Bible Lesson 155

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

Jesus said to Paul..”I will deliver you from the Jewish people, as well as from the Gentiles, to whom I now send you, to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.” Acts26:17-18

“Satan is clever: if he cannot lure the believer into Sodom with Lot, he takes him to the other extreme and get him into a ‘show of wisdom in will-worship and humility, and neglecting of the body’ which only satisfies the flesh.”
Vance Havner

When it comes to dealing with man and his life on the earth, there are some definite rules that we must know and observe. Although we are all born as sinners, there are a ‘few’ in the words of Jesus Christ, that will knock, seek and ask and keep on knocking, seeking and asking, until they come to the point that they find that narrow gate that leads to eternal life.

Having found that narrow gate we find that it is so narrow that we must divest ourselves of everything we have, and think and are, in order to pass through it. When we pass through that narrow gate (Jesus), we find that we are embarked on a narrow path. A path so narrow that we have to be awake and alert, as we walk it. You probably have never heard that, and if you have, you did not get past the reading of that scripture. We have to understand that words all have meaning and the Words spoken by God have profound meaning.

If we now understand that we must seek the full meanings from every Word spoken by God, we can really develop an understanding of what God wants us to do. In the scripture that we just spoke on, about the narrow gate and narrow way, is found in Matthew 7:13-14, and in those verses God in the flesh, Jesus Christ is preaching the Sermon on the Mount and He addresses those who heard Him then and all who have heard or read these word since that time. Beginning with verse 13, we find the Sovereign God, commands us all to ‘enter’, or go in, at the narrow gate and walk the narrow way that leads to life; because there is another gate and another way that we might enter, which would lead us to destruction.

That is the wide gate and broad gate that is mentioned in verse 13. Adam, our forefather, chose the wrong gate and entered on the broad way to destruction, our Savior Jesus Christ came to the earth to die to redeem, or buy back from sin, those who would obey Him. Did Christ pay your sin debt? Do you know for certain that unless and until God calls you out of sin into His kingdom, you are a sinner, under the wrath of God because of your love for sin? We have so many today who think that since they were pretty good people, didn’t steal, cheat or lie, like others that they really do not need to repent of sin.

That is the devil’s lie and it will cost you your eternal soul, unless you see your extreme need of the blood of Christ to wash away your sin. The cross and God in the flesh nailed to it, to die, was to save His people from their sin. Ask yourself, does God love you? Don’t claim the lie that so many today like to claim, and that is that God loves us all and Christ loves us all. That is another part of the devil’s scheme to trap unheeding souls into hell where he will spend his eternity.

Modern man loves to phrase things, and order words in such a way, that it is hard to give any answer except the one they want. When I ask them, does God love them, they would answer without hesitation, that God loves everybody; however, that is not true according to the Bible. Does the Bible tell us who God and His Son loves? The Bible is abundantly clear about who it is that God loves, and it is those who are obeying God’s Word, the Bible. Certainly we do not obey in order to be saved, but the Bible makes it clear that once we are saved, we will most certainly obey. (Jeremiah 7:5-10, 23; Acts 5:29-32; Romans 2:5-9; Romans 6:7-12; 2nd Thessalonians 1:6-8; Hebrews 5:8-9; 1st Peter 4:17; 1st Peter 1:22-23; John 14:15, 21-24; 2nd Corinthians 6:16-7:1). We have even had conversations about whether abortion is sin, or whether unnatural sex is a sin, and whatever someone brings up, no matter how illiterate they may be, in Bible knowledge, we feel obligated to tolerate their schemes. It turns out that most in our society are simply mixing their own desires, myths told by professed teachers, and outright lies, with a verse or two of Scripture and we call that the knowledge of God.

We have dared to mix up all of those things in with a little scripture and we demand that God save us, if we are willing to join some group that believes that lie. In that same sermon that God in the flesh, was preaching in Matthew, chapters 5-8, Jesus preached many things, among them was that “?.Till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle shall by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.” Then in Psalms 119:89, we are reminded that “Forever, O Lord, Your word is settled in heaven”. Jesus placed the absolute approval of our Sovereign God on the Old Testament, which we refer to as the Law and even the fulfilled parts of the old testament are useful to us in our daily lives if we understand them and apply them to our lives. Jesus referred to jot and tittle, which reminds us that not a jot (the smallest Hebrew letter, a mere stroke of the pen) nor a tittle (a tiny extension on a Hebrew letter like the serif in modern typeface) would pass as long as the earth stands. That should make us stop and reconsider how carelessly we handle the Word of God, our Bible.

Perhaps the fact that we do not have any trouble changing God’s mind about His Inspired Word is the reason that we have to look hard to find truly saved people in our Churches (or what we call churches) today. Just think about how careless we get when everything becomes easy, and we have what we need or should want to sustain our lives. It all began with Adam, who began as a spiritual man, because he had the life of God breathed into him, but when he had time to think and to imagine what else he could be if only he followed Satan’s advice ? given to him by his wife Eve, to just take a bite out of that fruit that God had forbidden, so he could be like God. That is the result of the flesh ruling the spirit and that happens when we neglect what God has said (neglect reading and meditating on the Word of God, the Bible). When we are following the flesh, it invariably leads to sin and separation from God. That’s the reason that we should never neglect personal devotion to God in all things that we do.

We, like Adam, must keep our selves free from the garden of Satan. Satan could not have influenced Adam to sin in any area of the Garden of Eden, except in that tree of the knowledge of good and evil. All of the other trees in the garden were free to Adam and there must have been thousands of trees there. It wasn’t that Adam was hungry or that he needed the fruit of that tree, it was because Adam had allowed his wife to get between him and God. If we look at Genesis chapter three and verse seventeen, we find God as He speaks to Adam (who was hiding behind a fig leaf in the bushes) and says, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying you shall not eat of it: Cursed is the ground for your sake; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of life”.

Adam lost the garden because he heeded or listened to the voice of Eve, rather than remember what God had commanded. That act is what began the physical death of the human race. Adam had been created immortal, innocent of the knowledge of good and evil, right and wrong. If he had not sinned by disobedience to God’s one command, Adam could be alive today. He was driven out of the garden of Eden by His Creator to prevent his eating of the tree of life and being able to live forever in the misery that he had brought on himself and all of his children after him. We are all children of Adam and we inherited his propensity to disobey or rebel against our God of Grace and Mercy. Most would like to think that God just invited Adam and Eve to leave and that they could have left at their leisure, but they were driven out of the Garden and God set Cherubim with a flaming sword to keep them from ever returning to that paradise.

So, we today still farm the same land that Adam and his grandchildren farmed, and we still suffer the penalty of that single act of disobedience. Of course we do not live up to the standard of obedience of our grandfather Adam. We inherited his nature, and we now expanded his sin to many things, but his one sin began it all. Let’s think how easily Satan deceived Eve. Eve had removed herself from the protection of her husband’s authority, and ended up there under the Tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Guess who was in that tree or at least in the vicinity of that tree? You guessed it, Eve met Satan there at that one tree which God had forbade her and her husband to eat of. Some will wonder when Satan, came from heaven to the earth, and there are several different times that people say Satan came from heaven to the earth.

Remember now, Satan was an Archangel in heaven and held a high position among those created beings of God (Isaiah 14:12-17; Revelation 12:7-9). We know that Satan was driven out of heaven because he wanted to be like God. Guess how he tricked Eve, and she tricked Adam into eating of the forbidden tree? Satan caused Eve to eat by deceiving by causing her to believe that she could be like God, and apparently she caused Adam to believe the same thing (Genesis 3:5-7). I am sure that the majority of people that end up in hell for eternity, for that same reason. Vance Havner said, “History is the long story of man trying to be God. He has been at it ever since Satan brought about the fall in Eden.” Getting any man to say, that he has ever done that, saying that they were like God, would be very hard; however, if you have ever disobeyed God, you have! Many of us fit the Biblical definition of a fool; because we have often disregarded the God that created us and all that we know in this world, by doing things that defy His commands and precepts (Psalms 14:1). I would ask you now, to think about all the trees that God had placed in the Garden of Eden, all of which were good for food, every tree that exists today in all the countries of the World. Yet Satan knew that there was only one tree that he could use to deceive the first couple.

Mind you now, Satan was not found in the pear tree, or the walnut tree, and especially he was not in the tree of life, he was found in the only tree that God had forbade them to eat the fruit of and that was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. That is the same tree that Satan uses to snare untold millions of people today; because he makes us think that God has withheld something that would be good from His creatures. It is the way and the experience of man that man is always looking for something different, something that is outside the box, so to speak. Our Creator left us a manual, the Bible, that gives us the directions for life on the earth, which God created. It is simple and concise, easy to read for those who are ready to obey God. So, why is that so many do not study the Creators directions to life? It is because Satan is up in their tree, which is still not the tree of life or any tree except the knowledge of good and evil. Man, normally, is not satisfied to lead the perfect life that God has laid out for him, instead man desires to be like God and sometimes man even thinks that he is God. Maybe if we were what we should be, before we begin to think or act a certain way we would look up and shake the tree just a little bit. Man today is a creature that was created in the image of God, and man in some ways still lives in that image, but it is an image that is shattered and marred to the extent that we cannot communicate with our Creator.

What we need to remember, is that if we are what we were created to be, we will be living like Christ lived. If you wonder how that would be, the answer is that we will be obedient unto death, just like Christ was. The reason that we don’t live in obedience is that we have become idolaters. D.L. Moody said years ago, “You don’t have to go to heathen lands today to find false gods. America is full of them. Whatever you love more than God is your idol.” In our age, we have many false gods, many idols that we waste our grace, mercy and eternal bliss on, things like money, power, prestige, sin, self, politics and politicians. The list is endless, and it has come about so swiftly that we never realized that we were idolaters, until we were into it so deep that we find it hard to come out of it. Someone has said, ‘Man is certainly stark mad; he cannot make a worm, and yet he will be making gods by the dozens.’

Is man simply a piece of dirt that won’t last long on the earth and will amount to nothing in life? Yes, that is correct if we don’t consider that man has a wonderful opportunity to make a difference for God and that is one of the reasons that God created him. Man was created by God to glorify God, and to enjoy Him forever. Now how can the creature glorify the Creator? We delight in the Lord, and as we do so we live like He has commanded, honoring all that we know about Him and enjoying His work in our lives. We serve him best by doing His Work in His Way, In His Time. What we must remember is that we must go back and do some remedial study of the only source of absolute truth and that is the Bible. Not someone else’s idea of the Bible but what the Holy Spirit teaches us as we read and meditate and study the Bible.

We focus on God and what He has said we would be if we were His children. It is important to remember that there are only two kinds of people in all of the world; there are God’s children and Satan’s children, there are those who are saved and those who are lost, there are those who are obedient and those who are disobedient, those who are fit for heaven and those who are fit for hell. We must come to the point that we are able to understand the difference in those two kinds of people and the difference is that those who are going to heaven are people who have submitted and committed themselves to God’s truths (John 8:30-47). Having made that statement, let me remind you that we do nothing to be saved, God’s Grace, in the Sacrifice of His Son Jesus Christ, has done it all. In true salvation, God calls us out of sin and unto righteousness, He quickens us and brings us from death to life, and recreates us in Christ, making us new creatures, with the old things (of Adam) passed away, and all things being new (In Christ). (Ephesians 2:1-10; John 3:16-21; Romans 6:1-14). Salvation produces creatures that have a ‘can’t help it’ religion. We do what we do at the unction and in the power of the Holy Spirit that dwells within us (Philippians 2:13). We are no longer following the flesh, or Adam, but we are following the Spirit, or Jesus Christ. (Romans 8:1-17).

We are not people who attempt to eat our cake and have it too. We have surrendered that tendency to please the flesh to God, and we focus like a laser, on Christ and what He has done to redeem us, and we never want to go back into sin. Those who cannot or will not set their faces like flint, which is what Jesus did, when He set His face like flint to go to the Cross in order to redeem ‘His people’ from their sin (Isaiah 50:7; Titus 2:14), are not saved and desperately need to seek the face of God. The question now becomes for those who have the assurance that they are God’s and He is theirs; is my life now free of all of the influences of sin? It is and it isn’t because, God has left us here on the earth for a purpose and it is to exercise ourselves by running a race and fighting a war. The race is that of contending for the faith, and the war is against the minions of the devil.

We are God’s children, and we cannot be defeated! We have to fight all the things that were fleshly in our old lives and we must win the race for the prize of eternal life. The victory is ours, but we have to prove ourselves worthy of heaven by living up to the image of Christ (Romans 8:29). Can we fail to do that if we are saved? Absolutely not! Those who are saved already have reserved seating in heaven (Ephesians 2:1-6). We enjoy the presence of God as we live here on the earth; because Christ is seated in heaven and we worship through Christ. The Christian’s reality is the only reality that will find life after physical death, those who have not yielded to Christ through the gospel of Grace will never enter heaven, instead they will reap the reward of hell because their reality was philosophical instead of truthful.

They had a false reality, a reality that did not really exist, except in their sinful minds. We, who are truly saved, know the truth and the truth is that we were also bound for hell, until God executed His plan to include us in the number of people who would be Christ’s Bride. Those who reject the gospel are people who rejected the fact of there being a heaven and they focused on the world and missed heaven. Our gospel tells us to aim at heaven, and we get the earth thrown in; but if we aim at the earth we will get neither. The Gospel is a living gospel, it gives us directions for a fruitful life on the earth and an blessed eternal life in heaven. The Lord spoke to us through whom ever the writer of Hebrews was many years ago and said, “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us?.looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith,?” (Hebrews 12:1-2).

What does the Scripture mean when it says the race that is set before us? The first word, in verse one, of Hebrews chapter 12 speaks to us when it says, therefore?.which means we must look back to the eleventh chapter to see what the faithful saints who had already run this race, and won the crown, had accomplished. We find in chapter eleven, the elders who had obtained a good testimony, people like Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, and all of the faithful people of God, who had already run the race and ascribed the tract that we are called to run. God also speaks to us through the Apostle Paul about our race here on the earth and we find in 1st Corinthians 9:24-27, where Paul says to us under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and I paraphrase those verses, where God says to us through Paul, that we run so as to win, because we are running for an imperishable crown, instead of a perishable crown. We are to discipline our bodies, and bring them into subjection, so as to win the race. In First Timothy chapter 6:11-15, God speaks to us again, through Paul and calls us to ‘fight the good fight of faith’.

There can be no doubt in our minds, that the Christian life is a life of competition, not competition in the power of the flesh but competition in the power of the Spirit. Now examine yourselves, to make sure you are not left in the starting blocks, but that you are running the race of faith in the power of God.

Until next time,

may God bless and keep you

This is Bro. Bob