher spiritual subject using an indirect third party viewpoint perspective.  Jesus actually used this technique of speaking frequently.  In this teaching we will soon learn that Jesus is given to be the ultimate sower example to follow.   I believe that Jesus is the pattern that  truly saved disciples must attempt to grow up to become.  The “Sower” is certainly one of the greatest elements at the time this parable was originally taught.  Without the work of a sower the seed is unable to produce and really could be considered dormant.  It is as if I owned a farm and had a barn that was full of seed but yet my fields were bare because I had failed to plant them.

 Mat 13:18  Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower.

 According to the LORD Jesus He named this lesson the “Parable of the Sower”.   Therefore we all should agree with Him that this is the name.  This name implies the importance of this type of worker.  In this lesson today we will be focused upon answering the basics of “Who”, “What”, When”, “Where” and “Why” of the specific “sower” subject.  For example, “Who is this stated worker?”  “What is their intended purpose?”   “When does the work occur, begin or stop?”  “Where can the work take place?”  “Why is this work necessary or important?”   There are literally so many questions that we could ask that I could not write them all down or even attempt to answer them all in one lesson.  However, we will attempt to answer the major questions even though the answers may be expanded into other lessons because many of the subjects being discussed cross over into other subject element boundaries.

 

WHO IS THE SOWER IN THE PARABLE?

The Greek word translated as “sower” in this verse is G4687.  This Greek word according to the Strong’s Dictionary reference literally means to “scatter” seed and that simply means to “sow” seed.   This Greek word is found in 42 N.T. verses.  It was translated in a number of forms of the root word “sow”.  For example, “sower”, “sown”, “sowed” and “soweth” are just some of the most popular translated English words.  However, this Greek word was also translated as “received seed” in several verses.  Both definitions are technically true simultaneously and both are directly related to the subject of seed scattering.  Seed scattering is the dual release of seed as well as the catching process.  Both actions occur based upon the single active work of a sower.   Notice that it is not the sower’s responsibility to catch the seed but only to throw it or place it where he would like for it to go.

It is very much like someone throwing a small rock into a pond.  The single motion of tossing and releasing the rock into the water automatically causes the water to receive the rock and react with the laws of physics to cause waves extending from the entry point.  This is in effect what is occurring with seed scattering paradigm with some differences.  Also note that one seed throwing action causes the release of power to potentially cause other designed laws to become effective.  Let’s look at another verse that was spoken by Jesus in the book of Mark concerning this subject of the “sower” to understand what kind of sower is being spoken of in this Parable:

Mar 4:14  The sower soweth the word.

In this verse both the translated words “sower” and “soweth” are the exact same Greek word G4687.  This information simply confirms further that the scattering concept being discussed is about someone throwing word seeds out and someone listening to take the power.  This power can represent words that make it possible for new potential life producing results that previously had never occurred before.  This is how the natural process works but notice that Jesus is speaking spiritually to what seeds represent in the parable.  Jesus is clearly not speaking in literal natural terms and He explains His lesson is spoken in the “figurative” spiritual application.

Jesus is teaching an amazing spiritual concept using a more easily understood natural description.  According to this verse spoken by Jesus in the book of Mark, a “Sower” (the described seed scattering worker) is defined to be literally anyone that is speaking “words” to implied listeners.  This verse provides us the spiritual definition of what “seed” represents.   We will be discussing “seeds” in the next lesson in the series, God willing.  But, according to Jesus ALL spoken words are potentially a type of a seed.  That is an amazing claim if you take the time to think about.  Jesus is literally implying that we all should think to our self before speaking.  Ask is what I am saying to others the result that I wish to plant and grow in them?  What kind of seed am I speaking to people?  I know a lot of people will not believe this, but it is true none the less.

Jesus does not actually define who the sower represents directly in this verse nor does he answer the “who” question in any of the other parable explanations found in Matthew or Luke.  But, I do believe very strongly that Jesus was speaking this parable of Himself and His work using the external third person point of view.  Jesus actually did this frequently in many of the things that He talked to people about.  It is actually a very common method of speaking or writing.  Many people do this and it if you go through and read the Gospels with this in mind you should be able to easily see it.

This verse in Mark 4:14 has some far reaching impacts of implied meanings even beyond the direct context.  In the first lesson I introduced the concept of this Parable of the Sower to be a spiritual battle of spiritual words.  I believe this so deeply that I pray that you will join me in this understanding very soon.  What this verse implies is that anyone speaking audible words that are either good or evil is potentially planting seeds within the lives of human minds and hearts that choose to hear, listen, pay attention and understand.  If you do not yet see this up till now, please don’t throw it in the trash until you read some other verses on the subject.

What I believe is that we should begin to understand that this sowing principle is how human life operates from the beginning birth to the ending death cycle.  If you have ever had children and watched them grow up, you must certainly agree with this concept of seed planting being Words that can positively teach, direct, help, guide, encourage, praise and correct a child to get them headed in the right direction for the rest of their life.  No child comes out of the womb speaking complete understandable sentences.   We are required to speak seeds into them for literally many months before the first meaningful seed planted will be returned to us.  But, finally they say “mama” or “dada” or whatever you taught them to say.  These are examples of positive seed plantings.  It is truly an amazing process of a good life.  But, we can also speak negative, mean, angry or evil words that will also have the same effect in reverse being returned to us from their mouths.  That is certainly not a positive of fruitful outcome.

Of course the main emphasis in this parable is focused primarily upon “Good Seeds” spoken by the “Good LORD Jesus” spread to all humans in order to produce “Good” fruit” in return.  But, the antithesis of this Good truth return objective is still true also and I’ll introduce a new parable very quickly by giving you an additional part of a direct related story spoken by Jesus on the subject of sowing.

 

OVERVIEW OF the PARABLE of the WEEDS

Mat 13:24  Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: 

Mat 13:25  But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.

This parable was spoken by Jesus in the same context of the Parable of the Sower directly after the explanation in Chapter 13.  Notice the fact that again this parable is spoken in the external “third person point of view”.  But, we will soon discover that this reference in verse 24 to just “a man” that sowed good seed is a directly defined reference about Jesus.  Also we need to notice that this verse contains the exact same Greek word G4687 that was used in the parable of the sower.  This makes this parable related by both the laws of contextual reference and the more direct named word selection and subject matter reference.

It is also very important to take note of two other Greek words that follow the Greek word G4687 in verse 24 and these were translated as “good seed”.  This is really amazing truth after you learn it.  The Greek word G2570 that is translated as “good” literally means “valuable” and “virtuous”.  Wow I hope you are seeing the type of seed being described here.  This Greek word is a qualifying adjective that severely limits the type of “seed” being described.  I personally believe that this Greek word describes God’s Word Seed perfectly.  The usage of God’s limitation of “Good” also implies by the law of antithesis truth that there must also exist “evil seed” and that the two are extreme opposites.

Then we need to notice the next word translated as “seed” as being the Greek word G4690.  The English transliteration of this Greek word is “sperma” and yes we get the English word “sperm” from this Greek word.  Natural human sperm is just one type of “seed” listed in the Bible.  Therefore a human male was designed by God to be a natural sower of seed into a female.  This process of producing natural human life is also called bearing fruit and we will probably talk more about this when we get to that part of the subject lesson.

But, this Greek word G4690 translated as “seed” comes directly from the “Sower” Greek word G4687.  In other words without a “sower” speaking words there would be no “seed” word to be planted.  It really is teaching us that seed sowing is literally dependent upon the existence of sowers.  Do you believe that the seed word originating from a sower is an accident or is found by chance random occurrence?   I do not.  I believe that this is a statement of designed truth concerning who produces “Good” seed and how this process works in us.  I believe that God’s Word is His Seed that produces His Life in us to be born again spiritually and we are going into this much deeper later in this lesson series when we discuss the seed and the fruit.

This new parable story spoken by Jesus is often called the “Parable of the Weeds”.  According to Jesus the Kingdom of heaven seed represents “Good Seed” that produces symbolic “wheat” that is harvestable and the “tares” represents evil seeds sown by an enemy into the same ground.  You see in verse 25 Jesus speaks of two very important factors.  One is the Greek word G2190 that was translated as “enemy”.  This Greek word literally means “to hate”.  That word represents the opposite description of God who is described to be “love” (agape, G26) in 1 John 4:8.  Hate and love are antithesis opposing definitions of forces of power.  These are clear descriptions of two opposing extremes.  God is Love and the enemy being spoken of is Satan who is “hate”.  Satan hates you and me and he hates God.

Next we need to notice the Greek word G4687 that is translated as “sowed” in verse 25.  This is again the exact same Greek word translated as “sower” in the Parable of the sower and “sowed good seed” in verse 24.  They are all connected directly together.  We are beginning to put some major pieces of the puzzle together to understand the Parable of the Sower and the Parable of the Weeds.  Both are concerning the subject of sowing words.  There are stated “Good” words that produce harvestable symbolic “wheat” in the Parable of the Weeds and the implied “virtuous” words of God that produce symbolic “fruit” in the Parable of the Sower.  God is giving us a very detailed look into the enemy in both parables and how Satan operates.

Here in both Parables is found amazing parallels of truth using similar representations.  I am not going to go into this parable in much further detail today.  I mainly wanted to show the divine connection to why “weeds” appear was because of the stated work of a hateful spiritual enemy called the devil.  God is introducing us to the fact that there is a described spiritual battle for humans and their end is determined by whose words these humans value.  Some will become children of Satan by valuing his lies of deception and some will become children of God by valuing His Virtuous TRUTH.  We will move into this more later.  But, I do want you show you that Jesus claimed that He was this stated man that sowed the Good Seed mentioned in verse 24:

Mat 13:37  He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man;

When this Parable was first taught to the disciples and the natural people of Israel, Jesus was the named “Sower” mentioned in the Parable.  When we read further in his explanation of the Parable of the Weeds in verse 37, we discover plainly that the “Good seed” originated from the spoken words given by the “Son of man” (Jesus).  There are over one hundred verses in the Bible that refer to Jesus as the “Son of man”.  I will not give you them all here because you can easily go and search them for yourself.   There are so many confirmations that there is no refuting that this refers to Jesus.  This teaches us that any “good seed (sperma)” will originate from God and Jesus.

We understand that a natural sower is defined to be someone that sows (plants) seeds by scattering them in or on the natural ground (soil).  But according to what we just learned from Jesus a Spiritual Sower is someone that scatters good or evil “Words” on or in the ears, minds & hearts of humans.  We must understand that Jesus was only sowing “Good” (valuable and virtuous) words.  We will learn the good type of Word in next lesson concerning “seeds” that Jesus spoke the “Word of God” (Luke 8:11).   It makes logical sense to me that Jesus was speaking only God’s Words.  However, we can confirm this when we search further in the Bible to learn that Jesus actually claimed to be a spokesman for His Father.   Verify this claim here in John:

Joh 12:49  For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.

Jesus claimed in this verse that the “Seeds” or “Words” that He spoke including those that were found in the Parable of the Sower must have come directly from His Father in heaven by a divine command.  In fact we should learn from this statement that every word spoken by Jesus in our Bibles were direct words from the Almighty God.  This makes these Words directly inspired and divinely essential messages.  There were no imperfections or untruths that could be found in them (Tit 1:2).  These “Seeds” had to have an extremely important purpose.  We will be diving into this subject in the next lesson when we further discuss in more detail the “Seed”.

 

ARE THERE ANY SOWERS TODAY?

We all should know that Jesus died and was raised from the dead and ascended back to heaven where He currently sits at the right hand of the Almighty awaiting the time of His return.  Therefore, we need to ask a new question since we know that Jesus is not physically present on the earth to sow more seeds in any new humans born in the last 2000+ years, did this Parable end?  Did the death of Jesus mean that sowing of seeds into humans has ceased?  There are some denominations that have beliefs like this, but they usually do not extend them to seed sowing for some reason.  But, should we just assume that the seed sowing process of the Parable of the Sower stopped or does it still continue today?  We actually need verses to fix our beliefs on, in order to answer this question to remove any doubts.  But, we can learn and know the answer from reading further in the New Testament that any man or woman speaking, teaching, or preaching the Word of God can also be named to be a seed planter aka a “sower”.  For example, notice this verse written by the Apostle Paul written to the Corinthian Church:

1Co 3:5  Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man

1Co 3:6  I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase

1Co 3:7  So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.

These verses here contain some amazing truths.  Notice what is claimed by the Apostle Paul?  Paul informs the church that he was a minister and that his work performed to them was to “plant” seeds (verse 6).   The Greek word G1249 in verse 5 translated as “ministers” is not a high claimed position of great authority in the church.  This word literally can be translated as a servant, or someone that runs errand, or even as a “waiter” of tables for those that are present eating.  Paul is an extremely humble man that is not claiming to be anyone special or important in any of these statements.  If Paul felt this way who wrote 2/3 of the New Testament, how can any of us ever think we are any better?

Why am I bringing these verses into our lesson on the Parable of the Sower?  I would pray that it is already very obvious.  Paul is repeating a significant number of positive elements found in the Parable of the Sower here in these three verses.  Paul in these statements is focused on how seed planting successes occurs and who gets the honor and the praise for any of it.  Paul is teaching us about his contribution and participation in the common elements of “being a sower”, “possessing seed”, “sowing seed” into “soil” in order to produce “fruit”.  They may not all be mentioned directly but they are understood to be present by the direct mention of the words “planting” and “increase”.

The Greek word G5452 that was translated as “planted” literally means “to set out in the earth”.  In other words this Greek word G5452 means “to implant” seed in the natural realm which must represent the parallel spiritual reality of imparting God’s Word in the human heart (symbolic soil).  Earth in this Greek definition G5452 is a clear synonymous reference to the successful and fruitful soil type that we have yet to discuss in detail.  The Strong’s definition goes further to state that this word figuratively means to “instill doctrine” into humans.  Therefore we are definitely on the right track to speaking words to people.

The Greek word G837 translated as “increase” in verse 6 literally means “to cause to grow”.  I introduced in the first lesson that “fruit” represented “salvation” and “spiritual fruit”.  But we have not discussed this yet either.  But that is exactly what Paul infers by verse 5 stating what he preached caused these people in the church to believe and believing God’s Word is the foundation of Bible faith and salvation.  We will discuss later that faith is a basic requirement for salvation and there are many verses that will confirm this truth such as John 3:16, Romans 10:9-10 and Ephesians 2:8.

Then Paul adds a new unstated element not found in the Parable of the Sower called “watering” or “water”.  If you have read all of the Bible lessons on this blog, you will already know that the same Word of God represents multiple facets of essential life producing forces called “seed”, “water” and “light” and these are the basic requirements that must be combined with the soil to produce new “fruitful life”.  We will be going into much greater detail later when we speak about other elements after the “sower”.  But, let’s first move to two further verses in the Paul letter to the Corinthians:

1Co 3:8  Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. 

1Co 3:9  For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.

The Greek word that I wish to focus on first in these three verses is G1091 that was translated as “husbandry” in verse 9.  This word literally means “a farm”.  This should be another obvious connection to the Parable of the Sower using God’s law of selection of synonymous terminology.  A farm is usually defined as an area of land that is used to produce and grow crops for harvest.  Humans are literally called to be the spiritual ground that grows spiritual fruit from the implanted spiritual Words of God.  But, yet this does not occur automatically or magically or forcefully.   We will be discussing this aspect of the discussion later in the elements of “soil” and “fruit”.

These verses found in Corinthians are just one major proof text that God desired everyone in the church to become His “farm land to produce His fruit” as well as simultaneously growing up spiritually to become His “seed planters” or “seed waterers”.   We may not all be called into the office of “Apostle”, “Prophet”, “Evangelist” or “Pastor” or “Teacher”, but we are all still called servants of God.  Notice again in verse 5 the ending statement.  Paul claims they were minister servants of the LORD and then claims this responsibility was given to “EVERY MAN”.  Then in verse 9 God calls the church body to be His “co-laborers”.  This word literally means we must cooperate and coordinate our efforts with His planned work for our lives.  These are just more ways to proclaim the great commission given from the LORD Jesus to everyone in the church:

Mar 16:15  And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

Go into the entire world, and sow seeds in the entire world by proclaiming out loud of His exceedingly Great News.  Jesus is commissioning all of His people to become “sowing servants” of His Word.  If we are just receivers collecting His Words and not spreading the seed to others then we are being disobedient barn storage facilities.  The Greek word G2784 translated as “preach” in this verse literally means someone who is like a town crier that brings good news to the people of a city.  Clearly this is a “seed” planter that is attempting to follow after the LORD Jesus’ patterned example found in the Parable of the Sower.  What is the purpose of being a seed planter for God?  If we read the next verse we will learn God’s designed goal:

Mar 16:16  He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

We are being introduced to God’s primary purpose for speaking His Word to people in the world.  According to Jesus it was God’s design for His Words to be believed by a human faith choice and then this belief would place us onto a course or pathway whereby we could be saved.  We actually read this in 1 Corinthians 3:5 also.  We learn the fact of salvation is dependent upon our beliefs in God’s Word by reading verses like this as well as Ephesians 2:8 and even John 3:16.  Whoever believes God Word to the end is the one that receives the free gift of His Great Grace.

But, then comes the bad news if any human does not choose to believe His Words spoken by His sowers, they are damned.  Wow, that is so strong.  What a significant warning.  What a great responsibility that we are given.  Is it possible if someone does not state the right words in the right way at the right time with the correct attitude and motive that the responsibility for why some are not saved could be on the sower’s hands?  That is something that I believe we must take into consideration.  I believe that we all must be led by the Spirit of God in everything that we do including sowing seeds.

Perhaps you have already deduced that sowing seeds is why I do a Bible study Blog on the internet.  This blog is an attempt to spread God’s “seed” to every nation on planet earth.  By the immense Grace of God these Bible lessons have gone into over 250 different nations already.  That would be an extremely difficult physical effort for anyone to travel to reach each one personally.  I praise God for using an insignificant man like me to spread His Word and I pray that you will also join me in becoming a “seed of God sower”.

 

CONCLUSION

I will end this section on the “sower” with this stated truth.  When the LORD Jesus was teaching the Good News while Sowing Seeds into the hearts of people on the earth in His physical body during His short 3 ½ years of ministry, this was the closest to perfection that was possible for the Parable to have successful crops of fruit.  However, we also know from reading the Gospels that most of the people that heard Him teach and preach these “Seeds” were possibly the same ones that killed Him on a cross.   Think about it.  There were only 120 believers in the 50 days from His death in the upper room in Acts 2 awaiting the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.  We know that when Jesus was on the earth that he sometimes taught to over 5000 people at one time and over 4000 at another time.  He traveled wide and far throughout the region to preach the Word of God to people. Where were all of these thousands of people that heard the “Seed”?  I think that is amazing.

This truth only proves that imperfect humans today that are attempting to follow Jesus’ example of sowing should not expect to make everyone accept what they are teaching them as “Good News”.  The servant is never greater than the master Jesus said.  If they persecuted me Jesus said, they will certainly persecute you also.  Believe me I know this for sure.  Some people are such very nice Christians that say good things about my lessons even if they disagree with something, and others sound like demon possessed people and say the meanest things.  Just learn from Jesus and don’t let the praise of anyone or the condemnation of anyone else be the motivating source for preaching or teaching God’s Word.  Remember what Paul said, it is not the sower of the seed or the one that waters that is anything, but rather it is God that that causes the increase of the fruit to grow that is important.  Okay we answered some basic questions about the sower today so we will review:

  1. WHO?   Jesus was the initial Primary Sower Example.
  2. WHO?   But, Christians today have the same responsibility to sow seeds.
  3. WHAT? Being a Sower is simply sharing God’s Word with someone.
  4. WHAT? The reason we sow God’s seed is to get someone saved from a certain eternal death in hell.
  5. WHEN?  It is implied that the time to sow is now.
  6. WHERE? It is implied whenever the opportunity presents itself.

In the next lesson in the series we will move into the very positive subject of understanding the “Seed”.  I know we could have covered a lot more information in this subject of understanding the sower. If you have any specific questions on this part of the subject I would welcome them.  I pray that you have enjoyed this lesson but I believe the next lesson will even be better.   God Bless you.

If you would like to continue to study in this series please go to “Part 3“.

 

Understanding the Parable of the Sower, Introduction – Part 1

 

planting-seeds

(Ver 1.1)  This is Part 1 in a series of very essential basic Bible lessons concerning the subject of Understanding the Parable of the Sower.  This may be a very familiar subject to many Christians but this assumed familiarity could cause some to not open their heart and mind to receive from God something fresh.  A spirit of pride caused by an assumed broad knowledge of a subject will too often cause some to not accept exactly what was new that God wanted to teach.  However, I believe that many of the fundamental concepts found in this Bible lesson series should be a delight for most Christians to receive, learn and apply.  We do appreciate your prayers and the time reading these Bible lessons.  We hope they are a blessing and we pray for all our readers. We will begin the subject study with this outstanding claim by the LORD Jesus:

Mar 4:13  And he said unto them, Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables?

 

We will be diving deep into some of the fundamental principles that were taught by the LORD Jesus from this parable.  Many of these are deep spiritual truths that are not easily found even though they were given to us in a simple natural parable form.   According to Mark 4:13, Jesus claimed that to know and understand this parable was the most important parable there is.  It is significantly stated by Jesus in this verse that if we do not know and understand this parable then grasping even the basics of any other parable would probably be futile.  This is why I believe the LORD wanted us to study this subject today.  Today will be the first basic lesson and subject introduction in the series.  Then we will break down the spiritual elements in more depth in subsequent lessons.  Let’s get started.

 

INTRODUCTIION:

From an in-depth study of this subject it has become evident that the Parable of the Sower is a direct lesson on how and why some humans obtain “faith” for “eternal salvation” and why many others fail to receive.  I have concluded that there are two disparate types of people being described in this parable.  There were those at the end of the parable that obtained “faith for salvation” and produced spiritual fruit and then there were those at the beginning and middle of the parable that either never had faith to be saved or abandoned their faith to produce no lasting spiritual fruit.  Those that produced lasting “fruit” live and those that do not produce lasting “fruit” eventually die and go to hell.  The entire process of faith, salvation, human choices and how each work together to produce fruit is God’s design of the seed sowing process.   It is also revealed that this process of seed sowing has revealed enemies that assisted in the process to cause wrong human choice for a crop failure.  These truths are all summarized in this parable.

Bible faith is one of the central and primary themes of the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation.  I believe that it is essential that we all learn and understand as much as we can about what has been revealed to us by God on this vital subject of Bible Faith.   We know from reading Hebrews 11: 6 that if we do not have any faith it is absolutely impossible to please God.  We also learn from reading Ephesians 2:8 that we are only saved by God’s grace through our faith.  Based upon just these two verses alone, God makes it sound like that if we do not have faith we are in serious trouble.  This to me is why we need to study the subject of “Bible Faith”.  I am mentioning this first to inform all readers that understanding Bible Faith is one key to understanding this Parable.  If you have not read the series on this website about this subject I would strongly recommend that you do so by clicking “Understanding Bible Faith Part 1”.

I believe that every human has the God given right to choose to participate in the “God kind of faith” (Mk 11:22) fully, partially or regrettably to choose not to partake whatsoever.  Humans even have the God given right to choose to initially participate and then to turn back to choose to walk away from God’s plan for their life.  I can hear people say, “faith is not that important and is only mentioned a very few times in the Bible”.  If we do a search on the English word “faith”, it occurs only twice in the KJV Old Testament with it then being found in 229 verses in the KJV New Testament.  Clearly the emphasis of faith was increased significantly by the LORD to His people in the New Covenant.  There are 788,258 words found in the KJV Bible and I will admit that there are so many other words and subjects in the Bible mentioned more frequently than faith.  “LORD” is mentioned 7365, “God” is mentioned 4293, Israel 2509, and we could go on and on with many other words.  I found these numbers off of a website and I did not attempt to verify them so please don’t use them as the Gospel.  I was only attempting to make a point that many other words and subjects have a greater mention besides faith.  But, yet I still believe that this subject and topic of “Faith” is one of the top 3 themes that every Christian must learn after being saved.

I can still hear people say “I just can’t find faith in very many chapters of my Bible”.  What I have learned from years of Bible study is that we must search for whatever we want to find (Mat 7:7).  If we are not looking for faith we will never find faith.  But, I believe that if we learn to change our focus on the known features, characteristics and values of faith then we will be able to find faith almost everywhere.  What I am trying to say is that just because a verse, passage, chapter or book does not contain the actual word “faith’ does not mean the subject is not found there.  Too many Christians are reading the Bible with wrong thought perspectives and would truly be amazed what is found in the Bible by learning to view the words on the page more like God designed them to be “as spiritual truth”.  This is literally a very true Bible study methodology for any subject.

I desire in this introduction just to help us shift our focus.  Just because the “Parable of the Sower” never mentions the word “Faith” does not mean that it is not directly all about the subject.  I desire to teach the concepts of how a familiar set of verses that are often used to teach other subjects can contain a vast amount of truth on the subject of “faith” if we are willing to rethink to change our perspectives.  In this series, I plan to visit many verses that do not mention faith directly in both the Old and New Testaments in order to show how God can use them to actually teach us key hidden “faith” principles.   We will also explore related verses in other parts of the Bible that greatly assist us in understanding concepts not directly mentioned in the Parable.

We will be using this information to focus on how to understand the “Parable of the Sower”.  In this lesson series we will hopefully learn to search and find relationships in this parable to the subject of faith, salvation, right and wrong words, right and wrong human choices and the spiritual battle of good versus evil for all human lives.  I trust God to help me do this and to help you to also open your heart and mind to receive it and then for you to become an Acts 17:11 noble Berean and go and verify what was taught in your personal Bible study time.  Please, please, please, do not take my word for anything if you do not see it in your own Bible.

 

INTRODUCTION TO GOD’S PROCESS OF SALVATION AND FAITH
IN THE PARABLE OF THE SOWER

As I have previously mentioned, I would like for us to rethink the Parable of the Sower in the light of it being one of God’s revealed processes and projects to activate faith in humans for their eternal spiritual salvation.  It has become very clear to me through Bible study that Jesus’ taught us a great spiritual representation of how human salvation by His extraordinary Grace through our humble cooperative faith works using a natural seed planting and farming truth many call the “Parable of the Sower”.  Every parable ever taught by Jesus in the Bible was a natural truth that helps us to understand a far superior spiritual unseen and unknown truth.  I have grown into the belief that this greater spiritual truth taught by Jesus in this parable is concerning primarily God’s extended grace and mercy for human salvation through their freewill choice to believe in His Word.

I further believe that this parable represents a description of how people are either saved or lost through a spiritual war of words (good vs. evil) that will take place in the human mind and heart.  I also believe that this hidden unseen spiritual warfare helps to influence the decisions that a person makes concerning their salvation depending upon which spirit they choose to yield to.  A person’s focused choices of importance, priority, value and worth towards God’s spoken Word will determine their eternal destiny after this natural life ends.  Does this sound interesting to study?  I hope and pray it does.

It amazes me that Jesus taught all of these hidden spiritual truths being described in a natural farming concept and process.  The natural and the spiritual processes represent two parallel realities of truths.  Growing natural food and growing spiritual faith for salvation (aka fruit) were taught to us by Jesus to represent a common paradigm.  This to me is so amazing.  The truth has been hiding in plain sight for the entire duration of human history on this earth.  This truly displays the Omniscience and Wisdom of God.

Even though Jesus was speaking and teaching in natural terms created from the beginning, He was really not teaching us about natural farming.  As I just stated humans have known this natural process of farming for literally many thousands of years.  Through these basic principles of life found in simple to understand naturally created methods of farming, we can now begin to understand how spiritual life occurs or in many cases does not occur.  Let’s now read the “Parable of the Sower” to refresh our memory.  But also, please read the Parable with a notepad and a pencil or pen so that you can list the main items that you find as important and those that may jump out at you as you read.

Mar 4:3  Hearken; Behold, there went out a sower to sow: 

Mar 4:4  And it came to pass, as he sowed, some fell by the way side, and the fowls of the air came and devoured it up. 

Mar 4:5  And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth: 

Mar 4:6  But when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away. 

Mar 4:7  And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit. 

Mar 4:8  And other fell on good ground, and did yield fruit that sprang up and increased; and brought forth, some thirty, and some sixty, and some an hundred. 

Mar 4:9  And he said unto them, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

 

Jesus used such a very simplistic natural farming design and process to explain to us the incredibly vital interrelated subjects of God’s Word, the devil, words, faith, salvation, listening, hearing, understanding, salvation enemies and making right choices to name only a few basic concepts that I have observed.  These are just a few of the most critical and highest spiritual truths that I have found so far in the Parable.  I know you may not see all of these by just skimming the parable in a rapid surface reading.  In fact I believe it is practically impossible to know what the parable is really about by only reading the parable.  I view the parable as a type of riddle or puzzle being presented for curious humans to dig into to solve.

I believe that there are far too many Christians that have not given this living natural example the priority and emphasis that it deserves.  I believe that it is essential for every Christian to learn this parable as soon as possible after being born again in order to help them to begin to mature and grow spiritually.  Reading the parable you should have noticed some of the main components being mentioned as I asked you to do.  I found at least 10 symbolic references that I want us to focus upon.  I’ll list them for your consideration and you can compare my list with your list:

  1. A Sower
  2. Seed
  3. 4-6 Types of Soil (Depending upon viewpoint)
  4. 3 different Soils that produce no fruit or no enduring fruit
  5. 1-3 Soils with increasing levels of fruit production (30%, 60%, or 100%)
  6. Enemy Birds
  7. Enemy Stones
  8. Enemy Sun Heat
  9. Enemy Thorns or Weeds
  10. Fruit

Wow, this list is so vital to understand in-depth.  However, I will be unable to give a complete study of every symbol in this first lesson.  But, we will try to explore these items in increasing depth later in the series.  Today we will only try to introduce the important spiritual symbols given by Jesus.  Before we get into this discussion please review the explanation of the parable from Jesus.  Use your notepad and your pencil to find what Jesus said the key elements represent and then list what each of them symbolically represented next to their corresponding symbol:

Mar 4:10  And when he was alone, they that were about him with the twelve asked of him the parable. 

Mar 4:11  And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables: 

Mar 4:12  That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them. 

Mar 4:13  And he said unto them, Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables? 

Mar 4:14  The sower soweth the word. 

Mar 4:15  And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts. 

Mar 4:16  And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness; 

Mar 4:17  And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended. 

Mar 4:18  And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word, 

Mar 4:19  And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful. 

Mar 4:20  And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred. 

 

This explanation from Jesus of the Parable is also absolutely awesome.  We should obviously understand that Jesus knew and understood what every symbol represented and how all the positive elements worked together to cause the plan of God to succeed and how all the negative elements worked to cause the plan of God to fail.  I hope that you can agree that it should be obvious to us that some symbolic elements worked favorably together to produce a good fruit crop while other symbolic elements fought against the planned process for a positive outcome in order to keep the fruit seed and fruit crop from succeeding.  This is the introduction to the spiritual battle that is taking place in the unseen spiritual realm.  It is a spiritual war for human lives.  I pray that you are paying close attention to what was just said, because this is very important in the rest of this revealed truth.

In verse 11 Jesus revealed to us that these combined natural elements fashioned into a symbolic parable form represented a divine mystery.  The Greek word translated as “mystery” is G3466 and it literally means “to shut the mouth in order to keep a secret”.  All God had to do was not speak to humans and we all would be very ignorant concerning any truth of spiritual realities.  But, God was now beginning to open His mouth through Jesus to explain these many hidden secrets.   At the time when Jesus was physically on the earth He was the only one speaking to a limited few humans at that time.  But, since these words were written in a book form we today can also benefit by studying and applying them.

We must also notice what else Jesus said in verse 11.  He told His disciples that at that time He did not desire to give everyone the secret’s explanation that He had spoken the parable to.  He said “Unto you it is given but unto them that are on the outside I speak only in parables”.  That is still a basic principle that is true today.  Just because most everyone can find a Bible and can read the Bible does not mean that any of it is understandable to them.  We confirm this principle from reading 1 Corinthians 2:14 that informed us those spiritual things of God are not received by a natural man because they are spiritually discerned.   Spiritually asleep people (Eph 5:14) are usually unable to feed on deep spiritual things of the Spirit.  Here now is my list of some of the major points that I found listed and what I believe that they are revealed to represent:

Symbol

Meaning

1.      Sower A Spiritual Bible Preacher or Teacher (Specifically Jesus in this parable when it was spoken the first time, it later became any real Bible teacher)
2.      Seed Seed=Symbolic Spiritual Spoken Words from God
3.      Soil Heart (aka the spirit) of a human, God’s Spiritual Garden
4.      Enemy Birds Spiritual opponent called Satan, devils & demons that Blind Human Minds using words in the form of thoughts
5.      Enemy Stones The wrong hard hearted choice to not do the Word that was heard (Sown into their heart)
6.      Enemy Sun Heat Tormenting Words of Persecution sent because the Word of God was Believed.  Persecution pressures many to make the wrong choices to returning to a life of sin
7.      Enemy Thorns Satanic Worldly Distractions &Temptations of the flesh and mind
8.      Fruit God’s goal for His Seed sown (a spiritual harvest – representing the fruits of the spirit and human salvation)

 

I regret that I am unable to go into a great level of detail for every Parable Element in this list today.  I will attempt to cover every element found here in this list later in subsequent lessons in the series.  I would also recommend that you go and read the explanations of the Parable in the books of Matthew and Luke because these contain additional information that the book of Mark does not include.  I will be referring to some of these other writer’s explanations in this series but I will not be giving the entire verses in this lesson in order to decrease the length.

In my list I have focused on what I considered to be 3 dependably positive elements, 4 consistently negative elements and one element that I will list into a variable, changeable or unstable category.  The 3 positive elements listed in the parable were the sower, the seed and a good fruitful outcome that was produced from the combined sower and seed elements.  The success of these 3 consistently positive elements (seed, sower and fruit) represents a successful “faith” process and project taking place in a human heart (soil). The 4 potential consistently negative elements were described as enemies to the positive elements and these were called 1) birds, 2) stones, 3) heat and 4) thorns.  The single element that I considered to be the lone variable or a changeable element is the soil (heart of man).   The soil is clearly the most frequently mentioned item of the parable being spoken of at least 4 times.  I believe that this makes the soil one of God’s major focused items in the entire description.  I will also say that the consistently positive and negative elements are all spiritual.  The soil changeable element can either be carnal or spiritual dependent upon right or wrong choices made from thoughts selected.

I’m going to end this lesson with this introduction to the subject.  I pray that this has at least raised your interest into learning more.  In the next lesson in the series we will move into a greater detailed description of each element named beginning with the “Seed” symbolic element first.   Thank you for reading and studying the Bible with us.  We are humbled to know that there are people that spend their valuable time on this website.  May  God continue to lead you, guide you, direct you and bless you.

If you would like to continue to the next lesson in the series please click “Part2“.

Jesus Motivates Us to Move to a Higher AGAPE Love Walk!

the-greatest-is-AGAPE-love-e1406073920848-608x404(Ver 1.1) I was studying the Bible recently and was led across something that I believe was very good for us all to learn from.  I believe the Holy Spirit pointed this out so that we could learn a potential new perspective on a familiar story that we have all probably heard taught more than once.  This will be a Bible basics subject lesson on one of the most important subjects found in the Bible called love.  Uh oh?  I may have just lost a bunch of readers.  How boring that is, you might think.  You might say to me “I don’t have any problem with my love walk!”  At least that is probably what you think right now.  However, I believe the subject of love is the central theme of the entire Bible and a vastly misunderstood subject.  I believe no other subject comes close to its importance in the Bible and I pray that you will agree.

INTRODUCTION TO LOVE

You may already know that there is more than one Greek word in the New Testament that is translated into the English word “love”. I believe that is a significant problem.  If we don’t spend the time in digging deeper to know the original language words and definitions we will probably miss the most important message that God was trying to teach us.  I believe words matter more than we can imagine, especially God’s words.  I believe the chosen words of God are not by accident, chance or placed into the Bible by random human selection or influence.  God is a highly intelligent being beyond our normal human capability to understand.  Therefore, when God selects two different Greek words for “love” and uses them both in the same verse setting that must mean something very important even if we don’t yet understand what  is.  I pray that you will agree and even if you don’t yet agree I pray that you will at least be open minded enough to continue reading.

I recently read a Bible commenter’s opinion on this subject of the Greek word choices being made in the New Testament. This person believed that each human writer influenced the text and word selection for the love word choice.  They implied that the every Greek love word was synonymously interchangeable and one word could easily be replaced with another without changing the meaning of the verse.  But, I could not disagree any more.  This type of logic removes God’s participation in the word selection process almost completely.  You see I am a firm believer in this next verse that we must use as a foundation to base all of our Bible beliefs on.  I recommend that we all memorize this verse and never let it slip away from our minds:

2Ti 3:16  All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

“All” is one of the key words to focus on first. This verse clearly informs us that it concerns and applies to the whole Bible and every word that it contains.  In the Bible that would include every Hebrew and Greek Word of the original text that produced the translated 783,137 English KJV words.  However, I must disqualify the translated words.  I do not believe that any of the translated words were God inspired.  There are just way too many subjective translator opinions and errors imbedded to be found to conclude it is perfect like I believe the original text is.  I am not saying that we must all learn Greek and Hebrew in order to understand anything in the Bible.  But, I am saying that we all need to become a Berean type of Bible student like is found in Acts 17:11.  These Berean Christians were commended in the Bible for digging deep to confirm whatever is taught by men to be the truth is actually what God stated in the Holy scriptures.  I pray again that you understand how important this is.  Otherwise, we may just fall for any wind of doctrine that sounds the best and ignore what God actually said.

Today’s mini Bible lesson concerns two Greek words primarily that are both translated as “love” in the New Testament. These two Greek words in review are “Agapao” G25 and “Phileo” G5368.  You should be able to notice that these words are obviously two significantly different words based upon appearance, spelling and pronunciation alone and we have not yet attempted to learn the definitions.  We will dig into these love types much deeper as we continue the lesson.

JESUS TEACHES A HIGHER LOVE

Our Bible lesson is found in the book of John chapter 21. It occurs after the events of the death of Jesus on a Roman cross, the burial of His body in a tomb for 3 days and the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ from the dead.  I believe that this event that we can study today was Jesus attempting to restore and help Peter to grow into a higher level of confident love following his denial 3 times of Jesus Christ just a few days earlier.  We will begin reading about this event beginning in verse 15 of John 21 and then we will continue reading down until verse 17.  Please read all of the verses carefully as the subject overview and then I will begin to break them down to help reveal a hidden message not easily found in the English translation:

Joh 21:15  So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. 

Joh 21:16  He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep. 

Joh 21:17  He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

What did you get out of this reading? Did anything draw your attention from what I originally introduced you to before reading the verses?  Maybe nothing jumped out at you.  That is OK, but maybe the Holy Spirit pointed out something new for you to see and that is really great.  I believe that is God’s way.  He can use the same verse(s) to speak an infinite number of things to each and every person differently.  Let’s go through the verses one at time now and learn what we can see by digging deeper into them rather than a surface only reading, as I like to call it.  Let’s reread verse 15 first:

Joh 21:15  So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. 

Jesus suddenly focuses on one disciple named Peter and asks him a very direct and personal question concerning their relationship. I believe Jesus did this on purpose and by design to help strengthen and encourage Peter’s faith.  You might recall in Luke 22:31 the writer Luke gives us some related very important information.  In Luke 22:31 Jesus informs Peter that Satan had desired to sift him like wheat.  But, then Jesus informs Peter that He had prayed that his faith would not fail.  Also later in this chapter of Luke Jesus informs Peter that he will deny him 3 times before the cock crows the night that He would be betrayed.  I believe that Peter is being told these things so that he might be prepared for them and then afterwards that he would also understand that Jesus is fully the Christ as Peter declared in Matthew 16:16.  Remember when Jesus asked Peter “Who do you say that I am?” and Peter answered to Him saying “You are the Christ the Son of God”.

I firmly believe that Peter like the rest of the disciples struggled tremendously after seeing Jesus taken prisoner, beaten and then crucified on a cross to die. This had to be a major blow to their beliefs in Him.  Once His body was laid in the tomb and the rock was rolled over it and sealed with guards posted in front of it, they had to at least think that they had made a great mistake in following this man.  I just can’t imagine the full impact of the challenges to their faith that they were facing during this time of extreme circumstances.  Give it some thought and see how you may have reacted.  What would you have done after seeing all of this?  I know we can read the Bible now and we may think that we may have been able to stand stronger than they did but I really don’t believe that is true.

No matter how great you believe your faith in Jesus Christ is now, Satan will come to you and try to shake your foundation of faith just like he did with Peter. This is what happened to Peter and I believe that Jesus did all He could do to prepare Peter’s heart for these events.  For example, in John 21:15 Jesus begins a lesson of assurance by asking Peter a basic very personal question.  Jesus asked Peter “Do you love me more than these?”  I believe that Jesus is simply asking “Are you sure that you love me Peter?” It is interesting that Jesus also adds a comparison of Peter’s love level with the other disciples’ love level.  The question contains the key word “more” and this is added by Jesus to teach Peter and us that a love amount can vary in measure, intensity, type and capacity.  Jesus was teaching us that our love level for Him may not be as great as other’s love level yet and that we may need to grow more in our love.  By this question, Jesus is implying we can all grow up in a higher level of love.  Can you see this?

Here is another very important point to make when studying any text in the Bible. We must understand that there were no punctuation marks in the original Greek text that I know of.  No periods, no commas, no exclamation marks, no question marks as we know in the English language.  Therefore, we should be able to understand that the tone of voice being spoken in could potentially be different than we believe changing the entire meaning of the words being spoken.

For example, if Jesus yelled “LOVEST ME MORE THAN THESE!!!” Would a screaming angry and mad Jesus change how we viewed the question?  It would definitely do that for me.  However, that type of Jesus personality screaming at Peter would contradict with His revealed character and nature found in many scriptures verses that reveal Him to be a man of great and intense love, mercy and compassion.  Therefore, this statement cannot be an angry Jesus questioning the loyalty of Peter simply because He knew Peter denied Him.  No, I believe that the words were spoken very softly and graciously to Peter in a great loving and compassionate tone of voice that grabbed the heart of Peter’s attention immediately.  I believe Peter could also see the great concern in the Master’s eyes and perceive the great kindness in the heart of Jesus.

Here is where I want to introduce you to the first Greek word G25 that was translated as “lovest” in the question directed at Peter.   This Greek word represents the highest type of “Agape” divine love.  This category of love is the highest form of any type of love listed in the Bible.  It is always an underserved, unearned and unconditional love type that is being extended to another person regardless of what occurs or how they act towards the person showing it.  I believe this is the most important and highest type of love in the Bible.  This is why my blog is called “AgapeGeek”.  I simply desire to teach the Bible in a way that displays God’s love to every reader.  I hope you understand the basic concepts of the God kind of Agape love.  If you don’t please ask any specific question and I will attempt to explain it with the Lord’s help.

Ok, Jesus asked Peter if he loved “Agapao” Him more than these. The answer to this simple question should have been either “yes” or “no”. However, Peter must have ignored the love word because he does not answer the question correctly at all.  Of course you won’t see this by just reading the English translation.  Only if we dig much deeper into the Greek words can we begin to understand the problem that Jesus was dealing with.

In the English Peter appears to answer correctly by saying “Yes, Lord you know that I love you”.  But, Peter changed the Greek word “love” type from the G25 “agapao” category of love to the much lower and less committed G5368 “phileo” human category of love and that was not what Jesus asked, was it?  You see the “phileo” category of love is merely a fond type of relationship that we can have with a good human friend.  This is a love category on a much subordinate carnal level of conditional feelings.  In other words if a friend said or did something wrong or mean to us, this might change our liking of fondness level or feelings for them.  However, the “agape” G26 type of love that Jesus was asking about would continue on unmoved despite the friend’s wrong actions or words.

I believe I can begin to feel the Lord Jesus heart drop at hearing Peter’s answered response.   I believe there becomes a greater level of sadness upon each of the following question attempts to get Peter to change his answer to raise his love walk with Jesus.  You did notice that Jesus asked Peter the same question 3 times, didn’t you?  Why is Jesus being so repetitious?  As we continue to study this discussion further we should be able to see that Peter becomes a little more sad after each question.  I believe the “phileo” love that Peter claimed that he possessed was certainly being tested and I believe that Jesus was teaching Peter to try to come up higher to the “agapao” type of love that He originally asked.  Let’s read the second verse question:

Joh 21:16  He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

Here is another almost identical question and response session as was read in verse 15. However, Jesus asks Peter, do you “agapao” me but drops the “more than these” part of the question.  Why did Jesus omit the “more than these”?  I believe to show Peter to focus on his “agape” love and not anyone else.  And Peter again answers “Lord you know that I “phileo” you.  I believe another difference in this Q&A session from the previous one is the tone of Jesus’ and Peter’s voices being adjusted.  I believe Jesus asked His question with much greater, love, compassion and even some added sadness and disappointment and I believe that Peter answered with even a greater level of grief and frustration not understanding yet why it was asked again.  This is what I believe makes the most sense in the story, but I know this is my personal interpretation and you can believe otherwise if you choose.

I still ask myself and God why the omission of the “more than these” as part of the question. The only answer to that question that I have been able to determine is the fact that Jesus is giving Peter a much greater emphasis to the specific Greek word “agapao” type of love.  I even believe that Jesus is making an implied statement that maybe no one “agapao” loved Him yet.  But this might be wrong since John was one of the disciples there and he is often referred to as the “love” disciple since he wrote more about the subject than all of the others combined.  Now let’s read the last time the question is asked and observe what changes now:

Joh 21:17  He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

Reading the English translation it appears that almost nothing changed. So God is either wasting a lot of words and Peter’s time asking him the same question or we are just missing the point and I believe it is us missing the point.  You see Jesus changed the question dramatically the third time He asks and He used a totally different Greek word this time.  Why would Jesus do this and what was the reason for the modification?  If we dig deeper into the Greek language again we will learn that in the third question Jesus dramatically lowers the love level asked to Peter to a level of “phileo”, Peter’s previous two responses. I believe that Jesus changes His tone of voice to a much greater sound of sadness and hurt.  I believe completely that Jesus was saying this paraphrase “oh Peter, what do you mean that you are only my friend?”

I believe we can begin to see Peter’s change of heart in this attempt of Jesus to get him to love Him on the highest unconditional level. The KJV Bible translates Peter’s feelings as an emotion of “grief”.  The Greek word G3076 that is translated as “grieved” literally means that Peter was greatly saddened by Jesus asking Him 3 times.  However, I believe this is not completely accurate simply because Jesus did not ask Peter the same question the same way, 3 different times.  Either Peter is clueless to what Jesus was attempting to ask him or I am.   Please ask yourself this question and see if you can think of a reason why Jesus comes down to a much inferior love type in the final question.

WHY DID JESUS WANT PETER TO AGAPE HIM?

Please allow me to give you a solid foundation for why I believe that Jesus is attempting to teach Peter about his “phileo” love to change it into an “agapeo” love. We will begin this section with a verse spoken by Jesus before His death on the cross and subsequent ressurtion.  Let’s turn our Bibles to John chapter 14 and read:

Joh 14:15  If ye love me, keep my commandments.

You see Jesus taught this truth to us that if we “agape” (G26) Him, we will keep His commandments and this certainly implies that we will not let them slip away from our hearts and minds.   If the words of Jesus are first in our minds this will help us so that can continue to do them even in the tough times of persecution and other life challenges. This is why I believe that Jesus asks Peter what appears to be 3 different times in the English KJV translation what appears to be the same question.  I believe Jesus was teaching Peter the difference between just a human friend kind of love that can fail and the God kind of love that will never fail.  The God kind of love will obey Him and the friend kind of love may not obey when the going gets too tough and hard.  I believe Jesus was teaching us all that the road ahead is going to get very rocky and rough and we will need to raise our “love” level up much higher in order to endure it to keep doing what Jesus wants us to do for Him.

Joh 21:18  Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not. 

Joh 21:19  This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me. 

We should be able to understand more clearly what Jesus was trying to emphasize to Peter by reading the rest of the story in verses 18 and 19. Reading these verses we learn quickly that Jesus changes from the right now do you love me to the future tense of years to come.  This informs me that the “Agape” love is what is going to be needed to endure the life that Peter was going to experience.  If you read early church history you should find that Peter is crucified upside down on a cross.  Wow what a horrible death that was.  Not to mention the times he spent in jails and chains for preaching the gospel.  If Peter had not raised his love walk to the love level of Agape I do not believe Peter would have been able to succeed in following Christ’s example fully.

All we need to do is to read Acts chapter 2 to find out how quickly the “love” level was raised to God’s Agape type of love in Peter’s life. Remember that Peter goes from denying Jesus 3 time only 50 days earlier to now preaching about Him in public to thousands.  Can you see how this is a fulfillment of the command of Jesus to “Feed my Sheep”?  I can see it very clearly.  This act of preaching was a demonstration of Peter’s divine love and it displays such an amazing transformation from his previous “phileo” level of love commitment to Jesus.

I believe that this is a lesson for each Christ follower.  We do not fully know what will happen to us tomorrow but we can prepare for even the worst possible events by embracing the God kind of Agape Love.  I pray this short Bible lesson was a great blessing to you and an encouraging word from the Lord to raise your love walk with Him.  May God bless you always.

Bible Basics: Jesus Asks “Who Do You Say That I Am?” Part 2 – Believing in the Name of Jesus is a Requirement NOW!

whoami2(Ver 1.2)  This is Part 2 of a very fundamental and rudimentary but essential Bible Subject for every Christian to study, learn, understand and be able to share in an instant with all others in the world!  What is that vital subject you ask?  The subject that I am referring to is “Who is Jesus to you?”   If you did not read from the beginning I would strongly recommend that you go back to “Part 1” to begin reading the series because all of that information will not be repeated again and it was very important for your understanding of who Jesus should be to you.   The first lesson was a focused approach to understanding the significance of some of the most important revealed “Names” of Jesus in the Bible.  If you read the first lesson you know that I introduced you to 3 of these primary names of Jesus found in the New Testament.  There are of course several other revealed names and titles of Jesus that I did not mention.  Later in the series we will explore more of these names but I will mention at least two other direct names today in this lesson.

I hope after reading Part 1 that you at least have a better comprehension for the importance of these 3 Bible names of Jesus that were covered.  These names were 1) Jesus, 2) Emmanuel and 3) The Word of God.  All three names connected us directly to a personal divine appearance on the earth of the creator Lord God coming from heaven in the form of a man like us.  In today’s lesson we will expand the subject of these 3 names by adding two new names “Lord” and “King” and we will begin to address the question of what benefit is there for believing in these names of Jesus?  Were there any benefits in the early Church?  Are there any benefits to these names in the modern church?  Why is it important for us to even believe in the names of Jesus?  What occurs if we do not believe in Jesus being God in the flesh or in His revealed names?  We will soon be learning what the Bible says about what will happen if we believe in His name and what will happen if we do not.  Wow that sounds imperative to know.

In many of my Bible studies I place an added emphasis upon how to study the Bible.  Today’s lesson will be more of this type of double teaching effort.  I want to provide the reader with valuable spiritual information but at the same time I desire to teach a few of the rules and methods for how the information was obtained.  In this way I am teaching the reader more about “how to fish for information” than simply just offering them a “onetime fish meal of information”.  Of course the number one rule for every Bible study method is for us to be led by the Spirit of God and listen for His guidance as we study the Bible by faith.  Following this rule will insure that we are on the right path to not deviate from the way of finding the truth.  The Spirit of God is Truth (John 14:17) and we are told that He will guide us into all Truth (John 16:13).

INTRODUCTION TO THE NAME OF THE LORD

Let’s begin this Bible study using the important Bible study technique called “The Law of First Mention.  Today’s Bible study’s primary focus is upon the importance of knowing, understanding and believing in the name of Jesus.  So we will go back into the O.T. to find the name of God that is found within this name Jesus.  Perhaps you do not understand what the law of first mention represents.  I found through years of Bible study that the law of first mention is a very useful study technique to learn from and use.  This study law introduces us to the subject where God first mentions what we are interested in learning.  I have found consistently that God places key information in every initial subject reference that is critical to understanding almost every other subject reference in the rest of the Bible.  Since we learned in lesson 1 that the original language Hebrew name of Jesus was comprised of two Hebrew root words “Jehovah and Saves” we will focus in on the O.T. references to the name of God, Jehovah.  The first time this name Jehovah is used by God in the O.T. is found in Genesis 2.  Let us read the verse and learn what God introduces us to in this first subject mention:

Gen 2:4  These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens,

Did you notice that this verse connects the name Jehovah directly to the God of creation and the creation event itself?  In Genesis 1 the name of God primarily mentioned is H430 Elohim which is normally translated as “God”.  However in this verse in Genesis 2 Jehovah and Elohim are joined and used in conjunction together as a connecting force for equality, for clarification and for further definition.  I believe this simply teaches us that Jehovah is Elohim and Elohim is Jehovah.  Why is this important?  It is only important because in the New Testament in John 1 we saw another direct reference to GOD and to the creation event that must be included with Genesis 2:4 in order to be understood more thoroughly.  Let’s review the first three verses of John 1:

Joh 1:1  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Joh 1:2  The same was in the beginning with God.

Joh 1:3  All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

John 1:1 and Genesis 1:1 are parallel creation event verses connected together by God’s design.  God in the book of John further clarifies and bring newly defined light and revelation to the subject of creation and the Creator.   God is being declared equivalent to the Word in these verses and we are clearly informed that the Word created everything that was made.  We can now go back and reread Genesis 1 and find that this is exactly what happened.  God spoke His Word and the created things came forth and produce life.

In these verses in John the name of God is the Greek word “Theos” and this is the equivalent of the Hebrew name of God “Elohim” by direct association.  Notice, in Genesis 1:1 God says “In the beginning God (Elohim)…” and in John 1:1 God says “In the beginning God (Theos)…”.   I know technically it says “In the Beginning was the Word” but later in the verse God tells us the Word was God (Theos) and that is a basic Algebraic law at work that says if A = B and B = C then A = C.  Therefore I hope you understand why it is legal to say Elohim and Theos are equivalent but I will offer additional evidence as I continue in the lesson and probably repeat what I have said for the benefit of everyone.

One of the things that I want to teach in this lesson is that anytime God quotes even a portion of a verse from the O.T. in the N.T., He is connecting the words across a language boundary.   I hope you understand the importance of knowing this.  This technique of word structure, definition and equivalency is part of God’s internal technical design of the entire Bible.  God used this technique of quotation to help us and teach us the way through the complexity introduced by His usage between two main separations of languages found within the original Bible manuscripts.  The O.T. was written in predominately Hebrew and the N.T. was written in exclusively the Greek language.  So how do we resolve this major language separation when studying any subject in both the Old and the New Testaments?  We do it by finding and using God’s laws designed for us to follow.  Following God’s laws of how to cross language boundaries provide us very specific rules and boundary limits to avoid an “anything goes approach to Bible interpretation”.  Without following God’s established rules there is only a random unstructured chaos approach to interpretation taking place based upon human reasoning and that will usually fail us 100 times out of 100 attempts.  That is exactly why there are thousands of different Christian denominations in the world today.  Too many people are ignoring God’s rules and inventing their own ways to understand the Bible.

What we learn from this divinely designed language connection technique is that the Greek word Theos (G2316) is the equivalent word found within the Hebrew as the word Elohim (H430).  Do you understand this?  What I am saying is, if we were translating the O.T. original Hebrew language into the Greek language we would make the Hebrew word Elohim read as “Theos” because this is exactly what God did in the Bible and we should follow His example.  Conversely if we were translating the N.T. into Hebrew the Greek word “Theos” would be translated into “Elohim” because of God’s choice and not mine.  This is not that complicated but it is still a very essential concept to learn for correct Bible understanding and interpretation.    We can further confirm this truth of the word equivalence between the Hebrew Elohim and the Greek Theos by looking at several verses but I will give only one other verse to keep the lesson shorter:

Mat 4:7  Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.

This is an excellent verse to expand our knowledge from.  Jesus is quoting a commonly known O.T. verse in this statement within the Gospel account.  Here in Matthew God directly connects two very key Greek words together that we need to know.  The first Greek word is G2316 (Theos) which was translated as God and is the same word found in John 1:1 that we just looked at.  But now we can also see the second Greek word being connected to God (Theos) is G2962 (Kurios) which is translated as Lord in this verse.  This is the exact same word and name connection that God made in Genesis 2:4 if you recall.  The “Lord God” is in fact the name that I am looking for to further understand.  Now let’s go and review the original Hebrew statement being quoted by Jesus to learn the original Hebrew language words:

Deu 6:16  Ye shall not tempt the LORD your God, as ye tempted him in Massah.

Here again are the two key words LORD and God that are being researched having been connected by God’s design to the New Testament in the Matthew 4:7 quotation.  The Hebrew word H430 that was translated into English as “God” is Elohim and the Hebrew word H3068 that was translated as “LORD” in English is Jehovah.  We now have a very direct confirmation that the Hebrew word Jehovah is directly linked and is equivalent to the Greek word Kurios and the Hebrew word Elohim is directly linked and is equivalent to the Greek word Theos in all of scripture.  Do you understand why I could just say this?  If not there are more than enough verses quoted in the N.T. that you could go through to prove this statement if you want to do the work.  This is a very critical part of correct Bible study to find these types of details.  This should leave no room for doubt that we are on the right track learning about who is named LORD in both the O.T. and the N.T.  I do hope that you are beginning to understand where I am going.

Now let’s go back to John 1 and review again.  In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God (Theos = Elohim) and the Word was God (Theos = Elohim).  I just inserted the Greek and Hebrew equivalent words in this verse to help bring clarification to what God is speaking of.  John 1:1 is very clearly telling us that the Word is God (Theos = Elohim) and it further teaches us in verse 2 that the Word was with God in the beginning.   The terms “with God” and “is God” sound like conflicting statements but these are only possible because of the triune nature of God Almighty (Father, Son and Holy Spirit).

Then in verse 3 God (Theos = Elohim) speaks clearly that all things that were made by God (Theos = Elohim) and everything that was made was made by the Word.  Wow that is awesome information to teach us something very new and profound.  Go back and review Genesis 2:4 again to make the connection.  Genesis 2:4 said “Jehovah Elohim” created the heavens and the earth.  Do you see the direct connection being made to who Jehovah was?   Can you see that the “Word = God” in John 1 is the exact same God as the “Jehovah = God” in Genesis 2:4?  Both are speaking of who created our world.  I believe overwhelmingly that the LORD GOD is the same as the WORD GOD and they are equivalent and I will prove that statement further as I continue in the lesson.

Let’s review some of the basic mathematical laws again to help us understand the Bible more clearly.  The Bible was authored by the same God that created math so it just makes logical sense for us to apply the same laws of God’s math design to God’s application of His Word.  Do you remember what I said earlier?   I said that God Theos = God Elohin by God’s usage of quoted O.T. verses found in the N.T.  I then said LORD Kurios = LORD Jehovah using the same type God’s N.T. quoted examples.  Now using John 1 we learn how God connects the “Word” was equal to “God” which was equal to “Theos” which was equal to “Elohim”.  I think this may be going over the head of many of my readers but that does not mean that I should not be teaching it.  Now using the divinely connected verses of Deuteronomy 6:17 and Matthew 4:7 we learned that Jehovah Elohim (Hebrew) = LORD God (English) = Kurios Theos (Greek).  I think I need to say this again because it is so very important for you to embrace, using O.T. quoted verse words in the New Testament we now know that Jehovah Elohim = Kurious Theos = LORD God.  I am just laying a very important foundation for more knowledge that is coming.

Ok if I haven’t left you behind so far I want to go a bit deeper.  Recall from lesson 1 that Joshua was the original Hebrew name of Jesus.  Never, never forget that Jesus was born a Jew and spoke the Hebrew language and not the Greek language.  Jesus said very plainly that He was only sent to the lost sheep of Israel (Mat 15:24).  When people met Jesus on the road they called Him “Yeshua” (Hebrew) = Joshua (English transliteration) = Jesus (Greek to English transliteration).  This Hebrew name came down from heaven and was given to Him by an angel of the LORD GOD.  As I have stated more than once we should know that the name Joshua was the Hebrew word H3091 and this meant “Jehovah Saved” which comes from two root words H3068 Jehovah and H3467 yasha being joined together.  We have just learned that Jehovah (Hebrew) = Kurios (Greek).  Therefore we can by the mathematical law of equivalency say Jesus’ name was the same as Kurios Saved because that would be the legal name using the Greek language equivalent.  Why is this important?  We will soon find out very quickly as we continue.   I hope and pray that you are interested in learning because this is only going to get better.

I have already established who the Word of God was stated to be in Lesson 1 of this series.  The Word of God was a given name for Jesus revealed by God to us in the N.T. (Revelation 19:3). I have just emphasized that the name of Jesus was a Hebrew name originally and it is comprised of two key words Jehovah Saves.  We are discovering further confirmation that Jesus was Jehovah come to save His people just as He was prophesied to do.  So let’s now move on to further study that subject in the next section of the lesson to go even deeper.

CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD

Psa 20:9  Save, LORD: let the king hear us when we call.

This is my opening key verse to this entire section of the lesson.  Please, notice what God says.  The verse begins with “Save Lord”.  Uh oh do you remember what that means in Hebrew?  Opening in this verse are found the two key Hebrew root words that comprise the name of Joshua and Jesus.  These words that were translated correctly as “save” and “LORD” are H3467 and H3068.  Wow this is pretty good stuff if you are paying attention.  I’ll say it again “these are the exact two Hebrew words that make up the name of Jesus” and this verse in the Bible calls Him the King that saves the people that call upon Him.  Save us Lord (JEHOVAH) is the cry being made by the people in this verse.  These were people on the earth crying out for the LORD to save them.   So let me ask you who came to save them?  Who is your savior today?  Is it not Jesus?  I know Jesus saved me for sure, but I cannot speak for you.

We are told that they are crying out and calling for a king to save them.  I’ll ask you again, “Who is this king that will save them”?  Wow again, because if you know the N.T. just a little bit you know that Jesus is called the “King of kings” in Revelation 19:16 another divinely appointed name and title.  I told you earlier that we were going to learn a new Name of Jesus today and that was it.  Jesus is the KING of kings which clearly qualifies Him to be called upon according to this verse.  Now know and believe that Jesus is this King and make the connection being made to Jesus our Savior and Lord in Psalms 20:9.  Jehovah Saves = Joshua/Jesus and the people are calling upon this King named Jehovah for their salvation.  Could it really be that Jesus is this prophesied King that will come to save us who call upon the Lord/JEHOVAH?  I believe beyond a shadow of doubt that it is Him and we will certainly see many more verses in this lesson that will affirm that this King is Jesus.

What I am trying to teach over and over in this lesson until we all get it is that Jehovah is Jesus and Jesus is the Jehovah God that has saved us when we believe in Him and call upon His name.  Now let’s shift our focus slightly to a different first mention in the O.T. concerning those that “called on the name of JEHOVAH”.  In this part of the section we will look at when men first began to call on the name of the Lord in the Old Testament.  This is accomplished by a simple Bible text search within a good Bible search software program like “eSword”.  If you do the search you will find the first mention of the words “name of the Lord” to be in Gen 4:26:

Gen 4:26  And to Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enos: then began men to call upon the name of the LORD.

Seth is the third named son of Adam and Eve.  Seth has a son and names him Enos.  Enos is the same as the Hebrew word H582 that means “mortal” and I find that fact very interesting when observed by what God connects within the context of this verse to this name Enos being given.  Enos was born approximately 235 years after Adam’s creation.  You may recall by reading earlier in the context of Genesis 4 that Adam and Eve had a son named “Cain” first and then they had another son named “Abel”.  The older brother Cain murders his younger brother Abel and this is the first direct mention of any natural human death occurring in our world in the Bible.  I’ll say it again that this natural death of Abel entering into the world was the first recorded occurrence of human mortality to actually be observed by any other human on the earth.  God plainly prophesied and warned Adam that death would come if he sinned and disobeyed God’s command.   It was truly the sinful disobedience of Adam that allowed death to enter into the world according to Romans 5:12.  I personally believe that it was the observed death of Abel the first human’s blood to be shed upon the earth that caused this verse in Genesis 4:26 to come to pass.

I believe that as soon as men and women on the earth began to realize the great impact and consequences of human sin they began to call upon the name of the Lord/Jehovah.  Why do you think that people would feel the need to call on the name of the Lord in Genesis 4:26?  What were they calling Him for? That is a very great question to ponder.  What benefit was there to calling on the name Jehovah at this time or anytime?  Was there actually any profit for doing this?  I firmly believe that there was then and still is now.  Let’s look at an example of one O.T. stated benefit for calling upon the name of the Lord:

Psa 99:6  Moses and Aaron among his priests, and Samuel among them that call upon his name; they called upon the LORD, and he answered them.

Notice that Moses, Aaron and Samuel all called on the God named Jehovah.   Let me ask you this question, if you are calling on the name of Buddha will the LORD God named Jehovah answer?  If you are calling on the name of Hare Krishna will the LORD Jehovah answer?  What about the name of the sun god Ra or the mythological god named Zeus?  What if you called upon the name Allah?  Will the LORD Jehovah answer to any of these names?  Let’s look at a great Bible example of why it is so very important to call upon the right name and the right God:

1Ki 18:24  And call ye on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the LORD: and the God that answereth by fire, let him be God. And all the people answered and said, It is well spoken.

Wow this verse is pretty awesome.   Elijah challenges the priests of the false gods and tells them to call upon the name of their gods and he would call upon the name of Jehovah the true living God just like Moses, Aaron and Samuel did and the God that answered by fire would be God.  That was an overwhelming display of faith in the name of Jehovah by Elijah.  If you read the rest of the chapter you will find who heard, who answered and who prevailed in this challenge and it was the God named Jehovah.  Was there any advantage gained by Elijah for him to call upon Jehovah?  It is very self-evident that there was a great benefit found in this example for Elijah’s faith and wise choice to call upon Jehovah.

This is just a very basic fact of truth being taught.  If you called me by the name of John when my real name was Ron, please understand that I will probably not answer you.  If you want a response from anyone you should probably know their name. If you want someone to answer you, it is wise to call them by their name.  These are very simple truths yet extremely important to know.  We could say that this “call on the right name and He will answer knowledge” is just “common sense” but yet this human quality seems to be an escaping virtue to possess these days for so many.  God gives us examples in Psalms 99:6 of a few select men that called upon His name.  These men were Moses, Aaron and Samuel and they are said to have all called upon the name of Jehovah and it tells us clearly that they received a response from Him.  That is the first astounding benefit revealed by God in this lesson for believing in His name and calling upon the name of the Lord.  God teaches us that if we call upon His name then He will hear us and He will answer because He is no respecter of persons.  Therefore, if your LORD is Jesus then call upon Jesus and see if He hears and answers the same as Jehovah did in these examples.  I believe that we have already established with scripture that Jesus was Jehovah in the flesh in lesson 1 but we re exploring more evidence in this lesson to remove all doubt.

CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD BENEFITS

I introduced you to just one of the benefits to calling upon the name of the Lord in the previous section. This section will continue the lesson with more of the stated benefits for believing in the name of the correct Lord and calling upon His name.  I want to begin this section of the lesson with a verse for you to read and then ask you a question to why it is important.  Please read over this verse carefully noting what is stated and then you begin to ask yourself questions from what you believe that God has given to you to know:

Act 4:18  And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.

Notice the Apostles were teaching others about Jesus and this made the Jews very angry.  But more specifically notice that the apostles were teaching directly about the “name of Jesus”.  Wow that sounds important to me.  Why would it even be necessary for the apostles to teach in the name of Jesus?  Could there have been any directly stated or even implied benefits that were attached to this name that needed to be made known to the others that heard?  Could the others that heard the name of Jesus being taught also gain any benefits from hearing about His name?  Why would Satan not want the “name of Jesus” to be spread to others? According to this verse there must be some great significance for teaching in the name of Jesus that the enemy wants to silence.  This name of Jesus sounds very important to me and I hope you will agree.  This is exactly why I am spending so much time teaching on the name of Jesus.

We are studying the reasons why the belief in the name of Jesus and calling on His name is very essential.  We have discovered that when we call upon the name of the Lord, He says that He hears us and that He will answer.   We can learn some very key facts to know about the name of the Lord Jesus if we open our spiritual eyes to see and receive them.  The word benefit is defined as “an advantage or a profit gained from something given or obtained”.  The something in this case given is for us “to believe in the name of Jesus” and then “to call upon this name of Jesus”.  The profit and advantage gained from doing these two simple things may be far greater than you can possibly imagine right now.  Before I go further I’ll state the antithesis truth of what I just said.  The opposite truth states that the losses and disadvantages that are faced by not believing in the name of the Lord and not calling upon the name of the Lord Jesus could be infinitely consequential to your life.  Let’s get started with learning some of the essential benefits and advantages for learning the name of the LORD:

Psa 116:12  What shall I render unto the LORD for all his benefits toward me?

Psa 116:13  I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the LORD.

Here are two great subject verses.  The Hebrew word in verse 12 translated as benefits means to “bestow on” or to “deal bountifully” with someone.  That reveals to us that God by His freewill and sovereign choice has placed His infinite divine grace and favor upon those that call upon His name.  But many will try to say that these verses are not about Jesus so why are you including it here?  However that is really not true.  Almost everything in the Old Testament points us to Jesus even if you do not see it at first.  I teach that Jesus is the central themed subject of the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation.

Verse 12 teaches us that we cannot earn or repay what God is prophesied to do for us in this verse or now has done for us after Christ has come.  However, this undeserved gift is truly a New Testament Grace concept.  What is God talking about here that cannot be repaid?  Verse 13 gives us a glimpse into what one of these coming benefits is.  Salvation is the stated primary subject benefit for believing and calling on the name of the LORD.  However, this “cup of salvation” must be taken by the one that it is being offered to.  God does not force anyone to drink from this saving cup. This cup is what God has offered to every man, woman and child on the earth.  God has extended the cup of salvation to each of us in this life.  If we choose to take it we will be saved.  How does this work?  God tells you in the last part of verse 13.   We must call upon the name of the LORD.  Again that sounds critical to know.   Could that be the reason why the Apostles in Acts were teaching the people about the name of Jesus?

The key name of God found in verses 12 and 13 are translated as LORD which is the Hebrew word H3068 again referred to in English transliteration as “Jehovah”.  The Hebrew word Jehovah is included by God in over 5500 verses of the O.T.   Jehovah is also a root word of the name of the English transliterated name of Jesus as I have previously taught several times now.  What we need to do is to learn if there are any other supporting God given connections of Jesus being Jehovah.  So let’s establish truth using the Bible and the Spirit of God to guide us.  Consider this important subject verse next:

Rom 10:13  For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Here in this chapter’s context is found the primary subjects of human salvation in conjunction with the belief and placing our faith in the name of Jesus in order to be saved.  Did you notice what this verse said?  God tells us that whoever shall choose to make a decision and call on the name of the LORD they and they alone will be saved.  Who is this LORD?  I believe if you are intelligent you will know that this LORD is speaking of only Jesus Christ.

Now please know and understand that this verse in Romans 10:13 is a direct quotation of another Old Testament verse about Jehovah found in Joel 2:32.  Wow, that is just an amazing coincidence that God through the inspired writer Paul would use an obscure O.T. verse to teach us that the N.T. man named Jesus is the same LORD as O.T. named Jehovah.  You see the Hebrew word that is translated as LORD in Joel 2:32 is Jehovah (H3068) the exact word found in over 5500 verses of the Old Testament and the Greek word in Romans 10:13 that is translated as Lord is Kurios (G2932) the same word we have been learning is the equivalent language match.  Again these two verses in Romans and Joel further establish that the Greek word G2932 and the Hebrew word H3068 are equivalent words about the same subject just across a language division boundary.  Are you getting it yet?  I hope so.

I hope and pray that you are beginning to learn why this is so important.  God is teaching us that the O.T. Jehovah (LORD) is the same as the N.T. Lord Jesus using the direct law of inspired quotation.  They must both be the same person called by one name “LORD” in two different languages.  God is teaching us that it was Him, the Jehovah/Lord God that became Jesus and walked among us to save us.  Why can’t people see this?  People do not see the truth because the Bible says in 2 Corinthians 4:4 their minds have been blinded by the god of this world (Satan).  Satan is still trying to stop people like me from teaching on the name of Jesus and who He is.  There is truly nothing new under the sun.

There are so very many people who call themselves saved Christians and ignore the Bible.  They do not believe that Jesus was God come in the flesh and I believe this endangers their salvation tremendously.  These types of people take their selective verses and attempt to prove Jesus was just a man, just a prophet or even just an angel sent down from heaven.  This type of belief leaves God’s direct participation and contribution in our salvation process completely out of the picture.  It would further make Jesus an impersonal created unwilling participant and would certainly deny His deity.  In other words some believe that God sent or created someone else instead of coming Himself to save us.  That type of belief denies the name of Jesus to be meaningful.  Wow that is such a huge deception being pulled over the spiritual eyes of people.  Let’s move to two other verse witnesses that Jesus Himself spoke:

Luk 6:46  And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?

Joh 13:13  You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am.

In the first verse Jesus asks “Why do you call me Lord (Kurios) and do not do what I say?”  In the second verse Jesus says “You call me teacher and Lord (Kurios) and you speak well because I am (He)”.  However, remember again the basic fact that Jesus was a Jew and spoke Hebrew, so He was not speaking the Greek language when He said these statements even though it was recorded in the Greek language for us to read.  This means from our previous study that Jesus said Luke 6:46 “Why call you me “Jehovah” “Jehovah” and do not do what I say?” and in John 13:13 He said “You call me teacher and JEHOVAH and You are correct I am”.  Wow, Wow and Wow!  Are you receiving who Jesus claimed to be?  Get what Jesus is saying.  Think like a Hebrew for a few moments!  Put yourself in the audience when Jesus made these statements and you will soon understand why many picked up stones to kill Him.

Jesus is directly claiming to be God Almighty in the flesh with both of these statements.  Nowhere in the New Testament does Jesus ever dispute being the Jehovah LORD.  Nowhere does Jesus ever deny being God Jehovah incarnate.  In fact the completely opposite is actually found true.  Jesus repeatedly alluded to the fact that He had come down from heaven and that He and His Father were ONE (John 10:30).  Yet so many people refuse to see the truth and they choose to buy into a lie of Satan so easily.  Here is another additional witness to insure the accuracy of Jesus being Jehovah:

Act 2:21  And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Let every word of truth be established in the mouth of two or three witnesses the Bible teaches.  God again quotes the prophet Joel here in this verse in Acts.  This verse is a duplication of Roman’s 10:13 statement.  The Apostle Peter after being filled with the Holy Ghost stands up and preaches to the multitude that was found present to hear him.  If you read the context you will find that He is speaking directly of Jesus as being this “Lord” that Joel prophesied about coming.  Wow again, is that not just a little bit crazy?  I’m being humorous by asking that question.  No, Peter was not crazy.  Peter was a Jewish man also and he was quoting a Hebrew verse about Jehovah claiming that it was written about Jesus.  Therefore, Peter claimed that Jesus was Jehovah come down to the earth and was teaching this to anyone that hears it.

We just read that Jesus Himself claimed to be Jehovah.  Then if men like Peter believed Jesus was Jehovah and Paul believed Jesus was Jehovah why don’t you?   We would have to follow a completely different and false Gospel in order to believe in a salvation process that did not come from the God Jehovah personally being present on the earth to die for our sins.   I would strongly suggest that you go and reread Roman 10 and Acts 2 again and again to see how God used the Joel prophecy to describe Jesus as being LORD (Jehovah).  This is exactly what was being proclaimed by the early church believe it or not.  I am going to take this divine message even deeper to help you to learn the truth.  You are probably familiar with this verse but hopefully new light will shine upon it so that you will see it differently:

Rom 10:9  That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

Paul a Jew writes that “if you will confess (call, speak, say) with your mouth the LORD Jesus….you will be saved”.  The Greek word translated as “LORD” in this verse is the same G2962 Kurios that we have learned is the equivalent to the Hebrew Jehovah.  Now change this one word Lord in the sentence and reread the verse:

Rom 10:9  That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth JEHOVAH is Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

I made three minor but legitimate changes to the KJV Bible verse.  I took away “the”, added “is” and change Lord to the Equivalent Hebrew word “JEHOVAH”.  All of this was legal.  I will confirm this with using the amplified translation:

Rom 10:9  Because if you acknowledge and confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord (JEHOVAH) and in your heart believe (adhere to, trust in, and rely on the truth) that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

Notice how the amplified translated the original Greek.  I added the word (JEHOVAH) to bring clarity because this was the original Hebrew equivalent word.  The amplified Bible said for us to say “Jesus is LORD” and by the law of Algebraic equivalence we know that we can or should say “Jesus is Jehovah”.  BY believing who Jesus was and making this statement we are declaring Jesus to be Jehovah our God and this verse says when we do that we will be saved.  This harmonizes precisely with the verses we just looked at in Joel 2:32, Romans 10:13 and Acts 2:21.

What we are learning is that our New Covenant salvation is found in believing that Jesus is the God Jehovah.  Before we end this section we will observe an additional essential reference for this part of the benefits to the name of Jesus subject study:

Act 4:10  Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole.

Act 4:11  This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner.

Act 4:12  Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

Here in these verses we find the primary reason for believing in the name of Jesus and calling upon His name.  Peter very clearly teaches us that there is no other name under heaven given among men where we can even think to be saved.  Wow, wow and wow!!!    Here we again get confirmation that the name of Jesus is an absolute necessity for being saved.  This implies that we must know who this name was given to and what He represents.  What makes this name different than anyone else’s name on the earth?  Why would Satan want us to not teach about this name, learn or know this name?  Anyone telling you that Jesus was not God is from Satan and you have a choice to believe them or not.  I am telling you plainly that Jesus was God using more than enough verses from the Bible to establish the truth and you have the same choice to believe what I say from the Bible or not.

We should learn that salvation is the primary need to learn, know and believe in the name of Jesus, but there is also another quick reference given to us in verse 10 that should be mentioned.  If you read the context you will find why Peter is speaking about Jesus and His name.  Peter had just used his faith in the name of Jesus to cause a lame man at the temple gate to walk.  It was this name of Jesus that Peter said made the man whole.  The Greek word translated as whole means to be healed and made complete.  That teaches us that salvation is much more than just God taking our spirits to heaven after we die.  No the Greek word translated as salvation is “sozo” and it means to be made whole spiritually, mentally and physically.   Go back in Acts and read verse 9 where Peter is telling the elders “by what means this man was made whole”.  The Greek word “whole” in this verse is G4928 “sozo” and it means “to save, deliver or protect”.  This word is used in the N.T. in a varied and wide all-inclusive process.  The name of Jesus saves us in so many ways that most of us have not yet realized or believed.  I’m really not going to get into this part of the meaning of salvation any further in this lesson.  I have other lessons that will expand upon this if you are interested.

What we must conclude from just these few verses that I have gone through so far today is that Jesus was Jehovah come down to save, deliver and protect us by our faith in His name and saying He is our Jehovah (LORD).  That is what the name Jesus means and that was what has occurred and is offered to you if you choose to believe it and receive it.  Therefore, our salvation is the most important reason for believing in and calling upon the name of the Lord Jesus.  This truth was clearly established in Romans 10:13 and Acts 2:21.  We are commanded to call upon His name and God says we will be saved.  Satan will fight you over this and try with all his power to get you not to believe this because this will take you out of his kingdom of darkness and he will no longer be your lord.  I seriously hope and pray that you understand what is being said here because the antithesis truth not directly stated is that if you do not believe or call upon the name of Jesus you will not be saved and go to hell.

DIVINE SIGNIFICANCE FOR THE NAME OF JESUS

I am going to conclude this name of Jesus Bible lesson with a final message of warning.  This warning comes directly from God’s Word and not from my imagination.  I am just the messenger that is delivering the warning.  Paul is writing to the church in these next few verses and we should take special heed to what is stated especially in the light of what we have learned so far about Jesus is Lord/Jehovah.  Turn to Philippians chapter 2 and read with me:

Php 2:5  Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

Php 2:6  Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:

Php 2:7  But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:

Php 2:8  And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

Php 2:9  Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:

Php 2:10  That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;

Php 2:11  And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

According to God people can bow their knees to the name of the LORD Jesus right now by their choice or they will be forced to bow later without a choice.  There are no other options given to us.  It is and always will be a right now decision by an act of freewill humble submission and surrender or later by an act of superior force.  You need to spend a lot of time reading these verses and understanding what is being revealed about Jesus conforms to everything that I have taught up until this point and then realize who God claimed Himself to be in His written Holy Word.  Verses 5 through 8 teach us about God coming down from heaven and taking on the form of a human male.  He humbles Himself to be a servant in order to die on a cross for our sins.  Verse 9 is referring to God raising Jesus from the dead to ascend back into heaven being given a much superior name above every other name.

Read down to verse 11 and notice who Jesus is written by God’s design to be again.  God tells us in this verse that every tongue will confess that “Jesus is LORD”.  Who is this LORD?  Always remember that the Greek word translated as “LORD” is G2962 Kurios the exact same word that we learned earlier that was equivalent to the Hebrew word H3068 JEHOVAH by God’s definition?  If God inspired the writer Paul to write this message in his native Hebrew language instead of the Greek, what would it have said?  Remember the writer Paul was a native Jew by his own admission.   Paul would have thought thoughts primarily in the Hebrew language.  Therefore, reread the statement inserting the Hebrew word equivalent, “every tongue will confess that JESUS CHRIST IS JEHOVAH”.  Wow that is a very strong word of warning for us to believe in right now.  I really do not understand why people do not think when they read the Bible.  The truth is staring them right in the face but it is hidden from their view by wrong thinking.  Please confess that Jesus is Jehovah right now because later you will be forced to say it but it will be too late.

CONCLUSION

We have only begun to touch on this very major subject of believing that Jesus is Jehovah and calling upon the name of Jesus to be saved.  I have only introduced you to a very small portion of the importance of the name of Jesus. However, we have seen more than enough reasons and evidence to confirm the significance of why it is vitally essential to know Jesus by name and who He was as Jehovah incarnate.   I have also taught on why we all need to believe and call upon this name in order to be saved using multiple verse confirmations.  We have learned a few reasons to know what is gained from believing in the name of Jesus and by calling upon Him by name.  It is very clear from Bible research that the early church taught on this subject of the name of Jesus everywhere they encountered people that needed to be saved. If the early church placed such great emphasis on Jesus being Jehovah why should we not do the exact same?   I will list a few benefits for doing this now again for a quick synopsis overview:

  1. When we believe on Him we will call and when we do not believe we will not call.
  2. When we call upon Him, He will hear us.
  3. When He hears us, God says that He will answer.
  4. All who believe and call on the name of the LORD Jesus will be saved.
  5. Salvation is found in absolutely no other name but the name of Jesus.
  6. I’ll say it again, there is no other name given to men whereby we may be saved.
  7. Never forget to tell people that Jesus is Jehovah.

I appreciate you taking the time to read this Bible lesson.  I do pray that it opened your eyes to see some things that you have never considered before about Jesus and God’s Word.  I hope and pray that this lesson will give sufficient evidence to convince any doubters to confess Jesus is Jehovah now.  If you have the opportunity to share my website with your friends and family I would be so grateful for your help spread the Word of God to others.  Thank you all and God Bless you until next time.

Predestination Revisited! – Part 4 — God’s Invitation to the Wedding

invitation4(Ver 1.1) Today I am teaching another lesson on the highly controversial subject of “predestination” or “election” as it is also referred to many times.  This is Part 4 of what should be a basic Bible study series concerning a very difficult and easily misunderstood Bible subject that is taken to extremes to place deception into the minds and lives of Christians.  Satan does this to remove human “freewill” as being a factor for salvation.  It further removes human responsibility to getting saved or staying saved.  The extreme predestination philosophy allows an anything goes belief for acceptable human behavior without consequences of guilt or punishment.  It removes the need for repentance, believing, learning, growing up spiritually and many other factors for a successful Christian life.  If you have not read this series form the beginning I would strongly recommend that you go back and start with “Part 1” and then proceed forward to today’s Bible lesson.  In doing this you will get a more complete understanding of the entire subject.

In today’s lesson I will begin addressing more specifically two sets of Bible verses that are commonly used by extreme teachers to preach their erroneous doctrine of extreme “predestination”.  I received a question from a friend and this will be an answer for everyone to read and benefit from.  I was asked about Ephesians 1:3-11 and Romans 8:28-30 and I have to admit that reading these verses in isolation certainly gives us all the appearance of a valid “predestination” theology on the surface.  But was this what God did?  Did God predestine some to heaven and some to hell without any human participation or determination upon where they wanted to go?

It might surprise you that I agree with a part of the “predestination” theology.  The word “predestinate” is certainly a part of the Bible and this means we need to learn about it.  Bible “Predestination” simply means a divine plan was put into place by the sovereign mind and will of God and God putting His plan into action has predetermined the outcome result.  That is “predestination” in a very limited definition form.  Predestination simply means a predetermined outcome was planned by God by placing severe limits upon the possible outcomes.   That is what the word means and that is what God is bound to do but taking that definition and teaching what people do today is totally absurd.

I completely agree that God had a plan in place for human salvation long before He did anything to create our world.  This plan involved Jesus who was the Almighty God in the flesh coming to the earth as the sacrificial lamb (Rev 13:8).  Therefore God predetermined before man even existed that He would  come down to the earth in the form of sinful flesh (Rom 8:3) to die for the payment of our sins removing our penalty for them while we were all yet sinners (Romans 5:8).  This is the part of the doctrine of “Predestination” that I believe in with my whole heart and I hope and pray that you do also.

I also totally agree that God has omniscient foreknowledge of every event within human history and uses these events to put His plan into effect.  However, the problem that arises very quickly is when people take these basic truths and stretch them into realms of beliefs that are not stated in the Bible.  For example many people teach that God has predestined some to go to heaven and some to go to hell by His sovereign will and choice.  That part of the doctrine of predestination represents a line in the sand that I refuse to cross because it violates God’s written word and makes Him to be a liar and my God is not a liar.  I have already taught in three lessons about many things concerning why extreme predestination does not balance or conform to God’s entire precious Holy Word and we will be going into even more verses today because this is absolutely so important and vital for every Christian to understand.

AN INTRODUCTION AGAIN TO SALVATION

I realize that these verses that were given to me from Ephesians and Romans appear to confirm predestination as a legitimate theological doctrine.  I’m very sure that these are two of the primary references being used by pastors to teach on the subject of “predestination”.  But the extreme teaching and interpretation of these verses is by far not even close to being a correct or accurate representation of who God is or what God says.  These extreme teachings are certainly not balanced properly with the rest of the Bible.  For example let’s begin talking briefly about how we were saved according to scriptures:

 Eph 2:8  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 

Gal 3:26  For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.

Here we have some of the most important basics of Christianity and salvation.  God declares that we have been saved by God’s Grace but only in conjunction through our faith and we have been also made the children of God by our Faith in Christ Jesus also given only by God’s Grace.  Therefore it is only because of our faith and belief in Jesus that has accomplished salvation by God’s Grace.  If we have NO faith in Christ and choose NOT to believe in Him then we are not saved nor are we called His children.  Knowing this truth is the foundation for the rest of Christianity which causes spiritual growth to continue helping us to see our role, relationship and purpose for being saved in Christ.  Therefore I’m going to say something that may blow your mind but according to God’s Word it is the freewill choice of man to believe that determines whether or not we are selected (saved) and not God selecting us that determined our salvation.  I’ll probably get a lot of negative comments and may even lose some readers because of that statement but so what I’m not going to change God’s word to fit your theology.  It is really so very simple yet this scriptural truth of human faith being the determining factor for our salvation is ignored completely by many extreme “predestination” only preachers.  Let’s look at a new verse briefly to learn an additional confirmation of who should be considered the chosen and how they became this:

2Th 2:13  But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:

We should be able to clearly see at first glance that God has chosen us from the beginning.  This is a basic predestination verse that teachers like to grab hold of to easily misunderstand the subject.  However, this verse is another example of divine and human partnership working together to achieve our salvation.  You see there are two direct things mentioned that God does in this verse and these are 1).  God has chosen us to (for) salvation and God has done this 2). Through a process called sanctification.  Then there are two direct things that we as Christians are said to do and these are 1). Give thanks to God for what He has done and 2). Believe the truth.   The key word I want to focus upon is the Greek word G4102 translated as “belief” in this verse.  This Greek word literally means to be persuaded of something.  It can be translated as “believe” or “belief” or even “faith”.  This is a word for humans not God.  This Greek word represents what we do.  It is a verb action of human response after hearing the Gospel (good news) of what God has done through Jesus Christ.  We are required to have faith in order to please God according to Hebrew 11:6.  Thus we are given one of the primary reasons for being chosen or selected by God is because of our faith.   In other words if you don’t believe or have any faith you will not be selected.  Do you understand this?  People want to say it was only God’s sovereign choice and His right to choose some and reject others that caused us to be saved or lost but that is foolish thinking based upon poor human reasoning with no scriptural backing for that belief.  No, the truth is that we determine whether we will be selected by our faith in Jesus Christ.  It is so easy when you finally see it.

ROMANS 8:28-30

 I was asked specifically about Romans 8:28-30 and Ephesians 1:3-11.  I’ll talk about Romans 8 first in this lesson but everything that is written could apply to Ephesians 1 also.  There are at least three mistakes that Bible teachers take upon themselves with their wrong interpretations of these scriptures that cause error to go forth to be taught.  First they ignore the context of the verses and that is taking phrases out of their setting to say what they think they want them to say instead of what they actually say.  Second there is a common problem of seeing verses from the wrong scriptural point of view to make the verses again say what they want instead of what God actually said being balanced with all other verses on the subject of human FREEWILL.  You see context is also much more than just the verses in the surrounding chapter.  Context must also include the whole Bible and every scripture that is related to the subject directly or indirectly.  God is one author of one book and people taking one statement without the rest will lead us to error.   Third there is the problem that occurs when an assumption is drawn based upon no direct facts being given.  We must not make assumptions if God does not give us two or three witnesses to our belief.

Let’s go over a quick overview of good interpretation and understanding principles.  We need to first learn to read and study the context of the verse within the chapter, the book, and the entire Bible in order to understand any single statement better and more clearly.  Next then we need to read the Bible using the correct perspective.  Many times we should consider what is written from God’s viewpoint since He is the admitted author of the text.  God’s viewpoint is normally from a very spiritual perspective because He is a Spirit.  God’s spiritual viewpoint is superior and normally conflicts with the human natural viewpoint (Romans 8:7).  We learn this principle from several Bible selections including Romans 8 that we are currently studying but consider another reference found in 1 Samuel 16:7 when God spoke to the prophet and told him not to look on the outward appearance of the man (flesh) because God looks upon his heart (spirit).  Wow, that is an awesome bit of knowledge to learn from and apply in our lives and study today.

Now consider the fact that there are other possible verses in the Bible that are directly related to the subject of “predestination”.  These verses must also be considered contextual information that should be weighed together.  Wouldn’t any or all of these other verses possibly have an impact in determining how we need to believe in the whole subject of predestination?  I believe they do.  Finally after reading and studying the whole subject we should be able to gather together all the known facts and use these to drive our belief process after we have felt confident that we understand the verses adequately enough to do so.  Finally, as part of the drawing conclusions process we must never conclude anything unless we have 2 to 3 factual Bible witnesses of the conclusion from the Bible and I’m going to talk about this next.

For example NOWHERE in the Bible does it say that God predestined men to go to hell and that is a very wrong assumption and belief that many people have created in their minds and have bought into it like it was the truth because they think they were “selected” to go to heaven and therefore nothing they ever did effected them to get saved or nothing they will ever do can or will ever change their status of salvation.  What a lie of the devil.  If that was actually true then a lot of the N.T. is not necessary.  In fact we can take that further and say the Bible as a whole is unnecessary for salvation.  No one would need to preach the gospel, no one would need to believe the Gospel, and no one would need to go to church, no one needs to read the Bible and no one would even need to pray because God’s will would always be done regardless of what we do or say or pray.  Also there would be no need for there to be any BIBLE commandments from God or instructions or warnings in the Bible for us to not be deceived or to depart from the Lord (Heb 3:12, 1 Tim 4:16, Gal 5:15, 1 Cor 10:12, 1 Cor 15:33, Gal 6:7, Luk 21:8, …. and others).

Let’s talk about the context first of Romans 8.  The verses directly prior to these verses asked about speak of praying in tongues also called praying in the Spirit.  I know it does not say it directly but that is how God wrote it in order to give man a choice to believe or not believe in speaking and praying in tongues.  So let’s read the preceding two verses for direct contextual understanding:

Rom 8:26  Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

Rom 8:27  And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.

Ok “intercession is mentioned twice and “prayer” is directly mentioned in verse 26.   The key to knowing this is not just any kind of prayer is the fact that God is helping us to pray it.  Therefore this is a supernatural prayer language because man can only pray a natural type of prayer language without God’s help.  Do you understand this?  God gives us the ability to pray supernaturally by helping us with the words  to speak that cannot be normally uttered with natural human reasoning as He has stated in verse 26.  In the Greek language this word means these words cannot be understood r spoken with the normal human articulate speech process.  When we pray in the Spirit, God gives us the words and these are usually words not understood by people but rather they are heard by God and known by God for our benefit and this is why God says in verse 28 that He will cause all things to work together for our good.  God does this primarily so that Satan does not know what is being prayed and can make an effort to stop it from coming to pass.

The reason I talked about praying in tongues is because the next verses following these statements are now conditional upon people praying in the Spirit in order to be qualified for what is said to happen next.  Uh oh that changes everything or at least it should.  We could talk a lot about other things written about in chapter 8.  For example there is a whole discourse concerning the flesh verses the spirit.  Those walking the flesh are not qualifying for the rest of the chapter either.  But I know I was asked about the verses concerning “predestination” and that is where I will go next.  Let’s jump down to verse 30 to see where the controversy really begins:

Rom 8:30  Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

This verse begins with “Whom He did predestinate”.  Ok, this is pretty compelling if you only read it in isolation that God selected some and therefore must have rejected others by assumed indirection even though it does not say that directly.    It is clear that God did select those that this verse was written to in the church but again nowhere does it say that God rejected those that were not in the church.  I MEAN NO WHERE!   Also there is a Greek word found here that needs our further attention.  This Greek word is G2564 and it was translated as “called” twice in this verse.  This Greek word means to “bid” or to “call” someone.  What exactly does that mean?

Let’s say we go outside our house on the back porch and don’t see our dog.  We could “call” the dog and see if he will come to us by yelling his name.   The “call” would be an invitation to come and that is exactly what this verse is saying to us.  God has invited us to come.  What would make the dog not interested in coming to us when we called?  It could be the fact that they are occupied with something they value more like a big bone that they are chewing on.  Whatever the reason for not coming the dog has the choice of freewill to come or not to come and this is what we must realize is joined within the context of the subject of God “predestining” us.   This is where we need to look afresh at this verse from the God spiritual perspective and weigh the context of the rest of the Bible also.  I’ll do this with an introduction to a new way to think about predestination.

GOD’S INVITATION/CALL

Gods_Call2Why couldn’t God call and invite everyone through a plan of salvation called “to predestine” and offer to them all an invitation to come and be at His big wedding party in heaven?  Then why couldn’t God send out all of the invitations to everyone to come to be a part of this party by an act of their choice to attend?  But then what if only those people that actually showed up (chose by an act of their freewill) to come to the wedding party would be called those that were “selected”?  In other words what if God has predestined everyone to show up for a huge big wedding party but yet not many valued or regarded the invitation as important and therefore did not come and what if this was the reason that caused them to not be selected?  Could this possibly be the truth?  Wow, I really think it is according to the Words of Jesus in the Bible.  Let’s go read some words written in red ink within the distant context of Romans 8 that must be balanced with Romans 8.  You should be able to read these verses and see my “what if” story in a parable form given by the Lord Jesus that helps us to learn what I was just trying to teach:

Mat 22:1  And Jesus answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said,

Mat 22:2  The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son,

Mat 22:3  And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come.

I’ll stop here and make some quick important points.  The King in this parable is a representation of God.   The Son in this parable is a symbolic representation of the Jesus Christ.  The marriage in this parable is a symbolic representation for the New Covenant.  His servants in this parable were His prophets and they called to the wedding the children of natural Israel but they would not come to the wedding by an act of their own stupid choice.  The Greek word translated as “call” in verse 3 of Matthew 22 is the exact same Greek word found in Romans 8:30 making a direct divine connection to the same subject being spoken of by God.  Does this not have anything to do directly with selection or God’s predestination process?  Didn’t God call them all to come?  Didn’t God desire them to come?  Wasn’t it the will of God for them to come?  I mean come on and think.  God selected them and invited them to come but THEY WOULD NOT.  Get it?  This is really not rocket science and it is right there in front of our faces.  Are we going to believe God or are we going to believe the traditional errors of man?

Mat 22:4  Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage.

Mat 22:5  But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise:

Mat 22:6  And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them.

Mat 22:7  But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city.

These verses were written about the natural nation of Israel.  The natural nation of Israel was overrun and laid low over and over because of God’s displeasure for their ignorant choices and killing His servants.  It is more than clear that this was not the plan of God for their lives.  It was more than clear that God sent His servants to invite them to the wedding feast.  It is more than clear that it was their own actions that caused them not to come in and be a part of the process.  This is called man’s “freewill” and this must be taken into account when teaching anything about “predestination”.  Now continue to read the rest of the parable because this is how we were selected:

Mat 22:8  Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy.

Mat 22:9  Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage.

Mat 22:10  So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests.

So God goes forth into the rest of the Gentile world with more prophets and teachers inviting them all to come to the wedding and guess what I came by own freewill choice to believe and now because of my choices I have been selected.  Also because I am now selected I now go into the world and preach the Gospel to others so they can also be selected by an act of their own freewill choice and faith in Jesus Christ.  Wow this is how God designed it to work.  We either believe and are saved or we don’t believe and we are damned by our own freewill choices (Mk 16:16).

Mat 22:11  And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment:

Mat 22:12  And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless.

Mat 22:13  Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Mat 22:14  For many are called, but few are chosen.

In this parable there are only two types of people mentioned that are rejected from being at the wedding and these were the one man without a wedding garment and those that chose not to even attend.  However, this one man without a wedding garment also represents the man’s own foolish choice to try to come to the wedding without being properly clothed.  This verse was symbolically talking about people who call themselves Christians but have not “PUT ON CHRIST” (Gal 3:27).  This parable is all symbolism but this story gives us natural realities that apply directly to predestination and election.

I hope that everyone can read this over carefully and see the truths beings presented.  This is exactly what I have been attempting to teach about salvation, election and predestination.  Everyone is invited but only those that choose to show up to the wedding properly attired get to stay in the party to be called the select or elect ones and all others are left outside trying to get in.  Remember the parable of the 10 virgins?  This is the exact same reality.  All 10 were invited but only 5 were prepared and entered in and the others were left out because of their lack of preparedness.   Wow, this teaches us plainly that human FREEWILLL choices have a great determination to who is “selected”.  We can choose to not attend the wedding or we can even choose not to dress for the wedding and both of these will cause us to NOT be selected.  I don’t know how to teach it more clearly.

CONCLUSION

Let’s look at another verse to help us with the Bible basics of selection or predestination.  I will give you a verse found in the Book of Hebrews that has nothing to do on the surface with this subject of predestination yet it has everything to do with it by indirect subject content and contextual association.  God is speaking to Christians in this verse so read the words like they were written to you personally:

Heb 4:3  For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.

Here is an additional confirmation that God had a divine plan from the foundation of the world.  But, back up and see who it is that has been determined to enter in.   Believing is stated to be the determining factor for entering into God’s rest.  Those that have not believed do not enter in and those that believe do enter in.  The entrance door is God’s Word and believing in God’s word gives us entrance.

I am trying to teach a difficult subject called election or predestination but not the way it is normally taught by many confused people.  Becoming God’s elect is based upon a partnership between God’s divine grace and human faith.  God is not a respecter of persons as we should know by now but God is most definitely a respecter of faith.  The basis of what is taught by many predestination teachers would make God a respecter of persons by selecting some and rejecting others.  This would make the Bible a lie and that is a conflicting problem with their philosophy.  The only way to balance and resolve the conflict correctly is to understand that any good gift given to men by God is received by their faith.  Any good thing ever given to men, done to men or done for men is only received or we could say entered into by individual freewill human faith.  This is the way that God designed it to work.

Hebrews 4:3 is just further evidence that proves faith is a necessary part of the plan of God established from the foundation of the world.  Read it again and again until you get it and accept it into your heart.  Write a big sign and put it up on your wall and it should say “We who believe do enter in….”.  What God is plainly saying is that everyone is invited to believe but only those that choose to do it are selected.  God has predestined everyone to salvation but only those that have chosen to dress and come into the wedding will be selected and those that do not believe, or have not prepared themselves or have other more important things to do will be shut out when the door closes.  That is the truth of God, believe it or not.

Thank you again for reading and studying the Bible with me.  I appreciate your time and diligence to read and verify what is written in these lessons.  Do not ever buy into a teacher’s words without your own personal verification.  Allow the Spirit of God to minister and lead you into all truth.  Be blessed and be a blessing to all that you meet every day.  I’ll try to do another lesson on Ephesians 1 soon.  I hope these word help you to better understand the Bible and your role in being selected.

Bible Basics: Jesus Asks “Who Do You Say That I Am?” Part 1 – Introduction to the Names of Jesus

whoami2(Ver 1.2)  This is Part 1 of a very fundamental and rudimentary essential Bible Subject for every Christian to study, learn, understand and be able to share in an instant with all others in the world!  Who is Jesus Christ?  Is Jesus the most important person mentioned in the Bible or any other book available to read?  If He is, then why is He so important?  Many today in the world in other religions simply call Jesus just another human originator of a new religious system that died just like other religion founders like Mohammed or Buddha.  Others in certain religions recognize Jesus to be nothing but another prophet of God like Moses, Mohammed or Joseph Smith.  There are even many people in the world today that read from the Bible and believe Jesus to be far from divine.  Are any of these the truth?  Was Jesus just an ordinary man like me?  If He was then I believe that I am one of the biggest fools in the world for following Him. Today we will explore just the Bible verses that teach us who Jesus really was described to be.  We will be specifically focused on some of the revealed names of Jesus in the Bible and what they relate to us.  Later in this series we will also look at the recorded words and claims of Jesus and see who He professed and claimed to be.  I hope and pray that you have a very open mind to receive the truth as written and inspired by the Holy Spirit from the Bible.  We will be exploring the basics of Bible truth that are the essential foundation for God’s grace and our salvation through our faith in Jesus Christ.

INTRODUCTION TO THE QUESTION “WHO IS JESUS?”

Jesus asks His disciples two very simple questions in the book of Matthew.  And their answers to these questions will determine much more than you can imagine.  At this point in time when these questions were asked to the disciples by Jesus they had been with Him for a long time following Him from place to place.  They had witnessed many very significant things done by Jesus and heard many teachings from this man they called Rabbi (John 1:38). We will begin this section with reading in Matthew 16 and verse 13.  Please observe the first question:

Mat 16:13  When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?

Why would Jesus even need to ask anyone who He was?  There were a lot of people that obviously heard of Jesus but why would it be necessary to ask these people know who Jesus is?  Anyone can know of someone but that is totally different than knowing them or knowing who they are, isn’t it?  So who is Jesus?  Jesus is asking those that were closer to Him than anyone else “who do men think that I am?”   This is the question that is still very valid for today.  Jesus could come to you and ask the exact same question.  What would you say to Him?  Perhaps you would need to go and take a survey in order to find out what men said about Jesus.  Today, it is much simpler to just go and search the internet and see what people are writing about Him.   Then notice how very wide and diverse the answers were.

Mat 16:14  And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.

The disciples answer “Some say Jesus was John the Baptist”.  Other men claim Jesus was Elijah.  Still others claim Jesus to be the prophet Jeremiah.  Even other men claimed Jesus to be just another one of the prophets but did not know which one.  What a diverse set of possibilities for the identity of Jesus.  However there is a common theme to them all.  They were all calling Jesus a human man acting as a prophet but there was not any majority agreement to which prophet he was.  This is still the most popular belief today in most false religions.  The general consensus is that Jesus was simply a prophet or holy man like many others; Muhammad, Buddha, John Smith or even the Dalai Lama.  This would place Jesus Christ on their exact same level of humanity but is this, the whole truth?  Is this all that Jesus claimed to be?  Let’s see the second question being asked by Jesus then and now:

Mat 16:15  He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?

Now Jesus changes the question and makes the question very personal.  The question has substantially narrowed from “who do OTHER men say that I am” to “who do YOU say that I am”?  Jesus was making a point by asking these two questions in succession.  Jesus is teaching them that it does not matter what other men think but it does matter greatly what we think individually.  Wow, I don’t know if you just got what God said there or not but it was very substantial.  What Jesus is saying is that someone else’s opinion of Him is not going to help you or save you.  Let’s look at their answer and see if anything changes.

Mat 16:16  And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.

Peter answers the question of the Lord with an amazingly new and different perspective to the identity of Jesus.  Two things are directly stated by Peter and you need to notice that neither of these stated beliefs of Peter is denied by Jesus.  There was no rebuke from Jesus for any of Peter’s answer.  In fact the opposite is true if you read down into the next verse.  Jesus praises Peter and tells Him this answered revelation came from His Father and not from any man.  That is a very significant amount of information to learn from.  Jesus teaches us that there are at least two possible sources for knowledge and only one source is praise worthy.  The knowledge originating from God is implied to be very good and noteworthy and the knowledge coming from ignorant men was judged as not important.  Did you see that?  Who is your source for who Jesus is?  Is it God or is it a man?  It would be extremely wise to figure this out now before it is too late.

Peter could have gone along with the majority wrong opinion.  Peter could have chosen to conform to the religious crowd.  Peter could have listened to popular peer pressure.  Certainly the popular human concept is still what is taught today by many.  But I believe that there still exists a God that can reveal the truth to anyone that asks Him and seeks Him with their whole heart.

What were the two God revealed things about Jesus that Peter gave as an answered reply?  The first was that Jesus was the Christ.  Wow, what exactly does that mean?  Many of us have heard the combined named “Jesus Christ” but this title “Christ” was not the last name of Jesus.  And you better also know that “Jesus Christ” is not something you say when you slam the door on your finger.  Let’s look up the Greek word translated as “Christ” and learn:

G5547

From G5548; anointed, that is, the Messiah, an epithet of Jesus: – Christ.

I want to begin with the definition and say Christ is an “epithet” for Jesus.  What is an “epithet”?  An “epithet” is a word that is used to describe the person being referenced.  It is an adjective description.  If you understand what an adjective is then you should already understand that an adjective is used to distinguish one man from another.  If there is only one Jesus for example no one would need to say “Jesus Christ”.  But since there were and still are others then this is one way to make Him uniquely important to the conversation.

Here in this definition is a new connection to a Hebrew word being established along with a meaning of someone that is anointed.  The literal definition of the Greek word G5547 translated as the adjective “Christ” means “the anointed one”.  Jesus is called “the Christ” by Peter and Jesus does not deny it.  This title Christ is only significant because of Old Testament prophecies that were fulfilled when Jesus begins His ministry.  The Hebrew word being connected in this Greek word definition is H4899.  In order to connect the Hebrew word “Messiah” to the Greek word G5547 translated as “Christ” we need to do some homework and search for the title in the O.T.  If you do this you will find one key “Messiah” prophecy in the book of Daniel.   If you go and read Daniel 9:25-26 you will find the verses that I am referring to.  It would take a very long study to try to explain just these two verses so that will not be covered today.  But I do want you to notice the Hebrew word that was translated as “Messiah’.  This Hebrew word is H4899 and it has the following Strong’s definition:

H4899

From H4886; anointed; usually a consecrated person (as a king, priest, or saint); specifically the Messiah: – anointed, Messiah.

As you can observe in the definition this word has the exact same meaning as the Greek word G5547.  We can therefore conclude that these two words are equivalent in both languages.  I also want to point out that this word can apply to more than Jesus Christ.  Any king, priest or even a saint can be anointed by the Spirit of God and this tends to lead some to say that Jesus was just another anointed man like so many others.  In that regard if that was the only criteria being analyzed that would be a true statement.  However, Peter did not stop talking with calling Jesus “the Christ” and he mentioned another quality that must also be considered.

Do you remember the second statement that Peter made?  Go back and reread it if you did not recall that Peter said that Jesus was the “Son of the living God”.  Wow that description makes Jesus unique and unlike any other anointed human born on this planet.  Jesus had a great opportunity to rebuke Peter for this statement if it was a false claim but Jesus very clearly did not do it.  This means that Jesus was confirming His identity to be the “Son of God” with His praise for what Peter had just spoken and because He said that this had been revealed to him by God, His Father.  We will talk more about Jesus claiming to be the “Son of God” as we continue in this lesson series.  But, Jesus claiming to be “the Son of the living God” is one of the most important things for anyone desiring to be a Christian to learn and believe by faith.  I will tell you very plainly right now that if you do not believe that Jesus was the Son of the Living God then you are not a Christian and you are lost and going to hell.  This is a very plain and simple truth found in 1 John 2:22-23 so please go and read it.

INTRODUCTION TO THE SIGNIFICANCE OF NAMES

I’m going to shift the focus for a moment to teach briefly an introduction about another very relevant Bible subject concerning “names”.  This rabbit trail subject should be a Bible study series all by itself but an introduction will help our study of who Jesus claimed to be and should provide a great benefit to us by us understanding His names.  Almost everyone in the Bible was given a name not by chance but rather the name given to them reflected a situation, quality, circumstance or characteristic of something very specific about the person.  For example, these given names could have been a reflection on the circumstances surrounding their entrance into the world.  Perhaps you remember in Genesis 35:18 when Rachel gives birth to her last son.  She called the boy child by the name “Benoni” and this name meant “son of my sorrows” and then she died.  But his father named him “Benjamin” which meant “son of my right hand”. God gives such great significance to names in the Bible and these name meanings are often overlooked and ignored but they all have a divine purpose.  I will also say that if Benjamin would have been called by the name given of his mother then this would have changed his entire life and who he was tremendously.  But since Benjamin was given a name change and a very different positive name he was blessed and favored.

Let’s go over a couple of other significant name changes that made a major difference for those people in the Bible to prove the significance of this subject.  The man Abram was selected by God and given a promise by God in Genesis 12.  The Hebrew name “Abram” means “high father”.  Yet God changes Abram’s name to “Abraham” that meant “a father of a multitude” and it was only after this name change transpired that the promise began to be fulfilled.  There is a revealed law of God found in the Bible that as long as the earth endures seed time and harvest will never cease (Gen 8:22).  This divine law teaches the concept of cause and effect.  In other words for every observable effect (harvest) God teaches us that there must be a cause for it (a seed sown). Some seed sown transpired to cause the promise to be made manifest to see the harvest and I am convinced that God’s name change to Abraham was a major role for this event occurring.  Perhaps you will understand that statement as you continue to learn the God given facts of the Bible.

I’ll give you at least one other significant Bible name example.  You may recall reading in Genesis 32:29 about Jacob wrestling with an angel.  Jacob we are told prevailed against the angel and again as a result, the angel changes Jacob’s name from Jacob to Israel because of this victory.  The name Israel obviously came from God and from heaven and you need to know this.  When God gives a man a name it usually causes something good to occur and this is just another example.  The name Jacob meant “heal catcher” and this name described the circumstances of his birth.  But the name “Israel” is a Hebrew name that means “he will rule as God”.  I’ll say this again, when God gives you a name there is a great seed that was planted to bring about a divine harvest and this is so very important to understand.

Modern names of people are really no different from Biblical names of people and they often reflect who a person is and what kind of person they present themselves to be.  For example I was eating at a restaurant and my server’s name was named “Tisha”.  I looked up the name’s meaning on the internet and it meant “joyful” and “happy”.  This name meaning fit the personality of the lady very accurately.

What I am attempting to teach you is that it maters what the name of a person is in the Bible and even in the world today still.  I am also trying to teach that it matters who gives a person the name and why it was given.  In other words why and where the name originates from is critical and the name can certainly influence the outcome on a person’s entire life greatly.   Let’s examine the Hebrew word that is translated as the English word “name”.  This word’s meaning may shed some additional light of confirmation upon the significance of “names” in the Bible:

H8034

A primitive word (perhaps rather from H7760 through the idea of definite and conspicuous position; compare H8064); an appellation, as a mark or memorial of individuality; by implication honor, authority, character: –  + base, [in-] fame [-ous], name (-d), renown, report.

This Hebrew word means an “appellation”.  This word means the act of giving something or someone a name.   Then notice the next statement “a mark or memorial of individuality”.  Wow that is a very important definition.   God and people name things to mark them as being different from other things that may even be similar in appearance.  For example any normal family with identical twins will always give each child a different name.  This unique name separates one identical twin from the other.  When a parent wants a specific twin they will call their name and this should bring the one called.  Clearly names matter because it causes a separation from others to occur.

Then notice in this Hebrew word there is an associated implied meaning of any given name.  According to the definition a name can carry the positive implication of “honor”, “authority” or it can even denote personal “character”.  This positive truth can also be taken from a negative antithesis truth perspective.  A negative name given to someone can cause them a negative outcome in life like dishonor or even bad character.  I’m trying to teach you how things work in the spiritual realm.  If you call your kids stupid then they will become more stupid.  If you call your kids lazy then they will become lazier.  Whatever names you have placed on your children are all seeds to mold their lives either building character or destroying their character.

I’ll end this introduction to the significance of names in the Bible with this truth.  There are so many significant names given to us in the Bible that we often overlook the lesser names mentioned only a few times.  For example in Genesis 5 there is a genealogy given to us by the inspiration of God concerning the first eleven men.  This genealogy begins from Adam the first man to Noah and then to his son Shem in succession.  The name Adam means “man” and the name Noah means “comfort”, the name Shem means “name” and this.  Let’s just go through all of the names for review:

AdamThe first name, Adam, comes from adomah, and means “man.” As the first man, that seems straightforward enough.SethAdam’s son was named Seth, which means “appointed.” When he was born Eve said, “For God hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew.”EnoshSeth’s son was called Enosh, which means “mortal,” “frail,” or “miserable.” It is from the root anash: to be incurable; used of a wound, grief, woe, sickness, or wickedness. (It was in the days of Enosh that men began to defile the name of the Living God. )KenanEnosh’s son was named Kenan, from which can mean “sorrow,” dirge,” or “elegy.” (The precise denotation is somewhat elusive; some study aids unfortunately presume an Aramaic root synonymous with “Cainan.”) Balaam, looking down from the heights of Moab, employed a pun upon the name of the Kenites when he prophesied their destruction.MahalalelKenan’s son was Mahalalel, from mahalal, which means “blessed” or “praise”; and El, the name for God. Thus, Mahalalel means “the Blessed God.” Often Hebrew names included El, the name of God, as Dani-el, “God is my Judge,” Nathani-el, “Gift of God,” etc.

Jared

Mahalalel’s son was named Jared, from the verb yaradh, meaning “shall come down.” Some authorities suggest that this might have been an allusion to the “Sons of God” who “came down” to corrupt the daughters of men, resulting in the Nephilim (“Fallen Ones”) of Genesis 6.

Enoch

Jared’s son was named Enoch, which means “teaching,” or “commencement.” He was the first of four generations of preachers. In fact, the earliest recorded prophecy was by Enoch, which amazingly enough deals with the Second Coming of Christ.

Methuselah

The Flood of Noah did not come as a surprise. It had been preached on for four generations. But something strange happened when Enoch was 65, from which time “he walked with God.” Enoch was given a prophecy that as long as his son was alive, the judgment of the flood would be withheld; but as soon as he died, the flood would be sent forth.

Enoch named his son to reflect this prophecy. The name Methuselah comes from two roots: muth, a root that means “death”; and from shalach, which means “to bring,” or “to send forth.” Thus, the name Methuselah signifies, “his death shall bring.

And, indeed, in the year that Methuselah died, the flood came. Methuselah was 187 when he had Lamech, and lived 782 years more. Lamech had Noah when he was 182. The Flood came in Noah’s 600th year. 187 + 182 + 600 = 969, Methuselah’s age when he died

It is interesting that Methuselah’s life was, in effect, a symbol of God’s mercy in forestalling the coming judgment of the flood. It is therefore fitting that his lifetime is the oldest in the Bible, symbolizing the extreme extensiveness of God’s mercy.

Lamech

Methuselah’s son was named Lamech, a root still evident today in our own English word, “lament” or “lamentation.” Lamech suggests “despairing.” (This name is also linked to the Lamech in Cain’s line who inadvertently killed his son Tubal-Cain in a hunting incident. )

Noah

Lamech, of course, is the father of Noah, which is derived from nacham , “to bring relief” or “comfort,” as Lamech himself explains.

Shem

Shem is the exact same Hebrew word that I just gave you for “Name” (H8034).

 

The Composite List

Now let’s put it all together:

Hebrew English
Adam Man
Seth Appointed
Enosh Mortal
Kenan Sorrow
Mahalalel The Blessed God
Jared Shall come down
Enoch Teaching
Methuselah His death shall bring
Lamech The despairing
Noah Rest, or comfort
Shem Name

If you take the meanings of each of these 11 names given to us in the Bible and combine them into a sentence, you will find the Gospel of Jesus’ coming into the world and one of the primary reasons for His appearing.    Here is the sentence using the Hebrew name meanings:

Man (has) appointed mortal sorrow; (but) the Blessed God will come down teaching (and) His death shall bring the despairing comfort (by or through His) Name.

I hope that you are beginning to see how Jesus is even mentioned indirectly here in the names of two prominent Bible men (Adam and Noah) and 9 other relatively obscure men in the Bible.  This hidden reference to Jesus using only the names of men certainly is beyond chance or random occurrence.  This information had to be placed there by God’s design and plan and this teaches us plainly that God even uses names in the Bible to inform us of things that are very important for us to learn and know.  I will give credit for the majority of this information to Chuck Missler  and you can find it on his website.  I added the name of Shem to what he taught because this should have been given.  Remember this prophecy using the 11 names because this will be readdressed in this Bible study later.  Let’s move on to the specific name of Jesus next.

INTRODUCTION TO THE NAME OF JESUS

We will continue our Bible study concerning “who is Jesus” with a statement being made to Joseph from an angel sent from the Lord.  In this statement is the name of the male child to be born to Joseph’s wife Mary.  This name comes from God just like the name of Jacob came directly from God through an angel giving it great divine significance and purpose.

Mat 1:21  And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.

I want to reemphasize this point that the name of “Jesus” came directly from heaven and not from Joseph or Mary or any other human.  This fact gives the name of Jesus a divine reason and purpose for being given.  The next thing that you need to know is that the name “Jesus” is an English transliteration of the Greek name “Iēsous” being written in the book of Matthew.  A transliteration is nothing but a man’s attempt to transfer and preserve a name from one language’s alphabet to another by using similar sounding vowels and constantans.  The problem we begin to encounter very quickly is when we realize that the man Jesus was not English nor was He a Greek.  Neither of these names would be correct based upon the nationality of Jesus.  The genealogy of Jesus given to us in Matthew and Luke both prove that Jesus descended from the Hebrew nation a descendant of Abraham and David. Therefore the name of Jesus should be a Hebrew name and this is exactly what we discover when we look up the Greek word in the Strong’s dictionary:

G2424

Of Hebrew origin [H3091]; Jesus (that is, Jehoshua), the name of our Lord and two (three) other Israelites: – Jesus.

You should be able to quickly recognize that the Greek word name has a Hebrew origin.  It is also apparent that the name of Jesus was not a completely unique name and that there were other Hebrew men that were also given this famous name.  But we still need to ask the question why did the angel tell the man Joseph to name the child Jesus?  In order to answer that question we need to revert further to the original Hebrew.  Let’s look up the name H3091 and find its meaning:

H3091

From H3068 and H3467; Jehovah-saved; Jehoshua (that is, Joshua), the Jewish leader: – Jehoshua, Jehoshuah, Joshua. Compare H1954, H3442.

The English transliterated name for the Hebrew word H3091 is “Jehoshua” or “Joshua”.   This name literally means “Jehovah saved” in the original Hebrew meaning.  This Hebrew word is made  from two Hebrew root words being combined together.  The first word is H3068 meaning “Jehovah” and the second being H3467 meaning “saved”.  “Jehovah” is simply one of the key names for God found within the Old Testament.  The name Jehovah is used by God in over 5000 verses.  The name Jehovah (H3068) simply means “Self Existent or Eternal One” and was most often translated as “LORD”.

The Hebrew word H3467 simply means “to save”, “to deliver”, “to free”, “to be made safe”, “salvation” and even “to get victory”.  This part of the definition goes along with the statement made to Joseph in Matthew 1 if you will recall the angel said “you shall call His name Jesus because He will save His people”.  We can learn from the meaning of the name that Jesus was the hidden fulfilled prophecy of the genealogy of Genesis 5 using the 11 names of Bible men.  Remember this prophecy predicted that “the Blessed God would come down teaching and His death gives the despairing comfort through His name”.  The despairing are simply humans that were held captive prisoners within the darkness of this world.   The Name of Jesus was the God given name that men were required to believe upon and we will talk abut this more in the series as we go.    This is exactly what transpired.  The name of Jesus shows us by its definition that He was the Jehovah God that delivers and saves His people. This is now the second Biblical confirmation that Jesus was God in the flesh that came down to the earth.  Let’s move to new name given to Jesus and study a further confirmation.

JESUS = GOD WITH US!

We are now going to explore another name given to Jesus in the Bible.  This name will be the third conformation that Jesus was God in the flesh come to the earth from heaven.  I will first give you the name found in the Greek New Testament.  This name is found in a verse of Matthew 1.  Please read it very carefully not overlooking any of the words in the stated scripture.

Mat 1:23  Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

First consider the beginning of the verse where God declares a “virgin” will be with child.  A virgin simply means an unmarried daughter and this clearly implies that she has never had sex with any man.  Right there that gives us the first impression of a supernatural conception.  Next the Greek words translated as “be with child” simply means that she is pregnant in her womb.  Next the author (God) says she will bring forth (birth) a son.  Here is where we get to the good stuff.  God say “They shall call his name Emmanuel”.  Wow, this is a very meaningful name that was being bestowed upon Jesus.  Of course this name is meaningless if you don’t know what the definition of the Hebrew word being given to us is.

What we have just witnessed in this verse is a very vital principle (rule) that God teaches us to how to understand selected parts of the Bible.  I have already been using this principle when I taught on the meaning of the name of Jesus earlier in this Bible lesson. This principle given to us by God is the simple fact that names have meaning and that these meanings have significance to indicate something important about the one being named.  This principle also teaches us very directly that we need to go back to the original language meaning in order to insure the significance.

Perhaps you missed it again.  The name “Emmanuel” in this verse is just another Greek to English transliteration.  This Greek word (G1694) was also a transliteration from the Hebrew original name H6005 which was transliterated into English in the Old Testament as “Immanuel”.  This is further confirmation that what I did for the name of Jesus going back to Joshua was very legitimate.  Finally I want you to see in this verse the Greek word (G3177) that was translated into “interpreted”.  This Greek word literally means to “translate” from one language into another.  What God is doing is confirming the fact that names have meanings and these meanings have purpose as I have already stated.   Let’s go back and research the original prophecy that this verse in Matthew is quoted from:

Isa 7:14  Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

This verse quite literally says that this will be a “sign” given by the omnipotent God.  This Hebrew word (H226) that was translated as “sign” can mean “evidence” or even a “monument”.  In other words Jesus will be the visible proof for the name being given to Him.  So what did this name ‘Immanuel” given from God mean?  You read it in Matthew but it was not given here in Isaiah because you are assumed to already know Hebrew if you are reading the Old Testament because it was written to Hebrews.  This is a reason that God wrote the meaning out in the New Testament because it was predominately read by Gentiles who needed to learn more about this old language.

If you knew the Hebrew language then you would find that “Immanuel” means “God with us”.  If we break down the Hebrew root words found within this name we should start with the ending syllable  “el” which is the short form for one of the prominent names of God in the Old Testament “Elohim”.  The short form name “el” for God is used in almost 150 other names in the Old Testament and that is an interesting  study all by itself.   Then go back to the beginning syllable of the name “Im” and this means “with” or even “in”. Now look at what remains in the middle “man”.  Put them together it could read something .like “God in the form of man” which could also means “God with men”.

Do you understand these God given principles?  I’ll say it one more time, names have meanings in the Bible and these meanings are important especially based upon who gives the person this name.  Any name given to anyone by God is of the ultimate importance since God is supreme.  Based on Isaiah 7:14 and Matthew 1:23 God comes down from heaven in the form of a man to be with us, to walk among us and to live like us but as a higher example.  So far we have found 4 witnesses in the Bible that claims Jesus to be God in the flesh but there are more.  Let’s examine another name of Jesus.

GOD THE WORD BECAME FLESH

All Bible truth is found only by searching and studying the Bible with the Holy Spirit’s help to reveal it to us so we are able to see it clearly.  This is why the Bible is not understood by even many Christians.  They are not studying, not searching or not praying and asking God to open their eyes to the truth and lead them into it.  We are going to need to search to find the names of Jesus in order to discover who He really is.  I’ll give you three verses to read next and then talk about them:

Rev 19:11  And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.

Rev 19:12  His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.

Rev 19:13  And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.

Did you see the two names of Jesus given to Him by God?  First there is the one called “Faithful and True” and this can only be a name for the divine God since every human can and will fail us.  Then in verse 13 He is called by the name “The Word of God”.   It is this name “The Word of God” that I want to focus upon next.  But both of these names prove that Jesus was God in the flesh come to the earth as a man.  How do they do that you ask?  Well again you have to study and read the Bible to find the answers.  The real answers don’t fall on you like a piece of ripe fruit from a tree that you are laying under doing nothing.

The book Revelation was written by the inspiration and revelation of God through a man named John.  John wrote other books of the New Testament and we need to go back to the first book in order to find the answer to who “The Word of God” represents.  Read these next two verses to begin with from the first chapter of John:

Joh 1:1  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Joh 1:2  The same was in the beginning with God.

God is the primary subject of both verses and the verse begins with the statment “In the beginning was The Word”.   This statement is talking about Jesus indirectly since Jesus is called the Word of God in Revelation 19:13.  Jesus is being indirectly called the Word again with a direct association of the Word for the theme of God being the primary direct subject.  The Word was with God and the Word was God.  If you know anything about the laws of mathematics you understand that if A=B and B=C then A=C.  Therefore if the Word = God (John 1:1) and Jesus = the Word (Rev 19:13) then God = Jesus by undeniable mathematical proof.  I’m not going to go through every verse in this chapter of John because that would take too long but I will give you 4 more verses for you to read:

Joh 1:10  He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.

Joh 1:11  He came unto his own, and his own received him not.

Joh 1:12  But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

Joh 1:13  Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

Joh 1:14  And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

These verses begin with “He was in the world”.  Who is He?  This is talking about Jesus in conjunction to the primary subject still being God.  Then notice what it says, “The world was made by Him”.  Again this is a combined reference to the Spirit of God, the Word of God and God the Father because these three revealed personalities are all the same God (1 Jn 1:5:7).   Only God created the world.  You can go back to Genesis 1:1 and read this plainly.  In the beginning “God” (Elohim) created the heavens and the earth.  Now remember God says in Isaiah Immanuel (El = Elohim) is coming to be with us.

In verse 12 God tells us that if we believe on His name He will give us the power to become the sons of God.  Why am I teaching you all about the names of Jesus in this lesson?  I’m teaching you this so that you might believe in His names in order to be saved.  I am teaching on the names of Jesus to reveal Him to be God in the flesh.  Did you read verse 14?  More importantly did you actually see what it says in verse 14?  It says The Word (THE WORD = GOD verse 1) was made flesh and dwelt among us.  God dwelling among us is just the name “Immanuel” again written out in definition form.  Jesus is declared to be God with us in the form of a man (flesh).

God directly connects John 1:1 with Genesis 1:1 by the same three simple words “In the Beginning”.   Whenever God does something like this it is not an accident or chance occurrence.  God is telling us they are about the same themed subject.  In Genesis 1:1 it said “In the Beginning God” and in John 1:1 it said “In the Beginning was the Word”.  This is God’s hidden way of saying “I am the Word and I created the world”.  You see there is another hidden reference to Jesus found in Genesis 1:1.  I have written about this before in other lesson but it fits very well with what God is saying here that I will repeat it.

Gen 1:1  In the beginning (the A-Z) God created the heaven and the earth. 

The fourth word of the Bible in Genesis 1:1 was omitted by the translators because they did not know what it meant.  This fourth untranslated word was technically not a word at all but rather the first and last letters of the Hebrew alphabet.  Uh oh, that should turn some light bulbs on in your brain if you have read the Bible very much.  Genesis 1:1 should read in the English “In the Beginning the A-Z God created…”.  The A-Z God is another hidden reference to Jesus because Jesus said in Revelation 1:11 “I am the Alpha and the Omega”.  Alpha is the first letter of the Greek alphabet and Omega is the last letter in the Greek alphabet.  In other words Jesus was saying in English “I am the A to Z”.  This is exactly who Genesis 1:1 said created the world that we live in.  Wow, this is great stuff if you open your eyes of your heart and let it in.  I guarantee you that it will save you from hell if you begin to believe it.

This is really not that complicated but Satan does not want these truths to be known.  Satan perverts the truth to change Jesus from being divine (God in the flesh) to being only a man (a descendant of Adam) or a prophet to defeat you.   Satan does everything in His power to blind the minds of people so that they cannot see the obvious truth of God’s Word in order to be saved (2 Cor 4:4).

CONCLUSION

I have gone over multiple truths in this Bible lesson that declares Jesus to have come from God in heaven.  Not only this but that Jesus was God in the flesh.  The Bible says let every word be established in truth by the mouths of two or three witnesses (2 Cor 13:1).  I have given you double that with at least 5 to 6 witnesses that Jesus was the God of creation come to the earth in the flesh.  We started this lesson with Jesus asking us all “Who do you say that I am?”  We then went into the significance of names in the Bible and I introduced you to a hidden prophecy of Jesus coming into the earth in the flesh in the genealogy found in Genesis 5.

We then went into three of the primary names given to Jesus in the Bible, 1) Jesus, 2) Emmanuel and 3) The Word of God.   The name of Jesus was the Hebrew name, Joshua and we found that Joshua meant “Jehovah Saved”.  Therefore Jesus was this God named Jehovah that came down from heaven to save His people just as was prophesied to occur.  We then talked about the name “Immanuel” and that this meant “God with us”.  We then talked about Jesus being the Word of God that came in the flesh and it was this A-Z God that created the world that we live in.  If you are still wavering and doubting after all of this evidence then I don’t know what else to say that will help you.  Go back and reread your Bible and all of the verses that I just gave you.  Study the names of Jesus until you have them memorized.

This was only Part 1 in the series of lessons on “Who do you say that I am?”   I will be going over more scriptural evidence for Jesus being God in the next lesson in this series.  I want to thank you for being open minded enough to read this lesson and I pray that God will help you to see Him in all His glory.  Help me spread the word of truth to your friends.  Tell them about my website.  Send them links to my lessons.  Please, help me spread God’s Word so that we can reach the lost world.  Jesus is coming back very, very soon.  The timing cannot be that far off based upon current world events transpiring.  We need to reach everyone that we can and help everyone that we can so that none will perish.  Thank you for your prayers of support, because they are very needed and valuable to me.  God bless you and keep you until the next time.  Always remember the correct answer to the question “Who do you say that I am” is “You are Jesus the Christ, the Son of the Living God, my Savior, my Lord and my God”.  God Bless you!

If you would like to continue reading in this series you may go to “Part 2” now.

 

Bible Basics: Would You Rather Be Rejected by Men or Rejected by God? Mastering Rejection!

rejection1(Ver 1.1)  This is a Basic Bible Study requesting an answer from every reader to a very serious question.  If you have read all of my Bible lessons you should already know that I occasionally teach a Bible Basic Subject for those that are new to Christianity or just in need of learning the simpler milk truths of God’s Word.  However, for those more mature Christians or those Christians going through a struggle that could use a refreshing reminder of the Word of God this lesson just might be a great blessing to you also.  Today’s Bible lesson is intended and designed for those types of readers but everyone can still benefit from what God will share about the subject of rejection.    Let’s begin by asking the important question “Would you rather be rejected by your friends, your family, your peers, your co-workers, your bosses and the people of the world or would you rather be rejected by God?”  Wow, how do we begin to answer or respond to that question?

INTRODUCTION TO REJECTION

Rejection from anyone should usually never be viewed as a positive experience from a natural or spiritual perspective.  No one that I know of that is vaguely or remotely “normal” will ever feel excited, happy or good about being rejected by anyone for whatever reason.  I can personally identify with this subject directly in my own private life.  I have been personally rejected by my family, my friends and people of great importance to me in this last year that has caused me great pain, suffering and hurt.  How do we deal with this?  Has God provided a divine coping mechanism for rejection? This is what we will be talking about today from a God and Bible perspective on the subject of being rejected and handling rejection.

rejection3We have all been at the cross roads of rejection and hurt, haven’t we?  I know I have.  As I have stated I have been ignored and rejected by close family, friends and acquaintances for one reason or the other.  These acts of rejection can cause significant emotional distress, hurts and pains that can make us feel very insufficient, inadequate, second-rate and inferior.  Rejection is nothing new to me.  I am frequently rejected by some of my Bible Study readers.  These people who reject me online usually provide critical reviews through unloving negative comments that can be very painful and upsetting if I allowed them inside me.   If you did not realize it rejection is a spiritual force.  Just like love, hate and fear are spiritual forces.  Each of us can become overwhelmed by the undesirable force of rejection.  If we do not learn how to deal with this force it can easily overwhelm us into a pit of despair.  Please read this initial definition for “reject”:

REJECT: dismiss as inadequate, inappropriate, or not to one’s taste

Let’s stop and review this definition of “reject”. As you should be able to see when someone or something is rejected then that which was rejected is stated to not fit within the positive expectations of the observer for any unstated reason.  What we find from this definition is that there are either implied or unstated rules of acceptance and not meeting these will result in rejection of the person or the item being observed.  Rejection can obviously become very subjective if you know what that means.  Rejection is based upon subjective human reasoning and this simply means that there is a direct level of personal opinion, bias or preference to most forms of rejection.  One’s personal opinion will usually drive their acceptance or rejection of someone else.  However there are also other types of rejection based upon a stricter standard of rules.

For example a shirt being manufactured for sale in a store will undergo an inspection by a trained observant inspector.  Each inspector is given a set of established standards to determine if the shirt meets expectations.  If a flaw is determined to be present in the garment then the garment is rejected and cannot be sold as a new quality garment matching the established standards.  It does not matter if there are over 100 things right about the garment because if there is found one minor flaw the garment is rejected.  This is exactly what happens with people rejecting people also if you did not realize it.  However the established set of rules is usually very loose and not well defined.  Many fault finding people look for flaws and overlook any good qualities found within a person and will simply reject them as being imperfect.  This is basic human nature and you need to know this in order to understand rejection more completely and why it occurs.

Some of the synonyms for reject are “castoff”, “throwaway” or “discard”.  All of these are negative observer reactions from failing the perceived observation acceptance standards directed at the person or object being rejected.  As I have stated previously rejection of anything is clearly a subjective personal decision based upon the observer’s own personal preferences, experiences, rules, likes or dislikes. rejected_broccoli   Let’s review another quick example of a type of rejection.  A person can reject eating broccoli simply because they do not like the observable smell, shape, appearance, color or even the texture.  Many people reject eating broccoli having never even tasting it.    Therefore rejection by the casual observer will usually be done by someone based upon a very limited set of superficial information void of all of the facts.  The observer would not consider the taste or the vitamin content or nutritional value of broccoli but would rather pass a quick judgment based upon superficial and insufficient observation.   Always remember this and this may help you tremendously with dealing with rejection.  Many decisions of rejection are performed based upon pure human ignorance.  Let’s consider a set of verses very quickly to get this subject started:

Mat 7:3  And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

Mat 7:4  Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?

Mat 7:5  Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.

These verses do not mention rejection but this represents the same action of rejection that happens when someone is rejected by an observer.  Did you see the principles that Jesus was teaching the man doing the observation and trying to pass judgment upon the other man?  Jesus asks how can you perceive correctly the flaws in your brother’s life if you have not seen the flaws in your own life first?  This is such a profound warning from God about how we act almost every day.   Too often people are rejecting others simply because of a minor flaw when they are the ones that should be rejected from their own self-examination.   However since they are not examining themselves Jesus calls them a hypocrite for seeing something so minor in another person.

Ok did you observe the process of rejection taking place in these verses?  There is both an observer (rejecter) and someone that is being observed (one being rejected).  The observer is looking specifically for faults and ignoring all the good qualities of the person.  The observer passes a hasty independent judgment without attempting to find or see all of the facts.  The observer’s actions are stated to be WRONG.  The observer is judged by God to be a hypocrite for not looking at himself first before passing judgment upon anyone else.  Uh oh!  What do we do with all of this great information?

I am starting out the lesson on how to handle rejection by saying, don’t become like a hypocrite.   If you are rejecting people because of some insufficient information then you will be making the same mistake that others will be doing by rejecting you.  This is a very good time to interject the golden rule.  We should all do to others as we would have them to do to us.  In other words don’t reject people even if you are the one being constantly rejected.  As you learn this subject of rejection all of this will become more real to you.  Are you ready to learn more about rejection?  I think we will begin the lesson with a further discussion of ignorance.

# 1 – REJECTION IS NORMALLY DONE FROM IGNORANCE

Rejection (passing judgments) can be caused by many reasons but one of the main factors is human ignorance.  Every human is born into the world an empty vessel waiting to be filled with some knowledge.  Therefore we are all in varying states of ignorance no matter how much we have learned.  This is good knowledge for dealing with personal rejection.  We need to understand that the person doing the rejecting usually does it from their own pure unawareness or lack of understanding of you or your situation, experiences or even your circumstances.  Wow, this is much truer than you may understand right now.   I once heard a preacher responding to the rejection by a man that heard the message that he preached.  This preacher said to the man “If you knew me you would really like me”.   Do you understand why he said that?  The preacher understood that his rejection was based upon the man’s insufficient information.  He knew that the man had rejected him based upon very limited evidence from only one sermon.  This should help teach you a new way to handle someone’s rejection of you.  Don’t call them ignorant to their face but rather walk in love towards them because this is the way you should react to rejection as we will soon find by a living example in the Bible.

Did you know that Jesus was rejected?  Yes Jesus was definitely rejected by many of the people that He encountered here on the earth.  I’m not going to go into every verse example of rejection concerning Jesus but I will give you some very quick verses to consider about the subject of rejection and how to treat those that are rejecting you.

Luk 20:17  And he beheld them, and said, What is this then that is written, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner?

Here is Jesus speaking directly of Himself from a verse of prophecy found in Psalms 118:22.  Jesus is speaking of Himself as the “Stone” that the builders rejected.  This stone is a figurative symbolic representation of the foundation within a new spiritual temple that would be coming to fruition by the design and plan of God.  I do not have the time to explain this statement in full in this lesson.  It would take much too long to understand what these builders were supposed to be building and why Jesus is called the major Stone in that building project.  Just understand that this is a spiritual house being foretold by the prophets of God and it is not a physical natural house or temple.  I will also tell you that it was the natural nation of Israel that represented the initial builders of this house.  Jesus by His own admission claims to be the rejected Stone.  It was natural Israel that was rejecting the Stone.  Ignorance of God’s purpose and plan is probably the key reason why the nation of Israel rejected Jesus, their Messiah.  They were thinking temporarily and naturally and Jesus was thinking and speaking eternally and spiritually.  Wow again, that was a very important concept for understanding how to handle rejection.   Did you get it?  I’ll try to emphasize this again later in the lesson to help you.   However I will give you another verse witness to the fact that Jesus was the living Stone:

1Co 10:4  And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.

Jesus is being called a spiritual Rock and this is just a synonymous term for “Living Stone”.  Spirits are living beings that cannot die or cease to exist.  This is one of the keys to understanding what God is doing within the New Covenant.  The Old Testament types and shadows were just a foretelling of a coming greater spiritual reality.  Ok we have just established that Jesus was rejected as a living stone by the nation of natural Israel.  Let’s review a very specific verse example of this rejection and the reaction of Jesus to this as the Living Stone.  Please read this verse carefully.

Luk 23:34  Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.

If you read the context you will find that this is Jesus stripped naked and then being nailed through His flesh to a wooden cross.   Jesus is in great pain and dealing with extraordinary levels of human suffering that had all been imposed upon Him through the rejection of His own people.  This rejection arose from the root cause of their ignorance.  None of these people knew or understood what they were doing as you can clearly see from the statement being made by Jesus Himself “They know not what they do”.  None of these people recognized or understood that this man hanging on this tree was God come to the earth in the flesh.  None of these people knew or understood their actions for why they were rejecting Him.  None of these people cared about the pain that they were inflicting upon Jesus by their rejection.   All of these people were extremely ignorant of the facts and very far from any knowledge of the truth.   Jesus could have been like the preacher man and said to them all “If you knew me you would really like me” but He did not say this.  However the reaction of Jesus to this personal rejection is quite the opposite of what most people would have done or said.   Let’s talk about His reaction next.

# 2 – LOVE & PROACTIVE FORGIVENESS WILL OVERCOME REJECTION

We just quickly reviewed the example of Jesus hanging on the cross.  Jesus had asked His Father to forgive them even while being hurt extensively from the pain caused by their ignorant human rejection.   Jesus offered them all forgiveness as He endured unimaginable agony from their dismissal.   None of those that rejected Him asked for this forgiveness so this was a proactive outreach from His love and mercy.  Why was Jesus asking God to forgive them?  It is primarily because walking in love will always forgive others proactively.  If we wait for someone to ask for forgiveness before we extend it, I believe this can cause ill feelings to be harbored in our inner being that can build up and harden our hearts.

What is forgiveness?   Forgiveness is a personal act of the freewill to extend mercy to someone that does not deserve to receive mercy.  Wow, is that a tough concept for new Christians and for even many mature ones to grasp?   It has been rare for me to see people with any mercy much less any forgiveness on the internet.  Yes, I am talking about people who call themselves Christians.    We can either decide to act like Jesus and proactively forgive everyone before they ask for it or we can become the judging condemner and stay in bitter un-forgiveness.   What do you think we should do when people reject us?  There are only two real options to choose from and I think I will follow Christ’s example.

# 3 – HANDLING REJECTION CORRECTLY WILL BE EASIER IF YOU KNOW THE TRUTH

If the people doing the rejection are acting out of ignorance of the truth then it stands to reason that we can best deal with this rejection by knowing the truth.  Therefore the third thing to know about handling rejection is we better learn the truth.  I personally believe that we are on the right path by studying this subject.   We want to replace our lack of knowledge by filling our hearts and minds with God’s truth.  God’s Word is the only source for spiritual and eternal truth.  We should claim by faith that we are always in the right place at the right time studying the right subjects so God’s Word will prevail over all rejection and its evil intent from the enemy.  Let’s go back and reconsider Luke 23:34.  Jesus is in a process of extreme rejection yet He prays to God for their forgiveness instead of calling down fire or angels from heaven to destroy them all.  You see Jesus had the power and authority to destroy them but chose not to.   Human reaction would have been to get revenge or to set forth a process for justice at minimum.  But Jesus did none of these.  Why is that?  Jesus could look beyond the current rejection to a greater and more significant purpose for His existence.   Jesus knew that He knew the truth and that His rejecters did not.   This should teach us that there is a right way to handle rejection and if there is a right way there is also a wrong way.    I believe that one of the right ways of dealing with rejection will always be based upon us acquiring right knowledge.  Jesus did this from an early age always being in the temple to hear the Words of God being read.  Jesus gained right knowledge and understanding and this was a key factor for His correct handling of rejection.  So what am I saying?  I am saying ignorant people will reject you but you can overcome this by learning the truth and using this to overcome the rejection.

Life is full of choices.  Making any right choice will always be based upon correct and sufficient knowledge.  Jesus made a right choice while being rejected through an act of His own freewill.   This act was made possible because of the knowledge that He possessed from the Word of God.    I believe that we can do the same if we come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ to grow and increase in the understanding of His precious Holy Word.  This knowledge of God will be what helps us deal with any human rejection.  Therefore the third key to dealing with rejection is to get God’s understanding built within our hearts and minds.  Put God’s Word first in every situation and leave the thoughts and ways of the natural world behind.  It was the Jews that were thinking naturally and missed their Messiah.  Wrong thinking and wrong believing based upon ignorance will be one of the primary causes for people rejecting right things and the right people.  But it is right knowledge that will cause the rejected one to not be affected by the rejection.

Pro 4:7  Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.

God directs us more than once in the Bible that we need to obtain understanding.   Understanding the reasons for rejection will help us handle it when it comes to us and it will come to you.  There are people in the world today that are being rejected and do not know how to handle it and this allows Satan to convince them that they should take their own lives or withdraw from normal human interaction.  God says in Hosea 4:6 that “My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge”.   Therefore what you do not know about any subject can be used against you by Satan to destroy you.  Learn to overcome rejection by obtaining the knowledge of God.

I hope you are learning something because I know I am.  All my Bible lessons are for me from God and if you can benefit from them then that is just an added blessing from God.  Also if you don’t like what I teach I would just tell you “You would really like me if you knew me”.  Let’s move on to the next point in dealing with rejection.

# 4 – UNDERSTANDING REJECTION CAUSES PAIN

painLet’ go back again to Luke 23 where Jesus was hanging on the cross and asking God to forgive them.  In the case of the Lord Jesus, His rejection caused Him extreme physical and even emotional pain because of all the things that He endured for us.   So the fourth key to understanding how to handle rejection is for us to understand that there will always be pain that follows the initial rejection.  Just learn to expect it because it will occur.  Perhaps you do not understand me yet.  I do not mean to imply that the pain of rejection will always be the same as Jesus’ physical pain.  However that is still a reality even in this world today.  People are killed, tortured and physically hurt by rejection today.  Just look on the news or the internet and you should be able to find this easily.  Even in the days of the early church the leaders, teachers and the followers of Christ were rejected by many people.   Many of those in the early church were martyred.  Many of them suffered greatly because of their faith.  Many of them died horrific deaths of all sorts and types of slow demise.   Such great suffering occurred simply because of human rejection influenced and conceived by Satan.

Can we agree that pain is not a positive feeling?  Only a perverted and twisted mind will delight in pain.  However there is a positive factor that pain can alert us to something harmful occurring.  For example if something is hot and you touch it accidently the natural reaction is to withdraw your touch very fast because of the pain caused by the heat.  This is an example of how pain can alert us to trouble.  God built us with the capability of feeling all types of sensations including pain and pleasure.  I personally would rather experience a good feeling rather than the negative feeling of pain but yet both still exist for a reason.  Since pain exists in the world and we will probably feel it, learning how to react correctly to pain might be something good for us to learn about.  If not in this lesson then maybe in a follow up lesson on this subject.

There are certainly many types of pain that rejection can cause other than physical suffering.   The factor of emotional pain is significantly as great as physical pain to most people.   Emotional pain could cause us the same type of reaction as a physical pain.  Many will withdraw from a person after they are hurt by them.   If you have ever been rejected by the love of your life then you know exactly the kind of pain that I am talking about.  I believe that physical pain can always feel the greatest when it is happening but emotional feelings can linger for a while.  When a woman is in labor about to deliver her baby I am told that the pain is practically unbearable at those moments.   But after the baby arrives the pain suddenly is considered to be worth it all.  At least the rewards now appear to be worth the cost of endurance because of the joy felt by the presence of the baby.  This is a concept that is taught to us by God in the New Testament.  For example read this verse found in the book of Romans:

Rom 8:18  For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

The Greek word translated as “sufferings” can mean “emotional or physical” types of pain.   God warns us that we will experience this here in this world.  But God then tells us how to endure it.  Wow, again and again.  Here we are told to get back to thinking spiritually and eternally.  God tells us very clearly in 2 Corinthians 4:18 that the things in this world are very temporary.  God then instructs us to focus upon the things that are not seen because these are those things that are eternal.  God is simply saying that spiritual things are greater and more important than any sufferings or pains being endured right now.   God tells us that there is coming a glory to be revealed in us. These coming glorious things will make the current pains seem very insignificant.  This is exactly the attitude of the woman that brought a new child into the world.  It will be worth the pains when God shows us what is waiting for us.  I hope you accept this because I know the current pain is very difficult to ignore.  I can speak from experience from the tears that I have shed before because of the pains and hurts and I’m sure that your pain is not any less significant to you that you are going through either.

Jesus endured His natural pain because of His great Love for us and His knowledge of a greater spiritual purpose and plan for our eternity.  He knew this pain endured in the natural would benefit Him and us and it was this love, knowledge and spiritual insight that kept Him on the cross. Thank you Jesus!  Let’s begin to learn to follow Jesus’ example of looking into the future.  I know that seeing into the future is not natural for us.  It is very difficult to focus on anything beyond the current level of pain being experienced.  I keep emphasizing this because this is a reality we have all shared in common at some time in our life and our Christian walk.   Here is another verse of future glory to be revealed:

1Co 2:9  But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.

I like this verse.  It is an excellent commentary on the future.   Because we cannot fully comprehend the power of God or what God could do for us we do not yet understand what He could have planned for us.  However, we can still begin to think of His goodness and expect some pretty marvelous things that await us.  This should help each of us endure human rejection for a short time.  Begin to think eternally.  While doing this think spiritually and get out of the natural perspective of your rejection.  Ask God to forgive those that are rejecting you.  Ask Him to send laborers across their paths to help them see and know the truth.

We should now start to understand that this type of observer offense called “rejection” causes people pain and these pains can create great feelings of worthlessness, inadequacy, loneliness and inferiority to the one being rejected.  The pain is real but this is definitely a temporary feeling.  Even if they killed you dead, you would pass into eternity to be with Christ and the pain would not be remembered.

# 5 – CHRIST’S INSTRUCTIONS – EXPECTING REJECTION

???????????????????????????????????????????I have implied this subject briefly in previous topics but this will be a more direct emphasis to teach us all to expect rejection to occur.   When we expect something to happen we will be better prepared to handle it.  If we do not expect something to happen then we will usually be taken by surprise when it does happen and this will usually result in our failure.  There is an old saying from my work history that says “Fail to plan then you should plan to fail”.   Do you understand this?   This is only teaching us that we need to come up with a plan before we are rejected just in case it happens and this will give us the greater advantage when it does.  Let’s examine a principle found in the book of Proverbs to help us:

Pro 24:27[Put first things first.] Prepare your work outside and get it ready for yourself in the field; and afterward build your house and establish a home.  (AMP)

This is a very interesting verse that says nothing about rejection but does teach us to make a plan and follow the process.  God gives us instructions to do things in a specific order.  This is generally called “common sense” but this quality is  sometimes a feature lacking in the modern age of people doing things without thinking of the consequences.  The Hebrew word translated as “Prepare” is H3559 and it means “to set upright or erect”.   It is clearly implying a correct process to accomplish this.  In other words a plan is expected and it must be followed.  This is what I am attempting to give you in this lesson.  This lesson is talking about making a plan for rejection.  Preparing for something negative is not a lack of faith but is rather a common sense approach to balancing the scriptures.  We need to learn to expect what God said would happen to happen.   Let’s see what God said would happen:

Mat 10:24The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord.

Mat 10:25  It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?

Jesus declares we are no better than He was.  He says very clearly that how He has been treated by people in this world will be how we will be treated by the same.  This is a foundational doctrine being established and applied by the Lord Jesus Christ to all Christians.  If Jesus was unjustly labeled, accused and rejected by people we should not expect anything differently.  We need to know this because this type of persecution will certainly increase as the time nears for Christ’s return.  Do you understand the connection between persecution and rejection?  These two are directly linked together like Siamese twins.   I can see this persecution happening now even in the media very clearly.  Anyone standing up for God will be tried and torn down by those who do not want to hear it in a court of public opinion.  We will be labeled intolerant hate mongers by those that hate us.  That is a very hypocritical attitude isn’t it?   They can criticize us but we can say nothing about their sin.  I did say their sin and not them.  I try to never talk about anyone specifically by name ever.

We should know from reading the Gospels that Jesus was heavily and frequently rejected for one reason or the other.  There was the time once when the people wanted to stone Him (John 8:59) or throw Him off a cliff (Luke 4:29).  Many others simply walked away mocking His teachings about eating His flesh and drinking His blood for example (John 6:66).  The religious leaders of that day rejected Jesus and planned to kill him and they eventually succeeded (John 5:18, John 7:1).  Rejection was a very significant part of the life of Jesus.  You need to know this and then apply what Jesus just said to you in Matthew 10:25.

Therefore the fifth factor in this lesson for dealing with human rejection is for us to begin to expect for it to occur.  However this only applies if you are anything like Jesus and doing what He was doing, saying what He was saying and acting the same way to people in this world.  Just don’t be surprised when someone rejects you, your message, your witness, your testimony or your life style choices and this will help you deal with it in a healthy manner without striking back from emotional anger or hurt.  Striking back in anger or from the pain or other emotional hurts will usually only cause greater problems of strife as well as give other Christians a bad reputation.  The same as Jesus walked in love to those that rejected Him, is how we should respond to the same types of denunciation.

I will also say this quickly about Christians not being rejected by worldly people.  If you are currently accepted by the vast majority of the people in the world then you are not preaching, teaching or telling people what Jesus told them.  It is impossible not to offend the world with the truth of the Word of God.  Wow, that was a very strong statement but it is a well-known fact.   Always expect the world to reject you and then learn to walk in proactive forgiveness towards them just like Jesus did hanging on the cross when He said “Father forgive them for they know not what they do”.  This is the beginning of handling rejection and I hope you are learning something today that will help you in your walk with Jesus Christ.  I will just give one more witness to this truth for this lesson today:

Rom 8:17  And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

We are warned that we will all suffer with Jesus by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost given to Paul.    In other words the same rejection that He endured we should expect to happen to us.  Do you see it in this verse?  Perhaps it will help to study the Greek Word that was translated as “suffer with” in this verse and it could help us to see what God was trying to say.

G4841From G4862 and G3958 (including its alternate); to experience pain jointly or of the same kind (specifically persecution; to “sympathize”): – suffer with.

It should become significantly clearer by reading this definition from Strong’s Concordance that our rejection will be the same as Christ’s rejection.   “To experience pain jointly or of the same kind” is the primary definition of this word.  I do not know how to make it more clear than this.  After reading this you should now be expecting the same level of rejection and persecution to come to you as what Jesus experienced in this world.

# 6 – UNDERSTAND CHRIST’S EXAMPLE – BECOMING ACCEPTED BY GOD

AcceptedI believe that I have at the very least implied this point briefly in the previous sections but it should be emphasized again more directly for a greater clarification and retention.  I firmly believe that Jesus lived a pattern of life on the earth that we should expect to reoccur in our lives and I further believe that His life was an intentionally designed example for us to follow after.  That does not mean that we will die on the cross like He did but some Christians have experienced that.  What I am trying to say is that we should walk, talk and live the way that He did towards other people in love.

Was Jesus rejected?  I think we have more than confirmed that He was rejected repeatedly.  Did Jesus ever feel the pain of rejection?  I think we have seen this evidence also.  I think I will give you another witness for the emotional pain that Jesus felt about being rejected.  Please read this next verse and see beyond the words to feel the emotions behind them.

Mat 23:37  O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!

Jesus starts out with a heartfelt cry “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem”.  Depending upon the voice tone it could be any emotion between anger and extreme sadness.  But I believe that these words were spoken in pain and disappointment.    You can see this by the further statement “How often would I have gathered your children…”.   This part of the statement is God longing to accept these people into His arms just like a mother hen covers her little young ones.  This is a very powerful statement that the children were refusing this love and nurturing.   They were rejecting the love of the only true God.  This broke the heart of God and He cries for them.  Feel the tears and experience the pain of being rejected.  God is clearly weeping over His people.

How did Jesus deal with all of this rejection?  I would think that we should follow after His example.  We have already talked about many of the things that Jesus did to counter rejection.  I mentioned learning and knowing the truth, walking in love, seeing things spiritually, emphasizing eternal realities and proactively forgiving the rejecters.  Let’s now read my lesson’s foundational verse and consider what God is saying.  This verse will be the central theme for my entire subject today.

1Pe 2:4  And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God,

This verse is the applied basis for my question that I asked you in the title today.  This verse is speaking directly of Jesus Christ.  Jesus Christ set us a living example for us to follow after.  He was very clearly rejected by the vast majority of the people present in the region of the earth where He was born.  He did nothing except teach them, heal them and work miracles in their sight and they rejected all the good that He represented and killed Him.  These people took an innocent man guilty of no crimes and killed Him like a murderer.  Did Jesus deserve this rejection?  Did Jesus sow any discord, disharmony or anything else to cause this rejection?  I don’t really believe that He did.   No Jesus simply presented the truth and this truth was rejected out of their human ignorance.

This teaches us that human rejection may not be justified, earned or merited and that it could happen to anyone doing what Jesus did.  However, did you notice the antithesis preference found within this verse found in 1 Peter 2:4?  Doesn’t God say here in this verse that Jesus even after being rejected by men was still plainly accepted by God?  In fact wasn’t Jesus already accepted by God even before he was ever rejected by anyone?   Let’s look at a verse that confirms this:

Luk 3:22  And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.

God in a spiritual form of a dove descended from heaven upon Jesus.  The voice of God in heaven spoke and declared the Son of God Jesus to be pleasing to the Father.  To be pleasing in the eyes of the observer is clearly acceptance by the Father God.  At this time in the life and ministry of Jesus, He had not done one miracle yet nor started to teach or preach any Word from God.  Therefore human rejection had not taken place.  Here is a secret for surviving human rejection.  We must make sure that we are first accepted by God.  Wow this really sounds like something that we need to learn about.  How do we become accepted by God when people can reject us?  I guess I should clarify this question.  You see I believe that we are primarily rejected by men simply because we have previously been accepted by God.   I am attempting to talk to Christians in this lesson but I do know we all can still be rejected before we become Christians.  So this lesson can even help a non-Christian if they will join in a do what the Bible teaches about dealing with rejection.

# 7 – UNDERSTANDING HOW TO BECOME REJECTED BY GOD

Mat 10:33  “But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven.

There are at least two antithesis truths that can be gleaned from this verse.  The key word being found in this verse is “deny”.  This Greek word is G720 and it means to “reject”, “renounce” or “abnegate”.  The English word “abnegate” means to reject something valuable.  God says to us if we “reject” (deny) Christ (that which should be valuable to us) verbally to other people that He will reject (deny) us (that which is valuable to Him) before these same people.  Wow, wow, wow!!   That is something that many people have not considered.   Have you given this verse much thought?  It would be good for all of us to meditate on this verse for a long time to get it built into our hearts.

What are the implied unstated or indirect truths found within this verse?  This verse teaches us by the law of antithesis truth that if we “accept” and “proclaim” Christ before men that God will accept and proclaim us in the exact same way.  This fact declares plainly that we control our acceptance or our rejection from God by our own freewill choices and actions.  This truth contradicts the erroneous teaching of extreme predestination where people are appointed for salvation or for hell based upon God’s sovereign plan.  It is very clear to me that we have a great role to play in being accepted or rejected by God.  Let’s obtain another witness to this truth of being rejected by God:

2Ti 2:12  If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:

Again God declares that the rejection (denial) of Christ will be His rejection (denial) of us.   These are established truths which places all of the responsibility of what happens to us upon our personal will, choices, decisions and actions.  I keep saying that because this was how God designed salvation to work.  Salvation is totally dependent upon what you believe and what you say.  If you don’t believe me then let’s believe God’s Word and read this verse to confirm it:

Rom 10:9  That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

I am going to say something very controversial about this verse that I have said before in other posts.  I get more religious people’s negative comments trying to convince me that salvation is based upon works and not completely on our faith than any other subject that I teach on.  What are the key words found in this verse?  They are “believe” and “confess”.   God says if we do these two we will be saved.  Now place this verse in harmony with the previous two verses about denying Jesus?  You should be able to see that “denying” Jesus is implied to be a public declaration.  Would it not stand to reason that confessing Jesus is the same?  I do not want to get religious or legal minded about salvation being only one certain way because I do believe a person can get saved all alone in any private setting by calling on Jesus.  However, the public confession of Jesus factor is still implied even after the initial salvation.  Who said we have to stop confessing Jesus after the one time public or private confession of Jesus?

Do you understand what I was saying?  I believe if we confess Jesus in private but deny him in public we could be in serious trouble.   God says salvation is dependent upon us confessing Jesus and believing in His resurrection from the dead.  This would simply imply that our continued salvation hinges upon us continuing to believe and continuing to confess Him as our Lord and Savior in public or in private.   This is what I believe whether you choose to believe it or not.  Please do not write me comments about eternal security and once saved always saved philosophies that do not balance with the whole word of God and ignore so many scriptures that contradict it.  I am probably causing offense to so many readers by attempting to teach the truth as I have been shown it by God but that is the risk of any teaching from the Bible.  Someone will always be offended and I will be rejected by some.

What does all of this teach us?   This means that we should not be ashamed of Jesus Christ to talk about Him and tell others about what He has done for us.  We should not be bashful but rather bold enough to proclaim Him in a public setting.  Uh oh I can feel the readers shutting me off as they just read something that is potentially controversial about doing something potentially offensive to others in the world.    This verse is very strong to say that God will reject some people on the earth.  It seems to me that it would be very wise for me to determine how to not become one of these being rejected.  We are talking about being accepted or being rejected by God.  We have just determined that it is possible to be in either category of mathematical sets.   The set of God’s accepted versus the set of God’s rejected.  Which are you in?  Are you one of His sheep or one of the goats that will be turned away?

# 8 – UNDERSTANDING THE SPIRITUAL SOURCE FOR HUMAN REJECTION

Mat 10:25  It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?

I have been doing a very basic Bible lesson on the subject of rejection and how to deal with it.  We have already learned some very valuable information on this subject.  Let’s think some more about the implied truths found in Matthew 10:25.  Did you notice what Jesus was further suggesting in this statement?  Jesus was saying if we are accepted by God then we will probably be rejected by men.  This is just basic logic derived from analyzing the stated truths and the unstated antithesis truths that must also be true.  If we are God’s disciples then we must have been accepted by God.  If we are God’s servants then again this implies God’s approval has taken place.  Now learn how the world will treat those that are accepted and approved into the household of Christ Jesus.  Jesus said that they will be called names and rejected.  Therefore it is one or the other and not both.  What this teaches us again is that if we are accepted by God we will be rejected by the vast unsaved world.  And if we are rejected by God then we are more likely to be accepted by the same lost world. Therefore we should have learned to expect rejection after our acceptance from Jesus Christ.

As I have continued to teach we need to expect this rejection of men to occur in order to not be taken by surprise. Please understand that it is ultimately Satan that is using these people to come against Christians.  Satan will be directing the assaults by providing thoughts that blind their minds to receive the truth.   It is essential to know what Ephesians 6:12 says in this discussion of rejection.

Eph 6:12  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

Why did I include this verse in a discussion concerning handling rejection?  It is primarily because we need to know who is behind the rejection from the people in the world.  God very clearly teaches in the Bible in more than one scripture that we are in a spiritual battle with the rulers of the darkness of this this world.  Every unsaved person is a puppet in this dark world.  Most of them do not have a clue what they are doing and why they are doing it.  This is why Jesus could hang on the cross and ask God to forgiven them all because of their ignorant allegiance and obedience to the devil.   Jesus knew the ultimate enemy and it was not people.  People were who He came to the earth to save.   Jesus was clearly thinking spiritually and not naturally.  Wow, we really need to get a hold of this concept.  When a person comes and rejects us and calls us names we must realize that it is Satan inspired.  This is why we don’t ever retaliate with a person that is rejecting us.  You can however learn to speak to the spirits that are working in those people.  I would not normally do this to their face unless God instructed me to do so.  We can also pray to God and ask God to open the eyes of understanding for the person doing the rejecting.  These are two things that we can do when being rejected.  Remember that and this will further help you to overcome the rejection.   We can talk more about these in another lesson someday.

# 9 – OVERCOMING THE REJECTION OF MEN WITH THE ACCEPTANCE OF GOD

 What God declares in Matthew 10:25 is that rejection by Satan and the world is inevitable if we are Christians.  We will either be rejected by men or we will rejected by God.  That makes it extraordinarily clear to me who I don’t want to be rejected by.  I want to definitely be accepted by God.  We have already talked about denying Christ or confessing Christ as primary factors for rejection or acceptance but there are other factors that are stated in the Bible. This will be the next tot he last section in this lesson discussion to further expand out knowledge on becoming fully accepted by God.  We will need to learn as much as we can about this subject in a short overview format.

Rejection by men and women in the world will always hurt us emotionally and possibly physically.  I would love to be accepted by everyone that I teach or meet but I know this will never happen.  Also I do not wish to become a “man pleaser” just to have the friendship with the world.  It would be foolish of me to water down the teaching of God to just not to try to offend anyone.  These principles are clearly taught to us in the Bible.  Let’s review some N.T. verses about rejection and acceptance by God:

2Co 6:17  Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,

We are told by God to come out from among them and be separate.  This Greek word translated as “separate” means to set a boundary between two things.  In other words God tells us to be very different from the world.  Being different from the world alone will cause many people in the world to reject us as fools.     We will be called names like intolerant hate mongers or even a boring unexciting person just because we don’t party, drink alcohol, smoke or take drugs like them.  We will be accused of propagating a message of exclusion and preaching a message of hatred simply for speaking of Christ’s love being the only way for their salvation.  What people in the world do not realize is that in their present condition they are far apart from God and on their way to hell.  We are instructed by God to tell them about a remedy for this condition that God has given to them freely.  If they will listen to this message then Christ said they will be saved from the rejection of God.

Go back and reread 2 Corinthians 6:17 again.   The verse ends with the declaration that we will be received by God “IF” we come out from among the world.  This Greek word translated as receive is G1523 and it means “to take into one’s favor” or in other words to “be accepted” and “approved”.  Wow, this is great information to learn.  God is telling you how to be accepted by Him.  This is clearly us rejecting the world’s ways and walking in God’s ways.  The reverse antithesis truth found in this verse is that if we accept the world’s ways we will be rejected by God and that will definitely be an unsatisfactory result for eternity.  What God is teaching us in the Bible is that there exist conditional promises.  Acceptance by God is conditional and never guaranteed unless we learn to follow the instructions that He has given to us in order to qualify.

We have just learned a basic principle for achieving God’s acceptance and avoiding His rejection.  We must proclaim Jesus before men and we must come out from among the world.  It sounds like a contradiction but this is the way of God.  We can tell the world about Jesus without looking like them, acting like them or sounding like them.  Being accepted by God is a partnership between God’s Grace and man’s faith.  We cannot earn this favorable position with God by our works.  Our works of labor will never make us accepted by God.  This is truly a paradox being presented to us.  If right works do not save us yet the wrong works could cause us to be rejected how do we deal with this?  Let’s view a perspective from the Lord Jesus on this part of the discussion:

Mat 5:16  Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

We are called the lights shining to the world in this verse.  As a light we are told to do good works in order to give glory to God for saving us.   You see our good works certainly do not save us but yet they can be viewed by the world clearly to be seen as a different and new way of life.   There is a tremendous deception contained within the ways of the world.  The life of sin is very attractive at first but the consequence of sin will always come upon them suddenly and then this is when people might wish they had made better choices.   Let me give you a quick Bible verse that relates to this subject of enjoying pleasure for a short time and an eternity in hell for making that wrong choice:

Heb 11:25  Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;

This verse is speaking of Moses if you read the context you will see this clearly.  Notice what God says about Moses.  God says Moses made a wise choice.  Moses chose to live in persecution and affliction rather than live the good life with the Egyptians for a season.  It is self-evident that we should not choose a short life of pleasure just to hang around the popular people, the aristocrats and the wealthy.   This is what God is trying to say to us all.  Come out and be separate from the world and this will cause you to be accepted by God but rejected by them.  However, this will result in far greater rewards than you can possibly imagine.

#10 – THE WITNESS OF GOD IS GREATER THAN THE WITNESS OF MAN

Now let me end this lesson with one more key verse when learning to deal with rejection found in the book of 1st John.   I am going to emphasize one more time that the acceptance of God should be our focused desire.  This goal will help us to deal with the certain rejection of people in this world:

1Jn 5:9  If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son.

I think this will be my last verse in this very important Bible lesson.  Here is God comparing two possible realities that I started out asking you in the lesson title.  Did you see them?  One is a natural reality and the other is a spiritual reality?  Which one is greater?   Can you comprehend the connection to the subject of “rejection”?   Let’s look up the Greek word G3144 which was translated as “witness”.  Witness is defined to be someone that gives evidence for or against you in a court of law.  Now do you begin to see the connection?  What happens when someone rejects you?  They usually will verbally speak something negative about you.  What happens when someone accepts you?  They usually will verbally speak something positive about you.  So how does this information apply to being rejected by men?

If a man rejects you God informs us very clearly that His acceptance will be greater and far more important to us in the end.  In other words the temporary acceptance of men will not be worth the eternal separation and rejection of God.  God is just confirming that His divine spiritual acceptance outweighs any natural rejection every time.  I think this will be very helpful to everyone that will learn to receive it.

After reading this Bible lesson on rejection let me ask the titled question again. Would you now rather be rejected by men or rejected by God?  This is a test just like in school growing up.  However, God’s tests are always open book tests with the answer found right after you search for them with your whole heart.  What does God recommend for this question?  God recommends that you make wise choices and become accepted by Him.  Then don’t worry about the rejection that the world will bring you because the acceptance of God will triumph over this dismissal by the world giving you great eternal rewards.

There is so much more on this subject of rejection in the Bible but it will have to wait for a follow up lesson.  I would recommend that you go back and reread this lesson more than once.  Print it out and take notes.  Share it with others so that they too will know how to deal with rejection.  I thank you so much for taking the time to read these Bible lessons.  I pray that the seeds planted in your heart from these lessons will sprout and bring forth much fruit in your life.  Until next time may God richly bless you and keep you in the paths that He would lead you in.  God Bless you!!!

Why Do People Believe What They Say They Believe? Part 1

(Ver 1.3)  This is going to be Part 1 in a series on the basic Bible foundational subject of where do human beliefs come from?  I am going to revert back to the fundamental basics of Christianity today in this lesson.  Recently I started out writing about another Bible subject and this topic came up and suddenly expanded so large that it became a separate new Bible study that just kept growing and growing.  This subject of “belief” is an integral part of Christianity found in the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation.  Technically beliefs are an integral part of any religion, a basic characteristic found in every human and in human life in general.  We all have beliefs, but they certainly vary in such wide degrees that it is easily understandable that every human belief is not the truth.  Let’s first start by defining the word “belief”.  A belief is a noun and one online dictionary defined it as “something one accepts to be true or real; a firmly held conviction or opinion”.  Notice that word “opinion” in that definition because that is one of the key ingredients to my main subject today.  A belief is a concept of recognition for something that you have no concrete evidence or proof that exists.  If you can see the chair in front of you, you don’t have to believe in its existence, for example.  Since you cannot see God you are now required to believe in God wihtout proof.  There is a major difference in those two examples. 

The entire perception of human belief is subjective, abstract, mental, intellectual and even theoretical.  In other words people cannot see human beliefs since they are a spiritual internal reality.  Beliefs are neither measurable nor quantifiable in human terms.  The strength or numbers of your beliefs cannot even be counted.  However, we can see the resulting actions or hear the words from that person that are based upon their unseen beliefs, but yet we still do not fully know why they believe what they say they believe from those alone.  I also like my diagram that I found to include at the top of this discussion.  There are two set realms in this diagram.  One realm is God’s knowledge and the other ser realm is man’s beliefs in what they think is truth.  This diagram teaches us three basic things.  The first thing  to note is that only what God says is the set of truth.  The second thing to note is you don’t know or understand everything that God has said so your knowledge is severely limited compared to God’s.  Finally we need to note that many of our current beliefs today are not founded within God’s set of truths.  To me the ulitimate goal is for me to reduce my beliefs that are outside of the realm of God’s truth and this can only be accomplished by me increasing my knowledge of God’s set of truths.  Is that you also?  Let me introduce a Bible verse on the subject of belief to begin:

2Th 2:13  But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:

Here is Paul giving God thanks for those that were saved.  Paul attributes one of the major factors for their salvation to be their individual belief of the truth.  Paul by the law of antithesis gives us an unstated truth that those who do not believe are those that are not saved and that actually agrees with what Jesus told us in Mark 16:16This statement introduces to us many new questions on the subject of belief.  How did these saved people hear the truth?  What was this truth that helped to save them?  Why did they accept the truth and others did not?  Was it only the truth that saved them, only their human belief or the combination of the two working together?  What I see from this discussion so far is that it matters greatly what we believe.  I see it being stated that every belief is not a valid entrance into the Kingdom of God and His salvation.   It appears that it is only our beliefs in the truth that will actually do us any good.  But what is truth and what is it based upon.  So many relevant questions need to be answered if we want to begin to explain this subject to anyone else.

I have seen a major problem on the internet occurring so frequently that it has bothered me tremendously.  In many internet Christian forums and groups, I have tried to engage in several intelligent conversations on subjects found in the Bible with other people who also claim to be Christians.  I believe this is a Godly principle based upon Isaiah 1:18 where God says to us to come and reason with Him.  Consistently in every recent conversation I have observed a pattern that would repeat with great reliability.    In my every statement I would always endeavor to include the specific Bible verses to go along with what I was saying to help establish the fact that what I said was not my independent opinion but was rather based upon actual scripture.  Repeatedly I would get other people to respond but they would almost always ignore my Bible verses and my statement and tell me what they believed on the subject being independent from the scripture.  To ignore scriptures and to give no scriptural basis for your reasons is a very dangerous approach for human beliefs.

For example, I had one conversation recently with some people about a supposedly prophesied temple scripture found in 2 Thessalonians 2:4.  This verse informs us that there is a direct connection between the coming man of sin and a temple.  However, this verse does not declare what the temple is, what it is made out of, where the temple is or how it is connected to being God’s temple.  Theefore, to assume anything this verse does not declare would make our belief a human opinion outside the scope of God’s Word.  Do you see any problem with that?  This verse only says that the man of sin will sit in the temple of God informing us that he is God.   The majority of my internet conversation on this temple subject was me trying to show people that nowhere after the resurrection of Jesus from the dead is the “temple of God” ever called or described to be a manmade building of stone like the one built by Solomon in the O.T.  In the New Testament the exact phrase “temple of God” is consistently used in conjunction to describe the human body of those that have accepted and received Christ’s Spirit inside of them.  So I listed at least 4 scriptures that taught us this fact and I even showed them verses in Acts 7:48 where God tells us that He does not live anymore in a temple made by the hands of men.  Along with that fact I showed when Jesus died on the cross, the old man-made temple veil was torn from top to bottom by God (Mat 27:51) indicating to us all that God had moved out of the manmade temple and was gone forever.  I felt that I had given overwhelming evidence to what God says to us in the New Testament, but I was shut down and ignored and they continued to just tell me about Israel’s planned rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem and how that will be the actual fulfillment of 2 Thessalonians 2:4.  Wow, do you understand how frustrating it is when people ignore God’s word for their own beliefs?  I’m not going to fully discuss this subject in this lesson I just wanted to point out how easily Christians can differ when discussing specific things in the Bible.  Clearly I believed one thing and they believed something opposite.  We were both supposed to be looking at all of the same scriptures but I saw something they did not see or the reverse had occurred and they saw something that I had not seen.  Who was right?  We both cannot be right?  I hope that you can see that my beliefs were based upon what my New Testament stated to me.

So what were these other Christian’s beliefs based upon?  I asked them for any specific scriptures that said what they believed and they gave me none at first.  So I eventually went to one friend and asked them privately for any scriptures and finally got some to review.  I honestly thought that I was missing something for a short time being outnumbered in the conversation.  Everyone else in the conversation said it was so obvious and self-evident that you can’t miss it, yet no one tried to explain how this was possible using their few scriptures from Daniel, Matthew and Mark all (Old Testament).  Like I said, I’m not going to discuss this subject in this lesson in any detail, so I won’t get into why I do believe that it will not matter if the natural nation of Israel rebuilds a natural stone temple.  I have another series of lessons on the subject of “Understanding the Coming Anti-Christ” and I touch on this briefly in those lessons giving more detail if you are interested.

I certainly believe these other Christians were Christians.  I also believe that they believed strongly in what they believed was correct because that is what they were taught to believe.  Also because there was more than one person with this belief in agreement, that strengthened them to hold fast to their beliefs as being steadfast.   When I presented scriptures that contradicted with that line of interpretation, my scriptures were ignored and that is clearly a major problem in the eyes of God.  You see your beliefs never override the truth of God.  You cannot ignore any part of the Bible that disagrees with what you believe just so that you can believe another part of the Bible that you think you understand.  So rather than attempting to resolve the conflict scripturally, many Christians ignore the conflicting verses thinking they are not relevant.  However I am a firm believer that if God says anything that I don’t believe in then I need to change to conform to His beliefs.  It will never be the other way around.  God never changes and He knows everything so that only leaves you and me as the responsible change agents to adapt to His understanding of the subject.  Let’s talk briefly about why people believe what they believe.

WHERE DID MY BELIEFS COME FROM?

There are only a limited number of reasons for why people actually believe what they do on any given subject.  Probably you have never given significant thought to that or even asked yourself why do I believe what I believe today?  Was it because of where I was born, how I was raised, where I went to school, what I have learned or observed or some other factor that caused my beliefs to form as they have?  I mean why do people in Southeast Asia lean towards the belief in Buddha?  Why do many others in the Middle East lean towards the belief in Islam and Mohammed?  There is a basic law of physics that states there is the existence of a cause for every resulting observable effect.  That is exactly what I am asking you today, what caused your beliefs?  Are they regionalized?  I know you have beliefs just as I have beliefs.  There is literally no one on the planet that is not living their life based upon what they believe to be true.   If you can figure out where your beliefs came from then you will learn if you are on the right path to knowing the truth or not.  I’ll give you a quick list of some of the potential reasons for beliefs and then talk about them briefly.

  1. All beliefs are based upon human ignorance (limited knowledge) of the subject under discussion.
  2. Many beliefs originate from the teachings from parents, schools, churches, religions, governments, friends, books or other influences.
  3. Many beliefs are based upon rumors or speculation overheard, yet un-provable.
  4. Many beliefs are from personal life experiences without knowing all of the facts.
  5. Other beliefs come from the observed life experiences of others in our culture and our world also without understanding all of the facts.
  6. Beliefs can be influenced by a thought of our mind, originating from either our own spirit or from an influential spirit either demonic or angelic.
  7. Finally our beliefs can come from hearing from the Spirit of God in our spirit.

I just gave you seven possible reasons for why you believe something today.  I might go and give you a few Bible examples of each of these as I continue this series.  Also notice that I gave you 5 natural reasons and 2 spiritual or supernatural reasons for human beliefs.  Most unsaved people do not comprehend the existence of the spiritual dimension influences and only a select group of Christians have a firm grasp on this area.  There is a major difference between natural and spiritual and they both occur in the Bible.  Can you think of any other dominant reasons for why people believe either right or wrong what they say they believe?  We know by the sheer numbers of the different kinds of beliefs in the world that it is literally impossible for them all to be the truth.  The dramatic contradictions between the beliefs cause us to know many are wrong.  Go back and review my list of the belief sources and see if you can assign which ones are possible sources for truth and which ones are potential causes for deception.   I guess I should briefly describe the subject of deception.  I actually have a Bible series on this subject called “Deception the Greatest Weapon of Satan”.  Do you understand that no one that is deceived knows they have been deceived?  If I knew I was deceived then I’m no longer deceived.  Take the story of Tamar and Judah in the Genesis 38.  Tamar uses a form of righteous deception to achieve a greater good.  Judah has sex with Tamar thinking she was a prostitute.  Therefore, Judah was clearly deceived and what he believed was true was not entirely the truth.  You just Judah’s perspective was different than Tamar’s perspective because she knew what was going on more completely.  Later Judah finds out that his daughter-in-law Tamar is pregnant and suddenly the deception unravels and Judah is suddenly no longer deceived.  What changed in this story of Judah to convert him from his set of deception beliefs to kowing the truth?  Only Judah’s knowledge changed and only this caused his beliefs to change.    Judah’s original beliefs were first based upon observation and experience.  Because Tamar looked like a prostitute Judah believed her to be one.  Uh oh?  How many people are still doing that type of reasoning today?  I just described to you a classic Bible example of human beliefs formed by natural experience from my list of belief sournces numbers 4 and 5.

Deception is literally a great trick of Satan and is very dominant in the world today.  Tell a little lie to someone and if they believe it they are now deceived.  By the earlier definition of “belief” we learned that whenever a person believes something, they have an affirmation that the information given or presented is the truth.  This of course does not make their belief the truth simply because it is present; rather presence only confirms the existence of a stated belief right or wrong.  From my example of Judah and Tamar we should be able to see that potential truth or deception can come from any of the first 6 stated sources of our beliefs.  Because Judah’s experience and knowledge changed, his beliefs changed and eventually conformed to God’s truth.

Let me stop here and say that I believe these 7 sources are the main reasons for individual beliefs today based upon my own personal observations.  Did you see what I just did?  I am basing what I believe to be true upon what I have seen or learned around me.  That is actually a very normal method for forming our beliefs, but it can also be a very dangerous approach to take if we do not recognize the truthfulness of our sources correctly or understand all of the facts that occurred with what we observed.  I think my example of Judah and Tamar exhibited this principle very well.  If you go and reread the story closely you might also agree.

Let me try to teach you briefly why our beliefs can be founded in error so easily.  Since I believe in God, I believe that He created us and is the source for all knowledge and truth.  If you do not believe in God then you have no formation for the basis of any truth and thus your beliefs are relative to your ignorance and your inconsistent human reasoning.  For me, since I believe in God, I believe also in the Bible being the inspired Word of God given to man to teach us (2 Tim 3:16).  Both of these beliefs provide me with an unfailing foundation that is not based upon me, my opinion, my ability to reason or the opinions of others.  However my belief is still subjective in the eyes of many other people who do not believe in a God as they have been deceived in choosing to believe in no God, or Allah as God, Jupiter as God or whoever.  This is why you need to know your God.  If you speak to your God and He does not answer you back, that God is probably the wrong God to follow and believe in.  I learned a long time ago that my God speaks to me and I know His voice and I will only follow Him.

I believe that every Christian better have a strong relationship with the one that they believe in.  So my God speaks to me and I listen but, unless we definitely know that what we believe was something that we heard from the God that knows everything we have no actual basis for knowing anything that we believe.  You see we all learn and believe things from what men teach us and if they have not heard from God either then you are now basing your ignorant beliefs on the further ignorant beliefs of that man.  Not everything that professors teach you in universities is the truth.  Just because someone believes it is the truth that does not make it the actual truth. All human information and knowledge is relative and based upon the current limited known facts built further upon their very limited understanding of the entire subject.  Take the human knowledge of the recently discovered DNA of man.  This very intelligent design characteristic could have only been created by our God that knows everything.  Man is still trying to unravel the mystery of the complex DNA properties and what they all mean.   This DNA example demonstrates man’s lack of specific knowledge is exactly why universities teach a lot of unsubstantiated theories.   Fifty years ago there was no subjects taught about genetic engineering or research and they have only now emerged because of our discovery of them.  What changed?  Of course it was our knowledge of the subject that change; the subject DNA always existed as truth as long as man existed.  The fact that they do not know everything in colleges and universities proves they are ignorant.  A manmade theory is any teaching that is based upon the ignorance of the subject under discussion.  However this is not the way of God or His Word.  God does not present to us any theories in His Word.  However, what we understand of the Word is still widely theoretical, based upon our lack of complete understanding of it just like our knowledge of DNA.  

Even hearing directly from God is much more complicated than us just listening to a few of His words and thinking we have it all figured out.  His intelligence level is so far superior to ours, that He can say certain simple things to Him and they could infinitely surpass our current ability to comprehend them fully.  We must base our every belief from God on the basic supposition that we even understood what we heard correctly and that we fully understand what God said, why He said it and that there are no other dependent subjects required to understand it more fully.   My basic beliefs in God’s word have never changed dramatically in the last ten to fifteen years.  In other words if I heard from God correctly what I believe from that information is usually only enhanced to a greater level of understanding as I learn and hear more from God.  No one is ever going to learn something new tomorrow from God that will disqualify what they learned yesterday from God or what they learned yesterday was not the truth at all from God.  Truth never changes and God’s word will never contradict itself and thus in the true interpretation and understanding any new information from God just helps us to grow with increased wisdom to know how to apply the information that we have already acquired.  The only time that I have had to ever abandon a belief was when my belief did not come from God or His Word but rather it came from my own human reasoning or another of the stated sources of information other than God, His written word, His angel, His prophet or His representative.

Therefore the accuracy of what you believe today is relatively based upon the unintended ignorance of yourself along with the source of the selected limited information that you are listening to and believing in.  Also notice no human source of information is perfect.  Even men of God teach out of their ignorance of the subject being taught.  When we are all born into this world we enter the natural realm with a zero level of intelligence, knowledge, and understanding.  Therefore we are all void of any beliefs at initial birth.  How then do we acquire any actual real knowledge of the truth as we grow up and mature?  That is where we are all challenged by God to go and find the truth as children being trained up into the correct ways of learning.  This is also why Satan wants every school in the world to be void of the Bible.  Remove the basic source for all truth and people will more easily accept the lies to be deceived.  God informed us of a basic law that he who seeks will find (Mat 7:7).  Therefore finding truth begins with first seeking truth in the right places.  The Bible is the only valid source of truth and what you believe needs to be firmly grounded upon only the facts within the Bible.  So from my list of seven potential truth or belief sources where are you seeking to find your truth?  If you are looking to God and to His Word, then I believe you are on the right narrow path, but if you are on another wider path then you are probably doomed for failure.

IS WHAT THE MAJORITY BELIEVES, ALWAYS RIGHT AND THE TRUTH?

I alluded to this question earlier.  People many times feel like there is increased safety in numbers.  In some situations this is true, but in others it just gives a false sense of security.   People think that if I can get enough people to agree with me, then I know we are all right and we know the truth.  This is a very popular method to achieve acceptance, self-assurance and confidence in the accuracy of our beliefs.  If we can get the majority of the people to believe in a subject, many think that this fact alone will change our belief to a truth.  However this is also a great way to be deceived, die and go to hell.  Let me give you an example in the Bible of a majority that failed to receive what God had given to them.  The children of Israel sent out 12 spies into their land that God had said I have given to you in Numbers 13.  The spies came back with a majority negative report based upon what they saw with their own physival eyes.  Again we see numbers 4 and 5 in my list as being the dominant factor setting for their beliefs.  Only two of the spies ignored what they saw and based their beliefs upon a higher degree of faith in the words of their God.  For the other 10, their personal observations of the land and its inhabitants kept them from living in this land that God had said was theirs already.  The 10 spies influenced the rest of the nation with their negative report (numbers 2 and 3 in my list) and thus that generation died not possessing the truth.  Whose truth and beliefs were actually right?  Were the majority 10 spies of the children of Israel right or was the minority Joshua, Caleb and God right?  Obviously God was right and Joshua and Caleb were right with Him because they did get to live in their land eventually.  Therefore this story would appear to reaffirm that what we base our beliefs upon will matter tremendously.  Learn right now that what God says is what you need to believe going forward regardless of what the circumstances of life or anyone else around you is actually telling you.  Believing the words of the ten spies caused over a million people to die in the wilderness.  Their listening to wrong sources and their agreement with the wrong beliefs of others was the only factor that kept them from God’s Promised Land.  Also, learn the fact that the majority beliefs were clearly overruled by what God says if we choose to believe it.  Never base your beliefs upon what the majority says alone, they may just be helping you die in your wilderness with them.

WHAT DO WE DO WHEN A CHRISTIAN TELLS US SOMETHING IS TRUE?

Let’s talk about another potential source for truth today in more detail.  Number two in my list is a very common and prevalent human source of belief influence.  We all encounter new people every day that can influence our beliefs.  Do you automatically trust or believe what I say to you just because I said it?  Do you automatically accept what your pastor says to you just because he is a really nice person?  Do you accept what a TV preacher says just because millions of other people love him?  I tell you if you do that you are in major trouble and probably already deceived.   Never believe anything that I say or anyone else says no matter who they are, or what kind of degree they have, or any other criteria or factor of man’s satisfaction that helps you to accept what they say as truth.  This is the greatest problem with our current President.  People accept his words as truth and clearly I can see through them for what they are by his actions.  Actions always speak louder than your words.  If you say you are a Christian just to get Christians to vote for you and then do not live like Christ that is a major problem and a great deception.  A person with no spiritual fruit cannot pretend to create it for those that know how to look for it.  I hope someone is listening.

No man has ever seen God (Jo 1:18) yet God is the only source for us knowing any actual truth (Jo 14:6).  Since man is flesh dominated from birth, hearing and listening spiritually to God is only possible by acquired spiritual knowledge and growth.  Therefore since man has such great difficulty in hearing from Him directly God places pastors, teachers and others in the church to help people learn about spiritual things to cause them to grow up spiritually.

Eph 4:11  And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

Eph 4:12  For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

Did you see what these verses said?  Many people like to think that when they get saved that the Holy Spirit in them will now teach them everything that they need to know and they therefore, have no need to go to a church to learn.  However, that is not exactly what God just said, is it?  The perfecting of the saints is God’s ultimate goal, and He causes this to happen by giving the church teachers and all the other five fold ministry gifts.  Did you notice that not everyone in the Body of Christ is an apostle?  I think that is a factor that you need to fully embrace.  Start by asking yourself, “am I an apostle”?  If you are not an apostle, then you need the gifts of the apostle to grow and to be edified.  No Christian is an island unto God that is independent from other Christians.  Every Christian needs the others in the body to survive.  We are called the Body of Christ (1 Cor 12:27) and like it says the hand cannot say I do not need the feet or another part of the body (1 Cor 12:21).

Why do people often believe wrong?  I need to go through a list of reasons for wrong beliefs but I’ll touch on just one today.  One reason for wrong beliefs is clearly because people refuse to believe that God has sent certain people to teach them through one of the fivefold ministry gifts.  Rejecting God’s apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers will keep you in your bondage of wrong beliefs.  Notice the fact in the N.T. that God gave only Paul certain revelation that He gave no other man.  Notice that God gave John certain revelation that He gave to no other man.  Peter is the same, Luke was the same, therefore none of these teachings from God could have been omitted or ignored byr the people in the early church or they will remain in their state of great ignorance.  So when Peter came to town to preach to the people, they were expected to listen and hear him.  When Paul came to town later to preach to the same people, they  were again expected to listen and to learn from Paul.  What was true in the early church is still true today.  Jesus still appears to certain people in the church to give them revelation that is to be taught to the others in the body.  God will not attempt to go to every church member and teach them what was already given to a teacher like Paul.

HOW DO WE KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A REAL MINISTER AND A FAKE?

Now we are getting into the most critical part of today’s subject of how to determine if your beliefs are based upon any truth from God.  Because God directly warns us of the existence of many false teachers, false prophets and other types of deceivers in the Bible we can understand that not everyone that is preaching in our churches are actually called by God and gifted by God to give us any truth.  Therefore we must require God to either give to us strong spiritual discernment or another basis of verification for what is being spoken.  Since my subject is not about spiritual discernment I will not attempt to address that part of the subject today.  Just notice that because someone says they can discern the truth does not prove or mean that they actually can.  Spiritual discernment is a spiritual gift from a spiritual God and not everyone has every gift as I have previously stated.  Gifts are handed out by God alone and not because a person wants them.  You do not call yourself into the ministry nor do you tell God what He needs to give you.  Understand your order in the spiritual food chain and be a good listener and a good student first.  God will continue to teach you everything that you need to know eventually as you continue to grow being led by His Spirit.  How then do we as Christians need to discern the truth?  What is the basis for all of our knowledge?  Here is the key:

Act 17:11  These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

This is actually one of my favorite verses in the Bible.  It holds awesome information and instruction for everyone in the church.  There is a given comparison of two types of Christians being presented.  One group of Bereans were stated to more noble than the group at Thessalonica.  What made the Bereans more noble?  Two main factors were found present in the Bereans, first they were open to change and second they proved everything that they heard preached to them by searching the Bible daily.  I am a Berean type of Christian; what kind of Christian are you?  I search the scriptures daily to see whatever is taught to me is the truth.  I never accept anything from a teacher without confimration from God.  Therefore if you are not open to change you are not a noble wise type of a Berean.  If you are an open minded type of Berean, then after you have heard what I said, then you need to go and prove it.  This means you do not jump into automatic agreement.  Go to your Bible and search it diligently.  Searching the scriptures for the truth is NOT just reading the words on the page.  Sure that is where it starts, but it does not end there.  Searching involves much more extensive effort called study.  This is where we look up all of the original language words of text and find out what they all mean and how they are used.  We also go and find all the other verses that use those same words to see what else God says on the subjects and then we combine all of this information to confirm what was said was the truth.  If you think this is easy then you are clearly confused or deceived.  The only way this type of study is technically possible is with a modern computer and Bible search software.  Because Christians do not know how to study the Bible they are very vulnerable to deception.   Perhaps I will get into a deeper lesson series on correct Bible study someday.  If you have read all of my Bible studies you should have learned many study techniques by my application.  I have also tried to post specific guidelines and rules for correct Bible interpretation on my site but not too many people understand the importance and ignore them.

This was my first lesson on the sources of Christian and human beliefs and how they work.  We covered a lot of interesting topics and I gave you several Bible examples of how human beliefs were formed using the examples of Tamar and Judah, the 12 spies of Israel and the Bereans and the Thessalonians.  If you have constructive questions or comments on this subject I would be interested in hearing them.  Thank you for your time and effort in studying the Bible and I pray that you will become a Berean type of Christian also today.  God Bless!

Once Saved Always Saved, Eternal Security Versus Satan’s Factor of Deception! Part 5!

(Ver 1.1)  This is now Part 5 in the series of Bible lessons on the very popular misconception called Unconditional Eternal Security (U.E.S.) previously known as Once Saved Always Saved (O.S.A.S).   We have covered a lot of information found in the Bible and if you have not read this series from the beginning I might suggest that you go and start with “Part 1” first.   In the last lesson I talked about the ongoing Christian Responsibility revealed in the salvation process that is clearly laid out for us by God in the Bible.  God uses several metaphorical comparisons to describe our salvation to be like a process, like us having to fight a good fight (1 Tim 6:12, 2 Tim 4:7) or running a marathon type of race (1 Cor 9:24, Heb 12:1).  Both of these symbolic types represent our participation in set contests with competing opponents that are attempting to take from us our victory.  Clearly these examples give us the established truth that we can lose or fail or quit the contest.  Both of these competitions were clearly defined processes of endurance and not simply a onetime salvation event where we start and automatically win like many of the U.E.S. teachers want us to believe.   Both process examples have clearly defined beginnings, followed by many middle steps of conflict and struggle with a set well-defined ending.  Both examples are processes governed by defined rules of engagement to help guide the outcome but yet not to determine the outcome.  In other words, neither process has a pre-determined victor of the fight or the race.  In either of these types of contests any of the individuals competing can always grow tired or weary and quit or give up and fall short of the desired initial expectation for victory.  Do you start a race to lose it?  Do you start a fight to be defeated?  In any fight you might just believe that you are the winner from the start, right up until the point in time that your opponent hits you hard and knocks you down.   If you believe today that you are running a fixed race or fighting a fixed fight that you have already won, then you are clearly not very familiar with realities of fighting or racing.  I really hope and pray that you understand these really basic Bible concepts that God is using to teach us.

Today I am going in a totally new and different direction on the subject of Unconditional Eternal Security using a series of new subjects that I will introduce and connect together to teach the subject of the contribution of the “Deception Factor”.  Today’s lesson will be primarily focused on the potential role and effects of deception in the ongoing process of our salvation and how we are warned by God to avoid it.  However, it will take me familiarizing you with and reviewing other prerequisite subjects to get us to where we need to be to understand how deception is such a major factor to why we do not have eternal security.  Let’s start by first knowing that we have an enemy.

THE REALITY OF YOUR SPIRITUAL ENEMY

The subject of deception is specifically tied to the requirement that a deceiver must exist and be present, willing and able to deceive or deception is a non-issue for every Christian.  If no deceivers exist, then no deception is presented as being possible.  Was that just way too obvious?  Therefore I need to focus on the existence of a deceiver using the Bible.  I am going to introduce you to the existence of the primary deceiver who is also known as Satan.  From Satan comes every other deceiver, so if I can prove his existence in the Bible it should be easy to transition that others exist also.  Using my Bible program I searched for the key word “deceive” and found multiple verses on the subject.  Satan is described as the individual spirit responsible for deceiving the people of the whole world in Revelation 12:9, Revelation 13:14 and Revelation 20:10.  The whole world would be an all-inclusive statement not omitting any nation of people.  Remember what I just said!  Therefore, Satan qualifies to be the deceiver by definition from God’s Word.  Does Satan still exist in the world today?  If you said YES, then you are on the right track.  If you said no, then you do not understand that Revelation 12, 13 and 20 has not happened yet and only by studying God’s Word can we understand that God says Satan is still present to deceive people in EVERY nation.  I just said that again didn’t I?  Now, let me ask you do you still exist in the world today?  I think if you are reading this Bible lesson you must say YES again.  Therefore by God’s definition you have the potential to be deceived because the deceiver is still present here with you.  Also notice something new that you have not connected yet to the subject.  You see God teaches us in the New Testament that the church is a new “Holy Nation” of people (1 Peter 2:9).  However that still makes everyone in the church a potential candidate for deception because we are clearly defined to be a nation.  Now do you see why I emphasized Satan deceiving the nations?  If Satan is the deceiver of the nations, then we in the church are still the potential victims of his deception by our association to God’s definition of a nation.   The Bible is not that hard to see things if you can put them together correctly.

If you did not know it, the Bible declares that every Christian still has a spiritual enemy.  The enemy of the church is named Satan. Technically Satan was God’s enemy before he was our enemy but I won’t go there today.  Just understand that God’s enemies are now our enemies by covenant relationship.  There is an old proverb that says the enemies of my enemies are my friends and conversely the friends of my enemies are also my enemies.  Jesus taught us a similar variation of this proverb in Mark 9:40 saying “He that is not against us, is for us”.   This Bible fact of the existence of a spiritual enemy is declared repeatedly in the Bible both directly and indirectly (James 4:4).  We are first introduced to our enemy as a symbolic serpent in Genesis 3:1 and he continues through the Bible in many forms using many names, descriptions and titles all the way to the last mention in Revelation 20:10.  Satan is described as a spiritual opponent that is arrayed against us trying desperately to defeat us.  Many Christians have left me comments about Jesus’ outstanding victory over Satan (John 16:33, Col 2:15).  They have concluded from these verses that Satan was completely defeated at Calvary thus Jesus rendered him to be a defeated insignificant or trivial factor going forward.  However that is just not all of what the Bible says about Satan, the people on the earth including the church, Christians and their role with resisting Satan and many other statements of truth. 

Jesus also taught us that Satan was the ruler of a kingdom (Mat 12:26).  Jesus further taught us that Satan still had power (Luke 10:19).  Understand that this stated kingdom of Satan was not the kingdom of God or the kingdom of heaven, but a new separate dominion taken from man.  We learn this fact by observing what Satan told Jesus during the 40 day temptation in the wilderness (Luke 4:5-6).  If you go read Luke 4 closely you will see Satan offering Jesus all of the kingdoms of the world if only Jesus would worship him.   Satan told Jesus that these were given to him and since we are not told in the Bible that God gave them to Satan, they must have been taken from Adam.  You see according to Genesis 1:26 Adam was given dominion over all the earth by God yet we see Satan claiming to have control of it in Luke.   One of the first indirect mentions of this kingdom of Satan is also found in first book of the Bible in Genesis 1:16.  On the fourth day of creation God sets the moon (the lesser light) to rule the night and the sun (the greater light) to rule the day.  This verse was a highly prophetical statement using hidden symbolic information for the coming of the Son of God into the world.  This verse predicts the coming of Jesus into the world on a precise timeline and reveals to us one reason why Jesus has come.   The moon in this verse is symbolic of Satan, the Sun in this verse is symbolic of Jesus, the night is symbolic for the kingdom of darkness and the day is symbolic for the Kingdom of Light.  Furthermore, the “4th day” of creation is also symbolic for the time of the coming.  Jesus just so happens to come into the world after four days from Adam using God’s definition of a day from 2 Peter 3:8.  If you do not understand the significance of this information I have a more complete teaching on the subject called “Understanding Night and Day”.

Jesus came personally into Satan’s kingdom of darkness being born of a virgin to bring us light (John 8:12).  However this was not external light, but rather internal spiritual knowledge.  God’s plan was never to take over Satan’s kingdom of darkness or even to take it back into the light or to establish a rule over it here on the earth; no the plan of God was more precisely to create a new pathway out of Satan’s kingdom for all of those in the dark world that would believe on Christ.  The light of God’s day and this new kingdom of God would be formed internally in every believer.  This way the light of God would be present in every believer but still separate from the darkness of this world that still remained in Satan’s control.   God was in effect creating a new separate Kingdom of God that never existed before apart from Satan, his angels, his kingdom and He was offering all those on the earth the blessed opportunity to come out of their darkness to live in the light of God forever for free through His shed blood.   That was a very quick overview of some new things that you have probably never heard taught before and I do not have time to explain them all fully today.  However, go through the N.T. and see how many times this kingdom realm of darkness or night is mentioned and then observe the scriptures that say Christians are now in the light of God’s day.  Let me give you a couple of the key verses that may help you to understand:

Col 1:13  Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:

Jesus is being described as the one that has delivered us from the “power of darkness”.  There are three basic things that you need to grasp immediately from this incredibly important verse.  First, the kingdom of darkness still exists and has not been eliminated.  Second, notice that this kingdom of darkness still has power.  Then third, notice we that are saved are not in this dark kingdom anymore having been translated into the Kingdom of Light by Jesus.  This verse clearly implies that those that are not saved are still in the kingdom of darkness where some spiritual force of power still rules over them.  Clearly there is a distinction between two separate spiritual kingdoms of existence being stated in this verse.  These two kingdoms must still exist concurrently or this verse is a lie.  Clearly the kingdom of darkness still has great power and influence or no one in their right mind would still be in there right now.   Also understand by implied inference if anyone has come out from this kingdom of darkness by their freewill choice of salvation, then by the definition of antithesis, they can also potentially return back to that darkness by another freewill choice.  I pray you understood everything that I just said to you.  It was all extremely important.  Let me give you another great verse that contains vast knowledge about this kingdom and this enemy:

Eph 6:12  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

Read this new metaphorical case closely, because God gives us another example of a spiritual contest between opponents with an implied winner and loser outcome.  To wrestle an opponent is a paradigm process that is very similar to boxing or racing.  In this verse in Ephesians you can see that just because Christians are not in the darkness this does not mean we are not still in a spiritual war of opposition with the darkness or the rulers of that kingdom.   Who rules the darkness?  Clearly this verse is another reference to Satan and his angelic followers as I mentioned earlier.  Clearly from this information we can see that these spiritual individuals still exist along with their kingdom if we are currently wresting against them.  There is absolutely no way that you can teach that Satan is a non-factor for any Christian today if you correctly balance these verses with the other verses that the exclusive U.E.S. Grace teachers want to focus on.

If defeated Satan had no more power or influence to do any harm to a saved Christian, then why are there so many warnings given to the church in the Bible to the contrary?  A truly defeated enemy would have no such supremacy, weapons, ability or present any further risk, but an enemy that still has power and ability to do Christians harm must still be a major danger if we do not know how to counteract his plans and attacks.  This spiritual war subject is not my main topic today and I have other lessons that you can go and read about how to be a victorious child of God.  Just realize that God has given you the potential for victory by Jesus’ victorious actions and accomplishments but now it is your God given responsibility to enforce the victory and to become the overcomer like I introduced you to in the last lesson.  Let’s change to a brand new subject called “Patterns”.

DIVINE GOD PATTERNS

If you learn anything from me today, please learn how God uses divine design patterns throughout the Bible to teach us.  I’ve already described to you three direct patterns of process in today’s lesson.  One was a race, one was a fight and one was a wrestling match.  These were all recognizable patterns of contests with opponents, rules, a beginning effort, a struggle, endurance, and an anticipated end.  Let’s get into what a pattern is using additional specific examples.  How would we define a pattern?  A pattern is normally a set of design templates and instructions used to prepare or to create a new copy of an existing original.  The actual copy can be totally different in appearance while being completely similar in design, concepts and principles.  That was of course my definition, but did you understand it?   Using my 3 metaphorical examples of contests, they appear to be radically different types of games on the surface but yet they all share a set of design pattern concepts that make them joined together with many common similarities.  That is exactly what pattern usage produces; copies of an original working model.  

Let me give you an example of a natural pattern application on the earth.  Patterns are used in sewing extensively and they allow the seamstress to turn out multiple new original creations that can be perceived to be similar to the original by observing the design pattern characteristics but not by necessarily observing the materials selected or the individual options being tailored or customized.  There is just a general rule of life that it is always easier to copy a working original piece than it is to create something completely new.  I learned this concept in programming computers.  Working code reuse is always faster and more productive than new code creation.  The creation of any original functional piece of work will always take significant trial and error to produce a great product.  It took Edison literally hundreds and hundreds of attempts to create a light bulb that worked.  But, now they can be copied very quickly and cheaply by the use of his patterned design.  Have you ever asked yourself why Adam was made in the image and the likeness of God in Genesis 1:26?  Do you understand that Adam was made from the direct pattern of God, his creator?  God took a working design and repeated the process to make a man.  This was a very significant example of the wisdom of God being displayed.  When God made man, God knew that He was coming to the earth as a man so why not make the man from a pattern of Himself an already working viable component?

Understand that the reuse of any design pattern is just a small part of the complete creation process.  Natural pattern usage only comes into play somewhere between the initial steps of conception, the design and before the full implementation.  Almost every defined process and pattern can be viewed as interchangeable concepts to some extent.  For example, any repetitive process producing a positive result can be viewed as a repetitive design pattern implementation and vice versa.  I really try not to get too technical in my Bible studies to allow everyone the opportunity to understand the concepts.  I try to leave out technical words and phrasing but I have been teaching you the subject of patterns and have had to introduce you to some new ideas to think about.   So hang in there and learn what you can about patterns.

Let’s talk briefly about another earthly natural pattern.  Any positive process is like making a cake.  A cake could be created using great trial and error like Edison making a light bulb.  However if the baker wants to forego the learning curve they can go and find an existing working recipe with the exact steps and ingredients used to create a great cake and in a short time they have a copy of one through the use of a known pattern.  Therefore the original cook must have recorded or documented the set of specific ingredients and recipe preparation instructions that must be followed exactly in order to recreate the original design, texture, taste and quality.  If you do it right the outcome is great and if you miss one ingredient or step then it will probably be a great failure. 

So why am I talking about processes and design patterns, templates, sewing, light bulb and cake recipes so much?  Patterns are what God used in the creation of our world to teach us about Him and spiritual things we cannot see.  For example, the Bible teaches us that all of the hidden qualities of God are clearly seen in the things that He has made (Rom 1:20).  This means that what we can observe on the earth around us was from a designed pattern of what already existed in heaven previously and these things reveal God to us.  It is also why we need to learn about the concepts of patterns to see what will be coming soon in the future.  What we soon realize is something that God teaches us in Ecclesiastes is very relevant to everything we can observe around us.  God says “the things that have been are the things that shall be again” (Ecc 1:9).  Ecclesiastes and Romans both explain to us that God uses divine design patterns to teach and to recreate the things we can observe.  God took working spiritual realities and used their patterns to create our natural world.  God then teaches us that these natural things will again be used as patterns for the new spiritual things that will occur again.   Let me show you another verse about patterns in the Bible to help you better understand:

Heb 8:5  Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount.

Here we have God describing to us that the things given to Moses on the earth were simply patterns for pre-existing unseen things already found and bound within heaven.  In this verse, the original spiritual things created by God in heaven were clearly greater or more significant than the temporary natural things created by the hands of men on the earth.  However these temporary natural things given to us by God on the earth also provide us a view into the existence of the spiritual things that we have never seen or experienced.  You can clearly see that God gave Moses patterns to use for everything.  These patterns will again be used in the design for the coming new heaven and the new earth.  Patterns are so very important in the Bible that I should probably do a more complete series on the subject.  For now try to understand the existence of patterns is a prevalent reality throughout the Bible.  Using our knowledge of divine patterns, we can easily learn about many of the unseen spiritual things found within our past, our present and our future. 

There are actually many different ways to name or title a Biblical pattern process using synonymous terms.  Some call them similarities, similitudes, resemblances, likenesses, patterns, types or shadows and I even have labeled them by all of those descriptions in my past lessons.  I believe that a natural type or a shadow from the Old Testament was usually given to us by God to help point us to a New Testament spiritual reality.  For example, Jesus told the Jews to search their scriptures because in them they thought they had eternal life and then Jesus said these were just the words that testified of Him (John 5:39).  But, yet you cannot find the direct mention of the name of Jesus, or the direct person of God in the flesh unswervingly mentioned in the Old Testament scriptures anywhere in obvious plain sight.  Since I have studied the Bible for many years I can now see Him in almost every chapter, but that is not how I started.  God’s use of patterns, similarities, types and shadows were just one of the wise methods of concealing Jesus in the characters and stories of others that are plainly revealed in the surface text.  I pray that you are beginning to understand the concept of patterns and how they apply to our Bible study because that is exactly where we are going next in this discussion of U.E.S.  Let’s begin to ask are there any patterns found in the Old Testament for U.E.S.?

ARE THERE ANY UNCONDITIONAL ETERNAL SECURITY PATTERNS?

If you examine the design pattern of Adam and Eve as recorded in Genesis 2 and 3  you should be able to find Jesus and the church.   I will use the pattern of Adam and Eve to help establish and confirm the false reality of the Unconditional Eternal Security teaching.  When God created Adam did God make him to be unconditionally and eternally secure?  It is very obvious to me based upon the Word of God that Adam was never created perfect or secure since he sinned, failed and fell willingly into the disobedience of God’s Word.   Whatever security that Adam thought he possessed, was suddenly completely lost.   If Adam was created with “freewill” to sin, to make mistakes and even to depart from the perfect way and will of God, then how can you or anyone else possibly believe that a Christian now does not have the same pattern of choice?  What about Adam’s wife Eve?  Was Eve created so that it was impossible for her to be deceived?  Again it is extremely obvious that the Bible says Eve was deceived (1 Tim 2:14).   I am talking about patterns found within creation to see if there are any ways that are still possible for the church to fall away from the Grace of God.  Were Adam and Eve created in the extreme Grace of God?  I believe they were.  They were created without sin, lacking nothing and placed in a near perfect world to live in.  Could it have gotten any better than that?  However in this great state of Grace, could they still make the wrong choices, of course they did.   I hope you are using your brain today to see what I’m saying to you.  How are we any different from Adam today in the church?  If Adam could depart from Grace then you can depart from Grace!

Let’s back up before the creations of man and ask what about Lucifer’s status in heaven!  Did God create the perfect archangel Lucifer with unconditional eternal security?  According to Ezekiel 28:15 Lucifer was created in a perfect state yet sin was still found to be in him.  Did this sin matter to God?  If we observe his destiny in Revelation 20:10 you will understand that even perfect Lucifer is revealed to have no unconditional eternal security when he is cast into the lake of fire.  Clearly perfection with no sin is not a statement for possessing security.  Where exactly in the Bible can we find anyone with the pattern of Unconditional Eternal Security?  Can you find me just one?   I’m talking about someone other than the church that you just think is unconditionally eternally secure!  If the church is eternally and unconditionally secure then there must be an existing pattern for this somewhere else in the Bible or it is not true for the church either.  How can I say that?  And why is this even important?  It is simply critical because God tells us to establish every word of truth using at the least two or three witnesses (Mat 18:16).  If we cannot find two witnesses that confirm unconditional eternal security as a divine pattern then the modern Bible teachers trying to teach us U.E.S. fail God’s requirement.  Now do you understand the importance of patterns?

WHAT ABOUT JESUS?

I have searched the Old Testament and I could not find any man starting with Adam that possessed eternal security here on the earth.  Adam never lost his freewill to depart from God’s ways or plan and this pattern repeats to every man born from Adam.  If you can find me even one man in the O.T. that God said could not ever fail, then show me the verse.   Ok, I’m about to blow your religious mind with a new question to think about.  Was Jesus Christ born in the Old Testament?  If you are an intelligent and observant Bible student, you already know that Jesus was born a man under the law of the Old Covenant (Gal 4:4).  Now let me ask you this radical question was Jesus Christ unconditionally and eternally secure as a physical man?  You see I believe that even Jesus possessed the freewill capability for failure, and many religious people will laugh and call me a heretic fool for that belief.  However, if Jesus had no potential for failure or sin then God becomes a liar.  The Bible says Jesus was tempted in every way just like we are but yet He was without sin (Heb 4:15).  The only reason that Jesus was without sin was because He chose to be without the sin as a direct act of His freewill.  You see if it was impossible for Jesus to sin, then He was never tempted like you or I.  Are you tempted?  Have you ever been tempted?  Do you fail or have you ever failed?  If say yes then you are potentially just like Jesus and Jesus was potentially just like you.   Otherwise He would not be able to identify with our weaknesses or our plight.  We clearly saw already reading in Luke 4 that Jesus was tempted, but he did not give into the temptations of Satan.  This is where Jesus succeeded where Adam failed.

Heb 2:17  Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.

Jesus is revealed in the Bible to be the God that became a man exactly like you and I.   This was a major paradox and stumbling block to why natural Israel did not accept Him.  They knew the Bible says God is not a man (Num 23:19).  However they made the major mistake of taking one isolated truth and then ignoring all the others that God is still powerful enough to become a man if He chooses by exercising His freewill.  This is the danger of separating one verse and thinking that it is the entire truth.  That is an extremely bad and dangerous approach to interpreting the Bible.  Do you understand what I am trying to say?  I am claiming that the God of creation who created everything has now become an intimate part of His creation and this changes everything.  What God was not, God became by His design.  Therefore, God as a man was no longer a perfect being incapable of failing or sinning.  I did not say God failed or God sinned I just said He had the potential to do that or He was not exactly like us as the Bible has declared.  You are going to have to make up your own minds on what you believe; I cannot do that for you.  You read the Bible and do the research and the study and see if Jesus was incapable of failure and see if He possessed Unconditional Eternal Security and then notice that even Jesus died on the cross and I believe He went to hell for 3 days to pay for my sins so I would not have to go there.  I don’t call that eternal security, do you?  Let’s shift our focus and establish Adam as a defined pattern for Jesus and this may help us reaffirm that Jesus was not infallible while in the flesh.

THE HIDDEN PATTERN OF JESUS IN ADAM

1Co 15:45  And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.

Why exactly, is Jesus called the “Last Adam” in 1 Corinthians 15:45?  I think that is a very great question.  God by direct name association has just linked Jesus Christ to the first created man Adam.   This is just a very tricky way of God saying my man Adam was a set design pattern for my Son Jesus to come.  This is the beginning of the reality that if Adam could have sinned, then Jesus could have sinned but yet didn’t.  However, notice that both Adam’s still died.  So they obviously both did possess at least one direct equal characteristic and we will find there are many more if we look for them.  I find this study of Adam and Jesus as repeated patterns fascinating.  It has great potential for many overlapping truths.  Let’s go for another witness to what I am teaching that Adam was a pattern for Jesus:

Rom 5:14  Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.

Romans 5:14 emphasizes this pattern usage point again to us even more clearly.  The Bible says that Adam was a created pattern of the man Jesus to come.  We already observed in Genesis 1 where Adam was defined to be a pattern for the creator spiritual God originally, so this is just a further perpetuation of the same God pattern to the physical God.   Look up the Greek word definitions and study these verses to understand what concepts are being revealed to you.  The Greek word translated as “figure” means a die as struck.  Do you understand what a die is?  A die produces an exact image of the same print repeatedly.  It is a modern copy and paste concept found in the computer design paradigm.  The original printing press created by Gutenberg was a die concept for printing one page of the Bible over and over.  We soon realize that God did a copy paste of the spiritual type of Himself into the natural form of Adam, which is then transferred as another copy and paste into the combined God man named Jesus. This verse in Romans clearly teaches us that we should be able to look at the man Adam in Genesis and see Jesus and this is exactly what Jesus said we would find if we searched the scriptures looking for Him.  Moses wrote down God’s words about Adam, but God’s words were more about Jesus than Adam. The two Adam’s were simply patterns for each other.  I believe God created the first Adam already knowing the second Adam was coming to save the day.  This is exactly why God did what He did in Genesis 2 and 3 with the first man and his wife.

Let’s stop here briefly again and consider that if the first Adam had a wife does that reveal that the last Adam (Jesus) has a wife also as a defined part of the pattern?  Most definitely He does.  I have a much more complete Bible study on the subject called the “The Bride of Christ Revealed”.  Therefore, I am not going to repeat any of that information in this lesson.  If you do not understand the church position as the bride then please stop and study to find that truth and establish it in your heart because it is essential to our pattern discussion today about U.E.S.   I will simply say the church is definitely the Bride of Christ and we are the ones that are united in eternal marriage covenant in Revelation 19.  Where I am going is that if Adam’s wife was capable of being deceived then the Lamb’s wife is also capable of being deceived by direct pattern association.   Pretty simple yet very difficult to find if you do not understand patterns.

THE ROLE OF SATAN AND DECEPTION IN THE CHURCH

In the Grace message of eternal security there is a belief that Satan has no further influence or power over a believer to cause them to ever depart from their salvation.  The belief popularly states that Christians have been sealed with eternal security and thus Satan is no longer a factor to deceive them anymore.  Let me stop there and say that if you currently believe that you can never be deceived then you are clearly already deceived into believing a lie from Satan.  What exactly is deception?  How can we define it as it relates to the church?  I believe deception is believing in something that you think is true that actually is not true.   It is like my picture on this paragraph of the fish caught with a decieving lure.  The fish believed what he was eating was good food, but it turned out to be something deadly to him.  That is exactly the definition of deception for a Christian also.  Clearly no Christian in their right mid is intentionally caught seeking to find lies.  I believe that every easily deceived Christian is just presented the lie either intentionally or unintentionally by other well meaning ignorant Christians and they look attractive so they end up swallowing them and are caught like the fish.  Let’s take into account a scripture that has far reaching implications attached to it for our current subject discussion.  You will notice that in this next verse that Jesus is speaking, thus we have God in the flesh stating something very important that we must need to know.  Therefore, pay close attention to the words of my Lord and Savior:

Mat 24:4  And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.

We have to totally write this statement of Jesus off if we want to believe in unconditional eternal security after our salvation.  In order to teach security we must conclude that we are smarter than Jesus and that Jesus did not know what He was talking about when He warned us about not being deceived.  We either have to call Jesus a liar or we have to explain the verse as being non-applicable to people in the church today.  If you read the context of the statement Jesus was asked by the disciples to teach them of the signs of His coming and the end of the age.   Therefore the rest of the statements in this chapter are the answers of God in the flesh concerning the end of the age that we live in today.  Who are the people that Jesus is speaking of to not become deceived if not us?  Many people have tried to creatively explain it away as the Jews before salvation only, but they were not yet living in the last days so that makes no sense to me.  Since we in the church who know the truth are the people now living in the last days before His soon return then I believe that Jesus was certainly speaking about us and to us as those that can be deceived.  If we are these potential people that can be deceived, what are the consequences for being deceived?  Are there any consequences for being deceived?  There must be at least a possibility for us to lose our salvation from this warning from God or there would be no need for a warning from God to be given.   Do you understand what I just said?

Why warn people not to be deceived if it is impossible for them to be deceived like the eternal security teachers try to teach us?  It makes God look very stupid when you teach eternal security.  Of course people can easily twist the scriptures to say this information in Matthew 24 does not apply to us because Jesus was only talking to His Jewish disciples.  That is just so easy to do.  Let’s just ignore the words of Jesus as being not for everyone, but only for a select few that heard them personally!  We could do that type of reasoning with every verse in the Bible.  Is that a smart way to interpret the Bible and the words of God?  I really do not believe that is a valid approach to correct Bible interpretation.  In interpreting every verse of the Bible we must always inspect the words that are spoken, observing the target audience they are directed to, while simultaneously finding the context of all of the subjects being discussed.  First understand that these words in Matthew were spoken to more than just a few Jews.  These select Jews that were hearing are defined directly to be our founding church fathers so they must apply to the rest of the church by direct association since we are now a part of the same body of Christ that they were included in.  If you try to separate us from them, then we are a new body of Christ, a separate or different believer set from what they were and that really sounds like a scary belief to put your faith in.  These words were spoken in the time context of future prophetical events and not current events, so they must also apply to us and the times that we live in right now.  Finally, since these words spoken by Jesus do not state any target audience they must apply to everyone that reads them as a universal statement of truth.  If you want to see the truth in the Bible you will see what I am saying is correct, if you do not want to see the truth, then nothing that I say will change your mind.

If Satan and his deception were no longer factors for our further continued salvation, there would be no need to mention Satan again in the New Testament after the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus.  Many modern Bible teachers like to teach the total defeat of Satan by Jesus at Calvary, however if that was actually true we would not see that Satan was so heavily involved in attacking heaven in Revelation 12 and trying to take over the earth in the other chapters of Revelation.  The total defeat of Satan and the removal of his power is clearly not the reality of the text found in the Word of God.  In fact Satan is mentioned more times in the New Testament than he ever was displayed plainly in the Old Testament.  Why is Satan mentioned more frequently throughout the New Testament and especially in the book of Revelation than any other parts of the Bible?  There hast to be a reason for this!  I personally believe we find Satan in the New Testament to learn of his ways and his future plans so we are not found to be unaware.   I believe that Satan is much more than a non-factor on the earth in the church age and that he is clearly revealed to be the direct enemy and opposing spiritual force to the church.  His power and influence over the people on the earth are still quite evident and great.  His power to deceive people including even Christians is still as great now as it always has been.  This power of deception must be applicable for Christians or we would never find any verses in the Bible like these written to the church:

1Co 3:18  Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise.

1Co 15:33  Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.

Eph 4:14  That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

Eph 5:6  Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.

Gal 6:7  Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

2Th 2:3  Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;

1Jn 3:7  Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.

These are all commandments of instruction from our God written to the church and each of them contains direct delegated responsibility for believers not to be deceived.  Do any of the verses tell you that God will not ever allow you to be deceived?  I do not believe God would warn you if it was His responsibility to save you from it.  These warnings were not written to unsaved people.  Do you see what these verses say to you over and over?  What is the central theme for every verse?  Every verse contains a cautionary statement from God that says “Do not be deceived”. If the church could never be deceived to lose their salvation from this deception then these verses become pointless and irrelevant commandments and should be viewed as only misplaced suggestions.  To believe in eternal security we must ignore these verses or conclude these verses to be non-applicable to us.  Either approach is failure to adhere to the truth which always results in a Christian being deceived.  These are not lies from God and we must see them to be clear notices to us Christians.  I did not go through the entire New Testament and give you every verse that I could have.  I only provided 6 or 7 verses to offer you more than enough witnesses to the truth that the church can still be deceived after initial salvation by many different methods.  If you cannot see this fact then you are in denial.  I will end this lesson with an example of deception that occurred in the N.T. church:

2Pe 2:20  For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.

2Pe 2:21  For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.

2Pe 2:22  But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.

Peter is writing some very important words to the church about certain former saved church members. The wording in these verses is very significant if you do the research and study.  God is speaking concerning certain people that “knew” righteousness.  Jesus of course is our righteousness (1 Cor 1:30) and He is even called the “Sun of Righteousness” in Malachi 4:2.   The term to “know” righteous is a sexual Hebrew description of the relationship that exists between a husband and his wife.  The people in the church are in covenant relationship with Jesus the bridegroom making them His bride.  God is saying these people were once an intimate part of my wife that I knew and they have departed from me.  God clearly says it would be better for them to either stay or to have never been married to him than to leave their salvation to fall back into the darkness.  Why is that?  It is because they will remember for an eternity their mistake that they made and only they will fully understand what they missed while they are in hell.  Lucifer is going to understand this better than anyone.  He experienced the goodness of God more than anyone in the church and while he is in hell for and eternity he will constantly be tormented for his mistakes.  These are patterns that teach us we do not have unconditional eternal security.

God calls the people who leave their salvation pigs and dogs.  Just as dogs return to their own vomit and the pigs to the mire this is the same result that Christians experience when they return to their previous filth and love it.  Clearly this is an example of deception being victorious over those that were saved.  Clearly these Christians did not heed the repeated warnings from God not to be deceived and are now suffering the consequences.  These are words that were written to you.  Are you receiving them?  I could give you several more examples of this in the Bible, but I really have gone too long in this lesson. 

THE FALSE SECURITY OF THE UNCONDITIONAL ETERNAL SECURITY DOCTRINE

I have systematically covered several subjects in today’s lesson connecting them together to help establish the fact that a Christian can be deceived.  We started with the concept that we have an enemy.  This enemy is described to be Satan the deceiver.  A deceiver is simply labeled that because he deceives people.  This is really not that complicated.  Sure the unsaved people in the world today are clearly deceived, but they don’t read the Bible and these words of warning not to be deceived were not written to them.  Therefore, the use of this weapon of deception by Satan is still actively targeted at the people in the church to take them from the church and the truth.  Based upon this information alone the doctrine of unconditional eternal security is revealed to be a major false teaching that should be recognized as another way that is designed to deceive you.  Do you understand the danger of the U.E.S. teaching?  U.E.S. promotes a false sense of security that we have to do nothing to stay saved or to keep from being deceived.  It allows Christians to let in whatever they come across without the fear of any consequences.  Fear is not always a negative emotion to avoid.  God created real fear for you to learn how to avoid something that is not necessarily positive or beneficial for you.  If you do not fear gravity and jump off a tall building you will soon be dead.  I am really not talking about fearing the devil as in being terrified of his power.  The Bible clearly teaches the fact that the Greater One is in us.  However, that does not mean that you do not respect his ability like you should respect the power of gravity.  These are just basic Christian life lessons to help you understand that you have an enemy and this enemy is not your friend, he has powers and abilities, and he is trying to take you out and down.

Finally, I talked a lot about Bible patterns.  This is a very important Bible study concept repeated in practically every chapter of the Bible in some form.  Fully grasp this concept and it will change your Bible study habits.  Look for confirming patterns of truth in the Bible.  For example, I showed you scriptures that teach us that Adam was a pattern of Jesus.  This was technically so radical that I could not fully teach everything on that one subject because it could turn into a series of lessons by itself.  However I gave you enough information that should help you to learn about Jesus from the pattern of Adam.  See what Adam had or was given by God before the fall and this will be a pictured view into what Jesus will end up with minus the evil, the sin and the rebellion.  Adam had one wife and Jesus will end with only one wife.  Very simple yet profound truths.

The pure existence of human freewill dictates that we view every one of God’s covenants with conditional application.  In other words if we choose to remain in the covenant we are good, but if we choose to leave it then we are screwed.  What I am saying is if God comes and makes a covenant with you, God is not the problem, you are.  You can become your own worst enemy when you believe a lie.  Just as natural Israel departed continuously from God’s covenant as a pattern for the church, the church also has that same opportunity to fall away.  If the recipient of God’s Grace satisfies the stated requirements and conditions they remain in the relationship with God’s Grace.  If they choose to disobey willfully and depart from God’s extended gift of saving Grace then they are lost without a chance for absolution.  Learn today that what you do going forward, matters tremendously.  Learn to have respect for your enemy and stay deep in the Word of God so that you are not deceived by him.  Your salvation is not completely up to God.  Sure He will be there for you and help you and will never leave you or forsake you.  But, your continued salvation is more up to you than anyone else so that you do not get deceived and decide to leave God or forsake Him.  You have a major role in the ongoing process of your salvation to remain faithful, to endure and to overcome.  Thank you for taking the time to read and study the Bible.  If you have questions or comments feel free to leave them.  God Bless as we continue to learn to grow in His Grace.

Once Saved Always Saved and Eternal Security Versus Man’s Responsibility! Part 4

(Ver 1.2) This is now Part 4 in the series of basic Bible lessons about an old religious philosophy labeled as “Once Saved Always Saved” theology.  If you have not read this series from the beginning I would suggest that you go start reading with “Part 1“.  The “Once Saved Always Saved” teaching has been in existence for well over 60 years so it is not a new Bible teaching.  However, this old religious philosophy has recently been transformed into a more modern Grace extreme theological message called Eternal Security or Unconditional Security or even Unconditional Eternal Security.  This has become a very popular message found on the internet and it is taught in many churches today.  Christians buy into the message simply because it proclaims a universally safe no fail no fault approach to being a Christian.  It makes being a Christian so ultra-simple.  However, the message of Unconditional Eternal Security (U.E.S.) completely ignores the fact that there are any spiritual enemies still left in the world that are now trying to deceive or defeat us.  The message of U.E.S. has total disregard for the fact that God gave to everyman freewill to choose to depart from their salvation at any time.  It ignores any further Christian responsibility to remain a Christian or to live a holy Godly lifestyle.  This teaching lumps every type of sin into a common category of all-inclusive forgiveness and makes them all irrelevant, inconsequential and removed from the equation of either the initial salvation process or the continued salvation process.  In fact it technically denies there are any processes defined to salvation at all.  They claim that by the removal of their sins by the shed blood of Jesus that God now provides us each with eternal security without any further attached conditions.  These types of Christian believers think they have no further accountability thus denying the existence of any future judgments from God.  They further deny human responsibility to do anything to remain saved.  In other words in their minds their salvation was a onetime decision point event on the timeline of their life on this earth and that this one event has now guaranteed them eternal security with God forever.  Since they have already accepted Jesus they assume that there are no further decisions to make, no more scriptures to learn, no need to hear from God, no need to listen to God, no need to be taught by God, no need to be led by the Spirit of God, no need to grow up spiritually and I could go on and on.   All of this human reasoning allows them to live independent from anything else that God has declared in His Word on any subject.  To me that logic does not make any sense and to base my eternal security upon anything so obviously shaky would really scare me.

I still run into this popular belief more frequently than I would like.  This modern teaching of Unconditional Eternal Security is just a new type of the older extreme Grace message called “Once Saved Always Saved”.  These teachings have departed from a balanced truth approach to Bible interpretation moving into the false realm of extremism simply by leaving out the other subjects that they do not agree with.  These Bible teachers take only specific scriptures of truth found in the Bible that they like to see to base their message explaining away all the other verses of a conflicting nature.  But, the problem remains that there will always be more than one or even two truths found in the entire Bible and we are required by God to take into account all of the stated truths given to us in the Bible so that we can know that we are preaching what God actually thinks of the subject of eternal security.  Rather than give you all of the verses that these Grace preachers so love to exclusively teach on, I am simply focusing on in this series, what else the Bible says about subject of eternal security so we can see that God says there is more to being a Christian than just us getting saved once in our lives.  I’m going to start today’s lesson talking about a subject called Christian Responsibility.

GOD’S DELEGATED CHRISTIAN RESPONSIBILITY AFTER SALVATION

Unconditional eternal security is a belief that is based upon the irrelevance of man’s future actions.  U.E.S. believes what a man does is independent from the process of their continued salvation.  This type of belief removes the obvious freewill participation of the man from any further relevance.  It also is a belief that proclaims that a man has no given responsibilities from God to do anything.  Maybe we need to stop here and define the word “responsibility” to give us an equal foundation.  How you view the definition of responsibility might be completely different to what I see it to be.  Here is a definition that I found easily on the internet:

  1. The state or fact of having a duty to deal with something.
  2. The state or fact of being accountable or to blame for something.
  3. the ability or authority to act or decide on one’s own, without supervision

Here are three dictionary definitions for the word responsibility.  I agree with every one of them and I understand them.  But, do you understand them?   On Facebook recently one of my friends posted a sign on their wall about something that I really liked.  So I took the sign and put it on my wall and here is what it said.  It said “I’m only responsible for what I say; I’m not responsible for what you understand”.  Did you notice the word “responsible in that sign message twice?  That is exactly what I am discussing here today.  That saying from Facebook shows us I have a responsibility for what I say and you have a responsibility for what you hear.  According to the Bible, God will hold me personally responsible for what I say when I teach, so I’m very careful what I teach.  However, you are now also responsible to learn, but not to just learn what I said but more importantly to understand what I was saying.  Any parrot can be taught to say anything repetitively, but the bird will never understand the words that he speaks.  Don’t be a parrot type of Christian; learn to understand what is being taught and this will cause the knowledge to never be taken away from you.

Using the definitions of the word “responsibility” can you think of anything in the New Testament that God has spoken to you that reveals you as having any responsibility?  Look at the first definition.  It says you have to deal with something as a duty or a job.  Has God left anything here on the earth for you to deal with?  You bet He has!   The second definition states that you will have accountability for having done something or take the blame for having failed to do something.  Is that applicable for any Christian going forward?  If you do not understand the coming judgment of God then you do not yet understand your God given responsibility and your accountability for doing it.  Number three is also important to see.  It states there was given some task assignment along with the authority to accomplish that job.  How does that apply to us as a Christian, let me show you:

Luk 10:19  Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.

Here is delegated authority given to the church from Jesus personally.  The key word in this verse is the first Greek word translated as “power’.  This word is mistranslated and should have been translated as the English word “authority”.   This Greek word G1849 means “delegated influence”.  Real authority can only be transferred or given to anyone by a higher authority.   Since God is the highest authority this means He has the right to give us some of His authority.  Anytime anyone gives away part of their authority they have now delegated their responsibility to them from which they will be now held accountable.  For example, every police officer of a city is held accountable to uphold the laws fairly for that city.  Therefore the police officer has been given direct responsibilities from a higher authority.  If they fail to uphold the laws of the city then they will face the consequences for their failure.   This is the exact same concept being transferred to us by God in the verse in Luke 10:19.  You have been given responsibilities by God the highest authority and you will be held accountable for not doing them.  In other words Christians have been given specific gifts, talents, tasks and assignments and these are not optional, but rather our God given responsibility to fulfill or they will not get done.  Let’s talk about some more of our Christian responsibilities:

Rom 10:9  That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

Rom 10:10  For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

Let’s begin our thought process on responsibility by considering how we got saved.  Did we have any responsibility in the entire process of our initial salvation?  We should know that we began the process by hearing someone preach about Jesus.  We continued the salvation process by believing what we heard about Jesus or we ended the process by not believing and then walking away from Jesus’ salvation offer.  However if we choose to believe what was being preached the process continues.  For example we believed that Jesus was God in the flesh, that He died for our sins and that He was raised from the dead and we conintue on the path to being saved.  Next, we must confess Jesus as our Lord and according to Romans 10:9-10 and God says we are now saved!  So how did we just get saved?  It was a process!   In this process of initial salvation there are three realms of delegated responsibility that must be present and working together.  First the preacher was given the responsibility by God to preach the Gospel to us or we will not hear it.  Second the unsaved person was given the responsibility to hear, believe and confess or they will not begin to be saved.  Finally, the Holy Spirit has the responsibility to confirm the Word of God spoken by drawing the unsaved individual to God and then to come into the spirit of the unsaved person after they have heard, believed and confessed.  Clearly “initial salvation” is a multi-step and a multi-responsibility process.  Any one party could fail in the process and there would be no salvation.  Of course God will never fail you, so that is not the weak point or the weak link in the process.  However, the human factors that are participating can always fail.  Humans will always be the weak link in the initial salvation process.

I firmly believe that we must determine how we were saved in order to determine how we will remain in the state of our salvation.  In other words what got us into God’s grace will continue to be exactly what keeps you there.  If initial salvation and continued salvation are both mutually exclusive from each other that would represent a new scriptural inconsistency.   Ephesians 2:8 states that we are saved by Grace through faith.  Therefore salvation was conditional upon us believing in the finished work of Jesus with our faith.  Then in Romans 10:9-10 God says we must not only believe that God raised Jesus from the dead but we also must confess Jesus to be our Lord.  If we are required to do something like believe and to confess in order to be saved then that makes our initial salvation clearly conditional upon our faithful obedience.  If our initial salvation is conditional upon our obedience then by direct association our continued salvation must also be conditional upon our continued obedience or God would be very inconsistent.  Do you understand my logic so far?  Ephesians 2:8 told us that our faith was a factor for our salvation.  2 Corinthians 5:7 says we must continue to walk by our faith and not by sight after becoming a Christian.  Therefore faith is still an ongoing factor for being a Christian.  If continued salvation is only the responsibility of God like U.E.S. teaches, then initial salvation must also have been the full responsibility of God and that is clearly not the truth given to us in the Word of God.

The belief of unconditional eternal security after conditional salvation replaces the concept of any further human responsibility for continued salvation and places the full responsibility solely upon God.  However God was clearly not the only factor for our initial salvation, so God just cannot be the only factor for our eternal security.  If God was the only factor involved in our initial salvation then everyone would be saved today since 2 Peter 3:9 says God is not willing that any should perish.  That however is another clear erroneous doctrine of many Bible teachers that want to believe in the invented concept called “Universal Salvation”.  However when we study the Bible correctly we must balance more than one truth and see that just because God’s will is for everyone to be saved, that does not mean that everyone is saved.  Clearly even Jesus taught us that people will be in hell with the story of the rich man in Luke 16.  Clearly Jesus taught us that there will come a division between the sheep on the right hand from the goats on the left hand (Mat 25:32) and those not in His sheepfold will be lost and cast into the fire (Mat 13:40).

From my understanding and belief in a conditional salvation which is dependent upon my faithful obedience, participation and full acceptance causes me to believe in a conditional eternal security also based upon my further obedience, participation and acceptance.  Otherwise we would all be saved by our willing participation but now kept safe independent from our participation by divine sovereign control.  That type of belief would be completely illogical to me and very inconsistent with what I have observed in the scriptures.  If man has no further responsibilities after his initial salvation then God has taken something away from him that he had before he was saved.  If this is now missing from man, how can we claim we ever had it to begin with?  Let’s examine the subject of continued Christian responsibility after salvation observing a basic truth taught to us in Romans:

Rom 8:14  For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

We need to begin to understand that we have been given the responsibility as a Christian to remain a Christian.  In order to do this we must begin to find our responsibilities given to us by God.  Here in this verse God says my children are ONLY those that are led by my Spirit.  Is that you?  Did you know that this being led by the Spirit of God was a conditional requirement for your continued salvation?  This verse was written to Christians and not to unsaved people.  Did you hear what I just said?  People sometimes simply don’t want to go to hell so they will get saved thinking that is all that is required to keep them from hell, but that is clearly not what God teaches us in His full balanced Word.  This verse in Romans displays two separate divisions of people.  The two divisions are those that are led by God and those that are not led by God.  We can restate this truth by saying it includes those that are His children and those that are not His children.   Therefore getting saved and not being led by the Spirit of God defines to us a new state of potential loss.  Do you see how conditional your salvation can suddenly become?  Today very few Christians understand this concept of even how to be led by the Spirit of God much less to be able to hear and obey Him.  But, suddenly in the Grace unconditional eternal salvation message this being led by the Spirit of God to be His child becomes a non-issue.  I don’t see it that way.  God clearly places responsibility upon Christina to be led.  If you do not know how to be led by the Spirit of God I have a Bible series of lesson on this subject “Understanding How to Be Led by the Spirit of God”.  Let’s go examine some words spoken by Jesus on the subject of responsibility:

Mat 7:22  Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

Mat 7:23  And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

Jesus said I will look at some and say to them “depart from me for I never knew you” and these were clearly people that thought they were saved and were even calling Jesus their Lord and thought they were doing many righteous good things that we see people in many churches do today.  Do you understand that?  I mean use your brain and think with me for a moment.  Jesus is not talking to people who were in the bars, the night clubs and the strip joints of the world.  God certainly does not know those types of people, no Jesus was talking to people who thought they were doing good things for God and they did not understand they needed to be led by the Spirit of God in what they did.  In other words what they did for God they did independent from God and thus they failed to qualify for their continued salvation.  In Matthew 7:22-23 Jesus was not talking about people or to people that never got saved!  These are clearly people who got saved but went no further with their continuing salvation process to learn how to be led by God to become His child.   Let’s look at the following verses in the context of those that Jesus was speaking to saying depart from me to find why they are being instructed to leave:

Mat 7:24  Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:

Mat 7:25  And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.

Mat 7:26  And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:

Mat 7:27  And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.

Read these verses very carefully for they are talking about two types of saved Christians again.  These two types of Christians are being compared and separated from each other in these verses.  You can try to explain them away as being saved people versus unsaved people but that is not what is being stated.  Both types of people had houses built and both heard the same Word of God.  These are two types of Christians.  First there are those that heard the Word of God and do what they heard and then second there are those that heard the Word of God but ignored what they heard.  Both of these people had to sit in the same church services to hear the same word of God being taught. The wise man in this description is stated to be the doer of the word of God and the foolish man is he that is destroyed because he chose to only hear.  If you cannot see the stated Christian responsibility given to you in these verses, of Romans 8:14 and Matthew 7:24-27 to become a doer and a follower of what God has said to you by His Word and His Spirit then you are deceived greatly.   God has placed conditions upon your continued Christianity and your continued salvation.  I could give you many other scriptural salvation conditions but I’m only going to end this lesson with some verses written directly to the church in Revelation spoken to us by the Lord Jesus:

Rev 2:7  He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.

Rev 2:17  He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.

Rev 2:26  And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:

Rev 3:5  He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.

Rev 3:12  Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.

Rev 3:21  To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.

I just gave you seven verses from Revelation chapters 2 and 3 written to the church telling us that we must “overcome” something or someone in order to receive something else from God.  What does that teach us?  Any time that God promises you something and then tells you what you must do to qualify for it that changes the promise of God to a conditional requirement that is based upon your successful participation.  Let’s get the definition for this word translated as the English word “overcome” in order to understand what it means.  Here is the definition from the Strong’s:

From G3529; to subdue (literally or figuratively): – conquer, overcome, prevail, get the victory.

Do you understand what subdue means?  It means you have an enemy opposed to you.  Do you understand what conquer means?  It means you have a responsibility to win.  Do you understand what “prevail” means?   It means you can fail if you do not learn what you are doing.  To be defeated as a Christian is as simple as you doing nothing.  You are guaranteed failure for your lack of participation.   The easiest way for any evil to prevail, is for good people to do nothing to prevent it.  Do you know what “get the victory” means?  It means God expects you to be a winner.   To “overcome” clearly denotes responsibility to be victorious over your enemy and you will be held accountable if you do not do this.

What exactly is there left for us in the church to overcome if Christ has overcome it all already?  I think that is a very excellent question that is being ignored by Christian Grace teachers of unconditional eternal security.  Clearly we have just been given a major conflict with the belief for unconditional eternal security for all the church if we have anything left to overcome in order to qualify.  God tells us repeatedly in these verses that we are to overcome in order to qualify for the participation of any further gifts.  This is clearly God’s delegated responsibility that makes God’s gifts conditional.  Several of these verses make it sound like even our salvation depends upon us being an overcomer.   Read them closely for yourself.  For example Revelation 2:7 says if you we overcome we get to eat from the tree of life.  What would be the opposite of that truth?  Would that be to eat form the tree of death if you don’t overcome?  Uh oh?  That is a potential problem isn’t it?  Read Revelation 3:12 and see what God says to those that overcome He will give His name meaning to those that do not overcome He will not.  Then understand that one name that is given to these overcomers is the name of the New Jerusalem and this is identified to be His bride in Revelation 21.  Clearly if you do not overcome you are not His bride.  If we don’t overcome, then Jesus implies we cannot eat from the tree that gives us life, we cannot be His bride, and we cannot have His name.  This is really not that complicated, but it is an unexpected problem for those that believe in U.E.S.

Clearly to me our continued salvation and eternal security is not independent from our future decisions or actions.  To me it is very self-evident that our continued salvation is totally dependent upon our continued faithful  participation and obedience to God’s Word and His Spirit for the rest of the process of our salvation to make us overcomers.  These truths that God gives us in the Bible make the reality of eternal security to be a completely conditional divine proposition.  I only gave you a few great examples of continued Delegated Christian Responsibility after salvation.  I could give you many others, but I believe I made my point and will move on to another topic that you need to understand in the next lesson in this series that I call the Deception Factor.  Therefore, thanks for your time in studying the Bible today and I pray that you learned something that will be a blessing to you.  Until next time if you feel like leaving me a comment, please do that.  If you want to find me on Facebook and be my friend you are welcome to do that also.  God Bless you until next time.

If you would like to continue reading and studying in this series, you may continue to “Part 5“.

Understanding How to Be Led By the Spirit of God! How the Holy Spirit Led the Early Church in Acts 11! Part 13

(ver 1.1) This is now Part 13 in a series of very important basic Christian Bible lessons on the subject of Being Led by the Spirit of God.   My foundational scripture verse for the entire series is “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God” (Rom 8:14).  We have covered a tremendous amount of new information that will not be repeated so if you have not read this series from the beginning I would suggest that you go and start with “Part 1” first.    The last two lessons have been focused on what God reveals about the early church’s growth and expansion in Acts 10 to include the Gentile people of the earth.  Chapter 10 of Acts was an awesome chapter of spiritual information, divine guidance and church growth and I believe that we have learned a lot from it.  I view the early church to be in the group called “the children of God” and therefore according to Romans 8:14 they are being led by God in everything that they are observed to be doing.  Today’s lesson will be more about the events in chapter 10 because chapter 11 is a further overview and explanation of what happened in chapter 10.  This will be the third time that God describes the same events.  Any time God repeats Himself twice it is critical that you fully understand the importance of what is being spoken.  However, any time God says the same thing three times then it has just exponentially grown to a factor that is way beyond critical to know.  So today I’m going to go through chapter 11 and see what God is doing and saying to us in the modern church.

One of the key realizations to what I have observed in studying Acts 10 and 11 is God’s focused purpose and plan to increase the church’s spirituality level.   God of course began this process by raining down His Spirit upon the Jewish church in Acts 2 and then we saw this continue as God’s Spirit fell on the Gentiles in Acts 10.   But that was only the beginning of a longer spiritual process.  I equate this beginning act of God to be similar to a garden planting analogy where God has planted His seed in us His church garden.  God then expects this seed in us to grow and to increase and eventually to produce real spiritual fruit.  Therefore the God seed planting was only the beginning of the process for the expected final outcome.  We are God’s plants today that are created to produce God’s fruits of righteousness in the world.  Jesus taught us that we can only do this if we become the branches that remain in Him our Vine source of life (John 15:5). 

As we continue to go through chapter 11 I pray that this spiritual plant and garden growth process will become clearer to your understanding also.  I have become totally convinced from this study that in order to be led by the Spirit of God that it requires God’s people to grow to understand what spiritual things are and how they work.  The more you know the more you grow.  People today want to be led by God, yet many do not want to make the effort to grow or increase spiritually.  The Bible says that God is clearly a Spirit (John 4:24).  Furthermore, God reveals to us in His Word that His ways are not our ways nor are His thoughts our thoughts, but they are higher than ours as the heavens are above the earth (Isa 55:9).  Since God’s intelligence is on a level that is so far above ours what is it going to take for Him to communicate intelligently with you?  God can only come down to your human level of ignorance and lack of spiritual understanding so far.  Let me show you a statement that Jesus said to a teacher of Israel:

Joh 3:12  If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?

Jesus is unscrambling and differentiating between two dimensional realms of reality within this statement.  This God statement clearly causes new revelation to come to us, illuminating spiritual things to be higher and much more complex than the natural things of the earth.  Jesus said I cannot tell you about heavenly things because you do not yet still understand these basic natural earthly things that I tell you.  There is an implied necessary Christian growth process hidden in this statement.  Jesus said you are basically incapable of hearing about any real complex spiritual things at this point in time.   This would imply the need for something to occur in the man that was hearing in order for Jesus to be able to communicate the higher heavenly things to him.  Is this too complicated for you?  The thing that is required is called spiritual maturity or spiritual growth and this is combined with new increased spiritual knowledge and understanding of the God kind of things.  All of these are contributing factors to being successfully led by the Spirit of God.

What Jesus was teaching us in John 3:12, is that we all need to develop spiritually in order to see something above our current natural capacity level to understand.  You are going to have to rise up or grow closer to His spiritual level if you expect Him to give you something really useful.  Think of it like this, what if a three or four year old human child wanted to talk to a great intellectual man like Albert Einstein and ask him for help to understand the theory of relativity.  First the child would not even know what to ask of him and then there is the root of the child’s challenge called immaturity and ignorance that causes every complex statement revealed by Albert to be missed completely.  What exactly do you think the child and Albert have to talk about?  Sure Albert could come down to communicate on a certain elementary level about many things with the child.  But, the deep things that Albert knew could never be transferred to the child no matter how much Albert would have loved to give them his vast knowledge because of the child’s inability to communicate on the Albert level.  This is exactly the way it is with most Christians today and them asking God to help guide them.  God will do the best at speaking to you on your level, but He would prefer that you came up higher to know Him better so that He can speak to you of the deeper complex things that He holds inside of Himself.  Let me show you something else that Jesus said to us:

Mat 11:25  At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.

You can clearly see that God says there are hidden things that come only from Him.  These hidden things were given to us the “babes” in this statement.  The people in the church are these “babes”.  The wise ones that the things were hidden from are those like Satan, the angels of Satan and the people of the earth that follow him in darkness.   Look up the definition of the word “babe” in this verse in the Strong’s dictionary.  The Greek word translated as “babes” literally means an infant as in a non-speaking baby.  That definition of “babes” has spiritual meaning hidden in it that goes very deep.  This kind of a natural child is unable to communicate intelligently other than simple crying or laughing.  These types of infants can only drink milk to grow.  This natural reality corresponds to a spiritual reality that is on a very elementary level of spiritual knowledge, understanding and ability.  This non-speaking spiritual baby level is where all Christians begin their life in Christ.  In the eyes of God we in the church are just spiritual non-speaking children and God desires us to grow into speaking mature children.  Spiritual growth is one of the greatest desired expectations of the heart of God for His children.  However, the only way this is possible is if we continue to abide in Him and to listen.  It goes back to what I said earlier about being a branch that is connected to Jesus the Vine.

Being a baby is exactly where we all start out naturally in this world, but this is also how we all start out spiritually when we are born again (John 3:3).  To be born again is a “spiritual birth” process that replicates the natural birth process but in the unseen spiritual realm.  This spiritual birth process results in a new spiritual baby being born into the spiritual family of God.  This stated new spiritual baby can exist in the body of a fully grown mature natural man or woman.  The external age of the human body is always independent from the internal age of the spiritual child (2 Cor 4:16).  The body that is visible never reflects the condition or the age of the hidden internal spirit.  Being a spiritual baby is exactly like being a natural baby.  Like natural babies, spiritual babies need help to survive and to grow or they will die.  Read this statement that Paul makes to the church at Corinth about the spiritual growth process:

1Co 3:1  And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.

Paul tells the church in Corinth I cannot speak to you yet about spiritual things because you are still spiritual babies in Christ. This word for “babes” is the exact same Greek word that Jesus spoke in Matthew 11:25.  This was clearly written to church people that were fully grown enough that could read and write, but yet they knew nothing about the spiritual things of God.  God says you need to grow spiritually to be able to see the real complex spiritual subjects found in the Bible and in God.  The complex subjects are only available to be understood after personal spiritual growth has occurred.  Paul was telling the church I cannot communicate to you closer to God’s level because you are still non-speaking children in Christ.  Those are pretty strong words aren’t they?   Let’s read the next verse in 1 Corinthians:

1Co 3:2  I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.

God teaches us how spiritual growth occurs by using the very simple human concepts found in the natural baby growth cycle.  If you do not understand natural baby things then you will never understand spiritual baby things as we have already seen by what Jesus was teaching us in John 3:12.  If you read Romans 1:20 you will begin to see God telling us that His invisible spiritual qualities are clearly understood by the things that were created by Him in this world.  You should be able to read 1 Corinthians 3:1 and 2 and see that God expects His spiritual babies to grow to eat meat.  Meat symbolically represents the complex higher spiritual subjects of God.  But in order to eat meat you must first drink the milk of the Word of God basics to grow.  These concepts are critical and I pray that you are grasping them or you will never be led by the Spirit of God fully.   Let’s read another witness of the truth in the Word of God:

Heb 5:12  For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.

Heb 5:13  For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.

God reveals to us in these two verses that there are both simplistic milk subjects found in the Bible for spiritual babies and then there are also advanced meat subjects found in the Bible for the mature spiritual Christians.  Clearly babies cannot take the really deep complex subjects because they do not understand even the simple milk subjects.  That is what God is saying to the reader.  Every complex meat truth found in the Bible is built upon several dependent layers of simpler milk truths that are necessary first to be understood.  Hebrews 5:12 informs us that this understanding only comes from being taught.  It is very much like learning to add and subtract as a school child using simple math concepts before you ever try to learn the algebra and calculus more complex math concepts.  If you do not yet understand the simple it is impossible to grasp the complex.  My Bible studies are normally intended for meat eating mature spiritual Christians.  I recently had one person unsubscribe to my Bible study and I can only guess that it was because they did not like or could not take the meat that I was trying to feed them.  That is OK, with me I’m not sent to teach everyone, if you cannot handle what I write you probably just need to go drink some more milk for a while and then come back later and try to eat the more complex topics from God.  Don’t choke as a baby Christian trying to swallow spiritual meat when you have not yet developed any spiritual teeth to chew it.  So while I lost one subscriber recently God blessed me and replaced them with 5 new subscribers.  Praise God!

What I have just tried to describe to you is the spiritual growth process in a concise nutshell.   God uses these things to teach each of us in the same way.  This is exactly what I see happening to the church in the first 10 chapters of Acts.  God was teaching the early church babies new spiritual things that were so much deeper than anything that they had ever seen or understood before.  God is guiding them and giving them limited steps containing new ways to view the old scriptures to help them see God’s Word more through the spiritual eyes of God.  Now with this new spiritual knowledge growing in them God can increasingly guide them by His Spirit to do even greater things with this new knowledge.  That was my introduction so let’s get into the reality of chapter 11:

Act 11:1  And the apostles and brethren that were in Judaea heard that the Gentiles had also received the word of God.

This is an awesome verse.  It helps to clarify many things we saw in Acts 10 by explaining to us that it was the Word of God that made everything else that happened possible.  When the angel told Cornelius in the beginning of Acts 10 to go and get Peter it was for the sole purpose of Peter bringing the Word of God to Cornelius.  This is the designed process from God and it is described to us in Romans 10:14.  Peter came and Peter preached the Word of God and because Cornelius and his house received and believed the Word of God, the Spirit of God fell on them and they spoke with other tongues and praised God.  Being saved, being filled with the Spirit of God or whatever you receive from God begins with you first receiving the Word of God that is spoken to you by a preacher sent from God.  The Word of God is the foundational basis for everything else that you need, spiritual, mental, emotional or physical.  After hearing the Word of God, you must believe it and then you must receive what was spoken to you.  This is called receiving the Grace of God by your faith.  I’m not going to teach you about faith and what it is and how it works, so if you do not understand this subject I have an in-depth lesson series called “Understanding Bible Faith” that you should go and check out. 

Notice however what is happening here in verse 1, the brethren that are mentioned here are the saved Jews of the natural circumcision in Jerusalem.  These are the men that were circumcised in their flesh by the hands of other men according the Law of Moses but they were also now circumcised by the hands of God in their spirits and they have not yet fully comprehended which one is the most important.  They do not yet understand that the first natural was only given to teach them about the greater spiritual circumcision that occurred by the Hand of God.  The fact is that the circumcision of the heart was just being revealed to the church and this means that they had not fully embraced the truth nor did they completely understand it.  This was simply because they were all still babes in Christ growing up in the Lord.

Act 11:2  And when Peter was come up to Jerusalem, they that were of the circumcision contended with him,

Here we have a potential firestorm division occurring in the church.  This is a golden opportunity for the new baby believers of Jerusalem to depart the unity of the church body to create a new independent branch of believers called the Southern Jewish Church.  Ok, that was a really bad joke on my part, but you understand what I meant.  It is always man’s solution to create a new denomination when differences arise and it is always God’s proposed solution to resolve the conflict with new knowledge.  The saved Jews in Jerusalem had heard about the Gentiles and they were not very happy Christians.   In fact they were being very carnal, very jealous, very arrogant and very prideful types of Christians.  It sounds a lot like some that I know of in the world today.   It is very much like they felt themselves to be better or superior than those Gentiles because of something they had in their flesh that they could see.  This is a dangerous approach to take before your fall and you will fall unless you change and release this attitude.  Pride is always followed by the destruction of the individual (Prov 16:18). Any introduction of new Godly revelation to the people of God brings the opportunity to grow spiritually.  It is also a potential opportunity to fail by rejecting it and remaining ignorant.  Therefore, do not ever put yourself into a strict religious box of not being able to change, learn or grow from God’s new revelations.  The Jews in Jerusalem in Acts 11 are about to reach a decision point as we continue to read through the chapter.  They are going to be faced with some radical new spiritual information that is over their current spiritual level to understand it fully and they will have to make a choice to accept it or reject it.  They will eventually learn that spiritual things will always take precedence over the natural external things but this is just a part of the normal growth process.  We are about to explore the root of the problem being revealed to the early church:

Act 11:3  Saying, Thou wentest in to men uncircumcised, and didst eat with them.

Why is it important for a Jew not to eat with a Gentile?  Why does this natural external action of Peter so concern the Jewish men at Jerusalem?  That is an incredible thoughtful valid question that people today do not even consider or try to understand how to answer.  People in the modern world eat with anybody, anytime, in anyplace without giving it considerable thought to the consequences of their actions.  What did I just say? Are there really consequences for eating with people?  You see because of your ignorance you do not know where I am probably going next but we are going to explore briefly some Old Testament Law that these Jews in Jerusalem understood better than you did:

Exo 12:43  And the LORD said unto Moses and Aaron, This is the ordinance of the passover: There shall no stranger eat thereof:

Exo 12:48  And when a stranger shall sojourn with thee, and will keep the passover to the LORD, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and keep it; and he shall be as one that is born in the land: for no uncircumcised person shall eat thereof.

Exo 29:33  And they shall eat those things wherewith the atonement was made, to consecrate and to sanctify them: but a stranger shall not eat thereof, because they are holy.

To an informed Old Covenant person, eating a meal with a Gentile was them making a covenant with a people that were not currently in covenant with their God.  The Jews learned that the Passover meal was a covenant meal that was given to them while they were still in bondage in Egypt.  Eating the Passover meal and placing the blood of the lamb on the doorpost allowed everyone in their house to live while the death angel took the firstborn of all that did not eat of the lamb and where the blood was not found on the doorway.  God gives us these natural symbolic types to reveal the spiritual truths that have occurred in us in the church.  In Exodus, God was telling the natural Jews that in order for a Gentile to participate with them in eating the meal, they must first be circumcised in their flesh.  Did you not just read this?  This was the Law of God that was being misapplied to the church in the minds of the Jewish believers in Jerusalem based upon their spiritual ignorance. 

What I am saying is that eating with a Gentile was in effect the people of God joining themselves with their enemies.  The sign of the circumcision was an external confirmation that they were in covenant with the same God you were in covenant with.  However, that external sign of the covenant is now foolishness no matter who you are.  The principle that was being taught to us is that you do not make covenant with anyone that is not in covenant with your God.  That was the natural principle being taught to the Jewish people and that principle is still in effect in the spiritual realm today with the church (1 Cor 6:15). When you make covenant with a person not saved, the only advantage gained was given to the enemy that you covenanted with.  Once you let your enemies into your house where you live you have just opened up your life to them for your complete destruction.  What I just described to you has more spiritual relevance than what you probably understand right now, but I do not have the time to go there today.  However, this was probably the driving reason behind the Jewish concern in Jerusalem extended to Peter.  They were just in a state of shock that Peter had gone into a Gentile’s house and made covenant with them without them being circumcised in their flesh.  They were in effect thinking very naturally and saying to Peter “What were you thinking?”  “Why are you eating with these uncircumcised godless men?”

The natural Jewish believers were obviously not seeing things correctly through the eyes of God yet.  They did not understand that Peter was being led by the Spirit of God in what he did and they for sure did not believe that the uncircumcised Gentiles were able to hear from God to do what they did.  This is a grave mistake of people today that call themselves Christians.  I saw a comment recently on Facebook from a Christian lady that is usually very sound in what she says.  However she obviously got into the flesh with this statement and showed her spiritual immaturity.  She was basically putting down people today that say they hear from God.  I personally have more concern for people who do not hear from God than I do for those that say they heard from God.   My Facebook friend even tried to justify her statement by using unfounded statements about Moses.  She believed that even Moses never heard from God that much.  I found her logic more than a little amusing.  Moses after all wrote the first 5 books of the Bible and many of the Psalms so Moses obviously heard from God a lot.  Do not get me wrong, there are people on the internet that say they hear from God and clearly they do not based upon what they say.  If what is spoken contradicts the Written Word of God, then it is not from God.  This is always an example of the real being counterfeited with the false.   The presence of the false however proves that there is a real by implied antithesis.  People in the world never counterfeit anything that does not already exist and is valuable or the counterfeit would have no value to anyone to deceive them.  Satan will always introduce the fakes to discredit or distract form the genuine.  God is speaking today in the world to His people and do not believe that He is not.

Act 11:5  I was in the city of Joppa praying: and in a trance I saw a vision, A certain vessel descend, as it had been a great sheet, let down from heaven by four corners; and it came even to me:

Act 11:6  Upon the which when I had fastened mine eyes, I considered, and saw fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air.

Act 11:7  And I heard a voice saying unto me, Arise, Peter; slay and eat.

Act 11:8  But I said, Not so, Lord: for nothing common or unclean hath at any time entered into my mouth.

Act 11:9  But the voice answered me again from heaven, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.

Act 11:10  And this was done three times: and all were drawn up again into heaven.

Act 11:11  And, behold, immediately there were three men already come unto the house where I was, sent from Caesarea unto me.

Act 11:12  And the Spirit bade me go with them, nothing doubting. Moreover these six brethren accompanied me, and we entered into the man’s house:

Act 11:13  And he shewed us how he had seen an angel in his house, which stood and said unto him, Send men to Joppa, and call for Simon, whose surname is Peter;

Act 11:14  Who shall tell thee words, whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved.

Act 11:15  And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning.

Act 11:16  Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost.

Starting in Verse 5 and continuing through verse 16 in Acts 11 is now Peter’s account of what just happened in Acts 10 as it is replayed for the saved Jewish believers in Jerusalem.  You might recall we got Cornelius’ account of the events at the end of chapter 10 telling Peter and now we are seeing Peter tell his side of the story to the other natural circumcised believers.  You did notice that I said the “other” natural circumcised believers, yes?   What is happening here?  Why didn’t God speak to these believers directly like He did with Peter?  Recall that Peter was dealt with on a personal spiritual level by God directly in Chapter 10.  These Jewish men in chapter 11 were not.  Why that was and what we can learn from it will now become more apparent.  Revelation is never given to everyone in the church.  Visions from God are never given to everyone in the church.  Angels are never sent to everyone in the church.  On and on I could go.  These are all examples of divine sovereign choices of God and they are designed to help the whole body by allowing the one given the message to go and tell the others.  That is exactly what is happening here in Acts 11.  Peter was sent by God with the message from God to the natural Jewish believers in Jerusalem so they could hear what God has done. 

Peter’s vision from God was not just for Peter’s personal benefit; it was for everyone else’s benefit in the church also that will hear it.  Do you understand what I am saying?   If Peter did not spread the message, the message would have died with Peter.  God never gives one man any kind of revelation that is not intended for him to share with everyone else.  I already tried to cover the difference between natural circumcision and God’s spiritual circumcision and I hope that you understand the differences.   You can clearly see that this new spiritual way of thinking was causing a great division to occur in the church and if God does not deal with it then we would have the beginning of a new church denomination like I said before.  Uh oh?  God is actually working very hard to reverse the cause for the division by doing spectacular things like sending angels and giving visions, but the people in the church are still going to have to cooperate, believe and accept.

Act 11:17  Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God.

I love this verse!   It is so awesome!  What did Peter just tell these Jewish believers?  This is the best advice that people today can still get a hold of if they humbled themselves and tried.  Peter just said “I’m not stupid, it is not my place to tell God what to do”.   Do you ever try to tell God what to do?  I see it on the internet every day.  I’ve seen it in churches repeatedly.  People speaking against what they do not agree with and they call the others not in their group false teachers and liars.  They do not understand that God could have given someone else a new revelation and this was also for them but they have rejected it because it was new.   I’m not going to go through everything that Peter said to the Jews verse by verse, but I do want to point out the key factors again for emphasis:

  1. Peter says “I was praying” in verse 5.
  2. Peter says “I was in a trance and I saw a vision” in verse 5.
  3. Peter described the vision and says he then heard a voice say “arise slay and eat” in verse 7.
  4. Peter says back to the Lord “No Lord nothing unclean has entered into my mouth” in verse 8.
  5. Peter then says that God answers back to him “Do not call unclean that which I have cleansed” in verse 9.
  6. Peter then says that all of this happened three times in verse 10.
  7. Peter then says the Spirit of God spoke to him again and said “These men that I have sent, go with them doubting nothing” in verse 12.

Let’s just stop right here and analyze the facts given to us.  How many times did God speak and how many times did Peter speak to God in this conversation?  Peter prayed so that is the first time where the spiritual conversation begins with God.  The vision then begins, so God is now speaking back to Peter in a trance.  We have one for Peter and one for God.  Now the voice of God tells Peter “Kill and eat” and Peter says “no”.  That gives me a count of two for God and two for Peter.  God then answered back “Do not call unclean what I have cleaned”.  My count is now three for God and two for Peter because Peter had no reply.  What God was pointing out to Peter was “you don’t know what I have done or what I can do”.   God was in effect teaching the man Peter during this whole vision.  Peter then tell us that this happens three times.  According to my calculation that would give us a subtotal of God speaking seven times and Peter speaking back to God four times.  However, Peter then says God told Him to go with the men and that makes the count, God speaking 8 times and Peter speaking 4 times.  Did this not say that God just spoke to Peter 8 times in one conversation?  I mean can you count?  How many people today is there that do not understand that God still does this for everyone since He is no respecter of persons?  Does God still speak?  You bet He does!  Does God speak a lot?  You bet He does, if you are listening.  Let’s talk briefly about verses 15 and 16:

Act 11:15  And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning.

Act 11:16  Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost.

Here is further confirmation for what I was teaching you in the last lesson.  God is revealing how things work in the spiritual realm by revealing to us little clues found within the natural realm.  While Peter was preaching at Cornelius’ house the Word of God, the Holy Spirit was poured out exactly like He was in Acts 2 on the Jewish believers.  We learned in chapter 10 this taught Peter that God was no respecter of persons.  But, Peter also tells us when this was happening that he suddenly remembered something that Jesus had said to him.  Do you think this was a coincidence or do you think this was also God speaking to him?  I personally know it was the Spirit of God speaking to Peter.  This is simply one way that God communicates with people and people do not understand it is God unless you learn to see what is said.  The Spirit of God inside of Peter was giving Peter the thoughts to preach the message to Cornelius all along.   God just revealed one thought of the many others that were implied.  What was this thought that Peter just had?  The thought was a memory recall of some of the words that Jesus spoke to him in the past.  I have called this concept God drawing water out from a well.  The thought was the water, God was the drawing out Spirit, and the well where the water was found is Peter’s spirit.  The only reason water existed in the well was because it was placed there by Jesus’ teachings.  This is not really rocket science kind of technical stuff here, but yet it is very profound if you get a hold of it.  Jesus taught us “From the abundance of your heart, the mouth speaks” (Mat 12:34).  Therefore put God’s Words into your heart if you want to get any of God’s Words to come out from your heart.

Do you understand what Jesus was teaching Peter and the other disciples from this thought in Acts 11:16 and how it applies to what is happening now with Cornelius?  In other words why is God causing Peter to remember these words at this exact moment?  Why is it relevant?  Notice what Jesus was contrasting in the thought.  Jesus was speaking of natural things like John and his water baptism to teach them of new coming spiritual things.  Also understand that Jesus’ statement was a future prophetical reference to an event that had not yet occurred when it was spoken.  If you research your Bible you will find that this statement was made by Jesus in Acts 1:5 right as He was about to ascend back to heaven.  The Spirit of God was now revealing to Peter that this is the time of fulfillment of that prophecy.  Jesus told them that John had used water to baptize, but now God will use the Holy Spirit to do the exact same thing in the spiritual realm.  It is again an example of how external things are being represented to reveal internal invisible things.  If you learn nothing else from me today I pray that you begin to understand the differences between natural things and spiritual things.  Learn today that spiritual things are always greater than the parallel natural things.  Learn how natural things are nothing but physical pointers to the hidden spiritual things from God.  So we have had Peter describe the intimate workings of the Holy Spirit during the process to the Jews in Jerusalem and we are now at the time for their decision.  Do they accept it or do they reject it?

Act 11:18  When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.

Here is the model example of the appropriate Christian reactive response to any new revelation.  These Jewish men in Jerusalem just showed you what you should be doing today.   Peter has just preached to the natural Jewish believers in Jerusalem a message that came from God and they believed it and accepted it.  There are literally too many other possible human reactions for me to list what could have happened.  Instead of focusing on what did not happen, just notice that they kept their mouths shut except to praise their God.  That is probably one of the greatest lessons to learn from what is happening in these two chapters.  When and if you do not fully agree, fully understand, or fully embrace what is happening it is wisest to hold your peace and just praise God.  Don’t fight against God, observe what He is doing and go with it.  How could these men at Jerusalem do this?  It is because they knew their God and they knew Peter.  They had to have a certain level of trust for this man of God that he was not misleading them.  They also knew that he was the one that got them saved in the first place by preaching in Acts 2.  So we have many factors contributing to trust and their spiritual growth.

Act 11:19  Now they which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen travelled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to none but unto the Jews only.

You can clearly see the problem that God was addressing in the church in this verse.  Those that were being scattered from Jerusalem’s persecution were only going to other cities preaching to the natural Jews.  God was revealing to the early church that it’s much bigger than that, guys!    You people are missing the largest harvest fields and only focusing on the select ones that you think are good.  It goes back to a truth that God revealed in the O.T. that says “God does not see as men see, for man looks on the outward appearance, but God looks on the heart” (1 Sam 16:7).   If people would only see things in the Bible like God sees them, there would be no divisions, debates or arguments in the church today and we could all reach a lot more people to get them saved.

This lesson is already long enough.  Let’s just recap what else is revealed in this chapter to bring it to a close. 

  1. Verse 20 says the Gentiles are now being actively preached to and converted.
  2. Verse 21 says the number of the Gentiles being added to the church is very significant.
  3. God also says in verse 21 that these Gentiles did two things to be saved.  They believed the message and they turned to God for their salvation.
  4. Verse 21 also says the hand of the Lord was with them, proving God was leading them in what was happening.
  5. Verse 22 says the news of the church growth was spreading through the church and reached back to the church in Jerusalem.
  6. Verse 22 then says the brethren in Jerusalem sent Barnabas to Antioch to preach and teach them.  This was God again sending a man with a message to help them grow spiritually.  I told you a mature Christian was always necessary to keep a new born spiritual baby alive.
  7. Verse 23 says Barnabas saw the Grace of God and was glad and he began to exhort them.  Exhortation is a comforting and an encouraging word sent from God telling them to continue in the Lord.  Meaning they have the opportunity to turn back or walk away.
  8. Verse 24 describes God’s messenger Barnabas as being a good man that was full of the Holy Ghost.  Two things I learn from this.  To be a good teacher of God you need to be full of the Spirit of God.  Finally a mature teacher needs to be sent by God.
  9. Verse 24 says many people were added to the church as a result of sending Barnabas.
  10. Verse 25 does not give us a time frame of how long Barnabas was present in Antioch but it says he left there for Tarsus to seek for Saul.  I take this as God guiding him because of Romans 8:14.  Galatians 2:9 teaches us that Barnabas becomes an apostle to the Gentiles with Paul.
  11. Verse 26 is one of my favorites.  It gives us the reason for seeking Paul.  Paul is brought back to Antioch to help and this verse says they stayed there for a year and taught many people.  Verse 26 also reveals this is where people in the church were first called “Christians”.
  12. Verse 27 says Jerusalem sent prophets to Antioch.  This proves God is still working to bring messages through men to other men. 
  13. Verse 28 is a warning from the Spirit of God spoken by the prophet sent to Antioch.  He tells them of a great famine that would come upon the world. 
  14. Verse 29 the church at Antioch gathers supplies to give to help those in Judea. 
  15. Verse 30 says Barnabas and Paul leave Antioch to take the relief to the church elders.

We could literally write a book about all of the things revealed in these few verses.  If you meditate on the verses long enough you will see what I mean.  There are many lessons that can be transferred to the days that we live in.  There is God leading the church individually and corporately to grow and increase in significant numbers.  There is God leading and teaching individuals to grow up spiritually.  There is God bringing warnings of coming events and helping to prepare them through a prophet.  There are times of famine now in many parts of our world.  People have physical needs and these should be taken to the elders in the church to be distributed to those in need.  I believe that the church’s number one goal is to add to the number of believers to help the body grow.  But, then the number two goal is to help those that are new in the church to grow spiritually so they do not fall away and they can become teachers also.  I finally see the last goal of the church as being to help the physical needs of the people.  This was God’s stated order of mention in chapter 11.  I see God’s emphasis in Acts 11 being spiritual first and then physical.  However, the famine did occur after a year from when Paul was sent into Antioch so the emphasis might have changed if the circumstances were different.  Nevertheless, I want to say that I can see God was working in Acts 11 to supply both their spiritual needs as well as their physical needs.  Both are necessary components to continued growth.  We saw great examples f God sending teachers to the new church members.  We can easily confirm that God wants to save you first, but then He wants you to grow spiritually so that He can continue to lead you in the process to help others get into the same process and the spiritual life cycles continues and repeats.  The spiritual cycles of spiritual church population growth duplicates the natural human cycles of population growth.  The spiritual cycle of development and maturity parallels the natural human cycle of development and maturity.  Just as math students in the natural can become math teachers to others as they grow, so it is with Bible students in the spiritual dimension.  Non-speaking baby Christians after spiritual development and maturity should all become speaking Christians (AKA Bible teachers) for others. 

While you may not fully understand how much you have learned today or how it applies to you being led by the Spirit of God, I will tell you that what you have learned has gone much further than you realize.  Someday soon you will become a teacher and then these lessons will be in you to help others.  God will draw them out when it is time and you will speak the oracles of God with wisdom.  God Bless you until next time and I greatly appreciate your effort to study the Word of God with me.

Understanding How to Be Led By the Spirit of God! How the Holy Spirit Led the Early Church in Acts 10! Part 12

(ver 1.1) This is now Part 12 in a series of very important basic Christian Bible lessons on the subject of Being Led by the Spirit of God.  These lessons contain critical spiritual information, instructions, and corrections that are essential and necessary for the spiritual growth of every Christian and they directly apply to all of us in the modern church because we are all in the same body of Christ serving the same God in the same ways as those in the book of Acts.  My foundational scripture verse for the entire series is “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God” (Rom 8:14). That verse informs us that it is more than just a good idea, more than optimal, more than important, or more than just advantageous to be led by the Spirit of God over those that are not led.  Romans 8:14 actually tells us that it is an essential requirement to be led by God or you cannot even be called His child.  Jesus stipulated that “If you love me you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15).  But commandments from God are more than just reading and obeying the written Laws of Moses.  There will always be the written Word of God that we must learn, but there is also an implied direction to hear His current spoken words also.  What was written to us thousands of years ago in the Bible still definitely applies and is very relevant, but I believe that what we may need to know is more specific for the right now.  How do we grow and what do we still need to learn today, is there anything that we need to change, who do we need to speak with today or to witness to, who do we need to pray for today, where do I need to go today and on and on we could go.  Personal direction from God can only come from hearing the Holy Spirit speak on an individual intimate level.   That is why I’m teaching about how you can hear from God in the right now.

I believe that it is so very important for us to know this subject in great detail.  Learn how God speaks, learn when God speaks and learn why God speaks and then expect Him to speak to you.  If you are not expecting, then you are not listening.  We have covered a tremendous amount of information that will not be repeated so if you have not read this series from the beginning I would suggest that you go and start with “Part 1” first.   In recent lessons, I have been moving through the book of Acts and observing the patterns and revelations of how God led the early church to grow and increase in great numbers.  I believe that these are great teachings for the end-time church to go up and out on so that we can learn how to reach as many people as we can in the shortest amount of time.  The Bible speaks of the outpouring of the Spirit of God as being like rain (James 5:7, Zec 10:1, Joel 2:23).  The Bible also speaks of the Word of God coming down from heaven like rain (Isa 55:10-11).  God called for the former and the later rain to fall in their respective seasons upon His people to produce a healthy fruitful spiritual crop.  Two things happened in the Book of Acts former rain that stands out above all other facts to me.  The Spirit of God was poured out on the Church and as a result God gave them such profound new revelation of His precious Holy written Word that it was unprecedented and beyond comparison.   As a result of the Spirit of God being poured out like never before on everyone in the church and the knowledge of God increasing so profoundly, the church grew tremendously.  It was a classic cause and effect reality from God.  We are now living very near the time of the harvest and therefore we are abiding in the time of the later rain.  We are currently writing the final chapters to the book of Acts today by what we do for God.  I believe that what happened in the early church rain is what is reoccurring now in the later rain.  This is the heavenly rainy season that we live in right now.  Learn to get into the rain of God and see if He will not pour out on you a blessing that you cannot even contain.  The revelation of God is increasing today like never before.  We are to use this information to help the church to grow, to overcome and to unite in His purpose.  Get involved in what God is doing and make sure you are standing under the spiritual rain cloud that is being poured out on the church today.

In the last lesson I was teaching on Acts chapter 10 and we did not get through the entire chapter.  Let’s briefly review what we saw that was happening.  I personally believe that chapter 10 of Acts is the most important chapter we have observed on this subject of being led.  The chapter begins with Cornelius a Gentile man praying and suddenly seeing an angel sent from God.  In this vision, the angel gives him a message from God and tells him to go and find Peter in another city in order to hear another message from God.  That right there is a very strange request from God.  I guess the angel was not told the real message.  What I believe is happening is that God is revealing to us that we are living in the church age.  The church was given the delegated authority and responsibility to go and preach to those on the earth to get them saved (Mark 16:15).  There is coming a time in Revelation 14:6 where the angels will preach to the people on the earth because the church will already be in heaven.  Therefore, I believe the angel in Acts 10 is pointing Cornelius to a church member to hear the Gospel.  The angel tells Cornelius where Peter can be found and he sends three men to the city of Joppa where Peter is staying. 

While the men are on the trip to find Peter, Peter is also said to be praying at the exact precise time and he also has a vision from God that is very disturbingly strange.  Peter falls into a trance and sees a vision of a sheet being lowered from heaven with every kind of animal clean and unclean on it.  Peter is then commanded by God to kill and eat, but Peter knows this will be an offense to his current understanding of the written Law of Moses and he refuses.  Because of Peter’s refusal to participate, Peter sees the same vision three times and that is another interesting concept that visions may reoccur, but do not think that they must reoccur.  I believe it is wiser to participate and obey the first time that God says something to you.  Peter is still contemplating the meaning of the vision when all of the sudden the Spirit of God speaks to him in his spirit and tells him the men sent by God are here to see him.  At this point in time Peter does not know what the vision means nor does he understand who the men are and why they are here to see him.  So Peter goes down and meets with the men to find out what is going on. 

What we have just observed is a divinely choreographed and well-orchestrated plan of God that has been unfolding in progressive steps and stages.  This is a great example of the wisdom of God in manifestation.  Every participant is given only very limited quantities of information to accomplish a single step of the greater unknown divine goal.  No one at this point in time knows what God is doing or why they are doing it with Him.  This is clearly an example of the people of God being led blindly by faith where God is the only one that understands fully what is happening and why.  Of course if God knows what He is doing then we should not really care what He is telling us to do or even ask why.  What is going on will always become apparent to us soon enough if we continue to obey.   This is just called being a willing servant of God that walks by faith.  We can clearly see how the factor of human obedience plays a significant role when yielding to a higher degree of wisdom than we possess.  It is also based upon a factor that is called “TRUST” like a child trusts their parents to catch them when they jump into their arms.  There is a further implied unstated factor of humility where we must acknowledge internally that we need to be led by God. The success of the whole plan of God is completely dependent upon the faithful participation of each individual involved being led and all of these qualities that I just mentioned play key roles in the successful outcome.  If any one man in this chapter drops the ball and does not do or complete what God has instructed them to do, God would have needed to find some new church members to replace them to get the job done and thus the church would have not grown as fast or as efficiently.

THE PURPOSE OF GOD’S LEADING

Jer 29:11  For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. (NASB)

Here is a good time to confirm why God wants to lead us again.  If you are being led by God it is not for your demise, harm, hurt or destruction.  Jeremiah 29:11 teaches us that God is always working for your greater good and for a greater purpose than what might be apparent at the time.  You should be able to recognize that in Acts 10 as we continue through the lesson to the fulfillment of the plan of God.  In this chapter nothing but positive things happen to everyone participating.  The Bible clearly informs us that God is FOR US and not against us (Romans 8:31).  There are three different perspectives that we can use to see what is written in this verse in Jeremiah 29.  First, it can be viewed corporately as a universal statement directed at everyone.  Second it can be viewed from the perspective that it was written to others like natural Israel only.  Finally it could be viewed as a verse that was written to ME personally.  There are ways to reason away any one of the these three possibilities using human logic.  However, because the verse does not say who it is written to using a noun qualification, I take it to be a verse that includes all of the above possibilities concurrently.  The translators also thought this way because they used the personal pronoun as “you” being “me” the reader to state the truth.  I take this verse as a direct quote from God spoken to me.

I can understand that this verse was originally written to the natural nation of Israel.  But, I then can begin to expand my vision to view it to be a universal truth that crosses over from the natural realm into the spiritual realm to include everyone.  Therefore, it is simple to me if I take the truth in this verse to be for me personally.  You of course need to make up your own mind if it is for you and do with it whatever you like.   If you can come to the realization that it is for you also, then you need to do something else.  You need to believe that God has a good plan specifically for you like I believe God has a good plan specifically for me?  Your plan is not my plan, and my plan is not your plan.  They are both unique and separate while still being equally good for each.  If you can believe that, then you have a strong basis of faith with the scriptures to stand upon when you pray and ask God what is your plan for me.  Knowing this revelation will give you confidence that when God leads you it is for a positive outcome and for a greater good purpose.

Since I believe that this verse in Jeremiah 29:11 is universally true and for me as an individual I can conclude three new things from it that applies to why God was leading the early church in Acts 10.  First, God is ultimately interested in the good plan for growing the church as the single whole body of Christ on the earth.   This is what I will call a “ONE” church body approach to understanding the scriptures.  Since I believed that Jeremiah 29:11 was for individuals and I view the body of Christ as an individual corporate body I believe God’s good plan must include us all as one group.  I’m not going to teach you about the church being one body found in the scriptures today so if you do not understand that truth then you should do a separate study on the subject.  Second, I believe that in order for God to grow the church that God must also be interested in helping all of the members in the church to grow up spiritually to learn how to be led by Him.  What we have again is an approach that if one part of the body is ill, then the entire body is ill.  You cannot cut off one part of your body and still be a whole person.  Again I can see how God’s GOOD plans for the church are both individualized and simultaneously incorporated for the good of everyone for a unified positive purpose and outcome.  I hope that you understand these concepts, because I do not have time to go into them in great detail.   Last but not least I believe that God is interested in blessing you in the natural realm so that you can become a blessing to others on the earth in the natural realm to get them saved.  Here is where church growth corresponds to human growth cycles.  When a natural child is born into the world they are very small, weak and need assistance to survive.  As their body develops they are increased in mass, strength and ability.  These concepts can be transferred to the body of Christ.  I believe that our church body is in a growth cycle right now and we are reaching out to those that are not a part of the body to help them to be added to the body of Christ.  This is only possible while we are all still in the natural realm.  If you die or they die then it is too late for each of you to participate in the increase to the body of believers.   I can see all three of these things occurring in Acts 10 and I hope that you will also agree with me on them.

WHAT IS A GOOD PLAN FROM GOD?

Jeremiah 29:11 informs us that God has good plans for His people.   What exactly is a plan?  And what makes one plan good and another one not good?  One definition of the word plan is a design or a scheme of arrangement.  We might be able to view a plan as a set of project specifications.  This is a concept that transfers to many things in the natural to be easily understood.  A cook uses a recipe to create an edible delicacy which is tasty.   A seamstress uses a pattern to create a dress that will knock your socks off when you see it worn.  An architect creates a plan called a blueprint design with architectural diagrams to build a great building that we can live and work in.  These are all designed stepped approaches to the creation of things in the world.  These are all good planned approaches that benefit people in some way.  No plan that I have just mentioned was intended for anyone’s harm or demise.  However, you can clearly see how that any plan can be changed or modified to become evil.  Good and evil are basic concepts found in the Bible.  The Bible tells us that God is good and that Satan is evil.  We should be able to conclude that God’s plans are for our good and Satan’s plans are for our hurt.  This is really not that complicated, but Satan has used people’s human reasoning to try shift all plans to God’s control and that is a great error in judgment.

Does every plan on the earth automatically come to pass exactly as planned?  If you have ever been a project manager you know that they do not.  Rarely does a plan occur without a problem.  Now, consider what if it is God’s plan for your personal life?   Does that mean God’s plans for you will automatically come to pass just because God is omnipotent and controls everything that happens to you?  Again, it certainly does not!  If that was true it would be totally unnecessary to be led by the Spirit of God and we could just all sit back and let Him do everything.  The requirement to be led by the Spirit of God dictates that every plan of God does not automatically transpire.  All of this means that you need to first learn what the plan of God is or at the minimum learn what part of the plan that God wants you to do and then follow God’s instructions to fulfill it.  What I am doing is attempting to go through some side trips that are informative enough to try to help you understand why things occur.  Every plan is not good and every good plan does not always come to full fruition.

I have studied the Gospels and I have tried to observe what Jesus said and did in person for humanity in order to better understand what God in heaven wants to do for humanity today.  I never did see Jesus kill someone, rob someone, hurt someone or do any evil to anyone.  The Bible clearly says in Acts 10:38 that Jesus went about doing “GOOD” to all those oppressed of the devil.  If Jesus wanted “good” for us on the earth when He was here physically then it is still the same today.   This also teaches us that God is not the author of the evil and that Satan is the one doing evil to us.  Read the Gospels and see that when people were hungry Jesus cared enough to feed them.  When people were sick, blind or crippled many got healed and delivered.  When people were in their ignorance Jesus spent vast amounts of time teaching them.  Jesus even raised many from the dead.  These were all examples of doing good things for people.  How can you see anything but good coming from God since the Bible says that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever?  (Heb 13:8)

So why do bad things still happen to the good church members in Acts and to the people on the earth still today?  We clearly saw Stephen being stoned and others being thrown into prison in Acts.  There was definite persecution being leveled on the church by the Jews.  I believe that there are possibly multiple reasons for bad things happening in the world to good church members.  First the existence of evil in the world remains ever present and it will not be taken away until the time has been fulfilled.  Understand that the world that we currently live in had a set beginning which requires a set ending by definition.  Satan the initiator of all evil now understands the concept of the timed ending and he knows that his time left is growing rapidly shorter so he is intentionally stepping up the evil in the world and he is not trying to reduce it.  Second, the whole concept of being led by the Spirit of God was a brand new idea that had just been initiated by God in all of the church in Acts 2.  Previously in the Old Testament God would lead one man and they would hold the responsibility to lead everyone else.  Today in the church we have a radical new concept where God says that He will lead everyone individually, corporately and simultaneously.

Being led by God is not an automatic spiritual skill that everyone understands when they become a Christian.  In fact it is actually the opposite.  Being led by the Spirit of God is an acquired spiritual ability or we could also say a learned spiritual skill as we can clearly see in the experiences of those in Acts 10.   Normally humans are led by their senses, their experiences and their human reasoning.  All of these are enemies to how God leads us by our spirit and we have to make the transition from these natural ways to be successfully led by the Spirit of God.  No one in the book of Acts is yet an expert at being led by the Spirit of God.  Everyone is still growing up spiritually as God teaches each of them.   Keep in mind at this time there is still no New Testament Bibles that exist.  Everything being taught by the church is from the Old Testament and these are concealed words about a hidden Jesus and the many other spiritual things that were just being revealed and taught for the first time by God.  So the people in Acts are like the people today.  We are all still learning to be led by God and we all still growing spiritually as we hear from Him.  Like those in Acts we are all still imperfect men and women with faults, weaknesses, emotions, sense feelings, and the same oppositions, persecutions and distractions as they faced.  Therefore, between the continued presences of evil in the world working with the fallible human condition of men in the world both continue to contribute to why bad things still happen to Christians. 

What we have seen so far in Acts 10 is God’s usage of at least 4 or 5 different communication methods over the course of several days to accomplish the greater plan of God while simultaneously teaching the church how God operates to lead them.  I have noticed that God is intelligent enough to multi-task and He is more than able to accomplish several stated goals with a single threaded process.  This is one of the greatest examples in the Book of Acts that I have seen so far of how the Sovereign God works in conjunction with the imperfect people on the earth that have the freewill option and choice to listen, hear, understand, choose and to obey Him.  We have clearly seen that God gives us all limited instructions in progressively sequenced steps to cause every participant to walk by faith and not by their own individual sight, knowledge or understanding.  I call this God’s modus operandi or method of operation.  It is how God operated with the early church and it is how God operates with us still today.

Think about the story in Acts 10.  If God would have told Cornelius everything from the beginning using the angel there would have been no need for any messengers to go get Peter.  There would have been no need for a Peter the preacher at all.  If God would have told Peter everything that was happening, then he would have also not needed to go down and talk to the men from Caesarea or go and preach to Cornelius.  Cornelius would have not needed a Peter and Peter would have not needed a Cornelius.  These are clear examples of how the individual people in the church should be working together in unison to accomplish the greater goal of God.  In other words no church member is an island that can stand alone in their own personal ministry isolation.  God does not call any church member to live in solitary confinement.  God called no Christian to be a Robinson Crusoe type of believer living in a monastery.  If you think you can live a full Christian life like that then you are deceived.  If you think no one else needs your participation then you are deceived. These are some of the greatest examples of God using ordinary people like you and me in the church. 

WHY GOD LED THE CHRUCH IN ACTS 10

As you continue reading in the chapter we will finally begin to discover why God is doing what He has been doing.  We will finally understand that everything that has occurred in Acts 10 is God causing the church to grow, expand and include the people of every nation and not just the people of natural Israel as it was found to be in the first 9 chapters of Acts.  God is about to shake up the box of their religious beliefs and their understanding of God’s character and turn it all upside down.  I guess technically I should say that God is turning things right side up, but you know what I mean.  Read some  verses found in the prophet Isaiah:

Isa 42:6  I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles;

Isa 42:7  To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.

Isa 42:8  I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.

Isa 42:9  Behold, the former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare: before they spring forth I tell you of them.

Isa 49:6  And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.

If you search the Bible you will see that there are several prophecies in the O.T. like these that reveal salvation belongs to all nations through Jesus Christ.  Here in Isaiah God says Jesus will be a light to the Gentiles and that His salvation will be displayed to the ends of the earth.  God says this will be something brand new.  What is a Gentile?  From a natural O.T. Bible perspective a Gentile was anyone that was not of the circumcision of the flesh first given to Abraham.   Every male descendant from Abraham on was circumcised as an outward sign of their covenant with God.  This event usually occurred 8 days after a male child was born (Php 3:5) and it resulted in a cutting of their flesh, the shedding of some of the child’s blood, and it also hurt and was physically painful.  Therefore a Gentile to the Jewish men in Acts 10 were any men that did not possess this physical mark in their flesh.  Now a new problem is being revealed to those in the church in Acts 10.  God is going to give them a totally new spiritual definition to an old natural understanding of what exactly circumcision was.  God is revealing something so radical to them that it is very difficult for many of them to even accept.  Here is a part of the new revelation that God would later write to the church at Rome:

Rom 2:28  For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh:

Rom 2:29  But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.

You see these are verses that people today ignore because they do not understand what they say or mean.  God is teaching the church that the outward mark of the flesh is not what makes a man a Jew anymore.   God is revealing that the outward circumcision was only given to teach them all about a new inward circumcision of the heart that makes us all a brand new kind of Jew.  Uh oh?  What did I just say?   Do you see why people still struggle with this revelation?  We will discover that the early church had this same difficulty when we get to chapter 11.  There was a huge movement in the early church by some Jewish believers to try to get all the new Gentile believers that came into the church to be circumcised like they were in their flesh.  These Jewish Christians were thinking carnally and naturally that in order to be fully saved it required everyone to do something externally to keep the law of God.   What God was doing is revealing that the natural things that He implemented under the law with Abraham only pointed them to the real spiritual things that ONLY God could do in the spiritual realm.  The Bible says that no one will ever be justified by the works of the law (Gal 2:16).  The circumcision of the heart (spirit) first started happening in the beginning of the church age as men received the Spirit of God.  This same circumcision of the heart that only the natural Jews had received is now being expanded in Acts 10 to include all of the Gentiles that believe on Christ also.  You cannot see or even understand the spiritual things of God and how they work without first understanding the natural things and how they worked.   This is why God does the natural first to teach us about the spiritual works of God.  This is really not that complicated yet many Christians still stumble over it constantly.

THE CONCLUSION TO ACTS 10

These were just cleverly designed ways of God to say behold I do a brand new thing and it is now open to everyone that wants to participate.  The early church did not really fully understand these verses were even in their Bible.  That is why God is revealing them to the church in Acts 10 and His written word can be used to confirm what He said to them.  Always remember that what God tells you by His Spirit will never conflict or contradict with what God has said to you in His written Word.  God is giving the church new revelation knowledge of the old prophecies in Isaiah.  Revelation knowledge is never a modification to the words that were written on the page, it is always just an adjustment to our spiritual eyesight that increases our understanding of what the words meant in the first place.  Let’s complete the study of the verses in Acts 10:

Act 10:28  And he said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean.

Here is a very classic example of how people can believe they understood what the Bible said and totally miss the real meaning until God reveals it to them.  There was a strict literal natural interpretation of the law that said that no Jew could associate with a non-Jew.  We could read this in the Gospels when the woman at the well was shocked that Jesus was talking to her a Samaritan (John 4:9).  The natural Jewish religious leaders took this law to an extreme and fell into great error with it.  Jesus understood what it said and knew it did not mean what they thought it meant.  Taking any truth to an extreme is one of the greatest dangers to believing a lie.  Peter in the presence of Cornelius begins to understand the vision from God.  The new revelation from God was being taught that these uncircumcised men in Cornelius’ house were chosen by God and they were not the kind of men that God was saying not to associate with in the law.   This was really an incredible new way to look at an old written rule.  What God is doing is differentiating between natural truths and spiritual truths, natural laws and spiritual laws, and natural people and spiritual people.  The natural Jews looked at this law as meaning one thing and now the church is being taught to see it with a completely new way of thinking spiritually.  This quite literally proves that what we sometimes thought to be the truth is not always the truth in reality.

Act 10:30  And Cornelius said, Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and, behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing,

Cornelius begins to recount to Peter what God had done and what was told to him by the angel.  God is now connecting the dots to allow everyone to see the bigger picture plan of God.  Notice again that there was a span of 4 days that these events have transpired on.  As you read down you will see Cornelius explaining what the angel said to him and how he was instructed to go to Joppa to get Peter to hear the message.  This is now the second time we are told what God is doing in this chapter.  Whenever God tells you something more than once it means it is very important and you better learn what is going on.  It is a lot like when Jesus said “Verily, Verily”.  Anytime there is repetition there is intended importance and emphasis.

Act 10:33  Immediately therefore I sent to thee; and thou hast well done that thou art come. Now therefore are we all here present before God, to hear all things that are commanded thee of God.

I like the term “immediately”.  Immediately denotes the factor of timing to be potentially critical to the entire process.  If timing did not matter, God would not have told you about it.  I believe that many times if there is a delay in doing what God has said we might just miss what is happening in God’s plan.  Of course God could change the course of timings and if Cornelius delayed sending men to Joppa there could have been a delay of Peter praying and getting the vision.  However you may remember that Peter just so happened to be hungry when he was praying so the timing of events appears to be critical for the whole process.   Both Cornelius and Peter prayed at the exact set precise time for each to accomplish the plan.  The angel appears to Cornelius at the specific set time needed.  The men are sent to Joppa and they travel a set specific time that corresponds with Peter’s prayer time.  God gave Peter a vision about food and eating a meal at the precise time he was hungry.  The men from Cornelius just so happen to show up where Peter is at after a day’s journey and their arrival corresponds exactly after the vision was just completed.  God just so happens to tell Peter they are there and on and on I could go.  I feel that timing was an essential factor to getting the plan of God to happen in the exact order and sequence of events.   If any participant delayed and did not do what they were supposed to do, would the plan of God still have fallen into place so precisely?  That is a very interesting concept to consider.   It sounds like to me we need to become aware of God’s timing and try to follow Him very closely.  For example, if God tells you to wait five minutes before doing something, it is probably best to do it.  You do not know what will happen if you do not do it and that is the risk of being disobedient.  If God leads you only for your good, not being led by God could result in something evil happening to you.  If God tells you now to do something and you do not, you also just might be missing out on the blessing that God was awaiting to give you.  Keep reading in this chapter and see the blessings of God that are being poured out as a result of everyone being led by the Spirit of God.  In Acts 10:34 through verse 44 is Peter’s sermon to the house of Cornelius.  I will not go over the sermon, because it is basically the Gospel of Jesus foretold through the prophets. 

Here is a good time to re-emphasize a point that I tried to make earlier in this series.  At no time does it say that Peter thought about or prepared what to say or to preach to Cornelius’ house before getting to them.  At no time does it say that Peter stopped to review his notes, read anything or to even make notes.  I’ll shock you a little more here and say that Peter does not stop and pray to ask God what to do either.  What comes out of Peter’s mouth is the spontaneous response from what God has already previously deposited in his heart through the teachings of Jesus and the experiences that he has had up until this point in time.  Do you understand this?   You probably do not yet understand fully what I am saying.   A preacher should always prepare to preach by diligent study and prayer, but a preacher should never have a set written statement to read from for anyone.  Doing this puts God in a human box of constraints and limitations and denies that God has the ability to speak to you directly to give the people a fresh new Word from heaven.  What I am trying to say is that God brought to Peter’s remembrance what was necessary to preach to Cornelius at a flashed instance of spontaneity.  It is a classic well and water analogous concept.  The preacher is the well that has the deposits of God’s water (word) within his spirit.  The spirit of man is like the well of water.  This is exactly what Jesus was teaching the Samaritan woman at the well.  Jesus said the water that I give will cause a man to never thirst again and she said to Him give me this drink.  God places good deposits in our spirit by us hearing His word over and over and us meditating on it.  The Spirit of God will draw out this water from the well to give to others when it is needed at that precise moment.  Jesus taught Peter this concept when he was here on the earth.  Read this verse and see if you can apply it to what is happening in Cornelius’ house:

Luk 12:11  And when they bring you unto the synagogues, and unto magistrates, and powers, take ye no thought how or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall say:

Luk 12:12  For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say.

Jesus taught them not to think beforehand or plan what they will say, because He clearly said that the Holy Spirit that will be in them will tell them what to say.  This again is a major faith proposition for the preacher to trust God to give him what is needed when it is needed.  Wow, that is a tough concept for many to understand.  But this allows God to flow and to change to be spontaneous to fit the ever fluid changing situation of humanity.  I have been in church services and seen where the pastor has started out with his written prepared sermon outline notes and all of sudden he went off on a topic that the Spirit of God brings to him and this was a right now fresh word for someone in the audience that needed to be there to hear it and to be ministered to.  There is no way that the preacher would have known this and been able to prepare for it.  Yes God could have told him, but that would allow the preacher to walk by sight and not by faith.  Let’s try to finish Acts 10 today.   What I want to show you next is what happened as Peter was preaching:

Act 10:44  While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.

This was the same outpouring of the former rain sent down from God in heaven.  The Holy Spirit was given to the Gentiles almost in the exact same way as He was given to the natural Jews in Acts 2.  If you read Peter’s sermon he makes this revealed statement “I perceive that God is no respecter of persons”.  What Peter was referring to was that it was not the external circumcision of the flesh that determined what the internal man could receive from God.  To perceive is an inward increase in spiritual understanding.  It was the revelation that God was revealing to Peter through the leading, the vision, the angel, the men in house of Cornelius and the other works that we have witnessed.  All of this was the greater plan of God for the church from the beginning, but it has taken God almost 10 chapters of Acts to get it implemented. 

Act 10:45  And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Act 10:46  For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter,

Here we have the beginning of a new church controversy.  The Jews that came with Peter, all being of the circumcision were blown away by what God has just done to those men that were never circumcised in their flesh.  They all learned a great lesson with the house of Cornelius and all were blessed by what has just occurred.  Notice that what is happening is almost a complete repeat of what happened to the natural Jews in Acts 2.  The Spirit of God falls from heaven and they received and were all heard speaking in tongues and praising God.  This is awesome information for us today.  It means what they experienced is what we can still experience.  In other words this was not a onetime event in Acts 2, it was a church age event that can occur over and over.   Let’s review the sequence of events one more time:

  1. Cornelius Prays to God in Caesarea.
  2. Cornelius has an open vision of the angel.
  3. Angel was sent from God with instructions to go get Peter in Joppa for a message from God.
  4. Cornelius sends three men to Joppa to get Peter and takes over a day to get there.
  5. Peter was praying in Joppa at the precise time when the men neared the house.
  6. Peter was hungry while he prayed.
  7. God gives Peter a closed vision three times that needed interpretation to be understood about eating unclean animals.
  8. The Spirit of God speaks to Peter after the vision and tells him men sent by God are here to see him.
  9. Peter goes to Cornelius house and preaches the Gospel.
  10. While Peter is preaching the Spirit of God is poured out on the Gentiles and Jewish believers witness it and are amazed and perplexed.
  11. As a result God adds to the church the Gentile people.

Notice what is happening.  God is never revealed to do the exact same thing twice in this entire process (with the exception that Peter was given the same vision three times because of his refusal to participate) proving God’s ways are not always our ways of doing things.  People like to do things out of repetition or habit, but that is obviously not God’s way of doing things.  God uses at least 5 different displayed methods to lead His people in one process plan.  Everyone involved is required to walk by faith.  Everyone involved benefits, learns, grows spiritually and the entire church of God also grows and increases in numbers.  These are fundamental facts that are essential to grasp.  These are some of the key ways that God will lead you and me to work together today.  I go many times to listen to a man of God and will hear something new from them that helps me learn something else new from God.  God will use one preacher to say one thing to someone and another preacher to say something else to the same person and all of this causes us all to grow together.  If at anytime the people in Acts 10 wanted to isolate themselves and not participate with the plan of God it would have not been accomplished.  Sometimes God’s plan will require you stretching out beyond your four walls to go to someone else to hear the complete message from God or give them a message from God.  Begin today by praying and see what the Spirit of God says for you to do.  If we are not praying we are probably not hearing from God as we should and getting directions that we need for today.  Thanks for studying the Bible with me on this important subject and hopefully we can move to another chapter in the next lesson since we have spent so much time in this great chapter.  Stay hungry and thirsty for more of God and God will bless you with more of Him.

If you wold like to cotinue reading in this series you may go to “Part 13“.

Understanding How to Be Led By the Spirit of God! How the Holy Spirit Led the Early Church in Acts 10! Part 11

(ver 1.2) This is now Part 11 in a series of very important basic Christian Bible lessons on the subject of Being Led by the Spirit of God.  These lessons contain critical spiritual information necessary for the spiritual growth of every Christian and they directly apply to us in the modern world because we are the same church body serving the same God as those in the book of Acts.  My foundational scripture verse for the series is “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God” (Rom 8:14). That verse makes it sound essential to be led by God or you cannot be called His child.  Therefore, I believe that it is essential to know this subject.  We have covered a tremendous amount of information that will not be repeated so if you have not read this from the beginning I would suggest that you go and start with “Part 1” first.   In recent lessons, I have been moving through the book of Acts and observing the recorded (direct and indirect stated) methods used by God to lead the early church.  We are beginning to see a set of repeated pattern of the same methods being used by God to build up and grow the Body of Christ.  We are also beginning to understand an emphasis of certain methods of God over others that I have mentioned of how God leads His people.  In the last lesson I introduced you to some new concepts when I described the contributing factors of peace and joy to be necessary for hearing from the Spirit of God.  If you are depressed then you are not hearing from God.  If you are not in peace you are not hearing from God.  We have also seen repeatedly that those in the church that are being led by God are always those that are in unity with the other believers surrounding them.  This means they were not arguing, fighting or debating over what anyone wanted to do individually, but that they were more concerned with what God was doing corporately for the greater plan and purpose of the church.  Those being led today in the Church should be no different.  God is not going to lead one part of a group of believers differently apart from another group of believers so that they fight over who is right and who is wrong.  This is another important key to being led by the Spirit of God.   Hearing from God should always cause love to flow which generates a spirit of oneness, agreement, harmony and unity. 

Today I am only going to teach in chapter 10 of Acts.  It has just been making my lessons too long by me trying to teach on multiple chapters in one lesson.  Acts chapter 10 is only 48 verses long but it is so rich with new information on my subject of being led by the Spirit of God, that this again will probably be a long lesson and I will probably only get approximately half way through the chapter today.  I apologize in advance for the length of the lesson, but I believe this information is really important on the subject of being led by the Spirit of God.   Acts 10 is probably one of my favorite chapters in the book of Acts and hopefully as we go through it today, you will see why I say that and maybe it will become one of your new favorite chapters also.   Let’s start at the beginning with verse 1 and read down to verse 3.

ACTS CHAPTER 10

Act 10:1  There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band,

Act 10:2  A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway.

Act 10:3  He saw in a vision evidently about the ninth hour of the day an angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto him, Cornelius.

It is very interesting for me to see the connecting and developing factors being tied together in these verses.  It is also clear to me that God gives us many new clues and details like the hour of the day that these events occurred in this chapter.  These details certainly have direct meaning and are not there by chance.  There is nothing found in the Bible that occurs there by accident.  Every word has a designed purpose of God.  In the first verse, God is speaking about an Italian man, a Gentile by the flesh.  Up until this point in time, the church was widely a Jewish set of believers that have accepted Jesus.  But, Cornelius is clearly described as a Christian man; he is being labeled as someone who feared God.  To fear God is not an indication of being afraid or terrified of God, but it is more the concept of being in an attitude of awe for God with a great reverential respect for His position, His power, His knowledge and His ability.  This same Greek word is used in Ephesians 5 when God talks about a wife’s attitude towards her husband.  This is clearly not the type of fear that she is to be afraid that her husband will hurt her.  You see the risen Savior Jesus is the husband in this relationship with the church and the church is supposed to treat God with awe and respect.  However, God’s attitude of love was first demonstrated towards us and He treats us with great tender kindness like the very valuable wife that He has given His all to find. 

You can learn this concept of God giving His all by listening to what Jesus said about the kingdom of God when He teaches the parable of a merchant man seeking valuable pearls.  This merchant man goes and sells all that he has in order to buy the pearl of great value that he has searched for and found (Mat 13:45-46).  The merchant man in this parable is a type of Jesus and the pearl of great value is a type of us, the church.  The great purchase price paid for us was the payment of His blood and His life.  This was God giving everything that He possessed to buy us out of our major predicament of sin.    What we learn as the symbolic pearl from this information is that how we view God will determine if God will be able to guide us with His Spirit.  If we view Him as a God that will hurt us if we do not obey or make a mistake, then that is going to affect what we can hear and how we can hear Him.   If someone obeys God out of terror then that someone becomes a slave to that fear.  If someone obeys willingly out of their love for their God then that person actions are founded upon His love knowing if they do make a mistake that He is there to help them.  You see you do not understand how much God values you if you believe that God will hurt you if you do wrong.   One of the most important verses in the entire Bible is the one that states “God is love” (1 Jn 4:8)!   Not God has love for us, but He is that Love for us.  God has not given to us the spirit of fear.  Fear is being afraid or terrified which is really an opposing force to love.  This is why I wanted to briefly try to explain the type of fear being mentioned in Acts that Cornelius possessed that allowed him to hear from God.

In the first three verses in Acts 10, Cornelius is also described to be a giver and this is a characteristic of most real Christians.  Most Christians love to give to others.  The United States gets accused of many things, but the majority of the charity poured out on the world comes from this Christian nation.  Giving may or may not be a factor for what you think about God, the Bible and being a Christian, but giving is a huge factor for if you desire to receive anything from God.  I’m not preaching works based giving; I’m teaching Spirit led giving.  Obeying the law will not justify you, but obeying God will cause great benefits and blessings to occur.  You see giving is tied to receiving everywhere in the Bible.  You can see this as a stated spiritual law of God.  It is called the law of sowing and reaping and it occurs everywhere in the Bible as a predominant theme from Genesis to Revelation. Sowing and reaping is not usually a popular subject and frequently ignored because people teach it only in regards to money, but this subject is found ever present in many areas other than money.  There are over 10 things in the Bible referred to as seeds and if you don’t know them, then your ignorance causes you to potentially miss them.  I have a series of Bible lessons on this subject so I will not repeat them in this lesson.  If you want to read them you can go and see “Understanding Seeds in the Bible”. 

As you can see in verse 2 of Acts 10, Cornelius is praying.  What happens when we pray?  I think I tried to teach you that God hears and will respond.  Here is another very clear example of that in Acts 10.  Cornelius has a vision, but this time it is of a spiritual angel.  So we have the spiritual realm becoming visible to a man in the natural realm through God’s use of a vision.  This is an example of a combined method approach of spiritual communication.  God used both a spiritual vision and a spiritual being or an angel simultaneously.  This is certainly different, but it does happen.  Other times in the Bible, God sends an angel into the natural realm and people see them physically and God can do either.  This is also another example of an open type of vision.  The man Cornelius is wide awake and his eyes are wide open.   These are amazing confirmations that God will still use visions and angels directly in the modern church to give to us a specific message. 

I want you to see the stated order of occurrence in this manifestation of God.  It is stated that Cornelius did three things first before God sent the angel and gave the vision.  Cornelius feared God, gave to others and prayed before God gave him a vision and sent the angel with the message.  Is that not God responding or giving back based upon what Cornelius gave and did first?  Most of the time, I believe that this is the way that things have happened in Acts.  Saul was the only example that I have observed in Acts to be different so far.  Jesus appeared to Saul an unsaved man the first time without Saul asking or doing anything, but notice after that, it was only when Saul prayed to God that God said that He had given to him another vision.  The Spirit of God can do things progressively different as you continue to learn to grow up spiritually.  For, example when I was first filled with the Spirit of God, God spoke to me in an audible voice one time.  He has never done that again since then.  However, that does not mean that I do not hear from the voice of God daily.  It only means that I have grown enough spiritually to discern how else He speaks.  God treats unsaved and baby Christians a little bit differently than the mature Christians because He expects the mature Christians to know more.  This is true for babies in the natural realm and this is true for babies in the spiritual realm.   Let’s now see what God’s response was to what we have seen so far from Cornelius:

Act 10:4  And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God.

God declares that He has heard the prayers of Cornelius and has seen his giving and it sounds like God sees both of these as being positive things.  Why else are they mentioned?  One key word in this verse is the term “memorial”.  A memorial in the natural is a way to remember someone or something”.  This is what this word means, but it is easily taken the wrong way since God does know everything. What you do or say cannot cause God to suddenly remember you.  God does not step back and say “Oh yea, I forgot about Jim, I guess I better do something.  However, it is clear to me from these verses that God says the angel was sent and the message delivered because of his actions.  What I want you to discover is that Cornelius’ actions and his words were observed by God and thus your words and actions are also viewed by God since God is no respecter of persons.  I also want you to understand that if anything is pleasing in the eyes of God we need to remember clearly what it is that pleases God.  It is not your giving and it is not your praying, but it is only your faith when doing both of these.  You see the Bible says without faith it is impossible to please God (Heb 11:6).  So if you are giving without faith, you are still not pleasing to God and you do it in vain.  If you are praying without faith then you are again not going to be pleasing to God and your words will fall empty.  God places certain priorities on certain things and His Word is first and foremost above everything else and then your faith in His Word allows the connection to take place to access His Power.   If you do things without learning about God’s priorities then you are more than likely doing them out of order.  I do not have time to teach you about faith, but I have a series of lessons that will help you understand this critical subject called “Understanding Bible Faith”.  I bring up faith because it is clearly Cornelius’ faith that played a role in hearing from God even though it was never directly mentioned.  This is just another example of using the Bible to explain the Bible.  If God is pleased with anyone, then God says that they have faith while doing what they have done.  Let’s continue with the angel’s instructions from God:

Act 10:5  And now send men to Joppa, and call for one Simon, whose surname is Peter:

Act 10:6  He lodgeth with one Simon a tanner, whose house is by the sea side: he shall tell thee what thou oughtest to do.

The angel tells Cornelius to send men to Joppa for a man named Peter.  Notice that Cornelius does not know Peter.  Why didn’t the angel just show up where Peter was and tell Peter to go and see Cornelius?  I find it very interesting how God does things in this chapter and that is why I’m spending so much time in talking about it.  Here we have an angel sent by God with a message to tell Cornelius where to go and get another message from God.  Wow, that is just mind blowing, to many Christians.   God tells Cornelius to go find a man named Peter because Peter has a message for him but as we read down in the chapter we are going to find out that Peter doesn’t know this yet.  Why is that?  Do you see what is happening here?  The man Cornelius has a vision and sees an angel but does not get the message from the angel but is told where to go to get the message from a very certain man named Peter.  In other words if Cornelius tried to get the message from the apostle John, he would have missed it  Was it only because the angel did not know the message or was it that God was teaching these people involved some new spiritual lessons on guidance, helping them all to grow?  Both men of God are required to walk by faith and not by their sight.  Cornelius had specific steps of instructions to get Peter and Peter will be given specific words of instruction for Cornelius.  Using this information you should begin to understand how God is going to potentially lead you?  He is not going to tell you everything personally all at once.  Sometimes He will just tell others what to tell you.  Sometimes I am used by God to speak to people and sometimes God uses other people to speak to me.  Sometimes I hear directly from God and other times He does things differently with me reading His word or hearing a preacher or a teacher.  There are so many ways that God can speak that you just need to be observant and attentive enough to hear Him when He does.  That is just the way He does it.  I just try to learn the best that I can to flow with Him and that is all that I can do by faith.

Act 10:9  On the morrow, as they went on their journey, and drew nigh unto the city, Peter went up upon the housetop to pray about the sixth hour:

Act 10:10  And he became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance,

Ok, we are about to learn several new things in these verses.  First, Cornelius sends men to get Peter and while they are traveling Peter is described to go up on top of the roof to pray.  So again we see prayer as a major contributing factor for hearing from God.  But, we should soon notice that it is not just the fact that Peter prays, but it becomes more significant that Peter prayed at just the right time that makes all of this really work together.  This is why God is revealing the time factor in this chapter and teaching you that timing is everything with God.  You can be told by God to do something and then do it too early or too late and miss what God wanted you to learn.  During this prayer, Peter falls into a trance.  That is the beginning of a very different manifestation of the Spirit of God.  This is what I call a closed vision.  A closed vision is one where the individual is not necessarily asleep, but not necessarily awake either.  A vision during sleep is called a dream and this is not a dream.  In other words, if you were observing Peter praying you might seem to think that he looked like a statue because he appeared motionless and fixed in one place.  The condition of his eyes could be either shut or open, but they will definitely not be blinking.  It might look like that he was sleeping if was not for the fact that he might be standing up or even kneeling down.  Nowhere in the chapter does it say that Peter was directly lying down.  It does say later in verse 20 that Peter is told to arise and this implies that he was not standing.  But there are a lot of positions other than standing that it could be.  What you need to observe is if God does not tell us the position then the position is not important.  Too many Christians get focused on external things and totally miss the really important spiritual things.  There is an unnamed church denomination that is highly ritualistic.  They think that they will be heard by God by their faithful acts and works.  However, that is just not the truth.  During prayer what is important is the inward position of your heart and not your outward external posture or stance.  Saul saw a vision while he was traveling.  Stephen saw a vision while standing and being stoned.  Here in Acts 10 we now have seen the third and fourth mentioned direct occurrence of someone having a vision and both of these times it was while they were praying.

Act 10:13  And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat. 

I’m not going to go through every verse, but this one is very good because it tells you directly that Peter heard a voice and we will find out in the next verse that Peter recognized that it was the voice of God speaking to him immediately.  Remember what Jesus said to the Apostles?  Jesus taught them about Him being the Shepherd and them being the sheep in John 10.  Jesus also said that He knew His sheep and that His sheep knew Him (John 10:14).  All of this information in that chapter teaches us that God’s children will recognize His voice.  So God does not have to say “Thus saith the Great I Am”, He just speaks and Peters knows who is speaking.  This is the same way with you and I.  I hear His voice and I recognized Him to be my God and the voice of a stranger I do not follow because the stranger I do not recognize.  That is called spiritual discernment.  The more you understand about the Bible the more recognizable His voice becomes to you.  God will never speak in opposition to His Word, but Satan will. You see in the Bible voices are always spirits and spirits are always voices.   You will either know it or you will be deceived to follow another voice and that is usually fatal.

Act 10:14  But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean.

As you can tell Peter understands who is speaking to Him because He calls Him his Lord.  You may recall earlier that Cornelius had this same response calling the voice Lord.  This was the Spirit of Jesus, the Great Shepherd the familiar known voice that was speaking to Peter.  Here is where Peter’s problem begins, because he knows who is speaking and he thinks that his God is telling him to do something that was unlawful.  Peter is greatly struggling with these instructions from God.  What we learn from this is that God knows what He is doing and you don’t so you should not question, but should be obedient.  As long you know the voice is from Him, you just need to do what He says.  If you read down in the chapter God repeats these instructions 3 times, so Peter is on the verge of rebellion because of his lack of understanding of the purpose of the law.  God says my people are destroyed for a lack of knowing (Hosea 4:6).  So Peter must learn quickly or get left out.  Why didn’t Peter just ask God to explain what was happening?  Did you know that you cannot ask God any questions that are too hard to be answered?  You can ask God a dumb question, but as long as it is not a question of doubt or unbelief then it is a valid question.

Let’s discuss briefly the vision of Peter.  Did you notice that the vision was about food and in verse 10 it said that Peter was already hungry?  Do you think that God can give you any physical feelings?  I know the Bible says that God is a Spirit, but I’ll ask you again, do you think that the Spirit of God can give you a physical feeling like that of natural hunger?  I know for a fact that God can manifest in these ways if He so desires.  After all God invented natural feelings so it is not difficult to manifest them.  Again I will tell you that this is God’s choice and not our choice.  But, God can come into the natural realm to make Himself known for any purpose and in any way that helps to teach us. 

When I was first filled with the Holy Spirit, I felt a strong heat like a fire from the Spirit of God inside of my chest and sometimes it was so strong that it was very distracting.  I feel this heat of the Spirit of God in my chest right now as I type this lesson.  This is clearly a physical feeling in my flesh caused by the Spirit of God residing in my spirit.  If you do not believe me I’m sorry, I can’t prove it to you; this is for my benefit and not for yours.  However, I do know that what I feel physically is scripturally based.  Have you read the recorded words of John the Baptist?  He said of Jesus that “I baptize you with water, but there will come one after me that is greater than I and He will baptize you with the Holy Ghost and fire” (Mat 3:11, Luke 3:16).   I can tell you about this fire from God, but I can’t make it happen for you and neither can you.  However, there is a difference, you can pray in faith and ask God for this experience since it is a recorded promise found in His Word for you.  If you want the fire of God ask for it now. 

Let’s go back to Peter’s vision.  What I found significant about Peter’s vision was the fact that he was feeling very hungry and suddenly God gives him a closed vision about food that needed an interpretation in order to be understood.  Visions and dreams that required interpretations were given by God many times in the Old Testament.  But, this is the first time we can see that God is doing this again in Acts.  Realize that God is still the same God today as He was back then, and He can do whatever He likes.  Just learn to flow and then learn that God still uses dreams and visions that need interpretation.  Verses 11-16 in Acts 10 describe the vision of Peter and since this is not my direct subject I’m going to skip it.  They basically give several symbols, a sheet carrying many wild animals of the earth that are lowered down from heaven.  God tells Peter to kill and eat and Peter tells God I have never eaten what is common or unclean.  God then tells Peter “Don’t call common what I have made clean”.  Uh, oh?  God is definitely teaching Peter something new.  This was God teaching Peter to get out of his box because He was doing a new thing on the earth.

Act 10:17  Now while Peter doubted in himself what this vision which he had seen should mean, behold, the men which were sent from Cornelius had made enquiry for Simon’s house, and stood before the gate,

Here is what I have been trying to say about Peter’s view of what was happening; that he did not understand what the vision meant yet even though God had just given it to him.  This is what happens to Christians in the church still.  Just because God gives you something does not mean you will understand it immediately.  Peter had a conflict in his mind because he was attempting to interpret and judge the vision by his old knowledge of the law of God.  God declares many things in the law to be unclean for human consumption but, now God has said to Peter to kill one of these and to eat it.   This was a common problem for many converted Jews when they first become Christians.  They tried to hold on to their old traditional understanding of the laws of God too tightly when God was clearly saying “those were only shadows of new coming spiritual things”.  Paul taught this problem in Romans and Galatians and other places.  There was a constant struggle for man to try to keep the law and God is teaching them to be led by the Spirit instead.   However, what God was doing was using Peter’s knowledge of the scriptures in the Old Covenant to bring him a new revelation of what God was doing in the New Covenant.  Go back and reread this chapter again very closely.  It is actually a great lesson to learn many things.  First see what timing plays in everything that occurs.  Then realize that God must be guiding multiple people simultaneously to get all of these things to happen at just the right times.  God gives multiple limited step directions using two types of visions, an angel and a voice directly from the Spirit of God and everything occurs at just exactly the right time.  It is pretty amazing to me.

Act 10:19  While Peter thought on the vision, the Spirit said unto him, Behold, three men seek thee.

I want you to realize that the Spirit of God is directly attributed with speaking to Peter and that this is the second recorded direct example of God doing this in the book of Acts so far.  I’m not sure if I pointed out the first occurrence, but there was one recorded in Acts 8:29 that said the Lord spoke to Phillip directly.  I really do not believe that these are all of the times that God speaks directly, but I do believe that these are mentioned to teach us that God still does this.  I want you to understand also that it does not say what kind of voice these men heard.  It could have been an external audible voice or more than likely it was the internal still small voice of God within them.  Again, how God speaks is not as important as what God says.  I hope you understand that.  You should not really focus or care about the method, but you should care greatly what God said.  Also notice that God speaks while Peter is using his God given mental reasoning faculty to try to determine what the vision means.  In other words Peter was focused in on the very important content of the vision and not the fact that he had just had a great vision from Almighty God.   Wow, what a lesson to learn today.  Don’t stand in awe if God gives you a vision and miss the message!

Act 10:20  Arise therefore, and get thee down, and go with them, doubting nothing: for I have sent them. 

While all of this is happening to Peter, the men from Cornelius’ house just so happen to show up and the Spirit of God says they are here and to go down to see them because I have sent them.  Notice God claims responsibility for what is transpiring.  So is God doing it or are the men doing it, or is everyone doing it together?  Take a look at what God is doing.  God is teaching them all spiritual lessons by giving them many different limited steps to follow.  These are examples of God teaching them using tiny baby steps of divine guidance.   Things are beginning to fit together as each part of God’s designed plan is revealed and fulfilled.   The men of God are definitely participating and this demonstrates clearly that they are all being led by the Spirit of God.  What we are observing is men working with the Holy Spirit’s guidance to achieve a greater purpose.  Without the participation of each man and the direction of the Spirit of God, we may not have any Gentiles in the church today. 

Pay attention to the fact in verse 20 that God is directing Peter to not doubt and also to be obedient.  Why is God doing this?  What is doubt?  Doubt is the opposite of having faith.  If you have doubts then you are not fully in faith.  I keep going back to faith, because this is the key factor for following God, being led by God and for being pleasing to God.  Jesus taught Peter about doubt when Peter left the boat to walk on the water with Jesus.  Because of Peter’s doubts God says Peter began to sink (Mat 14:31).  So how does this knowledge that Peter possessed apply to his current situation?  To me it is obvious that doubt causes people to go down or fail.  That would mean the opposite truth would be that not to doubt would cause people to have a successful outcome.  You have to understand that God has not told Peter who was at the door to see him.  God only said, “Men are here and I sent them”.  Here is the opportunity for Peter to doubt.  These men sent by God were all Gentiles and that causes a problem of potential doubt in the mind of a man who feels special for being a natural born Jew.  Peter could have looked at the circumstances and thought that these men can’t be from God.  There was a great revelation coming that everyone is welcome in the New Covenant and not just the natural Jews and that was the plan of God to bless all nations in order to grow the church beyond the borders of natural Israel.  But, Peter didn’t know this yet.  Peter was about to learn a revelation that was hidden in God’s covenant with Abraham and this was how God chose to reveal it to him.  I hope you understand the concept of revelation, I will do a separate Bible study on this subject soon.

Act 10:21  Then Peter went down to the men which were sent unto him from Cornelius; and said, Behold, I am he whom ye seek: what is the cause wherefore ye are come?

Peter still does not know why they are here even though God had just given him a vision to why they are there.  God even told Peter that He had sent them but, Peter has just not put all of the pieces of the puzzle together yet.  Have you ever realized that God gives us many things using a puzzle format in the Bible?  If you do not understand this then you do not understand the joys found when solving a divine puzzle.   There is great satisfaction gained from solving the complex puzzles given to us by God.  Maybe only computer programmers, like me understand this.  It causes a sense of accomplishment and God uses it to promote your morale, confidence and self-esteem.  God is interested in teaching you how to do things.  It is an error to think that God wants to do everything for you.  God wants you to grow in spiritual things so that you can come up to a higher level.  Did you know that?  I think that is a little bit controversial to many and it sounds like I’m contradicting what I said in an earlier lesson that without God we labor in vain if we do things independent from God.  There is a huge difference from doing your own things in independence and doing specific God kind of things by faith expecting Him to work with you and guide you.  A guide will never come to you and carry you; that would be them doing everything and you watching.  A guide should give directions and show you the way to go and you should make the effort to obey and to follow them.  Wow, that is unity and harmony of God working with you and you following God.

You see when I write Bible studies for you to read, I do it, but I am expecting God to show me what to do using my faith in Him.  This is what is happening in this chapter of Acts also.  If that was not true then God would not be doing what He is doing, the way He is doing it in this chapter.  If God simply wanted to get new information into the hands of the church the fastest way possible, He could have done things in a much more simplistic direct manner with both Cornelius and Peter.  They could have all immediately known everything instead of having to walk by their faith.  However, walking by sight is just not what is happening here in this chapter.  Everyone is working through the process and learning and this is God’s hidden plan.  I pray that I am describing these things in a way that teaches you how God will deal with you.

Act 10:22  And they said, Cornelius the centurion, a just man, and one that feareth God, and of good report among all the nation of the Jews, was warned from God by an holy angel to send for thee into his house, and to hear words of thee.

I want to reemphasize that Peter still has no clue what is going on or what he is supposed to say to Cornelius.  God has never told Peter that he was to go directly to see Cornelius either.  God has only told Peter I sent these men to you.  So what these men tell Peter is totally new to him and they bring words sent from God through a Gentile man.  Peter is required to believe a message came from God from a Gentilie man.  Cornelius is also required to beleive a message came from God from Peter.  Do you really understand what is happening?  God had just gotten through speaking to Peter directly but never gives any details to what is happening or why.  Peter still does not have a clue what words he is supposed to share when he goes to Cornelius’ house to speak.  Are you learning now what is happening?  Do you see how everyone is required to walk by faith and not by their sight?  I know I keep repeating myself, but that is so very important that I want you to really understand it.  God purposely provides limited instructions in phases and stages of development that all will fit together eventually.

Act 10:22  And they said, Cornelius the centurion, a just man, and one that feareth God, and of good report among all the nation of the Jews, was warned from God by an holy angel to send for thee into his house, and to hear words of thee.

So this is all news to Peter.  Peter hears about an angel appearing to Cornelius the Italian.  Peter has just had a vision from God that explains the whole situation, but the vision needs interpretation to be understood.  I think I‘ll end this lesson with this discussion.   Let’s review the key points given today:

  1. Cornelius’ giving was mentioned as a key factor for getting God’s attention.
  2. Prayer mentioned as a connecting reason twice for having a vision from God.
  3. Faith is always a key to being Led by the Spirit of God.
  4. An open vision was given to Cornelius and he sees an angel with a limited message from God to go get Peter to hear the real message from God.
  5. Peter experiences physical hunger and is given a closed vision about food and eating that needs an interpretation in order to be understood.
  6. A clear vision was given to Cornelius that needed no interpretation.
  7. God gives Peter a symbolic cloaked vision that needs interpretation.
  8. The interpretation of the vision required Peter’s knowledge of the Word of God.
  9. God spoke directly to the spirit of Peter with a very clear voice but with limited details being given and Peter was required to believe the words of the men sent to him.
  10. Timing in every event mentioned is a key to the success of the whole purpose of God.
  11. Every man involved heard from God, obeyed and cooperated with the Spirit of God to accomplish God’s plan.
  12. The purposed outcome of the plan will be a new revelation from God and the continued growth of the church.

This is what is happening today in the church whether you realize it or not.  God is revealing the Bible, the knowledge of His people is greatly increasing and the church will grow until Jesus returns very soon.  Get into the plan or you will be left behind.  Be in unity, hear His voice and be led and we will exit as the victorious church body of Christ.  Thanks for taking the time to study the Bible today.  I will continue this series soon, but please leave me a comment about how you have heard from God.  I guarantee that He is speaking, just be attentive, pray and listen.  God Bless you and thank you for your time.

To continue reading in the series you may go to “Part 12” now.

Understanding How to Be Led By the Spirit of God! How the Holy Spirit Led the Early Church in Acts 8 – 9! Part 10

(ver 1.1) This is now Part 10 in a series of very important basic Christian Bible lessons on the subject of Being Led by the Spirit of God.  These lessons contain critical spiritual information necessary for the spiritual growth of every Christian and they directly apply to us in the modern world because we are the same church body serving the same God as those in the book of Acts.  We have covered a tremendous amount of information that will not be repeated so if you have not read this from the beginning I would suggest that you go and start with “Part 1” first.   I have been moving through the book of Acts and observing the recorded (direct and indirecly statedt) methods used by God to lead the early church.  We have already observed at least 7 different direct methods either being observed in action or described in words.  These methods will be the same ones that God will use to lead us in these last days.  I believe that the church today requires the Holy Spirit’s involvement just as much and even possibly more than the early church.  The early church certainly encountered great physical opposition and persecution, jail, beatings and even death and these are beginning to emerge on the earth again today as Christians continue to proclaim the same Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Living here in the United States it is often too easy to ignore what is going on in the other parts of the world and in other countries.  But, Christians are being murdered, imprisoned and persecuted for doing nothing but claiming to be a Christian.  The Muslim populations of many countries kill people for them just looking or acting like Christians and doing nothing but giving humanitarian aid to their people.  Christians in Egypt are now under attack from the Muslim Brotherhood and they have burned churches and killed several Christians in the streets in name of their new laws.  A recent Christian in Iran was jailed and sentenced to death for not denouncing his faith in Jesus.  These are the types of things that the Holy Spirit’s guidance can be very beneficial to us to help us avoid.  God already knows the end from the beginning but that does not mean everything that happens is set in concrete.  It means we need to learn to hear from God and be obedient to allow us to be in the right places at the right times to help the right people.  If God knows which flights will crash, it would be best just to not be on that flight, do you agree?  I believe that persecution will increase in these last days as we get nearer to the return of Christ.  Let’s continue to go through the book of Acts to study God’s spiritual leading of the early Church:

ACTS CHAPTER 8

Act 8:1  And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles.

We should recognize what is happening in this chapter because it goes along with many other verses in the New Testament that are pivotal to your spiritual understanding.  The religious Jewish leadership in Jerusalem came down very hard on the rapid expansion of the church of Jesus Christ because they did not believe in the God of their father Abraham anymore.  That statement probably shocks many Christians today that still view Israel as God’s chosen people, but they obviously ignore who it was that hung Jesus on the cross when the God of Abraham came to them personally in the flesh.  This was a clear failure to recognize their God and a direct rejection of their God.  You should learn many things from that reality.  First don’t put your God in a box that limits what He can do.  Because the Jews believed that God was not a man, they failed to see Him when He purposefully chose to come to the earth in the form of a man.  There is a great deal of difference between being a man and appearing to us in the form of a man.  This was God thinking outside of the box and it was a radical approach to take.  The Jews at this time of God’s visitation had replaced the worship of the God of Abraham with a manmade religion full of rules, ignorance and unbelief.  During this time, the church becomes highly motivated to widely disperse from Jerusalem to flee the Jewish persecution and the certain death as we witnessed with the loss of the life of Stephen in chapter 7.  This is a very essential part of my lesson to why it is important to be led by the Spirit of God today.  If you do not see the growing persecution of the church in the modern world then you are living in an ostrich like isolated false reality with your head buried in the proverbial sand. 

Do you believe that these people in the church in Acts fled Jerusalem out of fear or by the guidance of the Holy Spirit?  What was their motivation?  I personally believe that they were led by God to safer places to carry on the spread of the church’s growth in other regions. You of course can believe whatever you like, but only this interpretation fits with my verse that says “those who are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God’ (Rom 8:14).  So if God was not leading them to flee Jerusalem then they are no longer the children of God.  Yes I know they still had free wills and that they could have been doing things independently from God, but why would God write about their independent actions in a book about the acts of the Holy Spirit?  It just doesn’t make sense to me.  This is the book of Acts written about God’s work in the church and for the church.  Therefore, pay attention to what the church is doing and you should be able to see what God is doing for them.

Act 8:4  Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.

Here is an obviously brilliant strategy move that was missed by Satan.  If Satan would have not persecuted the church they may have remained only in Jerusalem and probably never have grown into the rest of the world.  But, since they were being persecuted relentlessly by the Jews, this verse says they went preaching the Gospel everywhere that they traveled.  If someone is preaching Jesus, is this not God working through them to get others saved?  If they were running away from Jerusalem to hide, this would indicate “fear” based actions, but since they are going and preaching this demonstrates “faith” based actions.   Sometimes Satan is just not that entirely smart in what he does and how he does it.  He never should have killed Jesus on the cross and now Satan should have never persecuted the church and helped them to spread the Gospel to the rest of the world.  Probably the church would have been led by God to go to the rest of the world eventually, but this attack by Satan certainly sped up the process tremendously.  I believe Satan is making the same mistake today in persecuting the church.  I believe this persecution will help motivate the people of God to get the message out before it is too late for all of the other people that have not heard about Jesus.

Act 8:6  And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did.

Here we again see the church in unity.  It would definitely appear to me that being led by the Spirit of God will promote the spirit of oneness and agreement.  This is the seventh time in the first 8 chapters of the book of Acts that the church is described to be in unity.  I believe that this is a coming sign of maturity for the body of Christ to go out on.  We must begin to unify and become one harmonious group of believers as the Spirit of God continues to teach us and to guide us.   Expect this to happen or do not expect it to happen, but it will happen either way and you might be left on the outside looking in like the natural Jews.  It is better to be in agreement than to be left out, being offended or not in agreement with God.  I just cannot see the church being raptured as a divided body of believers, if we are not ONE BODY in complete harmony then Satan has won.  You see in the Bible Jesus said a HOUSE DIVIDED will not stand (Mk 3:25).  If we are God’s house and we are divided we will also not stand and that only leaves us defeated.  Do you think the church ends this age defeated?  If not, then you better start praying with me for unity and harmony.  Of course what I am saying is that we should pray what Jesus prayed to get in agreement with His prayer.  Go and read it in John 17 and see what Jesus prayed and then see if you can agree and pray with Him.

Act 8:8  And there was great joy in that city.

If you notice this verse says that the church is filled with joy even in the face of all of the persecution that has recently occurred.  This has to be the work of the Holy Spirit!  Joy must be a sign that God is doing great things, like healing the sick, casting out devils, setting the captives free through His saving grace and doing many other miraculous signs and wonders.  Joy is said to be one of the fruits of the spirit (Gal 5:22).  So Joy should be a fruit present in those being led by the Spirit of God today.  I believe that God will lead His people to help others to spread this same joy.  These are the benefits of being led by the Spirit of God.  If you are in despair and in gloom, downcast, looking down at the circumstances around you, then you are not being led by the Spirit of the Almighty God.  Do you understand that?  There are many other examples of men and women being led by the Spirit of God in this chapter but I’ll end the chapter 8 discussion with one more example of the repeated involvement of angels:

Act 8:26  And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert.

An angel again appears to Phillip and gives him exact directions from God.  This is clearly an external manifestation of the Spirit of God helping to guide the early church.  This is at least the third time that angels were directly used by God in just the first 8 chapters of Acts.  Always expect the involvement of angels and God will use them today as needed.  Let’s move on quickly to chapter 9 and I’ll end this lesson with what we find in this chapter.

ACTS CHAPTER 9

Act 9:3  And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:

In chapter 9 of Acts we can see the manifestation of spiritual guidance through God’s use of visions that were first mentioned by Peter in Acts chapter 2.   You may recall that Stephen while being stoned had a vision so this is not God’s first usage of visions in the book of Acts, but we are about to see a new emphasis placed on this subject as a very direct selected method of God to communicate with men on the earth.  Take note of this fact as this chapter begins; Saul is an unsaved man on the road to Damascus. Saul is not born again when this vision occurs and he doesn’t even believe in Jesus yet.  Saul is traveling on the road to Damascus to persecute the church and then Jesus suddenly appears to him in a vision as a bright shining light from heaven.  Spiritual visions are a very legal communication method recorded in the Bible for Christians and non-Christians and these will continue to occur as the Lord desires to get a message to those as He wills.  There are different categories of visions, but this vision was an open type of vision.  Meaning Saul was wide awake and his eyes were wide open while it was happening.  Jesus basically tells Saul in this vision to go into the city and wait there for further directions.  This is clearly an example of Saul being led by God directly using certain limited instructions for guidance.  This is a very important part of learning to be led by the Spirit of God.  God will rarely tell you everything that you need to know and He will normally lead you using a step by step instruction methodology or process.  This method insures your faithfulness and your obedience and forces you to walk by faith and not by your sight (2 Cor 5:7).  This was not a pun that I intended to make but, since Saul was struck blind during this encounter it does apply.  Saul is learning some things from God the hard way because of his past actions.  As you read down in this chapter you will see Jesus also appearing to a disciple in Damascus named Ananias and Jesus tells him what to do and where to go to see Saul.  This proves that God can give a vision to even a lowly disciple as well as a future apostle.  This informs me that even I am qualified to be have a vision if God chooses to do that.   Let’s read about the vision of Ananias:

Act 9:11  And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth,

Act 9:12  And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight.

Jesus appears to Ananias in another open vision and tells him where to go, what to do, who he is going to see and what to say to Saul.  Jesus also reveals that Saul is praying and has seen another vision.  We can conclude from this information that visions can occur many times while you are praying in private since Ananias and Saul are both said to have had visions this way.  This is now God’s display of three different visions in this one chapter.  So visions must still be a significant way of leading people even in the modern church based upon the frequency of the usage in this chapter alone.  I knew one modern day preacher that gave his testimony of how God had given him several visions and in these he was also praying when they occurred.  Therefore, praying and seeing visions is a potential connecting manifestations of God.  But, I want to reemphasize that none of these men asked to see a vision in this chapter; this was clearly God’s choice and not theirs.  I’m just teaching that you should not be surprised if God still selects this method.  Ananias obeyed Jesus’ instructions and goes to the house where Saul is waiting and tells him the Lord has sent me to lay hands on you so that you might receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.   God is obviously working and leading the church to establish the greater purpose and plan of God and these are all examples of what God should be doing today in the church.  Can you see how God is leading every church member in this book?  I know some examples are only implied while others like Saul and Ananias are more plainly laid out.  But, surely you can see how God is working to help guide and grow the church.  Let’s move on to another manifestation of the Spirit of God at work in this chapter:

Act 9:24  But their laying await was known of Saul. And they watched the gates day and night to kill him.

Here is another indirect New Testament spiritual concept of the background work of the Holy Spirit.  The Jews were conspiring to kill Saul and Saul knew it.  How did Saul know this?  You could assume many possible explanations of the origination of this knowledge.  For example, Saul could have based this knowledge upon his past experience with the Jews using him to kill the new members in the church.  So this knowledge could have been based upon personal experience of the past.  Now that Saul was a new member of the same body, he may have concluded that he was next on the list to be killed.  However, this is still a mental thought process of reasoning and this could have still been God leading him.  I personally believe that Saul heard from God, but that this hearing from God could have been his intuition at work.  What is intuition?  Females are often attributed with this feature, but it really is more a God quality or a spiritual quality than it is a female only quality.  I really believe that females just normally have a greater sensitivity to listening to their intuition and this helps them more than males that ignore it and fall easily into troubles that God tried to get them out of.  An intuition is like an internal knowing about something that has not yet happened.  Of course an intuition does not mean that what you know will happen, it only means if you do nothing different then it will happen.  In other words I believe that an intuition is a spiritual warning of what might occur if you continue to do nothing to change it.  I have seen examples of this with mothers and their children many times.  Perhaps you have also.  I have seen this occur when one mother just has a sense that something is wrong and she goes and checks on a child and they needed her help.   What do the disciples do with this knowledge of potential danger given to them by the leading of the Holy Spirit?

Act 9:25  Then the disciples took him by night, and let him down by the wall in a basket.

You can clearly see they were led to avoid the danger and not to confront it.  This is actually a great lesson to learn from.  Danger and evil exists in the world.  It is often better to avoid these rather than to try to fight against them or to overcome them.   To be led by the Spirit of God to be in the right places at the right times is a very relevant method of avoiding danger, harm or even death as in this verse in Acts.  Learn to listen to your internal intuitions and this could potentially save your life.  Intuition is just an inner state of knowing or consciousness that occurs without any explanation and it could be very easily ignored.  There will usually be no voices heard by you, you just will know something and this is normally the Spirit of God giving you guidance and protection.  What occurred in this chapter based upon this knowing?  The disciples lowered Saul from the city in a basket in the middle of the night and Saul departs to go back to Jerusalem avoiding the eminent danger.  Clearly this was spiritual guidance to me, but yet it is not directly called that so it is easily explained away. 

You are going to have to lern how to read the Bible with your spiritual eyes open wide to see what is being stated at times.  Just learn what I am trying to teach you, that this method of guidance that I am calling intuition from God can be an internal knowing, awareness, consciousness or perception of a coming event in the world that you can avoid if you choose to listen and obey.  This is really not that strange if you think about it.  It happens in the wild animal kingdom every day.   Back before the giant tsunami hit the coasts of Asia and Africa in 2004 killing literally many thousands of people, the majority of the wild animals had already fled to higher ground.  How many people do you think had the same intuition as the wild animals and ignored it and died that day because they were too busy, distracted or occupied with other worldly things?  I think that is a very good question.

That might have been one of my most important points of the entire lesson today about intuition.  This method of spiritual guidance from God is used extensively in the lives of every believer.  It is only when believers ignore this spiritual knowledge that they find themselves regretting that they should have done something different.  Here is another example of this intuitive action of God and it occurs in the same chapter:

Act 9:30  Which when the brethren knew, they brought him down to Caesarea, and sent him forth to Tarsus.

Here are the disciples in the church being led by the Spirit of God again by an internal knowledge.  This is not well described and I understand that there are many ways to interpret this information as it is given.  But, that is just the way God wrote the Bible to give every man a choice in what they believe.  Seeing the spiritual things in the Bible is probably the most difficult part of understanding what God has written.  This Greek word in this verse translated as “knew” is an internal perception and awareness that I believe occurred by the work of the Spirit of God even thought this is not directly stated.  We are not clearly informed that this information came from God, nor are we taught directly that this was God leading His church in this verse alone.  That is why we use the Bible to help us interpret the Bible.  These are implied meanings that were hidden within the text.  After all if God would have written everything about every subject in every verse you would have nothing to search to find in the Bible.  Perhaps the next verse will help us to establish the context and the direct association of God’s leading to what is happening in this chapter:

Act 9:31  Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied.

There is great deal of information in this single verse about my subject of being led by the Spirit of God.  It introduces you to two new radical concepts that I have not directly discussed.  It also shows the purpose or the reason for the leading of the Holy Spirit in this verse and I’ll talk more about that in a minute.  First, the Greek word translated “rest” means to be quiet and at peace.  Wow, that is an important part of my subject to grasp.  If you are not at peace then you are not being led by the God of peace (Col 3:15).  Being in peace and at peace is a major factor for hearing from God.  Remember what has happened to the church in the previous chapters.  The Jews in the synagogues are plotting to kill the disciples, beat them and put them all into prison.  Stephen was stoned to death by the Jews and Saul in chapter 7.  Then in one recent Acts 5 church service a man and his wife both fell down dead because they lied to the Holy Ghost.  How can anyone be “at rest” when these types of events are happening all around them?  I hope that you are getting the concepts that are being taught by God in these verses.  According to God it should not matter what is happening around you if you believe that God is guiding you.  According to God there should exist an atmosphere of being in peace regardless of the external circumstances.  Do you understand this concept of being in peace and its role in being led by the Spirit of God?  If not I may try to get into that in more depth in a future lesson or even later in this lesson.  Just don’t let the concept of “peace” get away from you.  You should be able to judge your heart and see if you are in peace right now.  This will help you to know if you are being led by the Spirit of God.  The other word in this verse that I want to focus in on is the Greek word translated as “comfort”.  Because this act of comforting is the stated work of the Spirit of God by direct association.  Do you recall what Jesus said about the Holy Spirit’s coming?

Joh 14:16  And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;

The Holy Spirit is said to be another Comforter.  That implies Jesus was the first Comforter for the human race because Jesus brought a light into the world that would help alleviate darkness’s dominion over man.   So Jesus was a physical comfort to those that accepted Him while He was present upon the earth.  But, Jesus also left this earth physically and He told us that it was better for Him to go than to stay (John 16:7).  Why was that?  Clearly Jesus leaving us physically left a void or a vacuum that needed to be filled for the church to continue.  Jesus said that His departure was better for us because we would now have an even greater internal ever present comforter that was given called the indwelling Holy Spirit.  You see the problem with a physical Jesus was that He was only one man in a world of millions and now billions of people.  It would have been impossible for a physical Jesus to visit everyone personally and to listen to what each needed.  However, in a Spiritual form He is ever present within every believer and able to listen to and to speak to everyone simultaneously.  This was the wisdom of God being displayed:

Joh 14:26  But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

Can you read these verses and see the intimate working of the Holy Spirit in the book of Acts?  This verse describes some of the behind the scene and seldom mentioned works of God in Acts.  The Spirit of God was poured out on the church in Acts 2 and this activity of God permits the words of Jesus in this verse to be fulfilled in every believer that participates.  The Holy Spirit will teach us all things and then the Holy Spirit will bring to our remembrance what Jesus has taught us.  Right here we have a major clue to how God led the early church in Acts and how He will lead us even today.  Do you remember that the very day the Holy Spirit was poured out in Jerusalem in Acts 2?  Peter stood up and spoke without being prepared to teach or preach anything?  Peter had no notes, no prepared script, no Bible in front of him and yet he declared the precise right things for the moment to get many saved.  How did Peter do this?  This was clearly the Holy Spirit giving Peter thoughts on verses and words to preach to those that were standing around observing.  This is clearly an example of the words of Jesus in John 14:26 being fulfilled.  You can observe this occurring throughout the book of Acts several times.  No one has any prepared notes; they just stand up and speak some very profound truths that came from within them.  I do this all of the time in my Bible lessons.  I start typing a lesson without a plan by faith and some of the lessons that I read after I have finished even I am amazed at what God has done and said.  This is the Holy Spirit bringing to our remembrance what we have learned from the Bible.  It is a mental process or a thought process, but yet it originates from the Spirit of God.  It is very difficult to describe if you have never experienced it, you are either going to have to take my word for it or you are going to have to learn to listen for Him inside of you to learn how it works.  Please note why this is so difficult to understand.  Where do thoughts originate?  They come from the soul realm which is also called your mind.  But, there are three possible originations for every thought that you have.  One possibility is you!  You can have a thought.  Two is God and God can give you a thought.  But, three is Satan and he can also give you many evil and contrary thoughts.  This is where discernment comes into play.  If you have a thought about God, the Bible, Jesus, or things that are good, it probably originated from God.  If you have a thought of lust, sin, or evil doing, then it probably came from the devil.  God teaches us in John 14:26 that He will cause us to remember Him and His Words and therefore any other type of thoughts are probably something you should ignore especially if they are evil.  I could talk a lot about thoughts but I do not want to get into that level of detail in this lesson today.

Let’s discuss briefly the term a “Comforter” or a “Counselor” and find the meaning of this word.  If you research it, you will find that it means “intercessor” or “advocate”.  Both of these are spoken word types of works.  Someone who intercedes will speak words of intercession for someone.  An advocate is a term many times associated with a lawyer.  This is an occupation that is performed by an individual with a specialized education and ability to speak for you.  Therefore, a comforter is always the spoken word based action of an individual to bring help to someone who is in need.  Is that you?  I know it is me; I would clearly have nothing to say without God’s help.  Let’s go back to Act 9:31 again and review the “comfort of the Holy Ghost”.  This Greek word is actually a different Greek word than what we found in John 14 when Jesus was describing the Holy Spirit to be our Comforter.  However it is merely the difference between a noun in one place and a verb in another place.  Let’s look at the definition of this word G3874 in Acts 9:31 found in the Strong’s:

G3874

From G3870; imploration, hortation, solace: – comfort, consolation, exhortation, intreaty.

Here is a word that is an awesome display of the divine character and nature of God.  God gets accused of orchestrating everything because of His sovereignty, but why would a sovereign God have to “implore” anyone if God was causing everything to occur?  Do you know what “imploration” means?  It is the extended effort of an individual to plead to someone, to beseech someone and to appeal to them to do something.   It is a calling out to come.  How did I teach you that the Spirit of God leads His people?  I tried to teach you that the Spirit of God uses the Shepherd and sheep method.  God calls His sheep to follow Him, and He does this, using His kind and loving soft words of imploration, beseeching them to come and for them to follow where He wants to lead them.  However, God does not ever force anyone to follow Him as I have already stated.  Neither does God yell and demand that you follow Him.  Both of those would violate the character and the definition of what the Bible says about God.  This Greek word as you can see comes from another root Greek word and it has the following meaning:

G3870

From G3844 and G2564; to call near, that is, invite, invoke (by imploration, hortation or consolation): – beseech, call for, (be of good) comfort, desire, (give) exhort (-ation), intreat, pray.

This word means “to call to be near”.  Wow, is that God or what?   These are clearly the words and the works of a loving Holy Spirit and not a forceful God.  These are clearly words of a spoken invitation, meaning people who hear the invitation have the choice to do what they want with it.  Anyone can ignore it to do their own thing.  But, by following the invitation, you can see that you will remain close to the one that you need to follow and this is the Spirit of God.  Finally why did God do all of this for the church in Acts 9:31?  I told you that this verse gave us the reason, but I did not tell you what that reason was yet.  The verse has another Greek word that was translated as “edified”.  Edified is a past tense declarative that teaches of a completed action.   Let’s review the Strong’s definition of this word for clarification:

G3618

From the same as G3619; to be a house builder, that is, construct or (figuratively) confirm: – (be in) build (-er, -ing, up), edify, embolden.

Do you see what this word means?  Is God building a house?  If you do not understand this, then you have not read all of my other Bible lessons on God’s Spiritual Family.  There is a new House of God being built in the spiritual realm and God is doing this with us His people.  We are the individual building blocks in this spiritual house of Jesus (1 Peter 2:5) and collectively we are called the New Jerusalem in Revelation.  I do not have time to explain all of that to you, so you will have to go and read and study the other Bible lessons on this subject in order to fully comprehend what I just said.  Just take note that edification is a building work of God.  God is building us up and growing the church and this is His purpose and His plan being fulfilled.  Therefore I have concluded that everything we have observed so far in the Book of Acts is our God doing things to help us, to grow us and to build us up together in unity.  I think I have gone long enough in this lesson so I’ll end it here.

I have been going through the book of Acts to find out how God lead the early church in order to see how God might lead us today.  I have covered a lot of information given to us in only 9 chapters out of 28.  So far we have only briefly looked at one fourth of the book and I’m not sure if I should continue going through every chapter yet.  If you feel this is beneficial let me know and this might help determine how I continue with this series.  Let’s review some of the key points from today so that you do not let them slip away.

God has used at least 7 different direct methods to guide the church in the first 9 chapters of Acts.

  1. Angels
  2. The Written Word of God
  3. Prayer
  4. Dreams and Visions
  5. Inward Witness (Intuition, thoughts)
  6. Still small voice of the Holy Spirit
  7. Preachers with a message from God

There were also five key related subjects that I either reviewed or introduced you to today about the subject of being led by the Spirit of God:

  1. The Church will be in united harmony when they are all led by the Spirit of God.
  2. The Church will be in a state of Joy if they are being led by the Spirit of God.
  3. The Peace of God/Rest will rule the church in order to hear from God.
  4. The Spirit of God is our eternal Comforter and
  5. God will bring to our remembrance what Jesus has taught us.

From these works of God, I said it was the peace that allowed us to hear God speak and direct us.  What I meant by that was if you are in a state of busy, fear, turmoil, or internal confusion, your mind is incapable of hearing anything that God says clearly.  There is a verse that is very applicable to my subject of you having peace and hearing from God and it says “Be still and know that I am God” (Ps 46:10).  This verse infers that it matters how and even when you can hear from God.  To be still is the opposite of being very busy.  To be still is a form of quietness that crosses into multiple realms of dimension.  There is the physical realm, the emotional realm, the mental realm and the spiritual realm and you can be busy moving around in each of these and miss out on God’s leading.   God is a perfect Gentleman.  Meaning God is not going to interrupt your thoughts to give you His.  That would be the ultimate sign of rudeness and disrespect and God is not that way.   If you want to hear from God you are going to have to be quiet and listen.  This is not always easy, I know.  But, you will be glad if you will try to develop it.  I’m not talking about Yoga, meditation or any other metaphysical type of demonic activity.   That is not what I am teaching you to do.  These are evil acts of Satan designed to attempt to get you off into another direction of spiritual evil guidance.  I guess I better stop here for now because I could talk a lot about the counterfeit that is intended to distract you from the real.  In conclusion I wanted to re-emphasize why the Holy Spirits guides anyone.  We learned today that it was for our edification.  To be edified is to be built up in the Lord.  It is a building process or a spiritual construction process that only God can accomplish.  This is why it is essential to hear from the Spirit of God before you do anything.  I’ll end with this scripture:

Psa 127:1  A Song of degrees for Solomon. Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.

Did you see what God said in this verse about what He is doing?  God is building a house and He even associates it to a city and this is not a physical house or city but it is rather a new spiritual house and city.  He also says if we try to build it independently from Him, then we are laboring, working, extending effort, exerting or struggling in vain.  This means that He must be directly involved in what we do or it is a worthless effort on our part.  Now are you beginning to make the connection to what is happening in the Book of Acts?  God is just doing a spiritual construction process and giving you some of the details to how it works in this lesson, but not every detail is clearly provided.  However, this is why we are studying this subject today.  Thanks for taking the time to read and to study the Bible with me and I pray that you were blessed with new spiritual insight and understanding.  Leave me a comment or press like on this post if you understood the lesson.  It will help me know that I am doing more than just casting God’s pearls before swine if someone actually acknowledges God’s work.  God Bless you until next time.

If you would like to continue reading in this series you may go now to “Part 11“.

Understanding How to Be Led By the Spirit of God! How the Holy Spirit Led the Early Church in Acts 5 – 7! Part 9

(ver 1.1) This is now Part 9 in a series of very important basic Christian Bible lessons on the subject of Being Led by the Spirit of God.  These lessons contain spiritual information and not natural formulas so they are easily misunderstood by Christians.  We have covered a tremendous amount of information that will not be repeated so if you have not read this from the beginning I would suggest that you go and start with “Part 1” first.  I am currently going through the book of Acts searching for the works of the Spirit of God to lead His people.  Just in the first 4 chapters of Acts, I showed you 7 of my 12 guidance methods either displayed in actions or referenced by words.  We are seeing God working through His church to guide them and direct them and by learning how God has done this in the past, it will help point us to how God will direct us in these last days.  Christians today are in the same church, the same body of Christ, in the same covenant, we read the same Bible, have the same Holy Spirit in us and are the same kind of believers in Jesus Christ as all of those mentioned in the early church that we are reading about in Acts.   The mistake many modern Christians make is thinking that God now does something different today than what He did with the early church or perhaps that those in the early church were superior and God did something special and different for them.  Somehow these types of Christians have missed the point that the Bible says that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever (Heb 13:8).   Not believing this Bible truth causes many today to believe God changed how He operates and what He does with His people.  That is clearly a misguided teaching that attempts to explain away what God did in Acts as not applying to the church today.  I refute that kind of teaching categorically and declare with boldness that I’m in the same Church as Peter, James and John.  What they did, I can do, what God did through them God can do through me.  But, you can choose to believe whatever you like.  Let’s move in the study to read in chapter 5.

ACTS CHAPTER 5

The fifth chapter of Acts is a difficult chapter to comprehend because of the many types of things that transpire.  In this chapter a man and his wife sold a piece of property and they brought some of the money to the church to give to others and they claimed that they gave it all, when in reality they withheld a portion for themselves.  Here is where it starts to get complicated.  This does not mean that they were supposed to give it all; it only means they were not supposed to lie to say that they did when they didn’t give it all.  Here is what Peter said to what was happening in verse 3:

Act 5:3  But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?

Peter reveals things that are impossible for him to know personally.  Peter would have had to follow them around and to be invisible to know what they had done in private.  How did Peter know what was going on?  I think that is an excellent question and people ignore it because they do not understand God and spiritual guidance.  Peter knew that Ananias was lying because of the work of the Spirit of God within him and a spiritual gift of discernment called the “Word of Knowledge”.  This is a spiritual gift from God that causes people to know things in their spirits that they did not witness personally in the physical realm.  In other words this type of knowledge did not come from the sense realm.  Here is where we need to ask how then did Peter know this private intimate information if he did not observe what they did with his senses?   Let me give you another direct verse that speaks of this very special gift from God to help us understand what is being spoken of in this chapter:

1Co 12:8  For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;

Clearly not everyone possesses these gifts.  It is God’s work that causes these gifts to come and never man’s desire just to have them.  Man cannot cause them to happen nor can he ask for them to happen.  I want you to notice what Peter was doing when this occurred.   He was in the middle of a church service and he was not praying but he was speaking to the people that were gathered.  Therefore, Peter was clearly not asking God for the gift when it was given.  You see that would be like me coming to you and asking you to give me a thousand dollars when I just saw you get 1000 dollars from the bank.  What right would I have to do that?  Why would you even consider giving me anything just because I asked for it?  You would be very foolish and become very poor rapidly if you gave to everyone that came along and wanted a free hand out.  The word would get around quickly that he is giving away free money and then you could never stop the onslaught of people that would knock on your door.  Think of children.  Children ask for many things constantly that they want.  As a parent are we supposed to give them everything they ask for?  I hope you can see that would not work.  They would want every toy and every sweet thing to eat and would sit around doing nothing but play games.  We are no different than children in the world to God.  God is not going to give you something just because you asked for it.  I guess that is getting too deep for this lesson, because there are promises in God’s word that He has already given to us many things and we still do not possess them because we have failed to learn how to receive things from a spiritual God.

Just as parents should not be foolish to give their children everything they ask for, God is not foolish either.  God is all knowing and all wise and He will decide when to give a spiritual gift.  Here in 1 Corinthians 12:8 God gives some the “word of wisdom” and others the “word of knowledge”.  Both are different gifts and manifestations of the Spirit of God to lead you and to guide you and to guide those that are being spoken about or to.  A “word of wisdom” occurs when you spiritually know what to do in a certain situation in your life when you would not have known otherwise.  A “word of wisdom” is a future knowledge of something to do, unlike the “word of knowledge” which is a past knowledge of something that was done.  The “word of knowledge” occurs when you know of something that has occurred in the past to someone other than you and you would have not known of it without God showing you what had occurred to them.  This is normally sin related, but not always.  One pastor said this happened to him many times while he was in charge of the church that God had sent him to.  God would bring a word of knowledge about someone doing wrong in the church like someone that was committing adultery or some other sin.  This was done to help bring correction to the situation.  But, the word of knowledge does not always have to be a sin.  Now the word of wisdom is slightly different.  Another pastor once said that he was in preparation at home doing something and God told him that this certain member of his flock was going to die today.  So this pastor went immediately to where the individual was to help him and to bring comfort.  Both examples were God’s Spirit giving gifts of guidance to help the church.  These gifts were examples of God leading His people by His Spirit.  I hope you understand them, because they happen every day to those that cooperate with them.  Let’s briefly go back and read the context of 1 Corinthians 12 and verify that God is speaking about spiritual guidance.

1Co 12:1  Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant.

God is writing concerning the spiritual.  The word “gifts” was added by the translators and it is not necessarily accurate but it is not necessarily bad either.  Anything you get from God is a gift of His grace.  But always remember that God is a Spirit (Jo 4:24).  Therefore, whatever God has given to anyone first came from the Spiritual realm.  Here in this verse God is declaring ignorance to be an evil.  If God does not want you to be ignorant then why are there so many ignorant people in the world?  Primarily they do not make the effort to learn about spiritual things so they remain in their natural thinking ignorant processes.  Let’s look at the next verse and eliminate some of our spiritual ignorance:

1Co 12:2  Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led.

God is telling the church you use to be Gentiles that were previously led astray, but implies that the Holy Spirit is now leading them to know Grace.  What we learn from this verse is that every human on the planet is being led by some spirit.  Those that are in the world are being led by Satan and his demons, and those that are saved should be led by the Spirit of God.  This verse is a very direct statement concerning being led, but we have to add our reasoning to determine who was doing the leading of the unsaved because it is not directly mentioned in this verse.  If you read the next verse you will hopefully see that God is speaking and declaring that no one says Jesus is Lord except by the Spirit of God and the no one curses the Lord Jesus by the Holy Ghost either.  Here are two contrasting works that proceed from humans.  The Spirit of God says I do one but not the other.  This is simply another implied reference to Satan vs. God’s work on the earth.  Satan causes men to curse God and the Lord Jesus and God helps men to say Jesus is their Lord.  I’m not going to go through every verse but here are the next 4 vreses in 1 Corinthians 12:

1Co 12:4  Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.

1Co 12:5  And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.

1Co 12:6  And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.

1Co 12:7  But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.

What I wanted you to see in context is that God is speaking of leading the church and that He helps us to understand why He does this in these verses.  There are three unique descriptions that are interesting to take note of.  These are “diversities of gifts”, “differences of administrations” and “diversities of operations”.  What are these speaking of?  I personally believe they are simply informing us that God gives us different things at different times in different ways.  In other words you can never put God in a box or try to say that He will always do things one way.  The key words are diversities and differences.  You are not God and you are not in charge of anything.  Finally in verse 7, God tells us what it is that motivates Him to do things this way.  God directly says it is for the profit or benefit of the entire church.  That means God intends His leading to be a positive outcome for the church.  Keep this in mind as we continue to study in the fifth chapter of Acts about Ananias.

Act 5:5  And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things.

Continuing in the fifth chapter of Acts Ananias falls down dead and is carried out by the church.  I guess the lesson and the word of knowledge on this day was not for the benefit of Ananias the dead man, but rather for those that were watching and listening to what was said and done and they all learned that lying to the Spirit of God was not a very smart thing to do.  They also learned that God knew when they were lying so it was impossible to get away it.  They also saw the demonstration of the Word of Knowledge.  This one act put the fear of God in the whole church and they got the message very quickly.  What I want you to notice was that this was God leading the church through a spiritual gift called the word of knowledge for what we read was the greater good of the church.  Even though we are never told this directly in the chapter, but that was what was happening.  The Spirit of God spoke to Peter and Peter spoke what God had shown him to the church.  I also want you to notice that Peter described Ananias as having Satan filling his heart and not God.  That is an example of another manifestation gift of the Spirit of God called the “discerning of spirits”.  It is also clear evidence that Satan was leading Ananias what to do and this was the wrong spirit to listen to.  There are so many lessons to learn in this chapter that I really cannot spend the time to speak to them all.   I do want you to understand that Ananias’ listening to Satan is why God did not correct Ananias, but allowed Satan to kill him and he fell dead immediately.  You’ll probably ask me why I said Satan killed him and this is because Paul writes about another incident in the N.T. that is related.

1Co 5:5  To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

I do not have time to talk about this verse in full or the context of this verse.  But, I wanted you to see that a Christian was going to be turned over to Satan for the destruction of his flesh so that his spirit would be saved.  Wow, that is pretty revealing.  First you can see that Satan can cause physical death but not spiritual death.  Spiritual death is separation from God.  The sin of the Christian allowed Satan’s access to his physical body.  I have concluded that this is potentially what happened to Ananias and his wife also.  But, I’m not going to be able to go any further with this line of teaching today.  Let’s continue going through Acts 5:

Act 5:11  And great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things.

Do you see the effect that this event had on the church?  What would happen today if things like this happened again when the church met?  I believe the effect would be the exact same.  It would promote an attitude of holiness where the church would see that doing right was a good thing and sin was a very bad thing.  I’m not predicting that this will happen again, but I would not be surprised if it did.

Act 5:12  And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people; (and they were all with one accord in Solomon’s porch.

As you read in Acts chapter 5, the apostles continue to do many signs and wonders and preach the name of Jesus until they are thrown in prison in verse 18.  If you read Acts 5:12 in isolation, it will give you the impression that the disciples were in control of what was happening, but this is clearly a misunderstood application of God’s works being made manifest through natural men using spiritual guidance, direction and His anointing.  If the disciples do any great works they were done by the Gifts and the Grace of God’s power being made available to them and displayed through them.  It is only by God’s direct power and man’s faith in His power that anything positive occurred in the book of Acts.   I also want to point out that the church in this verse is again stated to be in one accord.  This means there was a spirit of church unity and harmony which abounded in everyone and I am convinced that this is how the church will leave this planet very soon.   Let me briefly describe the anointing of God and its role in what is happening in chapter 5.

2Co 1:21  Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God;

1Jn 2:27  But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.

Here are just two verses that speak of God giving the church an anointing.  Why the anointing was necessary and what the anointing is are two very valid questions?  If you do not understand the concepts behind the anointing of God then you will not understand the book of Acts.  In Acts 10:38 it tells us “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and power who went about doing good and healing all those oppressed of the devil”.  The anointing of God was the power of God according to this verse and it makes available this miracle working substance to others that Jesus encountered.  If God had to anoint Jesus (God in the flesh) to heal people in the Gospels, then God must use the same anointing power in the lives of the disciples to heal also.   These are repeated patterns given from God to Jesus that was handed down to the members of the church.  We in the church are called the “Body of Christ”.  That title alone promotes the fact that the anointing is present upon us.  The Greek word translated as Christ means “anointed one”.  It corresponds to the Hebrew word for “Messiah”.  God is clearly saying that it is My Anointing on you that caused anything good to occur.   Let’s continue through chapter 5.  Verse 18 tells us that the disciples are thrown in prison, but then in verse 19:

Act 5:19  But the angel of the Lord by night opened the prison doors, and brought them forth, and said,

Act 5:20  Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life.

We can again see the involvement of angels at work for the church.  We are once more not told every detail.  We do not know if the disciples prayed or if the church prayed, but nonetheless the angels show up and release all of them from prison.  The angels come and shake the prison and release them to go back into the temple to continue to preach the name of Jesus.  You can clearly see that the angels give them a message from God and tell them what to do.  This is again very strong evidence that God is directing them and that they are being led by the Spirit of God.  You have to understand that the disciples were new born spiritual babies in Christ less than a few weeks old at this time.  They have much to learn about spiritual things and how God will lead them.  Many times Christians want to be led like someone who has been a Christian for 50 years and they do not realize that these people grew to that level of spiritual maturity and awareness and that this was not how they were led by God from the start of their Christian conversion.  Spiritual growth is a very basic principle to learning how to be led by the Spirit of God.  Just as a new born natural baby is not independent from their parents for many years, so a new born spiritual baby is not able to do what a Christian of mature age and experience can do.  That is just the way it works and you cannot sidestep the issue and jump beyond where you are right now just because you want to.  You are going to have to grow and continue to learn.  Let’s review briefly what we have observed and learned from chapter 5:

  1. God used Peter again to be a human messenger for other people to hear.
  2. The Holy Spirit gave Peter a word of knowledge concerning someone who was being influenced by Satan to sin.
  3. God also gave Peter the gift of discerning spirits to identify Satan’s involvement.
  4. All of this was done for the benefit of the church to teach them and guide them into holiness.
  5. Angels again are sent by God for deliverance of the church and for a message from God.
  6. Based upon other stories found in the Bible it is implied someone was praying but it is not mentioned directly in this chapter.
  7. Therefore, there are at the least three different direct methods of leading being taught in this chapter and a forth that was implied.
  8. We can observe the Holy Spirits involvement in this chapter, even though He is never directly mentioned.

ACTS CHAPTER 6 & 7

Act 6:1  And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration.

Act 6:2  Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables.

Here in this chapter, we are going to see another manifestation of the inward work of the Spirit of God.  I want you to notice that the number of the church has multiplied considerably and this is the first time that I know of in the book of Acts where the church is said NOT to be in complete harmony and unity.  Uh oh?  That is certainly not good.  I think this is an example of what happens in any church as they grow.  But what I want to do is to teach what God’s response to this disharmony was?  If you continue reading in the chapter you will see that the disciples are led by the Spirit of God to elect a church organization with structure assigning certain men jobs within the ministry of helps.  These men are selected, prayed over and hands were laid on them to also anoint them for their new roles of responsibility.  I want to teach you what is happening by showing you a verse in the New Testament that proves this was God working through the disciples and not the disciples acting independently from God.

1Co 12:28  And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.

Can we read?  Can we see what it says?  Who set up the ministry of helps and governments in the church?  The Bible said that God did this yet we see the disciples only mentioned in Acts 6 like they were acting independent from God.  Do you understand the dangers now of reading the Bible without using the Bible to interpret itself?  Clearly this is one of the most prevalent errors in the teachings that many people listen to today.  When the disciples set up an organized church structured government we were directly informed that God did this in Corinthians.  We must therefore conclude that they were being led by the Spirit of God to do what they are doing in this chapter even though the Holy Spirit is not mentioned directly.  Now notice the recorded reaction of the church to what is happening:

Act 6:5  And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch:

Whenever you can get the whole church in attendance pleased over anything this has to be the Spirit of God’s direct involvement that is helping to influence the church.  Can you see the problem of disunity within in the church and the solution that God has implemented to fix it? What does the Greek word translated as “pleased” mean?   This Greek word means “to be agreeable”.  It also means to be emotionally excited.  Wow, here we go with more difficult spiritual concepts to relate with natural words and phrasings.  Believe it or not this had to be an example of God leading the early church and helping to guide them.  There is no mention of any angels, any voices, any external signs or any physical manifestations of God.  No, you see the Spirit of God was present, but He was present in every believer having filled each of them with the Spirit of God a short time earlier.   I want to show you something that Jesus said that is applicable to what is occurring in this chapter.

Mat 18:20  For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

If the church was gathered in the name of Jesus, then Jesus declares “I will be there with you”.  Here we have another contradiction of information given verses information not directly mentioned in the book of Acts.  You can clearly read in Acts 6 that there is no direct mention of Jesus being present, yet clearly Jesus was a liar in Matthew if He is not present Acts 6.  Uh oh?  It is very obvious to me that they were conducting church business and since Jesus is the Head of the Church therefore, Jesus has to be present in a spiritual form to oversee this operation, administration and to give them guidance, direction and instruction.  Something is occurring internally within every believer that caused them to become excited and very agreeable together and I believe that both of these are signs of being led by the Spirit of that you can rely on today also.  If what the Spirit of God does is not exciting to you then you are probably not saved.  If you do not agree with what the Spirit of God is speaking to the church, then again you are probably not saved.  Two signs of being led by God are that you will agree and that you will be excited about what He says.  I am going to skip down to Stephen in verse 8 to continue:

Act 6:8  And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people.

We can again see a bad translation or at least an easily misunderstood translation of the Bible demonstrated in this verse.   It was not Stephen that was doing anything, but yet it was.  Because Stephen was full of faith, God’s power was able to flow through Stephen to cause many miracles to occur.  There is a clear connection that it was the partnership of a man’s faith and God’s power working together that causes the positive things to occur.  We can clearly understand this was the anointed power of God that permitted the miracles and wonders to be performed.  Stephen had no power in of himself to help anyone.  It was only because Stephen was being led by the Spirit of God that Stephen could be at the right place at the right time to do anything.  I do not know how to say that any more clearly and I hope you understand that God can and will use you the exact same way as He did Stephen if you cooperate, believe and expect Him to do it.  In chapter 7 of Acts Stephen preaches with boldness the truth of the Word of God and as a result he is stoned and killed.  It is very interesting to note that the Bible says that Jesus is seated at the right hand of majesty and in this chapter; Stephen sees a vision of Jesus standing up and watching the murder of a Spirit Filled church member by the ignorant overzealous misguided Jews.  If it was God in heaven watching this event on the earth, who was on the earth causing the death of Stephen?  It was definitely not God.  Who was leading the Jews spiritually to kill this man of God?  Based upon scripture it is Satan (Jo 10:10).   It is very clear to me that Jesus took this action of the Jews very personally.   I’ll think I’ll end here today since I have already gone too long.  Let’s review what has happened in chapter 6 and 7:

  1. The church was meeting and Jesus said whenever you meet in my name, there I am also.
  2. God sees disharmony in the church and moves to solve the problem through spiritual guidance.
  3. God leads the church to organize and to create delegated levels of administrations and responsibilities.
  4. All of the church is well pleased and church unity is restored.
  5. God was working through many different people and in chapter 5 we read about God using Stephen a man not of the original twelve.  Proving God can lead us and use us all mightily.
  6. In this information God has grown the church to some very large and significant numbers proving God’s involvement in what we are reading about.
  7. When disharmony breaks out God is involved in bringing correction proving God has our best interest at heart.

There are probably many other things to learn in these chapters but I believe we have covered many of the important ones that I wanted to emphasize on how and why God was leading His people.  I also introduced you to the concept of God’s guidance being a gift from God given to us by His Grace.  That is actually a very import concept to consider.  Anything we get from God is not something we earned or even deserved.  If God gave us direction, then it was His love that motivated Him to give it to us.  I hope you are enjoying these lessons and I’m sorry I did not cover as many chapters as I would have liked to have covered today.  We certainly learned several new concepts about spiritual guidance and I believe that was worth your time in reading and studying with me.  If you would like to share a comment on this subject, I would really love to hear it.  So feel free to be a blessing and share what is on your heart.  God Bless!

If you would like to continue reading in the series to learn how to be led by the Holy Spirit you may continue with “Part 10“.

Understanding How to Be Led By the Spirit of God! How the Holy Spirit Led the Early Church in Acts 1 – 4! Part 8

(ver 1.2) This is now Part 8 in a series of very important basic Christian Bible lessons on the subject of Being Led by the Spirit of God.  We have covered a lot of information that will not be repeated so if you have not read this from the beginning I would suggest that you go and start with “Part 1”   first.  In this series I have been attempting to teach that God still speaks in the modern world to His children the same as He did in recorded Bible days.  Since the Bible teaches us that God does not change nor does He show any favoritism, what He did for others in the past is what He will do for those that wish to participate with Him today.  Today’s lesson will emphasize this reality by beginning to focus directly on how God led the early church in the book of Acts.  In today’s lesson we will explore the first 4 chapters and the major scriptures found in those chapters that deal with the documented methods that the Spirit of God provides for evidence for His involvement in guiding everything positive that occurred in this book.  By studying the book of Acts we should quickly come to understand that God was heavily involved in everything that takes place that causes men and women to be added to the church, for safety of the church, for deliverance from evil, the preservation of the Body of Christ and the spread of the Gospel.  God accomplished all of this by leading His people by His Spirit.  Many people today in error call the book of Acts the “Acts of the Apostles”, but this is a classic misnomer and the direct misapplication of the key importance of God working through man to accomplish His will and purpose on the earth.  The Apostles did not do anything in this book independent from God.  Nor could they have done anything without His guidance.  So we will begin to go through the book of Acts to discover how God accomplished these great feats through such ordinary men and women and we will learn in doing this how God will do the same with us today before Jesus returns.  I will probably warn you that this is going to be a long Bible lesson since I’m covering selective information from 4 chapters.

Let me tell you what I will be attempting to cover today in this lesson.  I hope by telling you what to expect you will learn how to study the book of Acts and the Bible for that matter with greater accuracy.  We will be reading the book of Acts looking for the leading of the Holy Spirit.  This sounds very simple, but if you read the whole book of Acts you will never see God say “Peter was led by the Spirit” or anyone else.  Therefore we are going to have to dig a little deeper to learn the truth other than looking for the obvious.  Many truths in the Bible are not obviously presented and this is certainly one of them.  Nevertheless we will be searching for explicit leadings of the Holy Spirit and implied leadings of the Holy Spirit.  What else can we learn about this subject?  Why does the Holy Spirit lead anyone?  What are the benefits of being led by the Spirit of God?  In order to answer these questions we are going to have to find examples that teach us the answers.  Therefore we are going to look for why the Spirit of God led the early church and what resulted from these leadings.   Here is my list of things to look for as you read the book of Acts with me:

  1. Explicit or Implied Leadings of the Holy Spirit.
  2. The Methods of God Leading Used.
  3. Reasons for the Leadings.
  4. Results of the Leadings.

Hopefully by studying these subjects and answering these questions we will learn how God will lead us and for what purpose.

ACTS CHAPTER 1

The Book of Acts begins with the brief description of the time period after the resurrection of Jesus prior to His ascension back into heaven where He now remains awaiting the time of His return to catch away the church.   In chapter 1 we are told that Jesus has met personally and physically with the disciples for 40 days teaching them.  This was the resurrected God in the flesh, the Lord Jesus Christ in bodily form and He could speak to each of them directly.  Jesus during this time must have taught them many things and no doubt He must have given them instructions like those recorded in this chapter when He told them to wait in Jerusalem until they received power from on high (Acts 1:8).   However, Jesus was taken up into heaven in verse 9 to await the soon coming end of the church age which will run for a time of approximately 2000 years.  In chapter 1 of Acts after Jesus is taken up into the clouds, two men appear to the disciples with a message, asking them “Why stand ye here gazing into heaven, this same Jesus that went up will return in like manner” (Acts 1:11).   These two men were dressed in all white and they were no doubt angels sent from God with a message to the early church.  This is the first recorded occurrence of divine direction being given to the church without the personal involvement of a physical Jesus being present.  Also, what these angels said to the apostles applies to us directly especially in these last days.  Understanding that any words spoken to the early church are still words that were spoken to us today is essential to learning that we are all the same growing Body of Christ.  Angels throughout the Bible have always been used by God as messengers for the people on the earth.   As we continue through the book of Acts we will see that angels will be used by God repeatedly when dealing with the church, so you can conclude that angels will also be used by God before Jesus returns.  It is further identified in Chapter 1 that Peter quotes David’s writings in Psalms concerning Judas (Acts 1:16, Psalms 109:8).  Peter uses the words of the Holy Ghost written in the Old Testament to justify the election of a new disciple to replace the traitor Judas.  Therefore we can further conclude that the early church was directly led by the written Word of God in what they did the same as we are to be led by our knowledge of the Bible today.   From reading chapter 1 of Acts we can see that it contains two directly named methods of my 12 methods previously listed that I taught from in this series.

Therefore just in chapter 1 of Acts, God has used three different directly mentioned methods to communicate with the early church to provide spiritual guidance.  There was God in the flesh, the angels and the written Word of God all specified as valid communication methods, but I would not expect Jesus to appear in the flesh to you today until you are raptured away from this earth.   You see there are other Bible verses that God is awaiting to be fulfilled before Jesus comes back to the earth in a physical form.  I know many people would disagree with that last statement, because of what they call the doctrine of eminence.  This church doctrine reports that there is nothing left to be fulfilled for the Lord Jesus Christ to return.  I wonder how many of these people have actually read the Bible and have seen what it says?  I have a lesson about this subject, so I will not repeat that here.  If you want to read about it, you can go and study the lesson called “What in the World is God Waiting For”.     I also want to point out that these three manifestations of guidance were all physical sense realm leadings as I have already tried to teach as being the primary methods used by God in the Old Testament.  The more carnal the Christian the more God has to come down to the human level to communicate with us.  What we will begin to see after chapter 2 is a transition into greater spiritual realm guidance methods as they become the primary methods of guidance from God.  However we will still see angels potentially at work at any time.

What have we learned from Chapter 1?

  1. Jesus taught the disciples for 40 days in the flesh to give them understanding.
  2. The angels appeared to the disciples to give them a message from God proving God is involved in the Book of Act leading His people.
  3. Peter used the Word of God to direct their actions to replace Judas, therefore God’s Word offers guidance in our everyday life as well as specific actions to take in specific situations.

ACTS CHAPTER  2

Chapter 2 of Acts begins with the promised outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the church and this was technically the beginning of God’s use of purer new spiritual communication methods to guide the church.   In this chapter the church started and consisted of the 120 believers in the upper room that were anxiously waiting the fulfillment of the promise made by Jesus of the outpouring of the Spirit of God.  This event occurred on the Jewish feast of Pentecost.  You can read this chapter carefully and see that when the Spirit of God was given, He was described as coming like a rushing mighty wind (Acts 2:2) from heaven.  As He fell on all that were present in the room in Jerusalem they began to speak with other tongues as they were each filled with the Spirit of God.  It is very interesting to note that the Greek word translated as “wind” can mean “breath”.  I personally believe that this wind was God breathing on them from Heaven.  When you speak words, do you breathe?  You bet people breathe when they speak.  This breath of God implies the beginning of a new spiritual ability and a way for God to lead His people.  To breathe on the church in this chapter is an amazing fact to consider, since Jesus had already personally breathed on every disciple that was present in the room and had already told each of them to receive the Holy Spirit (John 20:22).  You can read this very clearly in the book of John if you like, but realize that this occurs over 40 days prior to Acts 2.  Is God confused or are people confused to what this means?  We must conclude from this information that the Holy Spirit that they had previously received from Jesus directly could not have been the same manifestation or work of the Acts 2 Holy Spirit that they were now being filled with.  Uh oh?  Yes they were both from the same Holy Spirit from God, but in two different manifestations and demonstrations of the Spirit of God.  This fact obviously boggles the mind of many people in the church today who do not understand that the same God can do different things to the same people.  These Christians usually mistakenly believe that they were filled with the Spirit of God when they were born again and that this was the only spiritual experience that is required.  It is funny that God did not think that was all for the early church, so why have men changed today to believe differently?  What some Christians do today is to settle for less of what they could have had in this life and miss out on God’s fullness.  I’ll tell you very plainly, if you have never spoken in tongues, you have never been filled with the Spirit of God and you are missing out on the best of what Jesus commanded the church to receive.   You can ignore this command and still go to heaven potentially, but I would not want to be you in trying to explain why you thought it was important not to be obedient to God.  I am a firm believer that in John 20:22 the disciples were born of the Spirit of God when Jesus breathed on them and told them to receive the Holy Spirit, but in Acts 2 they were filled with the Spirit of God and that these were two separate spiritual experiences.  I believe this primarily because that is what the Bible says and it is also what I have experienced personally, so that is two witnesses that you can choose to believe or ignore.

Act 2:14  But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words:

After the church was filled with the Holy Ghost, Peter stands up to preach to those that have gathered in amazement at what was happening.  Read this chapter closely and remember that this is the same Peter that we can see in the Gospels who denied Jesus 3 times approximately 50 days earlier.  It is funny that this same man now has something boldly to say publically about His Lord Jesus.  Therefore, something obviously occurred to change him from a man who was a mess to a man with a message.  This transformation occurred when he was baptized and filled with the Spirit of God in this chapter, because Jesus said that you will receive power to be a witnesses (Acts 1:8) and that was what Peter demonstrated to us in this chapter.  Peter suddenly had the power to become this great witness for Jesus and when Peter denied Jesus, he lacked this power.  If you have trouble witnessing to people, then you probably need this same power today.  Here in chapter 2 Peter again quotes the Old Testament speaking of the words recorded by the prophet Joel.  Peter says “This is that which was spoken of by the prophet Joel that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh” (Acts 2:17, Joel 2:28).  This verse also informs us that God will use visions and dreams so these are two more relevant New Testament methods of God to guide His people.  What is happening in this chapter?  How did Peter suddenly having not prepared a sermon have a sermon to preach?  I think that is an excellent question which Jesus answered in the Gospels:

Luk 12:11  And when they bring you unto the synagogues, and unto magistrates, and powers, take ye no thought how or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall say:

Luk 12:12  For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say.

Do you see what Jesus said?  Do you see how this applies to what Peter did?  Peter suddenly quotes scriptures out of nowhere without having a Bible in front of him, no notes or anything prepared ahead of time and he knows exactly what to say to get those standing around saved.  I would call this a miracle if I did not understand what Jesus was teaching us in Luke.  You see the Holy Spirit was inside of these men speaking through them.  Technically Peter was doing the speaking, but the Holy Spirit was giving the words to speak.  What is the lesson that we need to learn?  We need to learn to trust the Holy Spirit in us to give us the right words to speak when we run into people we have never seen before.  What God does in this chapter with Peter, He will do for you if you get filled with the Holy Spirit.  As we continue through the book of Acts, notice this is a repeated pattern that occurs many times for many different men of God.

Peter after being filled with the Spirit of God still hangs all of his beliefs and what was happening to them upon the written Word of God, further establishing and confirming the importance of the Bible to the modern believer.  Peter was justifying what they were doing and what God had done based upon what God had written about many hundreds of years before.  Make sure what you believe is only based upon God’s Word.  So far we have looked at two chapters and discovered God using 5 different methods of communication to lead His people being stated.  These are all very important so do not let them go or ignore them.  What were the methods of leading revealed in this chapter and what resulted from this chapter?

  1. God says people will be led by visions and dreams in the last days.
  2. The Holy Spirit gave Peter utterance and taught Him what to preach to get others saved.
  3. Peter declares that what was happening was prophesied by God through the prophet Joel thus confirming the importance of the written Word of God.
  4. Therefore God led those that were listening in the crowd by what was spoken by Peter so that they could believe.  This was a God’s use of a preaher a man with a message from God that was believed on and resulted in their salvation.
  5. The church was expanded greatly from 120 to over 3000 this day and so God was at work through the early church to save many others.

ACTS CHAPTER 3

Act 3:1  Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour.

If you read the Bible in isolation you will be very confused to try to understand what is happening.  You see God does not tell you everything that happens in every verse or you would never be able to finish reading the Bible because it would be so huge that no library could contain it.  God writes the Bible using a technique of very incomplete information with random clues spread throughout the text to what is occurring.  All of the information given to you in any single verse is very important, but it is never all-inclusive.  This just means that it is the truth, but not the entire truth.  I try to teach that in every Bible lesson that I do to some degree either by stated rule or by example.  The name of my Bible study is “Using the Bible to Understand the Bible” and that is how I interpret the Word of God.  You are going to have to read and study the entire rest of the Bible to figure out what is going on and how things are working in what you are reading in this chapter because God is just not going to tell you everything in one verse that would be impossible to do.  If you read this verse and ignored the rest of the Bible you would be forced to conclude that Peter and John just randomly decide to go up to the temple by chance or by accident.  However, I do not believe that there are any random chances or accidents written about in the book of Acts.  If you read the Gospels closely you will discover that Jesus was always in the right place at the right time for a very specific given purpose and plan of God.  I believe that Jesus was the ultimate example of being led by the Spirit of God and perhaps I’ll do a lesson just on Jesus later.  But understand what the Bible says:

Rom 8:14  For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

I have already used this verse in this lesson series, but I want to re-emphasize it again for clarity on its application to what the disciples are doing in this chapter.  Are these disciples the sons of God?  If you do not know it, they are definitely the foundations of the church and the New Jerusalem that all the other stones are built upon.  This is critical information then to apply to what Peter and John are doing.  If you read down in chapter 3 you will see that they come to the gate and see a lame man.  Was this an accident?  There is no way that this was accidental.  Peter grabs the lame man by the hand and says to him in the name of Jesus walk.  Did Peter heal the man or was it the Spirit of God working through Peter that healed the lame man?  That was not a trick question.  Peter could not heal a fly, so the Spirit of God was directly working through Peter to bring a miracle of healing and deliverance to a man in need.  Therefore I have concluded that Peter and John were being led by the Spirit of God even though we are not told directly how they were being led.  There are vast numbers of implied works of guidance in this chapter displayed in the recorded actions of the disciples.  However, nowhere does it say directly that God was involved.  Do you understand the challenge being presented?  We are told the external actions of the disciples, but we are not told the internal spiritual action s of God.  Peter and John could have been led by any of the 12 methods that I listed in this series, but since we are not told which one it was, I will not try to assume I know and I will just say based upon scripture, they were being led by the Spirit of God to be at the temple that very day, hour and minute.

  1. Peter and John were led by the Spirit of God to be at the right place and time where a lame man was sitting.
  2. The Spirit of God heals the lame man and this resulted in great attention being drawn to the church and God as well as the lame man could now walk about and testify for them.

ACTS CHAPTER 4

Act 4:8  Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel,

In chapter 4 we are again told that Peter was filled with the Spirit of God and this implies that this is the reason for his new found boldness to declare Jesus Christ before those that he previously feared.  Being full of the Holy Ghost appears to be a key factor for being led by the Spirit of God for Peter at least in the first 4 chapters of Acts.  If you read chapter 4, you will see the disciples standing before the Jewish rulers being questioned.  These men of Israel obviously thought they were right and all others were wrong, but they were missing the greatest manifestation of a new work of God and did not realize it.  Peter is again directed by the Holy Ghost what to preach to these men.  Just as Peter and God had done in Acts 2 is being repeated in Acts 4.  If you read verse 4 you will see that the Church grows by another 5000 new believers.  Therefore God is at work causing the church to grow greatly even though some disciples spent the night in prison.   Let’s skip down to verse 24:

Act 4:24  And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is:

In the latter part of chapter 4 we can see that the disciples and the early church were gathered together and that they prayed to God all in one accord.  Therefore, prayer as you may recall was one of my observable triggered methods that will get God to respond to give people guidance.  What we will observe as we continue to go through the book of Acts is that prayer always gets God to respond.  Therefore, prayer is still a valid trigger method for the modern church to communicate with God and to get God to give us guidance and direction.   The Bible says in James “You have not because you ask not”.  Informing us that guidance and direction is not a foregone conclusion.  If you want God to guide you today then you get up in the morning and you ask for His guidance.  Do not assume that He will guide you without you asking, or you might also totally miss out on the greatest display of God that you could have never imagined.  I do want you to notice that the church is stated more than once to be in total agreement.  I personally believe this is a sign of those that are being led by the Spirit of God.

Joh 17:22  And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:

Being one is what Jesus prayed and asked God for in this chapter of John.  If you do not remember this prayer then go and reread it because it applies to our study of being led in the book of Acts extensively.  As we continue through this lesson I will try to point out how many times we encounter the term “one accord”.  This is clearly a sign of being led by the Spirit of God.   Why is the Christian church today not in one accord?  It is primarily because they are not all being led by the Spirit of God.  We have many people who think they are Christians who are going to be very surprised when the bridegroom comes in the middle of the night and they are left outside trying to get in.  Do you remember the parable of the 10 virgins?  Weren’t the 5 virgins that went in with Christ all in one accord?   Weren’t the 5 virgins that were left out also in one accord but just not with those that went in?  Uh oh?   I’ll talk more about this as we continue through the lesson on Acts and being led by the Spirit of God.

Act 4:31  And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.

Here in this verse is God’s response to their prayer; proving prayer gets God to respond.  The place where they were gathered was shaken and they were all filled with the Spirit of God again.  Wow, this is really getting good.  You see in this prayer they asked for the ability to speak the Word of God with boldness and this is what they received.  Let’s list the lessons learned from chapter 4:

  1. Being filled with the Spirit of God is a stated reason for what was happening in this chapter.
  2. Peter was again led by God what to say in the midst of the crowd and the leaders of Israel.
  3. Many new believers were added and the church again grew by great numbers.
  4. The church prayed and asked God for a specific request and God responded and granted the request.
  5. Therefore, prayer caused God to respond.

I think I have gone long enough in this lesson for today.  I was originally going to go through many more chapters, but I think the lessons are getting too long for some people.  So I’ll try not to write such long lessons in the future or at least to break them down into smaller chunks.  Hopefully you can see what is happening in just the first four chapters of the book of Acts.  God is causing the church to grow by leaps and bounds and adding many new people through the disciples who were being led by the Spirit of God to be in the right places at the right times.  There are several different methods of leading that God has used or referenced in these first four chapters of Acts and these are a follows:

  1. Angels sent by God with a message.
  2. The Written Word of God used to Direct Men.
  3. Inward Witness (Spirit of God shows Peter what to Preach).
  4. Prayer of the Church.
  5. Visions and Dreams (Not yet demonstrated but referenced by Peter in Acts 2).
  6. God’s use of preachers to bring a message from God to the people.

Believe it or not we have just gone through the first 4 chapters in Acts and found 7 of my 12 methods of communication listed or demonstrated by the words or the actions of the people recorded.   That is pretty significant if you ask me.  You can clearly understand based upon this information that God is intimately involved in guiding His people to cause them to be successful.  Of course success is a relative term that is highly subjective.  Too many people view success as monetary gain or wealth accumulation or even fame.  That is not what I am talking about.  God’s success may not be your success but many times the eternal rewards will far outweigh what you could have earned in this life.  If you get on God’s side He will cause you to be successful and He will reward you and that is all I should have to say about that.  Thanks for reading and studying the Bible with me and if you have any questions or comments please be as BOLD as the disciples were and share them, but also be led by the Spirit of God in you.  God Bless!

If you like to coninue to study in this series you may go to “Part 9“.

Understanding How to Be Led By the Spirit of God! The Spirit of God Bears Witness with Our Spirit! Part 7

(ver 1.1) This is now Part 7 in a series of very important basic Christian Bible lessons on the subject of Being Led by the Spirit of God.  We have covered a lot of information and topics that will not be repeated so if you have not read this from the beginning I would suggest that you go and start with “Part 1”  first.  In this series I have been attempting to teach that God still speaks in the modern world to His children the same as He did in recorded Bible days.  Since the Bible teaches us that God does not change nor does He show any favoritism, what He did for others is what He will do for those that wish to participate with Him today. This will probably not be the last lesson in this series because of the amount of information that is still needed to cover it.  After I looked into what remained, I think I have decided that there is just too much that you need to know to cover everything in one lesson today.  This is a complex subject and it is getting more complicated as I have transitioned into the spiritual dominated parts of the subject.  I tried to start teaching with the easier subjects first that were sense realm manifestations of the Spirit of God like prophets, angels, the audible voice of God, creation, signs and wonders, etc. and I have moved into the purer spiritual realm methods like the still small voice and today’s subject of the inward witness.  God is a Spirit and in order to be led by Him you are going to have to learn how He operates as a Spirit.  People generally do not know what they do not know and therefore they fail to realize what they are missing out on.  God says “My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6).  Therefore, people do not even realize that God desires to speak and to direct them in their present circumstances.  The ultimate goal of being led by the Spirit of God is for you to hear something that you did not know that will help you to avoid a potential negative outcome that you were heading into.  This is what God did for the people in the Bible consistently.  Here again is the list of 12 methods that God has recorded in the Bible to lead His people.  This is probably not a complete list but it has most of the ones that I feel are important for every Christian to understand.

  1. The Audible Voice of God
  2. The Finger of God
  3. Angels Sent by God
  4. Prophets, Teachers, Pastors, Evangelists, Apostles or other Men/Women (disciples) of God
  5. The inward Still Small Voice of God
  6. The Written Word of God
  7. External Visible Signs from God
  8. Visions from God
  9. Dreams from God
  10. Prayer of an Individual
  11. The Inward Witness of the Spirit of God / Moral Conscience / Intuition / Internal Knowledge / Spiritual Insight
  12. Patterns found within God’s Creation

From this list I have introduced you to every one of God’s methods that I have found in the Bible except for number 11.  This method number 11 is actually a composite of several related methods that I placed all together and I probably should not have done that.  These spiritual methods of God leading His people are probably the most prevalent ways that God uses on a daily basis and it is going to be very challenging to try to explain to you since they are mostly pure Spiritual encounters with God.  To discuss spiritual things using only natural words, terms and descriptions is where the challenge truly comes in for me today.  Jesus would very often teach about spiritual things using natural parables, symbols and types that people understood more clearly.  Teaching on spiritual leadings is very much like trying to describe the emotion of love to someone who has never experienced this feeling.  Since love is usually experienced in different ways to each individual, how do you describe this feeling of emotion so that everyone will see it the same way?  It is really almost impossible to do this.  In every other communication method of God that I have discussed, there was always a basic sense realm manifestation either involving your vision or your hearing.  But with a pure spiritual inward leading it is certainly not this way.

There is a major difference to the way the Spirit of God was able to direct His people after Jesus was raised from the dead to the time before when no one was born again of the Spirit of God.  When Jesus was raised from the dead He appeared to His disciples and He breathed on each of them and told them to “Receive the Holy Ghost” (Jo 20:22).  This was something that had never happened in all of human history.  It was a radical departure from the way things were done in the Old Covenant to the new way for God to be intimately involved in the day to day life of every believer in the New Covenant.  For the first time, the Spirit of God lived not in structures made by the hands of men and in the Ark of the Covenant apart from the people, but now He was much closer than you could imagine living inside of every person’s spirit. This is why the new Spiritual methods of being led are so much more important for us to know.  The old physical/natural methods are still valid, but God can use new spiritual methods that were never available before to a much greater advantage to everyone.  Let me introduce you to my subject today:

The Spirit of God Bears Witness with our Spirit!

Rom 8:16  The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:

I am going to talk about a new internal spiritual guidance method using several new descriptive terms.  These are new methods of God that He did not use in the Old Testament.  Here in Romans 8:16 is the portrayal of one of the new works of the Holy Spirit and it is very different than anything we have seen before.  The term “bears witness” is a unique phrase that is easily misunderstood.  If you have a witness in a court setting that is testifying, that is the independent isolated words and work of a single individual speaking about what they know or have seen.   In this setting, there is only one person on the witness stand at that time and that is not what this Greek word means.  Therefore we are going to have to shift our focus and perspective to see what God is speaking of in this verse.  This Greek word means “Joint” testimony and in the context God’s participation is dependent upon your concurrent participation and agreement.  If you do not agree with God, He will not agree with you.  Always remember who changes and who stays the same and never changes in the God man relationship.   People changing to be in agreement together with God will cause you to have power available.  There is an implied dependence that God will confirm (bear witness) what you believe and speak.  There is another verse in Romans 8:16 that says “The Spirit of God will bear witness with our spirit that we are children of God”, but first you had to do something to become a child of God and then God does His part and bears witness inside of you.  This does not mean you will necessarily hear God speak words of confirmation.  It is much like you do not have to hear your wife say she agrees with you because you can look at her and know what she thinks by her facial expressions, smiles or nods.  Words are not the only way the Spirit of God communicates with men and women on the earth in the spiritual dimension.  I’ll try to talk more about this as we continue through this lesson, but for now I want to shift to a very specific type of internal spiritual leading that is labeled the human conscience.

God’s Guidance through the Human Conscience

I am actually going to focus on this single part of the inward witness of the Holy Ghost called the human conscience in the rest of this lesson.  Every aspect of the inward witness of the Holy Spirit will be a method that is beyond the realm of the 5 physical senses.  The human conscience will always be a method that can be very easily ignored in the sense dominated realm especially for newborn or carnal Christians.  I also want to say that the Human Conscience is a valid tool to be led by the Holy Spirit if you are a true Christian.  For others that are not Christians the Human Conscience is not a reliable guide for anything.  What is a conscience?  Does everyone have a conscience?  Where is the conscience?  How does God use the conscience to help guide people on the earth?  These are the basic questions that I will attempt to introduce you to.   I’ll start by saying that I could not find any reference in the Old Testament to the word “conscience”.  It appears that “conscience” is never directly mentioned by God in the Old Testament anywhere.   That does not necessarily mean that it was something that did not exist in the O.T., but rather I believe it was something that God places no emphasis on since how do you explain spiritual things to natural people?  It is very much like Satan is rarely mentioned in the O.T. either, but in the New Testament we have been given authority over him so we now have tools at our disposal to exercise and demonstrate his defeat.  The word “conscience” appears in the KJV of the Bible in only 29 verses in the N.T., but I will not be talking about them all today.  Let me begin by giving you one of my foundational scriptures in this lesson on conscience:

Rom 9:1  I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost,

You see Paul describes something in this verse that is really beyond natural description.  There is no reference to hearing a voice from God; there are no references to any physical feelings from God and there are not any external sense realm references at all given in this verse.  One key word that is directly mentioned is Paul’s “conscience” that is qualified with the usage of the personal possessive pronoun “my”.  That is where I will try to begin today’s lesson.  Wow, here I go with trying to explain a spiritual concept that many people ignore on a daily basis.  The human conscience can be defined as an inner spiritual sense of knowing right from wrong that is attempting to guide us to do what is right.  Having a conscience is not based upon any new spoken words from God, but rather I believe a good conscience is always based upon your past knowledge of the Word of God.  The lack of the knowledge of God’s word is the root cause of everyone’s problem in the world today.  Because of the lack of teaching of God’s word in schools, children are growing up without a moral conscience foundation.  Everyone is doing what is right in their own eyes and they do this in ignorance mostly.  So I believe the human conscience is based upon your Word knowledge of the truth.  If you know no truth you have no basis for having a conscience.  The Human Conscience is always an internal reality that is expressed in the external realm by your freewill actions and this originates from the heart of men and women in the world depending upon the deposit of the good treasure of the Word of God that has been heard by the individual.  Paul claims that this conscience was a part of him and that he possessed it.  There is another factor given to us in the Bible that is related to conscience and this is the complex association of sin and the law that are both interrelated subjects, but I will not have time to teach on these subjects in this lesson fully.

It is like the Bible says, without God’s law man would have not known what sin was (Rom 3:20).  Therefore the knowledge of the law of God brought men correction to teach them the difference between good versus evil.  But there is more to it than that based upon the story of Saul in the Bible.  Think about the story of Saul in the Bible who became Paul that has written many of these verses that I am talking about today.  Saul knew the Law of God better than most men in his day and he thought that he was doing good works for God by persecuting the church.  While he was Saul he caught Christians accusing them, imprisoning them, beating them and even killing them.  Where was Saul’s conscience during these times?  Wow, that is a really good question.  Obviously it takes more than the knowledge of God’s word to guide someone to do the right things.   This is an example of a man who was zealous for God but knew Him not.  Paul later tells us that what he did to Christians in the past he did in ignorance.  Therefore the ignorance of Saul (lack of understanding) is directly related to Saul not having any conscience to be led by God to help the church.  Do you understand the destructive power of the ignorance of God’s truth?  It is very profound when you see it.  Let me give you a direct verse about the danger of ignorance:

Rom 10:3  For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.

If you do not know God’s righteousness this verse says you will attempt to establish your own definition of righteousness.  This is just saying people will by nature live by their own law and ignore God’s ways.  This is usually based upon sense realm leadings of what feels good to me, what I like, what I want to do, what looks good to me and on and on.  It is a ME, MYSELF and I existence with a complete disregard for all others.  These types of people have little to no conscience and will not generally care what they do to others.    I’ll try to talk more about this soon.

I’m now going to talk about a story of conscience found in the Gospels where a group of religious men bring a woman caught in the act of adultery and ask Jesus what should we do with her?  They were quoting that the Law says to stone her, but then they ask Jesus “what do you say”?  These men obviously knew the law of God, but understood it not at all.  These men were just looking for ways to accuse Jesus of violating God’s law, but Jesus used great wisdom in His answer to them and He said “He who is without sin, cast the first stone”.   Jesus then stoops down on the ground and begins to write in the dirt ignoring everyone around Him.  While I do not believe the Bible says what He was writing, I personally envision it to be the places, dates and times of every man’s sin that was present.  Here is what the Bible says next in this story:

Joh 8:9  And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.

There are two key words in this verse that have direct application to my main subject.  Of course one is “conscience” that we have already looked at briefly.  The Greek word translated as “conscience” is again “H4893” and it means morals.  Next the word before that is one that relates to having morals and that is “conviction” or “convicted”.  What does it mean to be convicted?  To be convicted in law/legal terms means to be found guilty.  Is that what we are talking about?  I believe it is.  When someone is found guilty of an offense they can have at the least two different contrasting reactions.  One is called sorrow and the other one is called pride.  Having no remorse for being found guilty is like having no conscience and it is a major problem that I will try to talk about more in a minute.

Notice what happens in this verse.  The men who were ready to stone the woman without any regard to their conscience suddenly start disappearing from the oldest to the youngest appearing to get a conscience.  This helps me to envision what Jesus was writing on the ground that caused the men to suddenly walk away one after the other.  What was happening during this time?  What was the internal process that was taking place to cause them to have a change of heart and to walk away?  I obviously believe it was their memory being jogged from whatever Jesus was writing on the ground.  There were no spoken words from Jesus so Jesus is giving us all a lesson on the human conscience without preaching to anyone.  Therefore, human memory must be involved in having a conscience.  Memories are always based upon past experiences or the recollection of words that we have lived through.  These are mental pictures of the things we have been taught from the lessons in our past.  Jesus could have been writing on the ground about when each man had committed the same offense with this woman or with someone else and this caused them to see that they might be stoned next.  How did God in the flesh use their conscience to help guide them?  If you can begin to see the application found in this story to what you do every day then you will begin to understand that your conscience is still your potential guide into doing positive, good and right things.  After all of the men walked away Jesus looks at the woman and asks her “Woman where are your accusers”?  Then Jesus says “neither do I accuse you go your way and sin no more”.  Do you think that this woman learned a lesson also that day and how did her conscience going forward change?  I’ll guess she never did what she was accused of doing again.

This was a very powerful lesson on how people can change to do right when they desired to do something very wrong.  There are lots of lessons that we can learn from this story.  Every man had a choice to make.  Therefore conscience is the exercised choices of the freewill of mankind.  Every man could have ignored the actions of Jesus and still stoned the woman based upon their knowledge of the law.  Therefore any man can ignore his conscience and still do the wrong thing.  The law never changed in this story, it remained constant.  It was only the viewed perspective of the men that changed.  What I believe happened is that the men suddenly understood that one sin does not justify another sin so they walked away.  Did God use their conscience to help guide them?  I believe that He did.  Could the men have chosen to ignore their conscience?  I believe they could.   A good conscience prevailed in this situation and they made the right choice, but this is not the case in every situation in the Bible, is it?  Let me show you another story in the Gospels with a slightly different result:

Mar 14:30  And Jesus saith unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this day, even in this night, before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice.

Let’s briefly talk about this story in the Gospels about Peter one of the key disciples of Jesus.  Right before the crucifixion of Christ, Jesus looks at Peter and tells him “before the cock crows two times you shall deny me three times”.  The prophet Jesus is telling Peter what will happen before it happens.  Does this mean Jesus caused it to happen?  Foreknowledge is never forced behavior.  Peter always has a freewill choice, but the situation becomes more than he can handle and the prophecy is fulfilled just as Jesus predicted.  Remember what is happening here.  An armed group of men comes and takes Peter’s teacher by force and arrests him.  Jesus is placed on trial immediately, beaten tortured and them condemned to death.   Peter is observing what is taking place and is of course very concerned with these developments because they could do the same to him.  So when a young servant comes to him and asks him if he is one of them, Peter forgets what Jesus has warned will happen and goes in self-preservation mode and begins to deny Jesus.  The cock crows and Peter is still scared.  Some more people come to him and tell him you were one of them and again Peter denies it.  Finally here is how this chapter ends:

Mar 14:71  But he began to curse and to swear, saying, I know not this man of whom ye speak.

Mar 14:72  And the second time the cock crew. And Peter called to mind the word that Jesus said unto him, Before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice. And when he thought thereon, he wept.

Here we again see a connection and an indirect reference to the conscience of Peter.  Peter obviously was not thinking clearly before this or he would have remembered sooner the words of Jesus.  Notice the connection to the soul realm and the mind in this scripture.  Peter suddenly “remembered” the words of Jesus.  Does this mean if he would have remembered sooner that he might have also remembered telling Jesus I will die with you?  The pressures of this world can be very overwhelming at times and there are circumstances when it is difficult to be led by the Spirit of God regardless of your intent or desires.   What is noteworthy is that even after Peter did wrong by denying Jesus, his response indicates that he still had a good conscience that led him to be sorrowful and repentant.  If he had no conscience at this time, then he would have just walked away and we would have never read of Peter again in the Bible.  Avoiding making the bad choices in life is the ultimate goal of being led by the Spirit of God, but if you do make a wrong choice then you are not lost unless you ignore your conscience and you continue to go down the paths of destruction without sorrow for what you have done.   Let me show you some other scriptures that will help clarify what I just said:

1Ti 4:1  Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;

1Ti 4:2  Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;

Here is God speaking of former Christians.  These were some of the faithful that were no longer believers because of Satan’s deceptions and their bad choices.  They have fallen away from the truth and bought into the lie of Satan.   Notice what verse two says; because this was the important part that I needed to get you to understand.  This verse states these lost people still had a conscience, but that it had been hardened by a process that is referred to in the terms of searing meant like branding a cow.  To sear meat or the flesh occurs only with the application of metal raised to a temperature of intense heat.  What did God say that He would do for Christians?  God said I will take out your stony heart (unfeeling and insensitive spirit) and I will put within you a heart of flesh (that has sensitive feelings).  Do these verses mean that these people are once saved and always saved?  According to God their heart of flesh can become insensitive to the Spirit of God and even become hard again.  Therefore, God says those who are led by the Spirit of God they are the sons of God.  If your heart is no longer sensitive to His leading I do not believe you can still be saved or be called a child of God.  Being led by the Spirit of God always requires the individual’s sensitivity and desire to be led by the Spirit of God.

I have given you two examples of conscience found in the Gospels.  Once God used the human conscience to change the people’s intended actions to do something good and positive instead of the evil that they desired originally and another time God used a man’s conscience to help him repent and become one of the foundations of the church.  Both are positive outcomes from the direction of the Holy Spirit’s guidance.  Both times every man involved could have overridden their conscience and done more wrong things.  The subject of conscience is very deep and I’m not convinced that I know it all either.  But, I’m still learning and growing and God will cause me to increase in knowledge and understanding just like you.

Conscience is God’s internal moral guidance to help you to do right and good things and this results in positive things coming your way.  You see God says the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life (Rom 6:23).  Listening to your conscience will help you avoid the wages of death and will help you to receive the reverse wages of life from Jesus Christ.  Remember what Jesus said in John 10:10?  Jesus said “The thief has come to kill, steal and to destroy, but I have come that you might have life and that life more abundantly”.  God intends you to have abundant life in this natural dimension right now and the only way you are going to get there is to be led by the Spirit of God.  If you spend time in prayer and in the Word of God you have a conscience that you can depend on.  Jesus also said “I give unto a new commandment, that you love one another” (John 13:34).  Therefore, being led by the Spirit of God and your conscience can be reduced to the simplicity of you doing only what is love based towards your neighbor.  It is very similar to the golden rule of you doing to others what you desire them to do to you.

There is still a lot more to talk about on this subject of Being Led by the Spirit of God.  I hope and pray that you are still learning and enjoying these lessons and that you will continue to study the Bible with me.  I also would love to hear your experiences of being led by the Spirit of God.  However God has done it or what method that He used to cause you to have good success in this life, it would be awesome to hear about it.  Share it with me and it might be a tremendous blessing to someone that needs to hear it to give them confidence that they also have heard from God the same way.  If you have any questions or comment on these lessons, you are free to give those to me also.  Until next time God bless and continue to study and grow in His truth and learn to listen to your conscience.

If you would like to continue reading and learning in this series you can continue with “Part 8“.

Understanding How to Be Led By the Spirit of God! Hearing from the Spirit of God Today! Part 6

(ver 1.2) This is Part 6 in a series of very important basic Christian Bible lessons on the subject of Being Led by the Spirit of God.  We have covered a lot of information that will not be repeated so if you have not read this from the beginning I would suggest that you go and start with “Part 1” first.  In this series I have been attempting to teach that God speaks to those who will listen.  Knowing that God speaks begins the process that allows you to hear from God.  But, also knowing how God speaks plays a key role that can change your level of expectation and your ability to find God speaking.  Too often people look for the spectacular and miss the simple supernatural.  What this means is that you may have already heard from God but since you did not know it was God you wrote it off as not being important.  A friend of mine that was a new born baby Christian thought he heard God speaking to him through his car radio and a commercial on the radio.  While I do not discount God’s ability to do that, you have to be very careful with that natural approach to communicating with a God who is a Spirit.  Expecting to hear God speak to you in a thunderous spectacular voice from heaven will usually leave you very disappointed when He does not do this.  Of course you could be like my friend and think that you heard something that was not really there.  Since I was not there I did not tell him it was not God.  I would have believed it more if it was a Christian radio station and it was a spirit-filled preacher who was speaking, but since it was a secular station I knew God does not speak thru unsaved people who are not led by God to speak.  This would make God someone who takes control of a human to make them do or say something and this is not the nature or character of a loving God.  I have found that God has many ways of getting you the answer and just when you think you have Him all figured out He will show you a new one to keep you on your toes and help you to grow up spiritually.  I’ll start today by reviewing the list of 12 divine methods recorded in the Bible that God has used to communicate with the people on the earth.  I have been using this list to teach on this subject and we are getting closer to the end.

  1. The Audible Voice of God
  2. The Finger of God
  3. Angels Sent by God
  4. Prophets, Teachers, Pastors, Evangelists, Apostles or other Men/Women (disciples) of God
  5. The Inward Still Small Voice of God
  6. The Written Word of God
  7. External Visible Signs from God
  8. Visions from God
  9. Dreams from God
  10. Prayer of an Individual
  11. The Inward Witness of God / Moral Conscience / Intuition / Internal Knowledge / Spiritual Insight
  12. Patterns found within God’s Creation

From this list I have introduced you to God’s methods 12, 9, 8, 7, 6, 4, 3, 2 and 1 so far using many personal and Bible examples.   I will tell you that every method of God that He has recorded in His Word is important to learn, but some are certainly more prevalently used by God than others in the Bible and in the world today.  You see you will probably not see God writing in the tablets of stone for a message to the world today.  This was an example of a spectacular display of the power of God and He does not normally do things like this to prove His existence to anyone in the world.  In the previous lesson I showed you that God uses people to speak to other people on the earth.  This is a great revealed truth in the Bible found in almost every book.  This method of using a mediator with a message permits God to remain hidden behind the scenes.  This method allows all of the people on the earth to have a freewill choice to what they believe.  This method also forces everyone to have faith in a God that they have never seen before and to believe in the words of God that were sent.  You see if God suddenly appeared in the natural realm everyone would have no choice but to know that God is real.  Even if God sent a 12 foot tall angel into the world that suddenly was broadcasted to every TV on the planet, people on the earth would suddenly have an opportunity to see that the supernatural realm was real.  However with the advent of movies and entertainment computer graphics, nothing that you see on TV or the internet can be considered to be real anymore.  Photoshop and other programs permit creative creations of fiction that are very hard to detect to the untrained computer expert.  If a massive angel suddenly appeared in Jerusalem on international TV with a message that the end is tomorrow you would have the majority of the planet laugh and scoff at the creative ways of Hollywood to sensationalize fiction.  The book of Revelation teaches us that angels will preach the Gospel during the tribulation, but this proves that they will need to do this because the church is not there to do it.  In my opinion it is getting much more difficult to reach the majority of the people in the world because of the growing hardness of their hearts.

Here is another potential complication to the last lesson on God’s usage of men and women that I did not get into.  How do you recognize a true man of God?  Just because a man says that he is a prophet does not make him a prophet.  There is a Bible concept of false that I have not addressed. Everything that God has done that can be considered to be true has been countered with a contradictory opposite called the false that has been authored by Satan.  Satan purposefully sends many false speakers and teachers that are designed to cause confusion.  The Bible informs us that there are and will be false Christs in the world in the last days.  There have been and will be false prophets in the world.  There have been and continue to be false teachers in the world.  That complicates our lives tremendously doesn’t it?   Not only do you have to hear from God you have to weed through all of the false to find the truth.  Who you trust and who you place your confidence in will determine if you are deceived into destruction or led into the correct paths of life.  This is why you need to learn the Word of God extensively and ask Him for the understanding.  Like I told you before God will never contradict His word in anything that He tells you by His Spirit.  God’s words are forever established and will never pass away.  So how do you recognize the true man of God?  You verify what he says by you looking it up in your Bible and seeing if that is really what God says.  If you do not see it for yourself, then refuse to believe it.  This is a principle taught to us by the early church and Paul.  You can read about it in Acts 17:11 and see what the early church did to confirm what Paul was teaching by searching their Bibles.  What they did is what you should be doing today as I teach.

PRAYER THE KEY TO HEARING FROM GOD

Today I’m going to continue teaching with number 10 the personal prayer life of the individual.  I believe that God hears and responds to the prayers of the people on the earth.  There are many people who would disagree with me because they believe God is sovereign and that God predetermines everything that happens in the world and this philosophy is popularly called Predestination, Selection or Election.  While you can find scriptures to support this position, what these teachers do not realize is that there is more than one truth in the Bible and they have abandoned all of the others to exalt their one truth to be the complete truth.   If those concepts of selection were all the complete truth then why are there so many other things in the Bible recorded that contradict that belief?  For example, the recorded prayers of the people on the earth are clearly contradictory to a sovereign God making every decision for man.  Why is it necessary for anyone to ever pray if God has already predetermined what will happen?  Why did Jesus ever pray on the earth and why did He teach his disciples to pray?  Those are tough questions that Predestination teachers ignore.

We are going to talk about the subject of prayer in conjunction with being led by Spirit of God.  I believe that prayer is an essential part of a Christian’s relationship with their Father God.  You can read over and over where people needed God and they fell on their face to seek Him and He was found.  Prayer is certainly more than just asking God for things, but this is certainly a valid part of prayer since God is the giver of all things that are valuable.  You can find more examples of men and women asking God for things than you can for any other type of prayer.  If I possess anything of value it is only by the grace of God that I have it.  You can read about the positive effects of prayer in Genesis 20:17, Numbers 11:2, Numbers 21:7, 1 Samuel 1:12 to name a very few places where men and women prayed and God responded.  What would have happened if no one prayed in these examples?  Do you think the same outcome would have resulted?  I certainly do not believe that at all.   I know I oversimplified this introduction, but you should at least begin to see that prayer was a key part of any success that anyone had in the Bible.  Let me show you another example in more detail:

Dan 9:17  Now therefore, O our God, hear the prayer of thy servant, and his supplications, and cause thy face to shine upon thy sanctuary that is desolate, for the Lord’s sake.

One thing I noticed about reading the book of Daniel is that he liked to pray to his God.  Could this be one of the key reasons that God gave him the visions of the end times and the understanding of so much?  Prayer has to be a major contributing positive factor for hearing from God based upon only learning about the experiences of Daniel.  I personally believe that most people do not hear from God because they do not give God an opportunity to speak to them.  Prayer should always be a two way conversation and it never should be a one way directional speech from you only.   Think of it this way, what can you ever tell God that He does not already know?  Knowing that alone should shorten your prayers considerably when you think about that.  However, what can God tell you that you had no clue that you even needed to know?  Could it be everything?  Yes, God is all knowing (omniscient) and He is the one that we should learn to listen to for everything.  But there is a hidden factor that determines if God will tell you anything.  The Bible says “You have not because you ask not” (James 4:2).  What does that mean?  That means God will not force His knowledge upon anyone.  If you don’t want to know don’t ask.  If you want to know something from God then you must ask Him for it.  The Bible also says “If any man lacks wisdom let Him ask from God who gives to every man liberally” (James 1:5).   The Bible also says “seek you will find, knock and it will be opened, ask and you will be answered” (Mat 7:7).  I know these were my paraphrased versions of these scriptures, but you can go and read them for yourself and see that is basically what they are teaching.  The key factor to receiving anything begins by you asking for it.  People like to assume God is in control, but according to what I just read if you do not give God control then you are in control.  Assuming God to be in control does not make God in control of your destiny.  God is going to expect you to ask for His guidance if you want to hear what He has to say.  So Daniel 9:17 says Daniel is praying to God and then read down and see what happens:

Dan 9:21  Yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation.

We can clearly see that the angel Gabriel came from God and shows up while Daniel is still speaking to God in prayer.  This is very conclusive evidence that you can hear from God while you pray.  It is also direct evidence that it was the prayer of Daniel that was the initiating factor to him hearing from God.  If you read in this chapter you can never find where Daniel tells God how to speak to him.  Clearly God chose the method of communication and not Daniel.  That is a very important point that I wish to drive home again.  I also find it fascinating that the angel shows up while Daniel is still praying and not after Daniel is finished praying.  The answer from God to what you are praying for can come either during your prayer or after your prayer.  There is a major factor that is different today from Daniel’s prayer back in the Old Covenant.  In Daniel’s day God was in heaven and heard the prayer and sent the angel Gabriel with the answer from heaven.  But, today in the church, the Spirit of God abides within me and you and our prayers do not need to reach to heaven to be heard anymore.  Many times Christians believe that they have to bombard heaven with a prayer request and they forget God is inside of them and can speak immediately back to them internally.  Today’s prayer conversations with God should always come with replies from inside of us instead of how Daniel prayed and God sent the answer back to the earth from heaven using an angel.  Do not misunderstand what I just said.  God can still use an angel, but normally He will just speak to you Himself if you are quiet enough and listening.

Dan 9:22  And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding.

I want you to notice what God gives to Daniel based upon his original prayer.  Believe it or not this is what you should be seeking from God also.  Skill is of course ability to do something.  Understanding is one of the greatest benefits of knowing God that He can share with you.  We are all in need of God’s understanding and wisdom to do anything in the world.   These are things that God is looking to give.  You can go back and read the story of Solomon and see how he prayed and you will see that because Solomon asked God for wisdom and understanding, Solomon was blessed to be one of the richest men in the world at that time.  What I learned from reading Daniel 9 is that prayer is an initiating request for the responses of God.  You can clearly see that God sends an angel with the message because of Daniels’s prayers.  These are simple but yet profound concepts found in the Bible.  Let me give you another example from the prayer life of Daniel.

Dan 10:12  Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words.

The angel Gabriel is speaking these words to Daniel and they are very deep.  The angel tells Daniel I am sent because of your words.  This verse teaches us several things.  First, prayer is always based upon words spoken and never your silence.  There is no such thing as a silent prayer.  Next, God heard the words of Daniel and sent an angel with the answer.  Whenever you pray if you do not believe God heard, you will pray again and again and again and this is not scriptural.  This is the acts of a desperate man who lacks faith and let’s doubts and fears take away what God has already sent the answer to.  God does not answer for your much repetition and constant prayer request needs.  God hears you the first time and after that if you want to pray it is not for God’s benefit, but for your doubts that God did not hear you the first time.  This is another divine example of the sovereign will of God in response to the request of a man on the earth.  Daniel did not ask for an angel, he asked God for the answer and God sent the angel.  Learning how prayer works and how faith works are key factors to being led by the Spirit of God.

Daniel 10:12 implies that you do not have to be praying in order to speak words that get God’s response.  You see there is another Hebrew word in the O.T. that is often translated as “prayer” and it is not this word that the angel said I am here for.  Do not misunderstand what I am saying; I’m not saying not to pray I just think we need to expand our definition of what prayer is sometimes to include every word that we speak.  You see sometimes people pray and ask God for a job and then look at the economy and circumstances and say “I’ll never get a job” to their friends.  When you do that you have in effect canceled your prayer with your words of unbelief that God did not hear and answer you already.  If you do not think your words matter then you are highly deceived.  After you pray and ask God for the answer it is time to praise God for the answer until the answer arrives.  Everything that you do matters in this world and I could give you Bible verses that teach these last statements, but I’ll try to teach on prayer in more depth in other future lessons.

THE STILL SMALL VOICE FROM A VERY BIG GOD!

Prayer and hearing from God is a very simple linked dependent concept taught to us in the Bible.  I could give you many more examples of prayer in the Bible, but they are fairly easy to find so I’m going to move on to another method that God uses to communicate with man called the “Still small voice”.  Here is why many people in the world do not believe that they ever hear from God.  Many times they expect God to speak in a miraculous spectacular strong way and they miss the very basic supernatural soft voice of the Almighty God.  God constantly manifests Himself using a very insignificant small voice and this is not what people expect.  Why does the Almighty God do this?  I guess you should also ask why the creator of the universe washed the feet of His own disciples.  For God to make Himself a subordinate intentionally is a sovereign divine sign of exhibited humility.  Humility is the ultimate sign of true greatness.  Humility is the opposed force of pride.  Did you know that no one who is anyone can ever exhibit true humility?  Humility is only possible for anyone with greatness.  Since God is the greatest of them all, God exhibits true humility in everything that He does.  If you are at the bottom of the spiritual food chain you cannot lower yourself beyond where you are any further so you can only attempt to raise yourself and that is called pride.  But if you are at the top of the spiritual food chain then you can display great character by being humble.  To exalt yourself above where you are is a sign of pride and this is what Satan did and God is the direct opposite to Satan.  Not understanding the character and the nature of God will cause you to miss God many times.  How you expect God to answer will affect your ability to hear and recognize His voice.  Did you know that this is one of the main reasons that the Jews did not recognize the manifestation of their Messiah?  Jesus appeared to be a normal man like everyone else and this confounded the wisdom of the religious men that was expecting a powerful King to rule over them and set them free from the oppression of man.  Jesus came as the humble servant to earth and He did not fit the picture of the conquering King that the Jews had in their mind for their Messiah.  What I am trying to teach you is that it matters how you expect God to come to you to give you the answer also.  If you are not open to a still small very quiet voice then you are probably going to miss out on God’s directions for your life.

1Ki 19:11  And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake:

Here is one of the most awesome verses in the Bible followed by an even greater verse in the next coming one that I’m about to give you.  This verse is about the prophet Elijah but it also has direct applications to me and you today.  The prophet must be seeking God and God is said to pass by on the mountain.  Here is a great lesson about God and His character.  It just so happens that a very strong wind comes and tears up the mountain as the Lord passed by, but God says in His word that He was not in the wind.  Why is that important?  God gets blamed for the winds of adversity like hurricanes and tornados constantly and I want to scream at preachers who accuse my God of killing, stealing and destroying things when God clearly says it was not me in this verse.  Next you can see an earthquake also takes place and again God is not found in the earthquake either.  Are you beginning to see a pattern here?  Why are you looking at the hugely spectacular expecting to find a God that is clearly not to be found there?  That is probably one the most important questions you can learn from this lesson.  Here is the verse that I want to focus in on today:

1Ki 19:12  And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.

After the earthquake a fire came, but again the Lord is not found in the fire.  Here in the U.S. we have had a major hurricane flood the east coast recently and we have had earthquakes and now we have had major fires in Texas and Oregon and God says I’m not in any of these.  Please do not claim these are the judgments of God trying to get America to change or get saved because that Gospel conflicts with the God of the Bible.  Look at how this verse ends.  A still small voice came to Elijah and guess what, that was God!  If you read the next couple of verses you will see that Elijah is finally able to hold a conversation with the Almighty God of Israel.  The Hebrew word translated as “still” means quiet and implies a peaceful atmosphere like a very gentle stream of water.  The Hebrew word translated as “small” means low or thin as in something crushed.  It is technically implying that it can be easily missed or ignored.  Finally the Hebrew word for “voice” means audible spoken words. This still small voice from God asks Elijah a direct question to start the conversation.  Did you know that you can learn a lot from God asking you a question if you are paying attention?  How God asks the question and what is said in the question is almost always much greater than you can imagine.  God’s intelligence is so far beyond your intelligence that all God has to do is ask you a simple question and suddenly you know many things that you needed to know.  Go through the Bible and see how many times you can find God asking people questions to start a conversation.  It might surprise you.  God asked Adam two questions in Genesis 3 to start the conversation with the man.  God then asks Eve a question in Genesis 3 next to continue the conversation with her.  When He got to Satan suddenly the questions stopped.  Why is that?  I guess I won’t go there today, but it is very amazing to understand.

While I have been reading the Bible and studying a chapter I have had the Spirit of God in His still small voice ask me direct questions like “Did you notice that didn’t say…”.  This simple question from the Spirit of God opened my eyes to the hidden meaning of the verses.  God was teaching me and God taught me by asking me very simple questions.  That is extreme wisdom to follow when you need to try to teach people something.  When you ask the right questions, the light bulbs can be turned on in someone’s mind to bring illumination.  I want you to learn two things from the example of Elijah that God speaks to him using a very quiet insignificant sound inside of him and that this can be a question that will bring great information to us.  Finally I also want you to see that in the book of James written to us in the church, God says Elijah was a man just like us.  In other words God is saying what Elijah did you can do and what I did for Elijah I will do for you.   That is some amazing facts that God is still the same today as He was with the men in the Bible.  Expect to hear God speak to you in a very faint quiet voice and this is usually for your benefit to help you possibly to help someone else.

Today’s lesson has been about two key methods of communication that God has taught us in His Word.   Your prayer life will always initiate God’s response.  Then your ability to learn to hear the still small voice of God inside of you is another key factor for your spiritual education to hearing from God’s Spirit.  I’ll try to wrap this series up in the next lesson by giving you the last method that God uses to communicate with people on the earth that I have found in the Bible.  This method is probably the most prevalent method and it could be the most important one also for you to know.  Sorry to leave the most important to last.  I will be discussing some more relevant examples of God’s communication methods found in the Bible in the next lesson.  Finally, in the next Bible lesson on this subject I will explore some related topics that are also very important to learn about in being led by the Spirit of God.  I hope and pray that you are learning something new and that this information is helping you to grow to be a better man or woman of God.  If you have any questions or comments please do not hesitate to ask me, for it is as God says “you have not because you ask not”.  Thanks for sharing your time in reading my Bible studies and I will bring you another one soon.  God Bless.

To continue readin in this series you may go to “Part 7“.

Understanding How to Be Led By the Spirit of God! Being Led by a Man of God with a Message from God! Part 5

(ver 1.2) This is Part 5 in a series of very important basic Christian Bible lessons on the subject of Being Led by the Spirit of God.  We have covered a lot of information that will not be repeated so if you have not read this from the beginning I would suggest that you go and start with “Part 1”  first.  In the last lesson I attempted to emphasize the importance of hearing, learning and understanding the written Word of God and then becoming a doer of the Word of God and not just a hearer only.  Learning God’s Word and then following your knowledge of God’s Word by acting it out, makes you a disciple follower of Jesus Christ permitting the Spirit of God to guide you.  Ignoring God’s word and being independent from God’s word will prohibit the Spirit of God from leading you.  Therefore I believe that the written Word of God is the number one method that God has chosen to communicate with all of humanity in order to lead them out of the dangers, adversities and the negative consequences of living in a world of darkness ruled by Satan.  It is also essential to understand that whatever the Spirit of God speaks to your heart will always be established upon the written Word of God.  The voice of the Spirit of God will never instruct you to do anything that is contrary or opposed to the written word of God.  God will never lead anyone into sin.  Do you understand that?  This is probably the main reason why it is essential to know the Word of God intimately.

ESTABLISHING AN INDEPENDENT BELIEF APART FROM GOD’S WORD

You see I once heard the story of a woman who claimed that the Spirit of God had spoken to her and told her that she was going to become the wife of a well-known preacher.   This lady went about telling her friends and they even held a mock wedding by faith to proclaim and confirm God’s direction. The only problem was that this preacher already had a wife, but this woman and her church friends were not going to let the Bible or the facts get in the way of what they believed that God had articulated to her in her private prayer time.  That is clearly an example of a woman being deceived by a spiritual voice other than the voice of God.  The Bible teaches us that God’s words are forever established in heaven (Ps 119:89), therefore they do not change.  What God speaks today will not ever contradict what God has spoken yesterday.  The Bible clearly teaches us not to covet or desire what your neighbor already possesses (Exo 20:17) nor is it ever legal or permissible to commit adultery (Exo 20:14) or murder (Exo 20:13).  God would have to kill the current preacher’s wife in order for another woman to be married to him.  This woman was perfectly content to ignore these key Bible verses thinking God has suddenly changed His mind to what is allowed within His established Laws.  All you need to do is to go and read the story of David and Bathsheba (2 Sam 11) and you will see clearly that God did not indorse this type of behavior of taking another person’s spouse.   Wow, that is a crazy dangerous approach to Christianity if you choose to ignore the Bible to establish an independent belief system of right and wrong.  Clearly Jesus called this a type of behavior the acts of a foolish man building his spiritual house on shifting sand and this will result in a great destruction of that house when the storm arrives (Mat 7:26-27).

THE TIME FOR KNOWING THE WORD OF GOD IS NOW!

Also in the last lesson, I used the example of Lazarus and the rich man in Luke to show you the appointed time of salvation and learning the Word of God is right NOW while you still can!  No human non-Christian is guaranteed a tomorrow.  No one likes to contemplate death, but death is inevitable for everyone if Jesus tarries long enough.  Many people in hell today probably thought they had more time before they had to make a choice.  However making no selection is still a conscious choice and people don’t always realize that.  We are all born into the world ignorant of the truth.  Therefore everyone is required to seek the truth in order to find it.  Those in hell today have either ignored the truth, did not seek the truth, refused to believe the truth and their ignorance of God and His word has caused them reap what they have sown and that is not good news for them.  I like to think of the Bible to be like the manufacturer’s handbook of instructions for the men and women on the earth.  Clearly we are God’s creation so there is no better place to learn about what God has created than learning it from the Creator’s own Owner’s Manual!   I also like to think that the Bible is God’s divine service plan of maintenance and repair for the human mind and spirit.  Without these inspired words written on the pages, no one could be saved today, including me!  Therefore knowing the Bible is the foundation for everything else that occurs in our life that is positive.  I guess the flip side (inverse truth) of that statement is that everything else that happens negatively in your life could come as a result of you not knowing the Word of God and doing it.  I really hope you understand the awesome importance of the Bible to some greater extent.   I’m going to give you the list of the twelve divine methods of communication that I have been teaching from again today so that you can review them:

  1. The Audible Voice of God
  2. The Finger of God
  3. Angels Sent by God
  4. Prophets, Teachers, Pastors, Evangelists, Apostles or other Men/Women (disciples) of God
  5. The inward Still Small Voice of God
  6. The Written Word of God
  7. External Visible Signs from God
  8. Visions from God
  9. Dreams from God
  10. Prayer of an Individual
  11. The Inward Witness of God / Moral Conscience / Intuition / Internal Knowledge / Spiritual Insight
  12. Patterns found within God’s Creation

From this list I have introduced you to methods 12, 9, 8, 7, 6, 3, 2 and 1 so far.  So we are getting nearer to the end, but we still have a lot to cover and maybe some of the most important methods are still left to come.  I think today I am going to focus only on number 4 and speak to you about a method that God has used extensively in the Bible to communicate with many people.  Like the written Word of God, the use of a human messenger like a prophet has been comprehensively established by God from cover to cover.  There are certainly overlaps between the written word of God and God’s usage of a man to bring a verbal message to God’s people.  Many of the prophetical Old Testament books were God’s messages to the nation of Israel and these messages were always designed to ultimately point Israel to Jesus.  However these books also still hold information that is relevant to the church that we need to learn from today.  As the population of the earth increased from the two original father and mother of us all, God came down to one man or one woman usually to bring a message to all of the others.  The first recorded human messenger of God could possibly be viewed to be Adam.  Clearly we are told that God spoke to Adam and Eve and prophesied many things to come.  However, if Adam ever left us a message from God I do not know of its existence today.  The major problem with believing Adam was a prophet is the lack of anyone else on the earth to prophesy it to.  Everyone present on earth heard what God said in Genesis 3 and this is the last time that I know of that this has occurred.  It was only when Adam and Eve had children that they could teach them anything about what God had said and I do not know where that is recorded in the Bible either. In the book of Jude God declares that Enoch the seventh son from Adam prophesied about the coming of the Lord.  This is the first time that I know of where God says a man brought a direct message from God to others, but it is certainly not the last time this occurred.

BELIEVE HIS PROPHETS BY FAITH

2Ch 20:20  And they rose early in the morning, and went forth into the wilderness of Tekoa: and as they went forth, Jehoshaphat stood and said, Hear me, O Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem; Believe in the LORD your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper.

God is basically equating your belief in God to your belief in hearing the words of His prophets to be the same.  This verse is informing you of one way you can prosper in the world.  To prosper is an all-inclusive term including health and wealth.  Of course this verse is written to natural Israel, but it has a double referenced intentional truth that applies to the modern church today also.  God is declaring a greater truth in this verse than you can imagine.  God had to speak to the prophet in order for the prophet to speak to the people.  The people had to hear the message an then believe the message and finally accept and do the message.  This is an example of being led by a prophet and this is very valid in the Old Testament, but I’ll have to explain why it is not so valid in the New Testament soon.

Everything that God does on the earth is based upon a spiritual law called faith (Rom 3:27).  If God would come to everyone individually or corporately and reveal His existence, no one would be permitted a freewill choice not to believe in Him.  However if a single man of God comes from God to you with the Words of God you now have a freewill choice to make immediately!  Do I believe that God sent this man and do I believe that he speaks for God?  These are now faith based choices built upon you hearing and believing or hearing and rejecting the words spoken to you.  If you choose to believe them, then you are saved, but if you refuse to believe them God says you will perish  (Mark 16:16).  This is clearly an example of the divine sovereign choice of God.  God allows all men freewill to do as they please.  God never forces anyone to believe anything.  Here is a scripture that reveals the faith based process created by God.

Rom 10:14  How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?

Hearing a preacher is a concept that dominates the entire Bible from Genesis to the Revelation.  Noah was revealed to us to be a righteous preacher (2 Peter 2:5) of the truth of God and he proclaimed the end is near for nearly 100 years while building the ark.  Everyone heard the message and laughed at the words of God and then the rains came and washed them all away.  It is also this exact same way today.  Jesus said as it was in the days of Noah so shall it be in the days before the coming of the Son of Man! (Mat 24:37).  Today, when I tell people that the end is near, I have people laugh at me and perhaps you do to.   What would have happened if God suddenly appeared to everyone on the earth in Noah’s day?  Would anyone have doubted Noah then?  I do not think they could.  It is clear to me that God’s ways of doing things are not our ways of doing things.

THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL AND GOD’S MEDIATOR MOSES

When God heard the cries of Israel in bondage in Egypt, what did God do?  God selected one man named Moses to be the deliver with the message of deliverance.  Moses continued to be the man with the message from God right up until he died in the wilderness.  This is called a mediator approach to communication between two parties.  Not listening to the preachers of God today may cause you to be washed away or even left in symbolic Egypt very soon also.  This is one of the main reasons that I listen to every preacher that I can.  I have over 10,000 MP3 files of preachers and teachers and I have listened to most of them and some of the lessons I have listened to a 100 times because they were so good.  Please understand why God has done what He has done.  God forces everyone involved to have faith and believe His words.  The children of Israel definitely had this choice and wavered back and forth based upon whether Moses was actually present or not.  Pharaoh clearly did not believe Moses had the words of God and hardened his heart against God.  God sent plagues and eventually convinced Pharaoh after the firstborn of his family was killed.   There are always consequences for not hearing the Word of God and doing it.  This is an important lesson but I’m going to move on and continue teaching on being led by the Spirit of God.

THE 5 FOLD MINISTRY GIFTS IN THE CHURCH

Let’s shift our focus off of the Old Testament examples to more modern relevant teachings found within the New Covenant for the church:

Eph 4:11  And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

Eph 4:12  For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

Here in Ephesians 4:11-12 is the same concept of a Noah or a Moses being repeated in the modern church today.  Sometimes people don’t realize that what God did in the Old Covenant is a foreshadowing of what He will do again in the New Covenant.  There is truly nothing new under the sun as it says in Ecclesiastes.  The thing that has been in the natural realm is the exact same thing that shall be again in the spiritual realm.  We know from reading here in Ephesians that not everyone in the church is an apostle.  Not everyone in the church is a prophet.  Not everyone in the church is an evangelist.  Finally not everyone is called to be a pastor or a teacher either.  This is a divine designed hierarchical structured approach to spiritual organization.  It is a classic set and sub-set teaching from high school math.  We are all in the Body of Christ Set, but we are not all in the Apostle subset, for example.  Without structure we would have a body of all leaders and no followers or all followers and no leaders.  Jesus of course is the Head of the Body and He takes preeminence over everyone else.  Jesus Christ is also the only physical man on the earth that occupied every office of the 5 fold ministry.  However what God does today is to give some men and women on the earth today a specific role of responsibility with a message and these individuals are held accountable for teaching it to everyone else.  The Bible says that the gifts and callings of God are without repentance (Rom 11:29).   It was this way with Moses and the children of Israel and it will continue to be this way until the church is taken up very soon.  Why does God do things this way?   You need to immediately stop and ask yourself are you a called apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor or teacher or are you just a disciple?  Finding your place in the body will determine what you need to do next.  If you are NOT one of the classic 5 fold ministers then why are they needed, if the same Spirit of God is resident in you as it is in them?  Can’t the Spirit of God just teach me everything that I need to know directly?  I think that is an excellent question!  This method that God has implemented, gives everyone individual responsibility and future accountability for doing what God has said.  Again it is based upon the requirement of the spiritual faith of each individual to respond and to believe the message from God when no one has ever seen God.  Without faith it is impossible to please Him (Heb 11:6) God says.  Ignoring the subject of faith will cause you to be unpleasing to God and miss out on the blessings of God and that is a tragedy.  Many times I have seen God lead people with questions to the men of God who know the answers.  This is a modern example of being led into the truth by the Spirit of God.  God leads some men to find certain things in the Bible and to teach them and then God leads others who wish to know the truth to those that are teaching it.

God declares that He has established apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers for the “perfecting” of the saints.  Did you know that you were a saint RIGHT NOW?  There are many Christians who do not include themselves in the “saint” category of spiritual beings.  One unnamed church denomination votes people to sainthood based upon some undocumented and unscriptural working of miracles supposedly?  Therefore in this church no one can be a saint unless some men on the earth say they can be one and this is usually after they are dead and gone.  So technically to them there can be no benefit on the earth of being a saint and it appears to have benefits only in the afterlife.  Wow, that makes the Christian life pretty tough if you have to please men and you choose to ignore God.   That is another example of how some people have ignored the Bible to teach another man-made doctrine.  I am a saint right now according to the Bible and if you are born again you are a saint also right now according to the Bible!  Use your Bible program on your computer and search for the word “saint(s)” and go read about yourself and find the truth.  There are 62 verses in the New Testament that use this word in KJV Bible.  If you don’t have a Bible program you can download one for free.  You have no excuse not to search and find what the truth is.

The Greek word translated as “Perfecting” does not mean you will become perfect!  The Greek word translated as perfecting comes from a word that means to “repair”.  What does it mean to repair something?  Does it mean that something must first be broken or in need of repair?  I believe that it does.  I never fixed anything that was not broken.  Also I do not know about you but anytime I ever repaired something I could never call it perfect again.  Even if you glue it back and fill the cracks no matter what you attempt to do to it, it can never be called perfect again.  The Bible is more complex than this one verse however.  There is a verse that says “If any man be in Christ he is a new creature” (2 Cor 5:17).  After being born again you become a brand new creation in your spirit, but your mind is still not renewed until you replace all of the old natural junk with God’s Word.  Do you feel like you were broken before Christ came along?  After you were a believer, did you feel like you were a new creature?  This is why we do not walk by feelings, we walk by faith in God’s Word.  I need to get back to the main subject and talk about God’s usage of the 5 ministry gifts.  God says that the ministry gifts as described in Ephesians have been given for the good of the whole church body.  If you are a teacher then teach.  If you are not a teacher then learn to study from a teacher called by God.  If you are an apostle go to who God has sent you to. If you are an evangelist preach the gospel of salvation to everyone.  If you are a pastor become a shepherd to God’s sheep.  If you are a prophet prophesy what God gives you for the edifying of the body.  Soon I will give you an example of just because you are an apostle that does not mean you do not need a prophet.

I have heard many people say to me I can read and study the Bible all by myself and the Spirit of God will teach me everything that I need to know!  That is a belief built upon a partial truth ignoring all other truths.  If that was the complete truth there would be no need for God to have teachers like me in the church.  If that was the complete truth, there would also be no requirement for you to have faith!  The scripture in John 16:13 that people embrace incorrectly says “The Spirit of Truth will guide you into all truth”.  But, if you expect the Spirit of God to teach you all truth you have misapplied the verse.  There is a great deal of difference between being led into the truth and being taught the truth directly by the Spirit.  I have people being led by God to my website to get answers that they have been searching for and this is how God works.  When you try to misapply the Bible you paint yourself into a corner that limits God’s ability to reach you.  If you expect God to teach you what He has already taught someone else to give you the answer, then you are expecting things to happen outside of the designed plan of God.  It is true that everyone is required to study the Bible for themselves (including me) and to research and prove all things that anyone else teaches by confirming it in the Word of God! (Acts 17:11)  But that does not mean that God is going to come to you and tell you everything nor does it mean God will give everyone the same revelation knowledge or understanding of the Bible.  You just cannot find this in the Bible.  God gave Paul specific revelation that He gave no one else.  God gave John the revelation of the end times and you cannot find anyone else that wrote the same book of information unless you go back to Daniel and see some specific parallels.  Guess what I’m a Bible teacher and I do not know everything.  Only God knows everything.  No man is God!  That is another reason why I listen to other Bible teachers.  God will never give any one man the complete knowledge of the entire Bible.  So I’ll tell you very plainly you need to read and study from many teachers of God and not just one.  The more you know the faster you will be able to recognize which ones are stronger in their knowledge of God and which ones are less mature than maybe you are.  Some preachers I listen to one time and move on because they have no clue what they are saying.  You need to learn to let the Spirit of God within you confirm what a man is teaching you and I’ll get into that more soon.

A PERSONAL EXAMPLE OF GUIDANCE FROM A PREACHER

I went to a church that had a pastor that is still one of my favorites.  When I lost my job over twenty years ago because the company went bankrupt, I started seeking God for help and guidance.  I told you in the last lesson that I began to seek God by looking first to the Word of God and God spoke to me about having a job for me from a verse that I saw in the Bible.  But, that was not the end of the story.  Within two weeks I had two job offers from two different companies.  At that time I was standing at a fork in the road of life decision point.  I knew that God had said that He had a job for me by me believing His Word, but which one do I take?  If I only had one job offer I could assume that this was the one that God had opened up for me.  But since I had two job offers I had to assume that one was the right one and the other one was the wrong one.  So I began to pray again and ask God for which one to take.  One Sunday night in church my favorite preacher was speaking and all of sudden he said something that rang true in my spirit to which job to take.  This is a prime example of how the Spirit of God can answer your prayer request by speaking through another Spirit filled man of God.   The preacher never knew he was speaking to me and I never told him I needed to hear from God.  This makes it more spectacular when God answers in this way.  It also proves He heard my prayer request because the preacher was led by the Spirit of God and he was able to deliver the message to me from God.  I took the words of the preacher to be from God and not from the preacher and I made the choice and worked for that company that I felt led to go to.  I hope you understand what I am saying today.  God sometimes uses other people to get you a message.  I have to admit I was not expecting to hear it from the preacher, but God did it this way to teach me a new lesson.  The preacher that is speaking to you may never be talking directly to you, looking at you and they may not tell you anything specifically like your name or your choices that you should make but they may simply just say enough to give you the direction to go in and you know it in your spirit.  I don’t know how God does it exactly or why God does it this way sometimes, but I am a witness to the fact that it is done this way often in churches that are led by the Spirit of God.  If you are not getting directions or guidance from you pastor to the events of life you are going to the wrong church.

ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF BEING LED BY A MAN OF GOD

I’ll give you another example from a preacher that gave his testimony of how God led him.  This preacher was offered a church position in Texas.  He really wanted to make sure he was being led by God and not by an offer so he began to pray and seek God for what to do!  Do I stay here or do I go to Texas?  This was another example of a fork in the road of life with no visible sign posts for the direction to travel in.  Always remember if any road could get you where you needed to be then it would not matter which decision you made.  However when I studied the Bible, I learned that just any road is not the right answer.  Only the narrow right path will lead you to life and the wide path leads you to destruction.  So it definitely matters in life which road you select in everything that you do.  This preacher continued for several days praying and asking God for direction and one day he was walking outside down the road praying again for what to do and another minister of God not from his church came running by getting his exercise.  He suddenly stopped and said something to the effect of you better stay where you are at and then kept running by.  This running preacher did not know the situation nor was he asked to give his opinion of what was being contemplated.  It was simply the Spirit of God speaking through him confirming what the other preacher should do, but was debating in his mind because of a new church offer.  Again this is just how God does things sometimes.  The preacher stayed in the church he was at and that church is now one of the largest churches in that city.

WHAT DO YOU DO IF YOU NEED TO KNOW WHICH ROAD TO TAKE?

If you are ever faced with a fork in the road life decision like should I marry that man?  Or should I work for that company?  Or should I move to another city?  Then you need to stop and seek God for what to do.  Don’t do anything or be pressured to do anything until you actually are confident that you have heard from God.  Did you hear what I said?  This could be a matter of minutes or even a matter of several days.  Look for the answer to come in several different ways depending upon your spiritual maturity and your ability to hear the Spirit of God.  I’ll use a famous movie line that I remember which the teacher said to the student “Don’t move till you see it”.  If you move before you hear from God you will probably regret it very soon.  If you pray and ask for directions then expect to hear God answer, but you are going to have to exercise some patience and wait until you hear.   Let me give you another Bible example from the New Testament:

Act 21:10  And as we tarried there many days, there came down from Judaea a certain prophet, named Agabus.

Act 21:11  And when he was come unto us, he took Paul’s girdle, and bound his own hands and feet, and said, Thus saith the Holy Ghost, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.

People, we are told are tarrying in Jerusalem for many days?  To tarry is an act of waiting and exercising patience.  Why were these people in Jerusalem waiting?  I guess they were waiting to hear from God?  I based that upon what happened next!  God sends a prophet to the group in Jerusalem with a very specific message for them.  Remember we are talking about the Apostle Paul here in this group of people!  Apparently even an apostle needs a prophet occasionally.  The prophet takes Paul’s girdle and binds his hands and feet and here is the part that I want you to see.  The prophet says “Thus says the Holy Ghost”.  Wow is that important?  These are not the words of the prophet, they are clearly the words carried to be delivered to Paul from God.  God teaches us that men still bring messages from God to other men even if they are great apostles and wrote 2/3 of the New Testament.  If you think you will never need your brother or your sister in Christ you might just miss one of the most important messages from God that you have ever needed to hear.  Are you grasping these concepts today?

Why didn’t God just speak to Paul directly?  I personally believe that God did speak to Paul directly and the prophet sent was just a confirmation to what Paul already knew in his spirit.  I will definitely speak more in the future about being led by the Spirit of God personally, but today I am just trying to teach you how God still uses men to get messages to other men.   I also want you to see that you do not have to be a preacher, teacher, apostle, prophet or evangelist to be sent by God with a message.

Act 9:10  And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord.

Act 9:11  And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth,

I want you to see in these two verses that there is a lot going on.  The spiritual information being taught is extremely complex and very extensive.  Before these verses Saul was on the road to Damascus and Jesus shows up in a vision and this is another demonstration of the sovereign will of God getting the attention of a future great man of God.  In this vision Saul was saved, did you know that can happen?  The Bible says Saul must have believed in the Lord because that is what Saul calls Him, his Lord!  According to what God says in Romans 10:9-10, that is all it takes to be saved.  It is also interesting to note what Jesus said to Saul as instructions.  Let me give you verse 6 quickly:

Act 9:6  And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.

Jesus was speaking to Saul personally in a vision and He tells Saul to go into the city and basically wait for further instructions.  Why didn’t God just tell Saul what was going to happen right then?  God has his full attention, but the full disclosure of information was never given.  This is how God operates.  God will tell you the step by step instructions of what to do and He will hardly ever give you the end step before the first step.  As you can see Saul is required to obey and to believe which is called walking by faith.  The Spirit of God then speaks to Ananias in a vision and tells him to go to the house where Saul is for the next steps to take place.  Both men are required to walk by faith.

We are told that Saul is in a house praying and then before that it says a certain disciple named Ananias must also have been praying because He was given a vision from God to go to see Saul.  Saul is the future Apostle Paul and God uses a relatively unknown spirit-filled disciple to deliver a message so that Saul can receive his sight and be filled with the Spirit of God.  What I am attempting to teach you is that you do not have to hold an office of one of the five-fold ministry positions in order to be used mightily by God.  Anyone available can be used by God to bring someone a message of help so that they can receive an answer to their prayer.  What we learn from this story is that if Saul would have refused to be ministered to by a simple disciple because he was looking for a great prophet, or an angel or another vision from Jesus, he would have not written the greatest part of the New Testament.  Do you see my points found in this story?  Can you learn anything from this that you can apply to your situation today?  I know I can!  Maybe you should go back and reread the entire chapter and see what other nuggets of spiritual knowledge you can find hidden there.

ASKING GOD THE RIGHT QUESTIONS!

Let me speak to another issue in closing concerning how to be led by God with greater precision.  Does it matter how you ask God for direction?  You better believe it matters.  Everything you do and how you do it always matters.  If you ask without using any wisdom you may paint God into a corner where He has to choose between the lesser of two evils.  You see there are three different types of questions generally speaking.  These are Yes/No Questions, closed questions and open questions.  If you are faced with a fork in the road life decision choosing between two obvious choices, always leave God a different answer or option.  This in effect changes the question from a closed question to an open type of question.  In other words when I look back upon my decision of choosing between two jobs that were offered to me and I only asked God “Do I work for company A or do I work for company B?”  Do you see the problem with that question?  What if there was a company C that was the optimal way to go and I missed that one because God had to choose between the lesser of the two bad choices that I gave Him to select from?  Wow, that is some very good and valuable teaching and I hope you understand what I am saying?  Remember when Jesus came up to the boat walking on the water in Matthew 14 and there was a great storm raging and the disciples cried out in fear and then suddenly Peter says “Lord if it is you bid me to come on the water”!  That is a clear example of painting God into a corner with a closed question without thinking about what you are asking.  Because it was Jesus He had no choice but to say come!  There were no other correct answers for Jesus.  Jesus could not say no Peter it is not me, don’t come!  He could also not say “Yes it is me but don’t come”.  Neither of these would have been permissible for the question being asked.  So Peter goes out to walk on the water like Jesus and eventually is shrouded in new found doubts of uncertainty and begins to sink.  Now Jesus is forced to save Peter because he was not ready for water walking faith.  Peter should have asked “Lord if it is you and it is your will tell me to come” or “If I am able to stay above the water and it is you, bid me to come”.  Would either of these different types of questions resulted in a different answer from Jesus?  Potentially yes!   What I have learned is we would all benefit if we would learn to think before we speak.  Always give God an out for a different better possible direction to go in.  Never place specific limitations on God’s answer by your question.  Never stop and say “Should I stay here or should I go to Texas”?  There could be something else behind door number 3 that is way the best choice for you but you missed it because you were not open to that possibility.  I began to learn this lesson from how Jesus prayed and asked His father things.  Once Jesus is recorded praying and saying “If it be possible, take this cup from me, nevertheless not my will, but thine be done”.  You can see that Jesus left it open ended to do the will of God and did not elminate any possible choices.

I hope you have learned something new about being led by the Spirit of God today.  This subject is very complex and God has many ways to get a message to you.  Being open and smart to these methods will allow God to get to you faster than if you were narrow minded and placed constraints on God’s ways to communicate.  We still have several more methods to discuss and hopefully we will go a bit faster now, but I cannot guarantee that.  I will have to wait and see how the Lord leads me and then try to follow what He wants to say.  If you have ever heard God speak through a minister to answer your question to God, please tell me about it.  I’m sure I’m not the only one that has experienced this.  Thanks for taking the time to read and study the Bible today and until next time God Bless you tremendously.

If you would like to continue reading in this series of lessons you may continue to “Part 6” now.

Understanding How to Be Led By the Spirit of God! Being Led by the Written Word of God! Part 4



(ver 1.2) This is Part 4 in a series of basic Christian Bible lessons on the subject of Being Led by the Spirit of God.   If you have not read this series from the beginning I would suggest that you go and start reading with “Part 1“.   The spiritual importance of this series will be significantly greater than most other lessons that I have done if you can grasp them.  Learning this series intimately will build a strong foundation for further spiritual growth.  Why did Jesus constantly say, “Let him who has ears to hear, hear”? (Mat 11:15, Mat 13:9, Mat 13:43)    Jesus understood that when anyone teaches spiritual things the human mind is so cluttered with natural thingsand  that these natural things are used by Satan to block or blind the hearer so they do not understand the truth.  I am currently going through a list in random order of the recorded methods in the Bible that God has used to communicate with the human race in an attempt to lead them into the paths that they should go.  I have attempted to emphasize that whenever God leads an individual, it is always intended to cause them a positive outcome.  God will never lead you into harm, hurt or the paths of destruction.  I based this belief upon a scripture found in Jeremiah 29:11 that says God has thoughts of peace towards us and not evil and that God desires us to have a positive outcome.    Therefore I have concluded that God speaks to people in order to cause an expected specific greater outcome than one that may have occurred without this divine impartation of information.  I completely believe that the leading of the Lord will benefit all those who have selected to listen.  There are many other types of people in the earth today that believe God is sitting in heaven just waiting for us to do wrong so that He can strike us down with His iron fist of judgment.  However, that is not the loving God that I know who wants us to listen to His Word to have good success (Joshua 1:8).  Let’s review my list of 12 methods that I gave you in the last three lessons:

  1. The Audible Voice of God
  2. The Finger of God
  3. Angels Sent by God
  4. Prophets, Teachers, Pastors, Evangelists, Apostles or other Men/Women (disciples) of God
  5. The inward Still Small Voice of God
  6. The Written Word of God
  7. External Visible Signs from God
  8. Visions from God
  9. Dreams from God
  10. Prayer of an Individual
  11. The Inward Witness of God / Moral Conscience / Intuition / Internal Knowledge / Spiritual Insight
  12. Patterns found within God’s Creation

These are the 12 methods that I have discovered while reading and studying the Bible.  Some I have experienced personally and others I have learned about from people that have experienced them and all of them can be found in the Bible to establish their importance.  From this list I have introduced you to methods 12, 9, 8, 3, 2 and 1 so far.  I also briefly talked about number 7 in conjunction with other methods that God has used to lead people primarily in the Old Testament.  For example, the burning bush that Moses encountered was clearly an external visible sign that was designed to get his attention.  We also know that the children of Israel were led in the wilderness with a visible pillar of fire by night and the visible clouds by day and I taught you these were Old Testament typologies of how God will also lead the church today by His Spirit.  I think today I’m going to teach on only number 6, the written word of God.  The importance of the Word of God is so obvious to me yet to others it is the last place they look to find out what they should be doing in the present situations of their life.  That is a dangerous attitude that will result in their eventual doomed failure.  I