Classic Christianity – A Closer Look at Your Identity in Christ P51 (07-06-22)
Share Jesus With Others – If Led by the Holy Spirit, Start a Home Bible Study
Bob shares the importance of small home Bible studies. This is where growth really happens for all of us, when we dive into the word of God and learn through the Holy Spirit’s teaching what it means. The Closer Look series of Bible study books is an excellent way for you to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ. Do them yourself or share your time with others, as a leader, in a small group home Bible study.
17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.
Just as a person’s physical growth is based on proper diet and exercise, so is the Christians’s spiritual growth dependent on regular feeding upon the word of God and application of its principles. With more false teaching, shifting opinions and general confusion in the world than ever before, Christians need a solid foundation upon which to base their beliefs and build their lives. The word of God declares that Jesus Christ is that foundation of truth. With that in mind, let’s now take A Closer Look at Your Identity in Christ.
We were talking before we started to record the broadcast today about the importance of home bible studies. And I might just relate a story that I’ve told before I sometimes forget whether I’ve told it on the air whether I have or not, but it’s a true story and a number of years ago there was a very wealthy lady here in the Dallas area that used to bring in British interns from the Spurgeon College in in England over to work as an intern in one of the large denominational churches here in Dallas, and over a period of years, something like 14 years that had been taking place. And there came a time when the church which was very large and wealthy was having a big shindig for the pastor’s 180th anniversary or something [laughter]. And so, as a part of a gift, why she paid for the plane fare for those 14 interns to come over to take a part of this. And all of this is just to merely say that I was given the assignment of meeting with them and kind of discipling them, and finding out where they were and everything else.
So we were together one morning and we were going through these home Bible studies and all of these people, incidentally, we certainly were out of the college by then and pastoring churches in England. I asked the statement to them, I said, where did you really grow in your Christian experience? What were the circumstances surrounding that? All of these guys have been to Bible College and Seminary. Where did you really grow in your Christian life? One guy, well, that it was in the home Bible study that I was in, and that was where my life really started growing. That’s where it really was turned around. That’s great. Where did you grow? Well, it was in this little home, Bible study that I was in in college. Where did you grow? Well it was in this little home Bible study. Now 14 out of the 14 testified to the fact that where their true spiritual growth began, took place and developed was in this little small group home Bible study that they participated in at some portion in their life. I then asked, and we all rejoiced over that fact that there was a total unity because that’s where my life was changed. And so, we were rejoicing in that fact until I asked another question. How many of you, as pastors, have home Bible studies in your church? Guess how many didn’t have any; 14, the same number of the people who said my life was totally changed and home Bible studies but I don’t have any.
Now in view of not sounding critical, I can point my finger at myself because that is something that when you get into a growth mode so to speak, and you find out that maybe there’s too many people that want to come to be taught by you and a home Bible study, why the first tendency we have is let’s look for a larger place. Now in the early Christian days, no one thought, let’s look for another place. The deal was, let’s find another home, right? And if you are properly teaching somebody, a group of people out of that group, you’re going to have a certain number of people who are also growing in their faith, and who are also capable of being teachers, and therefore totally capable of starting a home Bible study on their own. In other words, it’s what’s called divide and conquer. Instead of all of the attention going on one man, have that one man to disciple 12, and watch what those 12 do; before long it is 144 and you see that is the key for true spiritual growth. It’s not the key for building big churches, but it is the key for spiritual growth. So when our goal became to build big churches and be attracted with nickels and noses, instead of how people are growing in their understanding of the height and depth and breadth, and width of the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our lord, which you can’t see sitting in a pew looking at some of the back of somebody’s head. But you can very easily see when you’re in a circle of other people and begin to experience, not only experientially, but seeing in the eyes of a person love, that you haven’t seen before, to hear words from a friend of love and acceptance and mercy that you haven’t heard before, that’s where spiritual growth begins to take place. And yet I myself knowing that, as deeply as I know my own name, what did I do? Well I almost got out of the home Bible study deal and to have a big group coming in.
Now we’ve corrected that it did take a few years to come to your senses on that, but that has been corrected here in Dallas and we are now starting training once again, what we knew worked, but thought something else would be better. And starting into that home Bible study training again because in my opinion, and it’s not just opinion, I’ve seen it that is where true Spiritual Development takes place. Now, we’ve had the same problem all over the United States where we have been broadcasting in certain areas, and we’ve had people, people who came to the training, and really was growing. And say, I want to start something back in this town or this town of this town. So what do we do? We go out and rent a room at a motel someplace. I don’t mean a little motel room but a banquet room or something, and then just draw a whole bunch of people in there and say, praise God. And five years later, you see a bunch of spiritual light weights, you see people that haven’t grown, you see, people that have come just like we’ve done for years listening to someone talk for an hour on a Sunday or Tuesday, doesn’t matter what day it is, but there hasn’t been that spiritual growth that is necessary. And then we wonder why everything is falling apart.
On the other hand, we have a guy like out on the east coast and, Don Schobert and he has, I don’t know, Don is retired. If that’s what you want to call retired. I think he has what, 4 or 5 Bible studies and he teaches in four or five different locations, all over Pennsylvania. Drives 500 miles a week. I think it is or something like that to get to these studies. Teaches through these Bible study books that we’re teaching through on the radio, and he’s got some people and other people trained, going around doing the same thing. I can’t I couldn’t even keep count of the family Bible studies that are attributable to him. And said to him, what did you do? He said what you told me to do five years ago, that’s all I’m doing. And the thing of it is, it works. And so folks when we are teaching through these studies and these study books on Friday, there’s a reason for that and I can look at this to a degree as one big large Bible study that’s never going to have the dynamic of what you can have when you get together with other Christians locally. But at least it can begin to keep you in the basics so that what, you know, comes out of the Bible and you’re looking it up in the Bible and asking the Lord to interpret for you. What that means, it gets you started in that. But folks, in any way, shape, or form that you can get together with people in a small group Bible study and begin learning together. Hopefully not just, hopefully, it’s in essence a necessity to get with a leader, who knows what the scripture means and says, but to get into that and keep that type of a thing going, you will see spiritual growth in your life and in the lives of others, unlike anything that you’ve ever seen before.
So I didn’t mean necessarily to get off on that but to me it is to a degree. It is a part of this sanctification that we’re going to be talking about in a moment of being set apart. The world doesn’t set you apart in little small groups, it’s not impressive. They set you apart in huge groups and boy, there’s success. Well, it might be success in regards to keeping people busy, but it also is a great success in keeping people barren. And there’s a world of difference between being busy and being barren.
We’ve had a wonderful study as you said, starting off of course, with our new identity in Christ Jesus. A child of the Living God, a brand new creation no longer an old caterpillar but now a beautiful butterfly. It had nothing to do with us. That was what God did for us, but that’s who we are as his new creation. We talked about before, we again get into this study on sanctification to just once again review, very, very briefly the fact that being a new creation means that you have been transferred from the dominion of darkness into the kingdom of the Son that He loves in whom we have. And you could stop there. What do we have? Where you have redemption, you have the forgiveness of sin. You have reconciliation. You have redemption. You have sanctification. You have justification. Have an identity with the body of Christ. You have new citizenship, you have eternal life. You have the love of God, that passes all understanding. I could go on and on and on, on those are things that you don’t get any more. Folks, there’s things that you already have and growing in Grace is spending the rest of our life discovering our new inheritance in Christ, and His inheritance in us because we inherited something from Him. All the things I just mentioned. He also, we’re told, inherited something from us. He got us. Now, what did He want with us? I don’t know. But He inherited me anyway, and I thank God for that because as an inherited child of God, I not only know from His standpoint and His word that he’ll never leave me nor forsake me. But I also know that even in accordance with Hebrew law, it was impossible to disinherit an adopted child. So He got me and I don’t know whether he’s happy with me or not; I’m kidding on that. He loves me and He sees me the same way that He sees His own Son.
But that is a true thing. I have adopted all of these things and He adopted me and that’s an amazing truth. Now, all of that was contained again in this New Covenant that went into effect on the day that Christ Jesus died. A will does not go into effect until the day that the person made it dies. But after his death is proven, the new will goes into effect. Now that New Covenant was put into effect as a result of His mercy. And I think so many times we just fail to realize the depth of that. If I had to call on the God for Mercy, which I did, God, be merciful to me a sinner, then I have to understand I’m a sinner. I have to understand that there’s nothing in regard to these and these inheritance features that we talked about that I deserve in any way, shape, or form. I couldn’t ask for them, I couldn’t work for them, I don’t have them because I asked for them, I have them because of the mercy of God, that looked down at me just like he looked at you or listening to me right now, and said there is a person in a totally helpless condition. I mean helpless helpless. They are out in the It all of the Atlantic Ocean and they’re out of steam. They are helpless and the only way I’m either going to let them drown, or I’m going to extend mercy and kindness to them and pull them out of that water and deliver him to the shore. And so, we fail many times to realize that behind forgiveness is mercy. Forgiveness is as a result of the mercy of God. And it was something that we were talking about very briefly the other day that if I am guilty, I mean, if I was really guilty, I’m really guilty, and I went to the court and say, well, please forgive me. In other words, I’m guilty. But let me go. That’s a little, that’s very presumptuous when you think about it, very presumptuous. If you’re really guilty, you’ll go to the court with a mindset is sir, I am guilty of this crime and I’m appealing to your mercy.
There’s a young man that I know, a relative of a friend of ours, a young man that got into a situation married to this girl. That was extremely wild sexual type of a girl running around on him while they were married. Waited for one night as she left the bar with two to three guys, and in this rage, It was created through this obsession. There’s a lot of things that were taking place there. And he took a gun and shot her, killed her. He’s in jail right now and waiting and was awaiting to go before the attorney, let’s go before the judge, the jury and all this type of thing. And somebody showed him the pictures of his wife after she was shot. And his comment was I’m going before no jury. I am guilty. I’m going before the judge and say, judge, I’m guilty and I just appeal to your mercy. Whatever you give me. I’m worthy of it.
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I look at that story, but I say, there’s somebody that understands something about themselves. They’re guilty, and they also understand something about the court system, that if you don’t give me mercy, I’m gonna spend the rest of my life in jail. And if I do spend it, I deserved it. Now, when we come to understand that, that we do not approach God with a mindset of deserving anything. We came, we came to the Lord and and as a child of God He keeps him embedding that into our hearts. It’s only through His mercy, and His unconditional love and kindness, that I have forgiveness, that I have reconciliation, that I have all of these things. Now, all of that was wrapped up in this New Covenant. Then you couldn’t have had a new Covenant apart from Jesus. So you can’t sit and talk about a New Covenant without talking about Jesus, because they’re one of the same. But instead of looking at all these so-called theological issues dangling around out here in space, we have to realize that those have all been there now encased in a circle, called the New Covenant. And so, the issue isn’t am I reconciled or aren’t I? It’s are you a part of, are you in Christ Jesus, who is in the New Covenant? If you are, then you’re reconciled. You don’t have to talk about that anymore. Could you ever be unreconciled? Not unless I get out of the New Covenant. Can you get out of the New Covenant? Not, unless I get out of Jesus. Well, can you get out of Jesus? No, He won’t let me go. And so you see all of those things and how important all of those things are to realize.
And what we have done is watered down, our helplessness and His mercy through this confession mentality. Where, if I go out and blow it all, I got to do say, oh God, please forgive me. Presumptuous as can be, and, you know, just one of those. I’m going to do it again. But once you forgive me, I want you to wipe it off the slate. Thank you very much, man, and take it off, instead of realizing that, if you truly know you’re guilty about something, what you would be, your attitude should be. Lord Jesus, I just thank you for your mercy. Your kindness that went to a cross to forgive that sin, when I didn’t deserve an ounce of it. Lord, thank you, not for your forgiveness, that was but for your mercy, that brought about that forgiveness. Now, that mindset keeps you, in my opinion, it keeps you in tune with the heart of God. Not just somebody who forgives you, the judge can do that. But with a heart of God, that is full of mercy and compassion and love and understanding, who, as a result of that gave me, not only forgiveness, but all the other things that we have been studying. To me, it puts all of these identity things into the proper perspective. Indeed.
Now, with all of that, let’s go ahead and start with the first question, there in regards to Colossians 1:22. Now we’re going to be talking about what it means to be sanctified or to be made holy, and they both come out of the same root word. In other words, a set apart person. I want to clarify again, two things before we get started into our study if we ever get into it today. But as two things I want to establish before we get into this, and I want to, I’m going to do one definition. I’m going to give another story. I was listening on television the other night on a Christian television station. They had three theologians discussing a major issue, all three of whom I certainly respect as children of God. There’s one man that I’ve known about and known for a number of years. Made a statement that I almost fell off my couch, but you see I got to thinking about that. That’s because somebody has studied sanctification as a doctrine instead of it being encompassed in the New Covenant as part of the New Covenant. And so we think sanctification is progressive. In other words, you are saying your program, it’s called progressive sanctification. Now with this terminology, progressive sanctification, he said something that I personally have never heard verbalized before, but that was that we are to be holy, you know. Well my friends I want to tell you something that verse came out of the gospels where Jesus said be holy. How? As your Father in Heaven is Holy. And somebody says how holy is that? Lord, as holy as your Father in Heaven. That’s all it’ll do. And then he said on another occasion. Be perfect. And you kind of go, what do you mean, Lord? What’s the Greek word for that? He said, perfect. And what do you mean by that? It means to be as perfect as your Father in Heaven. That’s all that will do. And you say, Lord, I’ve had it, he says good now you got it because you could never make yourself holy. You could never make yourself perfect to the sight of God. Everything Jesus said in the gospels was a total impossibility for man to do. We can’t even keep the Ten Commandments let alone be holy and be perfect. But what he was saying is that’s what’s required. In other words for someone to go into the presence of a perfect, holy, set apart God, you have to be holy and set apart. So what do you do?
Hebrews 10:14 by that one offering he made forever. What? Perfect. Where? In the sight of God, all of you whom he has made holy. So what do you do? Said, got to be perfect as your Father in Heaven. Got to be as holy as your Father in Heaven. So what did He do? Made us through our identification with the Son who is perfectly holy, is perfectly perfect. Through identification with His Son made us perfect and made us holy. Where? In the sight of God. For how long? Forever forever.
Now, that’s what Colossians 1:22 says, now he has reconciled You by Christ’s physical body through death to or an order to present you holy in His sight, set apart without blemish and free of accusation. And you notice in that verse it says in His sight not in mine not in yours but in His. So my friend, how does God see you today? If you are in Christ he sees you as holy as His Son who you’re identified with. He sees you as perfect as His Son. He sees you as clean as His Son. He sees you as everything of His Son. He sees you as He sees Christ Jesus.
Now if I had donated my eyes to you, I was going to go to the electric chair, going to die, and I left as a part of that in my will, to donate my eyes to you and if you were blind couldn’t see and I died and had your eyes. I gave you my eyes and the transplant took place and can you imagine someone coming up to you? And look at you and say, hey, Bob you’re looking good. But you got old Bob George’s eyes in there. And you’d say that is ludicrous if I saw with my eyes placed in your body, they become your eyes. When we were placed in His body we became His.
We were talking about this thing of being made holy in His sight, which is like being sanctified in His sight. Which means I’ve been set apart. What have I been set apart from? Well, who I was before I’ve been set apart from the world who is the unsaved world. We’ve been set apart to become a part of the saved world. I’ve been set apart from being a part of the body of Satan’s to being part of the body of Christ. So we’ve been set apart from something. If I deny my Russian citizenship and become an American citizen, I have been set apart from the control and the identity of being a Russian citizen, in order to accept a new identity of being an American citizen. So we’ve been set apart. There’s also a connotation in sanctification of circumcision, whereby you’ve been sanctified, you’ve been separated and that was a very visual picture of what it meant to be set apart as a Israelite. And the same thing is true, of course, today in regard to being set apart no longer as an Israelite, but as a child of God, where in Christ, there is no Israelite or Gentile. So it’s another setting apart.
Now when we, when we don’t see that then we’re going to, and we think that being set apart or being made holy is something progressive. Then you’re going to be in doubt dealing with the deal, well, how set apart am I? And so you’re gonna have some people where you’re not set apart. And as you wear a bun on your head, or you wear, you know, wear only black. And you got some people so set apart that don’t drive cars, and if they do, they paint their bumpers black because that shiny stuff is what does not set you apart. You got people set apart, I wouldn’t let liquor touch my lips, if my life depended on it. I’ve always grinned about that one, some people, but at any rate all these different ways of setting yourself apart.
So as I was saying the other day, listening to that television program, I heard this man that I have great respect for so it make a statement. There are some people holier than I am, but I’m working on it. And I thought to myself my Lord, what kind of a statement is that?! Why would you say there’s someone holier than you are? When Christ is one who made you holy. So in other words God come down, say I’m going to make you holy Bob, but not as holy as Bob George or vice versa. Now it says in the Bible that a man who compares himself by himself is a fool. So how could I not be involved in comparing myself by myself when I’m saying someone else is holier than me? That’s self condemnation. At the same time going to turn around and say, I’m holier than somebody else. And that’s pride. Both of those out of the pit. And so, whenever you’re talking about these gifts from God being progressive, I immediately set myself up for comparison to either be prideful or self-condemning. There’s no exception to that and there’s no escape from it. So, for a person to say, there’s somebody over there holier than me or less holy than me, you’d have say, well, how would you know, because a way a person acts, how would, you know? And I guess that in the final analysis, if you could just get somebody, put in an isolation ward in prison, he’d be really holy because he couldn’t do anything. But that’s the way that’s the way we think. And there are many people who are involved in that type of thinking and I’m not saying this of them to be critical. I’m just saying you need to go back and study the scripture because there isn’t anything in the scripture about progressive sanctification. It says you were sanctified, you were set apart. There’s nothing progressive in the New Covenant. In the New Covenant I have been given everything that I need for life and godliness. So how could there be such a progressive going on? I am not more sanctified. I am not more justified. I don’t get more glorified. I don’t get more reconciled. I don’t get more of anything. I’ve been given everything that I need from God, for life and for godliness. So how can I be getting more? Now in that position, I can be learning more of what I have. I can be rejoicing more in what has been given to them, but that’s not getting more. That’s just learning more of what I already have, which is beautiful when you stop to think about it. Now, the other thing that I want to clarify is, is the fact and what I was getting at there, I do not believe there’s anything to even hint of something called progressive holiness, progressive sanctification. The Bible says, you were it’s a done deal. You’re already set apart. Now if you are set apart, in other words, if we used to be a caterpillar, now I’m a butterfly, set apart from caterpillars. Well you better believe I’m set apart. Even if I go down and crawl with them. Yes. Somebody’s going to look at one and say there’s a worm doing what comes naturally and there is a butterfly acting like an idiot, like a worm acting like a worm. Yeah, he’s set apart. He’s sanctified, he’s acting as if he was if he was not.
Thank you so much for tuning in to Classic Christianity, with Bob George. We hope you’ve enjoyed today’s program. We truly hope that today’s message has inspired you to walk a life of faith in the Lord, find more information online at shop.BobGeorge.net. There you’ll also find available CDs, DVDs, and bible studies available for purchase. It’s through your help that we are able to spread the good word of Jesus Christ. Until next time, walk in faith, be good to one another and praise the Lord. Amen.
Stand on the firmness of truth. Don’t keep going back and forth. Thank Him that the forgiveness issue is settled.
Let’s pray together:
- Lord Jesus,
- I thank you for taking away my sins on the cross,
- never ever to see them again.
- Having done that, I now thank you for giving me eternal life,
- through your resurrection.
- I now receive that life.
- And I am going stand in the fact that I am a child of the living God.
- In Jesus Holy name I pray.
All believers are now brothers and sisters in Christ.
3 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”
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