Classic Christianity – A Closer Look at The Word of God P38 (05-04-21)
How can mortal man know God? Who can know the thoughts of God, the one who created all there is, who spoke the world and the universe into existence, and who created us? What is it about mankind that we ponder things of eternity, asking questions such as “Why am I here?”, “Where am I going when I die?” and “What is the meaning and purpose of life?” There is a general notion of emptiness, of a certain longing inside of mankind, to be made complete.
Why does mankind form religions to attempt to answer these questions of life? There is a conscience built into mankind, knowing that murder is wrong, knowing that stealing is wrong? So man instinctively knows the law. But man, being weak in his natural self, cannot obey the law. He thinks he can improve himself and ultimately appease some God out there, a God he does not personally know, but instead substitutes a god of his own imagination, not based on truth.
So what does man do? He makes up his own ideas, leans on his own understanding, and when he hears a message of grace, his first inclination is to reject it, for it is contrary to all the worldly patterns of thinking ingrained in him, that he must do something to be made acceptable to God. Natural man thinks like this. He cannot discern spiritual things, for they are as foolishness to him.
For man to understand God, He must have the Spirit of God to explain, to reveal to him, spiritual things. But without the Spirit of God living in him, he does not have the mind of Christ. He must be born again. Just as he was once born into this world physically, he must also be born again, at a certain moment in his history, to be born spiritually, from above, by God.
When someone is born again, they come to understand what God has freely given, the totality of the cross and the reality of the resurrection, of having a new identity in Christ as a child of God, of being made complete, having everything he needs for life and godliness, having the resurrected Christ alive living in him, a promised eternal inheritance, a guarantee by the guarantor of an eternal inheritance, of the redemption of his body, and without any condemnation. This is a message of amazing grace, of the truth of what God accomplished for mankind by His death, burial and resurrection. Jesus Christ is the one who is full of grace and truth, and when you have Him, alive living in you, you have everything.
So why would people reject his message 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. That is why the apostles, and throughout history, as in the inquisitions, God-fearing men and women were martyred. That is why people persecute you, revile you and say all kinds of things against you. They do not understand grace, and it is contrary to what they have understood, and it sounds like a threat to them, their way of life and thinking. To the Pharisees, Jesus teaching was a threat to their position as law teachers. You could say that job security killed Jesus.
The grace of God is that we have a Counselor who lives in us forever, leading us into all truth, teaching us spiritual things, so we may know all that we have been freely given. It is strange though that people will go to a man counselor rather than the one who is the Counselor, who is the truth. We would think it strange, or even heretical, to say “I have Jesus as my Savior, but I am going to go to another Savior to get a little advice.” or “Jesus is Lord but I want to go find me another Lord.” 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.”
When you think of counseling, you will never read about a counselor in the bible other than the Spirit of God being the counselor. A more proper description would be discipleship. What is a good discipler, or biblical counselor, going to be doing? Leading you to the Counselor, letting people know that I am not the Counselor, but He is. I cannot figure myself out, and I cannot figure someone else out. Even the apostle Paul said he does not understand what he does, doing the things he ought not to do and not doing the things he knows he should. And his answer is, “Praise be to God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
But God has everyone figured out. I only know what God has revealed to me. So if I am going to help someone, I am going to point them to Jesus, who is the truth, since any truth I know is partial, out of what God has revealed to me. God alone discerns the thoughts and attitudes of the heart, who divides soul from spirit, who is the two-edged sword, the living Word. He created mankind and knows how man is designed to function, with the Spirit of God to be living in him. So you lay out the word of God, so that the Spirit of God can use His word to reveal truth to men. But you encourage people to read the bible for themselves, to be learners themselves. You lean not on your own understanding, but in all things, acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight. You can never get away from this total dependency of God, because apart from Him we can do nothing.
Sadly, in the world today, there are many confused Christians. They are, in essence, trying to build Jesus on top of a faulty foundation. They continue to listen to denominational persuasions of men, the philosophies and worldly wisdom. You hear songs that reinforce error, such as “I want more of you in my life” or book studies titled, “Experiencing God”, where people are led to think that they need to seek something else, to even get a second baptism of the Spirit with evidence of speaking in tongues, or to practice certain spiritual formation or meditation practices to get God to speak to you, as if by osmosis or a hypnotic trance. Their foundation has been laid on sand, and instead of going to the word of God, they go to every other book study, or preacher or teacher, or special service or counseling service to try to experience the abundant life God has promised.
So have you given up? Have you been honest with yourself and said, “I am not experiencing the abundant life God has promised.” So, have you decided to let go of that old faulty foundation and said, “Jesus, you are the Counselor. I want you to teach me afresh, of what truth is, for truth is what sets people free. You said you are the way, the truth and the life. Show me what the way is. Show me the truth. Explain to me what life is, the life that you say you have given me. How do I walk in this new life you have given me?” So read His word, and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal truth to you. He is no respecter of persons and He promises to lead you into all truth. Only the Spirit of God, alive living in you, can reveal truth to you, as you let Him.
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, is 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.
It is vitally important for us to understand. The reason for that is there are many many confused Christians that have fallen underneath the teaching that you can be born again today and then there is another experience you need to seek, and that is to get the Spirit tomorrow. That is a total impossibility. You have either not been born again and you get the Spirit tomorrow as you are born again, or you are born again and the Spirit of God comes to live in you and there is no such thing as getting another Spirit. You could not be born again apart from the Spirit of God. If the Spirit of God is not in you, then you do not belong to Him. So how can you say you are born again and say the Spirit is not in me. If the Spirit of God came to live in you when you were born again, how can you get another one. It is crowded in there. There is only one Spirit you are going to get, the Spirit of Christ who comes to live in you at the time you are born again of the Spirit.
Someone says, “What is wrong with that? That is just a nit-picking doctrinal issue.” “No, it is not.” If I believe that when I come to Christ that I am not complete, then I am not believing the bible that says you are complete. If I have come to Christ, as I said to a girl the other day, if you come to Christ that you think is going to leave you or forsake you, then you did not come to Christ of the bible, because the bible says when He comes to live in you, He will never leave you nor forsake you. You believed another Jesus.
If I say I came to Christ, as in the case in dealing with the Gnostics in 1 John, who did not believe Jesus came in the flesh, then you came to a Jesus of your own imagination. The Jesus of the bible is the one we have seen with our eyes, heard with our ears and touched with our hands, who proclaimed the word of life. That is the Jesus of the bible. So you have come to a different Jesus, one of your own making, one of your own imagination. You are not born again. You cannot be born again believing a lie. You are born again coming to the one who is truth.
If you say I believe in Jesus, saying, “I accepted Christ into my heart, but I do not believe He was born of a virgin”, then you asked a Jesus other than the Jesus of the bible. That guy does not exist. It is like someone coming to your door saying “I believe in God but I do not believe in Jesus.” Then you believed in a different Jesus. The Jesus of the bible is the one who is in the beginning, before all things, the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end, God Himself. He identified Himself as God. He was identified by the apostles as such. He was heard by the Pharisees, who were His enemies, as such. That is the reason they crucified him, saying “You are a mere man proclaiming yourself to be God.”
We have to understand the Jesus of the bible. We invite into our hearts, not the one of our imagination. So you could not be born again. If Christ is not complete and then here is another experience I seek. Supposedly I get that experience, then where do I go when I get that? Then maybe there is another one. Then after I get that, then maybe there is another one. So you will spend the rest of your life denying the truth as to what took place in you at the time you were born again, and that is you are made complete. If I am going to deny the truth of Christ at spiritual birth, then I will keep denying Him throughout my spiritual experience. That is why it is not a doctrinal issue, but an experiential issue.
What else does a spiritual man have, according to 1 Corinthians 1:16?
1 Corinthians 2:16
16 for, “Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?”[Isaiah 40:13]
But we have the mind of Christ.
That is what it is talking about.
1 Corinthians 2:11-12
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.
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.
But we have the mind of Christ. That is good news. When I have the mind of Christ then I cannot be depending on mine. It is wonderful to be out of your mind so you can be in His mind. If we have the mind of Christ, let us use it.
From 1 Corinthians 2:14, the natural man, not born again, cannot accept the things from the Spirit of God, for they are foolish to him. He cannot understand spiritual things because they are spiritually discerned. Spiritual truth has to be discerned spiritually. So can a natural man, one who is not in Christ, understand the word of God? Of course not. Why? The word of God is a spiritual book, and a spiritual book has to be discerned spiritually.
1 Corinthians 2:8-10
8 None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 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 it talks about in scripture that our eye has not seen, our ear has not heard, and our mind has not conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him but that must be revealed by the Spirit, we are talking about the things God has freely given us. We are talking about the fact that all of this is from God and we have not received the spirit from the world but the Spirit from God so we may understand what God has freely given us.
As we said earlier, that is grace, the grace of God. Apart from the Holy Spirit of God, we cannot understand the grace of God. We can understand the law of God because you do not need the Spirit of God living in you to understand the law of God. The law was given for the lost in order to lead us to Christ. I do not need the Spirit of God to understand the law. But I absolutely have to have the Spirit of God living in me to understand grace.
I reiterate again, the rebellion many of you have received, and we have too, and down through the ages, including people like the apostle Paul and Peter, who were preaching and teaching the grace of God, coming up to total opposition. That opposition comes from people who are religious but who are not born again. They do not have the Spirit of God living in them and thus cannot understand spiritual things and thus cannot understand those things God has freely given us.
13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession – to the praise of his glory.
When we came to Christ, we stepped out of Adam into Christ. Christ stepped out of heaven into us. We were indwelt by the Holy Spirit of God. That Holy Spirit of God, who Jesus said is our Counselor, dedicated to leading us into all truth, taking the things of mine, Jesus, and making them known unto us, you and me, is also living in us, is a deposit that is guaranteeing our inheritance.
If you and I go to buy a piece of real estate, we make a deposit and that deposit is our guarantee we will carry through with the contract. The problem with that is it is an iffy deal. If we do not follow through with that, we lose our deposit. It is a certain guarantee you will carry it out. Sometimes you will go through and sometimes you will lose it. But when God makes a deposit, there is no question if the house is going to be bought. It is going to go through closing.
When the Spirit of God came to live in us that is called a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance. Our eternal inheritance is guaranteed by the fact you are born again. If you are not born again, you have no guarantee of anything. But if you are born again, the Spirit of God lives in you. If the Holy Spirit of God does not live in you, then you do not belong to Him. If you are born again of the Spirit, that Spirit living in you is your guarantee, a deposit guaranteeing your inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession to the praise of the glory of God. That is praise to the glory of God for He alone is our eternal inheritance. He alone is our eternal security. He alone is our eternal salvation. There is no such thing as temporal salvation. It is either eternal or do not call it salvation.
How are we going to understand those things? Natural man cannot understand that. It is foolish to him. Natural man says, “Do not tell me. I get saved, brother, but if I mess around, backslide too much, God is going to jerk that away from me.” That is natural thinking. It makes all the sense in the world to a natural mind. But it is in opposition to what is revealed in the word of God. God says, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” He also says that if you are in Him you have been marked with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit living in you, a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance.
What is the value of a guarantee? The guarantor. Who is the guarantor? Christ. Do you think He is going to renege on that? No. Do you think He is going to say, “Sorry, I cannot come up with the rest of the payment. I am going to take the house back?” Come on. As children say, “Get a life.” Realize truth. It will set you free. Quit going back and forth and vacillating on this religious and worldly thinking that appeals to the flesh and to the mind of a natural man instead of to the Spirit of a spiritual man.
Those kinds of things are foolish to the natural man. They cannot understand them. Why? That kind of truth must be discerned spiritually. It has nothing to do with logic. It has to do with God’s revealed nature.
1 Corinthians 2:15
15 The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments,
If you are in Christ and Christ is living in you and you come to accept those things God has freely given you. You have not received the spirit of the world. You have received the Spirit who is from God. That Spirit living in you is what enables you to understand those things God has freely given you, which is the grace of God. You stand in that, folks. You are not subject to any man’s judgment. It makes no difference what some man says to you. It makes no difference how educated another man is. It does not make any difference how well known a preacher is, or how well renowned they are in that sphere of influence. Your confidence is in the guarantor, who is Christ Jesus, not in a Bob George or Chuck Swindoll or Chuck Smith or any other person. That is not where our confidence is. Our confidence is in the guarantor, who is the Holy Spirit of God. We have to realize that, He himself. You are not subject to any of our judgment. The spiritual man can make judgments about all things because God’s Spirit lives in him and enables him to do so. We have to understand that, when spiritual truth that talks about your eternal security is given. There is no natural mind that is going to pick up on that. It is foolish to him.