Bible Lesson 154

“Living like Christ in a world that lives like Satan” Part II

“WHAT IS MAN THAT YOU ARE MINDFUL OF HIM” PSALMS 8:4

“If we let ourselves believe that man began with divine grace, then he forfeited this by sin, and that he can be redeemed only by divine grace through the crucified Christ. Then we shall find a peace of mind never granted to philosophers. He who cannot believe is cursed, for he reveals by his unbelief that God has not chosen to give him grace.” Blaise Pascal

Vance Havner reminds us that “History is the long story of man trying to be God. He has been at it ever since Satan brought about his fall in Eden”. If we have taken time to read and meditate on the Word of God, the Bible, we have to agree with brother Havner, because man’s history is, that he is always attempting great things without the power of God to enable Him. Man’s problem is that man forgets that he is a creature, and that God is the Creator. We know that God created man originally a little lower than the angels (Psalms 8:5).

“Slightly lower than the angels, is a whole lot better than slightly higher than the apes. Let’s get the order straight. God, angelic beings, man, animals, and vegetables,” according to Stuart Briscoe. We began in our last lesson to build a picture of the creature (man/woman), and we dealt with the obvious, which was that man exist because God who is gracious and loving, desired man to occupy the world that God has created. So we began with the fact that God had created man from the dust of the earth, and breathed into Him divine wind, or the breath of life.

Adam was the first man created and we all have descended from him. Grandfather Adam was created in innocence, he knew neither good nor bad, and had never sinned. God had given him a ?free will’ and he was able to chose whether, to not sin, by eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and thereby dying, or refusing to eat of that tree and living forever. We all know the account, how our original grandfather disobeyed God and lost that divine Spirit of God, and passed his sinful condition and propensity down to all of us.

We are all born sinners, under the wrath of God, dead in trespass and sin. God in the beginning created a paradise for his creatures to occupy. That paradise contained all the food we would ever need, and all we would have had to do is to pick it. The animals in that paradise were not aggressive to man and there was no briers and brambles. We lived in perfection, but Adam gave it away because he desired more than he had, he wanted to be God.

Now we have to deal with life on the earth as it is without the paradise. God has given us a plan to follow, that will make life in this hellish place that earth became because of sin, and it is called the Word of God, the Bible.

Oh, there are still briers and brambles and the animals are now aggressive to man, and we have to gain our living by the sweat of our brow: plus, all of the contaminations of evil and depravity, that man carries with him in sin. Adam could have left us in much better shape than he did, but though God drove him and Eve out of the Garden never to enter again, God had an eternal plan for man, even for fallen man. God had already planned to save a people out of all the peoples of the world. Adam had brought us death, physical and spiritual; but God had a plan that included people from every tongue, tribe and nation, without distinction, but not without exception.

That means there will be some from all nations but not all from every nation that will experience God’s effectual call, be quickened (brought from death to life) and born again to faith and obedience. God did not decide to kill off all those that He was going to save in time, instead He left us a revelation of Himself in the Bible. Even if we are never saved, we can follow God’s directions and have a better life here on the earth. We are all born equal, all of us are born lost, and remain lost until God issues that effectual call of the Spirit, which cannot be denied.

So many things that come to us in this life on the earth, are shared experiences. For instance we all know or should know that we are not allowed to stay here very long. “For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away”, (James 4:14). As I write that line, I think of the vapor that rises up from the lake behind my house on the first cool nights at the end of the summer. It is very evident but it last only a few minutes before the sun drives it away. I can look back over my life, and can see that very distinct vapor of life when I was young as it slowly disappears as I grow older.

Job remarks about his life and says that it is swifter than an eagle swooping on it’s prey, (Job 9:26). Perhaps some of you have been blessed to see any of these magnificent birds as they course across the sky. They are unimaginably swift, almost as fast as the eye can follow. Job also mentioned that his life was passing ?swifter than a weavers shuttle, and was but a breath’. (Job 7:6-7). I suppose that the best way that we can realize that all of us are in the process of dying is to walk through a cemetery. There have been many who thought themselves to be indispensable in their jobs but they pass away before long and the company they worked for remains in business. America lost one of it’s major innovators a few days ago when Steve Jobs, who was the mainspring in Apple computer co. Many will despair that the company may crash (which it could) but in all probability there will come one who will be just as futuristic minded as Jobs was. We are all born with a terminal disease, that we call life. The moment we are born, we begin to die, and the Lord gave us a normal lifespan of 70 years, which may go slightly past but not further, if the Lord decides it will.

Let’s think for a moment about how the age span of mankind has decreased over the century of mans habitation of the earth. Our forebears, Adam and Eve lived to be nine hundred and thirty years old (930). Seth the son of Adam who was in the godly line lived to be 912 years old, Enoch the son of Seth, lived to be 905 years old, and then men began to live less and less until God drew the line on sinful man and destroyed every living creature on the earth, with the exception of Noah and his wife, and His three sons and their wives (Genesis 6:5-6). God had Noah to build a great ark where he put Noah and his family and animals to be the seed of God’s new creation, and caused a universal flood that killed every other creature. That should say something about the corrosiveness of sin in our world. Think about this, immediately after God pushed Adam and Eve out of the Garden, Eve had two sons, Cain and Abel. That original sin committed by Adam, had grown to the point that Cain murdered his brother Abel.

The Lord looked and saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of man’s heart was only evil continually, (Genesis 6:5). For man on the earth, death is an ever present thought. We flourish for a moment and then just like the grass we wither away, and die. (Isaiah 40:6-8). That is a constant fear of those who are not saved. The idea of dying and facing something that we don’t know exists, is enough to drive some people over the edge. But The Lord is the One who gave us that scripture in Isaiah, about physical death being a certainty and God did not stop with telling us that death would come to us all, instead He put an addendum on verse 8 of Isaiah chapter 40, which assures us that there is hope for those who know the Word of God, because it gives us the assurance that death for the saved is simply a door that leads to heaven.

Now, that is the hope of those who have come to the knowledge of God and no one else. The Word of God pronounces the despair of those who are unwilling to come to God through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ and that fate is that death for the lost leads to eternity in hell. We never think about death and ourselves to any great extent, because if we did we would be driven to our knees to beg the forgiveness of God. That is my prayer for you today, if you are reading this Bible lesson, that you would consider that today is not promised to you and then death may snatch you suddenly away from any hope of being redeemed by the blood and death of Christ on the cross. For that reason and for your eternal soul, I beg you to at least begin to look around you and pray that God will hear your earnest prayer for forgiveness.

Now, God breathed life into the body of Adam and Adam disobeyed God’s command not to eat of one tree among thousands of trees bearing fruit, and Adam brought death upon himself and all of us who have ever been born of the flesh. Before the creation of the world and Adam, God knew that Adam would sin and it was in his eternal plan. We cannot understand the reasons God planned it the way He did but we know that God never makes a mistake, so God had planned to send His Son, Jesus Christ to do what Adam failed to do. Adam brought death to us all, but God’s One and Only Son, Jesus Christ, brought Life to all those who would obey Him. Not just life but life eternal, was in Jesus Christ and His person and work on the cross of Calvary. Is there any today who can think about all that is happening in our families, churches, school, and governments, and still smile and say everything is alright?we are on the right road and God is surely happy with all of us? Certainly, that kind of lie would make Pinocchio’s nose grow several inches. Most of you will remember the story of the old man that carved out a puppet named Pinocchio, who wanted to be a real person, every time he lied his nose grew until it was extremely long.

Only a person who is not in touch or who is just a liar, would think that our world was anything other than a cesspool of sin. We all seem to be rushing toward hell with a happy expectation of gaining hell for eternity. We do not live as if we enjoy living any longer. Can you think of anything other than sin that has caused our very unhappy condition? It is clearly nothing but sin that has been encouraged by false professors, false prophets, and false theology! We have not only been led into sin and it’s miserable darkness, we have been encouraged to enjoy our trip.

What’s the answer to our malady? It is, that we need to know and follow and obey, Jesus Christ. For the reason that Jesus came was to give life to our bodies that were born dead in trespass and sin. In John chapter 10, beginning at verse 7, we find Jesus Christ as he preached and said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door, if anyone enters by me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly”. that was a sermon from the only Mediator between God and man, the only substitute for man on the cross, the Sinless Son of God. We can draw several conclusions from those few lines of His sermon. First, That Jesus is the only entry into heaven (Acts 4:12).

Second, there are those whom Jesus called false prophets, who preach an ear tickling message that is not the truth and which does not set the sinner free, instead it locks him into the road to hell as long as he listens to false prophets. They preach and dispense a message that sounds good to sinners but that assures their condemnation. Jesus says that He is the door of the sheep (those who are of Jesus’ flock), those who have submitted themselves to all that Christ is, and demands of His flock. Next Jesus says He came to die, in order to bring life to those who truly obey Him (Hebrews 5:8-9). Jesus added that He not only brought life, but that He brought life more abundantly! (John 10:10).

I take that to mean, life while we are here on the earth as being a better life, in that it offers us assurance of having our relationship with God confirmed but a simple sweetness to living, due to the fact that we are more comfortable in our skin. Then there is that abundance of life that is spoken of about those who inherit heaven. They will live forever in an unimaginable serenity, being in the light and living with Christ, without any of the hurt and pain that confronts us on the earth. Those who neglect so great salvation, inherit hell and the torments associated with undying flames and worms that never turn. The saved inherit eternal life in heaven, while the lost inherit eternal death and dying in torment. What is this thing called sin, that we love so much that we pass by joy unspeakable and full of glory in order to involve ourselves with it? That great old preacher R.G. Lee, compiled a list of things that answer the question, what is sin and I will share them with you.

Sin is transgression of the law, lawlessness (1st John 3:4).
A grievous malady, contaminating the whole of man’s being (Isaiah 1:4,5; Romans 3:10-18).
An obscuring cloud, which hides the face of God’s blessing (Isaiah 59:2).
A binding cord, which holds man in its power (Proverbs 5:22).
A tyrannical owner, who embitters the lives of his slaves (Nehemiah 9:17)
A disturber of rest, which causes disorder and anxiety (Psalms 38:3).
A robber of blessing, which strips and starves the soul. (Jeremiah 5:25).
A terrible devastation, which brings untold desolation (Micah 6:13).
A tripper-up, which continually overthrows the sinner to his hurt (Proverbs 13:6).
A record writer, which leaves its indelible mark upon the committer (Jeremiah:17:1).
A betraying presence, which ?will out’ no matter what pains are taken to hide it (Ezekiel 21:24).
A sure detective, which turns upon the sinner and finds him out (Numbers 32:23).
An accusing witness, which points its condemning finger at the prisoner in the bondage of sin (Isaiah 59:12).
A sum of addition which accumulates its weight to the condemnation of the sinner (Isaiah 30:1). This is sin, and the rewards of sin and this is what we follow after rather than the Creator God who loved us before we were born and provided His One and Only Son, Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, to hang in our place on that cross to die to redeem us from the ravages of sin.
So we have established that man’s life is like a vapor, and we do not get to spend much time on this earth. We also know that man wastes much of the time that He has by chasing after sin and living in depravity, without help or hope. We have mentioned that God has provided the way for man to come out from under his wrath, and be saved to live forever in eternity. Notice, I did not say that God provided ?a’ way but, the one and only Way, and that is Jesus Christ and His sacrifice of Himself on the cross to pay the sin debt of those who would obey Him. That brings to mind the question, what is it about sin that captivates humans and snares them so firmly that they can completely forget that there is a judgment coming and that they will be held responsible for their sin? Peter Marshall, said before his death, “We are too Christian really to enjoy sinning, and too fond of sinning really to enjoy Christianity.

Most of us know perfectly well what we ought to do; our trouble is that we do not want to do it.” Some even seem to think that they can commit sin that God does not see, in fact, that God did not know from the start that you would commit it. Rather than doing as God has commanded us to do, and that is mortify the deeds of the flesh (Romans 8:13). Mortify, can be understood as murder of the deeds of the flesh. That old creature that you were before you were saved by God’s Grace, served the deeds of the flesh and would do whatever the flesh led him to do. But if you have truly been saved, then you are no longer that old creature. The saved person has been reborn, born from above, the handiwork of God, created in Christ unto ?good’ works (Ephesians 2:10). You may ask what the new birth does, and the answer is that it regenerates, renews, makes us a creature that will glorify God as we live in obedience to His Word, the Bible.

Unfortunately, we too often preach that newness of life and that new creature as a possibility, rather than a fact. The saved person is not going to be a new creature, someday, but is a new creature the moment God saves them. They probably do not know scripture like they will soon, since they will desire the milk of the Word of God and will seek it for themselves. The old creature dies (Romans 6:1-14), and we who have been saved are raised to newness of life. Let me caution you right here, not to ever allow any person, no matter how well meaning or loving they may be, to rob you of connecting with God. The church today is filled with people who are not saved, but have a kind heart that wants everyone to become church-members but will not allow true godly sorrow time to purge the person called to God in repentance.

That kind of interference is from Satan, it is not of God because God always requires repentance. Who knows how long a depraved creature, under the wrath of God for their many sins, needs in order to confess and deal with God about the great sins in their lives and to repute those sins and turn away to God. I am afraid we are people who are bound to the printed schedule of service and there is no room there for men to really repent. God says that He does a work that means more than our schedule and our rush to add someone to our rolls. We are told plainly in Ephesians 2:10, that the rebirth consists of God performing a handiwork, creating a new and vastly different creature than existed before. This new creature, is in Christ, and has the power of the Holy Spirit to empower and teach and lead them in the way of righteousness. I am sick and tired of hearing the old sermon about a good dog and a bad dog, living in the new creature. That is absurd, and it is certainly not Biblical. We are still in the same body and that body is flesh, yet it is sanctified flesh, set apart for God’s use. (Romans 8:1-11).

Where did we ever get the idea that Christianity was simply a title that the visible church put on it’s people. Christianity is Christ and nothing else. The Apostle Paul put it right in Galatians 2:20, when He said “I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless, I live, yet not I but Christ lives in me, and the life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”

If you are saved you can say that same thing by simply replacing I and me with your name. most people in our day would strangle if they tried to say that but that can be said proudly by every called out, justified, sanctified, reborn, and obedient person, who has experienced the miracle of God’s Salvation. What would you give in exchange for you soul?

Until next time,

may God bless and keep you

This is Bro. Bob