Radio Broadcast Monday 7/27/2020

Classic Christianity – A Closer Look at Faith, Hope & Love P43 (07-27-20)

Synopsis

There are so many times that we hear, or have said things ourselves, that are just not true. Whether we are a new believer, not having spent enough time in the word, or are not getting in the word, to get to know the Agape love of God, we have not fully grasped what we already have in Him. We do not know He is there. We might know in our head, can quote scriptures from memory, but we do not know what that means, for what is in our head has not gone down into our heart. So there is a maturing process that God works out in us to know that which He has freely given us. But we have this promise, that God will complete that which He began in us.

First there is natural birth, and we are born in Adam, dead spiritually. Even Adam was created out of the dust, created dead, until God breathed in him the breath of life. That same breath, the Holy Spirit of God, must be put back into man, everyone born in Adam, in order to have spiritual life. This new birth is what Jesus talked to Nicodemus about in John 3. Unless a man is born again, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.

The natural man does not understand spiritual things. How can he? He does not have the Spirit of God in him to make these things known to him. So the natural man is at enmity with God and the things of the Spirit are as foolishness to him. But one day he hears the message of truth, the seed of God’s word had been sown in his heart through the years, and this faith comes by that hearing to that moment in time that he receives, by faith, that which God has freely given, eternal life, His righteousness, His forgiveness that was provided then at the cross, and this new attitude of heart, this new life, in Him.

At that moment you have become a new creation in Christ, a child of God. You have heard things all your life that you thought were true. You would be caught up in all manner of teaching, to sing songs to get more of God, to develop ways and means of making the flesh strong, to be in accountability groups, to be strong in the Lord, as if we can accomplish that through our flesh. But you learn that those kinds of things are contrary to what God says. He has already given you everything you need for life in Christ.

For example, you read about the apostle Paul, that he put no confidence in the flesh. So you are being taught things contrary to the teaching of the word of God. We are not to ask God to make us stronger, but we are to boast in our weakness that God’s power may rest on us. Then we realize that God’s power is not about making us a better basketball player, or even to do good things for God, but to know this love of God, to grasp how wide and deep and long and high is the love of God.

In this area of love, which is what we are studying, we discover in 1 Corinthians 13, that we cannot even do this in the energy of our flesh, nor were we ever designed that way. We were designed to be in relationship with the living God, that trust or faith in what God has said. God will produce all these things through us as we simply rest in Him, in His provision for us, in His ever present tender loving care. That was the way Adam was original created, the Spirit of God living in him.

Yet, through this fallen world, we have been taught to do this or that, be involved in this or that program, to go to church, to tithe, and raise hands in the air to be more spiritual. But that emphasis is on the flesh, which is weak, unable to love, that agape love of God we read about. So we come to realize that Christ in us is our hope of glory. We learn about the Sabbath rest of God. The work is already done and we enter into that rest. We realize God, who is love, is in us. He is there, living in us, and so all of His characteristics, of Agape love, is there in us, patience, kindness, looking out for the interests of others above your own, without jealousy or envy, and keeping no record of wrongs, that forgiveness of others, never failing, always persevering, is there. So we allow Christ, by faith, to produce those qualities in and through us.

We come to grasp the meaning of what God has said when He has given us everything we need for life and godliness through Him. We come to understand more fully what Jesus said in that parable of the vine and the branches in John 15. We do not get these qualities of love by what we do, our striving to obtain it. We got it. We have that already. He is there. The meaning of other scriptures we have read God brings back to our remembrance and the word comes alive in our hearts, that the just shall live by faith, the only things that pleases God is our faith, Christ is my life, the only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love, and that for to me to live is Christ and to die is gain. You grab a hold of those truths and so you experience what God says is truly living.

Transcript

We are going to take a moment to review here. We have been in this chapter, going into great lengths into the definition of God’s love. I explained to our listeners as we stated chapter 9, the different words for love in the Greek language in which the New Testament was written. The two basic words are “phileo”, which is a friendship type of love. We would get our word, “Philadelphia” and “philanthropic”, which is the love of mankind. All of those words come from the word “phileo”. It is a conditional type of love, based on the actions of, or the character of, or the lovability of the object being loved.

But the word “Agape” is a word strictly given in scriptures. This is not a love that is dependent on one being loved. It is a love dependent on the one doing the loving. It expresses the character of God Himself, basically, where we are told that God is love(1 John 4:8). God is Agape love and Agape love is God. God does not love us because we are deserving, obviously. He loves us in spite of ourselves. It is not, “Bob, I love you if” or “I love you because” but it is “Bob, I love you”. Not only that, “I accept you in the beloved”.

When you have been restored to true humanity, the way God created man to begin with, coming alive in Christ, living His life, to live in you, you are pleasing in His sight. Just like when God created Adam, and said “it is good”. Adam had not done a thing. It was not good because of what he was doing. It was good because His creation was completed. “I created a man in such a way whereby he had humanity”, and then after that was formed out of the ground, out of the clay, after that part of him was formed, the human part, he breathed into him life, and he became a living being.

Genesis 2:7
7 Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.

Now, we were born into Adam just as he was created, dead. Adam was not created alive initially. What I am saying is this, and all of this getting a little technical. First, he became the natural, then the spiritual. After the natural was created, then He breathed into him the life of God. You and I were born and then God breathed into us a new life. That is called new birth in Christ Jesus.

1 Corinthians 15:45-47
45 So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. 46 The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. 47 The first man was of the dust of the earth; the second man is of heaven.

As a result of being restored to true humanity, God says it is good, pleasing. You do not have to work to be accepted in the sight of God. You are already accepted when you are in the beloved. You are accepted in the beloved. You are perfectly loved in Christ Jesus. Now, rest in that.

Ephesians 1:6 (KJV)
6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he has made us accepted in the beloved.

Hebrews 4:8-10
8 For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day. 9 There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; 10 for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his.

That is part of the Sabbath rest we are called to, to rest in His love. Recognize for what it is. Walk by faith in it. Make a policy in your life that nothing is going to separate you from the love of God. Know that. That is something true. That is something foundation for everything we do in this Christian life that God is interested in doing. Did He not say that the only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love?

Galatians 5:6
The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.

So what God is looking for out of us is how are you doing in the love department? When we look at the definition of love in 1 Corinthians 13, the only answer to that is, “not too well, Lord”. In our flesh, we are incapable of doing any of these things. Until we see how God loves us we are in no position of passing on what we have not received. We have to understand that God is always patient with us, kind to us, and never jealous or envious and never boastful or arrogant in dealing with us. He never acts unbecoming to us. He never seeks His own, but looks out for our interests above His own. He is not easily provoked. He never takes into account a wrong suffered. He keeps no record of wrongs. He is not easily angered. He never rejoices in unrighteousness that the flesh gets into. He rejoices in the truth. He believes all things. He bears all things. He hopes all things. He endures all things. That is God’s love for you.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

8 Love never fails.

The issue is, when we say, “Okay, but that is how God commanded me to be as well”. So we look at those things, and we say, “I will do that ‘I am always routine’”. So “I am always patient” and I do not go any further. I just stop right there, for that is not true. So you say “no” to the flesh. There is no way you are going to produce that kind of patience. So you go to the Lord with the mindset, “My flesh is so weak”. You are so weak in this department. Then God says, “Good, my strength will be manifested in your weakness”. When you find out you can’t that is when you find out He can.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10
9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

So if we are going to draw on 1 Corinthians 13 kind of love, we have to do that by faith in the Lord, to say “your patience is mine”. It is there. You are love. You live in me. So I have available to me your patience, your kindness, your self sufficiency, where I do not have to be jealous of others in order to make myself look good. That is already there. I cannot produce it. You have already done it. It is not in my flesh. It is in my spirit. If those things are going to be manifested in and through me, I must realize my spirit cannot do it, but you have already done it. So I am going to claim by faith that patience in me will be exercised toward another person that my flesh wants to be impatient with, but you say I want to be patient with.

This truth that these things are already in us is born out in 1 Corinthians 2:12.

1 Corinthians 2:12
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.

So the Spirit of God living in us gives us the understanding of those things that God has already freely given us. Apart from the Spirit of God living in us, we have no ability to understand those things that God has freely given us. Natural man cannot understand spiritual things. It is foolish to him.

1 Corinthians 2:14
14 The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.

It is only when we become a spiritual being that we have the ability to discern spiritual things. We have to realize that is when the Spirit of God came to live in you, and the Spirit of God is God, came to live within you, he came in His entirety. So He came with His patience. He came with his kindness. He came with His desire, always looking after another’s good, never being jealous of someone else. All of that is already in your spirit. He came in humility. His humility is living in you. His appropriate behavior is already living in you. His mind, His attitude is already in you, the ability to not seek your own, and not having His own way, is already living in you.

John 6:38
For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me.

Luke 22:42
42 “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”

“Not my will but yours be done” is the attitude of Christ. He already lives in you. If the Spirit of God lives in you, He brought all of that, which is Him. He left none of that home. All of those things live in you as a child of God. It is not, “Lord, let me go get it”. It is recognizing you already have it. That is why, as a born again believer, unlike when you were lost and impatient with someone, a born again believer, when you are impatient there is something inside saying, “I should not have acted that way”.

Galatians 5:17
17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.

As a non-believer, you do not say that. A non-believer says, “That is good. I should be impatient with that guy. He is a jerk”. There is no conflict. Why is there conflict in you? Because God’s patience lives in you. God’s forgiveness lives in you. That is why my flesh cannot forgive, but my spirit has already forgiven. We have to recognize that as the verse says, “We have received the spirit who is from God” and in so doing we have all that he brought with Him.

1 Corinthians 2:12
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.

So all of these things are already ours. He also gave us His Spirit with the ability to understand what God has freely given us. It does not say what God will freely give you, but what God has freely given you. It is already yours and it is already in you. Also, in my flesh is all the yucky stuff. Also, in my spirit is all the wonderful stuff. There is conflict between flesh and spirit. The issue is, which one are you going to draw upon? I cannot draw upon what I do not know. If God had cookies in my pantry, and I knew that, then I would just go to the pantry and get cookies, but if I did not know they were there, I would probably go ask somebody for some. If I did not know it was there, then we will keep trying to get what is already there. That is why the Holy Spirit of God in us is there to enable us to understand that it is already in your cabinet.

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.

Someone might say, “I pray for wisdom”, but the bible now says, “I am your wisdom”. It is not that I need to pray for wisdom, but I need to know that Christ Jesus, who lives in me now is my wisdom. God’s wisdom is already there. So I cannot understand sometimes why we are so unwise. But the flesh also says, “I got some wisdom over there”. “It is street smarts brother. If someone slaps you on the face, then go after him”. Yet there is this wisdom from Christ that says, “No, turn the other cheek. Love will accomplish a lot more than the other”.

Romans 12:21
21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

You will catch more bees with honey than you are with vinegar. The flesh says, “splash vinegar on them”. The Spirit, who lives in you says, “No. No. Honey.”

Titus 2:11-13
11 For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope – the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ

We do not realize. We keep thinking we have to try harder to get. No, you already got. The Spirit of God, who lives in you, came well equipped. When He moved in, He did not leave anything there. He brought it all with Him. You have everything you need for life and godliness living inside you and me today.

That is why we look at that and say, “why do we not draw upon it?” That is where faith comes in. If I have already received Christ and His love, does it make sense for me to say, “Oh Lord, will you please love me?” That is a sign that I do not know what is in the cabinet. It is not that it is not in the cabinet if I am in Christ. It is that I do not know it is there. I have not looked in the cabinet. Therefore, I do not know what is there. We have the word of God that reveals to us everything He has given to us, joyfully, in His mercy and in His kindness. When I do not open up this book, to see what is in there, I am going to starve myself to death when my cabinet is full of food. Not because the provision is not there. It is because I do not open the door and look in. It is there, folks. You do not get it. You got it. Now it says, “go for it„.

1 Corinthians 2:12
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.

What has He freely given us? Everything that we need for life and godliness. Everything!

A person says, “I cannot forgive”. I know your flesh can’t but the Spirit who lives in you already has. This person you are mad at, God has already forgiven. You say, “I try and I try”. You cannot try. You say by faith, that the forgiveness you exercise with that person over there, that forgiveness is already in me. I do not get it. I have already got it. Even though my flesh cannot understand that, and my flesh will never forgive a person, but by faith because you live in me, I claim that person is forgiven by me. Why? Because I am a new creature, You are in me, and I am in You. My flesh cannot forgive him and you already have and I am in You, so as far as I am concerned they are already forgiven.

You have to do that by faith. I am never going to do that in my flesh. Your flesh says, “You forgave him when you cried on the altar”. But you go back to the pew and that pew is just as stinking as when you left it. Your flesh cannot do that. You just let that person come in contact with you and see him do the same thing he did before and see how much you have forgiven him. It is not that my spirit will. It is that my spirit already has. The Christ who lived in me died 2000 years ago to forgive sins of that person you are resentful toward. That Spirit lives in me. “Lord Jesus, my flesh cannot do this. I will glory in my weakness.” I can’t so your strength will be manifested in me and you are in me, and as far as I am concerned, by faith, that man or woman is already forgiven. Why? Because I am in you and you are in me and you already accomplished that for me. I cannot do it. You accomplished that for me. That is such an understanding we have to get a hold of.

These truths, patient, kind, not seeking your own, never keeping records of wrongs, those things are already in us. We do not go get it. We already got it. Faith says, “I will draw upon it, claim it by faith, and move on”.

What this means in Ephesians 5:18, to be controlled by the Spirit. In one of the next lessons we will talk about substitutes for love and how we get hung up on everything except love. What does it mean to be filled with the Spirit? How many times do we get a clap from someone who says “I am a spirit-filled Christian”.

I understand that because you are taught that and you hear that. Like I say, to be spirit-filled, meaning that is who I am, my identity. Sorry folks, that is not your identity. To be filled is a continual action verb. It is to be continually being controlled by the Spirit. To be indwelt by the Spirit is critical, and that happens once in a point in time in history at spiritual birth you are indwelt by Spirit just like you are born again. That is what it means. What are you born again of? Spirit. So when the Spirit comes to live in you, you are indwelt by the Spirit, as explained in Romans. If God does not live in you, then you do not belong to Him. That is critical. Just like physical birth is once in time in history.

Romans 8:9
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 can say I am a Spirit-indwelt person. But if you truly understood the meaning of Christian, that is what Christian is, someone Spirit-dwelt, not Spirit-filled. To be filled is a continual action verb, to continually being. The word filled means to be controlled by. So it means to be continually controlled by the Spirit. Because we do not open the pantry to see what is in there and what it means, so we listen to people say what it means. So we substitute manifestations that they tell you are evident of that truth. So we worship at the foot of manifestation. What it means to be filled with the Spirit in Ephesians 5 is explained in detail in Ephesians 3. The explanation came before the admonishment. In that explanation Paul gives it to us in a prayer. We are going to explain this prayer of the apostle Paul and show you the importance of grabbing a hold of this truth that we have been given everything we need for life and godliness and how the Spirit is going to help us understand that.

Ephesians 5:18
18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit,

As we see all this pulling together. In Ephesians 5:18, do not get drunk on wine. That is not confined to wine. The issue is do not get drunk. It does not mean God will zap you but that it will lead you to debauchery. Whatever you yield your body to you are going to be controlled by.

Romans 6:15-18
15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means! 16 Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey – whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. 18 You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.

So what he is saying is do not get drunk, That is a continual action. Do not continually get drunk. It leads to debauchery and misplaced dependency off Jesus and onto you. Instead be continually be controlled by the Spirit of God. It is a contrast of control. It is not the case of saying, “Well boy, that is a bad sin and God is going to zap you”. No, it is the case that it will lead to debauchery. Yes, it is sin for sure, but Jesus already dealt with the sin issue. I am trying to keep you from being led into debauchery and instead to be led by the Spirit of God who lives in you and who has already accomplished for you by whatever you are trying to accomplish by that bottle of wine. Satan tells you that this is going to do something for you. The Spirit of God, who lives in you, says “I have already done something for you. Now draw upon it”. It is not the case of pray and get but let me pray so God, who lives in me, and all of His truth lives in me, will enable me to understand what He has already given me. That is prayer. Let me understand because you already got it there. Let me understand the height, depth, width, and breadth of what you already put in me.

We have the idea that everything is out there. So I get it. God says, “No, it is not out there. Everything you need is in here. When you have me, you have everything you need for life and godliness, for life because I am life, for godliness because I am godliness. And contained in my godliness is love; patience, kindness, goodness, forgiveness”. That is already here. It is not something you go get. It is something you already have. ’So, Bob draw upon it. Access it”. That is where in Ephesians 3, dealing with being controlled by the Spirit who lives in you, is not about getting more of what you already have.

Ephesians 3:14-16
14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,

2 Corinthians 12:9
9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

Here again is this strength, Paul said, “I am going to glory in my weakness”. That is why he is going to strengthen you with power. Whose power? His. I do not have any power of my own. So being strengthened with his power through His Spirit in your inner being is in contrast to this going out and getting your flesh strong and trying to get strong on your own. You have heard people tell others to get strong in the Lord. The only problem is you have forgotten that it is in the Lord for that is the only place where strength is.

It did not say to go get strong in your flesh, to make your flesh strong. One of the characteristics of being a child of God is having no confidence at all in the flesh. So if I have no confidence in the flesh, then what am I trying to get it strong for? So people go out and say, “gut it out, make commitments, have your accountability groups, and that will make your flesh strong”. You need an accountability group with the Lord. The Lord lives in you. You need to get to know Him. People are out trying to develop ways and means of making the flesh strong. “If I can get with some guys, I will not be tempted”. Baloney. If I get with guys, I will never give into temptation”. Nonsense. If you cannot be accountable to God, why do you think you can get accountability with others? Now, is there anything wrong getting with groups of guys, studying the word of God, and saying, “well, that is a weakness of mine”. And, I say, “yes, that is a weakness of mine, too”. So what do we do? “Bob, why don’t you try rejoicing in it. For that weakness is what is keeping you trusting in the Lord”. But to think that in and of itself, getting together, saying that I have these mistakes without a solution to it, it will not accomplish anything for anybody.

Ephesians 3:17
17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.

Now, Christ is already there. What does He want you to understand? So He can dwell there. Be there. Be at home there, so Christ may be at home in your hearts through faith, to know he is there. If He is there, then all of His characteristics, His love is there. So read the prayer of Paul.

Ephesians 3:17-18
And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp

To grasp something. When you are looking for power, He says the power I want you to have, the purpose of it is not to go do something good for God, but the power to grasp something in your mind. What is that something to grasp?

Ephesians 3:18-19
how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love

What does that tell you? There is a world of difference between believing that love and knowing that love. You get to know that love when, by faith, you enter into it and access it. You can know about it with your mind, but faith brings it into your heart. So we have to understand that. What God wants us to know is how wide and long and high and deep is God’s love for you, and then to enter into that love so that you might be filled, or controlled, to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Ephesians 3:19
that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

It does not say with some of the fullness of God. If it had said some of the fullness of God, then He left some of the things at home. The moving van did not get it all. If He says He is talking about all the fullness, then that means everything that God wants you to have He has already given to you in Himself. In Him you have everything.

Ephesians 3:20-21
20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

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A Closer Look at Faith Hope and Love

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