Classic Christianity – A Closer Look at Faith, Hope & Love P13 (05-18-20)
It cannot be emphasized enough that your teacher is the Holy Spirit. Only the Spirit of God can reveal truth to men, and this comes when you are first born again, and then when you spend time reading God’s word in context, and when you are depending on the Holy spirit to reveal the meaning of it to you. Sadly, too often people rely on preachers, pastors, denominations, various books and any manner of techniques to accept something as truth, but it is quite often error, and rarely ever testing what is being said is true. The bible is our plumb line and the Holy Spirit is our guide into all truth.
So when you read about Jesus example of total dependence on His Father, what He is really saying to us? For example, in John 5:30 and John 14:10-11, you can read about how Jesus depended on His Father. He did only what His Father told him to do and exactly what his Father told him to say and how to say it. Bob George really wants people to grasp what he believes the Spirit has revealed to him as truth.
It is one thing to know Jesus could raise the dead but I cannot do that. It is one thing to know he loves everyone unconditionally but I cannot do that. Well, that is Jesus, so I set him aside as a unique person, and obviously he is and was. But that does not show me that much because I cannot enter into that. Then all of a sudden this truth was revealed to me. Jesus said, “I could be doing these things on my own but I am not. I took on humanity and in my humanity I lived in total dependency on my Father. I did not do one thing unless He told me and I said nothing unless He told me to say it and how to say it.” Then all of a sudden it clicked. There is the example. Christ example was not just in what he did, but his attitude of dependency he wants us to imitate. “As the Father sent Me, so I send you. He sent Me to be in total dependency on the Father, so I send you to do the same thing.”
Bob George then shared some examples of what people think faith is, about having little faith and big faith, having the power of prayer to make God do what you want Him to do. This faith healing movement is an example of that. Faith is not in how big or small your faith is, but on the object of your faith, who is God. But people have twisted scripture to mean faith is becoming like God and God has become our slave. That is not faith. That is manipulation and that is perversion of truth, and that is of the evil one. This so-called faith people proclaim is in violation even of the the 2nd law of thermodynamics, where the effect is never greater than the cause. Faith is trusting in the only one who alone can meet your need, trusting Him in all things, leaving the results to Him, of being thankful in all circumstances, and that is in Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit of God. Your faith is in response to Him who is the initiator and who has life in His name. Faith is being totally dependent on God and not the other way around.
If your faith is based on a teacher, it is based on the wrong place. If your faith is based on some mentor, then it is based in the wrong place. Your teacher must be the Holy Spirit. He is the one who opens your eyes and reveals truth to you. Bob George is not the final teacher. Yes, God does give the gift of teaching to men, and He has teachers in His body, but the teacher’s goal is to get you to listen to the real teacher, who is the Holy Spirit of God, who alone can take the things of the Lord Jesus Christ and make them known to you.
1 Corinthian 2:9-10
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 –
10 these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit.
When we understand that truth, that is the importance there. For these kinds of bible studies allow you to go through passage after passage of scripture, so you can allow the Holy Spirit of God to reveal the meaning of it to you. They are very helpful in home bible studies. I was almost a brand new Christian, about three weeks old in the Lord, when I was teaching the scriptures. I was in a very liberal church so I was at least one week ahead of the wolves. So that is the format I used. I did not have to know everything because what I was going to teach that week was in front of us. When people would ask this or that, I would say I do not know. What we are studying right now is the Deity of Christ. When we understand that, then we will move on to other things. It was a marvelous way of teaching to help people understand the subject matter of things.
But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth.
Note: When Jesus walked the earth, the Holy Spirit had yet been given. But Jesus promised the Holy Spirit would come. The first time the Holy Spirit came to take permanent residence in men was at Pentecost (Acts 2). Since that time, anyone who is born again, at a moment in time, has the Holy Spirit sealed in Him, permanently living in him.
This study on Faith, Hope and Love was probably the most difficult study I had to do. I was trying to write a bible study on love and could not write it. I found out why. Love without faith and hope does not have the roots that are necessary.
3 We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, 4 because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God’s people – 5 the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel 6 that has come to you. In the same way, the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world – just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God’s grace.
This particular book is a very important one. It is one that should be not only in your hands, but following along with this. Knowing me, we will be in this for quite awhile, maybe a year. It is such an important subject because faith, hope and love is how the Christian life is lived. We are dealing with how this Jesus, who lives in you, how He works this out in our daily lives. It is one of the most important books in our bible study series.
Here was Jesus, who was God, never anything less than God, but when He walked on this earth, what did He say? “I do nothing on my own initiative but speak just what the Father has taught me.” In another occasion in John, He said, “I do not speak on my own accord but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it.” He not only told Him what to say but how to say it. “So whatever I say is what the Father told me to say.” There is a reason for that. “I am walking in total dependency upon my Father.”
19 Jesus gave them this answer: “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. 20 For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, and he will show him even greater works than these, so that you will be amazed.
30 By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.
10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. 11 Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves.
Here was Jesus who walked in total dependency on his Father. Why do you suppose He did that? Because He had to? No. He had to if He was going to show us how to live this life. He did not have to but He had to if He was going to show us anything. When is the Christian world going to learn?
So the Christian world says, “we need to follow Jesus. What he did we need to do.” So we have people trying to raise the dead and heal the sick, and trying to force people into being saved. In the energy of our own flesh, we are building churches, numbers, nickles and noses. We are out in the energy of the flesh trying to imitate Jesus. There are many people saying, “What would Jesus do? So let us imitate him.”
63 The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you – they are full of the Spirit and life.
1 Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
7 rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death –
even death on a cross!
I got news for you. What Jesus did was walk in dependence of the Father. You do not imitate Him, by what His Father told Him to do, because the Father may not be telling you to do that. So, if we are going to imitate Jesus, we need to be living in dependency of the Father, not imitating His works, but imitate His attitude, and that is the attitude of dependency. We have to get a hold of that, yet we are trying to imitate works.
There is a marvelous poem of two sets of footprints, and we ewe and awe over that, but that is not how it works. I cannot imagine being in the arms of Jesus and chewing somebody out. That is not the Christian life. The imitation of Jesus in the Christian life is not imitating what He does but imitating His attitude of dependency.
This truth about Jesus living in total dependency on the Father hit me a number of years ago. I had already begun coming to the conclusion of the difference between law and grace (Romans 6:14), the finality of the cross (John 19:30, Hebrews 7:27, Hebrews 9:26) in comparison to “yes, it is finished, but”, and the reality of the resurrected life living in us, our hope of glory (Colossians 1:27, Titus 2:13), and this imputed righteousness in Christ Jesus (Romans 4, James 2:23). I had been experiencing those things. But it was really through Major Thomas, who pointed out this emphasis of Jesus example to me in regard to living in dependency. There was something in my mind that was thinking Jesus doing all these things but I cannot. So when you cannot, you just forge about or just do not talk about it and no one knows you cannot. The Deity of Christ was so important to me from day one (John 8:58, John 10:30, 1 Corinthians 8:6). I did not know Jesus Christ was God until I was 36 years of age. I knew he was the Son of God, that he died for the sins of the world (1 John 2:2) and was raised from the dead (Romans 4:24-25, Romans 6:4). I believed all those things but I was not saved. I did not know he was God. When I read he was Deity, that was a startling revelation to me, but I did not have a deep appreciation for his humanity.
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 The same was in the beginning with God.
3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
18 No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.
I certainly appreciated his humanity but I did not see the importance of it because I cannot do that. It is one thing to know Jesus could raise the dead (John 10:18) but I cannot do that. It is one thing to know he loves everyone unconditionally (John 3:16)) but I cannot do that. Well, that is Jesus, so I set him aside as a unique person, and obviously he is and was. But that does not show me that much because I cannot enter into that. Then all of a sudden this truth was revealed to me. Jesus said, “I could be doing these things on my own but I am not. I took on humanity and in my humanity I lived in total dependency on my Father. I did not do one thing unless He told me and I said nothing unless He told me to say it and how to say it.” Then all of a sudden it clicked. There is the example. Christ example was not just in what he did, but his attitude of dependency he wants us to imitate. “As the Father sent Me, so I send you. He sent Me to be in total dependency on the Father, so I send you to do the same thing.”
21 Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.
When we do not understand that then we think as the Father sent me to raise the dead and to do this, so I send you. So here we are trying to do this, this and this. It is like a dog trying to be a horse. We do not have the capability of doing that. Dogs are not going to win it for you. And we are the same way. Here we are trying to behave like God and we are not God. So, how are we going to behave like God. But we can live in dependency upon God and, therefore, see God’s work in and through us. It is like a branch saying to a branch, “go imitate the vine”. “Sorry, but I am not a vine but a branch.” “Well, try harder.” So here we are grunting and groaning out in the field, trying to produce fruit and we cannot produce fruit. God never intended you to produce fruit.
We have to realize who we are. I am a fallen man (Romans 5:12, Romans 3:23). God chose in His mercy and kindness to come and live in fallen man, a man full of imperfection, and a man who has no righteousness of his own (Romans 3:10). I have not a speck of righteousness in me except what He has given me (Romans 4:24). I do not have my salvation. I have His salvation (Acts 4:12). I do not have my life. I have His life (John 6:53, 1 John 5:1-13). I do not have my righteousness. I have His righteousness (Romans 3:22, Romans 5:17). Apart from Him I do not have anything (Ephesians 2:1-3, Colossians 2:13-14, John 15:5) but an old, dead body that is going to the grave to become worm food some day.
1 What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, discovered in this matter? 2 If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about – but not before God. 3 What does Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”[Genesis 15:6, 22]
20 Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, 21 being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. 22 This is why “it was credited to him as righteousness.” 23 The words “it was credited to him” were written not for him alone, 24 but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness – for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. 25 He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.
This is not bad news. This is good news because in the midst of the frailty of our humanity, the Lord Jesus Christ came and took up residence in us. “If you will let me now, Bob. You need to lose confidence in you and let Me do My work in and through you. You will see things coming out of you that you never dreamed was possible.” So we get to bear the fruit of the life of the vine but we cannot produce it. I even knew that.
1 ‘I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes[a] so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
5 ‘I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
I knew this vine and branch illustration in John 15. I knew I could not live the Christian life. I used to teach that. We cannot do it. Only Christ can live it and only Christ can give it. Yet I still did not see that example in Jesus. I was trying to imitate Jesus. Here, all of a sudden these passages leaped out at me. I will always be eternally grateful for Major Thomas for the emphasis he put on that. It is all of Him and none of me. That was a life changing thing in me because now I have a complete Jesus.
There are some people who only have the humanity of Jesus and never entered into His Deity. I had the opposite. I entered into His Deity but I never entered into His humanity. Now He gave me the complete Jesus. If you were all infatuated with His humanity and have never come to Him for his Deity, for God living in you, by trying to imitate a man instead of being indwelt by God, that is the step you need to take. Or if you are like me, who is indwelt by God but not really paying much attention to His humanity, you need to enter into that. In both cases, you need a complete Jesus. I am eternally grateful for teaching that God brought in my life to come to know a complete Jesus.
3 Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.
Now, that brings us to John 3, [of being born again through faith in who Jesus is and what he did] which is the object of our faith. There is some talk in some movements, where people say your faith is not big enough. I can remember a dying man that came to one of our conferences in the early days where we had a training center close to Denton, close to San Ridge. This young man George came out who was blind. At the end of the conference, at the sharing time, with tears down his face, with the joy of the Lord beaming out of him. “All of my Christian experience I have had someone say in church, where someone stuck a hymnal in my face, saying ‘if you have enough faith, you will see’. So all of my life I was put under a guilt trip that I did not have enough faith to be able to see. Now I have come to understand the sovereignty of God.” Just like the girl at the camp site, where she said, “I thank God for making me blind.” Why? “Because God in His sovereignty gave me virgin eyes and the very first person I will see is Jesus.” That kind of attitude that came from that girl was also in George. “I thank God that in my blind condition that God can use me with dead eyes just as much as He can use you with living eyes.” He died not too long after that. If you remember his mom wrote a beautiful letter how he died with peace and joy. George, of course, is seeing quite well, absent from the body and present with the Lord.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18
16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
At another conference, a young girl was there with a seeing eye dog. I kept observing that dog the whole week. I looked at that dog. That dog is a total example of what God wants for us. When she was sitting there resting, that dog was laying on the floor just relaxing. He was not striving to being a seeing eye dog. He was just available. Then in a minute she would move to get up, and up was the dog leading her. If we could ever learn to be like a seeing eye dog. That dog was living in total dependency upon the command of the owner. As the owner moved, the dog moved. Some of these stories of blind people, as an example, they have a testimony as to our condition and how we are to be led internally by the Spirit of God.
But in this day and age, people are walking around saying “your faith is not big enough. You come to me. I am a faith healer, but if you do not get well, your faith is not big enough.” It is kind of like a no lose situation for these guys. People are always talking about little faith and big faith. But Jesus said, “if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can move a mountain.”
20 He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
I have not seen anybody moving a mountain. It is not the size of your faith, but who your faith is in. That is the issue. Faith in and of itself is something you use, quite frankly, when you sit down in a chair. If you did not think the chair would hold you up, you would be stupid to sit down on it. I have faith to believe that as a teacher on radio that it is going out over the air. I do not have to have a huge faith for that. There is a lot of technology that I have confidence in that allows it to happen. It is not my faith that causes it to happen. My faith just enables me to access what is available to happen. My faith does not cause anything big. Something big is there that I can enter into and access by faith. That is what the Christian life is all about.
Let us talk now about some attitudes of faith. The last time, we talked about attitudes of faith. Faith means being available, that is what our faith is. “Lord, I am available to access what you said to me.” It is an attitude of dependency we have. There are a couple of attitudes people can have on this. One, if Jesus said, “I do not do anything unless the Father tells me to do it.” So the source of the instruction came from the Father. When the Father told Jesus to do something, he had an option. Enter into that and do it or refuse it. And so, obviously Jesus never refused the instruction of the Father. But the Father is the initiator and he was the responder.
So in essence, he was bearing the fruit of the Father. That is what true faith is. True faith would not be, “I am going to claim what I want You to do Father, and then my faith is going to be big enough to cause You to do it.” That is basically what you hear in this faith teaching today. So such a person is saying, “I have been given this faith and that faith means that I can tell God anything that I want and He is obligated to answer my prayer.” So people think faith is, “I am going to command You, God, to do what I want You to do.”
Such false faith is a form of manipulation. “If I can manipulate my congregation to grow into a thousand or two thousand people, I would have to assume I am a pretty good manipulator. I am such a good manipulator that I do not know why I cannot manipulate God. I have done such a good job with these people down here.” So you see this total manipulation taking place in the Christian world today of telling people, and in their own heart believing it by now, that God is subservient to you, and, therefore, my faith is such that if I put enough faith in this, God has got to do it. People are talking about the power of prayer. This might step on people’s feet but people need to have their feet stepped on. Where do you see in scripture about the power of prayer? I do not see anything in scripture about the power of prayer. This is what people say it means. “My prayer has the power of God to do what I want Him to do. So when we pray and something happens, see there, then I caused God to do something as if God was not interested at all to do that. But if you have enough power and enough faith, God responds, ‘I will take My arms across my belly, and I will go ahead and do what you want Me to do. I do not want to heal this person, but if you beg Me enough and beg enough people, I will do it for you.’” That is how we perceive God.
But even in the 2nd law of thermodynamics, and people know we live by those laws, for they are God’s laws. The effect of something is never greater than the cause of something. The warmth of the sun is never greater than the sun. The result is never greater than the source. My salvation is not greater than my Savior. We have to understand that truth. That is a principle of life itself. That the effect of something is never greater than the cause of something.
Now, think about that for a moment. Are you the cause and God is the effect? Or, is God the cause and you are the effect? You have to answer that question. Do not come up with “it is both”. It is not both. God has never relinquished His position to you. To some people teaching that I really have to say, “Thank God”. God is the initiator. Jesus is the example for this. Jesus did not walk on this earth saying, “I have enough faith to say, ‘Heal this guy, and God will do it’. I got enough faith to say, ‘Lazarus, rise from the dead and because of my faith, God has got to obey’, and ‘He has got to raise Lazarus from the dead.’” That is if Jesus was saying to His Father, “He does not want to and does not have any plan. I am the one with the plan, not Him, but if I boss Him around and then He has got to do what I want Him to do.” Do you see that attitude in Christ Jesus? No, of course not! Is that what faith is in the bible? No! This is a perversion of what God calls faith. That is what all evil is, a perversion of good.
God meant faith to be faith in Him. We have twisted it to mean faith in me and my ability to get Him to do what I want Him to do. We call that faith. We think that is spiritual. There is the 2nd law of thermodynamics and there is a law of God. That law of God says, “No one is greater than God. I am the cause of all things.” He did not consult us when He created the world. There was nobody to consult. Salvation is like creation. He did not consult anybody. He did not consult us when He created us and He did not consult us when He saved us. He did not say, “I got a plan up here, guys, but I think I will consult you to see if you like it so you will see if you enter into it.” nor did he say, “I have something going on up here, but I am a little confused on how to pull it off, but let us see if you guys can conjure up some faith and maybe I can come up with a plan to save you”. Oh, we have a perversion of who God is and who we are.
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 talking about faith, you are talking about what true faith is. It is not faith in me. There is no power in my prayer to God. There is no place in the bible that talks about that. He is the one with the power. I have the privilege of entering into His plan. If you lack wisdom, ask Him and He will give it to you. I have the privilege to consult with God as my best friend and for Him to give wisdom in regard to things. Sometimes that wisdom is, “Bob, this is My will and stay out of it”.
5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.
9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
Power can be the cause of something. If you think there is power in prayer that someone got healed spiritually, then why would you not say there is power in surgery when someone got healed from a surgery. Then you would have to say the surgeon has a very specific power to do something there. So what is the difference, whether you get healed here or healed there. I am just talking about just healing because that is a big thing in this healing movement. Then there would be power in the surgeon. The surgeon has some shots and the surgeon has a cause, of “I am going to operate”, but the effect of that aspect is in the hands of God.
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