Classic Christianity – A Closer Look at The Word of God P37 (05-03-21)
Let us learn what it means to build on a new foundation. That also means we need to destroy the old foundation, whatever it is made of, denominational sand, New Age thinking, worldly thinking, whatever it might be, and replace that foundation with the bedrock of Jesus Christ. As an analogy, you can liken that to erasing a chalkboard of false mathematical equations with the correct mathematical equations, otherwise you are easily confused when you have old information mixed with new information, and are tempted to use the old information you are so comfortable with. Your mind is hindered from being renewed when you are fed error and poisonous doctrine mixed in with the truth. So be sanctified, be set apart from the thinking of the world.
We have a solid foundation to be built upon Christ Jesus, who spoke to the apostles, brought everything He said to them back to their remembrance, so they could write down the thoughts of Christ. So that is how we have the bible we hold in our hands today. Jesus Christ is the source of all grace and truth that we need to live.
Jesus Christ is full of grace and truth, and He extended that grace to us and continues to reveal truth to men, all men born again, with the Spirit of God living in them. He is drawing all men unto Himself so that they can be born again. The choice to be born again is available to all mankind. Mankind has the opportunity to become born again, to be made complete in Christ, to have the mind of Christ placed in him so he can know and understand the thoughts of God, and walk in true freedom.
Having been born again, to grow in grace and knowledge means we have to let go of our old ways of thinking, those things we learned from religious training, whether Catholic, Baptist, or what other persuasions of men are out there, which may or may not be true. We have to start with a clean slate and be totally dependent on the Spirit of God to reveal the meaning of the word of God. Only the Spirit knows how God thinks, so unless we have the Spirit to reveal how God thinks, His attitudes and heart and what truth is, then we will not know what the word of God means. Without relying on the Spirit, we can know what it says but not know what it means.
As a child of God, growth needs to occur. You start out knowing very little except Jesus loves me this I know. Later we obtain knowledge, but sometimes with knowledge we can have true Godly knowledge or become puffed up with pride with worldly knowledge. Knowledge should never replace total dependence on God, but rather is a storehouse of information that God pulls out from within you, that has been stored there, that you have been pondering on, and relying on God to reveal to you the meaning. Then a circumstance occurs in your life, and God brings back to your remembrance what you have been pondering, and He makes the meaning known to you in light of the circumstance you are now facing. You have this communication with the living God, and your heart is stayed on course, in complete confidence of your identity as a child of God, a saint, not a sinner, and that He has given you everything you need for life and godliness. You are the branch and He is the vine, and you allow the vine to bring the nutrients to the forefront of your mind, that then influences your emotions and activates your will and results in interaction with people so they may praise God who is at work within you. That is a picture of how the word of God is active in a believer. That is a picture of a strong foundation being built.
Think of the Spirit as your Counselor, and scripture even calls the Spirit the Counselor. The Counselor instructs you, helps you, gives you information, reveals truth to you, brings all that has been told you back to your remembrance, guides you into all truth, so you may know what God has freely given you, and walk in the newness of life, Christ in you, your hope of glory.
What I find to be one of the most important things is a strong foundation. I see people in utter confusion, who appear to have a foundation in Jesus Christ and seem to be building upon it, yet there is this vacillating back and forth.
1 Corinthians 3:10-15
10 By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. 14 If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. 15 If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved – even though only as one escaping through the flames.
As I was thinking about that, we come into this world with a lot of baggage. This was especially evident to me when I listened to a testimony that was given at our last conference. There was a lady that was talking about this, coming with a lot of baggage. She had been through all of the wild and woolly stuff going on in Christianity. She had been through mystical stuff, New Age stuff, been through drug therapy and all kinds of things. What we do is we come to Christ with all of this stuff.
Imagine for a moment. That is a whole bunch of sand. Then you try to build your foundation on that sand. When you pour that concrete on that sand, if the concrete, which is Christ on sand, then what is going to happen when the rains come to wash away the sand? It is the same thing that happens in Texas when that calleechie in the soil starts drying up so the foundation cracks on you. The same thing that will happen if you water your lawn too much around your foundation. I can cause it to crack on you if the foundation is not solid. So what I see happening is this, a lot of people coming to Christ, trying to build their foundation on Him, but realizing that foundation is on top of another foundation. That other foundation is wood, hay and stubble. So we cannot figure out why it is not working like we want it to.
If all your life, you had on your blackboard 2 + 2 = 5 and 4 + 4 = 9 and 1 + 1 =3 and you memorized all of that in your head but you could not figure out why your checkbook would not balance. This whole life of mathematics was just not falling together. Someone comes along and says “Come unto me” and “I have truth over here” in regard to mathematics. What is that? 2 + 2 = 4 not 5 and 1 + 1 = 2 not 3. So you respond, “Let me mark that down.” So you draw a line underneath your other additions. Then you start putting down these new numbers. 1 + 1 =2 and 4 + 4 = 8. You are so excited about learning these new things. But the old stuff is still on the blackboard. Satan comes along and says, “Hold on a minute. Look up there. What does that say up there?” “It says 1 + 1 = 3.” “Yes. Yes, but down here it says 1 + 1 =2.” “Yes, but who are you going to believe? How many years did you believe 1 + 1 =3?” So all of a sudden there is this turmoil going on because you have not erased the blackboard. If you are ever going to get out of that turmoil, you need to erase the blackboard and get rid of 1 + 1 = 3 and erase it. Consider yourself dead to it. Put the new information up there and stick to it.
10 The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.
11 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires.
That is what it says in scripture. Considering yourself dead means to erase the blackboard. We are dragging all this garbage, the garbage that we learned about things not in the bible. We are dragging tradition into our understanding of the word of God. We are dragging legalism in there. We are dragging emotional experiences in there. Instead of doing what Paul said.
4 If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5 circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; 6 as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless.
7 But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ – the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.
I consider all of that dung. I do not know how you are going to get more descriptive than that. All of that is dung in comparison to knowing Jesus Christ. So what did Paul do with all his Pharisaical degrees? He considered it dung. He got rid of it. He erased the blackboard. He never talked about it in order to get to know Christ. That is an important step for people to take in order to build on a new foundation. You cannot take that same location that you have been in, folks, and keep trying to build Christ’ foundation on top of it. It is still sand. You have to move to a new location. You have to die to that law. You go and find bedrock. There is where I will build my foundation, not on sand, but on bedrock. That is what it means to build on a foundation of Christ Jesus our Lord. Otherwise we are going to spend the rest of our lives building a foundation upon sinking sand.
I have seen that. I had to do that in my own life. I knew the bile upside down, backwards and forwards, but what it meant was taught to me by man. What was taught to me is what I thought the Spirit was teaching me. I had to come to the point of saying, “I do not care where I learned it from. If you taught it to me once, you can teach it to me again. I am erasing the blackboard and I want you, Lord, to start with me all over again. You said truth will set you free. I thought I knew truth but evidently I do not. So I want you, Lord, to teach me truth and set me free. You will need to start all over with me. I am going to get rid of my Catholicism, my Protestantism, and my Judaism. I am getting rid of all of it. I am virgin snow. Now teach me afresh.” That is when you now have the opportunity of allowing the Spirit of God, who lives in you, to build a brand new foundation that is on Christ and Christ alone.
We are continuing with our lesson on Preparation of Understanding in our bible study booklet, A Closer Look at the Word of God. We were talking about 1 Corinthins 2:9.
1 Corinthians 2:9
9 However, as it is written:
“What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived”[Isaiah 64:4] – the things God has prepared for those who love him –
There is no way for us to understand what the bible means apart from God revealing it to us by His Spirit. That comes as a result of dependency upon the Spirit. Until I came to the point of saying, “God I give up”. “I am not going to trust in my nifty ability to study the bible. I am not going to trust in my neat bible study techniques, as to whether I do it with inductive or deductive or whatever else it might be. But I am going to trust you to reveal to me what it means.” All those things, as good as they sound, will not help you one iota for what it means. What it says, yes, but what it means, absolutely not. You can have the neatist bible study techniques and even know what the maps mean, but unless the Holy Spirit reveals to you what that means, you will not know what that means. Yet you can become a very good teacher teaching what it says but not have a clue what it means.
1 Corinthians 2:9-12
10 these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. 11 For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12 What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us.
The Spirit teaches you all things, even the deep things of God. The Spirit searches all things. The Spirit teaches all things. The Spirit reveals all things. Until I came to the point of saying that I consider those other things dung, like Paul, in comparison to knowing Christ. When I first came to Christ, I did not know anything except, Jesus loves me for the bible tells me so. That is in essence what you know when you come to God.
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
I responded to that God who loved me and gave His Son for me. That is all I knew was the love of God. After a while you start getting filled with knowledge. Before I was filled with Christ and later I was filled with knowledge. It was amazing that when I was filled with Christ, then I would share what I was filled with, and that was Christ, and I saw all kinds of people respond. After a while I got filled with knowledge and I did not see anybody respond to all my neat knowledge. That was a little disturbing too. How I knew so much and I was so smart and brilliant yet no one was responding to that brilliance. It was amazing how I got rid of the brilliance and started communicating with Christ again, how people began responding again. That is probably what He meant when He said “if you just lift me up I will draw all men unto myself.” I did not know what that meant. I knew what it said but I did not know what that meant.
32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”
At any rate, you have to come to the point of saying, “Lord, I get rid of it. Start over with me.” There is nothing wrong with that. We are scared to do that because God forbid we have to think. I have to use my mind again. I am sure my mind is at its ultimate capacity. We are scared to death to exercise our muscles, our bodies and our mind, it seems like. But that is when God gets the chance to teach you. “Lord, I can’t but you can. Teach me afresh.” That is where God taught me the grace of God. I did not understand the grace of God. I knew words, verbiage but I did not understand what it meant. This is a vital passage of scripture to me.
1 Corinthians 2:10-12
The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. 11 For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12 What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us.
No one knows what you are thinking except the Spirit who lives within you. In the same way, no one knows what God is thinking except His Spirit. That is a dilemma until we keep reading. How am I going to know what God is thinking? If I do not know what God is thinking, then all I have to rely on is how I am thinking and I already got enough trouble relying on that. So what I want to know is what God is thinking? But by the grace and love of God, what did He do for us? We, who are in Christ Jesus, have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God. We have received the Spirit from God.
Why did He give you and me the Spirit of God? Because no one knows what God is thinking except His Spirit. God wants me to understand what God is thinking. He gave you and me the Spirit so we many understand what God has freely given us. That, my friends, is grace. Why do people rebel against grace? Why are people teaching legalism? Why are people shoving people out of churches today for the proclamation of the finality of the cross and the reality of the resurrection, which is the ultimate form of expression of God’s grace? Why? Because they have not been taught by the Spirit of God. It is that simple. They do not understand what God has freely given them.
If they did understand what God had freely given them, they would not be rebelling against what God has freely given him. Is there a way to rebel against unconditional love and acceptance and against being made a child of God and being given a joint heir with Jesus Christ, and having all your sins put behind His back, never to be seen again? How can you rebel against that? You would have to be stupid to rebel against that.
The reason you rebel is because you do not understand what He has done. All you can do is teach what you understand but you are not teaching what He understands. You are not teaching out of the mind of God but you are teaching out of what you are receiving out of your own mind. So, there is one case, folks, where it is very beneficial to be out of your mind. You need to get out of your mind and into His so He can teach you the grace that sets you free when you come to truth.
What is the truth? What are you going to abide in in Christ? Grace and truth. What is truth about grace? It is all Jesus. If I am going to abide in that, that is all free. It is all free. It is all grace. I have to understand that. God wants me to understand it, what is in His heart and His mind. I did not need the Holy Spirit living in me to understand the law. The law was given for the violator. The law is given to a natural man to show him his spiritual condition, his death, so he would come to Christ for life. I do not need the Spirit of God to understand the law. I have to have the Spirit of God living in me to understand grace. Quite frankly, to me, if a person does not understand grace. I am talking about rebellion against it, such as the spirit of a Pharisee, it is because someone does not have the Spirit of God living in him. If they do, they are absolutely oblivious to what it means to depend upon the Spirit.
1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
If you are understanding the grace of God and walking in the newness of life and facing opposition, do not lose heart because Christ faced that same opposition when He stood in the fullness of time, in front of the Pharisees. In essence, He said everything you are and stand for is the very opposite of everything I am and stand for. There was a line of demarcation drawn, a battle zone, on that day. Christ was everything, the ultimate opposite of everything they had become in the form of religion. Everything they were and are is everything contrary to everything Christ is. What a contrast.
Folks, do not lose heart. If you have been taught the truth about the grace of God, thank God. You have had the greatest teacher in the world, that teacher who can teach you what it means. Look at John 14:26. That person and teacher is the Spirit, also called the Counselor. Jesus told us about that.
26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.
In my name means in my authority, in the authority of Christ Jesus. Folks, I believe this particular passage of scripture is basically talking to the apostles. But I think that it also is talking to us. The direction of that was to the apostles, who He had said, you are with me and you have seen me, but I am now going to be in you. I will remind you, apostles, of everything I said to you. Why is He going to remind the apostles of everything He said to them? It was so when the apostles wrote down the word of God, they would be writing down everything the Lord said to them. So, in essence, they were not writing their own thoughts. They were writing the thoughts of God that had been revealed to them by the Spirit of God whom the Father sent in Jesus name.
So the Holy Spirit is called the Counselor. Is that interesting once again? If we said, “I have Jesus as my Savior, but I am going to go to another Savior to get a little advice.” We would say, “You are one heretic. What do you mean another Savior? There is only one Savior. What kind of planet did you just come off of?” If I came there and said, “Jesus is Lord but I want to go find me another Lord. I think maybe so and so might be Lord. I think I will talk to him.” He would just run you right out of the place. Would he not say, “Get rid of that heretic?” Is it not strange how offensive that would be, yet when the Holy Spirit of God is called the Counselor, we do not think of anything of saying, “I am going to find me another counselor”, when God says “I am the Counselor.” There is something about this Counselor that you will not find in any other counselor. He will lead you into all truth. Man counselor might possibly lead you into some truth but some truth will not cut it. You need to be led into all truth because as messed up as we are, we do not need partial truth. We need all truth. The third person of the Trinity is called the Counselor yet we think nothing of substituting someone else as a counselor and ignore Him who God says is the Counselor.
Let us provide some explanation as we are talking about a counselor, and how we would not think of saying I am going to another Savior, or I am not going to go to another God but have no problem in saying, “I am going to another counselor.” I think as we look at that whole concept there, that if the Holy Spirit is indeed whom Jesus says He is, your Counselor, then first and foremost in our lives, He has to be our counselor. The counselor is there to let you know information. That is what the Spirit of God living in us is there to do, to teach us what truth from Christ means. He said He is going to remind you of everything that He has said to you. That is a continual work of the Spirit of God within our hearts. He cannot remind you of what you do not know. He also says, “I will teach you all things.” That means all things, in even Greek. “I will teach you all things that you need to know.“ He says you have been made complete in Him, that is, you have everything you need for life and godliness. You have already been given that. The Spirit of God is there, living in you, to teach you, to teach you what that is.
2 Peter 1:3
3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.
Does that negate counselors? I can hear some people out there in the counseling profession saying, “What do we do? Just eliminate our jobs? What should be our role?” First of all, I do not think anything in the bible refers to us as human beings as counselors. Yet we call ourselves that. I believe that counseling is discipleship. Quite frankly, that is why we called our ministry Discipleship Counseling. That is what true biblical counseling is. What does that mean? A learner. If I am a discipler of men, which we are called to be, not counselors, but disciplers of men, then what does a good discipler, or a biblical counselor, if you want to call it that, what is a good counselor going to be doing? Leading you to the Counselor, letting people know that I am not the Counselor, but He is.
My role as a sheep dog is to herd sheep to the shepherd. I am not one who can discern the thoughts and the attitudes of the mind. I have no ability to do that. I am not sharper than a two-edged sword. I cannot discern and divide soul from spirit. That is what the word of God has to do. If people are going to be figured out, it does not do me any good to figure you out. You are going to have to figure you out. All I can do is lead you to the one who can figure you out and that is the word of God and the Holy Spirit of God, who alone is the Counselor, able to discern your thoughts and to discern what is going on inside of you. I cannot figure that out. That is not my role to do that. That is the Spirit of God’s job to do that. A true biblical counselor is not one sitting around trying to get someone to figure out themselves nor to try to figure you out. I cannot even figure myself out. How in the world am I going to figure you out? My role is to get you to the one who has already got you figured out, and that is the true Counselor, the Holy Spirit of God, whom the Father has sent in Jesus’ name and the one who promised to teach you and me all things and to remind you and me of everything that Jesus ever spoke to us.
So let us turn to scripture, to let the Spirit teach us how to live in the new way of the Spirit, not in the old way of the flesh.
9 You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ.
You are not controlled by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. So, the Spirit of God living in us, is the same teacher that lives in everyone, the Holy Spirit of God who lives in every believer. If the Spirit of God does not live in us it is because we are not in Christ. So what does it mean to be born again? It means to be born again of the Spirit. I have been born once physically as a result of the desire of my mom and dad. But now I have been born again of the Spirit. I have been spiritually born now. If I am truly in Christ, then the Spirit of God lives in me and if the Spirit of God does not live in me then I am not in Christ.