Classic Christianity – A Closer Look at The Word of God P43 (05-17-21)
In this world, we will have trials and tribulations. Jesus told us that in His word. Now, we have learned that His word is living and active, and if you are a child of God, He is living in you. The Spirit will guide you into all truth. And if you are not yet a child of God, the Spirit, who is love and who cares for you, is drawing you unto Himself.
Have you ever been depressed or overcome with worry or fear? Have you found yourself in a hotel room and you open a drawer and find a Gideons bible there. Inside the cover is all kinds of promises from God’s word, organized by topic. So you read the category on worry and fear, and as you read you begin to read about a God you do not yet know, but you are being drawn to this person because of all the wonderful promises and the hope laid out for you in His word. Many a person has come to know Christ by the Spirit revealing truth to his heart upon pondering over His word.
The same can be true for someone who wanders in a church building. The person preaching, whether false motives or true, maybe even a false teacher, but he quotes from the word of God, speaking words that he himself does not understand, and you wander in and hear the word, but the Spirit reveals truth to you and you walk out of there full of joy. The truth is from the word of God revealed to you by the Spirit of God. Your heart was humble, longing for truth to be made known to you, and God made Himself known to you. Many people have simply seen a sign at a professional baseball stadium with a sign with just John 3:16. They went home and found a bible, and read that verse and then the whole chapter. They came to Christ when God revealed to them their need to be born again.
So then, what wonderful promises do we have in God’s word, that as a child of God, we can consider it pure joy when we face trials and tribulations of all kinds? What is different about someone who knows God, a born again believer, than someone who does not know God, facing the same circumstances? The born again believer is walking in trust in the God who said He will cause all things to happen for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. What is His purpose? The will of God is to give thanks in all circumstances. Start there. Why give thanks? Because you know Him who is true, who cares for you, who loves you unconditionally, who accepts you, who Himself conquered the death and the grace, and is living in you, and who said He will never leave you nor forsake you, who said He has prepared a place for you that moth and rust can never destroy. You are not giving thanks to get God to love you. You know His love for you and so you give thanks. You do so not because you have to, but because of the new attitude of heart that is in you, a deep, abiding trust in the God you know who loves you. You know something about Him and His wonderful promises in His word concerning you.
He tells you that in the midst of whatever you are facing, consider Him who faced drops of blood for you, who died for you, who persevered for you, and who conquered the death and the grave for you. Consider Him who did all that for you, and the same mind in Christ is living in you. He told you that His Spirit is in you to guide you into all truth, and Jesus is the door, the truth and the life, and that same life is in you. You have access to Him and all His eternal resources, not to name it and claim it, but to walk in the same attitude of mind and heart as He did, to give thanks in all circumstances. Remember Jesus said that for the joy set before Him He endured the cross scorning its shame. Our vision is too shallow because we are not God. But God who lives in us, tells us things we need to know and lays out hope for us in Him who is true, an anchor for our soul. Jesus sees the whole picture from eternity.
So whatever happened, whatever the world brings us, or whatever trouble we bring to ourselves, because we took our eyes off Jesus, and did things our own way, remember God has never left you. God tempts no one, but is always there for you, for He lives in you, as a child of God. He does not put trials in your way to test you. The world is sufficient enough to do that so He does not need to. He is your Counselor, your friend and has promised to never leave you nor forsake you. As a child of God, He is calling out to you by His Spirit within you, to continue to trust Him in the same way you trusted Him to become a child of God in the first place. Lean on Him. Trust Him. Look up the promises He has for you in His word. Get to know Him, His unconditional love and acceptance of you.
God is pleased by our faith. Indeed, anything that is not of faith is sin. That is what sin is, not trusting God. Just go back to the garden of Eden, and you will see that sin is from Adam not trusting God’s love and provision for him. The whole Christian life is that we are the responder, not the initiator. God initiated His love to us. We responded to that love and that is why we love Him because He first loved us. That love from God results in our love of God that results in our obedience to God.
That is why a continual reminder of what Jesus told is in the parable of the vine and the branch in John 15 is so important to grab a hold of, to understand this dynamic relationship with the living God. That is where life is lived, in Christ, allowing Him to live His life in you and through you. That is where you experience peace that surpasses understanding. Not peace like sitting down beside a mountain stream, that then goes away when you leave the scene. No, God is living in you, you know Him more and more intimately and He knows you perfectly, and so you experience a peace that cannot be explained. You know you have His peace and that is all you can really say about that. You know God as He has committed to you, according to His promise in His word, to complete the good work He began in you. So we cannot but say, “Thank you, Jesus! Praise be to God through our Lord Jesus Christ!”
Let us pick up now on Chapter 12: Application of the Word of God in our study of A Closer Look at the Word of God. Turn to Philippians 4:6-7 as we are dealing with anxiety and worry.
6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
We talked about, quite in detail, what in Philippians is being said, not to be anxious about anything. The reason we do not have to be anxious about anything is because we have a God who is perfect love.
8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
And if that was not good enough, He came to live in us. He is a God of mercy and lovingkindness. He came not to justify the righteous, because there are not any, but to justify the wicked, which we all qualify for. Jesus loved us and gave Himself for us, and cares for us. So cast all your anxieties on Him. Why? He cares for you and me.
1 John 4:11-13
11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
13 This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit.
So when we realize that the God of the universe lives inside us, and loves us and cares for us, and He also calls us His best friend, then what do we need to be anxious about?
15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.
So the by-product of that is there is a peace, called the peace of God that transcends all understanding.
7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
There is nothing you can sit down and analyze. So you might as well leave out the philosophers and the psychologists out of it, for they cannot figure it out and no one else can either. It is just there. It is a peace you cannot put your finger on. You can get peace from smoking marijauna or getting drunk or sitting down by a mountain stream, but it is not a peace that surpasses understanding. You can sit down and tell someone about it. But this peace that surpasses understanding, all you can say is you got it, but you cannot explain it. But this peace of God will guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. The true guard over your heart and mind is the peace of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
This is another reason I can walk in peace. Are we in Christ Jesus? Yes. Then we are called according to His purpose. What is His purpose? To bring us into His kingdom, to make us His own, to save us, to give us His life, to live in us. So, inasmuch as we have obviously been called to that purpose, then we know something. We know something, and that is, in all things, God will cause all things to work together for your good. There is a promise from God, that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
1 Peter 5:7
7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
There is another truth that will cause the peace of God to pass all understanding, to quieten your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. If I am in Christ Jesus and Christ Jesus is in me, then the word of God says I can know something. Not just to know about something. There is a world of difference between knowing about something and knowing something. How can I know all things will work together for good for me, if I do not know the God who will cause all things to work out for good or I do not know the nature of God? It is an inconsistency until I realize the God who loves me perfectly. Only a God who loves me perfectly, only a God who cares for me, only a God who is merciful to me, is a God that is at work in me to cause all things to work together for good. God who hates my guts will not be doing that. A God who is beating me to death, a God who is sick in your stomach or is always disappointed in me, He will not cause all this to work together for me. It is when I know a God who is committed to complete the work He began in me who will cause all things to work together for my good. A God who is concerned about me. My God is concerned about my future just as He is my present. Therefore, if I have been called unto Him and called according to this purpose, then I can know something, that God will cause all things to happen for my good.
5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
7 It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart and, whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me.
So how does that work when the trials and tribulations of life come into play? What is the by-product of that? What kind of a heart am I going to have when I understand that truth, that God is in me to will and to act according to his good pleasure, that God is living in me promising to complete the work He began in me. If God is at work in me causing all things to work together for my good, what is a by-product of that or a response to that truth?
We are responders, not initiators. I do not cause all things to work together for my good. I will try, in the energy of my flesh. “I will try”, thinking I am so wonderful. “It ought to.” That is part of the stupidity of demanding our rights. All the country is about rights, gay rights, men rights, white rights, black rights. We even have a right amendment. We have all kinds of things going on with that. But God says you do not have any rights. We have privileges. That is what grace is. How can I be in love with the grace of God if I had a right to it? It would cease to be a gift. It would be an obligation of God. God did not have any obligation at all to save you and me or to give us a thing. That is all grace. It is all mercy. It is all kindness. I do not deserve any of it. If I got what I deserved from God. You heard someone say, “Please give me what I deserve.” He would be dead. If I got what I deserved from God, I would be crushed. I would be dead. I deserve death, for the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). I am glad I do not get what I deserve. I am a recipient of His love, grace and kindness.
23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
We are responders. As a responder, if God is causing all things to work together for my good, then what is the most natural response by me? To give thanks in all things.
1 Thessalonians 5:18
18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
Now it says in all things. We know, in all things, God works for your good. We are told not to be anxious for anything. So we got anything. We got everything. We got all things. And in all things, it says, to give thanks, in all circumstances. Why? For this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
You have people walking around trying to find God’s will. “I want to know God’s will. Oh, I want to know God’s will.” “Are you giving thanks in all things?” “No, but I want to know God’s will. But I want to know God’s will.” “He already told you God’s will and you are not paying attention to that, so why should He tell you more? Until you want to know God’s will and act upon it, why should you seek another will?”
Until we come to the point of saying you are willing to give thanks in all things, not to be walking around always saying “Thank you, Jesus. Thank you, Jesus”, thinking that is going to do something, but to realize God is truly at work in me to do His good pleasure, and is truly at work in me causing all things to work together for my good, then in all things and in all circumstances, give thanks. Why? God’s will for you. How come? It shows you trust Him.
Again, the thanks does not bring about His trustworthiness. It is just an expression that you are trusting Him. That is good. “Thank you Lord. I do not understand why but I will thank you anyway for that is God’s will for my life.” That stuff is poor theology and there is no reality in poor theology. What you are dealing with there is that I am giving thanks because there is a reason God does not want you to walk around blind. Why can I give thanks in all things? Because He is going to work together for your good.
What kind of circumstances are you in today? Some people are in all kinds of circumstances; bad ones, hard ones, death, maybe facing prison, and possibly into a situation caught in some kind of a sin that is going to destroy your family and your marriage. All kinds of things. What does He say to you if you are a child of God. Jesus says, “if you trust Me, I will cause that to work together for your good.” “How in the world can that work together for my good?” “It will teach you that the reason you got into that jam is because you did not trust Me. And it will show you the repercussions of not trusting, not trusting My love, care and wisdom in you. And it will draw you closer to Me.”
You do not see the whole picture. You are seeing a little segment of your life, just a little spot. God says He sees the beginning and the end. “I am on top of the Empire State building. I am watching this whole parade going on. You down there are in the midst of it and cannot see what is ahead of you. But I know what is up ahead of you. If you will trust Me, I will cause this thing to work together for your good.” So what will you be able to do in this jam? “Thank you.” Not thank you for my sin or mistakes I made, for it is stupid. But I can thank you for the fact that you said you would cause it to work together for my good. It will teach me something. “Lord, I am going to trust you.” That is what faith says. We have to understand that is what faith is about.
6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
When I do not have faith, it is saying, “I do not trust your love for me. I do not trust your provision for me.” How in the world is God going to be pleased with that when He has already told you He loves you perfectly and has mercy upon you and will cause it to work together for your good. Why do you stubbornly insist on doing it your way? “I will do it my way.”, you say. You are going to look like you did at the end of your life. “But if you do it My way, you will love the results of that.”
anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
That is how you came to Christ to begin with, if you are saved. You obviously had to believe He existed to come to Him. It is dumb to come to a shadow or an imagination. You came to a person. “I rewarded you for your faith.” If you do not know you are saved, you need to know that. You are playing games or there has to be some reality there. On the day you came to the Lord Jesus Christ, you came to a person, who came to live in you. If that is not true, then you might as well eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow you die. If that is true, then where is He? He has not left you nor deserted you. He said that He would never leave you nor forsake you. He lives in you. If you came to Him to begin with by true faith, then why not believe that He is there, living in you, giving you wisdom, causing things to work together for your good? That is what causes us to say, “Lord Jesus, thank you in all things.”
23 everything that does not come from faith is sin.
Anything that is not of faith, it says, is sin. That is what sin is. That is what happened in the garden of Eden. If you want to know what sin is, go back to where it began. It is not the filthy five. Nobody there to do those things with. So what was sin? “I do not believe you, God.” Adam, for a temporary moment, doubted the love and provision of God. He believed the lie and he fell. That is what sin is. Anything that is not of faith is sin. In who? The God who loved you and gave Himself for you. That is what Jesus said, “the world’s sin is unbelief in Me”, and that in regard to salvation.
John 16:9 (TLB)
9 The world’s sin is unbelief in me
So just as you received him, walk in him. How did we receive Him? By faith. So walk in Him by faith.
One of the things we have to realize is that in this world you will have tribulation. Jesus told us that, on his way to the cross.
32 Behold, an hour is coming, and has already come, for you to be scattered, each to his own home, and to leave Me alone; and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me. 33 These things I have spoken to you so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”
You are not functioning by faith by believing that when you come to Christ that everything is going to be great. “I am going to be rich. I have the ability now to boss God around. If I visualize I can get a Cadillac, I will get one.” You will not find that kind of teaching in the bible. You might find that in some church, but you will not find that in the bible. It says you will have tribulations.
In James 1:2-3, he says to consider it pure joy whenever you face trials of many kinds.
2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.
Now, you do not have God up there saying, “I am going to test his faith. I am going to test Bob’s faith. I am going to give him a trial and a tribulation, to knock his socks right off, just to see how he does. God does not have to give you trials and tribulations. The world is out there to do that. Whoever it is who is distributing problems has got one whale of a business. For I do not know anyone who does not have one of his products. So in this world you will face trials of many kinds. But in Christ, when I face those trials, trusting Him then there is something I am going to have. I am going to develop perseverance, trusting Him in the midst of the trial and tribulation.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds. Try doing that as a non- Christian. How can you ever consider it pure joy whenever you face trials of many kinds? When you face such a trial, you do not consider it pure joy. You are hacked and anxious about it. No, not if God is alive living in you, that is not how you face that. If you do not know the Lord, you are certainly not going to face it that way.
But if you know God is at work in you to work and to do His good pleasure, and God who lives in you says He will cause all things to work out for your good, who are called according to His purpose. You are certainly called according to His purpose, otherwise you would not be a child of God. “You would not be loving Me unless you understood My love for you. It is not going to do you any good to try to love Me unless you understand how much I love you. But if you do understand how much I love you, then there is a by-product to that. You will love Me and trust Me.”
The Christian life is lived by your love of God, that results in dependence upon God that then results in obedience to God, and it is in that order; love of God, dependence upon God, obedience to God. Why are so many out trying to get people obedient until you get them in love? That is legalistic obedience that makes you sick and everybody around you. The reason I can depend upon God and become obedient is a result of freedom. Obedience is a result of understanding true freedom. It is not obedience that I have to do it. It is an obedience that I want to because of what I know about, the dependency upon the one I love. And the reason I love Him is because He loved me first.
1 John 4:19
19 We love, because He first loved us.
When I understand that God is in control of all things, and God loves me perfectly, and my future is in his hands, just like my present and my past have been, then I can truly come to consider it pure joy when I face trials of many kinds, because you know the testing of your faith that develops perseverance. God is not testing our faith. The trials and tribulations are there. I have heard people say, “I became a Christian and this happened to me.” “What do you think would have happened to you if you had not become a Christian?” “I just had this child who died and I just became a Christian last year, and I do nor understand it.” “That child is going to die whether you became a Christian or not. That trial or tribulation was going to come upon you one way or another.” The beauty of being a child of God is being able to walk in newness of life in the midst of that trial and tribulation, so I can have hope, not like the heathen who has no hope at all. But to get through that testing that the world put upon you, God does not bring about death. Satan brought upon death. The world brings on those things. You will have trials and tribulations because you are in the world. The beauty of being in Christ is the ability to have perseverance in the midst of that trial and tribulation.
We see that amplified in Romans 5:3-5.
3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
Not only do we consider it pure joy, but we rejoice in it. Why do we rejoice? Because we know. We see people sitting around saying “Praise God. Hallelujah.”, and all that kind of stuff, and do not know anything about anything. “Well, if I say it, then maybe something will happen.” Yes, it will. You will say it and get all excited in your meeting and you will go home and hit the pits. You are going to rejoice because you know something, not because you have been jacked up emotionally but because you know something. First of all, you know someone and because you know someone you know something about that someone. I know that someone, Jesus Christ, who is alive living in me, I know something about that someone and that is, he told me, “Bob, in this world you are going to have tribulation, but fear not, I have overcome the world. Whatever trials and tribulations you are going through, I will cause it to work together for your good. I know in this world you live, you are going to have suffering because all people are suffering whether you are saved or not. Just like the rain that falls on both the lost and the saved, suffering will fall on both the lost and the saved.”