Monday, January 22, 2007



Study to show thyself approved unto God,a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15)
A. Why are we here?
(1) challenge regarding faith in Jesus Christ
A. Do you have problems?
(1) the importance of Bible Doctrine in solving problems
(2) learning and applying Bible Doctrine
A. Thinking vs Emotionalism
B. How Bible Doctrine helps us use Divine Viewpoint rather than human viewpoint
A. Lessons we MUST learn about PRIDE
(1) the causes and effects of pride in our lives
B. Carnality
(1) cause and solution for carnality
A. The value of TIME and how we should use it wisely
B. Best use of time through fellowship with the Lord
C. Eternal Security and what it means to us
D. The ministry of God, the Holy Spirit, in the life of the believer in Jesus Christ during the Church Age
A. A reference library of things learned
B. How your memory will help you
C. Building a vocabulary that is bible-oriented
D. Thinking categorically
E. How our conscience helps us make decisions
F. Wisdom and the importance of having it
A. Motivation
B. God's Word and your spiritual growth
C. How Jesus handled temptations
D. The four meanings of the word "IF"
E. The importance of Bible Doctrine
A. Why being in fellowship is vital in the Christian's life
B. Spiritual victory for Elijah on Mt. Carmel
C. Ahab, an apostate, carnal believer
D. Elijah's failure to trust the Lord and the consequences
E. The importance of Elijah's ministry and what he represents
A. The Doctrine of Hamartiology (SIN)
(1) meaning of the word sin
(2) all sin is against God
B. 3 categories of SIN
C. 3 categories of people
D. 7 areas of not thinking grace
E. 7 sins the Lord hates most
F. The Sin Unto Death ... what is it?
A. Who is God and what is He like?
C. The ATTRIBUTES of God and what they mean
A. Rightly dividing the Word of Truth via Dispensational interpretation
B. Why Dispensational teaching of scripture is important
A. The evidence of carnality in the believer's life
B. The fruit of the Spirit in contrast to Old Sin Nature
control of our thoughts and actions
C. Fruit of the Spirit characteristics listed and explained
A. "THINKING" ... is this foreign word in our society today?
B. "STUDY" ......... why should I bother to study the Bible?
C. "FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD" ... how is it possible for sinful man to have fellowship with God who is Holy?
D. "BILE READING" ... where should I begin?
E. "BIBLE DOCTRINE" ... what is it?
why is it so important?
what do I do with it?
A. Satan's strategies to destroy mankind
(1) ENVIRONMENT as an issue
(2) PEACE as an issue
(3) ECCUMENICALISM as an issue
(a) why not have a one-world church?
(4) SOCIALISM and how it affects a nation
(a) what the Social Gospel presents
(5) INTERNATIONALISM as an issue
B. The Anti-Christ ... world dictator during the Tribulation period
(1) what he will be able to accomplish
(2) his final end
(1) what is personal responsibility?
B. Old testament characters who illustrate the importance of having personal responsibility
C. National Responsibility
(1) who is responsible when a nation is disciplined or destroyed?
A. Using the "Follow- through" technique in the Christian's life
(1) are we involved or content to watch others succeed?
B. How do we grow spiritually?
C. How can we help to preserve nation?
A. Is ours a heathenistic society?
B. What is Liberalism?
C. What is the Christian's attitude to be toward both?
A. What is Internationism?
B. How does the Lord view internationalism vs Nationalism?
C. How does the Bible illustrate both of these?
A. What is Heathenism all about?
A. Buried Treasure can be found in the Bible
(1) How do we find it?
(2) What equipment do we need?
B. The Doctrine of Death in the Scriptures
(1) The 7 deaths
C. The Doctrine of Dispensations
(1) Why is this important for us to know?
(1) How a thirst for power affected king David's family
A. Foolishness vs Wisdom
B. King Solomon's request for wisdom
C. Rehoboam takes bad advice
1.) nation is divided
D. Jeroboam becomes king over 10 tribes of the Children of Israel
1.) idolatry the result of foolishness
A. Getting to know God
B. Emotions vs thinking
C. Importance of knowing God's thoughts
A. Picture of salvation for Adam & Eve
B. Abraham's offering of Isaac
C. Moses and the Rock
D. Lessons from the life of Joseph
E. Significance of Jonah's experience
A. Avoiding Mistakes
B. Learning from the Failures of Others
A. After death, what?
B. What is life?
C. The soul is eternal
A. Do you want to be popular?
B. Why were they afraid to witness about Christ
A. Looking at Our Human and Spiritual Intelligence
A. Manna
A. What is the spiritual life?
No doubt, every thinking person has asked that question at some time in their life.
Well, the answer can only be found in a careful study of God's Word!
Let's explore some facts that the Lord has given us: Yes, He has an answer to EVERY problem you and I could possibly face, but it must be done by a concentrated effort to study the 66 books contained in the Holy Scriptures we commonly call the Bible.
If you have never personally put your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as your saviour, stop right now and consider the following facts I'm going to relate to you:
(1) Jesus Christ is God and man in one person forever
(2) He came into the world and became true humanity for the sole purpose of dying on the cross for the sins of the world
(3) Because He is sinless, Jesus Christ was able to bear every sin that has been or ever will be committed, and took our place as a substitute for each one of us
(4) When you accept that fact by faith and add NOTHING you do to that simple faith in the work of Christ on the cross, you become a Christian. No one can decide for you, because the Lord has given each of us a decider known as a free-will to make that decision. When you become a Christian you are then able to understand spiritual truth. To the unbeliever, the Word of God is a closed book which they not only do not understand, but they distort the meaning God intended for us.
I'll be using the terms "believer" and "unbeliever" as we look at the big picture of why we are here and the purpose for our existence.
A believer is a person who has believed in Jesus Christ for salvation. An unbeliever is a person who prefers to accept his OWN good works rather that the ONLY work that God, the Father can accept which is God, the Son in true and perfect humanity paying the penalty for our sins.
Each one of us has a nature to sin, and we are born with that "Sin Nature". Nothing we can do, good or bad, is acceptable to God!
Well, now let's get to our original question of what we are doing here.
In eternity past, before Adam and Eve were created, God created angels. The most beautiful angel of all was Lucifer, the son of the morning. His position was to be guardian of the throne room of God. That was the highest rank possible for a created being to hold. All the angels were also given a free-will to make their own decisions.
One day Lucifer became very proud of his magnificent beauty and talent and decided he would exalt himself above all the angels and that he would be exactly like God. We are told about his words in Isaiah 14:13,14.
Also, one-third of the angels decided to go with Lucifer. They are called demons
God's response to Lucifer's arrogance was to give a sentence of eternal judgment. He also changed Lucifer's name to Satan, which means ADVERSARY.
Satan appealed that sentence and said it wasn't a fair decision. God cannot be unfair to anyone, so He created a new creature ... man ... to prove to Satan that given a free-will like the angels had, man would decide whether or not they would choose God's will for his life or decide to go the same arrogant way Satan and his angels did.
Now, we have the basic reason for our being here, which is to make that decision during our lifetime whether to obey God or to follow Satan.
During this contest, angels are observing us, but we cannot see them except through the written pages of God's Word.
God has set a time limit for this contest, but he has not told us exactly when it will end. He has told us that when it does end, Satan and his demons will be cast into a Lake of Fire which will never be quenched. Also, people who refuse to accept the work of Jesus Christ on the cross will join them in that place of eternal torment.
Those people who accept Jesus Christ as their saviour will spend eternity with Him where there will be no more tears, no more pain and no more death.
That decision is the responsibility of each one of us, and I trust that you have made that all-important choice, because that is why you and I are here on this earth today!
Todays Verse John 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.
Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2 Tim. 2:15)
All Scripture is God-breathed, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; that the man of God might be mature, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. ( 2 Tim. 3:16-17
End of Introduction
When you tell people your problems, 50% don't really care and the rest think you had it coming!
Before, we talked about "why we are here", and now if you have put your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, He has a plan for your life!
God has a perfect plan for your life ... that's God's DIRECTIVE WILL, he also will allow you to go your own way under certain circumstances ... that's God's PERMISSIVE WILL. But wait ... He also has an OVERRULING WILL which prevents you from going a certain way. There are examples of these wills in the Bible, but today let's talk about PROBLEM-SOLVING.
You don't need counselling to solve your problems! (that is the popular way to go today in our society, of course) What you really need is GOD'S VIEWPOINT... or DIVINE VIEWPOINT as we will refer to it.
What is DIVINE VIEWPOINT? Psalm 119:105 tells us, ''THY WORD is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path."
How do we get DIVINE VIEWPOINT? 2 Timothy 3:16 ''Study to show thyself approved unto God; a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth."
Why should we study? Psalm 119:11 "Thy Word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against thee."
How do we begin to learn God's Word?
(1) we must correctly understand and analyze what the Lord wants us to know.
(a) are you teachable or are you negative?
(b) are you willing to listen or read and concentrate? If you are, you will learn and then you will think the way God thinks. After that, you will be able to apply what you have learned and believed (metabolized) to every problem in your life. (this doesn't happen overnight ... it takes time to learn and absorb the truth of God's Word! You don't go from simple fractions to calculus!) BE PATIENT AND BE FAITHFUL TO FIND GOD'S WILL FOR YOUR LIFE!
Where do we begin?
You need to find a man who has the spiritual gift of Pastor-Teacher, and who knows the original languages of scripture so that he can give you the tools with which you can study and learn BIBLE DOCTRINE.
What tools are we talking about?
(1) principles: ie: truths which are the foundation upon which we build knowledge of Bible Doctrine
(2) categories: ie: classified thoughts or actions through knowing Bible Doctrine
(3) Doctrines: ie: learning what the Bible teaches about specific subjects from Genesis to Revelation, and then coming to a conclusion about each of those subjects that is correct... GOD"S VIEWPOINT
To whet your appetite for more Bible Doctrine, here's just a sample of what I'm talking about. This sample is one that always divides Christians because they don't have the "big picture"...the Bible Doctrine... about the subject.
BAPTISM (the word means every case throughout the Bible)
There are two categories of Baptism, and they are as follows: (there are a total of 7)
DRY (Real Baptisms)
Baptism of Moses: (the children of Israel are IDENTIFIED with Moses as they pass through the Red Sea 1Corinthians 10:1,2)
Baptism of the Cross or Cup: (the Lord Jesus Christ is identified with the cross. Matthew 20:22)
Baptism of Fire: (for the unbeliever only... it is a baptism of judgment) Matthew 25:31,33; Matthew 3:11; Luke 3:16; 2 Thess. 1:7-9
Baptism of the Holy Spirit: (for the believer only...the Holy Spirit enters believers into union with Christ at the moment of salvation. Acts 1:5; 1 Cor. 12:13;; Romans 6:3,4; Gal.3:27;; Col. 2:12; Ephesians 4:5
WET (Ritual Baptisms...water symbolic of something else, but the individual is really identified with the water)
Baptism of John: (Matthew 3:6, 11a... water symbolic of the Kingdom of God, which John preached. Acts 19:4. The people who came to John were saying in effect "I have trusted in Christ"
Baptism of Jesus: (water is used for his UNIQUE BAPTISM which symbolized the Father's will for him. He said by his baptism that He would go to the cross and die for the sins of the world. Matthew 3:13-17)
Baptism of the Believer in Jesus Christ during the Church Age in which we live: (Matthew 28:19. Water represents the person of the Lord Jesus Christ in His DEATH, BURIAL AND RESURRECTION)
End of lesson One
The last time we met here on the Website, we looked at the importance of knowing how God thinks .., ie: BIBLE DOCTRINE, and we had a small sample of what BIBLE DOCTRINE is.
When we hear what God thinks, our lives should improve, and our problems can be handled.
Right actions come from our thinking! They do not come from our EMOTIONS!
We are overly passive today, because it is the "easy way" to live. Sadly, however, when we let everyone else do our thinking for us, we become lax in thinking for ourselves, and we fail to analyze what we read and hear by comparing those things with what God thinks.
Do you believe everything you read and hear from the media which surrounds our lives every day? If you said "yes", you don"t have Bible Doctrine as a believer in Jesus Christ. In that case, you will be a "loser" when it comes to living a life which is honoring to the Lord.
When we get correct teaching from a pastor-teacher who knows the original languages of scripture and can give us a foundation on which to build our faith in the Lord, we must first of all want to be taught ... we call that BEING TEACHABLE!"
When we desire and LEARN Bible Doctrine, we get UNDERSTANDING. Our understanding becomes our THINKING. When we think Bible Doctrine, we can APPLY it to our lives and to our many problems which face us on a daily basis. Then we can SOLVE those problems!
Think of your life as being in a frame that you can study and look at in order to check your progress in this 'game of life' in which we are all involved:
1.) In this frame, you can put thoughts and actions together in order to look and examine them closely.
(a) Proverbs 1:5 "A wise man will hear, and will increase learning and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels."
2.) Next, you build a new vocabulary with which you can arrange and define your thoughts.
(a) Proverbs 4:7 "Wisdom is the principal thing, therefore get wisdom; and with all thy getting, get understanding."
3.) All the things you hear and read about can be classified into certain categories where they can be divided into usable and worthwhile thoughts and actions.
(a) Proverbs 5:1 "My son, attend unto my wisdom, and bow thine ear to my understanding."
4.) We can distinguish right from wrong so that we may change our ways and thoughts to agree with God's thoughts and ways.
(a) Isaiah 55:8-11: For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
For as the rain cometh down and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater.
So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth; it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereunto I send it."
5.) We learn to overcome the pressures in life ... little by little, as we take in Bible Doctrine.
(a) Isaiah 28:10 "For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little and there a little."
6.) Through the intake, on a regular basis, of Bible Doctrine, we will be able to form sound judgment, and make the BIG PICTURE of ourselves pleasing in our own eyes. When we are able to do that, we build self-esteem.
(a) Proverbs 16:7 tells us: "When a man's ways please the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him."
End of lesson Two
Have you ever heard that statement before?
Pride was the original sin in the universe, and it was committed by Lucifer. He was the most beautiful creature God ever created! One day, he decided he was going to be exactly like God. Isaiah 14:12-14:
As a result of Lucifer's arrogance, God changed his name to Satan (adversary), and sentenced him to the Lake of Fire.
The Lord has many things to say to us about PRIDE. Here are a few to consider:
"Talk no more so exceeding proudly; let not arrogancy come out of your mouth; for the Lord is a God of knowledge, and by Him actions are weighed." 1 Samuel 2:3
"The Wicked, through pride of his countenance, will not seek God; God is not in all his thoughts." Psalm 10:4
"Only by pride cometh contention; but with the well-advised is wisdom." Proverbs 13:10
As a believer in Jesus Christ, we are in carnality when we are proud, and we have no fellowship with him in time. 1st John 1:9 tells us "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness." At that moment you are Filled With The Holy Spirit and now have fellowship with God in Time.
Some of the results of PRIDE are: jealousy, bitterness, self-pity, temper, anger, hatred, murder and refusal to take responsibility for our own actions.
Let's not confuse pride with self-esteem!
If you take care of your body and look your best at all times, it doesn't mean you are PROUD! (some people may think so, but just stay with Bible Doctrine and move on)
As a believer in Jesus Christ, you and I are here to please Him ...not always trying to please people. When you are in fellowship with the Lord, you will please people ... remember Proverbs 16: 7 which we looked at last time ... "When a man's ways please the Lord, He maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him."
I'd like to leave you with the following thought expressed by the Lord in Proverbs 12:15:
End of lesson Three
TIME is a very precious thing, and we ought to use it wisely!
Each one of us uses time in a different way, because each of our lives are unique to the others.
Time spend in fellowship with the Lord is the most profitable time spent for the Christian. When we have no unconfessed sin in our life, God's Word tells us we are in fellowship with Him, and we are filled and controlled by the Holy Spirit.
When the Holy Spirit controls the believer, he/she is teachable. The Holy Spirit teaches our human spirit the things of God, which are not understandable by the carnal believer or the unbeliever.
In the Church Age in which we find ourselves every believer, upon simple faith in the work of Christ on the cross, is regenerated, baptized into the body of Christ ( the Church ), indwelt perpetually by the Holy Spirit, sealed by the Holy Spirit and given the privilege of being continuously FILLED with the Holy Spirit. All of this is unique and distinctive to the ministry of the Holy Spirit to the believer in the Church Age.
God, the Holy Spirit, is the revealer of all Divine Truth ... the scriptures are the product of the Holy Spirit. He guides the believer and calls the Christian to various service in the body of Christ ... the Church.
Before the Church Age began officially ... on the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit did not indwell believers, but He came upon some of them for special services like kings, prophets and priests. that is called INDUEMENT, which means to put on. He could be taken away as He was in the case of king Saul. Remember, David prayed, "Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy Holy Spirit from me." Psalm 51:11
We can't pray that prayer today. The apostle Paul tells us in Ephesians 4:30 "And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption." We can grieve or quench the Holy Spirit, but never lose Him!
Believer ... STOP WORRYING ABOUT LOSING YOUR SALVATION because you have committed a sin which is unforgiveable! Your salvation was secure at the moment you put your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. John 10:28 tells us clearly, "I give unto them ETERNAL LIFE, and they shall never perish; neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand."
Keep short accounts with God regarding your personal sins! Confess them to the Lord, forget about them and MOVE ON TO MATURITY through learning Bible Doctrine, applying Bible Doctrine and solving your own problems. You can do that only by a consistant intake of God's Word.
Are you ready to accept that Challenge?
End of lesson Four
The last time we met here on the Website we saw how it is absolutely necessary for the believer in Jesus Christ to confess his/her known sins to the Lord in order to be in fellowship with Him.
When you hear good, doctrinal teaching, the Holy Spirit teaches your human spirit, and He makes the things taught understandable. When you believe what you hear, you store those things in a reference library in your mind.
When you have a question or a problem that needs solving, you can go to that reference library and recall what you learned, and then you can apply the necessary doctrine to the situation.
If you are persistent in knowing and doing God's will, you will also begin to build up a vocabulary that is Bible-oriented. (often, you will find things to be contrary to what you believed before and/or learned from your human resources, ie: the media, books, etc.) It will be up to you to examine and sort this information correctly!
The result of having a good reference library built up in your memory will be your ability to put what you learn into specific categories. Then, when you hear certain words, you will automatically refer to your memory in that reference library, and you will be able to use the information to help yourself as well as those who may come to you with their questions, (I'm not talking about counselling, but instead, that would be giving correct information which you have learned so that the person needing help can decide for themselves about your advice)
The Lord has given each one of us a conscience so we may make decisions about whether or not something we think or do is right or wrong. God's Word will convict us of wrong-doing so that we may confess it and move on. (hopefully, we will not keep repeating the same sins over and over again, because discipline will surely follow if we do!) Look at Isaiah's word ... "And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left." (Isaiah 30:21)
Finally, if you really want to be wise in everything you do, you will listen, concentrate, learn, categorize, think and apply Bible Doctrine to every situation in life!
WISDOM is the application of Bible Doctrine to experience. Solomon was the wisest man who ever lived. God gave him this great wisdom when Solomon asked for guidance in ruling over Israel. (2 Chronicles 1:9-12)
Solomon gave us some excellent advice in Proverbs 1:5 ... "A wise man will hear and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels."
Also Solomon said, "The fear of the Lord (ie: reverence for Him) is the beginning of knowledge; but fools despise wisdom and instruction. (Proverbs 1:7)
End of lesson Five
When was the last time you were really motivated and excited about doing something? Maybe it was about taking a special vacation, going anywhere you think might make you happy? Some people spend all their lives in a FRANTIC SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS ... not that the things you want are not legitimate, but if you are a Christian, you should have certain priorities regarding finding what the Lord wants you to do. Of course, don't neglect your family or your responsibilities to your employer, etc., but you can always find time to do what you really want to do, can't you? BE HONEST ABOUT IT ... MOST OF US ARE NATURAL-BORN PROCRASTINATORS, AND WE KNOW IT!
Every Christian knows he/she is told by Peter to: "Desire the sincere milk of the Word, that ye may grow thereby." (1 Peter 2:2) Then Timothy tells us to: "Study to show thyself approved unto God; a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15) Did you notice that Timothy said "rightly dividing the Word of Truth?" Anyone can take the Word of God and make it mean what they want to have it say, but that only leads to a lot of confusion ... and what's even worse ... FALSE TEACHING. That's why we have so many cults in the world today. Satan knows scripture too, and he influences unbelievers as well as untaught believers about twisting the scriptures to their liking!
Satan did that when he tempted Jesus right after Jesus was identified with the Father's plan for his 3-year ministry. In Matthew chapter 4 we have the details of that temptation, and it is in three parts, (1) Jesus, in perfect humanity, had gone without physical food for forty days. God the Holy Spirit led Him into the wilderness where He would be tempted (not tested, you understand), by Satan himself.
Wait ... before we really study the discourse between Jesus and Satan, we must understand that the word "IF" can mean four differerent things in the Bible. Only understanding that principal can clarify the way Satan used scripture in trying to get his way with Jesus. The four meanings of the Word (if) are as follows:
(1) If ... and it's true
(a) Satan said, "If you are the Son of God ... "(and you are)
(2) If ... and it is NOT true
(a) Satan said, "If you will fall down and worship me, but you will not ..."
(3) If ... maybe "yes" and maybe "no"
(a) "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9)
(4) If ... a wish that it was so
(a) Paul told believers, "If you were suffering for righteousness sake ..." (I wish you were, but you're not)
READY TO TACKLE MATTHEW CHAPTER 4 and apply what we just said about the word "IF"?
Satan said to Jesus, "If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be turned into bread."
Jesus answered with scripture and said, "It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God". (Deuteronomy 8:3)
Next, Satan said to Jesus, "If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down; for it is written, He shall give His angels charge concerning thee; and in their hands, they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone." (Satan used scripture, but twisted the word!)
Jesus answered again with scripture, "It is written again, "Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God."
Finally, Satan misused scripture when he said as he took Jesus up to a high mountain where they both could see all the kingdoms of the world, "All these things will I give thee, If thou wilt fall down and worship me."
Jesus ordered, "Get thee hence, Satan for it is written, "Thou shall worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve."
All four uses of the word (IF) are found in Matthew 4:1-11. Satan knows that Jesus is the Son of God in perfect humanity. Satan thought he could destroy Jesus if He jumped from a high place. Satan is now, at this present time, ruler of the world, and his offer to give Jesus the kingdoms of the world was LEGITIMATE! The last temptation is a kind of combination of "maybe" and "wish", because Jesus had volition (a free will) to do what the Devil asked him to do.
We are also tempted as Christians, and 1 John 2:16 tells us clearly, "For all that is in the world, the LUST OF THE FLESH, the LUST OF THE EYES, and the PRIDE OF LIFE, is not of the Father, but is of the world." Satan tempted Eve in the same way also. Examine Genesis 3:6 to see that Eve hungered for the forbidden fruit, it was beautiful to look at, and she believed the lie Satan told her that she would be as wise as God if she ate the fruit of the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
LET'S GET BACK TO OUR ORIGINAL SUBJECT ... MOTIVATION. If you are a Christian, you ought to want to please the Lord. If you don't, we have an illustration that can be like a mirror to look into when we just plug along not caring about God's plan and purpose for our lives. The illustration is found in PROVERBS 24:30-32 (Use your imagination, and think of yourself as a vineyard which the Lord planted ...)
"I went by the field of the slothful, and the vineyard of the man void of understanding. (no Bible Doctrine) And, lo it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall was broken down. Then I saw, and considered it well; I looked upon it, and received instruction".
Then the next two verses in chapter 24 tell us what happens to the Christian who let's the cares of this world, etc. overtake his thoughts and actions. "Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep; So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man."
The believer with no Bible Doctrine in the thinking part of his mind, will be frantic under adverse situations. Remember, adversity is inevitible, but stress is what we do to ourselves!
BIBLE DOCTRINE which has been LEARNED, UNDERSTOOD, BELIEVED and APPLIED can be used when we face any adversity in life!
We're looking forward to seeing you on the Web again soon!!!
In previous lessons we talked about the importance of being in fellowship with the Lord. Remember, we must NAME our sins to Him! It is a PRIVATE MATTER between you and the Lord!
Let's review the verse that best illustrates the principal: "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9) There are many other verses in the Bible to illustrate that principle ... one of them is Job's confession after he blamed God for his misfortune and complained about it to his friends. His confession is found in Job 40:4 where he says, "Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer thee? I will lay my hand upon my mouth." Then, after David's sin of adultery with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband which followed, David confessed those sins to the Lord, and tells us about it in Psalm 51:4: "Against Thee, Thee only have I sinned and done this evil in thy sight ..."
Conviction of sin doesn't always come from our own conscience or thought pattern where we have stored information regarding right and wrong ... it comes from getting into contact with God's Word! The Lord provided men with the gift of Pastor-teacher to study and give us the Bible Doctrine we so desperately need ... then we can take the things we've learned to the pages of scripture ourselves, where God the Holy Spirit can speak to us as believers in fellowship with the Lord. He then will point out our sins ... privately ... so we can confess them. The prophet Isaiah tells us, "... this is the way; walk ye in it." (Isaiah 30:21) Paul tells us in Colossians 2:6 & 7, "As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him. Rooted and built up in Him, and established in the faith, as ye have been taught; abounding therein with thanksgiving." We become believers through faith, and we are to walk by faith! We must be ROOTED IN BIBLE DOCTRINE, GROW SPIRITUALLY, and eventually become MATURE and EFFECTIVE for the Lord while we are alive on this earth.
Well, we've seen how important confession of sin is by which to stay in fellowship with the Lord. It is only then that we are TEACHABLE, because God the Holy Spirit teaches our human spirit ... not our soul. When we sin, we are quenching or grieving the Holy Spirit and we cannot learn spiritual things.
Did you know that right after a great spiritual victory we are most vulnerable to defeat? One of the great Old Testament prophets. Elijah, is a very good example to look at. Let's see what happened to him as we look at the events of his victory and his failure.
Elijah is introduced to us as he was sent to minister to Israel in the days when Ahab was king. Ahab was an apostate, carnal believer who had married a beautiful woman by the name of Jezebel. She was the daughter of the king of Tyre and Sidon. Jezebel had great influence over Ahab, and because of that, he made very bad decisions which brought judgment upon the nation of Israel. Jezebel brought her idolatrous practices to Israel when she became queen, and she supported 450 prophets of the idol Baal and 400 prophets of the Astarte. Through her influence over Israel, Bible Doctrine was mixed with false, pagan doctrines which engulfed the people of Israel in idolatry. DISCIPLINE UPON THE KING AND THE ENTIRE NATION FOLLOWED.
A judgment of no rain for a three-year period was the message which God gave Elijah to take to king Ahab. After telling Ahab the bad news, Elijah was told to keep out of Ahab's sight to save his own life. During the time of drought and famine which followed, the Lord took care of Elijah's every need.
At the end of the three years, Elijah was told to go back again to Ahab to announce that rain was on the way to relieve the land. However, before that would happen, Ahab was told to gather the prophets of Baal, the prophets of the groves where idols were worshipped, and then to invite all the Israelites in the area to Mt Carmel where a sacrifice would be made.
When the people were gathered together before Elijah, he said to them, "How long halt ye between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal is god, follow him." The people listened to his words, but did not answer. Elijah went on speaking, "I, even I only, remain a prophet of the Lord; but Baal's prophets are 450!
Next, Elijah told the people to bring two bullocks for the sacrifice. The prophets of baal were to choose one for themselves to offer, and he would take the other. They were instructed to build an alter of wood on which to lay the offering, but put no fire under it ... then the false prophets were to call upon Baal to accept their offering. They did so, and then called upon Baal from morning to evening without getting any response. In the middle of that day, Elijah mocked them and said, "Cry aloud, for he is a god .. either he is talking, or pursuing, or he is on vacation ... or maybe he's asleep and you have to wake him." The prophets even cut themselves in an effort to please Baal, but still no answer!
Then Elijah gathered the people to him. They watched while he repaired the altar for the Lord which was broken down. He took twelve stones ... one for each of the tribes of Israel ... and built an altar in the name of the Lord. He made a trench around the altar which would contain much water, placed wood on the altar, the pieces of the bullock and ordered the people to fill four barrels of water to pour into the trench as well as on the sacrifice itself. They did this twice, and everything was saturated with water. Next, Elijah came near to the altar and prayed aloud so that the onlookers could all hear him. "Hear me, O Lord; hear me that this people may know that Thou art the Lord God, and that Thou has turned their heart back again." When he finished his prayer, the fire of the Lord fell upon the sacrifice and consumed not only the animal, but the wood, the stones, the dust and all the water that was in the trench! When the people saw that, they fell on their faces and said, "The Lord, He is the God (the only God)"
After that, Elijah commanded that they bring all of the prophets of Baal before him, and the prophets were executed! Then Elijah turned to Ahab and said, "Get thee up, eat and drink; for there is a sound of abundance of rain." Ahab gathered his robes about himself and high-tailed back to the palace to tell Jezebel about the events he had witnessed.
Jezebel was furious to learn that her prophets were slain by Elijah, and she sent a threatening note to Elijah. She could have sent an assassin with a dagger to finish him off, but instead, she frightened him with a note saying that by the next day he would be dead!
Well, our great, victorious Elijah ran for his life when he got that message from Jezebel! He went a day's journey into the wilderness and sat down under a tree where he asked the Lord to take his life ... it just wasn't worth living anymore ... poor Elijah! well, the Lord gave him food and rest and sent him on his way again. He spent forty days and forty nights on the strength of that food, and then he found a cave in which to hide. (He is fearful and not trusting the Lord ... he's out of fellowship!) (Fear is a sin)
The Lord spoke to Elijah in the cave and said, "...what doest thou here, Elijah?" By Elijah's answer, we know he was completely centered on himself and his problem when he said, "I have been very Zealous for the Lord God of hosts; for the children of Israel have forsaken Thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, EVEN I ONLY, AM LEFT, AND THEY SEEK MY LIFE TO TAKE IT AWAY!" Then the Lord told Elijah to look out of the opening of the cave where he was hiding, and He sent a great wind that tore up the mountains and broke rocks around him. After that, the Lord sent a great earthquake, and followed it by fire to remind Elijah the LORD GOD IS OMNIPOTENT. After all the noise which the wind, earthquake and fire had made, God sent a STILL SMALL VOICE OF SILENCE. When that happened, Elijah wrapped his mantle about his face, and he went to the mouth of the cave to look out and see what was happening. God spoke to him again and said, "What doest thou here, Elijah?" The same answer containing all of the "I's" came back again. Then, because Elijah wouldn't confess his sin of fear and not trusting the Lord, the Lord said he would be replacing Elijah with another prophet ... Elijah could no longer have the respect of the people when he failed to trust the Lord! You can fill in all of the details to this story of Elijah by reading 1 Kings chapters 17, 18 and 19. Also see Ahab's confession in 1 Kings 21:27-29.
Elijah was still used by the Lord to some extent before he was taken up in a chariot of fire in a whirlwind before the very eyes of Elisha who was his replacement to minister to Israel. (2 Kings 2:11)
Elijah appeared with Jesus and Moses on the Mount of Transfiguration. (Matthew 17:3) Again, he will appear with Moses as one of the two witnesses in the first 3 1/2 years of the Tribulation. Revelation 11:3-12 give all the details of the event. Moses was the representative of the LAW, and Elijah was the representative of the PROPHETS ... the Law and the Prophets embrace the Old Testament scriptures and present them to the Jews as a witness to the truth of the Word of God.
Well, I trust you will read and digest all the information we have briefly touched on in our study ... it is important to understand how a great believer can fail ... we should profit from his mistake and learn to trust the Lord in our problems.
END OF LESSON SEVEN ___________________________________________
Hamartiology is a theological word for SIN. The word hamartiology comes from the Greek word HAMARTIA, which means to fall away or to miss the mark. It embraces the fact that EVERYTHING which is contrary to the expressed WILL OF GOD is SIN! Even though a sin is committed against another person or people, it is primarily against the LORD! King David said it beautifully in Psalm 51:4. This Psalm was written after David confessed his sins of adultery with Bathsheba followed by the murder of her husband to cover his sin of adultery. "AGAINST THEE, THEE ONLY, HAVE I SINNED, AND DONE THIS EVIL IN THY SIGHT: THAT (purpose of his confession) THOU MIGHTEST BE JUSTIFIED WHEN THOU SPEAKEST, AND BE CLEAR WHEN THOU JUDGEST."
THERE ARE 3 categories of sin:
1. IMPUTED ... "Wherefore, as by one man (Adam), sin entered into the world, and death (spiritual death) by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that ALL sinned." (because we are Adam's seed) (Romans 5:12
2. INHERENT ... "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23) (we sin because we have a nature to sin)
3. PERSONAL ... "They are all gone of the way, they are altogether become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good and sinneth not." (Romans 3:12)
1. GOOD ........ Moral, kind, good citizen, etc. (this kind is hard to reach because he thinks he's okay)
2. BAD ............ This one knows he's bad, and is the easiest to reach with the Gospel. (a good illustration of "bad" is in the King James Bible: Acts 17:5, "But the Jews which believed not, moved with envy, took unto them LEWD FELLOWS OF THE BASER SORT ..."
3. RELIGIOUS .. This kind of person is extremely difficult to reach, because they are always busy doing good deeds in the name of God.
Religion is in contrast to Christianity, because religion attempts to please God by their good works. Christianity is relationship with God through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
About all three of these categories of men, God says, "as a man thinketh in his heart (mind), so is he." (Proverbs 23:7)
1. SPIRIT OF PRIDE: Exalted feeling based on success or position, good training, appearance, having a natural gift or ability, and having inner feeling of self-importance.
2. HAVING A LOVE FOR HUMAN PRAISE: Secretly wanting to be noticed or recoqnized by other Christians. Wanting supremacy drawing attention to yourself with conversation, exhibitionism or trying to make yourself look like a spiritual giant.
3. INTERACTION IN A GROUP: Showing anger or impatience with people, being touchy and sensitive., having resentment and retaliate when contradicted. Displaying jealousy, sour grapes attitude, being envious , etc.
4. BEING VERY SELF_WILLED: Having a stubborn or unteachable nature. Ready to be argumentative, a nit-picker, one who is critical, and who wants to mind everyone else's business.
5. MAGNIFYING OTHERS FAULTS: Showing the faults and failing of others while emphasizing your own virtues. Resenting it when others succeed and prosper.
6. HAVING A NEGATIVE DISPOSITION: Being peevish, fretful, wanting to be coaxed and honored. Being dishonest, deceitful, showing discouragement when under pressure after failure. Trying to solve your problems by hysteria and tantrums.
7. BEING APATHETIC: Being generally indifferent to Bible Study and Bible Doctrine in particular.
1. "A proud look" ... comes through the eye-gate. A MENTAL SIN
2. "A lying tongue" ... being a habitual liar. SIN OF THE TONGUE
3. "Hands that shed innocent blood" ... MURDER (killing during war is not murder!)
4. "A heart (mind) that deviseth wicked imaginations" ... a mind that has jealousy; jealousy breeds suspicion; suspicion thinks the worst about someone.
5. "Feet that be swift in running to mischief" ... going around making trouble, mostly by use of the tongue.
6. "A false witness that speaketh lies" ... downgrading someone to make yourself look good to other people.
7. "He that soweth discord among the brethren" ... maligning someone; deliberately trying to separate one friend from another.
Sin unto death is no specific sin that a believer can commit, but it is a PRINCIPLE. In short ... it is caused by CONTINUAL CARNALITY in the believer's life! It is a sin which ignores GRACE, WARNING and DISCIPLINE. It is also a sin which has maximum adverse effect on other Christians.
1. Corinthian incest ... 1 Corinthians 5:1-5
2. Lying to the Holy Spirit ... Acts 5:1-10
3. Persistent carnality at the Lord's Table ... 1 Corinthians 11:30,31
4. Disobedience to the Word of God ... 1 Chronicles 10:13,14; 1 Samuel 13:9-14.
(a) Saul had no business offering sacrifices. He was King, not a priest. A priest didn't show up when Saul thought he should, so Saul acted against the known will of God. Saul was told to utterly destroy the Amalakites, but he didn't kill their king.
5. Being self-righteous and depending upon man instead of God. (Isaiah 38 in the life of King Hezekiah.)
6. Turning apostate (standing off from the Word of God and using human viewpoint instead of Divine Viewpoint! Numbers 31-8 in the life of Balaam; 1 Timothy 1:19,20 in the lives of Hymenaeus and Alexander.)
SOME OF THESE SINS ARE OVERT AND SOME ARE MENTAL ATTITUDES. As you look at the verses we've listed, see if you can distinguish one from the other, and then consider what they mean and what you should avoid in your own life.
That's it ... until we meet again, KEEP STUDYING THE WORD OF GOD!
End of lesson eight
Let's take a close look at God today ... who is He and what is He like?
Since time began, man has worshipped someone or something, because there is something in man's nature which prompts him to some sort of faith or worship.
Adam and Eve taught their children how to worship the true God, but the boys decided for themselves as to how they would worship. Abel sacrificed a lamb in obedience to the acceptable sacrifice ordained by the Lord, and it was pleasing to the Lord. Cain didn't obey God, and he brought some beautiful produce he had grown as a sacrifice, God did not accept Cain's offering, and when Cain saw that he was rejected and his brother was accepted, he became angry and jealous with the result that he murdered his brother Abel.
A great many men and women through history have been murdered and martyred in the name of RELIGION. Technically, religion is what man thinks will please God ... it is by something he himself does. In contrast, CHRISTIANITY is what God has done ... namely, Jesus Christ dying for the sins of the world on Calvary's cross over 1900 years ago.
Let's take a closer look at RELIGION. In a sense, it is IDOLATRY in which a person gives outward religious service to an object or even to a person.
In idolatrous practices, people worship inanimate objects, such as stones, trees, rivers, animals, the sun, moon, stars, fire, their deceased ancestors, etc. All ancient civilizations, had their heathen gods. The Egyptians worshipped many gods and portrayed them as a bird or animal-headed Egyptian deity. The Canaanites were famous for their worship of fertility and moral abandonment. Theirs was so degrading that the Lord ordered the Israelites to kill every man, woman, child and even their animals in order to prevent the spread of their evil practices to Israel. Babylonia and Assyria worshipped the sun, moon, fire, angels and fertility gods, All of those false gods had eyes, but could not see; and they had ears, which could not hear.
In sharp contrast, we have the ONLY TRUE GOD who has many attributes which we need to look at and understand. They are as follows:
1.) God is the supreme ruler of the universe! Psalm 10:16 tells us, "The Lord is KING forever and ever...."
2.) God's absolute RIGHTEOUSNESS and JUSTICE are synonymous with His HOLINESS. 1 Samuel 2:2 says it this way, "There is none HOLY as the Lord; for there is none beside thee."
3.) God's perfect LOVE is displayed to man on Calvary's cross where Jesus Christ paid the penalty for the sins of the world. John 3:16 says it all: "For God so LOVED the world, that He sent His only begotten SON, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
4.) God is ETERNAL. He had no beginning, and He has no ending. In Revelation 22:13 we read, "I am Alpha and Omega (the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet), the beginning and the end, the first and the last."
5.) God has perfect and complete KNOWLEDGE about anything and everything in the universe. He is OMNISCIENT. In Proverbs 15:3 we are told, "The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good."
6.) God is all powerful. He is able to do anything and everything that is in harmony with His wise and perfect nature. He is OMNIPOTENT. Jeremiah 32:27 tells us, "Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh; is anything too hard for me?"
7.) God is everywhere. He alone is free from the laws of limitation of space. He is OMNIPRESENT> David said in Psalm 139:7&8: "Whither shall I go from Thy Spirit? Or whither shall I flee from Thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, Thou art there; if I make my bed in the heart of the earth, behold Thou art there.
8.) God never changes. He is IMMUTABLE. Malachi said, "For I am the Lord, I change not..." Malachi 3:6
9.) God is absolute TRUTH. That means He is VERACITY. Jesus told some of his listeners,"...I am the way, the TRUTH and the Life; no man cometh to the Father but by ME". John 14:6
Well, we have had a brief look at the characteristics or attributes of God. If you want to hear the Lord speak about Himself, read what He said to Job in Job chapters 38, 39, 40 and 41. It is truly awesome and very humbling for all believers.
End of lesson nine
Here's a question I'd like you to think about ... if you had a party and had a beautiful 4-tiered cake on the table, would you cut it for your guests, or would you just have them dig in with their hands and get what they could for themselves?
If you said they should dig in with their hands, ...UGH...SHUDDER...THUD! Well, I'm sure you didn't give that answer, but that's the way a lot of people interpret the Bible ... no kidding!!!
We are told in 2 Timothy 2:15 that we are to "Study to show thyself approved unto God; a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly D I V D I N G the Word of Truth," What does DIVIDING mean? Well, the writer of Hebrews explains it this way ... "God who at sundry times, and in divers manners spake in time past ... "(Hebrews 1:1) In the original Greek language the "sundry times and diverse manners" means BY MANY PORTIONS. The "many portions" are called DISPENSATIONS by theologians.
From the time of Adam and Eve until we meet a Chaldean Gentile by the name of Abram, we have the AGE OF THE GENTILES. There was a specific time period given to that particular DISPENSATION. Then, Abram, who was a Gentile, became the first Jew through obedience to the Lord. The Lord told Abram that he would be the father of a new race of people called the Jews, and He also told Abram how much time those people would have on the earth to represent Him to the world. Here is how the Lord explained it to Abram: "And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram, and lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him. (he had a nightmare!) And He (the Lord) said to Abram, "Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and they shall serve them, and they shall afflict them for four-hundred years. And also, that nation whom they shall serve, will I judge. Afterward, shall they come out with great substance, and thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace! Thou shalt be buried in a good old age. But in the fourth generation, they shall come hither again; for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full." (before the people would be brought back to the land which God promised to them, certain people had to reach total depravity and be eliminated)
God had promised Abram a son, but when Abram was 99 years old and sexually dead, he still had no son by his wife Sarah. Of course she had passed the child-bearing age too. Finally, Abram believed that what God promised, He was able to do ... it was then that God changed his name to Abraham, which means in the Hebrew language, "Father of many nations." Isaac was born to Abraham and Sarah
The Lord promised the Jews that they would have 490 years to be His representative nation on the earth. That period of time is called the AGE OF THE JEWS. It includes the 33 years when Jesus Christ, in perfect humanity as the God-man, ministered on this earth. Theologians call that "THE HYPOSTATIC UNION" ... ie: God and man in one Person forever.
When the Jews rejected Jesus Christ as their Messiah, God cut their 490 years short by seven years. That 7-year period is know as the TRIBULATION, and it will follow the CHURCH AGE in which we now live.
The Church Age was a mystery to the Old Testament prophets. They saw the CROSS (read Isaiah 55); they saw the TRIBULATION (read Isaiah 34); and they saw the KINGDOM, or MILLENIUM. (read Isaiah 35)
The Lord did not give a specific period of time to the CHURCH. Only the Lord Himself knows when it will end, but we are told what will happen when it does come to an end. I Thessalonians 4:13-18 gives us the picture: "But I would not have you to be ignorant, Brethren, concerning them which are asleep (death is temporary for the believer), that ye sorrow not, even as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him. For this we say unto you by the Word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent (preceed) them which are asleep. For the Lord Himself shall descend from Heaven with a shout, and with the trump of god, and the dead in Christ (believers who died during the Church Age) shall rise first. Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air, and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore, comfort one another with these words." Then in 1 Corinthians, Paul said, "Behold, I show you a mystery: we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump; for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruption (our physical bodies) must put on incorruption (resurrection bodies), and this mortal must put on immortality." 1Cor 15:51-53
There is only one Person in the universe who has a resurrection body, and that belongs to Jesus Christ. (Many people were raised from the dead, but it was not resurrection ... it was rescussitation) Jesus christ, in a resurrection body, is now seated in the 3rd heaven (beyond our atmosphere and beyond outer space) where He is waiting for the time when He will meet the Church Age believers in the air and take them, in resurrection bodies, to heaven. Theologians call that event "THE RAPTURE OF THE CHURCH". When the RAPTURE OF THE CHURCH takes place, the Church Age will come to an end, and the age of the Jews will resume right where it was cut off after the death, burial, resurrection and ascention of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Let me give you a simple little illustration I like to is something almost everyone understands. In a football game, time is very important while the game is in progress. In Bowl games especially, a lot happens during the half-time period when the clock has been stopped temporarily. When the game begins again, time is all-important, and the players come back on the field to resume the game. Eventually, the game comes to an end. The Church Age interrupts the Age of the Jews in a similar way.
The TRIBULATION period of 7 years will complete the 490 years which were promised to the Jews. While the Jews are on the earth during that seven years, the Church Age believers will be evaluated and then rewarded accordingly at the JUDGMENT SEAT OF CHRIST.
The TRIBULATION will begin with only unbelievers, but many of them will find Jesus Christ as their Saviour shortly after the RAPTURE, because the Gospel was given to them during the Church Age. The 7 years is divided by 3 1/2 years of peace, and 3 1/2 years of the worst bloodshed the world has ever known.
During the first 3 1/2 peaceful years, the nations which were part of the old Roman Empire will again be cooperating with each other. From that federation of nations, a man will become so powerful and well-received that he will become a world dictator. He will deceive the people ... especially the Jews ... and the Jews will accept him as their Messiah.
In the last 3 1/2 years of the Tribulation, we will see how Satanic influence will bring the kings of the NORTH, WEST< href="">
Recently, a question came from one of our viewers regarding the subject, THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT, so here are some thoughts and words on that important subject.
The Bible teaches us in Romans 12:2, "And be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God."
Renewing your mind comes by way of LISTENING , CONCENTRATING, UNDERSTANDING, BELIEVING and APPLYING (which is doing) what God'sWord teaches. If we refuse to follow those steps and go our own way, we will spend our time here on earth in self-absorption, which is CARNALITY. When a believer is out of fellowship (carnal) he cannot be distinguished from an unbeliever, because his sin nature is in control of his thoughts and actions. Our sin nature is not in control of our life when we are in fellowship with the Lord, but instead, the Holy Spirit controls our lives and the production of the Holy Spirit can be seen as a result. The apostle Paul calls that production, THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT. The fruit which is produced is Love, Joy, Peace, Long-suffering, Gentleness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Meekness and Self-Control.
Jesus Christ, in perfect humanity, was filled with the Holy Spirit at all times, and the fruit of the Spirit was evident in His life continually. When He was still on this earth, Jesus told His disciples that the Father would send the Comforter (the Holy Spirit) to indwell them after He left the earth. That took place 70 days after Jesus died, was buried, resurrected and ascended into heaven. Now, the Holy Spirit comes to indwell every Christian in this Church-Age at the moment he/she believes in Jesus Christ as their saviour. He cannot be taken away from us, however, He can be quenched or grieved by our sinful thoughts and actions.
Before the Day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit was given only to a few believers for special service. The Holy Spirit would come upon some designated people like Samson. King Saul, King David, the prophets, etc. That was called ENDUEMENT, and He could be taken away because of carnality.
We can all understand familiar, physical illustrations, and the Bible gives us those illustrations to teach us spiritual truths. For example: Fruit is the production of a good, well-cared-for tree. So is a Christian's production pleasing to God when he is in fellowship with the Lord, because the Holy Spirit is doing the producing. It is not what you and I can do that is pleasing to the Lord!! Remember, Satan is a great immitator, and he can make people do things that look like the fruit of the Spirit in order to distract and confuse the onlookers.
Let's contrast the FRUIT of the SPIRIT with the production of the Old Sin Nature. We are told in Galatians 5:19-21 that when we, as Christians, are out of fellowship with God because we have known sin in our life and we do not confess that sin to the Lord, certain things can be produced in our lives by the Old Sin Nature control of our life. The evidence of that is as follows:
Adultery and fornication, which are unrestrained sexual desires and activities contrary to the will of God; uncleanness and lasciviousness, which are considered to be immoral acts in general; Idolatry, which is making someone or something more important to the Christian than the Lord; witchcraft, which is addiction to anything; hatred; variance, which is to always be disagreeable; emulations, which is making yourself look better than someone else to call attention to yourself; wrath, which is fierce anger; strife, which is to be argumentative; seditions, which means to stir up trouble against any lawful authority; heresies, which is to hold an opinion or doctrine which is contrary to God's truth; envyings; murders; drunkenness; and revellings, which means to take great pleasure in wild riotous living.
All those we mentioned are the production of our sinful natures, and it certainly isn't an attractive picture for anyone to look at!!!
The Holy Spirit's production is in sharp contrast ... it is definitely not of our doing!!! Let's take the characteristics which can be evident in our lives when we are in fellowship with the Lord. Notice, all of the components make up ONE FRUIT ... IT IS A PACKAGE with all of the following things evident as we need to use them:
LOVE............................having a relaxed mental attitude toward all people; having no malice, hatred, envy, jealousy, etc. toward anyone
JOY...............................having inner happiness, regardless of outer circumstances
PEACE..........................having inner peace of mind, free from worry and anxiety
LONG_SUFFERING.....having patience, even when people abuse us
GENTLENESS..............showing kindness toward everyone, whether they deserve it or not in our estimation
FAITHFULNESS...........being loyal and dependable at all times
MEEKNESS...................having true humility ... knowing who and what we are, and knowing Who and What the Lord is
SELF-CONTROL..........being in charge of ones desires, acts and emotions
Let's learn to keep "short accounts" with God by confessing our sins as soon as we're aware of them. Only then are we in fellowship with the Lord, and only then can the Holy Spirit produce the FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT in our lives. David understood that the Lord would not restore fellowship with him until he confessed his sins. Psalm 66:18, "If I regard iniquity in my hearth, the Lord will not hear me."
End of lesson eleven ____________________________________________________________________________________________
In many ways, thinking for ourselves is a rather foreign word in our vocabularies these days. With the mass media constantly telling us what to think, and the new technology we have doing much of our thinking for us, where we used to rely on our own skills, is it any wonder that we don't put our brains to the best possible use?
Have you ever sincerely thought about why you are here? Well, God's Word tells us we are here to make a decision regarding the Lord Jesus Christ during our lifetime. John 3:36 says, "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life; and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him."
When Adam disobeyed God, his human spirit died, and he lost his fellowship with the Lord. At that time, he received a sin nature. We are the descendants of Adam, and when we are born, we have a body and soul. The body has a sin nature within it which was passed down to us from Adam.
If we put our faith in the work of Jesus Christ dying on the cross for our sins, we are said to be born-again, and our dormant human spirit is activated by God the Holy Spirit. Then we can have fellowship with God and begin to understand spiritual things.
The apostle Peter said, "Being born-again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible; by the Word of God, which lived and abideth forever." (1 Peter 1:23)
After the new birth, we are babies, and we must grow spiritually just as a human baby grows physically. We do that by taking in God's Word ... learning basic things and eventually being able to understand more complex doctrines in the Bible.
Peter gives us more good advice in 1 Peter 2:2, "As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the Word, that ye may grow thereby." We must learn Bible Doctrine ... not someone's own application or thoughts ABOUT the scriptures!
What is DOCTRINE? The word doctrine means teaching. Bible Doctrine is teaching what the Bible says about specific subjects from Genesis to Revelation. After we do that, we can come up with a correct conclusion about each of those subjects. Then we will have God's viewpoint. When we understand Divine Viewpoint, our lives should improve, and our problems can be handled by applying the doctrine we have learned.
Next ... how do we learn Bible Doctrine? We live in the Church Age, and God has Given the gift of Pastor-Teacher to certain prepared men who can give believers the tools with which to study and learn Bible Doctrine. The Lord will guide you into the place where you can get good teaching, so be patient!
Next, the question often comes from believers ... "Why should I study the Bible? Timothy answers that question by the following answer: "Study to show thyself approved unto God; a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth." (2 Timothy 2:15) Also, David gives us another reason to study in Psalm 119:11: "Thy Word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against thee."
We grow up spiritually by learning to think the way God thinks! The Bible is the mind of Christ. The apostle Paul explains it this way in 1 Corinthians 2:16: "... for who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ."
Let's start by applying some principles. (1) you must DESIRE to be taught, (2) you must be WILLING to listen and concentrate on the things which are taught (3) when you UNDERSTAND and BELIEVE what is taught correctly, you will be THINKING about the things you have learned and (4) thinking should result in APPLYING what is learned to your life every day. When you learn, think and apply Bible Doctrine, you become your own counsellor, and you will be able to solve your own problems by applying and using that knowledge for yourself. Then you will find God's plan for your life! The Holy Spirit convicts us through His Word so we may live our lives to please the Lord!
Once you have made the important decision to listen to good teaching and learn Bible Doctrine, you must make it a priority in your life. You will receive some opposition from people who are afraid you are getting spiritual indigestion. The Lord will test you to see if you really are serious. Good and legitimate activities will attempt to take most of your free time. However, you must not neglect your family, because that is your responsibility, but you can find time to study if you want to!
Divine guidance is promised for the believer in Psalm 32:8:, "I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way that thou shall go; I will guide thee with mine eye." To find God's will for you, you must understand that God has three wills which are: (1) directive will, (2) permissive will and (3) overruling will. All three of these are illustrated beautifully in the life of a man by the name of Balaam. You can read all of the details in Numbers chapters 22, 23, 24.
Now that you are a Christian, you are in two places at the same time. That's right! The moment you believed in Christ, the Holy Spirit placed you into union with Christ. You share His destiny and His eternal life. No one can ever change that! Jesus makes it very clear in John 10:28: "I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish. Neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand." You also are still in a physical body, and you have a sin nature to deal with every day. When we are out of fellowship with the Lord through acts of personal sin, we are called "carnal" in the scriptures. When we are carnal, we grieve the Holy Spirit, and God the Father is not happy with us.
God has a perfect solution for restoring our fellowship with Him when we admit our sins to Him. 1 John 1:9 explains it this way, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." God wants us to NAME our sins to Him, and when we do, we are forgiven immediately! We must learn to keep SHORT ACCOUNTS with the Lord by confessing our known sins right away. He forgives that sin, and He also cleanses us from all of the unknown sins in our life. David prayed, "Who can understand his errors? Cleanse thou me from secret faults." (Psalm 19:12)
God called David "a man after My own heart" in 1 Samuel 13:14. Do you think that was because David never sinned? NO! David certainly committed some capital sins when he was king of Israel. What made him so great was the fact that David confessed his sins and took full responsibility for his actions!
One time when David got out of fellowship with the Lord, he was not in the place where the Lord wanted him to be. He should have been on the battlefield with his troops. Instead, david sent his general and the army to the battle while he stayed home and pampered himself. He slept most of the day, and when he got up from his bed, David took a stroll through his garden on the roof of the palace. From that vantage point. David observed a beautiful woman bathing on her rooftop nearby. He inquired as to who she was, and then David sent for her. He committed adultery with the woman, whose name was Bathsheba, and then he apparently forgot about the incident. Awhile later, Bathsheba sent word to David telling him that she was carrying his child. David was afraid of the embarrassment that would follow if he did nothing about it, so he sent for her husband, Uriah, who was an officer in the army, and brought Uriah home from the battle. David wanted Uriah to spend time with his wife in order to cover David's sin of adultery. Uriah refused to go to his house, so David arranged to have him set in the front line of battle SO THAT HE WOULD BE KILLED. That was a very clear command in 2 Samuel 11:14,15. Sounds like murder, doesn't it? After Uriah was killed in battle, David took Bathsheba to be his wife, and the child was born. David stayed out of fellowship and he refused to confess those sins for nearly a year ... he was in the process of dying when the Lord graciously sent Nathan, the prophet, to David with a story to illustrate how wrong he was. The details of this part of David's life are found in 2 Samuel chapters 11 and 12.
David's confession is found in Psalm 51:4 when He said to the Lord, "Against thee, and thee only have I sinned and done this evil in thy sight; that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest." David knew that all sin is primarily against the Lord, and we must also understand that very important principle!
David was forgiven as soon as he confessed his sins, but there was a four-fold discipline which followed. We also are forgiven when we confess our sins, but we don't get away with sin!
Where should you begin reading in your Bible? Certainly not with the book of Revelation ... that seems to be where most Christians want to begin, because they are naturally curious about the future. Remember that Revelation is the LAST book in the Bible ... sixty-five other books preceed it, and unless you have a thorough understanding of the Old Testament scriptures, you will only be confused by the contents of the book of Revelation.
Well, you should begin to read the Bible just as you would read any other book ... you start at the beginning! When you do that, you will be able to get the "big picture" and just some scattered information here and there. You won't understand a lot of what you read, but keep reading anyway! Now and then there will be a glimmer of light!
There are many promises to be found as you read the scriptures, and they are intended primarily for a particular person or group of people. However, you can still get some application from those promises for yourself. For example: At the Red Sea incident the Egyptians were in hot pursuit of the Children of Israel after they were freed from their four-hundred years of bondage in Egypt. The Israelites were frightened out of their wits, but Moses said, "Stand still, and see the salvation of the lord, He will show you today; for the Egyptians whom ye have seen today, ye shall see them again no more forever. The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace." (Exodus 14:13,14) It is very obvious that those words were for the Israelites who were with Moses, but you can claim that promise when you have a serious problem which you can't handle!
As you read your Bible, you will also see how the Lord sometimes gives a complete picture of an event, and then He goes back to the beginning of that same event and fills in the details. Perhaps you have told a story to someone in that same way ... I know I have done that many times!
Many Christians concentrate on Psalms or some other favorite book in the Bible that they personally enjoy, but I have noted that those believers never really get the full scope of what God wants them to know. Please avoid that trap!
One more warning ... there are many books available which were written by sincere and well-meaning people who talk about their own ideas about the Bible teaches without basing those ideas on solid Biblical doctrine. What they say may be an emotional stimulant, but that doesn't help you grow spiritually. God gave us emotions so we can appreciate things like good music, etc. but what we really need in order to put solid meat on our spiritual bones is a correct interpretation of scripture, Then we will know what God wants to say to us, and the Holy Spirit can teach our human spirit the things which affect us personally and privately as we absorb and categorize the Word of God.
Another question you may ask is, "What happens to the Bible Doctrine I'm learning?" You will begin to store Biblical information in a special compartment in your mind, where it can be made available to you when you need it. Next, you will begin to put various subjects into categories. One example of that might be to answer the question, "What does the Bible say about the subject of death?" You will learn that there are seven different kinds of death listed in the scriptures, and they are:
(1) physical death (Philippians 1:21; 2 Corinthians 5:8)
(2) spiritual death (Ephesians 2:1 Romans 5:12)
(3) second death (Revelation 20:14)
(4) position death (Romans 6:1-14; Colossians 2:13, 3:13)
(5) temporal death (Romans 8:6, 13; Ephesians 5:14; 1 Timothy 5:6, James 1:15;
1 John 3:14
(6) operational death (James 2:26)
(7) sexual death (Romans 4:17-21; Hebrews 11:12)
When you have learned those things about the subject of death, you can identify them as you read your Bible, and it will make good sense to you. You can do that with many other major doctrines in the scriptures, and it will keep you from mistranslating and being confused.
While you are maturing as a Christian by getting Bible Doctrine in your mind daily, you will build a "self-portrait" of yourself. You can study that portrait regularly and see that you can refer to it when you have a question. Also it will be in your memory and your vocabulary as well as separated into categories. You will learn how to identify sins so you can confess them to the Lord and stay in fellowship, and last of all, you will apply Bible Doctrine to your experiences in life, and that will make you wise in the eyes of God.
I trust that the things we have examined in this brief study of Bible Doctrine will help you grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.
End of lesson twelve
Let's look at some of Satan's strategies in our lesson today and see how God looks at various situations that take place in our universe.
Satan, the Devil, hates mankind, and one of his objectives is to confound and confuse our thinking and try to make us believe that all problems in the world can be solved by man's efforts.
ENVIRONMENT is a topic of interest to many people these days. The dictionary says that environment involves those things which surround and influence the circumstances in which we live. Everyone wants to find perfect environment. Many people believe that all man's problems could be solved if we create such an atmosphere through man's own efforts. That kind of thinking is just human viewpoint ... it will not be done by any action of man! God is the creator of all things, and He alone is the ultimate source of all climatic changes and disasters that occur in the universe. He has a purpose for every tornado, hurricane, earthquake, etc. Sometimes, these disasters are just a warning, and other times they are used by the Lord as a disciplinary action.
The Bible tells us of two instances when perfect environment is on the earth. Satan successfully deceived Eve in the Garden of Eden. The second time will be a future occasion when Satan will be released from the bottomless pit where he is incarcerated for 1,000 years, and he will be allowed to invade that perfect environment for a short time before his final judgment is carried out.
Sadly, even in perfect environment, man decided and will decide to listen to satanic lies and rebel against God! All of this proves that man's worst enemy is not the Devil after all ... man's worst enemy is his own sinful nature!
If you are a Christian, you have found the peace of God that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7) If you have not believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, you cannot find perfect environment or peace, regardless of how hard you try, so don't put it off any longer..."BELIEVE ON THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, AND THOU SHALT BE SAVED". (Acts 16:31)
Here's another example of Satanic deception... PEACE. Man has been unsuccessful in making peace that lasts for any length of time, because people have a sin nature which motivates their power lust to conquer and control others. In Isaiah 48:22, God tells us, "THERE IS NO PEACE, SAITH THE LORD, UNTO THE WICKED." Also, Jeremiah 17:9 reminds us that "The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked; who can know it?" Psalm 14:1 shows us God's viewpoint of sinful, unregenerate mankind..."THE FOOL HATH SAID IN HIS HEART, THERE IS NO GOD. They are corrupt. They have done abdomnible works. There is none that doeth good." Again, the only lasting peace is the peace which God gives to those who trust in the work of Jesus Christ dying for our sins on the cross. Only then can we have the inner peace which Isaiah tells us about ... "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee." (Isaiah 26:3)
Another idea which Satan promotes as good is ECCUMENICALISM, or a world church. You might ask ... why not have one church? Can't we all cooperate with one another since we all have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ? The answer is NO! That can never work satisfactorily, because we would have to compromise important doctrinal issues. The Lord tells us we are not to CHANGE everyone or force our beliefs on others, but we are told to SEPARATE from Christians who hold, as truth, doctrines which are contrary to sound Biblical teaching! We are admonished to not cooperate with some, as the apostle Paul says in Romans 16:17..."NOW I BESEECH YOU, BRETHREN, BEWARE OF THEM WHICH CAUSE DIVISIONS AND OFFENSES CONTRARY TO THE DOCTRINE WHICH YE HAVE LEARNED, AND AVOID THEM." Also, Titus 3:10 says we must reject those who promote heresy and will not be corrected. Heresy is a departure from revealed truth which is found in the scriptures. The only way to identify heresy is to know the doctrines of God's Word so well that you are able to discern between TRUTH and HERESY< href="">
"IT'S NOT MY FAULT!" How many times have you heard that excuse? We've all taken that position ourselves ... especially when we were little children and used it as a defense mechanism to avoid some kind of reprimand or discipline. Then, hopefully, we learned through the years to take responsibility for our own actions and faced the consequences or discipline which we deserved! No one can really be a mature individual until he or she is willing to take RESPONSIBILITY for wrong actions or words and shed that childish attitude!
In our lesson today, we are going to examine the subject of PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY, and we will consider the results of rejecting it and blaming others for our words and actions.
It all started in the human race with an act of disobedience to God's directive will regarding Adam and his wife when God told them not to eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Eve was deceived by Satan who indwelt the serpent, and she took of the fruit of that tree. Then Adam deliberately disobeyed God's Word, and they both received a sin-nature with a conscience to know the difference between good and evil. They lost their perfect relationship with the Lord and tried to hide from Him. They covered themselves with fig leaves, because the covering of light which they had in innocence was no longer covering their nakedness.
The LORD GOD came to them in the garden, and then He questioned Adam regarding his disobedience. Well, Adam wasn't about to take the full responsibility, so he first blamed God, and then he blamed the woman which God gave to him! (Genesis 3:10-12) "And he said, I heard Thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself." Then the Lord said, "Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree whereof I commanded thee not to eat? Adam now shifts the blame, and he answers, "The woman which Thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat."
After hearing Adam's defence, the Lord turned to the woman, and she also was unwilling to accept the responsibility for her disobedience, and she blamed the serpent! (Genesis 3:13)
God is perfect Justice, and after hearing their explanations, He drove them out of that perfect environment. He placed Cherubim and a flaming sword at the gate of the Garden of Eden to guard it from all approaches so that Adam and Eve would not be able to eat of the TREE of LIFE which is in the middle of the Garden of Eden and remain forever in their sinful state.
The fig leaves with which the man and woman covered themselves were of their own design, and it was not acceptable to the Lord. He covered them with coats of skin, and He taught them that an innocent substitute had to die in order for them to be acceptable. Through that visual training-aid, Old Testament believers looked forward to the cross on which an innocent substitute ... Jesus Christ ... would pay the penalty for their sins.
The Bible gives us a number of interesting examples regarding RESPONSIBILITY, so let's look at a few of them. Exodus chapter 32 tells us about an incident regarding Aaron, and how he shirked his responsibility to be in complete charge of the people while Moses went up into Mt. Horeb to be instructed by the Lord. The people became very restless after waiting many days for Moses to return, and they demanded that Aaron make them a god that they could worship. (in slavery the Israelites had observed the Egyptian worship of a golden calf). After much pressure by the people, Aaron agreed to do it. Now Aaron had learned to use an engraving tool when he was in Egypt, and he told the people to bring their golden earrings, bracelets and any other gold they had, to him. He took the gold, and after melting it, he fashioned a golden calf with his engraving tool.
The people were carrying on all of the idolatrous activities which were connected with the worship of that idol, and Moses suddenly returned to find them debasing themselves. Moses was very angry with the people, and he questioned Aaron, whom he had left in charge. Aaron's defence of himself shows us his IRRESPONSIBILITY! Exodus 32;21-24 tells us his answer: "And Moses said unto Aaron, What did this people unto thee, that thou hast brought so great a sin upon them?" Aaron replied, "Let not the anger of my lord wax hot! Thou knowest the people, that they are set on mischief! For they said unto me. Make us gods which shall go before us. As for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we don't know what has become of him." Then Aaron went on with his own defence and said, "Whosoever has any gold, let him bring it to me. So they gave it to me; then I cast it into the fire, and OUT CAME THIS CALF!" HA, HA, IMAGINE THAT!
Another case of a man refusing to be accountable for his actions was King Saul. It seems that Saul's whole pattern of life was that of disobedience to the Word of God. Saul had been told by the prophet Samuel to take his army and kill every man, woman, child and animal in Amelek, because they were so evil in God's sight. Saul's obedience to that order was only partial ... he spared the king of the Amalekites and also some of the best of their flocks. When Samuel questioned him about it, Saul wouldn't take the RESPONSIBILITY, but instead, he denied and said, "I have obeyed the voice of the Lord..." (1 Samuel 15:20) then, he also blamed the people when he told Samuel he was innocent: "But the people took of the spoil ..." (1 Samuel 15:21) King Saul never did learn to accept personal responsibility or take any blame whatsoever for his wrong-doing. The Lord finally removed him as king over His people, Israel, and Saul died miserably ... the sin unto death, because he would not confess his sins to the lord!
In sharp contrast to Saul, David was a noble man when it came to accepting FULL RESPONSIBILITY for his sins, and that is what made God call him "a man after My own heart" ...(1 Samuel 13:14)
When David was running away from Saul, who was bent on killing him, David went to his enemy, the king of Gath, and pretended to be a madman after he had obtained the sword of Goliath from a group of priests in a nearby town. When Saul found out that the priests had helped David, he ordered their execution! When David learned of it, he told the son of one of the priests who had escaped and had come to report to him, "I have occasioned the death of all the persons in thy father's house!" (1 Samuel 22:22)
Another time in the life of David, he was confronted about his sin against Bathsheba and her husband, Uriah. His response was, "I have sinned against the Lord..." And again in Psalm 51:4 we read the words of David saying, "Against Thee, Thee only have I sinned, and done this evil in Thy sight..."
We have seen in a previous lesson that David was certainly not without sin in his life, but what made him great was that he took the RESPONSIBILITY for his evil acts and confessed them to the lord. Then he accepted the discipline for those sins.
One of God's great men in the Old Testament was Daniel. Daniel made this confession in which he took responsibility for himself and the people when he said, "We have sinned, and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even by departing from Thy precepts and from Thy judgments." (Daniel 9:5)
Josiah, one of the godly kings of Judah, began to reign when he was eight years old. He was like David, and followed the Lord with all his heart. When Josiah was twenty-six, he saw that the house of the Lord was in need of repair, and he authorized the work to be done. Many years had passed since the people had been taught out of the LAW...that is, out of the 5 books of Moses. While the temple was being repaired, a book of the Law was found by Hilkiah, the priest. He gave it to Shaphan, the scribe, and he read it before King Josiah. When Josiah heard the words which were read, he tore his robe and was greatly distressed. He said to the people: "Great is the wrath of the Lord that is kindled against us, because our fathers have not hearkened unto the words of this book, to do according unto all that which is written concerning us!" (2 Kings 22:13) Josiah realized that neglect of God's Word was the reason why Judah had been under discipline for a long time. Then we learn in Kings 23:1,2: "And the king sent, and they gathered unto him all the elders of Judah and of Jerusalem, And the king went up into the house of the Lord, and all the men of Judah and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem with him, and the priests, and the prophets, and all the people, both small and great, and he read in their ears ALL THE WORDS OF THE BOOK OF THE COVENANT WHICH WAS FOUND IN THE HOUSE OF THE LORD" After that, Josiah made a covenant before the Lord that he and his people would obey God's Word.
God uses His people, Israel, as an example to all nations to show how He deals with nations on the basis of their attitude toward his Word.
The Lord tells us in two very clear passages of scripture just where the RESPONSIBILITY lies when a nation is disciplined or sometimes even destroyed. Let's look at those....Jeremiah 9:13-16, "And the Lord saith, Because they have forsaken My Law, which I set before them, and HAVE NOT OBEYED MY VOICE, NEITHER WALKED THEREIN, BUT HAVE WALKED AFTER THE IMAGINATION OF THEIR OWN HEART, AND AFTER BAALIM, WHICH THEIR FATHERS TAUGHT THEM: therefore, thus saith the Lord, I will feed them, even this people with wormwood, and give them water of gall to drink, I will scatter them also among the heathen, whom neither they nor their fathers have known, and I will send a sword after them, til I have consumed them!". Again, Jeremiah 40:2,3 tells us, "...The Lord thy God hath pronounced this upon this place. Now the Lord has brought it and done according as He hath said, because ye have sinned against the Lord, and have not obeyed His voice, this thing is come upon you!" Jeremiah shouted these words to the people of the Northern Kingdom of Israel while they were being taken into slavery by their captors.
WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR ALL THESE THINGS? Ezekiel spells it all out for us in Ezekiel 22:23-31. (in understandable language, the order is ... the man in the pulpit who handles the Word of God ... next, the people who sit in the pew and listen to the things taught... then, the politician, who was probably one of those being taught false things ... last of all, the average "man on the street") Let's see the words of Ezekiel as he tells it... "And the Word of the Lord came unto me saying, Son of man, say unto her, Thou art the land that is not cleansed nor rained upon in the day of indignation. There is a conspiracy of her PROPHETS in the midst thereof, like a roaring lion ravening the prey.. They have devoured souls, they have taken the treasure and precious things; they have made her many widows in the midst thereof. Her PRIESTS have violated My Law, and have profaned My holy things. They have put no difference between the holy and the profane, neither have they shown the difference between the unclean and the clean, and have hidden their eyes from my sabbaths, and I am profaned among them. Her PRINCES in the midst of her are like wolves ravening the prey, to shed blood, and to destroy souls to get dishonest gain. And her prophets have daubed them with untempered mortar, seeing vanity and divining lies unto them by saying, Thus saith the Lord God, when the Lord hath NOT spoken. The PEOPLE of the land used oppression, and exercised robbery, and have vexed the poor and needy; yea, they have oppressed the stranger wrongfully. And I sought for a man among them that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that should not destroy it, but I found none! Therefore, have I poured out My indignation upon them. I have consumed them with the fire of My wrath; their own way have I recompensed upon their heads, saith the Lord God."
Each one of us falls into one of the categories of RESPONSIBILITY which the Lord has given us in the Bible. We need to examine ourselves in the light of God's Word to see what our RESPONSIBILITY is, and if we have failed, confess the sin of which we are guilty.
Remember, this lesson from the prophets of the Old Testament must be a warning to us in our own nation so that we don't fall into the same pattern of IRRESPONSIBILITY that Israel and Judah did. We MUST get SOUND, ACCURATE TEACHING, study God's Word on a consistent, daily basis and not be ashamed to tell others about our wonderful Saviour, The Lord Jesus Christ! However, we can't teach others if we don't have doctrinal information stored in our mind, so ..."STUDY TO SHOW THYSELF APPROVED UNTO GOD, A WORKMAN THAT NEEDETH NOT TO BE ASHAMED ... RIGHTLY DIVIDING THE WORD OF TRUTH."
End of lesson fourteen __________________________________________________________________________
"15-40....Sounds like a tennis score, doesn't it? What a great game that is! If you are a tennis player, you know how important it is to "follow through"! In fact, that's true in any sport you can name. If you don't learn to do that, you will never play the game successfully!
If you are a Christian and you are not hearing, learning, believing and applying Bible Doctrine, you will never follow through with God's plan for your life.
A baseball or football player who is a member of a team may spend his whole career sitting on the bench just watching his fellow athletes play the game.
Well, that's the way many Christians view the game-plan that God has for his life...they are eternally saved, but they never grow up spiritually through a regular intake of Bible Doctrine which the Lord has provided for all of us.
We must be teachable and willing to obey God's Word! 1 Peter 2:2 tells us, "As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the Word that ye may grow thereby." Also, 2 Peter 3:18 says we must "grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ."
If you truly want to know God's Word and God's plan for your life, He will provide a paster-teacher who can give you Bible Doctrine. When you are in fellowship with the Lord, the Holy Spirit teaches your human spirit. When you believe the truths that are taught, you can use the information you learn to improve your memory and your vocabulary. Remember, you can't think without vocabulary! You will be able to categorize, understand and apply the things God wants you to know and use them for His glory.
In 1 Corinthians 2:9, the apostle Paul quotes the words of the prophet Isaiah and says, "But it is written, eye has not seen nor ear heard, neither has it entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love Him." The word "heart" never refers to our emotions or the pump inside our chest ... it is always a reference to the thinking part of our mind!
Paul goes on to tell us of the things which God has given the believer in Jesus Christ, and also how we can learn about them. 1Corinthians 2:10-13 explains that God has revealed them when He says, "But God has revealed these things unto us by His Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For what man knows the things regarding a man, except the spirit of man which is in him? Even the things of God are not know to man unless the Spirit of God reveals them to him. Now we have received the Spirit of God ... not the spirit which is of the world ... in order that we may know the things that are freely given to us by God. Those things we tell you about ... not in the words which man's wisdom teaches, but which the Holy Spirit teaches, but which the Holy Spirit teaches. Then we are able to compare spiritual things with spiritual truths."
It is entirely up to your own free-will to decide if you really want to know God and His plan for your life, or if you will be content to "sit on the bench" while other believers find God's will for their lives and serve Him in a way that is pleasing to Him.
These days in which we live are important as well as frightening times. We, as maturing believers in Jesus Christ, can make a difference in our own nation by learning and applying the doctrines of the Word of God! Remember how in the days of Noah, people were just going about business as usual, enjoying life with little regard for God or His Word. If that is the general tenor of the people in our society, we can only look forward to extreme discipline from the Lord upon our nation!
Are you willing to find God's purpose for your life and make a difference that could preserve the United States of America and the wonderful liberties we are still able to enjoy in this nation of ours?
END of lesson fifteen
Before you answer that question, let's take some time to consider what the Bible says about Heathenism. First of all, we are told that heathen become heathen because they have heard the truth of God and they have rejected it. That kind of action results in people living by human viewpoint rather than being guided by the Word of God.
Both believers and unbelievers can be guilty of thinking human viewpoint. The unbeliever has an excuse for doing so, because he is not capable of understanding God's Word. He has no human spirit, and the Bible is just foolishness to him. On the other hand, the believer who is not regularly taking in doctrinal Bible teaching cannot consider life from God's viewpoint either. Isaiah 55:8 tells us, "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord."
Both theological and political ideas which are contrary to Bible teaching exploit the ignorance of men by catering to their emotions, their negative attitudes toward established authority and their individual lust for power or recognition. These thoughts and ideas result in LIBERALISM.
Liberal ideas which are adopted by lawmakers in an attempt to force people to love each other, usually result in a very negative effect. Man has a sinful nature which rebels against laws and regulations that attempt to control his attitude or his thinking, so the situation becomes even worse than it was before!
Liberals try to create a perfect world-society without God. It may be by means of SOCIALISM, COMMUNISM, the welfare-state, or by some other means of human good works which are man's attempt to have a perfect world by using his own efforts and exclude guidance from the Lord.
The logic of human viewpoint thinking and action is false from beginning to end, If you begin with evil, you can only end with evil. However, if you begin with truth, you will end with truth!
One final word to those who are still not convinced of the importance of believing in Jesus Christ to gain eternal life is found in Hebrews 9:27, which says "IT IS APPOINTED UNTO MEN ONCE TO DIE, BUT AFTER THIS, THE JUDGMENT."
END of lesson sixteen
Many people think that we should all be "one big happy family" in the world. That idea is called INTERNATIONALISM. The thought behind it is very appealing to man's emotions, but have you ever wondered or ever heard what God thinks about Internationalism? He has answered that for us in His Word!
Let's begin to see what God says by going back to the time after the flood which destroyed all but eight people on the earth. Those eight were Noah and his wife, their three sons, and their three wives. From the three sons of Noah, which were Shem, Ham and Japeth, eventually came all of the nations of the world, but for many years, the people were all together in one place.
There was a tremendous population explosion during which one of Noah's grandsons, by the name of Nimrod, became very powerful. He operated in defiance of the Lord. Nimrod was the architect and founder of a city called Babel in the land of Chaldea, which is called Babylonia.
While building the city of Babel, everyone spoke the same language, so they were able to communicate with each other. They had been taught how the Lord destroyed all but eight people on the earth and how He promised Noah never to judge the world in that way again. He sealed that promise with the visible sign of a rainbow in the heavens, and told Noah to remember His promise whenever he saw a rainbow.
Even though the people knew these things, they were afraid that God would again send destruction upon the earth and scatter them over all the face of the earth. They decided to build a great city and a tower in the midst of it which would reach up into the heavens.
While the tower was under construction, the Lord confused their language so that they could not communicate with one another. Then the Lord scattered the people over the face of the whole earth, and He placed them into many separate nations accordingly.
These truths are found in the tenth and eleventh chapters of Genesis. God's Word shows us that His plan for the human race is NOT Internationalism, but His plan is NATIONALISM!
The Lord has a purpose for people, and to accomplish His plan, He has divided us by language, by bodies of water, by land formations, and by nations!
When men defy God's purpose, the Lord is not pleased!
END of this lesson
1. Heathen are heathen because they have heard and rejected the truth of God.
2. Heathenism is related to liberalism and reversionism.
3. Negative volition in the soul of the unbeliever results in a vacuum. Into that vacuum comes evil. Evil is sucked into the soul, resulting in blackout of the soul in the unbeliever, scar tissue of the soul and reverse process reversionism.
4. Evil, or worldly doctrine in the soul, produces both reversionism and the result of reversionism which is LIBERALISM.
5. The mechanics of liberalism and evil are found in Romans 1, 24&25.
6. Both theological and political liberalism exploit the ignorance of men by catering to their emotions, their revolt against established authority and their lust.
7. Liberals always appeal to the emotions, lack of authority and lust.
8. Liberals, whether theological or political, seek to satisfy the age in which they live by a personal satisfaction of their ego and their guilt complex. They try to play God!
9. Liberals try to use legislation as the hand of God to judge people. They have neither the system of doctrine by which to do so, nor do they have the mentality nor the morality to play God.
10. Liberals seek to establish a perfect world without GOD. It may be by Socialism, it may be by Communism, it may be by a welfare-state, or it may be by some pattern of human good. ( Man by man's efforts seeking to establish perfect world order.)
11. Liberalism is another manifestation of heathenism with a veneer of human good.
12. Heathenism and logic:
a. Heathenism rejects the truth
b. There is no truth in the premise of heathenism
c. If there is no truth in heathenism, neither is there any truth in the conclusion of heathenism.
d. The conclusion of heathenism can be no stronger than its premise, even if you use logical steps to reach a conclusion. You are wrong when you start, and you are wrong when you conclude the logical steps.
e. If you begin with truth, you end up with truth, but if you begin with evil, you end up with evil, and that's all a liberal does.
f. Truth is designed to free man from both heathenism and liberalism. (John 8:30-32)
13. Therefore, we know that heathenism must find a substitute for truth. It has rejected God's truth, and that's how degeneracy and liberalism come into action. (Romans 1:22-24)
14. Beginning with the truth, liberalism seeks to establish a society without God. The false premise of that society leads to the false conclusion of that society and the inevitable judgment from the Justice of God.
15. Heathenism as unbeliever reversionism is described in great detail in 2 Peter chapter 2.

There is something special about a treasure hunt that holds a particular kind of interest for young and old alike! Well, wonderful hidden treasure can be found in the Bible, but first there must be some preparation before attempting an exciting and profitable adventure into the infallible Word of God.
If this holds some interest for you, first ask yourself this question: "Am I ready to accept this assignment?"
You are ready if you have personally believed that Jesus Christ died for your sins. You are a Christian, and have an activated human spirit. You are able to understand spiritual truth, because God the Holy Spirit can teach your human spirit the things which God wants you to know.
Being properly equipped for a search into the scriptures means that you must privately name any know sin in your life to God the Father so that the Holy Spirit, who is our real teacher, will be able to reveal Biblical truth to you.
In Proverbs chapter 2, God says that if you want to gain wisdom, knowledge and understanding about Him, you must search for those things as you would search for hidden treasure of silver and gold.
First of all, let's go together using a good map to guide us to that treasure. Our map is the Bible, and like any map, you must have a starting place.
Some of the first clues to follow bring us to PRINCIPLES. Principles are truths upon which we must build our understanding of God's Word. For example: the apostle Peter tells us that salvation comes to us in only ONE way! There are no detours or other paths to God! "Neither is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved." (Acts 4:12)
Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is the only foundation for our faith. The apostle Paul says it this way: "For other foundation can no man lay except that which has already been laid, which is Jesus Christ." (Corinthians 3:11)
LOOK! Our map has marked an interesting spot where we can dig! As we haul it up, we find a treasure chest full of CATEGORIES. Categories are objects of thought to consider individually in our minds so that we may look at those objects and separate them in our minds as we would separate treasure such as diamonds, rubies and gold. Let's put them into piles of their own so we can examine them more closely. After all, there is "fool's gold" in contrast to the real thing. Gypsum can look like diamonds in the sunlight, and broken red glass can resemble rubies to the untrained eye.
After having good teaching from a man who has the gift of pastor-teacher and who can correctly interpret the scriptures because he has a knowledge of the original languages in which the Bible was written, we will discover the most valuable of is called BIBLE DOCTRINE.
The word doctrine means teaching. Therefore, Bible Doctrine is teaching about the Word of God. These doctrines are discovered by taking a category you have examined carefully and see what the Bible says about that subject from Genesis to Revelation. There are many examples, but let's set two of them before our eyes so we can find out what they look like.
People usually have one idea about the subject of DEATH, but let's see what the Bible actually teaches about death, because there are seven different kinds of death spoken of in the Word of God. They are:
1. Physical death ________ death which comes to everyone at God's discretion
2. Spiritual death ________ we are born dead to God because we have a sin nature
3. positional death _______ the believer is identified with Jesus Christ in His death on the cross
4. the believer produces dead works of human good when he is out of fellowship with God
5. Temporal death _______ the state of being out of fellowship with God
6. Sexual death ________ there is a time when a person is dead sexually
7. Second death ________ the last judgment, which is for unbelievers only
Another Biblical doctrine is DISPENSATIONS. Dispensations are periods of time by which God designed the ages. For easy understanding, let's look at human history in four separate and distinct dispensations:
First, there was the DISPENSATION OF THE GENTILES. It began with the creation of Adam and Eve and ended with God destroying the Tower of Babel. During that period of time, people multiplied upon the face of the earth, and then God separated everyone into nations and languages by the use of bodies of water, by mountains and land mass.
The second age was the DISPENSATION OF THE JEWS. During that period, God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, into the world to live a perfect life in true humanity for three and a half years and then die on a cross to pay the penalty for the sins of the world.
That dispensation was interrupted temporarily when Jesus was crucified, buried and resurrected. God had promised the Jews when the temple Solomon built was destroyed, that He would give them 490 more years to represent Him on earth. 483 years after that promise, they crucified Jesus Christ, so the seven remaining years will follow the next period in which we are now living.
This third dispensation is called the DISPENSATION OF THE CHURCH. The Church Age began ten days after Jesus ascended in a resurrection body into heaven, and it will end with the Rapture, or resurrection, of the church. The Church is the body of believers in this age. Only the Lord Himself knows when the Rapture will take place, but we are told what it will be like when it does occur. "For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then, we who are alive shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so shall we ever be with the Lord." (Thessalonians 4:16,17"
After that, we are shown what the remaining seven years of the dispensation of the Jews will be like. It is called the TRIBULATION. It will begin with three and one-half years of peace, and the last three and one-half years will be a time of the worst persecution and the bloodiest war this world has ever seen. The Lord will come back to the Mount of Olives from which he ascended to stop the bloodshed!
Then the Lord will set up His Kingdom on this earth for one-thousand years. This dispensation is called the MILLENIUM. It will be the personal reign of Jesus Christ, and He will rule in Jerusalem as a gracious and just world dictator.
At the end of the thousand years, there will be a final judgment for all of the unbelievers who have ever lived. They will be raised from the dead to stand in a body before the Great White Judgment Throne and be judged on the basis of their own human good works ... NOT ON THE BASIS OF THEIR SINS!
The Lord will show them their works and tell them that the ONLY work He can accept is the work of Jesus Christ paying the penalty for their sins. Since they refused to believe in Him during their lifetime, they will be cast into the Lake of Fire with Satan and his angels.
This DOCTRINE OF DISPENSATIONS is just one of hundreds of wonderful treasures to be found in the Bible. As you study, you will find that this particular doctrine is necessary for us to know and understand so that we may obey God's command to "Study to show thyself approved unto God; a workman that need not be ashamed, but rightly dividing the Word of truth." (Timothy 2:15)

Wanting power for yourself can have disastrous effects upon everyone with whom you come into contact!
Many hundreds of years ago, there was a very persuasive prince who aspired to replace his father as king over the nation of Israel. That young man's name was Adonijah.
Adonijah was the fourth son in the family of king David. He was a very handsome and likable man, and when he saw that his father David was close to death, Adonijah declared, "I will be king!"
In preparation to make himself ruler of the land, Adonijah was so persuasive with people that he managed to gain the support and friendship of some of king David's most faithful friends. One of them was a man by the name of Joab. Joab was David's nephew, and he also had the honor of serving as general in Israel's army for a number of years. The other influential man was Abiathar, a priest who had been a close friend of the king for more than forty years.
In his thirst for power, Adonijah arranged to have a great feast at a place called En-Rogel, which was the fountain of traders. Adonijah invited all of the prominent men who served king David, but he was careful to exclude the mighty men who had been loyal to David even before he became king.
Adonijah sent invitations to all of the king's sons, but it was obvious that Solomon was not included.
Two other men were omitted from the invitation list ... they were the prophet Nathan and Benaiah, the priest.
As soon as Nathan the prophet heard about Adonijah's plan to take the throne of Israel, he went to Solomon's mother, Bathsheba, and said to her, "Are you aware that Adonijah plans to set himself up as king, and David knows nothing about his treachery? Your own life and the life of your son Solomon are in great danger! Please allow me to counsel you regarding this situation. Go at once to the king and say to him, "My lord, you gave me your solemn oath that Solomon, your son, would reign after your death. How is it that Adonijah has declared himself to be king?"
Then Nathan continued, "After you have said these things to David, I will come in and confirm your words."
After that advice from Nathan, Bathsheba went to David and bowed down to him. The king was visibly old, but when he saw Bathsheba, he raised up in his bed and acknowledged her presence as he said, "What is your purpose in coming to see me?"
Bathsheba replied, "My lord, you swore by the Lord your God that your son Solomon would sit on your throne after you. Now Adonijah has exalted himself to be king, and you have not been told about it! He has prepared a great feast in his own honor, but he did not call for Solomon to be present at the banquet! Moreover, your majesty, the eyes of all Israel are upon you, waiting to hear you tell them who shall occupy your throne after you depart. Unless you publicly name your successor, both Solomon and I will be called enemies and will be killed by Adonijah!"
While Bathsheba was still speaking to David, Nathan came in and bowed down to the king and said, "My lord king, have you appointed Adonijah to sit on your throne? He has called your sons, the captains of your army and Abiathar to a feast in his honor, and they are saying, 'God save king Adonijah!' He did not send for me or for the priests Zadok and Benaiah or for your son Solomon! Now we are here to find out if you approve or disapprove he actions of Adonijah."
When David heard those words from Nathan, he sat up in his bed and ordered, "Bring Bathsheba here to my bedside!"
Bathsheba came back into the room and stood at the king's bedside. Then David spoke to her saying in the hearing of all who attended him, "As surely as the Lord who redeemed me out of all my distresses, even so I sware unto you by the Lord God of Israel that my son Solomon shall reign after me! This very day he shall sit upon my throne! "
Bathsheba bowed her head and then left the room.
David ordered, "Bring Nathan the prophet and the priests Zadok and Benaiah to me!"
The three men were brought in, and they stood before the king as he said to them, "Take some of my faithful men and place Solomon my son on my own mule and take him to Gihon, near En-Rogel. There you shall annoint him before the people and shout 'God save king Solomon!' Then after the annointing, he may come and sit upon my throne in my place. I have made him ruler over the entire nation ... over Israel and Judah!"
The men obeyed the king's orders. They put Solomon on David's own mule and took him to Gihon where Zadok the priest annointed Solomon with oil from the tabernacle. Then they blew the trumpet to announce what was done, and the people rejoiced so loudly that the earth shook with their voices!
Adonijah and his guests were just finishing their feast when they heard the shouts of the people.
When Joab heard the trumpet, he spoke to some of the men and said, "Go and investigate what is causing the uproar in the city of Gihon!"
While Joab was speaking, Jonathan, the son of Abiathar the priest, came to Adonijah with urgent news. Adonijah said, "I'm sure you came with good news for us, Jonathan!"
Jonathan replied, "I bring you very disturbing news! This very day as we are celebrating your victory, the king ordered Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet and many of David's trusted servants to bring Solomon here to Gihon! They have annointed Solomon king over Israel and Judah by order of king David. The noise you hear is the rejoicing of the people, because Solomon now sits on David's throne as his successor!"
All Adonijah's guests rose up and ran away! Adonijah also ran from that place and went to the tabernacle where he took hold of the horns of the altar so no one could harm him. (by taking hold of the horns on the altar of burnt sacrifice, a criminal could find safety if his crime had been an accidental one)
Some of David's servants went to David and told him about the annointing of his son Solomon. David bowed his head and said, "Blessed be the Lord God of Israel who this day has given me one to sit on my throne and who has allowed me to see it with my own eyes!"
Solomon was told that Adonijah was afraid for his life, and that he had taken hold of the horns of the altar. He would not leave the tabernacle when men came to take him to Solomon for judgment. Adonijah said, "I will not leave until king Solomon gives me his solemn oath not to kill me!"
Adonijah's message was given to Solomon, and he said, "If Adonijah shows himself to be a worthy man, he will not be harmed in any way, but if wickedness is found in him, he shall surely die!"
Adonijah was forgiven for his sin of attempting to make himself king over Israel, but not long after that his thirst for power caused him to make an unacceptable request
of king Solomon which cost him his life!

The wisest man who ever lived was Solomon, the son of king David in ancient.Israel.
When Solomon became king over Israel and Judah, the Lord asked him what he wanted most of all, and Solomon said that he desired wisdom to rule the nation.
That request was pleasing to the Lord, and He said to Solomon, "Because you have not asked for wealth and honor or for the destruction of your enemies, but you desire wisdom to rule my people over whom I have made you king, I will grant wisdom and knowledge to you, such as no one ever before or after you has had or will have!"
2 Chronicles 9:22,23: "And Solomon surpassed all the kings of the earth in riches and wisdom, and all the kings of the earth came to hear that wisdom which God had given to king Solomon."
After Solomon's death, his son Rehoboam became king. He was forty years old when he began to rule, land he reigned for seventeen years.
During the years when Rehoboam was growing up, he was exposed to his father's wisdom and to that of the men who were close to Solomon in his administration. The older men that had been with Solomon tried to give Rehoboam good advice about matters of state, and about taxation in particular. They said to him, "If you treat the people fairly and speak kindly to them, they will serve you forever!"
Rehoboam's response to that advice was, "Come back here in three days, and I'll tell you what I decide to do."
Then Rehoboam counselled with his young friends with whom he had grown up and asked for their advice. They answered, "You tell the people that your father was too easy on them, and that you will place heavier taxes upon them than he ever did!"
Rehoboam listened to the counsel of his young friends, and three days later he met with the people as promised. He spoke roughly to them and said, "My father put a heavy tax burden upon you, but I will add to your burden, and you will have to accept my laws or suffer the consequences!"
When the people heard what Rehoboam proposed, many of them gathered together and decided, "This is not acceptable! We don't need David's grandson ruling over us! Let's go to our homes and decide what we should do about it/1"
(among those who rebelled against /rehoboam was a man by the name of Jeroboam. King Solomon had seen great potential in Jeroboam and made him ruler over the house of Joseph. Then the Lord sent a prophet to Jeroboam when he was alone outside of Jerusalem one day. He told Jeroboam that the Lord was going to make him king over ten tribes of the Children of Israel after Solomon died, and only two tribes would be given to Rehoboam. When Solomon heard about the incident, he sent Jeroboam into exile in Egypt, but when Jeroboam learned that Solomon had died, he returned to Jerusalem and was with the group of men who heard the words of Rehoboam which angered so many people.
Some of the people remained loyal to king Rehoboam and did not join the defectors. Among those who remained faithful to the king were the priests and Levites who served in the temple.
When the people scattered to their homes, Rehoboam sent his tax collector among the rebels, and they stoned him to death! When the king heard about that, he gathered one hundred and eighty-thousand chosen men and armed them to fight against those people, but the Lord sent a prophet to Rehoboam and said, "You shall not fight against your fellow Jews! Return to your homes, because this rebellion is My doing to discipline you for your foolishness!"
Rehoboam and his followers obeyed the Lord and returned to Jerusalem.
The men in the northern kingdom, which was composed of ten tribes, made Jeroboam their king, and things went well for awhile. Soon Jeroboam began to worry that the people would leave him and go back to Rehoboam, and he said to himself, "If these people who have made me their king go back to Jerusalem to worship the Lord, they will not come back to me! Then I will be killed as an enemy of king Rehoboam!"
Jeroboam took counsel and devised a way to keep his people in Israel. He made two calves of gold and set them at two opposite ends of the in Dan and the other in Bethel. Then he announced to the people, "Behold your gods which brought you up out of the land of Egypt!"
The people worshipped before the golden calves, and the Lord was very displeased! Jeroboam himself went to Bethel one day, and he stood by the altar to burn incense to the idol in the sight of many of the people there,. The Lord sent a prophet with a message which was directed to the altar rather than to Jeroboam, because Jeroboam was responsible for causing the people to commit the great sin of idolatry, and the Lord had nothing to say to him.
The prophet said, "Altar, altar, thus saith the Lord, 'Behold, a child shall be born unto the house of David, Josiah by name, and he shall offer the bones of the priests who offer incense upon you! All people will know that the Lord has spoken when they see you crumble before their eyes and see the ashes pour out!'"
As soon as those words left the prophet's lips, Jeroboam stretched forth his hand and shouted, "Arrest that man!" Immediately, his hand shriveled up and he was unable to bring it back to his body!
Jeroboam was afraid, and he said to the prophet, "Pray to the Lord for me and ask that my hand may be restored to me again!"
The prophet prayed, and Jeroboam's hand was made whole. Then Jeroboam said to the prophet, "Come home with me and refresh yourself/1 I will give you a very handsome reward!"
But the man of God answered, "If you would give me half your kingdom as a reward, I would not go with you! The Lord has commanded me not to eat bread or drink water in this place!" After that response, the man left Bethel and went on his way.
Instead of learning from that experience, Jeroboam persisted in his evil ways. He took some of the lowest characters in the land and ordained them as priests to minister to the people.
Jeroboam's favorite son became very ill and was near death, so he called his wife to him and told her to disguise herself and go to speak with the prophet Ahijah who had told him he would rule Israel. She was to ask Ahijah what would become of the child.
Ahijah lived in Shiloh. He was a very old man, and his eyes were very dim so he could not see. The Lord spoke to him and told him that the wife of Jeroboam was coming to see him and that she would come in disguise.
As soon as Ahijah heard footsteps on his threshold, he said, "Come in, wife of Jeroboam! Why do you pretend to be someone else? I have bad news for you from the Lord! Go back to your husband and tell him that your son is going to die,. Also, advise him that he will be replaced as king over the nation Israel!"
Sadly, Jeroboam's wife returned to her home, and as soon as she entered the city, the child died.
Jeroboam ruled for twenty-two years, and after his death, his son Nadab ruled in his place.
Because Rehoboam accepted bad advice from his friends, the nation was divided.
Because Jeroboam was foolish in making the golden idols for the people to worship, he lost a son and he lost his rulership over the ten tribes of Israel.
The wisdom of Solomon is found in the book of Proverbs in the Bible. If you examine it carefully, it will help you to make good choices in life and make wise decisions that will be pleasing to the Lord.

"How Well Do You Know God?"
The old saying, "Love at first sight", is a very shallow way of thinking and can often end in disaster! Being drawn to someone because of their charm or attractiveness is a sign of immaturity and foolishness, and we should outgrow that attitude as we get older, and hopefully, wiser. If you are a Christian, you know that Jesus Christ died on the cross for you and that He paid the penalty for the sins of the world, but how well do you personally know Him? Is your love for Him just an emotional feeling, or have you become acquainted with Him through the Word of God? It is impossible to truly know a person until you know how he thinks! We are told in 1 Corinthians 2:16 that the Bible is the mind of Christ. Let's pursue the plan to find out how God thinks. The Lord's attitude toward every possible situation is found in the sixty-six books of the Bible. Therefore, you can learn about the thinking of the Lord if you apply yourself.
You need to find your right Pastor-teacher who knows the original languages of scripture. After you get the basic tools, you can go to the Bible for yourself and apply what you've learned as you study.
When the apostle Paul wrote his letter to the Philippians, he expressed his desire to know the Lord better when he said, "That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection..." (Philippians 3:10a)
In Proverbs 23:26, the Lord says, "My son, give me your heart, and let your eyes observe My ways." (in scripture, the heart refers to the thinking part of our mind) You and I have a sinful nature that wants its own way. We may try to put on the appearance of being kind and thoughtful, but only the Lord can read our thoughts and know our motives.
God evaluates us personally when He says, "As a man thinks in his heart, so is he..." (Proverbs 2:7)
Getting to know God should be Priority #1 in the Christian's life! Like gaining anything that is worthwhile, it takes a lot of motivation, time and then meditation about the things learned to make it a part of our own thinking.
In Proverbs 8:8,9, God says, "All the words of My mouth are in righteousness. There is no unfavorable act or wrong-doing in them. They are all plain to him that understands, and right to them that find knowledge."
We can never get too much knowledge about the Lord, and as we take in Bible Doctrine on a daily basis, we will be able to live our lives to please our wonderful Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
End of lesson
In many ways, the Bible is God's picture book. Until 90 A.D., God did not reach man through the media of the written word, but He did it through dreams, visions and direct conversations with certain men whom He chose. He also used many illustrations as teaching tools.
Adam and Eve lived in innocence and in perfect environment in the Garden of Eden, and the Lord spoke to them directly. When they disobeyed Him, they had to be removed from that perfect environment, and the Lord began to teach them by way of physical illustration. In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve were apparently covered with light and did not need any other clothing for their bodies, but when they sinned, they saw that they were naked and tried to cover themselves with fig leaves. That was unacceptable to God, so He killed an innocent animal and brought it's skin to them to cover their bodies. They both understood that God had used an innocent substitute for their covering to teach them that a Saviour would come into the world at a future time to die for the sins of all mankind. They accepted that covering, and the lesson was the first declaration of the Gospel of salvation for the human race.
Hundreds of years later, a man by the name of Abraham appeared on the pages of the Word of God. When he was willing to offer his only son, Isaac, as a sacrifice to the Lord, God substituted a ram for Isaac, and through that illustration, people learned that God the Father sacrificed His Son, Jesus Christ, as a substitute for your sins and mine.
The rock stood on an elevated place, and this time it was a picture of the resurrected Christ. The wrong picture was shown to the people when Moses struck the rock! Moses discipline was that he would not be permitted to go into the Promised Land. He asked the Lord several times to change His mind, but the Lord said, "Don't speak of it anymore ... you will not enter the Promised Land." Then the Lord showed the land to Moses from a high mountain. Moses died there, and the Lord Himself buried Moses.
The life of Joseph teaches us how Jesus was hated by His own people, and how God the Father made Him greater than all his brothers.
The prophets used many visual aids to warn the people about their idolatry and to teach them what would happen if they persisted in their evil ways.
The life of Jonah and his experience in the belly of the great fish was a picture of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Jesus Himself told the religious leaders who doubted Him, "For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so shall the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth."
There are hundreds of other illustrations in God's Picture Book. Search for them yourself as you study God's Word. It can be a very exciting experience!
end lesson 23


If you really think about it, aren't we foolish to suffer for our bad decisions if we can use an alternative and not make those mistakes in the first place?
Well, there is truly a scapegoat for us that can take the discipline we would deserve but can avoid if we look at what others have done and see the discipline they received for their foolishness!
Yes, I'm talking about the examples that have been set forth for us in God's Word! The Bible is "chuck full" of events regarding the disastrous effects of bad decisions.
Some of those decisions were a result of sinful acts and others by an act of wrong-doing. Did you ask, "What's the difference between those two categories? Here's what God says ... SIN is what we think or do that is contrary to the known will of God. When we commit sins, we know full-well that what we are doing is wrong, but we do it anyway! Wrong-doing may be something generally considered to be good by society, but our own mental attitude is what counts when the Lord evaluates our action.
Let's take a close look at the lives of a few prominent people who appear on the pages of scripture. After considering some of their failures and the reasoning behind them, we should be better able to look at our own lives and profit from their COLOSSAL MISTAKES.
ADAM & EVE ...(Romans 5:12; 1 Timothy 2:14)
Adam deliberately disobeyed God's command not to eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil which was in the middle of the Garden of Eden. However, Eve was deceived by Satan. She was guilty of sin as well as Adam was, but he KNEW what he was doing!
As a result of Adam's deliberate sin, he received a sin nature, and through him, everyone who is born into this world is born with a sin nature.
JESUS CHRIST ... the ONLY sinless one ... (2 Corinthians 5:21)
There is just one exception to being born with a sin nature, and that is Jesus Christ. He had no human father, therefore, He did not have a sin nature!
CAIN & ABEL ... (Hebrews 9:22)
When Cain killed his brother Abel, it was because of his mental attitude sin of jealousy. Cain was a farmer, and he brought a beautiful sacrifice to the Lord in which he used some of the produce he had grown. Abel was a shepherd, and he offered a lamb from his flock as a sacrifice. The Lord accepted Abel's offering and refused Cain's, because only a blood offering was acceptable to the Lord.
ABRAHAM ... (Genesis 21:9-11)
Next we see Abraham and how he suffered because of his failure to wait for the son God promised to give him from his wife Sarah. At Sarah's suggestion, he took her handmaid, Hagar, as his wife, and Ishmael was born. Much trouble and heartache came to Abraham because of the bad decision he made!
ESAU & JACOB ... (Genesis 27:34)
When Esau, the son of Isaac, exchanged his birthright for a bowl of lentil soup, he lost the inheritance that would have been his, to his brother Jacob.
ELI, the priest ... (1 Samuel 3:13)
An old priest by the name of Eli served the Lord in the tabernacle for a number of years. He executed his duties well, but he filed to do what was right in the matter of training his two sons ... he did not use good disciplinary action toward them. When they were grown, they also were priests, but the Lord was very displeased with them, because they took bribes from the people and became involved in adulterous activities with many of the women who came to offer sacrifices to the Lord. Eli knew that his sons were involved in those gross sins, but he never said a word to reprimand them. As a result, the Lord killed those young men and told Eli why He had to do it.
KING SAUL ... (1 Samuel 1:13,14; 1 Chronicles 10:13,14)
Saul was an extremely handsome young man, and he stood head and shoulders above the rest of the people. When the kingdom was well-established in his hands, Saul began to disregard the Word of the Lord and did as he pleased! His failure to obey the Lord cost him not only his rulership over Israel, but his life and the lives of his sons as well.
KING DAVID ... (2 Samuel chapter 11)
Most people know about David's adultery, but many do not realize what his mental attitude was prior to his sin. David knew that he should have gone to war with his troops, but instead he decided to pamper himself. He stayed in the palace and slept until noon. Later that day in the cool of the evening, David walked in his garden on the roof of the palace. He saw beautiful Bathsheba bathing on her roof nearby. David inquired about her, sent for her, and then committed adultery with her. A few months later, Bathsheba sent word to David that she was carrying his child. In an attempt to cover his sin, David brought her husband Uriah from the battlefield and tried to get him to spend time with his wife. Uriah refused to go to his house, because he reasoned that he would be deserting his responsibilities as a soldier, so he slept in the barracks.
David became very angry that his plan failed, and he sent Uriah back into the battle with a secret message for General Joab which read, "Set Uriah on the front line of the battlefield WHERE HE WILL BE KILLED!"
David's discipline was fourfold. First, the child which Bathsheba bore died when it was less than a year old. Then, three of David's older children encountered disaster, and it nearly broke David's heart!
By his actions, we can see how one act of sin can have a domino effect on a situation and destroy the lives of many innocent people!
MOSES ... (Numbers 20:7-12)
No one can deny the greatness of Moses, but he wasn't perfect. He became very angry with the Children of Israel after having put up with their constant complaining for nearly forty years, and he disobeyed a direct command from the Lord. He was told to speak to the rock to bring water to the people, but he took his rod and struck the rock twice saying, "Must we bring water to you out of this rock, you rebels?" As a result of that, Moses was not permitted to go into the Promised Land.
KING SOLOMON ...(1 Kings 11:4)
Solomon had everything this world could offer. He made peace treaties with other nations in the world, and as a result of those treaties, he acquired seven hundred wives! In his old age, Solomon tried to please his wives by bowing down to their idols in the temples he had built for the idols which they worshipped.
KING REHOBOAM ... (1 Kings chapter 12)
Solomon's son Rehoboam listened to the advice of the young men with whom he had grown up about how to tax the people. He should have heeded the wise words of the older men who had served his father, and as a result of his foolishness, the kingdom was divided!
ELIJAH, the prophet ... (1 Kings 10:1-18)
Elijah was a great prophet who had been used by the Lord to take His Word to the people of Judah. At the height of his greatest victory, he received a threatening note from a woman by the name of Jezebel, and he became very frightened. He ran and hid in a cave like a hunted animal! He failed to trust the Lord to protect him, and he had to be replaced by another prophet.
KING ASA ... (2 Chronicles 16:12-14)
Asa was a good king and greatly blessed by the Lord for many years. When he was old, he made an alliance with an enemy nation which was contrary to the will of God. The Lord struck him with a disease in his feet, and for five years Asa refused to confess his sin and get back in fellowship with the Lord. He died as a result of not confessing that he was wrong.
KING HEZEKIAH ... (2 Kings 20:12-21)
Hezekiah was also a very good king and did many wonderful things for the people of Judah. However, he also had a weakness for making friends with his enemies. When he was dying, he asked the Lord to extend his life, and was given fifteen more years to live. The Lord left him to show him all that was in his heart.
We could cite many other examples in the Word of God in which we could see how some of the great people of the past failed and why they failed.
If you think about the men we have briefly looked at in our study, and if you take time to read the scripture references, I'm sure you will see that there was one basic reason for their COLOSSAL MISTAKES which all of them had in common ... it was PRIDE! Pride is the sin God hates most, and it is our worst enemy!

Death is a subject none of us really like to think about. In fact, until we lose a loved one or a close friend, we think very little about it.
Before we can understand what happens after death, we must first understand what LIFE is.
When God created Adam from the dust of the earth, he was not alive until God breathed into his nostrils the breath of lives. Both physical and spiritual life were given to Adam at that very moment, and he became a living soul. (Genesis 2:7)
When Adam and Eve disobeyed God and ate of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, they died spiritually, but they were still alive physically. They received a sin nature and had no fellowship with God. They had to be sent out of the perfect environment which they enjoyed in the Garden of Eden. Eve was deceived by Satan and she was the first to eat of the forbidden fruit. Adam knew what he was doing, but he chose fellowship with the woman rather than fellowship with God. They both received a sin nature, which is passed down to the human race by the man.
The soul is eternal ... only the body dies. The body is the house for the soul, and the soul is the real you.
God has a plan for everyone who is born into this world. He gives each one of us a certain amount of time to live on this earth, and then we will die physically. Hebrews 9:27 tells us: "And it it appointed unto men once to die, and after that the judgment."
During the time allotted to us, we will reach a time when we are considered to be accountable to God for our attitude toward Him. If we want to know God, He will provide information by which we can make a decision that will determine our eternal destiny. We can choose to accept the work of Jesus Christ which He has done for us, or we can accept our own human good.
All of the sins of the world were poured out upon Jesus Christ and judged when He hung on Calvary's cross over 2,000 years ago. Personal faith in Him will mean living eternally in the presence of God. However, rejecting what He did and standing on our own human good deeds will mean living forever in a place of torment with Satan and his demons and all people who rejected Him as their Saviour during their lifetime. God is holy, and He cannot accept our good works, because they come from our sin nature.
Jesus Christ and the cross on which He died are the focal points of all history. Old Testament people looked forward to the cross, and we look back to it.
An Old Testament believer by the name of Job looked forward to spending eternity with the Lord when He said, "For I know that my Redeemer lives, and that He shall stand in the last days upon this earth. And though my skin works destroy this body, yet in my flesh, I shall see God."
The name of every person who is born into this world is written in the Book of Life. If a person dies without believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, his name will be blotted out of the Book of Life and placed in the Book of Works, because he did not personally believe that Jesus Christ paid the penalty for his sins.
The apostle John tells us who will stand at the last judgment and face the Lord for evaluation:
"And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God, and the books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life; and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and torments gave up the dead which were in them, and they were judged every man according to their works.
And death and torments were cast into the Lake of Fire. This is the second death.
And whosoever was not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the Lake of Fire."
The Lake of Fire is being prepared for the Devil and his angels, but they do not yet occupy it. Now there is a place called Torments, and it is in the heart of the earth. The souls of all unbelievers go there when they leave their physical bodies.
Before Jesus Christ died, was buried, resurrected and ascended into heaven, there was a place called Paradise, and it was also in the heart of the earth. The souls of all believers went to Paradise, and when Jesus ascended into heaven, He took Paradise with Him. (no one was permitted to enter heaven until Jesus went there in a resurrection, glorified body)
We have an account of two men who died in Luke chapter 16. One of the men was a believer and went into Paradise, which was sometimes called "Abraham's bosom" in the scriptures. The other man went into torments, which is sometimes referred to as "hades" or "hell". We can learn much from their story:
"There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen, and he dined sumptuously every day. And there was a certain beggar by the name of Lazarus, who was placed a his gate. He was full of skin ulcers, and he desired to be fed with the crumbs that fell from the rich man's table. Also, the dogs came and licked his sores.
The beggar died, and he was carried by angels into Abraham's bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. His soul went into hades. Being in torment, the rich man lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and he saw Lazarus in Abraham's bosom.
The rich man cried and said, "Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to me that he may dip the tip of his finger in water to cool my tongue, for I am tormented in this flame!"
Abraham said, "Son, remember that you in your lifetime received many good things, and Lazarus received very little. Now he is comforted, and you are tormented. Beside that, there is a huge stationary gulf between us so that those with you who desire to come here cannot, neither can we pass over it to you.
Then the rich man said, "I beg of you, father Abraham, that you would send Lazarus to my five brothers and testify to them so that they will not come to this place of torment."
Abraham replied, "They have Moses and the prophets. Let them hear their words."
The rich man insisted, "No, father Abraham, but if one went to them from the dead, they will surely repent!"
Abraham answered, "If they will not hear Moses and the prophets, they will not be persuaded even if one rose from the dead."
"Moses and the prophets" refer to the entire Old Testament. They foretold the coming of the Messiah so that no one had an excuse for not knowing about the death, burial, resurrection and ascension of the Son of God.
To believers in this dispensation of the Church Age, the apostle Paul gives this comforting message: "We are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord." (2 Corinthians 5:6)
Once we understand and believe these truths, death should not hold any horror for the one who has believed in Jesus Christ. However, if you have never made that all-important decision to believe in Him, you have the opportunity to do so while you are still alive on this earth. The choice is yours alone, but be sure you weigh the consequences of refusal to believe in Him as your Lord and Saviour.
(Acts 16:31)

Not one person who was ever born didn't want to be popular! When we are very young, we call that a desire for attention, but both words fill the bill for the majority of us.
Often, when a baby cries, he wants to get his parent's attention. It can easily become a habit.
As a child gets a little older, he may throw a tantrum to get attention, and that can make the child obnoxious to the rest of the family as well as to friends who may be visiting when the tantrum occurs. That can certainly ruin a reputation in a hurry! People will not want to be around the "little monster" any more than necessary!
If there are brothers and sisters in the family, the tantrum-thrower may use abusive language toward them, or hit them, and, worst of all, may even bite them ... usually to get parental attention for himself!
If such an attitude persists into the teen-age years and is not corrected by those in authority, i.e.: parents, teachers, law officers, etc., that person may become a criminal!
No one really wants to be without recognized authority, even though they may think so at times.
Being popular with your friends isn't necessarily a good thing, but it can be if you have the right mental attitude about yourself and about life in general.
What usually makes a person disliked by others begins with a mind full of envy, jealousy, hatred and a desire for revenge. Even murder can result if these mental attitude sins persist without being checked in some way.
Let's look at a man who became gradually filled with all of these horrible mental attitude sins for nearly forty years of his adult life. His name was Saul, and he was king of Israel many years ago.
Saul was very popular among his people. He was a very tall and a very handsome young man who came from the family of Benjamin in the land of Palestine. It was Saul's outward appearance which made him so popular, but no except Saul himself and the Lord, knew his thoughts.
The people of Israel begged for a king that they could see, even though God was their king. The Lord gave them their desire, and He appointed Saul as king over them to teach a lesson to the people.
Saul was a great warrior, and he killed thousands of Israel's enemies in battle. One day the Philistines were threatening Saul's army, and they sent their champion, Goliath, out into the valley between two hills where the armies were camped. The challenger was shouting for a man to come down and fight with him, and suddenly a young teen-age boy appeared on the scene. His name was David, and he had come to bring food and supplies to his older brothers who were soldiers. When David heard Goliath make fun of the Lord God of Israel, David agreed to fight the giant.
David had not been a popular young man, because he was the youngest in a family of eight sons, and he was a shepherd. However, David had learned to trust the Lord while he was alone in the wilderness with his father's sheep.
David had also learned to use a weapon called a sling, and he became so expert in the use of it that he killed a bear and a lion that came into the camp to take a lamb from the flock. David used his skill to stun the giant with a stone in the middle of his forehead, and then David ran to him and cut off his head with the giant's own sword.
When David destroyed their enemy, David became very popular with all of the men. Even the king was so impressed with him that he appointed David to be a general in the army of Israel!
After that, David fought many battles during the next few years. When he returned home from a tremendous victory one day, Saul heard the people singing a song about David that made him very angry. The words to the song were, "Saul has killed his thousands, but David has killed tens of thousands!" Saul said in his heart, "If the people think that well of David, he may as well wear my crown too!"
King Saul's anger turned to envy and jealousy, because his own popularity was being lost to young David. Even Jonathan, Saul's son, became a very close friend of David, and Saul was not pleased with their friendship!
Soon, Saul began to plan how he could get rid of David for good. He made several attempts on David's life, but each time the Lord protected David and hid him from Saul.
For nearly ten years, Saul took his army and pursued David and the three-hundred men who followed him, but he was unsuccessful in killing David.
Finally, Saul died on a battlefield, and David replaced him as Israel's king. David was the greatest of all the kings of Israel, and he ruled for forty years.
If you are a ten-ager, it is extremely important that you find God's will for your life and then live your life to honor HIM.
If you are challenged to do that, you must learn, understand and apply God's Word so that He may guide you in the way you should go!
Popularity with people is only temporary, but to be popular with God because you are obedient to His Will has eternal results!

After Jesus was crucified, two of His secret disciples became very bold and were no longer silent about their faith in Him.
One of those secret disciples was a man from Arimathea by the name of Joseph. He was a member of the Sanhedrin, which was a Jewish council consisting of seventy-one men. Some of those men were priests and were known as Sadducees, some were lawyers and were known as Pharisees, and the rest were elders of the people. A High Priest presided over them.
The Sadducees originally came from the ranks of Israel's priests. Their main concern was for their social position among the people. They disagreed with the Pharisees' doctrine regarding the subject of resurrection.
The Pharisees came from the ranks of Israel's scribes. They were lawyers who handled the scriptures. Because of their legal knowledge, they completely ruled the public life of the nation. If anyone said anything against an official in the government or against the High Priest, that person would be arrested and brought before the Sanhedrin for trial.
Many times, this ecclesiastical and judicial council accused Jesus of breaking the Law of Moses, and for three years they tried to find a way to arrest Him, but they were afraid of displeasing the people.
For example, when Jesus raised his friend Lazarus from the dead, many of the Jews who witnessed the miracle believed in Jesus. But some of them were envious and went to the Pharisees to report what Jesus had done. Then the chief priests and the Pharisees called a council meeting and said, "What shall we do? This man performs many miracles! If we let him continue, all men will believe in him, and the Romans will come and remove our position and our nation as well!" (John 11:47-53)
Then Caiaphas the high priest said, "How stupid can you get! It will be to our advantage to have this man Jesus die for the people so that our nation will not be destroyed!"
From that day on they took counsel together about how they could have Jesus put to death.
The Pharisees and Sadducees followed Jesus and heard His teaching so that they might find something with which to accuse Him. As a result of hearing Jesus' words, many of the chief rulers believed in Him, but they did not confess their faith in Him, because they would have been put out of the synagogue which was their place of worship, and they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God!. (John 12:42,43)
Nicodemus was a Pharisee and a member of the Sanhedrin. He was one of the wealthiest men in Jerusalem, and he secretly believed in Jesus after an interesting interview with Him one night. His curiosity had caused him to go alone to speak to Jesus and say to Him, "We know that you are a teacher sent by God, for no man can perform the miracles you do unless God is with him." (John 3:1,2)
Jesus told Nicodemus that he needed to have a spiritual birth, but Nicodemus did not understand. Finally, Jesus gave him an illustration from some scriptures with which he was very familiar: "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up." (Numbers 21:8,9)
When Nicodemus heard that quotation from the scriptures, he realized that God had given that illustration in His Word to point to the Messiah who would come and die for the sins of the world ... he was speaking to the Saviour! Nicodemus became a believer that very night, and later he defended Jesus before the Sanhedrin when they made accusations against Him.
After the trial before the Jewish council, they delivered Jesus to Pilate, who was the Roman governor at that time, and they demanded that Jesus be crucified!
When Joseph of Arimathea learned that Jesus had been crucified, he went to Jerusalem and begged Pilate to let him bury the body of Jesus.
Pilate called the centurion who was in charge of the crucifixion to determine whether Jesus was actually dead. Afterward, he gave Joseph permission to take the body.
Joseph removed Jesus' body from the cross. Then he called his friend Nicodemus, and they embalmed the body and wrapped it in linen and placed it in a new tomb which belonged to Joseph and where no body had previously been laid.
The scriptures give us no more information about these two secret disciples.
Perhaps you are a secret disciple who is afraid to let others know about your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, because you don't want your friends to change their attitude toward you.
No one can force you to be a witness for Christ, but if you have believed in Him, the Bible says you are an ambassador for Christ. (2 Corinthians 5:20)
As you study God's Word and learn Bible Doctrine, you will gain confidence to speak about the Lord when you have an opportunity to do so.
Peter tells us to "grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To Him be glory, both now and for ever." (2 Peter 3:18)



Being intelligent means you have common sense, and you have the ability to learn and acquire knowledge so that you are eventually able to solve your own problems. We certainly don't all have the same talents or learning abilities, but every believer in Jesus Christ can fulfill God's purpose for his life by using the spiritual skills God has provided for each one of us.

First, we must have no known sin in our lives in order to be filled with the Holy Spirit and learn spiritual truths. "IF WE CONFESS OUR SINS, HE IS FAITHFUL AND JUST TO FORGIVE US OUR SINS AND TO CLEANSE US FROM ALL UNRIGHTEOUSNESS." (1 John 1:9)

Human IQ varies, but when we are in fellowship with the Lord, He gives us a spiritual IQ to enable us to have the same ability to learn Bible Doctrine as any other believer.

First of all, a believer must have the DESIRE to know God's Word and not be satisfied to live by his emotions. Emotional reaction to the problems of life results in not finding a solution that is a lasting one. "AS NEWBORN BABIES, DESIRE THE SINCERE MILK OF THE WORD, THAT YOU MAY GROW UP SPIRITUALLY." (1 Peter 2:2)

Next, you must have a pastor-teacher who knows the original languages of scripture so that you may get correct teaching of God's Word. A mere application of scripture may appeal to your emotions, but it does not have lasting results for your spiritual growth. In Isaiah 28:10, we are told that we must learn by applying "precept upon precept and line upon line" of the Word of God.

God the Holy Spirit is our mentor-teacher of Bible Doctrine. He makes it understandable to the believer's human spirit. When it is understood, the Christian must make an important decision ... will he reject what has been taught and understood or will he believe it and then make it a reality in his life?
Hopefully, the believer will choose to believe the truths that will help him grow spiritually. When he does believe them, he can begin to grow up and fulfill God's plan for his life. Of course, this doesn't happen all at once! It takes time and motivation plus a lot of concentration to become a mature believer.

In your soul, you begin to have a frame of reference for everything you encounter in your life. Your memory and your vocabulary increase as you assimilate Bible Doctrine, and you begin to separate various Biblical truths in categories as we are told in 2 Timothy 2:15: STUDY TO SHOW THYSELF APPROVED UNTO GOD, A WORKMAN THAT NEED NOT BE ASHAMED,RIGHTLY DIVIDING THE WORD OF TRUTH".

These truths are stored in our conscience and they become a moving force which motivates us to gain more wisdom so that we may please the Lord. Finally, we able to solve our own problems by applying the things we have learned and believed.

When we see how certain believers of the past became profitable to the Lord, we see that they recognized and confessed their known sins in order to stay in fellowship with Him. They believed God's promises and learned to respect His attitude toward all mankind. They understood Bible Doctrine and found their own personal destiny. They had a real love for God which gave them a love and consideration for other people. They were happy in good and bad situations alike, because they had a working knowledge of the Word of God.

Each one of us can find God's purpose for our lives if we study, learn, concentrate on the things we have learned and then apply Bible Doctrine to our own lives.



"Then said the Lord unto Moses, 'Behold, I will send bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain amount every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in my doctrine or not." (Exodus 16:4)
"God fed them with manna so that He might make them know that man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God." (Deuteronomy 8:3b)

"Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust does corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust does corrupt, and where thieves do not break in and steal; for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." (Matthew 16:19-21)

"...take heed and beware of covetousness; for a man's life consists not in the abundance of things which he possesses." (Luke 12:15)

"You who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go into a city and buy and sell and get gain', whereas you know not what tomorrow will bring. For what is your life? It is a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away." (James 4:14)


Bible Doctrine is what sustains and advances a believer in his spiritual growth, but he must RECOGNIZE it and DESIRE to have it if it is going to be profitable in his life. (Proverbs 2:1-5)

Manna was a visible example of God's daily provision for the Children of Israel during their forty years of wandering in the wilderness. When they saw the manna lying on the ground they said, "WHAT IS IT?" Moses answered, "This is the bread that the Lord has given you to eat, and He has commanded that you gather all you can use every day." (Exodus 16:15)
A swarm of Gentiles were among the Jews when they were delivered from 400 years of slavery in Egypt. They all began to complain bitterly to Moses and said, "Who shall give us flesh to eat? We remember the fish that we ate in Egypt and also the cucumbers, the melons, the onions and the garlic! Now we have nothing to eat but this manna !" (Numbers 11:4-6)

The people spoke against God and against Moses and said, "Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? We have no bread or water, and our souls loathe this manna !" (Numbers 21:6)


If you have believed in Jesus Christ and you spend the majority of your time on this earth laying up treasure for yourself and your loved ones, but you neglect God's provision of Bible Doctrine on a daily basis, you will not prosper and grow spiritually. (Proverbs 21:20)

We may not have everything we DESIRE, but the Lord will provide for our NEEDS! (Philippians 4:19)
God has a plan for our lives . Peter says to us, "As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the WORD, that you may grow thereby." (1 Peter 2:2)

We should all " Press toward the mark of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:14)
(Philippians 4:19)

The true spiritual life for the believer in Jesus Christ can only be obtained by taking in Bible Doctrine on a daily basis.
Bible Doctrine is a system of THINKING ... not EMOTION! No one can handle problems or testings by using emotional reaction to them! We must know what God thinks about every kind of situation we may possibly face in life before we can even begin to handle our problems.
Once we have LEARNED to recognize God's viewpoint, we must first of all BELIEVE what God's Word says, then we have to THINK about it and apply the doctrinal principles to the situation. God's WORD HAS ALL THE ANSWERS ... people do not!
Arrogance and self-centeredness are our worst enemies. Bible Doctrine is TRUTH. If you have ever had an opportunity to make the Gospel clear to an unbeliever and then see that person accept false teaching or perhaps get involved in a Satanic cult, you can understand what I'm saying.
Some believers think they are doing great things for God when they become "do-gooders" or "activists" for a particular cause that they think is a good thing, but that is not God's purpose for the Christian! Instead, it is worldliness and evil if the believer is not in fellowship with the Lord and motivated by the Word of God.
You may ask, "Why don't more believers know and understand what God thinks?" Many will not learn Bible Doctrine that is too complicated, and they forget the Bible Doctrine that is too simple.
We can only learn to know and love God by finding out how He thinks, and that doesn't happen overnight! "Love at first sight" is an emotional, childish attitude! You can't truly love someone until you get to know them!
The person to whom you may be attracted may have a mind full of evil thoughts that you can't detect on the outside. Those characteristics are overlooked many times if the person is physically attractive, has a position in life that is impressive, or if they have a pleasing personality, but that is NOT true love!
If you are a Christian, and you want to live your life to honor the Lord Jesus Christ, He will provide real and meaningful teaching to help you mature as a believer.

Written by Lois Delnay

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