Bible Study

This is a copy of the Sunday School Lessons presented to an adult class each Sunday.

Location: Spartanburg, South Carolina, United States

Retired, Lobbyist in Washington,DC - Management - BS Chemistry and various continuing education courses

Sunday, June 03, 2018

Bible Study - Why (3) - Why Can't We Fix It? - Deuteronomy 5:32-33 and Galatians 3:10-12, 19a, 24-25 - June 17, 2018

Bible Study – Why (3) – Why Can’t We Fix It? – June 17, 2018

This is lesson three (3) in our series entitled “Why are we here?”

Our focus scripture is Deuteronomy 5:32-33 and Galatians 3:10-12, 19a, 24-25.

We are unable to live up to GOD’S holy standard.

Why did GOD give us the law and the Ten Commandments when we cannot keep them to the letter or spirit? Simply, we, as humans, needed something to give us a measure of how much we miss the mark of GOD’S standard for living upon earth in obedience to HIM. We, as humans, are unable to live up to GOD’S Holy Standard and we need to know that. GOD gave us HIS Standard in the law but there are two aspects of the law and commandments – the letter of the law and the spirit of the law. The letter of the law is step one and the spirit of the law is step two. Missing the mark is sin.

JESUS stated it best as recorded in Matthew 5:27-28:

27 "You have heard that it was said, Do not commit adultery. 
28 But I tell you, everyone who looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 

Verse 27 reveals the letter of the law whereas in verse 28, JESUS addressed the spirit of the law. The “spirit” of the law reflects the heart or the very core of our being and it is our core that must be changed.  

JESUS spoke to this as recorded in Matthew 15:19:

19 For from the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, sexual immoralities, thefts, false testimonies, blasphemies.

The external will never change permanently the internal. The external can influence the internal by getting our attention. That is why GOD’S Masterful, ultimate plan came in a person – HIS Only SON, JESUS. JESUS came to earth to live as 100% human, yet 100% GOD. HE was tempted in every way as humans are tempted, yet without sin. HE lived a sinless life and gave HIS sinless life upon the cross to pay, in full, the penalty for sin.

GOD had stated to Adam in the Garden of Eden that anyone who ate the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil would die. That meant the guilty person would die spiritually, eternally and ultimately physically unless the guilty person was redeemed.

GOD’S plan was to open the path between man and Himself by breaking the barrier of sin. Human effort, by keeping the law and commandments, was not adequate to reach GOD’S goal of perfection. Eve and Adam made a decision to disobey GOD. Thus, it takes a decision to restore that which disobedience originally took away. The Apostle Paul stated it best in 2 Corinthians 5:20:

21 He (GOD) made the One (JESUS) who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that we (All who place their faith in JESUS) might become the righteousness of God in Him.

GOD declared eternal death as the penalty for anyone eating the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. GOD is sovereign and just as HE imposed the eternal death sentence HE also had a plan to redeem humans from HIS imposed eternal death sentence. GOD’S redemptive plan of restoration cost the physical life of GOD’S only SON, JESUS. For JESUS to be fully qualified to give HIS life to redeem others, required that JESUS to be sinless. GOD is sovereign. HE chose for our sin to be fully and completely placed upon sinless JESUS, the perfect sacrifice, so that those who place their faith in HIM are declared sinless. Through the miracle of Spiritual rebirth those who place their faith in JESUS instantly become GOD’S Sons or Daughters. This is through the miracle of Spiritual rebirth or born-again. After the penalty for sin had been paid in full, JESUS ascended back into Heaven. JESUS took HIS seat at the right hand of GOD. Then as GOD had promised, HE sent the Holy Spirit to indwell every person who places his or her faith in JESUS. The indwelling Holy Spirit internalized HIS Spirit within every Christian. How do we know that?

1 Corinthians 3:16:
16 Don't you know that you are God's sanctuary and that the Spirit of God lives in you?

Since the Holy Spirit lives within each Christian, why do we struggle and seek HIM when HE is already present within?

Could it be that we allow the physical to rule our lives? If so, how do we change that ruling relationship? It is faith. How much faith? JESUS made it clear to HIS disciples as recorded in Matthew 17:20:

20"Because of your little faith," He told them. "For I assure you: If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will tell this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you. 

At the instant a person asks JESUS to forgive him or her for his or her sins and for JESUS to come into his or her heart is the instant of salvation. That person becomes a born-again Christian and GOD is his or her Father.

We have been conceived by the Spirit of GOD and become a child of GOD. We are GOD’S Son or Daughter with all the rights and privileges as HIS child and nothing will ever change that fact. What did GOD tell us about HIS relationship with HIS Father, GOD?

John 5:19:
19 Jesus gave them this answer: “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.

So why do we, as Christians, not live in the power of the Holy Spirit? Let’s read on ----

Matthew 12:29:
29 “Or again, how can anyone enter a strong man’s house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man? Then he can plunder his house.

The strong man within every Christian is JESUS. It is JESUS, Who has defeated Satan, the demons and evil spirit world. So how do we allow the strong man of our house to be bound? It is unbelief, greed, fear, addictions, doubt, failure to nourish our spiritual nature with GOD’S Word, or communicate with GOD through prayer and the list goes on. Christians, including me, allow the things of earth to build our mindset and influence our focus on the things that aren’t important to GOD. It is time for house cleaning and cast out, verbally, the things that prevent us from obediently serving GOD. We must rely upon HIS power and HIS presence within each of us not to look at what is impossible with man but what is possible with GOD. What is possible with GOD? All things are possible with GOD!

Caution. When we see the power of GOD working through us, our ego can move in. Again, our flesh wants to rule. We must keep in mind that it is GOD’S power according to HIS plan and purpose at work through us.

Our lesson focuses on “Why can’t we fix it” by our own efforts.

Let’s explore!

Let’s read Deuteronomy 5:32-33:
32 "Be careful to do as the Lord your God has commanded you; you are not to turn aside to the right or the left. 

It is easy for the issues we encounter in life to get us to turn our minds from GOD’S activity and ability to the solutions the world offers. We, as humans, often desire a quick fix to the issues we encounter along life’s journey.

33 Follow the whole instruction the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live, prosper, and have a long life in the land you will possess.

GOD was preparing the Israelites to enter the Promise Land. In the land there would be bounty but there would be things that could turn their heads away from GOD. They were going to enter a land of plenty physically and spiritually.

If our purpose in obediently serving GOD is for our prosperity, we are allowing our flesh to get in the way and lead us. So what is the whole instruction which the LORD GOD has commanded? It is trust and faith. It is to obey the letter and the Spirit of the law and commandments. Our sinful nature must be changed, which we control. We must decide who controls our lives, our flesh or GOD.

Ephesians 4:22-24:

22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires;
23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 
24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. 

The Apostle Paul was painting a word picture of a person taking off his or her old clothes and putting on his or her new Spiritual clothes of righteousness. Even though Christians are born-again, they still have to make decisions regarding their lives. Their old nature is often comfortable but they must give up the things that are contrary to the things that prevent them from growing Spiritually and obediently serving GOD. It is the process of sanctification, which is being made “Saint like” or being set aside to be used by GOD for HIS purpose. Yes, you can be a sanctified plumber, nurse, mother, father, pastor, teacher, solider, policeman, business person or many other callings to obediently serve GOD.

Let’s read Galatians 3:10-12:
10 For all who [rely on] the works of the law are under a curse, because it is written: Cursed is everyone who does not continue doing everything written in the book of the law
11 Now it is clear that no one is justified before God by the law, because the righteous will live by faith. 

The Bible is very clear that GOD honored faith as righteousness before GOD gave the law and commandments as recorded in Genesis 15:6:
6 Abram believed the Lord, and He credited it to him as righteousness.

Faith comes from the heart and is internal, whereas keeping the law and commandments comes from personal ability and is external. Those under the law are judged externally by their conscience, whereas those of faith are accountable to GOD.

What is the end-point of the law and commandments? Is it judgment? What is the end-point of faith? It is GOD’S Grace! Would you rather live under GOD’S judgment or GOD’S Grace? I personally choose GOD’S Grace through faith in HIS Only SON, JESUS.

Yes, GOD credited Abram’s faith to him as righteousness. We must realize that Abraham was not perfect. He had issues throughout his life but he also had great faith. To me, when GOD told him to sacrifice his son Isaac, that was huge. Yet, Abraham had such faith in GOD, if he had sacrificed Isaac, which meant slaughtering Isaac, burning him and reducing him to ashes that GOD would resurrect him from the ashes. GOD would restore Isaac back to his former self. How do we know that? It is recorded in Genesis 22:5:

5 Then Abraham said to his young men, "Stay here with the donkey. The boy and I will go over there to worship; then we'll come back to you." 

The law has no power, it takes an enforcer. The highway patrol stops you when you exceed the speed limit or run a stop sign. But the enforcer has to catch you. Faith is internal and self-policing.

12 But the law is not based on faith; instead, the one who does these things will live by them.

The Law is based upon a person’s ability and will to be obedient to the Law. Faith is based upon a person’s genuine love of GOD and a genuine relationship with GOD to continuously build upon that loving, caring relationship. Love of The One True GOD is the motivator. Once you have found that relationship, nothing can separate you from HIM. The law begs a relationship with it but not GOD.

13 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, because it is written: Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree. 
14 The purpose was that the blessing of Abraham would come to the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, so that we could receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. 

There were two paths to salvation one was through the Law before JESUS came to earth, which was a place holder for that which was to come. And the other was through faith, which is immediate and present. Since the passion of JESUS there is only one path to GOD and that is through JESUS. JESUS said it best as recorded in John 14:6:

6 Jesus told him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

15 Brothers, I'm using a human illustration. No one sets aside even a human covenant that has been ratified, or makes additions to it. 
16 Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say "and to seeds," as though referring to many, but and to your seed, referring to one, who is Christ. 
17 And I say this: the law, which came 430 years later, does not revoke a covenant that was previously ratified by God, so as to cancel the promise. 
18 For if the inheritance is from the law, it is no longer from the promise; but God granted it to Abraham through the promise.

The promise of full and complete redemption came through “the seed of Abraham,” JESUS.

Remember Genesis 3:15 - 15 I will put hostility between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed. He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel. 

The offspring of Eve, even though thousands of years later, her seed, JESUS would crush Satan’s head. Do you recall what GOD did to make certain that HIS plan was done according to HIS plan as recorded in 1 Corinthians 2:7-8 - 7 On the contrary, we speak God's hidden wisdom in a mystery, which God predestined before the ages for our glory8 None of the rulers of this age knew it, for if they had known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 
If GOD honors faith why did HE give us the Law? Let’s read on ---
19 Why the law then? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise was made would come. [The law] was ordered through angels by means of a mediator. 

The law was given as a place holder until The Promised Seed, JESUS, was born, as a human, yet GOD, upon earth. JESUS had to fulfill the law and the prophets. HE had to give HIS physical life by the shedding of HIS blood to pay in full the penalty for sin. GOD raised HIM from the physically dead to reveal to all the world then and now that JESUS is the Promised Messiah. When GOD resurrected JESUS, HE resurrected HIM in HIS Glorified body to show all who place their faith in JESUS the type of Glorified body they will receive at the return of JESUS to earth at HIS second coming.

The Seed is JESUS and HE is our mediator before GOD for our sin. Satan accuses us before GOD each time we sin. JESUS is The mediator, personally and individually, for all who place their faith in HIM. When we accept JESUS as our Savior, it is personal. JESUS is not only our Savior but our advocate when Satan accuses us for our sins. Our sins are blotted out by the precious shed blood of JESUS. Only the shed blood of JESUS has the power to blot out sin.

In 1 John 1:7-10 we read: (Note verse 9)
7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. 
8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 
9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 
10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.

Yes, Christians sin and we must confess our sins. We have sins of commission and sins of omission. Sin breaks our fellowship with GOD but never breaks our born-again relationship as HIS Son or Daughter. Sin impacts our obedience to respond to GOD’S will and purpose for each of us. So confess any unconfessed sin and ask GOD to restore your fellowship with HIM and to help you continue to build the right relationship with HIM through obedience.

20 Now a mediator is not for just one person, but God is one. 

There is one GOD. JESUS is One but HE gave HIS life for all who place their faith in HIM. Have you come to JESUS and asked HIM to forgive you for your sins and for HIM to come into your heart? If not, now is that opportunity. It is not saying the right words. It is the attitude of your heart. Do you desire salvation through faith in JESUS? If your answer is yes, then tell HIM.

21 Is the law therefore contrary to God's promises? Absolutely not! For if a law had been given that was able to give life, then righteousness would certainly be by the law. 

If obeying the law could make a person righteous then JESUS would have not needed to come to earth to give HIS sinless life to redeem mankind.

22 But the Scripture has imprisoned everything under sin's power, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. 

GOD in HIS wisdom bundled all sin together and when JESUS gave HIS life upon the cross, HE paid the price for sin, all sin, in full. What must a person do? JESUS, being One, gave HIS life for all. JESUS is the Savior for all who place their faith in HIM. It is the act of faith that activates the “Promise.”

23 Before this faith came, we were confined under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith was revealed. 
24 The law, then, was our guardian described such a slave. This slave was not a teacher until Christ, so that we could be justified by faith.
25 But since that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, described such a slave. This slave was not a teacher. 
26 for you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.

Notice the word “guardian.” A guardian in the Roman culture was a slave assigned the task of helping or training a young child to become a responsible adult. The “guardian” offered around the clock supervision and protection to one under his or her care. Now that faith has come in the person of JESUS, the law is no longer the guardian. A Christian’s guardian is the indwelling Holy Spirit.

What does this mean to you? Let’s read what JESUS has to say as recorded in John 5:24:

24 "I assure you: Anyone who hears My word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life and will not come under judgment but has passed from death to life. 

The instant a person places his or her faith in JESUS, he or she has eternal life and will not come under judgment because when JESUS died and took sin captive, HE paid the penalty for all sin. Therefore, the person who places his or her faith in JESUS has passed from eternal death to eternal life. What mankind lost due to the original sin was regained by JESUS for all who place their faith in HIM.

WOW! Freedom from the Law and filled with GOD’S Grace that is what it means to be a born-again Christian. Do you know this freedom? May you experience it now! May GOD fill your hearts with HIS love, which can only come through faith in HIS One and Only Son, JESUS! Shout with JESUS “IT IS FINISHED!” Blessings!!!

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Bible Study – Why (2) – Why are we in This Mess – June 10, 2018

This is lesson two (2) in our series entitled “Why are we Here?”

Our focus scripture is Genesis 3:1-7, 14-19.

We ruined a perfect relationship with GOD through our sin.

This is long but I think worth the reading and pondering. Blessings

Let’s read Genesis 2:1-3:
1 So the heavens and the earth and everything in them were completed. 2 By the seventh day, God completed His work that He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work that He had done. 3 God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, for on it He rested from His work of creation.

GOD set the example after everything was completed, HE rested. GOD declared the seventh day Holy and a time to reflect and enjoy what has been accomplished. GOD admired HIS handiwork because it was complete and ready for life to occupy what HE had created.

Let’s read Genesis 2:4- 7 and 15-25:
4 These are the records of the heavens and the earth, concerning their creation at the time that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens. 
5 No shrub of the field had yet [grown] on the land, and no plant of the field had yet sprouted, for the Lord God had not made it rain on the land, and there was no man to work the ground
6 But water would come out of the ground and water the entire surface of the land. 
7 Then the Lord God formed the man out of the dust from the ground and breathed the breath of life into his nostrils, and the man became a living being. 

GOD had spoken things into being except when it came to man. GOD chose to be personally involved with the formation of man. GOD took the dust of the ground to form man and HE breathed life into man’s nostrils. GOD gave man life and man became a living being. GOD had spoken the dust of the earth into being.

Did GOD have to breathe air as we know it? No. So what did GOD breathe into the nostrils of the male HE formed from the dust of the earth? HE breathed into the male the essence of HIS being – HIS spirit. Man was complete with a body designed for earth, spirit and soul; all unique and personal to him. The trinity of mankind.

15 The Lord God took the man and placed him in the Garden of Eden to work it and watch over it. 

GOD commissioned the man to be responsible for tending to the Garden and the authority to police it to make certain all that went on in the Garden was according to HIS plan and purpose. So what restriction or restrictions did GOD pass onto the man? Let’s read on ----

16 And the Lord God commanded the man, "You are free to eat from any tree of the garden, 
17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for on the day you eat from it, you will certainly die." 

18 Then the Lord God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is like him." 
19 So the Lord God formed out of the ground each wild animal and each bird of the sky, and brought each to the man to see what he would call it. And whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name. 
20 The man gave names to all the livestock, to the birds of the sky, and to every wild animal; but for the man no helper was found who was like him. 
21 So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to come over the man, and he slept. God took one of his ribs and closed the flesh at that place.

I like to think of the rib as a body part. Both men and women have the same number of ribs. Of course, one could consider that GOD made man with one additional rib or body part with which to form man’s mate. GOD’S removal of the extra rib or body-part GOD used to make woman. This would result in them being equal except for their ability to reproduce without each other. GOD designed reproduction to require both, male and female to come together in the most loving way to produce offspring.

22 Then the Lord God made the rib He had taken from the man into a woman and brought her to the man. 
23 And the man said: This one, at last, is bone of my bone, and flesh of my flesh; this one will be called woman, for she was taken from man. 

When GOD revealed HIS handiwork to the man, Adam, he in essence said “WOW! This is what I have been waiting for and she is perfect. GOD made the woman to complete man and for the woman to be man’s helpmate. Just as the Holy Spirit comes along the side of/indwells man and woman at the instant of salvation to be intimate with those who become Christians through faith in JESUS. Today, sex is often the first thing a man and woman engage in. Sex is designed to be pleasure but it appeals to the physical. It can be an addiction. It often causes a couple to seek the pleasure without building the relationship. Often, the pleasure fades and when a relationship is built upon the physical, when it fades the human response is “I do not love you any longer.” Love is a relationship which is built. In the words of Tony Campolo, “Every marriage provides the opportunity for love.” (This is either a direct quote or close to it.) It takes time and dealing with the issues of life that builds a relationship. Yes, a relationship can build but jump the tracks, so-to-speak, especially when either the male or the female encounter “mid-life crisis” or other issues that come into our lives that we hide form our mate. When you encounter such notions, reveal them to your mate and get them to help you work through them. Get good counseling when barriers begin to drive a wedge between you and your mate.

24 This is why a man leaves his father and mother and bonds with his wife, and they become one flesh. 
25 Both the man and his wife were naked, yet felt no shame.

This is a beautiful example of salvation. When a person beholds the magnificence of JESUS, he or she abandons all to bond with GOD through faith in JESUS. The Holy Spirit indwells that person immediately and that person becomes one with GOD through the miracle of rebirth in his or her spirit. Can such a relationship be challenged? Oh yes! When a person accepts JESUS as his or her Savior, that person becomes a target of Satan and his evil forces. The Apostle Paul wrote in Ephesians 6 that we do not fight flesh and blood but in verses 10-13:
10 Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by His vast strength. 
11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the tactics of the Devil. 
12 For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens. 
13 This is why you must take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand. 

Our next scripture reveals some of the tactics of Satan. We need to keep in mind that Satan’s desire is to be GOD but he is not. But he disguises himself “as an angel of light” that is why Christians must know the truth as revealed in GOD’S Word to discern truth from error. But our next scripture reveals how subtle Satan can be when we add more to GOD’S Word than HE stated.  

Let’s read Genesis 3:1-24:
1 Now the serpent was the most cunning of all the wild animals that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God really say, 'You can't eat from any tree in the garden'?" 

Who is the serpent? The serpent is Satan. Satan never appears as who he is but appears to us in an appealing disguise. He misrepresents GOD’S Word as we read, “He said to the woman, "Did God really say, 'You can't eat from any tree in the garden'?" 
What is wrong with this statement by Satan? What were GOD’S instructions to Adam? Let’s review “16 And the Lord God commanded the man, "You are free to eat from any tree of the garden, 
17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for on the day you eat from it, you will certainly die." 

Now, let’s read Eve’s reply ----

2 The woman said to the serpent, "We may eat the fruit from the trees in the garden. 
3 But about the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden, God said, 'You must not eat it or touch it, or you will die.' " 

What did Eve do? She added to what GOD had told Adam or did Adam add to what GOD had told him? She added do not touch it. Did Adam say to her, to eliminate any chance of her being enticed to eat the fruit from the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil,” don’t you dare touch its fruit? The point is that sin came into the world and here we are living is an unredeemed body and world.

GOD placed Adam in-charge of the Garden and to be responsible for the activity in the Garden.

While teaching teens in Vacation Bible School in Poland for a week, I told them that I would try to answer a Biblical question each day. Of course, communication was through a translator. They asked a great question each day. On the last day, I said, “Well this is our last day for a Biblical question, do you have a Biblical question for today?” There was much giggling from a group of girls at a table in the back of the room. I thought, they must have a doozy. Their question was, “Why didn’t GOD send a woman instead of a man?”

Frankly, I was taken aback. I had never thought about it. I can tell you, I went straight to the LORD while standing in front of the room. I was in panic mode. I experienced, what I think was a “go to your closet and pray” moment. The LORD provided the answer instantly and it was, “I put Adam in-charge of the Garden and he was responsible and accountable for what went on in the Garden that is why I sent JESUS.” I gave the girls this answer and they said, “We will accept that.” Now with that as information let’s continue to explore.

4 "No! You will not die," the serpent said to the woman. 
5 "In fact, God knows that when you eat it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." 

Satan loves to discredit GOD. Satan let’s Eve think that touching the fruit produced by the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil” was a death sentence. But the question is, “Did Eve or possibly Adam know what death was since they had eternal life?” They had never experienced broken fellowship with GOD. GOD does not hide anything from us and I believe they understood exactly what death meant but Eve chose to believe Satan’s lie. Did her ego blind her to truth or had Adam embellished truth by telling her “don’t dare touch the fruit on the tree of the knowledge of good and evil?” Where was Adam while this exchange between Satan and Eve was taking place? Also, notice that what Satan told Eve, “God knows that when “you” eat it “your” eyes will be opened and you will be “like God”, knowing good and evil."

Since Eve added to the statement “That GOD had told them they could not touch the fruit” gave Satan an entry point to prove GOD wrong. Did Satan say, “Oh, Really? Reach out and touch it. Satan may have touched the fruit himself. Here is an, I think moment, she touched it and nothing happened. She then took the next step and tasted it. It was wonderful.

I have a friend who tried drugs several times before he got the high that his friends spoke about. This was about 15 years ago and finally he is on the road to recovery but it is a struggle.

6 Then the woman saw that the tree was good for food and delightful to look at, and that it was desirable for obtaining wisdom. So she took some of its fruit and ate [it]; she also gave [some] to her husband, [who was] with her, and he ate [it]. 

Notice the fruit was appealing for food and pleasing “to look at” and “it was desirable for obtaining wisdom.” Now, most importantly, Adam was present and she handed the fruit to Adam. Sin gives pleasure for a moment but its consequence is far reaching. Sin breaks barriers GOD has placed around us to protect us but once broken it leads us to destruction.

We have no way of knowing why Adam stood there with Eve and allowed her to do what GOD had instructed him not to do. Had he heard the conversation between Satan and Eve and thought “just maybe GOD had not told him the truth.” After all, Adam did not see an immediate change in her when she touched and took a bite of the forbidden fruit. The fact that Adam did not step up and tell Eve not to eat the fruit made him accountable and because Eve took the step made her accountable.

I know a person who introduced drugs to his wife and that was many years ago. Today, unless GOD has helped her to stay away from drugs, she is a hopeless addict.

7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths for themselves.

The disobedience opened their eyes and they knew they were naked. Sin opens our eyes to the fact that we have been disobedient to GOD and the only way to conquer sin is to confess and seek restoration from GOD. GOD in HIS Goodness had a plan to redeem mankind by sending HIS Only SON, JESUS, to give HIS sinless life to pay, in full, the penalty for sin by the shedding of HIS blood. When we sin, we want to cover it up and hide it but GOD knows what we have done.

Sin's Consequences

8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, and they hid themselves from the Lord God among the trees of the garden.

I imagine that Adam and Eve looked forward to their walk with GOD in the cool of the evening. But this time they hid from GOD. But GOD knew what had happened and they needed to face what they had done. The trees could not hide them from GOD.

9 So the Lord God called out to the man and said to him, "Where are you?" 10 And he said, "I heard You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid."

Standing in the presence of Holy GOD does cause a person to be afraid. But whereas we fear, GOD reaches out to us. Why did GOD call to Adam? It was because GOD had called Adam to be responsible for the Garden and what went on in the Garden. GOD goes to the heart of the matter as we read on ---

11 Then He asked, "Who told you that you were naked? Did you eat from the tree that I had commanded you not to eat from?"

GOD asked a point blank question. How did Adam respond? Did he take the responsibility or did he do what many of us do, point to someone else?

12 Then the man replied, "The woman You gave to be with me-she gave me [some fruit] from the tree, and I ate." 13 So the Lord God asked the woman, "What is this you have done?" And the woman said, "It was the serpent. He deceived me, and I ate."

We as humans love to blame something or someone else for our problems. Adam blamed Eve and Eve blamed Satan. Sin produces a nature of “it was not me but something or someone else.” But regardless there are consequences.

14 Then the Lord God said to the serpent: Because you have done this, you are cursed more than any livestock and more than any wild animal. You will move on your belly and eat dust all the days of your life.

GOD zeroed in on the source and cursed Satan. GOD gave us a reminder of what sin does when we see a snake. GOD not only condemned but HE gave us a promise of redemption as we read on ---

15 I will put hostility between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed. He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.

This verse is GOD’S covenant with all mankind that restoration would come through the seed of woman, JESUS. This chosen woman, the Virgin Mary, would not need a human to get her pregnant but the Holy Spirit would energize the seed/egg of the Virgin Mary to produce the Son of GOD, JESUS. JESUS would be 100% human and 100% GOD. Yet, JESUS would live as 100% human and be tempted as humans are tempted yet without sin. JESUS would willingly give HIS sinless life to pay, in full, for the sin of man. HE would restore all, who place their faith in JESUS to HIS original intent for humanity before sin entered the world. HIS desire is for all Christians to walk with HIM upon earth as we obediently serve HIM. JESUS restores our full relationship with GOD and as we obediently serve HIM we build upon our relationship with HIM.  

16 He said to the woman: I will intensify your labor pains; you will bear children in anguish. Your desire will be for your husband, yet he will dominate you. 17 And He said to Adam, "Because you listened to your wife's voice and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, 'Do not eat from it': The ground is cursed because of you. You will eat from it by means of painful labor all the days of your life. 18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. 19 You will eat bread by the sweat of your brow until you return to the ground, since you were taken from it. For you are dust, and you will return to dust." 20 Adam named his wife Eve because she was the mother of all the living. 21 The Lord God made clothing out of skins for Adam and his wife, and He clothed them. 22 The Lord God said, "Since man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil, he must not reach out, and also take from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever." 23 So the Lord God sent him away from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. 24 He drove man out, and east of the garden of Eden He stationed cherubim with a flaming, whirling sword to guard the way to the tree of life.

Again, we see the word “US” meaning the Trinity. The tree of life was present and available for Adam and Eve. Oh how tragic it would be if they had eaten the fruit from the tree of life. Humans would have lived eternally in their fallen state. SO GOD took immediately action to prevent them from grabbing fruit from the tree of life.

GOD has prepared a place for every Christian which scripture reveals that eye has not seen, nor ear heard or entered in the human mind for those who have placed their faith in JESUS.

I urge you if you have not asked JESUS to forgive you for your sins to do so now and ask HIM to come into your heart. You were born at the exact time GOD knew you would be born and HE has a plan and purpose just for you. The choice is yours to make to either accept or reject JESUS as your Savior.  GOD did not make you a robot but a human with the freedom to choose. Choose wisely because your eternal destination depends upon it. Blessings!!!

Friday, May 25, 2018

Bible Study - Why (1) - Why Are We Even Here? - Genesis 1 - June 3, 2018

Bible Study – Why (1) – Why Are We Even Here? – June 3, 2018

This is lesson one in our series entitled “Why Are We Here?”

Our focus scripture is Genesis 1:1-5, 26-31.

GOD created us to fellowship with HIM.

One of my favorite verses in the Bible is Ephesians 1:3-4:
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavens, in Christ; 
4 for He chose us in Him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love 

GOD had a plan before HE “created the heavens and the earth.” When we, as humans, have a thought to create something, we ponder the purpose of what we are creating, the environment surrounding its utility, its functionality, longevity, maintenance to list a few things to be considered in its design. In verse 4, we see that GOD considered us, as humans, who would live in the world HE would create.

Dr. Hugh Ross, President and Founder, Reasons to Believe, has lectured, written many books on the unique placement of earth in the universe. It is in the exact and only position in the universe vital to support life upon earth. Their web site is or mailing address is 818 South Oak Road, Covina, CA 91724. Dr. Ross presents scientific information regarding the uniqueness of our planet.

Verse 4, reveals that GOD chose us, “in love”, “before the foundation of the world,” “to be Holy and blameless in HIS sight. Before GOD proceeded with HIS plan to create the world, He knew that those HE chose would need salvation, but HE created the earth and us even though He knew our frailty and failures.  Why?

Where were you until the instant you were conceived? I contend that you and I were in the mind and heart of GOD. In verse 4, we read “HE chose us before the foundation of the world.” So why didn’t GOD just say forget it?” If HE had, then HE would have condemned every human before they had the opportunity to exist and make a choice. GOD’S plan was for every person to have a choice whether or not to have a personal, loving, intimate relationship with HIM. HIS ultimate plan was for every person to choose HIM and HIS only SON, JESUS, as his or her Savior. GOD’S desire was for all persons to choose HIM. HE reveals Himself in many ways – nature, the magnificent miraculous bodies each of us has, the universe and etc. HIS desire was for all to choose HIM but HE also made us with the freedom to choose. HIS foreknowledge gave HIM the right to know how we will choose. But regardless of our choice HE still loves us. HE chose us in love and He loves until we harden our hearts to utterly and completely reject HIM.

We must keep in mind as recorded in 1 Corinthians 2:9:

9 But as it is written: What no eye has seen and no ear has heard, and what has never come into a man's heart, is what God has prepared for those who love Him.

Life upon earth as a human offers each of us the opportunity to live eternally, with GOD and JESUS, in the place JESUS prepared for all who place their faith in HIM. What does verse 9 reveal to us? What awaits those who love GOD at the instant they place their faith in JESUS? It is the immediate birth into GOD’S family as HIS Son or Daughter, eternal life and citizenship in Heaven. We experience the miracle of rebirth in our spirit. We are conceived Spiritually. This conception is only possible through faith in JESUS. What this means is that, as a human, our physical eye, physical ear and mind is incapable of knowing what GOD has prepared for those who know and love HIM. The miracle of rebirth in our spirit/Spirit begins the process of revelation through sanctification to reveal all that GOD has planned for us as HIS Son or Daughter. HE has work for us upon earth until HE calls us to be with them in Heaven. Let’s explore!

As we study our scripture, notice that GOD is orderly. HE creates on day one what is needed to support what HE does on day two. Since HIS nature is within us, when we live in an orderly manner, we are fulfilled. Chaos in contrary to GOD’S plan for us. 

Let’s read Genesis 1:1-5:
1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth

Created carries the idea of “creating something from nothing” and only GOD can do that.

2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness covered the surface of the watery depths, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters. 

Consider what was happening. GOD spoke matter into existence. This matter is formless, empty, in the dark and water soaked. Notice something so precious was, “The Spirit of GOD hovering over the surface of the waters.” GOD leaves nothing to chance. Hovering means that GOD checked out all that HE spoke into existence. Every subatomic particle was in the correct amount, quantity, quality, texture, energy level and so much more to support all that needed to come about and support that which was yet to come.

3 Then God said, "Let there be light," and there was light. 

GOD spoke, “Let there be light and there was light!”

4 God saw that the light was good, and God separated the light from the darkness. 

GOD checked the light and approved it. Now, let’s pause. A water laden mass of material was in space. Just there. It needed to be pulled together and shaped. What happens if you take a mass of wet clay and expose it an intense light source? It will dry out on one side. Take a look at a flat map of the world. What do you see?
GOD separated the light from the darkness. What happened? Do you think GOD spoke the earth into existence and caused it to begin to turn on its axis? I think so. What happens when a mass begins to turn? It wobbles and you have centrifugal or the force to throw away from its core and centripetal or the force that holds things together and directs back toward its core. These forces come into play with the shaping of this wet mass. How do we know earth was turning?

5 God called the light "day," and He called the darkness "night." Evening came, and then morning: the first day. 

6 Then God said, "Let there be an expanse between the waters, separating water from water." 

Let the separation of waters begin to form the sky and the earth.

7 So God made the expanse and separated the water under the expanse from the water above the expanse. And it was so. 
8 God called the expanse "sky." Evening came, and then morning: the second day. 
9 Then God said, "Let the water under the sky be gathered into one place, and let the dry land appear." And it was so. 
10 God called the dry land "earth," and He called the gathering of the water "seas." And God saw that it was good. 

Again, GOD spoke:

11 Then God said, "Let the earth produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants, and fruit trees on the earth bearing fruit with seed in it, according to their kinds." And it was so
12 The earth brought forth vegetation: seed-bearing plants according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it, according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. 

GOD checked it out and gave HIS approval.

13 Evening came, and then morning: the third day. 

Here, I think the sun was right-sized and the moon was the result.

14 Then God said, "Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night. They will serve as signs for festivals and for days and years. 
15 They will be lights in the expanse of the sky to provide light on the earth." And it was so. 
16 God made the two great lights-the greater light to have dominion over the day and the lesser light to have dominion over the night-as well as the stars. 
17 God placed them in the expanse of the sky to provide light on the earth,
18 to dominate the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. 
19 Evening came, and then morning: the fourth day. 

GOD approved all in existence so far. The environmental conditions were in place to support the next steps in supporting life upon earth.

20 Then God said, "Let the water swarm with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky." 
21 So God created the large sea-creatures and every living creature that moves and swarms in the water, according to their kinds. [He also created] every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 

GOD approved of all so far.

22 So God blessed them, "Be fruitful, multiply, and fill the waters of the seas, and let the birds multiply on the earth." 
23 Evening came, and then morning: the fifth day. 
24 Then God said, "Let the earth produce living creatures according to their kinds: livestock, creatures that crawl, and the wildlife of the earth according to their kinds." And it was so. 
25 So God made the wildlife of the earth according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and creatures that crawl on the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. 

Reproduction and vegetation growth and support were going according to GOD’S plan for then and for us today. So what next? GOD, up to this point, spoke things into existence. What would HE do for HIS ultimate plan to have a people who would love HIM and for HIM to love?

26 Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness. They will rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the livestock, all the earth, and the creatures that crawl on the earth." 

Here is our first look at the trinity. “Let US make man in Our image.” Who was GOD talking about? It was GOD, The Father, GOD, The Son (JESUS or the Word) and GOD, The Holy Spirit. Let’s consider what John recorded in John 1:1-4: (John was writing about JESUS.)

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 
2 He was with God in the beginning. 
3 All things were created through Him, and apart from Him not one thing was created that has been created.
4 Life was in Him, and that life was the light of men. 

27 So God created man in His own image; He created him in the image of God; He created them male and female.

Man is Adam as the first human GOD formed but also includes mankind, which includes both male and female. We get a detailed account in Chapter Two.

28 God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it. Rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, and every creature that crawls on the earth." 

GOD approved of HIS work by blessings both Adam and Eve and told them to “Go to work.” We need to keep in mind that GOD placed Adam in charge of the Garden, therefore, he was responsible for what went on in the Garden. Also, we need to keep in mind that Adam and Eve had eternal life.

29 God also said, "Look, I have given you every seed-bearing plant on the surface of the entire earth, and every tree whose fruit contains seed. This food will be for you, 
30 for all the wildlife of the earth, for every bird of the sky, and for every creature that crawls on the earth-everything having the breath of life in it. [I have given] every green plant for food." And it was so. 

GOD intended for mankind and the animals to be a vegetarian.

31 God saw all that He had made, and it was very good. Evening came, and then morning: the sixth day.

So here we have it. All done in six days. Was it six earth days or heavenly days? To me that is a mute-point. Here we are upon earth and living proof that we and the earth exists. But why do we exist?

GOD has an exact moment for each of us to be born and for each of us to die physically. What happens the instant we die is our choice. Will we go to Heaven to live eternally with GOD and JESUS or go into utter darkness to be eternally separated from GOD and JESUS? Where do you want to spend eternity? We are all sinners and the wage for sin is eternal death. The gift of GOD is JESUS Who gave HIS sinless life to pay in full the penalty for our sin. What do we have to do to be set free from our sin and be washed whiter than snow from our sin? Accept the fact that JESUS willingly gave HIS sinless life to pay, in full, the eternal death penalty for our sin and ask JESUS to come into our hearts. When we do, He comes into our lives and the miracle of rebirth in our spirit takes place and we become a child of GOD. Our citizenship is no longer earth but Heaven. GOD becomes our Father and JESUS becomes our Brother. We remain upon earth to obediently do the will and purpose for our LORD. Now is the time for salvation. Seek JESUS while you still can and before you harden your heart. Some may say, I have already hardened my heart. Are you concerned that you may have hardened your heart? If so, great news, you haven’t because you still are concerned. The opportunity for JESUS to be your Savior is still a choice. Accept HIM as your Savior now. Blessings!!!