Notes on the Book of Ephesians

Taken at a Bible Study Led by Walt Henrichsen

In San Francisco, 19-23 March 2007

 

 

Table of Contents

Introduction. 5

Comments about these notes. 5

Opening remarks by Walt Henrichsen. 5

Background. 5

Overview.. 6

‘Church’ and control 7

Doctrine, obedience and security. 9

If you believe, you will not receive or seek honor. 9

Chapter 1. 11

To the saints and the faithful (1:1) 11

Election and depravity (1:4,5) 12

The danger of obligating God to His promises; assurance vs. certainty. 12

Adoption (1:5) 14

Eternal hope in the OT and the mystery of 1:9. 15

Heavenly realms and blessings (1:3) – already and not yet 16

Forgiveness and grace (1:7) 16

The mystery of His will (1:9) 18

All things in subjection to Christ; utopia (1:10,11) 19

Sin and its consequences in heaven. 20

The seal of the Holy Spirit and experiencing God (1:13,14) 20

Love, sacrifice and personal profit 21

Autonomy and sin in eternity. 21

The triune God of election, redemption and revelation. 22

The relationship of faith and love (1:15) 22

Thanksgiving and worship (1:16) 22

Blessing, worship and benefits. 23

Utopia and the myth of altruism.. 23

What Paul prayed for the Ephesians (1:17-19) 23

Hope, despair and existentialism.. 24

Arianism and the deity of Christ (1:17) 25

God’s power (1:19) and man’s efforts. 25

Learning to live by faith and not by sight (from Screwtape & a trial attorney) 27

Christ is over all and mystically present in the Church (1:20-23) 27

Chapter 2. 29

Gratitude and comparison and regret 29

Since Jesus didn’t sin, His sacrificial death was suicide. 29

The horrific possibility of autonomy, sin and death in heaven. 29

Eternal consequences for temporal (and eternal) behavior 31

Is suicide murder?. 33

The concept of praise. 33

Outline of chapter 2 – three contrasts (past and present) 34

The evil world of Satan, demons and children of disobedience (2:1-3) 34

We were children of wrath because of imputed condemnation (2:3) 34

The prince of the power of the air (2:2) 35

Where is the spiritual battlefield?. 35

But God made us alive, so now things are different (2:4-10) 36

The antinomy of love – we must love, but God doesn’t have to. 36

Faith and works (2:8-10) 37

Faith, hope and love in heaven. 38

Resurrection for the unbeliever 38

Already and not yet in the heavenly places (2:6,7) 38

Appreciating Israel and avoiding anti-Semitism (2:11-22) 39

Christ brought peace and unity to the Jews and Gentiles (2:13-18) 41

Short-lived benefits of that peace due to anti-Semitism.. 41

Brief history of Jewish dispersions. 41

Prophets, foundations, strangers. 42

Transcultural Gospel 43

The Church – organized gatherings and organizations. 43

Essentials and non-essentials. 44

Pros and cons of control 44

Chapter 3. 46

Chapter overview.. 46

The mystery of the Church, a metaphysical entity separate from Israel 46

Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, interrupts himself before he prays (3:1-14) 49

The Church, a mystery not conceived in the OT. 49

What happened to the Jewish church after 70AD?. 50

Promises for Israel and the Church. 52

Why Paul’s tribulations were for the readers’ glory (3:13) 52

The mystery of 3:6. 53

The wisdom of God vs. the wisdom of man (3:10) 53

The danger of defining or fixing form and structure in the Church. 53

Paul’s progressive thinking about his depravity (3:8) 54

Unavoidable hypocrisy as we confront sin. 54

Knowing our depravity should help us better help others. 55

Limits of authority regarding expectations for behavior 55

Limits of authority regarding conscience and convictions. 56

Decision-making authority and responsibility. 56

Conscience and convictions. 57

Foreknowledge and God’s eternal purpose (3:11) 58

Faith, the great equalizing aspect of the Gospel 58

The dichotomy of the sovereignty of God and the responsibility of man. 58

The manifold wisdom of God is displayed in all He does (3:10) 59

Boldness and access with confidence through faith (3:12) 59

Win-win situation of Paul’s tribulations (3:13) 59

Three-part and two-part views of the “inner man” (3:16) 59

Chapter 4. 61

Lowliness and gentleness in everyday life (4:2) 61

Know your depravity or else you’ll risk trusting yourself instead of God. 62

The limits of unity of the Spirit (4:3) and when to discipline. 63

Dealing with women preachers and the breaking of commandments today. 65

The conscience is authoritative but not absolute. 66

How to deal with homosexuals and fornicators. 67

Lack of unity is inexcusable (4:4,5) 67

Does God give one or two types of grace (4:7)?. 67

The danger of being too attached to a man-made system of theology. 70

God’s partiality in giving enough grace to some people to be saved. 70

Spiritual gifts and different amounts of grace to understand God’s Word. 70

Judaizers were a constant source of trouble to Paul wherever he went 72

The captives whom Jesus led captive (4:8) 72

Where Jesus descended to (4:9) 73

The gifts Jesus gave (4:7-12) 74

Unity, union and strange doctrines (4:13-16) 75

Matrix of ministries. 75

Limits of accountability. 76

Speaking the truth in love (4:16) 77

Vanity / futility of the unbelievers’ minds (4:17) 78

Darkened understanding and being calloused (4:18) 79

Truth and absolutes related to righteousness and holiness. 79

Lying and bargaining (4:25) 80

Anger (4:26) 81

Bitterness (4:31) 82

Tenderheartedness (4:32) 83

Chapter 5. 83

Outline of chapters 5 and 6. 83

Self-sacrifice and love (5:1,2) 83

Covetousness and fornication (5:3,5) 84

Humor and laughter (5:4) 85

Relating to people with empty words (5:6,7) 86

Finding out what is acceptable to the Lord (5:10) 86

Redeeming the Time (5:16) 86

Thoughts on the velocity of life today. 86

Dealing with impurity in a society without shame (5:11,12) 87

Singing to the Lord (5:19) 88

Mutual submission and family relationships (5:21) 88

Submit in relationships out of fear of God (5:21) 88

Fearing God vs. respecting God. 89

Fearing God and pleasing the Lover of your soul 89

Children obey your parents (6:1) 90

Fear is essential in society and in your relationship with God. 90

Lee Yih’s story of fearing God at a big meal 90

Cultivating fear 90

Mutual submission (5:21) 91

Trouble-shooting the wife not in submission to her husband (5:22) 91

Exercising headship 0.01% of the time. 91

Certain things have got to be true for your wife to be in submission to you. 92

The evolution of the role of women in society. 93

Husbands must protect their wives. 93

Wives in the marketplace. 94

“Cleanse her with the washing of water with the Word” (5:26) 94

Ideas on discipling your family. 94

The mystery of Christ and the Church (5:32) 95

Chapter 6. 95

Obeying and honoring parents (6:1-3) 95

When obedience to parents is no longer essential 96

Fathers do not provoke children to wrath (6:4) 97

Slaves and Masters (6:5-9) 98

Dealing with higher and higher expectations in today’s professional world. 98

Eternal accountability for our work (6:8) 99

Was the American Revolutionary War legitimate?. 99

Employer - employee relationships (6:9) 99

Put on the full armor of God, especially in interpersonal conflicts (6:10-20) 100

The value of the full armor of God. 101

The day of evil – when we are tested and face potential failure (6:13) 101

Taking up the armor is active. 102

Perpetual prayer (6:18) 102

God put Paul in prison (6:20) 103

Encourage people by rejoicing with them in temporal successes (6:22) 103

Rewards and honor 103

 

 

 

 

 


Introduction

 

Comments about these notes

·        Except for a few selected parts, these notes are not a word-for-word a transcription but rather an attempt to provide a detailed summary or paraphrase of ideas covered.

·        These notes for the most part follow a Q&A format to facilitate future Bible study discussion.

·        “Q” is used to denote a question; however, not all occurrences of “Q” were actually questions.

·        Most comments were either spoken or affirmed by Walt Henrichsen.

·        Most or all of the brothers present participated, but the names of those who spoke throughout the session were usually not recorded, so as to focus mainly on the ideas, to maintain confidentiality and also to save time in typing.

·        When the pronoun ‘I’ is used, it was probably spoken by Walt Henrichsen.

·        Explanatory remarks are sometimes added for clarity, and are hopefully accurate in meaning.  They are usually offset by [square brackets].

·        These notes are public domain; anyone is free to use these notes for his own personal meditation or Bible study; freely we have received, so freely we give.  (Mt. 10:8)

 

Opening remarks by Walt Henrichsen

 

What I pray for my tongue:

·        Not misspeak myself [say something wrong by accident] – if I do, then please correct me.

·        Not be hurtful, harsh or unloving; forgive me if I am.

·        Not misrepresent God – most important – not say something is true that is not true.

 

Comments on materials covered so far

·        I cannot remember what I’ve talked about in this group due to senility & being involved in several studies, so I’ll assume in our time together that everything is something we’ve thought about before.

·        I will not try to hedge my bet [insure against the possibility that] I have not covered it by saying we covered it, but just assume we have.

 

Background

·        Paul wrote the epistle from prison, probably around 62 AD

·        Tychicus is mentioned in 6:21, Col. 4 27 and Phm. 13.

·        All three epistles were probably written concurrently and sent by Tychicus.

·        Paul labored in Ephesus for 3 years – longest recorded time in any one spot on any missionary journey.

·        Acts 18:18-20:2 [read aloud in turn to review the story]

·        Notes on this story:

·        A large number of Jews and Greeks converted.

·        The Gospel penetrated all Asia.

·        The ministry of Paul was so powerful that false teachers sought to emulate him.

·        The religion of Diana was threatened.

·        The church grew and prospered.

·        On Paul’s 3rd missionary journey (mentioned in Acts 20:17-38) he said that false teachers would come in.

·        Rev. 2:2 says that this prediction was true and came about.

 

Q: What do we know about Ephesus?

·        The center of the worship of Diana/Artemis

·        Had some tensions between the Jews and gentiles

·        Alexander, a Jew, wanted to speak to the crown in the theatre, but the Gentiles didn’t want to listen to him.  [Acts 19:33,34]

·        Capital of the Roman province of Asia

·        Center of the early church

·        Trade center, cosmopolitan city – lots of people coming in and out – new ideas

·        Advantageous because sea port

·        Located near the mouth of a river that went deep into Asia minor, so it was located near an important trade route going east inland

·        Over time the silt from the river filled in the harbor and it fell into disuse.

 

Overview

Q: What do you think was the theme of the book of Ephesians?

·        Understanding the riches of God’s grace to preserve the unity of the body

·        Our response to what God has done for us through the revelation of his mystery

·        Eternal counsel of God to his sons and working through his church

·        Importance of interpersonal relationships

 

Q: How divide the book:

·        In chapters 1-3 the believer is passive; doesn’t do anything and not called upon to do anything; but in chapters 4-6, he’s active.

·        Passive in regard to redemption, active in that God holds him responsible in interpersonal relationships.

 

Q:  The blood of Jesus Christ has a 2-fold reconciliation – what is it?

·        Reconciliation of God & man and Jew & Gentile

 

Q: How much does Paul quote the Old Testament?

·        17 references to the Pentateuch – mostly from Exodus and Deuteronomy

·        30 ref. to the prophetic writings

·        11 ref. to the psalms

·        So he uses the OT quite a bit.

·        Yet no trace of Paul using the OT as an apologetic for the Christian faith [as in other letters]

 

Q: Eph. never uses the word “justify.”  Why?

·        Our position in Christ appears many times, but justification does not appear.  Why?

·        He’s been with them for a long time, so in this episode he’s not talking about the obvious doctrine

 

Use of verbs and nouns

·        Eph. has more verbs than nouns – 321 verbs; 158 nouns

·        In Romans they are about even

·        In Galatians there are far more nouns than verbs: 250 vs. 138

·        Q: Why?

·        Wordsmiths – what is the use of verb instead of noun?  Action

·        Noun?  A description, used to define doctrine

·        Thus, in Eph. there is far more emphasis on action than doctrine.

 

Q: What is the purpose of the letter?

·        I’m unsure of the exact purpose of the letter

·        It seems to be a compendium of thought; not a situational letter (like Romans)

·        Seems to give some of his matured thinking regarding Christ

·        My sense is that Eph is more philosophical, Romans more doctrinal

·        If you are familiar with the various denominations in Christendom, most denominations are creedal, and most creeds are an exposition of Romans

·        Ex: catechism teaching follows Romans

·        Salvation, sanctification

·        No so in the book of Ephesians

·        He gives you a “let’s stand on the edge of the universe and see what has transpired” approach

·        Why?  I don’t know

 

Q: To whom was the letter written?

·        Circular letter because not too many personal names were written - conjecture

·        1:1 – the saints in Ephesus

·        Q:  What saints?

·        Note: he doesn’t write to the ‘church at Ephesus’

·        For sure not a situational letter like Galatians or Corinthians

·        Written to Gentiles, not to Jews

·        Q:  If so, why so many references to the OT?

·        All they had was the OT scripture

·        The mystery was for the Gentiles

·        The word ‘Jew’ doesn’t appear; the word ‘Israel’ does

·        5 times [Paul] refers to the ‘nations’ or ‘Gentiles’ [same in Greek]

·        He wants to show that the Gentiles had the same rights and privileges afforded to the Jews

·        Note that Israel is the family of God into which the Gentiles had been invited

·        Paul was saying, “We [Jews] are the people God; you are the ones whom God brought in to be part of us.”

 

 

‘Church’ and control

·        The word ‘church’ appears 9 times in Ephesians.

·        3 in chapters 1-3 (doctrine portion); 6 in application portion

·        Husbands love your wives as Christ love the church and gave Himself for her.

·        I suggest that it is import to note that church is never used in the book of Ephesians in reference to a local congregation.

·        It is always used in reference to the universal church – the church to which everyone is a part

·        Ekklesia = church

·        There are probably as many different views of church as there are Christians

·        It is so typical to have difficulty having a good relationship with the local church; a lot of emotional energy is used trying to [get along with it].

·        The best approach is just to have no expectations of it.

·        The reason it is such a hot button and generates so much emotion – every debate and so much [argument] in the history of the church – is that every time the issue is control.

·        Because there is no institutional commitment to the church – only to Israel – the church has been adamant that it has replaced the affections of God toward Israel.

·        Therefore, it is an institutional commitment

·        Thus the Roman Catholics say there is no salvation outside the church, i.e. the Roman Catholic Church

·        The reformers agreed with them; that’s why called it the Reformation

·        They were not leaving the church they were reforming the church

·        I remember during my [theological] education I asked my professors, “Do you believe there is no salvation outside the church?  They could not bring themselves to say ‘yes’, but every instinct led them to [want to] say ‘yes’.

·        Control – I’m against bishops unless I can be one!

·        That’s why it is such an emotionally charged question.

 

Q:  Would you go so far as advising us to stay away form the local church?

·        NO! Let the records show.  I’ve never said such a thing never thought such a thing

 

Q:  What is the relationship between the local church and the universal church?

·        Ideally, the former should be an expression of the latter.

 

George Barna says that Americans are moving away from local church into affinity groups

·        In the US, we have a guy who does research named George Barna.

·        He does polls on Christianity in the US.

·        In his book “Revolution” ($2 used) he’s discovered that the disillusionment with the local church in the US is so profound among born-again believers, that they have for all practical purposes have disassociated with the local church and moved into affinity groups.

·        He is neither for nor against local church.

·        Like Promise Keepers - men who know each other and gather to study the Word.

 

The problem is ‘organization’

·        Organization is both a noun and an adjective.

·        We here [at this meeting] have not created an organization, nor do we want to, although we could have done it.

·        Q:  More dangerous if a noun?

·        If Barna is correct, then there is a profound disillusionment with the church.

·        100 million are unchurched in the US.

·        Life in America changed greatly since 1994.

·        If we meet, we might not have to organize.

·        I meet with men regularly, and no organization has ever come into existence.

 

Q:  Is control ever good?

·        Man is never more insecure than when he senses that he’s not in control.

·        It drives a great deal of what he does, so if I am going to spend my life doing something, I want God to be on my side.

·        Therefore, it’s not my church it’s Christ’s church, but since I'm its vicar, you’d better behave me.

 

Q:  Is there a difference between control and manipulation?

·        For sure manipulation is an endeavor to control – a method – which is precisely what our children try to do with us.

·        Q:  How do churches go about it?

·        The presence of an elder does not necessitate the presence of an institution

·        I suggest that all of you sitting around this table are elders, whether or not you function as one in an institution; this is by virtue of who you are, not what you do

·        All of you have in common a spiritual authority that is emitted from your presence.  It cannot be otherwise.  Like an odor you give it off – they sense it in your presence – the fragrance of Christ, if you would.

 

Q:  So what do you consider the church at Corinth?

·        It was a local congregation, an institution

·        The question is not, ‘is it permitted?’  The question is,  “is it essential?”

 

Doctrine, obedience and security

Q:  Historically, was it mainly the heresies that caused institutionalization?

·        The men desperately wanted to control.

·        Therein lies the problem, which is ‘who gets to define heresy?’

·        From Genesis to Revelation holiness has nothing to do with doctrine and everything to do with obedience.

·        Doctrine has always been more important to man than God, because God is truth, so He’s secure.  Man is always looking for truth, so we are by nature insecure.

·        I’m looking for truth; therefore I’m insecure.

·        The only time I’m aware of when Jesus addressed doctrine was when confronted by the Sadducees regarding the resurrection.  Almost dismissive – “I’m the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, so God is not the God the dead but the living.  Go away!”

·        Paul used doctrine. I’m not saying it’s not important.  As a man thinks so he is. [Pr. 23:7]

·        God says that the path to holiness is obedience.

·        Faith and believe, the noun and verb forms of  ‘pistus’ are at the heart of every relationship in life.

·        If you don’t believe me, when you get home, take your wife out for a meal and get her to share her heart and say, “You’re lying.”  See if it enhances the relationship.

·        You can’t have a relationship if you call me a liar.

·        God says that is the heart of the relationship – you’ve got to believe me!

·        Only it's different with God – He knows every thought.

·        I’ve said things to my wife, and I cannot be believed.  For instance, I forgot the book of ferry coupons.  I couldn’t find it.  She asked, “Did you look in your brief case?”  I said, “Yes.”  She looked and it was there.  So, she can’t believe me.

·        Everyone wants us to believe him, but we don’t expect a person to believe everything we say.

·        Jesus in His ministry was intentionally obscure – definite on the commands but obscure on everything else.  He was never clear on the cross.  The disciples in upper room discussed it, but He would not give them a straight answer.

 

Q:  Are you aware of a case in which your obedience depends on your doctrine?

·        In terms of revelation, yes; but in terms of understanding it, no.  [You must obey what’s been revealed to you as an expectation of God for you, but you don’t have to understand it.]

 

If you believe, you will not receive or seek honor

·        John 5:44 – Jesus is having one of his testy encounters with religions leaders over having been believed.  “How can you believe if you receive honor from one another but make no effort to receive the honor that comes from God?”

·        The operative words are ‘believe,’ ‘receive,’ and ‘seek.’  How can you believe if you receive honor from one another?

·        We are dependent on the spirit of God to reveal truth to us.

·        Jesus said I’m not going to give you the answers.

·        I’m going to send the Holy Spirit, the Comforter.  He shall teach you all things.

·        You’re dependent on the Holy Spirit to understand spiritual truth.

·        Jesus says if you receive honor, it’s not going to happen.

·        You may think it will, but I promise you it will not.

·        Jesus says, “I want you to believe Me.”

·        Believe what?  In this I’m unique.  I want you to commit to believe Me before I reveal [anything].

·        If you don’t commit, I won’t reveal.  The revelation comes after the commitment.

·        I promise that if you receive the honor that comes from other people, I’m not going to reveal it to you.

 

Q: How can you not receive honor?

·        You cannot be boorish or rude, but in your soul of souls it should terrify you – I beg you not to impute this to me – politely say thanks but don’t listen to a word of it.

·        Jesus spoke in parables in Mt. 13:10-17 – so people would not understand.

·        What Hebrews says regarding Abraham in Hebrews 11 – he went out by faith.

 

Q:  Is it wrong to praise men?  How about when raising children?

·        Be careful!  1 Peter 2:17 – how honor all people?  5th command – honor parents.

·        Civil decorum – honor essential for these.  Ex: judge leaves court, so people stand.

·        President called ‘Mr. President’, but he’d better not read his press clippings.

·        I have two beautiful daughters, and I’ve told them again and again, “You are beautiful, but if you believe it, you’ll destroy yourselves.”

·        The key is to tell God, “I don’t seek it, don’t want it, don’t receive it.  The only person I want to please is You.”

·        When we got started talking about this [praise of men] we were talking about how the local church praises men.

·        Howard Hendricks used to tell the story of a pastor who gave a sermon and then went to the glorification of the worms ceremony [went out to be greeted by people praising what he said.]

 

Q:  How could a pastor survive without making a church grow?

·        There are three forms of church government [Episcopal (regional bishops), Presbyterian (local elders) and Congregational (democracy)].  Two of the three take it out of the hands of the congregation

·        It’s OK to receive honor from God, but don’t receive it from men.

·        1 Pt. 5:5-7 – the only way to be humble is to cast all your cares upon him.  If you don’t, you can’t obey verses 5 and 6 [be submissive and humble].

·        But God acknowledges your desire to be exalted; just be sure to look to Him only for it.

·        If you agree with God that you’re nothing – just a slave – then why does it bother you when people say so and treat you like a slave?

·        One of the signs of this is resentment when people do not acknowledge your gift or help.  If it bothers you, you have a problem.

·        God only faults us for seeking or receiving praise when it’s from men, not from Him.

·        However, we have no idea what that praise will look like in heaven.

·        That’s why most of what you believe about heaven is a figment or your imagination.

·        In Ephesians it becomes clear that all true religion exalts God and humbles man.

·        All men by nature hate God.  The reason is because God got there first.

·        Most anger that you’ll experience in your life is your taking exception with God in how he’s running His universe.

·        That is the reason the doctrine of election is so essential.  Our relationship with God is grounded and guaranteed in his elective processes.  If we’d been involved, we’d never have come to God.

 

 

[First day’s morning break]

 

 

Chapter 1

 

To the saints and the faithful (1:1)

Q:  Paul says ‘to the saints and the faithful’ – are these words synonyms?

·        Can a man be a saint and not faithful?

·        Or is he using it as a conjunction?

·        Can a man who is depraved be faithful?

·        Paul said that he was the chief of sinners but I don’t think he was unfaithful

 

Q:  How define a saint?

·        Joseph says imputation – God declares you to be a saint.

·        Being a saint is on God’s terms; being faithful is on our terms – up to us

 

Q:  Can a man be a saint and not strive be faithful to God?

Q:  Can a man be carnal and be a Christian?

·        The Corinthians were saved but carnal

·        But did they want to be carnal?

·        Any time you are willful with God you forfeit your biblical assurance of salvation

·        God will not relate to a willful person.  Nobody says "No" to God.

·        So yes, a man can be carnal.

·        A lot of carnality in life sneaks in under the radar

·        Ex: you receive the glory of man.  Later, it occurs to you what you were doing

·        You weren’t trying, but when the Spirit calls it to your attention, you are horrified.

·        A lot of carnality is in that arena

·        Ambition – a lot of men never consider it biblically an issue – carnal

·        Hebrews – when you should be teachers you need some to teach you again – not necessarily willful - what do you think?

·        Is neglect always willful?

·        A man can be willful in neglect, but a lot of neglect is not willful

·        Seems that the knowledge makes the difference

·        Awareness – I knew but wasn’t aware

·        When Jesus says, "I don’t want you receiving the glory of men," that should not come as a surprise to us.  Yes, of course.  If after consideration – yes – but I hadn’t thought about it.

·        People can offer glory, but I don’t receive it in my heart.

·        Yet I honor my parents and perhaps some others

·        We honor parents, but we do not receive honor from our children

·        Part of civility is cultural – proper ways of doing things to show decorum and respect.

·        Romans 13 – give honor to those whom honor is due

·        1 Pt talks about honoring

·        Jn. 5:44 – you don’t receive it in your heart, but be gracious, kind appreciative

·        Introduction – like expensive perfume – smells good, but I wouldn’t want to swallow it – be gracious, but cannot accept it.

·        So, can a man be a saint and be unfaithful?

·        No, if he is willfully unfaithful; yes, if it is not willful.

·        [So, therefore] in 1:1 saints and faithful are synonyms

 

Election and depravity (1:4,5)

Q:  What is the relationship between election and depravity?

·        Although we are depraved God chose us before the foundation of the world

 

Q: Were you depraved before the foundation of the world?

·        Rom. 9:11-13 - (For the children not yet being born, nor having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of Him who calls), it was said to her, “The older shall serve the younger.”  As it is written, “Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated.”

·        Jacob was not any less depraved than Esau was.

·        Election is not a moral question.  It has nothing to do with your depravity.

·        Romans 9 – two questions in response:

·        9:14 – that’s not just, but Paul says it’s not a moral question

·        9:19 – why does he find fault?  Fault IS a moral question.
Potter takes clay … cannot God do the same thing?

·        Election and depravity are not related.

·        It’s just because of God’s own pleasure

·        Why did He choose Jacob instead of Esau?  Because He wanted to.

·        Jacob have I loved.  Esau have I hated.

 

Q:  What does 1:4 ‘in love’ mean?

·        If God had a reason for loving you, then at that point you’d have a reason to contribute to the selection.   God, you loved me because I’m a great guy.  We know that’s not the case.

·        There is no reason why you are an object of God’s love.

·        Results:

·        It makes you very secure because your relationship depends on your relationship, not behavior.

·        It makes you very insecure because nobody can be certain they are one of the elect.

 

The danger of obligating God to His promises; assurance vs. certainty

Q:  In Rom 10:9,10 it says that if you confess and believe you can be saved [so how’s it fit?]

Q:  Yes, but can we obligate God with His promises?

·        He cannot deny himself.

·        True, but Mt. 7:21-23 – “Lord, Lord” – that’s Romans 10, the mantra we’ve been taught – have we not prophesied?  I didn’t try to prophecy but actually did it.  He said what?  I never knew you!

·        God can obligate himself, but if you come before Him and quote Rom. 10:9,10, and He may say that’s a good promise; it just doesn’t apply to you!

 

Q:  If you die and you meet God and He says to you, “My eternal purposes and good pleasure are best served by you spending an eternity in hell,” will you affirm his right to do that?

·        Will you in your soul of souls affirm God’s right to do that?

·        If not, then God exists for man [opposite of 1 Cor. 8:6]

·        But everything is determined for His good pleasure [Eph. 1:5].

 

Q:  Then why doesn’t God just create the world and then go to Revelation?

·        The psalmist said, “Thy path is great waters”  we don’t know.

·        But in this passage we do know – it pleased Him

·        Rom 11:32 – God has committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all

·        This refers to the nation of Israel.  God only obligated Himself to Israel.

·        That’s the reason everybody wants to be Israel.

·        There’s no obligation to Gentiles or individuals.

 

Q:  Has God ever committed to an individual in Israel – like a king on throne?

·        Yes, He committed to Abraham.

·        And I have every reason to believe He’s committed to you, but that’s the difference between assurance and certainty.

 

Further comments about Romans 10:9,10

·        Confess at that time meant death

·        Resurrection – like Acts 17 – crazy idea

·        Thus, it was not just a formula, but in the world at that time saying Jesus is my lord and not Caesar [was special], and resurrection was believing in what most others didn’t, so it meant a lot to believers then

·        Yes.  There is nothing more in life I fear in life more than death, because that’s the moment of truth.  That’s where I’ve got all my poker chips.  Faith is commitment without knowing.  Death is the moment of truth.  Everything hangs on that.  Then I’ll know.

·        Now I have assurance, but all assurance does is make me feel good.

·        But you know there is no necessary relationship between assurance and reality.

·        So God may very well say to me, it’s true, and I’m God, but it’s equally true that none of those promises that you think were for you belonged to you.

·        That’s a possibility.  I don’t’ think it’s a probability.

 

Q:  Are there any other verses that speak about the uncertainty of salvation?

·        By definition, it is the nature of the case that it is uncertain to have faith.

·        Heb. 11 says that faith has got to be demonstrated in one of two areas for it to be faith – the future or the invisible.

·        When the Christian tells the non-Christian that he’s certain he’s going to heaven, the guy is certain he’s mentally deranged.

·        Ph. 2:12 – Work out your salvation in fear and trembling.

·        2 Cor. 13:5 – Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith.  Test yourselves.  Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ in you? – unless indeed you are disqualified.

·        1 Jn. 2:3,4 – How know that you know God?  Obey!

 

Q:  Do you think even Paul was uncertain in 2 Tim 4:7,8?

·        We are talking about the fact that all men have in common a hatred of walking by faith.

·        All men by nature hate God

·        God created you to desire autonomy, but said you can’t have it.

·        That’s why men are mad at God.  He got there first.

·        Everybody has to walk by faith.

·        Everybody takes risks - The question is where you put your poker chips.

·        There are a number of narcotics that a man can indulge in that will dull his sense of reality.  Nevertheless, life requires that he put his poker chips some place.

·        Institutional church is attractive to people seeking God, because their job is to tell you that you have a good relationship with God if you come in a sing and listen to my sermon – feel good because of that assurance.

·        We came here from verse 1 because of the question about saints and faithful – election means you are secure and also you are insecure.  If you are not faithful, you are not a saint.  God imputes righteousness, but it is equally uncertain if He’s imputed it to you.

·        It would be a sick joke if at the end I found I put all my poker chips on the wrong thing

·        Paul in 1 Cor. 9 said he beat his body to not be uncertain.

·        If the promises are yes and no [2 Cor. 1:17-20], why go on living in this cesspool?

·        Because God says it is good for you, not me. (Ph. 1:21-25)

·        [Therefore,] Eph. 1:4 says election is to holiness.

 

Three conclusions about election, obedience and assurance

·        Individuals, not communities (except Israel), are the objects of election; the parable of the wheat and tears precludes any other conclusion.

·        No form of holiness can be the ground of election; if people are chosen to be holy, then they cannot be chosen because they are holy.

·        Holiness is the only evidence of election.  Obedience cannot save you, but only the obedient are saved.  (1 Jn. 2:3,4)

 

Other examples of God not being obligated

·        Even with Israel, God was not obligated to any generation.

·        For example, at Kadesh Barnea they said, “Oh, we made a mistake.”  “Can’t do that,” says Moses.  “But God’s committed to us, so we’ll go up.”  “Yes, He’s committed, but not to this generation.”

·        This was the very thing that caused John the Baptist to be so scathing.  “Don’t say, ‘we have Abraham as our father.’  God is able to raise up these stones to be children.” [Mt. 3:9]

·        His commitment to the nation did not mean any commitment to the individual [in O.T.]

·        That’s why in Romans 11 Paul said, “as in Adam all die.”  All = ‘represented by.’

·        Not every individual Jew [had God’s commitment]

·        Rom. 1-8 is about the individual

·        Rom. 9-11 – “I will take away your sins and remove your godlessness.”

·        If this is not for the individual, then what is it for?

·        “Behold, the days are coming when … I will put My law in their minds and write it on their hearts …” (Jer. 31:31-34)

·        In promises like this He mixes the national with the individual.

·        Q:  Is he talking about the eternal past? ...

·        Yes, but if he’s a Jew, I would not have come down there [i.e., come up with that interpretation]

 

Adoption (1:5)

·        Concept in Roman law - unknown to Jews

·        In the OT God never offered the individual an eternal hope

·        Of all the possible relationships, adoption is the most secure

·        By natural birth – may not have wanted him

·        Purchased a kid – can sell him

·        Inherited – may not have wanted it

·        Adoption – a choice sealed with a legal agreement; the adopted child knew that he/she was wanted

·        Kelvin says that in China the parent doesn’t choose; the state does

·        Picture of election – go into orphanage, pick one or two, but not most

·        No thought of electing individual / adoption in OT, because he never promised eternal life.

 

Q:  In the OT, if a Gentile adopted the Jewish religion, was that adoption?

·        English word used differently here.

 

Q:  What was the practice – what did a convert to Judaism gain?

·        The covenants and the promises [to the nation]

·        God promised to the individual, like Abraham, but He made no promise of eternal life to the individual.

 

Q:  Why convert to Judaism?

·        We came from people who worshipped animals and sacrificed their children, and we like you better.

·        Like Naomi – practiced Jewish rites

 

Eternal hope in the OT and the mystery of 1:9

·        Hebrews says some OT people had an eternal hope, but we have no record of it in the OT scripture.

·        Q:  Is this part of the mystery [of 1:9]?

·        Q:  If they had an eternal hope, where is the mystery?

·        Ecc. 3: 11 – He’s set eternity in their heart – what’s that mean?

·        Belief in an afterlife – ubiquitous – all around them, pyramids in Egypt, all religions address what happens after you die.

·        My comment is that for reasons he does not share with us, God never included a promise of eternal life in the OT.

·        Heb 11:16,10 – “they sought a country,” “a city whose builder was God” – they had an eternal hope.

·        This thinking is not new to me.  Others have written it already.

·        If you read about the inter-testamental period, the apocrypha and the pseudepigrapha, the scholars think it came into existence in the Essene community.

·        For sure it was in full bloom by the time Jesus came – “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” [Mk. 10:17]

·        The scholars say that because the Church had raped Israel of its promises and its hopes, it was so thoroughly disillusioned that it majored on the law and aborted, for all practical purposes, any apocalyptic hope.

·        The silence of the eternal hope was to … participate in the salvation process

·        Yes, the fact that Satan encouraged Judas to betray, nobody up to that point understood the mission of Jesus

·        So the omission was to cover up the atonement … the mystery

·        We read in Isaiah 53 something they never saw.

·        How the concept came into existence in Israel is unknown.  The Essene community is the best answer as to how the concept was developed.

 

Shifts in emphasis in latter part of OT

·        Note that as you move from the OT to its conclusion – from Genesis to Exodus to Malachi – as it moves from a group of Bedouins to a nation to a theocracy to a monarchy to foreign domination – you see three things happening:

·        Gradual shift from the temporal to the eternal

·        Shift from actions to motives

·        Shift from corporate to individual

·        The prophet Ezekiel said all souls are mine, says the Lord; this was a new concept in scripture.  They belong to me says God.

·        We see glimpses of an eternal hope, like Daniel 12, but otherwise we see no hope of heaven.

·        Nobody asked, “How can God be the just and the justifier?”

·        Micah says, “What does the Lord require of you?”  To act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with God.  (Micah 6:8)

·        This was a new concept; people didn’t show mercy in a theocracy.  They showed justice; mercy is the setting aside of justice.

 

 

[First day’s lunch break]

 

 

Heavenly realms and blessings (1:3) – already and not yet

Q:  What do you think ‘heavenly realms’ means (Eph. 1:3)?

·        Note: only Paul uses it, and only in Ephesians – 5 times

·        Note also: ‘kingdom of heaven’ and ‘kingdom of earth’ do not appear in any of Paul’s writings

 

Q:  How can 1:3 ‘heavenly’ be here when all 5 seem to be in heaven?

·        Luke 17:20,21 – when Jesus was asked when Kingdom of heaven would come, He said it’s within you.

·        It’s that realm of grace that the eye cannot see.  There’s something going on that we don’t see.

·        Whether it’s a present state or a future reality we cannot be dogmatic.

 

Q:  How do you explain Col. 3:2-4 – “you have died to Christ and your life is hidden in Christ”?

·        At present there is spiritual warfare that is not visible to us

·        Col. 3:4 – Christ in you the hope of glory

·        If Christ lives in us, it’s got to be at least partly present (not all future)

·        Already and not yet – that’s the mystery

·        If the blessing had not already been received by men, it would not be a blessing.

·        We bless God, because He blessed us.

·        They are spiritual blessings – election, our inheritance in Christ, the redemption of his blood, the revelation of his divine purpose (1:12-14)

 

Gratefulness

·        The blessings are only considered blessings if you are grateful

·        Ungrateful people do not consider themselves blessed.

·        If we are elect from the foundations of the world, then we are part of history as it is unfolding.  In that sense, it’s already but not yet – done, but unfolding before our very eyes

·        That’s why there are no accidents or victims with God.

·        That’s why ingratitude is inexcusable.

 

Forgiveness and grace (1:7)

Q:  What is the relationship between forgiveness and grace?

Q:  If nobody had sinned, would God have brought all these people to heaven?

·        Forgiveness supposes sin.  If no sin, then no need for forgiveness.

 

Q:  Does grace presuppose sin?

·        If we say that hell is the punishment for sin, of course

 

Q:  If people did not sin, would they automatically become the object of God’s grace?

·        Rom. 5:12-21 - for by one man all sinned

·        If people did not sin they would not die says Paul.

·        Therefore, because babies have to sin some way other than morally, thus the imputed sin of Adam

 

Q:  But a person to whom God imputes sin – does such a person need forgiveness even if he had not sinned?  Does a baby two hours old who dies need forgiveness?

·        Can’t receive forgiveness without grace

·        But 2-year-old baby does not need forgiveness.

·        No compelling reason for babies to go to heaven

·        Need grace to be forgiven, but grace and forgiveness are not synonyms and not necessarily related to each other.

·        I spend time on this because I assume (rightly or wrongly) that the objective of our Bible study is to think like God thinks.

·        Not so much that we have exhausted the book of Ephesians, but have we schooled ourselves to think biblically?

·        So what is the practical application?  None other than seeking to think and understand think like God and understand God.

·        My own personal experience: the more I am aware of God, the more acutely I am aware of my own depravity.

·        So if Adam and Eve had not sinned, God would not have been obligated to take them to heaven.

·        The Garden of Even was not a bad place to hang out.

·        Yes, maybe heaven will be like that.

 

Q:  What does ‘intrinsic’ mean?

·        Inherent, [essential, natural, not acquired]

 

Q:  Does man have intrinsic worth?

Q:  Does a cow or a blade of grass have intrinsic work?

·        Intrinsic = inherent, in and of itself; apparent, not dependent on something else

·        Gold has a value imputed to it

·        If the world were made of gold, a man would die for a hand full of dirt.

·        If we have no intrinsic worth, then why did God die for us?

·        Grace!  He may impute worth to you, but that doesn’t mean you have worth.

·        We treat people as though they have intrinsic worth, because God has declared them to have intrinsic worth.

·        If you don’t need to be forgiven, you don’t need to get God’s grace.

 

Q:  In Mary Shelly’s classic Frankenstein – is the creator obligated to the creature by nature of the creation?  How would you answer?

·        Rom. 9 – potter and the clay

·        That’s the conversation between the monster and Dr. Frankenstein – why did you create me?  You owe me.  So my sense is that Mary Shelly would say ‘yes’, but the biblical answer would be ‘no.’  If you have intrinsic worth, the answer would have to be ‘yes’.

·        So anything that is of worth is of worth because it is imputed to have worth.

·        God is the creator so He can say something has intrinsic worth.

·        The utilitarian can declare something to be of worth if it is useful, but not intrinsically of worth

 

Q:  Can man impute worth?

·        Man does it all the time, and the Bible calls it idolatry.

 

Q:  Ps 19:7-11 – David says God’s law is better than gold – how does this work?

·        We bring glory to God whether we want to or not.

 

Psalm 50 – what do you give to someone who has everything?

·        God says if I were hungry I would not tell you.  I own the cattle on a thousand hills [Ps. 50:10,12].

·        Ps 50:23 – The thing that delights God is gratitude – the sacrifice of praise

·        It’s not gratitude when God give you million dollars; it’s when God takes it from you.

·        If you want to delight him, that delights God

·        The reason I praise him is that I’m looking for something more durable in eternity.

·        That’s why in the final analysis, if you don’t believe that the differences in heaven will be apparent and appreciable, then for you truth will be relative.

·        Redemption and forgiveness go together with God

·        But there is not certainty

·        Joel says to Israel, repent for maybe God will forgive you (Joel, 2:12-14)

·        The only antidote to idolatry is to establish an eternal hope.

·        If I believe heaven is not apparent and appreciable, I’ll get caught up in idolatry.  You can’t serve 2 masters.

·        When people get too caught up in temporal matters it’s a bad sign.

·        When you are not taking risks eternally, it may be that you do not have an eternal hope.

·        What do we perceive is of value?  What are our dreams?  What makes us nervous?

·        If faith is risk-taking, hope is what you take the risk in.

 

The mystery of His will (1:9)

·        “Mystery” (1:9) is found in several places in the Bible, but not all refer to the same thing, although all in some way refer to Christ.

 

Q:  So of what mystery is Paul discussing in this passage before us?

·        Bring all things together under one head, that is Christ (v.10)

·        He made known - We should know

·        Eph 6:19 the mystery is the Gospel

·        1:10 defines the mystery – that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth – in Him

·        A mystery is by definition ‘a truth once hidden, but now revealed, that resides outside man’s ability to figure it out by reason.’

·        Nothing up to this point would have suggested that this was God’s plan.

 

All things in subjection to Christ; utopia (1:10,11)

Q:  What is the meaning of “all things” (1:10,11)?

·        All creation – Rom 8 – travails

·        Jesus: “Abraham longed to see my day …”

 

Q:  Is the fullness of time the millennium or the eternal state?

·        The termination of the end times and the beginning of a new regime of one kind or another?

·        My sense is the end of time – the eternal state – when He terminates all things at the end of the millennium

 

Q:  Is time finite?

·        Gen 1:1 – in the beginning

·        Our experience limits us in understanding the end of time

 

Q:  Re: eternal reward, will we be bound by time in heaven?

·        I am incapable of thinking outside time

·        All my thoughts are sequential and related to some other thought

·        Scientists talk about some other time dimension, but I have no ability to do so.

 

Q:  In 1:10, what does 'unite all things under Christ' mean?

·        1 Cor. 15:25-28 – Christ is the active servant of God rather than a mere instrument [in putting all things under God’s feet.]  This is illustrated by:

·        The Father’s love of the son

·        The mediating function of Christ in the adoption of many

·        The love of Christ for those entrusted to him

·        The pouring out of His blood

·        The making of a proclamation of peace

·        The creation of one new man

·        Access open to Jew and Gentile for the approach to the Father

·        The enthronement and the position as head of the church

·        All of these describe Christ’s active participation in the will of God.

 

Jews contrasted with Gentiles

·        In 1:11-2:22 Paul makes a distinction between we/us [Jews] & you [Gentiles]

 

Q:  Are all things already in subjection?

·        Already, not yet

·        The foundation of our faith rests in the certainty of God’s eternal decree and his ability to exercise that decree in history.

·        Christ was not a mere instrument; he chose to be a servant for us who have no intrinsic worth – that is love, and it’s for eternity

·        He will be subject to God for eternity.

·        Some say that those whom God foreknew He also elected, i.e., He saw those who would respond, but if that’s the case, then God was a responder not an initiator, and then everything is up for grabs [i.e., there is no security nor absolutes]

 

Q:  Why does Christ take so long to destroy all the enemies?

·        Mt. 28:18 – he already has all the authority

·        I think that history is meant to display the awesome authority and power of God.  I think also that history is meant to be an illustration to the whole created order of the futility and utter stupidity of resisting God.

 

We know in the Bible of 4 expressions of utopia:

·        Angels – lived in a perfect environment and rebelled

·        Adam and eve – same

·        Dt. 28 – God says in essence, "I will bring you into the land, and everything else besides death will be like the Garden of Eden," and then they rebelled.

·        Millennial kingdom – 1000 years to wash out the educational deficiencies of human nature; and given a chance, they fail

 

Sin and its consequences in heaven

·        I think that history is meant to demonstrate that [given autonomy, it’s our nature to rebel]

·        So in heaven, given time, some of us will rebel

 

Q:  (for tomorrow – chapter 2) “The soul that sins, it shall die,” says the Bible.  Is death a necessary consequence for sin (had to die) or the decreed consequence of sin? 

·        It didn’t have to be that way, but God so decreed it.

·        Either spiritual death or physical death – i.e., 4 questions

·        I’d like to suggest that this is an essentially important question, a critically important question – not that you come up with a definitive answer, but certainly enough to terrify you!

·        Did God’s justice require it?

·        Because of who He is, death had to follow sin?

·        It’s an important question

 

Q:  Is the mystery of Ephesians 1 related to the mystery mentioned in Rev. 10:7 and Romans 11?

·        I think it’s different

 

Q:  Why in verse 10 “even in Him”?

·        “Even” is not in the Greek, but Pang says it was an article for on earth and needed to emphasize once again

 

The seal of the Holy Spirit and experiencing God (1:13,14)

Q:  “Sealed with the Holy Spirit” – is that something God did, or can man experience it?

·        We are an experience-crazed generation, so I tend to depreciate experience

·        But it does have a strategic role in the Christian life.

·        Every man should have an experience with God in life, so he knows that God has done something – in him, for him, of him – very important in walking with Christ

·        This generation overemphasizes experience over obedience.

·        I can still remember the night of my conversion.

·        I have never doubted Him since this experience.  It was very clear.

·        The purpose of the seal is to give authenticity, to show ownership, to secure.

 

Q:  How do you know if you have the pledge?

·        You never know for somebody else.  I suggest you know it for yourself.

·        That’s the challenge: even though I experienced it, I cannot be sure.

·        Don't ever depreciate the influence the Holy Spirit has in your life.

·        Our experiences are individual – between you and God – in the sense of assurance, not certainty.

 

Q:  1:11 – did we obtain an inheritance or were we chosen as an inheritance?

·        The Holy Spirit is the guarantee of our inheritance – what we will possess.

·        1:13 – the earnest or guarantee = what is returned to the owner when the amount is paid in full;
it’s almost always assumed that it’s worth more than the payment itself

·        Ex.: Judah and Tamar; Tamar played a whore; Judah gave his ring and staff instead of payment;
these were of greater value than the payment.

·        The NT doesn’t really emphasize this emotional experience, but the Holy Spirit did act.

·        He wants you to understand how rich an inheritance you will receive.

·        1:18 – this is what you’ve been called to and you should make it your hope;
we walk by faith that we’ll receive it.

·        1:13 – the Holy Spirit is the seal of our inheritance; the Holy spirit stamped in your life is a seal to let you know that that has happened; the Holy Spirit is the down payment of which the experiences attest to His work.

 

Love, sacrifice and personal profit

·        A well-known respected Bible expositor wrote:  “There is only one act of pure love untainted by any selfish motive ... the dying act of Christ … if you are looking for a definition of love, look not in a dictionary, but at Calvary.”

·        I disagree – Christ was willing to pay the price on Calvary, because of what he gained (Heb. 12:2).

·        A sacrifice is what is given to gain something of greater value.

·        A sacrifice without gain is an oxymoron [contradiction of terms].

·        He did it because he profited it from it.

·        He could not be head of the church without His sacrifice.

·        Love does not assume an altruistic motive [i.e., exclusively for the benefit of others]

·        The two are not mutually exclusive, they are mutually inclusive

·        [The idea of altruism assumes it’s possible to have] no ulterior motive.

·        His sacrifice was to purify us so he could possess us.

·        He didn’t need to, though.

·        But in the eternal counsel of God, for God to be just, Christ had to die.

·        Without that, God could not have taken us to heaven.

 

Autonomy and sin in eternity

Q:  If you go way back in the eternal counsel of God, could God have decreed it so that nobody would have sinned?

·        Yes of course, but as best we understand the way things work in the counsel of God, the desire for autonomy is what makes the relationship worth having.  But the desire for autonomy is what brought about the fall.

·        Having given us the desire for autonomy by creating us in His image, and our choice …
[to rebel, God had to send Christ to die for us, and ] Christ to be head of the church he had to die

 

Q:  What happens to our desire for autonomy in eternity?

·        That’s part of our question for tomorrow.

 

 

[End of first day’s discussion]

 

 

The triune God of election, redemption and revelation

Q:  In 1:2-14, how is the Trinity related to election and redemption?

·        The Father is the author of election.

·        Christ is the author of redemption.

·        The Holy Spirit is the author of revelation.

 

The relationship of faith and love (1:15)

Q:  In 1:15, Faith & love are coupled together; what do you understand the relationship of the two words to be?

·        Col. 1:5 – faith and love come from hope

·        Hope is the object of faith – for all

·        God demands that our love flows out of the faith in His commandments

·        Because love has many kinds, the two are not necessarily related.

·        A man can love and not have faith; a man can have faith and yet love.

·        Biblical love demands faith.

·        “Love one another as I have loved you” – from Biblical perspective love is not an option.

·        Gal. 5:6 – faith expressing itself in love is all that counts.

 

Thanksgiving and worship (1:16)

·        Thanksgiving is an expression of worship

·        You can pray without worship, but you cannot worship without gratitude.

·        That’s why technically there is no such thing as corporate worship.

·        We create an environment in which people can worship individually

·        In corporate worship one man may be reviewing his golf score; his wife might be thinking of her grocery list; his daughter might be thinking of her date last night.

·        Thus, to say that there is a thing such as corporate worship is not true.

 

Q:  Is corporate worship in institutions coming from OT worship?

·        Yes, but I’m not suggesting corporate worship is invalid; it’s just an environment in which each individual is encouraged to worship.

 

Q:  Does God want that?

·        God called for it 3 times a year in the Old Testament.

·        It was not commanded in the NT; it is illustrated in the book of Revelation

·        There is no command to gather one day out of seven anywhere in the OT or NT.

·        Rom 12:1 says self-sacrifice is the least common denominator in worship.

·        Worship without self-sacrifice is odious, repugnant to God.

·        Paul is praying – not ceasing to give thanks.

·        Thanksgiving is an act of worship – because who is he thanking?  God

 

Q:  What is the reward of self-sacrifice of worship in Rom 12:1?

·        It may vary from individual to individual, but always it’s got to be self-serving, as was the cross.

·        A sacrifice by definition is self-serving.

 

Q:  How is Rom. 12:1 self-serving?

·        Find acceptance with God

·        God is a debtor to no man.  You can’t out-give Him

·        Paul in 2 Cor. 9 – generosity

·        Ps. 50:14,23 – thanking when it hurts; Heb. 13:15 sacrifice of praise

·         

Q:  Can you praise without sacrifice?

·        Yes, but [your heart is] not tested

 

Blessing, worship and benefits

·        1:3 – God has blessed us

·        If he had not blessed us, we would not bless Him

·        We do not bless Him the way He blesses us, nor would we want it that way.

·        We worship Him; He doesn’t worship us.

·        We are his obedient servants, and that delights His heart, but that doesn’t mean He’s grateful.

·        There is never any occasion when God should thank us for something.

·        It’s always the other way around; we are always the one who benefits.

·        Paul says, “I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift … that I might have some fruit among you … I am a debtor both to Greeks and to barbarians.” (Rom. 1:11-14)

·        The perception of the world is when I serve you I do you a favor

·        Biblically, when you allow me to serve you, you do me a favor.

·        We can call this eternal ambition.

 

Utopia and the myth of altruism

·        Altruism is unbiblical

·        It’s designed by the philosopher in an endeavor to motivate people apart from God.

·        If you’re going to create a utopia without God, altruism is strategic.

·        The [natural] desire of man is to create a utopia apart from God.

·        In Plato’s “Republic,” Plato says the philosopher king is like the physician who altruistically seeks the well being of his patients.  Thrasymachus says no; the philosopher king is like the shepherd who can fleece the flock to eat them.

·        [So even] when it started, some guys thought it was wrong.

·        In the final analysis, it’s an endeavor to serve God on my terms.

·        Altruism does not exist; it’s a concept of philosophers.

·        The idea is that I can make myself better than God.  “I serve God out of love.”

·        That’s wonderful when you are in agreement, but it’s a lousy motivator when in disagreement.

 

What Paul prayed for the Ephesians (1:17-19)

Note the things for which Paul prays and define them.

 

Spirit of wisdom and revelation

·        Wisdom is discernment, so a wise man is discerning, and a discerning man is wise.

·        Wisdom is the ability to see and apply what God wants; there’s an element of timing and ability

·        I dependent on revelation for wisdom.

 

Eyes of your understanding be enlightened

·        You can see why people related Christianity to Gnosticism, which says that salvation comes from special knowledge

·        But it is true that we depend on the Hoy spirit to open our eyes.

·        So wisdom is seeing things from God’s point of view, and revelation is God giving you that point of view.

·        Having the mind of God is one of the values of thinking biblically.

·        But there is also worldly wisdom, mentioned in James [3:13-17] and 1 Cor. [1:18-2:16]

·        You can have God’s revelation and not use it

·        This is true for most men – they carry a Bible around with them but don’t use it

 

Know the hope of his calling and what are the riches the glory of His inheritance

·        Rom 8:24,25 – in hope we wait with patience

·        Hope is always for anticipated [future] gain – both for the Christian and non-Christian

·        For what a man sees, why does he hope for it? [Rom. 8:24]

 

Hope, despair and existentialism

·        The opposite of hope is despair

·        During the Great Depression [of the 1930’s] there were a number of people without hope in San Francisco, a great center of it [hard times]

·        That’s what made them existentialists.  I have no hope, so all I can have is an existential moment.

·        Existentialism is the most accurate worldview apart from scripture.

·        The first job of any religion is not defining salvation, but defining purpose.

·        If you strip life of all presuppositions, it is purposeless, so the first job of religion is to give it purpose.

·        But in order to have purpose, you’ve got to assume things that you cannot prove.

·        On what basis does a man hope for anything?  Value.

·        People assume that by exercising faith, they will get value.

 

Q:  Will people who exercise their faith get value?

·        That’s why I’m terrified of death – the moment of truth!

 

Existentialism vs. religion

·        The existentialist has no hope.  [Just live for today, because there’s no hope for the future.]

·        Whatever the world offers [for hope] has got to be assumed to be in the future.

·        In the East people believe in reincarnation. The sun comes up in east, goes down in the west, etc.

·        All religions make assumptions.  The first job of religion is to create assumptions.

·        Christianity is unique for those of us who embrace it.

 

Q:  Why bet on Christianity [to be the correct hope] over other religions?

·        Remember yesterday we talked about the importance of experience?

·        Regeneration is when the Holy Spirit invades a man’s life and makes him His.

·        As a song says, “It’s not so much that I sought Him, but that God found me and did a work in me!”

·        The [main] assertion of the Christian religion, and Ephesians in particular, is election.

·        God did it for His own pleasure and for no other reason.

·        If a man has not had an encounter with God then probably his faith is wishful thinking.

·        If you’re trying to persuade a non-Christian to believe, then it’s hard to argue that way.

·        Apologetics is helpful for the seeker, but it does nothing for the skeptic.

·        When the disciples preached the resurrection and a historical figure, it only worked for the seeker.

·        If someone becomes a Christian only by the objective thinking and no subjective emotional experience, he may not be saved; he could not get there without the Holy Spirit.

 

Q:  Do you think Paul is praying for both the intellectual and emotional experience in this prayer?

·        I think he assumes that God has touched their lives, now Oh God, I pray you’d open their eyes to what God has done to them.

·        All understanding and doctrine is practical, because by it I know and understand God, and therein is my reason for existence.

·        It’s ambiguous, but it’s practical and useful.

·        So the purpose of understanding a doctrine is to understand God better and establish a closer relationship with Him – that I may know Him and share the fellowship of his suffering (Phil 3:10)

·        Jim Elliott said, “He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”

·        That’s Biblical hope.

 

Arianism and the deity of Christ (1:17)

·        In 1:17 “Him” is the Father

·        This is one of the verses used by the Arian position [which states that Jesus was a created being]

·        The accepted position of the Church until the Council of Nicaea [convoked by the Roman Emperor Constantine in 325 A.D. to decide on the organized church’s stance on the true nature of Jesus in relation to the Father]

·        The hero [of this council] was Athanasius, [who successfully defended the doctrine of the deity of Christ.]

·        1:1-14 says that it was the eternal council of God that brought about the coming of our Lord Jesus and the salvation of our souls, so I want you to understand this [says Paul].

·        Cosmology [the quantitative study of the universe] was a mystery, but now I’m going to share it with you, and I want you to understand it.  Without it you’re never going to know God.

·        Understand that we don’t worship 3 Gods.

 

God’s power (1:19) and man’s efforts

·        1:19 – power – dunamis – dynamite – not something we covet but something we have!

·        It’s the power to believe.  Eph. 2 says you were dead, and dead men don’t believe.

·        God’s power guarantees our inheritance, which is the object of our hope.

 

Q:  Does this power include the power to live a new life (2 Pt. 1:4)?

·        Yes.  If God loved us but gave us no power to apply it we’d be impotent.

·        We need the power to overcome the obstacles.

·        If it happens, to God be the glory!  If it doesn’t happen, it’s your own dumb fault!

 

Q: Why is the power of converting the sinner is more wonderful to behold than the resurrection from the dead?

·        Because chapter 2 says it includes both a changed life and eventual the resurrection from the dead.

·        This is from the Holy Spirit, not from us.

·        Thus, although we want to frame the Gospel message as well as possible, the power is in the message.

·        God honors the message, not the messenger.

·        A lot of churches feel powerless and look for something charismatic [some exciting experience], some power other than the resurrection.

·        My sense is that it’s the same in this country also.

·        People imply that God is a resource that you can use now, not later.

·        Therefore if you are sick, not rich, etc., you have not tapped into the power God has given you.

 

Q:  Paul is praying that they will know the power.  If we know the power, does this guarantee we’ll be powerful?  How is it going to do us any good?

·        It removes man from the center and places God there – not what you did but what God did.

·        The Gospel is designed to destroy the hubris [pride] of man.

·        People forget that God gives promises to get us to do what He wants.

·        He does not give us promises so that we can get Him to do what we want.

·        That’s why you’re always in trouble if you try to leverage God with His promises.

 

Q:  Knowing this power of the resurrection – bringing sinners to Christ – is given to us, how much should be strip ourselves from techniques, marketing and packaging?  How do I apply this?

·        If you don’t violate scripture you can do anything you want – as long as it’s what you think God wants you to do and will best serve Him.

·        Just bear in mind that sinners coming to Christ is not because of the way I preach.

·        Understand that it was not the devil who encouraged Billy Graham to preach.

·        [We must have] no confidence in the flesh!

·        2 Cor. 1:8-10 – “We had the sentence of death in ourselves that we should have not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead.”

 

Q:  If Paul taught them the whole counsel of God [Acts 20:27], why did he still need to write this?

·        When you teach a man the whole counsel of God, it doesn’t mean you’re teaching him all there is to know about God; it just means you’re teaching him all you know about Him.

 

Q:  Does the concept of not relying on strategy apply to all areas of life?

·        When Jesus said, “I am the vine, you are the branches; if a man remains in me and I in him he will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing,” (Jn. 15:5) what do you understand that to mean?

·        A: nothing [i.e., yes, it applies to all areas of life.]

·        But also remember that God will never do for a man what man can do for himself.

·        God will never put a pair of shoes on a man in the morning.  I know I’ve tried.

·        So we do go ahead and use marketing principles we’ve learned in our business.

·        Men, the great universities in the world, whether in Europe or the United States, were all started by Christians.

·        Their thinking was that this is our Father’s world, so if we want to know our Father, we study His world [i.e., we actively learn.]  Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, etc. all had this in mind.

·        In decision-making we are dependent on Him, but whatever answer He gives you does not eliminate faith.

·        Show me an area in which God does not care, and I’ll show you an area you don’t have to walk by faith.

·        Col. 1:9 says, “We pray that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.”  If God doesn’t care, then that prayer seems irrelevant.

 

Q:  In Col. 1:11 Paul prayed that they “might be strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power.”  Is this power already in us, so that we don’t need to seek it?

·        Yes.  Eph. 1:19 says it’s already there when we believe.

 

Q:  The charismatics pray for filling; do we need to be filled with power?

·        We need to appropriate it.  It’s already there.

·        The question is not, ‘Do I have the Holy Spirit?”  The question is, “Does the Holy Spirit have me?”

·        The power that raised Jesus from the dead, and the power that placed Him at the right hand of the Father in the heavenly places is the same power that gives life to those who are dead in sin and places them with Christ in the heavenly places.

·        So the resurrection’s power is both the type and the cause of the spiritual regeneration of God’s people, as well as their future rising with Him in glory.

 

Q:  Why does Paul say, “Be filled with the Holy spirit” [5:18]?

·        There is no terminal experience with God.  I’m saved.  I’m being saved. I will be saved.  I’m sanctified, glorified, etc.  It’s always a work in progress.

 

Learning to live by faith and not by sight (from Screwtape & a trial attorney)

Q:  Is training of the mind important?

·        Yes.  C.S. Lewis in his delightful Screwtape Letters, where you remember that Screwtape [a demon] is writing to his underling, Wormwood, teaching him how to undermine [argue against] the Christian faith.  In one particular article Screwtape says to Wormwood, “The cause of hell is never in greater danger than when the Christian, stripped of every sense of God’s presence, says, “Nevertheless, I believe.”

·        I think there are times when God will call all of us to walk through the valley of the shadow of death, where God is silent, where our feelings are inadequate, where all evidence points in the direction of being abandoned by God.

·        Screwtape says the cause of hell never in greater danger than when at that moment you say, “Irrespective of my experiences and my circumstances, I believe!”

·        That’s the time to offer the sacrifice of thanksgiving.

·        When you make a decision and things go awfully, it may still have been God’s will.

·        The wife will feel that her husband is brilliant if he makes a million dollars and has terribly missed the will of God if he loses a million, but in reality the opposite may be the case.

·        Bill McCurrie, a trial attorney and now a federal judge, shared once at dinner that he had been thanking God, because in all his years practicing law he had never lost a case.  When he shared this with his wife Dana, she said, “That’s because God can’t trust you with a loss.”  After thinking about it for a few days, he prayed, “OK God.  You can trust me with a loss.”  He said that from that day until the present, he never won a case.

·        [Emotional] experience is not wrong; it just has it’s place and it’s limitations

·        Gentlemen, in your theology always make room for the stewardship of pain.

 

Q:  What is a man’s wife is not happy with some result in his work, and concludes something was not God’s will, but the man thinks it might have been?

·        You can tell her that we never know the will of God, so it’s best to not be conclusive.

·        Expressing unhappiness with results can be a way of manipulation to get what she wants.

 

Christ is over all and mystically present in the Church (1:20-23)

·        1:21 – the Father exalts Christ above all.

·        1:22 – the Father puts the Church in submission to Him [a separate thing from 1:21].

·        He who is head of the Church is Lord over the entire world.

·        The Church is passive; Christ filled her.

·        The Church is not only Christ’s body, it’s also that which is filled by Him.

·        There’s an organic connection.

·        This is the first reference to ‘Church’ in the book of Ephesians.

·        Most pastors use this to get people to come to church, but that’s text management

 

Q:  What about the 7 churches in Revelation?

·        Well, all but one of them He didn’t want to claim.

·        Most institutional manifestations of the Church include overcomers.

·        But probably there has never existed an institutional church comprised of only overcomers.

·        Now if we quickly organize, we might be the first.

 

Q:  How does Christ fill His church?  Is it like the OT filling in the temple?

·        I think so; and “where two or three are gathered together in my name, there I am in the midst of them.” (Mt. 18:20)  There is a willingness on the part of Christ to be present in the gathering of individuals that is different from His presence in the individual’s life.

 

Q: In what way is it different?

·        I’m not sure, but I think that’s what he means.

·        So God is in us and among us.

·        In 1 Cor. 10 the Apostle Paul warns the believer not to participate in feasts to idols in idol temples.

·        It’s OK to eat the meat off premise, but not on premise, even if your purpose is evangelism.

·        Don’t do it, because in a real sense you’re ingesting demons.

·        1 Cor. 11 is about the Lord’s table, so my sense is that just as you partake of a meal in an idol temple and so you ingest demons in some mystical way, so also you when you partake in the Lord’s table, you participate in Christ.

·        Similarly, when two or three are gathered together, that takes place as well.

 

Q:  Should we have communion in this Bible study or a home group?

·        Certain commands we must obey, but the frequency and method are never discussed.

·        For example, foot washing and the Lord’s table

·        When our family is together, we usually have the Lord’s Table; this is not often.

·        Many men who put on conferences for businessmen include in the conference the Lord’s Table.

 

Q:  If there is no institutional commitment to the Church, how does this work in heaven?

·        I don’t know.  It’s an organism not an organization.

·        So there can be some mystical and eternal meaning beyond this universal church beyond what we know today.

 

Q:  Does this include Israel?

·        That’s what chapter 2 talks about.

·        The created order of God is vastly greater than what our minds can comprehend.

·        This is also mentioned also in Eph. 6:12 – principalities, powers, rulers of the darkness of this age, spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

·        So it doesn’t matter where you reach in this universe, Christ is head.

·        Perhaps there’s a complex kingdom that already exists.

·        There may be universes out there vastly more complex than what we are aware of.

·        Whatever is out there, Christ is its head.

 

 

[Second day’s morning break]

 

 

Chapter 2

 

 

Gratitude and comparison and regret

Q:  What is the relationship between gratitude on the one hand and comparison and regret on the other?

Q:  Can you have gratitude without comparison?

Q:  From a Biblical perspective can you have gratitude without regret?

·        We always compare with what could have happened.

·        Thus comparison is an essential ingredient in gratitude.

 

Q:  From a Biblical perspective, how about regret?

·        It’s a force to help you go.

·        You cannot appreciate your inheritance of chapter 1 without understanding your depravity of chap. 2.

·        Chapter 2 makes chapter 1 the blessing that it is.

 

Since Jesus didn’t sin, His sacrificial death was suicide

Q:  If Adam and Eve had not sinned, would they eventually have died physically?

·        Yes, if God wanted them to

 

Q:  Christ did not sin.  Could anybody have taken his life?

·        John 10:18 – if He doesn’t volunteer, there’s no way you can kill Him.

·        Pilot did not have power to take His life.

 

Q:  If this is so, is it also true that Christ committed suicide?

·        Depends on how you define suicide.

 

Q:  How is suicide different from self-sacrifice?

Q:  Was Christ’s self-sacrifice suicide (because He was taking His own life)?

·        Yes – through the hand of others.

·        You can take your life through a driver by jumping in front of a truck.

·        You can take your life through a policeman by pretending to shoot him.

·        Jesus’ sacrifice was different from OT sacrifices, because the sheep did not volunteer to go under the knife.

·        Man made all OT sacrifices for man, but the sacrifice of Jesus was made by God for God.

·        Man is the beneficiary, but he was not involved in the transaction.

·        People did not kill Jesus.  Jesus killed Jesus.

 

If Jesus had not died on the cross, would He have died naturally?

·        Paul said all men die because of sin [Rom. 5:17-19].

·        Since Jesus did not sin, nobody could have taken His life.

·        [It had to be voluntary.  He would not have died naturally.]

 

The horrific possibility of autonomy, sin and death in heaven

·        Romans says there are 3 acts of imputation, and all 3 are expressions of God’s grace [God imputes sin to all men, the righteousness of Jesus to the believer and the sin of the believer to Jesus].

·        The imputed sin of Adam was an expression of God’s grace (Romans 5)

·        Adam and Eve were corruptible; we are corrupted; in our resurrected body we will be incorruptible

 

Q:  Thus, the question – what happens to our desire for autonomy in heaven?

Q:  Is death the necessary consequence or the judicial/decreed consequence of sin?

·        You might say it is the necessary consequence, and the justice of God necessitated the death of man.

·        [This means that] if God had not said to Adam and Eve, “The day you eat, you die,” the day they ate they still would have died, because sin results in death [with or without a decree].

·        Or we could say that God did not have to make it the necessary result, but He decreed it to be so.

·        In heaven if you sin, God may be able to make you die there!

·        This is conjecture [speculation], but it has value if it strikes terror in your soul.

·        God created man with a desire for autonomy, and sin produced the fall.

·        Satan said in the day you eat you will not die (i.e., man decides.)

·        [In reality,] we never make the decision here or in eternity.

·        Autonomy is what makes the relationship beautiful.

·        For example, marriage is choice – to a woman with a will.

 

Q:  When you die and go to heaven, will you cease to have a will and be a robot or a mannequin, or will you have a will?

·        If you will have a will, then you will be able to exercise that will contrary to the will of God.

·        If you say, that’s too horrible to contemplate, [perhaps you can accept it if the worst case would be] having a Gethsemane experience [like Jesus did] with God in heaven

·        [This would be when you] meet the will of God in heaven and don’t want to do it and agonize.

·        If you tell me that death is the natural result of sin in heaven, then it follows that you cannot die, because Paul says you are incorruptible [in heaven – 1 Cor. 15:51-54].

·        But if it is only for this dispensation and not the dispensation in heaven, then God can call you to account in heaven for your willfulness and not kill you.

·        Physical death and spiritual death are both separation from God.

·        If you sin in heaven, then you will be in a different place from the unbelievers.

·        This is hypothetical and speculative, but we can’t pretend to know the answer.

·        If, gentlemen, you will take a will into eternity with you, and if it is possible for you to exercise that will contrary to the will of God, then that alone is sufficient motivation to school yourself in being His obedient servant in the years that you have left before you die!

·        It does not guarantee your chances [of success].  All you do is improve your odds.

·        It will be easier if you learn to submit to Him now without reservation.

 

·        There is a common idea among Christians, “I’ll catch up when I get to heaven.  You can do the Bible study and practice self-denial.  I’ll just put my efforts in getting what I can out of this world, because I’ll have time to catch up and pass you then.”

·        This is how the average businessman in US thinks.  Or people think there’s no hierarchy in heaven.

 

Q:  1:4 says that God chose us in Christ to be holy and blameless before Him.  Doesn’t this mean we will be perfect and without blame in a perpetual state [i.e., unable to sin]?

·        I’m not sure if the apostle were sitting with us here today he’d have an answer.

·        I’m not sure if God wants us to know today.

·        For this to be the case, you would have to cease to have a will that could disobey.

·        In that case you’d be robotic.  In that case, I’m not sure.

·        I cannot say that there is no sin [in heaven].  It is possible.

·        I have no idea what the consequence would be of such a scenario [disobedience in heaven].

·        He might say, “Spend the next 100 years on the other side of Pluto.”  I have no idea.

·        I ask, “Is that possible?”  I didn’t say.  I asked.

·        But in asking, I suggest the possibility, not the probability, the possibility.

·        Such a possibility is so horrific it terrifies me!

 

Q:  Why wouldn’t the other possibility [sin and death in heaven] terrify you even more?

·        Because the NT seems to suggest that that will not happen, because we will be incorruptible.

·        Just don’t expect that just because you will be incorruptible, you are not [going to be] accountable.

·        He’ll have ways of repaying you [for disobedience in heaven].

 

Q:  But in heaven there won’t be Satan or evil [to tempt you, will there]?

·        Is the presence of evil that which makes you disobedient?  [No.]

 

Q:  But I already made a decision to follow Christ here [so isn’t my future already fixed]?

·        That’s not the question.  The question is, if you have a will [in heaven], can you exercise that will contrary to the will of God as surely as your wife does that to you.

 

Q:  So, are you saying that life won’t be easy in heaven, so we’d better get used to it now?

·        I don’t particularly like the word ‘easy’, but yes.

 

Eternal consequences for temporal (and eternal) behavior

Q:  What if men quote Ph. 1:6 to you and say, “Sooner or later we’re all going to be perfected,
 so what difference does it make right now?”

·        [You could reply to them:]  “Yes, yes, [but] what if – just conjecture – what if the rewards in the kingdom of heaven are in those areas over which you have no control now?  [What if in heaven] God doesn’t decide for you what your intellect will be, [what] your creative abilities, your gifts, etc. [will be]?   Supposing your reward in the kingdom of heaven will be [that] you get to decide [now] what measure of intelligence, giftedness, creativity, etc. [you will have in eternity], based on how [much] you are His obedient servant now [i.e., you’ll reap in eternity what you sow on earth today.]  Is that a possibility?”

 

Q:  Having autonomy in heaven makes sense, because it is important in every relationship.  If we were robotic in heaven, wouldn’t that be boring?

·        Gentlemen, what I’m suggesting to you is [that] we don’t know.  I beg you in Jesus name, don’t live your life thinking you do know about the things we’re talking about (the possibility of sin in heaven, accountability and what the differences [rewards] will look like.)

·        From our Bible study, we believe there will be repayment, but nobody knows what that repayment looks like.

 

Q: What about the equal payment to workers who started work at different times [Mt. 20:1-16]?

·        This parable is used to illustrate [what happens] when people come into the vineyard [at different times].  These people never asked for a job.  The foreman came and picked them.

·        Eph. 1 says God picked the time we believed.

·        The payment is the same only in the sense that you get into the kingdom; it’s a decision God makes.

·        We have two other parables – about talents and pounds – in which reward in the kingdom of heaven is based on faithfulness to opportunity, not on production and not on the amount of time in the work.

·        The two disciples who would get to sit at His left and right was not a matter for Him to decide.

·        Jesus did not rebuke them for wanting to be exalted.

·        The last shall be first.  [There's] nothing wrong with wanting to be first; just do it God’s way.

 

Q:  So what’s the value of the doctrine of eternal security?

·        My position is not in jeopardy because of circumstances.

·        But all men who believe this also believe that assurance and certainty are not the same.

·        I’m not suggesting sin in heaven will result in death.

 

Q:  How do you reconcile this with Col. 3:23-25, which says if you do wrong it’s going to influence how God will deal with you?

·        Nobody is going to get into eternity and be glad they sinned.  Therefore, don’t do it.

 

Q:  It seems that in chapter 1 the inheritance is through grace [and something else…].  How can you reconcile them?

·        You can’t.  You have the sovereignty of God and the responsibility of man. Any time you think you can understand [reconcile] them, you are wrong.  They are mutually exclusive.

 

Q:  How do you reconcile this with the idea of being made complete?

·        I don’t know, but nobody’s that smart.  Nobody plays chess with God and wins.

 

Q:  So, are you saying you hold to the doctrine of eternal security, but you also hold to the possibility of disobedience in the eternal state?

·        Yes.  I’m saying to you that it’s a possibility.  I’m not saying it is a probability.  I’m not saying it’s my conviction.   I’m saying that the thought terrifies me!  Eternal security is a verity [a certainty].  The other is a possibility.

 

Q:  So are you saying that in this life God tests our obedience and helps us purify ourselves in order to prepare us for the next life, so we can better avoid sin then and so we won’t have to start all over again then?

·        Yes.  That’s my understanding.

 

Therefore, self-purification and abiding in Him now are essential.

·        1 Jn. 3:2,3 says we’ll be like Him, yes, but purified through hope.

·        1 Jn. 3:6 says whoever abides in sin has not known Him

 

Q:  What are the consequences of not purifying yourself now?

·        If you follow the logic of 1 Jn. 3:6, then you are not a believer.

·        When you are traveling and tired in a hotel room and watching a TV program you know you should not be watching, you are not purifying yourself.

·        When you look at [certain] pictures at the airport, you know you are not purifying yourself.

·        When you go to movies you don’t want your children to watch, you know you are not purifying yourself.

 

Q:  Are you suggesting that such people are not going to go to heaven?

·        No, unless they keep on doing it until they don’t care any more.

·        But many men who profess Christ do not even try to win the battle.

·        The absence of purity is so ubiquitous [present, or seeming to be present, everywhere at the same time], that it requires incredible self-discipline not to be exposed to it.

 

Q:  It’s hard, but nobody’s perfect [right?]

·        If God came to you in a way you knew it was God and He said to you, “If you look at one more of those pictures, not only am I going to kill you, I’m going to send you to hell,” would it make a difference?  If so, don’t tell God you’re not perfect.  That is not your problem.

·        People seem to deceive themselves [into thinking] that they can afford to do it.

·        Observation from John 13-17: Jesus never called disciples sinners.  The disciples never questioned or disobeyed Jesus.  They always tried very hard to obey the Master.

·        Nowadays, people mention eternal security and argue that they can afford to sin and [imply that] they don’t need to purify themselves.

 

Gentlemen, I don’t want us to get too far away from the good news about being dead [what chapter 2 is talking about].

 

 

[Second day’s lunch break]

 

 

Is suicide murder?

Q:  Is it wrong to commit suicide?

·        I can find no [explicit] prohibition to it in scripture.  However, if you believe that the command to not kill/murder applies to suicide, then for you it’s wrong.

 

Q:  [What should a doctor do if] a pancreatic cancer patient is dying and taking morphine through pump?  He needs increasingly greater doses to get it to work, and eventually it will be too much and kill him.  If he asks you to fill the pump, knowing it will kill him, will you do it?

·        Thomas and Dawson will fill the pump.  Robert would if it’s not illegal.

 

Q:  Is that suicide?

·        Pain relief.  That’s what most suicide is: pain relief.  That’s why men jump off a bridge.

·        The only difference between letting cancer take it’s course and filling the pump is that I’m proactive, being precipitous [causing something to happen before it’s expected, warranted or needed]

 

Q:  Yes, it is suicide, but is it wrong?

·        [Some will say that] ‘Do not kill’ includes killing yourself.

 

Q:  What if your wife asks you to ask Thomas to fill the pump?

·        You can never be sure of the patient’s motive – pain relief or suicide.

·        You [also] cannot agree with your wife to do wrong.

 

The concept of praise

·        Lucas asked me to comment on the concept of praise.

·        Everything God does is for men to praise Him, so the whole scheme of His redemption from start to finish has that as its motivation.

·        God sent Christ to the cross before the foundations of the world to die for our sins, so that the whole of the created order would marvel at His grace and His goodness.  That is the great end of redemption.

·        Redemption, in the final analysis is not to get you out of a problem.  The purpose of redemption is to call to everyone’s attention the greatness of God.

·        You, because you are one of the elect, happen to benefit.

 

Outline of chapter 2 – three contrasts (past and present)

·        1-3 We were dead; 4-10 we are alive in the heavenlies

·        11,12 You were Gentiles afar off; 13-18 you are reconciled and at peace with God

·        19-22 You were foreigners; you are fellow citizens

 

A benefit of being spiritually alive

·        He begins with the observation that you were born [spiritually] dead.

·        This means because you are alive in Christ, physical death is the only death you have yet to experience.

 

The evil world of Satan, demons and children of disobedience (2:1-3)

·        [In 2:1,] sin and trespass is the domain in which people live prior to regeneration.

·        Thus, [in 2:2] Paul says [you once walked] according to the ‘course’ of this ‘world’.

·        The word ‘course’ is the word for ‘aeon’ [or ‘eon’; Greek aion; an age or a particular period].

·        The [word for] world is ‘cosmos’ [Greek kosmos; an orderly arrangement; world]

·        The world is the objective system of things, and that is evil.

·        The ‘aeon’ is the world as a world period; that is, the world as transitory [of passing nature; not enduring or permanent].

·        So the word ‘aeon’ Paul talks about here refers to the whole of the world period, the cosmos.

·        For that reason the ‘course of this world’ is intrinsically [essentially, inherently] evil, and to live in accordance with it is to live in sin.

·        Paul tells us that the prince of the power of the air determines and shapes [damages, bends] lives.

·        The [Greek] word for ‘power’ [exousiaz] in the KJV is the word for authority [or freedom to act].
It’s not the [Greek] word for dynamite [or ability or might], dunamis.

·        The [Greek] word for air [aeroz] he’s used the same way as we use the word ‘atmosphere.’

·        For example, we might say in English, “He created an ‘atmosphere’ of fear when he came into the room.”

·        This means that Satan rules over all that is known as the evil authority.

·        Thus, the prince of evil is lord over all the demonic powers, and those demonic powers [evil, fallen angels] have their seat in the air, as distinguished from the [good] angels whose abode is in heaven.

·        Satan is also ruler of the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience.

·        The word ‘spirit’ is not Holy Spirit but a collective term equivalent to authority.

·        Satan has authority over that spirit who operates as energy of wickedness in the hearts of men opposed to God.

·        So Paul says in 2 Cor. 4:4, “In whom the god of this world has blinded the minds of them that believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.”

·        Evidently, the power of Satan over the unregenerate is of such a nature that those swayed by his authority are unaware that he is behind it.

·        Still, Paul says that they walked as an agreement with the world system.  They are not passive, but active.  They are the children of disobedience, which connotes [suggests or implies] the idea of [being] willful or defiant.  They knew right from wrong, probably through their conscience.

·        That’s the way you were.  2:3 – “but we were no different.”

 

We were children of wrath because of imputed condemnation (2:3)

Q:  What does “By nature children of wrath” mean?

·        Rom. 1:18 – the wrath of God is being revealed against all ungodliness and unrighteousness

·        Rom. 2:5 – [those with hardened hearts] are storing up wrath for themselves in the day of wrath

·        ‘By nature’ has to do with that which is intrinsic to the person

·        You’re naturally a child of wrath.  You’re born a child a wrath.

·        You’re born in a state of condemnation.  [It is] not that your nature is a ground of that condemnation.

·        God did not condemn you because you’re naturally evil,
[but] you’re naturally evil, because God condemned you.

·        That’s why we talked earlier about how the imputed sin of Adam is an expression of God’s grace.

·         ‘By nature’ has to do with that which is intrinsic to the person [legally, naturally, not acquired]

·        That’s why babies sin – not because they’re immoral, but because they are by nature the children of wrath, and that’s why babies die.  That’s why I say men are born in a state of condemnation – not that their nature is the reason for their condemnation.  [The reason is God’s grace.]

 

The prince of the power of the air (2:2)

Q:  In 2:2, in “the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience,” what does “working” mean?

·        It means that he is having his way.  He’s doing his work.

 

Q:  In 2:2, what does “power” mean in “prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience”?  Is that a being?

·        It’s equivalent to authority.  The authority that now works in the children of disobedience.  It’s a synonym.

·        He is not a being like the Holy Spirit.  It is the same word [Greek: pneumatoz], but it is not used in that sense for the person of God.

·        It’s another word for the prince of the power of the air.  He is the authority or the spirit that is working in the children of disobedience.

 

Q:  It’s not a spiritual being?

·        Yes, it is, but it’s not the Holy Spirit.  It’s the authority that is now operative in the world, or as the KJV calls it, it’s the power – the prince of the power of the air.

 

Q:  Do we have a way to battle his authority in our natural state without Christ?

·        Has God ever given a man a commandment that he could not keep?  No.

·        Therefore, man’s problem is never ability.  It is always volitional [conscious or deliberate, using the will].  That’s why believing is always volitional, as far as the scriptures are concerned.

 

Q:  What if you don’t know, how can you believe?

·        You can believe.  You can believe what’s revealed.  You can’t believe what not revealed.

·        “Although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.” [Rom. 1:21]

 

Q:  You said the power is earthly rule, but isn’t Satan in the heavenly places also?

·        He calls it “the prince of the power of the air” in verse 2.

·        I suggest it to you as opposed to heaven, which is the realm of the good angels rather than the demonic forces.

 

Where is the spiritual battlefield?

Q:  Where do the good angels meet the demonic forces in their battles?

·        I haven’t the faintest idea.

·        We know from the book of Job that Satan has access to the presence of God, so I don’t know.

 

Q:  Could it be that they are both moving around throughout both realms?

·        Somebody once said to me that because of the porosity of matter, it may all be happening right in front of us.

·        The porosity of matter simply means that there is lots and lots of space between the atoms that make up the molecules that make up the objects.

·        The question is: why can you stick your finger through the air, but you can’t stick your finger through a book?  Both of them are porous.

·        Theoretically and ostensibly [apparently, evidently] you should be able to do it.

·        So I don’t know.  It may very well be that the principalities, the powers, the rulers of the darkness of this world, that the whole thing may be taking place right in front of our eyes.  We just can’t see it.

·        The porosity of matter simply means that there’s plenty of room for it.

 

But God made us alive, so now things are different (2:4-10)

·        2:4,5 – God is merciful because of His love.  Love is the attribute.  Mercy is the result.

 

Q:  We work for gain.  Is it also true that God is doing all for His pleasure?

·        Yes.  His mercy flows out of His love, and His love is motivated to acquire all praise, honor and glory from the whole of the created order.

·        One of the names that God calls himself is Jealousy.  My name is Jealous.

·        There’s no quicker way to go to hell than to try to share My glory with Me.

 

Q:  Love by definition seeks the best interests of the other person, [so] this applies to God – that He loves us and is seeking the best for us – from His point of view, of course?

·        Yes, but that doesn’t answer the question what motivates such love.

·        He wants to accrue all praise and glory and honor to Himself.

 

The antinomy of love – we must love, but God doesn’t have to

·        In human practice, love is not seeking honor for yourself, but for you, you love me because you are commanded to love me, not because I am lovable.

·        And the reason you cannot not love me is that you cannot afford not to love me.

 

Q:  But if I am loving you for my own interests, I usually don’t call it love [so what do you say?]

·        How else can you love your enemy?

 

Q:  But isn’t there a motivation?

·        The motivation is always personal gain.

 

Q:  Are you confusing motivation and purpose?

·        It could very well be.

·        The purpose of our loving is that we are His obedient servants, and we can’t afford not to do it.

·        The purpose of His loving is to draw attention to His greatness.

·        Love is by definition seeking the best for the other person.  I do it out of self-internet.

·        My objective is to seek your best.

 

Q:  So what if I get to the gate, and God says I elect you to hell?  I know from God’s perspective He seeks my best interests, but …

·        The Bible does not say that God seeks everybody’s best interests.

·        He just simply says you have to seek everybody’s best interest.

·        God does not say He has to love His enemies.  He simply says you have to love your enemies.

 

Q:  So you’re saying God doesn’t necessarily have to love everyone?

·        “Jacob have I loved and Esau have I hated.”  [Rom. 9:13:]

 

Q:  So in John 3:16 – God so loved the world – He’s talking about the elect?

·        I can’t go there.  I can’t do that.

·        When Jesus wept over Jerusalem, He says, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem … How I would have gathered you unto myself, as a hen gathers her chicks, but you wouldn’t let me!”  [Mt. 23:37]  Extraordinary statement – that the Creator or the universe could be successfully resisted by the creature!

·        You cannot marry the two ideas.

·        Nevertheless, there are many things God demands of us that He does not do Himself.

·        For example, forgive or you will not be forgiven [Mt. 6:14,15], but God doesn’t have to forgive.

·        God will not forgive Satan.  He says, “I will have mercy on whom I want to.” [Rom. 9:15]

·        God desires all men to be saved and not perish – absolute statement.

·        This is an antinomy, a seeming paradox, and a contradiction of terms.

 

Faith and works (2:8-10)

Q:  2:10 says we are created for good works; are these eternal or temporal?

·        For sure he’s not saying that our salvation is the product of good works.

·        We are the work of God created anew by Him for the purpose of doing those things that God calls good.

·        Justification is never an end in itself.  It is always a means to move a man into sanctification.

·        It was never His objective to leave us as wretched sinners, but that we become holy saints.

·        So it is His objective in the process that we do good works.

·        Thus, good works are a necessary evidence of regeneration.

·        In some places in the Bible faith is a condition.  In some places a gift [from God].

·        In [1 Cor. 12:9], it is one of the spiritual gifts.  Here it is a gift [from God], not a condition.

·        So grace is the explanation of the salvation.  Faith is the means by which God brings it about.

·        The great end is redemption.

 

Q:  Why isn’t faith a work?

·        Abraham believed God and it was reckoned to him for righteousness. [Rom. 4:3]

·        It’s what we do.  Why isn’t it a work?

·        Paul says, “Because I said it’s not [a work].”

·        Here [2:8], faith is a gift.  In Romans it’s a condition.

·        We can’t explain it, but it’s true.  Some men are given more faith than other men are.

·        Faith can also be content – the faith of our fathers, the faith once delivered to us.

·        The theologian says that it is the only condition [for salvation].

·        It’s not the ground of our salvation.  The propitious death of Christ is the ground of our salvation.

·        But what must we do to receive such a gift?  We’ve got to believe.

·        Believing strikes at the heart of every relationship.

·        You can’t have a relationship with anybody unless you believe him.

·        So God says that’s the basis on which we are going to relate with each other – you’ve got to believe Me.

·        Except He knows who will believe and who won’t.  He decided.  It’s a gift.

 

Q:  So can I say that man relates to God by faith, and God relates to man by grace, because He would not have faith in us [because He knows]?

·        Correct.

 

Faith, hope and love in heaven

Q:  1 Cor. 13:13 – “And now these three abide: faith, hope and love, but the greatest of these is love.”  Why is love the greatest of these?

·        Faith and hope we do not emulate God.  Love is the only common attribute we share with God, because God doesn’t have faith or hope because He knows.

 

Q:  So will we have faith and hope in heaven?

·        You can’t be certain of the future, so yes.  1 Cor. 13:13 says these three things abide.

·        We carry these three into eternity with us – faith, hope and love.

·        The greatest is love because it’s the one thing we share with God.

 

Q:  So he who believes will be spiritually alive [in heaven]?

·        We will never be more spiritually alive than we are now.

 

Resurrection for the unbeliever

Q:  So what happens to the unbeliever when he dies?

·        Death is separation.  Sin separates.

·        Two men are in business.  One cheats from the other.  Separation takes place.

·        So we say that physical death is the separating of the real you from your body.

·        If there’s an auto accident, and the individual in the automobile is thrown from car and he’s alive, then the newspaper says Mr. Jones was found fifty feet from the automobile with a broken back.

·         But if Mr. Jones is dead, the newspaper says the body was found fifty feet from the automobile.  It doesn’t say Mr. Jones [was found], because even the pagans know that Mr. Jones isn’t there any more.

·        Death separates.  Spiritual death and physical death are the product of sin

·        So the non-Christian is born physically alive and spiritually dead.

·        When he dies physically, he will remain spiritually dead and physically dead, even though he will be resurrected into hell, because the death is separation from God.

 

Q:  What about the resurrection of the body?  Will they be given a body to face judgment, or will only their spirit face judgment?

·        The body and the spirit [will face judgment].  Rev. 20 – the great white throne judgment – says there will be the resurrection of the just and the unjust.

·        They too will have an incorruptible body, even though they’d rather not.

 

Already and not yet in the heavenly places (2:6,7)

Q:  In 2:7 it says that in the ages to come God will show the exceeding riches of His grace.  Is that in the future [here] or in the coming ages?

·        The latter.  Throughout all eternity in every part of His created order, He calls attention to His greatness.

 

Q:  2:6 “seated in the heavenlies” means that begins now [already], and then 2:7 is the future?

·        Yes.  Already and not yet.

 

Q:  So can the angels see it better now, since they are seated in heaven?  They can appreciate God’s greatness and mercy than we can now?

·        Yes.  Heb. 12:1 says we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses.  What is the author saying?

·        The witnesses are those great OT men of faith, rather than the angels.

·        They are now watching us from heaven in our struggle.

 

Already and not yet concept in Colossians 3

·        In Col. 3:1-4 at the beginning of the section about putting on the new man, Paul says, “you died and your life is hidden in Christ …” And the glory will be revealed.  This seems to be talking about the ‘already but not yet’ concept.

·        One of the reasons I tried to give careful study to the book of Ephesians was that for years I heard men revel in the greatness of their position in Christ.  The ostensible present reality of being in the heavenlies with Christ is part of that which so excites them, and they go back to it again and again as their love letter from God.  I’m a bit embarrassed to say to you [that] having studied it, I’m still not moved.  It just has never really done that for me, and I’ve always felt that that was a lack in my own life.  It was just some defect for me that somehow I should be able to reflect on that I am already – true not yet – but already in the heavenly places with Christ, and that should have a huge impact on my walk with God.  If it has an impact on me, I haven’t been able to discover it, so I don’t know.

·        Some people say the purpose of the circular letter was for that reason.  If so, then I missed it.

·        I’m very reluctant to say they are wrong.  I’m far more prone to say I’m wrong.  There’s something I just don’t see.  There’s a defect in me.

·        In Eph. 6 it says we are doing battle in those heavenlies.

 

Q:  Is this mystery revealed to angels and all creation after the death of Christ?

·        My sense is that any mystery that’s been revealed to us is well known everywhere else.

 

Appreciating Israel and avoiding anti-Semitism (2:11-22)

Q:  What is the significance [of this passage] for us 21st Century Gentiles?

·        I’m not sure.  Immediately apparent is the fact that we are hugely indebted to the Jews.

·        We, having been so instructed, should with the rest of creation marvel at the manifold wisdom of God.

·        The problem is that we are not very excited about being reconciled to the Jews.

·        The issue seems so far off to a lot of Christians.

·        1st century Gentiles were grateful that God took away the cultural requirement [to follow the Mosaic Law].  Otherwise it would be very hard.

·        God used the rejection of the Jews to bless the Gentiles instead of blessing the Jews to bless the Gentiles, like in the OT.  That will happen in the Millennium.

·        The church is a mystery.  God used the rejection of the Jews to bless the Gentiles.  That was never known in the OT.  That is one of the mysteries.

·        The church has so thoroughly discredited Israel, having stripped her of all the covenants and promises and left her with nothing but the curses that we tend to lose sight of how indebted we really are to them.

 

Q:  Are we obligated to pray for the Jews?

·        I’m not sure any more than we’re obligated to pray for the salvation of all people.

·        I think it’s wise we never lose our sense of wonderment at the uniqueness of the Jews.

·        What race of people has been so maligned and scattered across the face of the earth and maintained through all those centuries their identity?

·        Not the Jebusites, Hittites, Midianites, Goths, Visgoths, Vandals, but the Jews, yes.

·        From my point of view, gentlemen, it is supernatural that the Jews even to this day are so thoroughly vilified [slandered, reviled, defamed] and hated by everyone.

·        You might say the Arabs hate them because they’ve got Palestine, but the Arabs hated them long before Palestine, long before 1948.

·        The Muslim people actively participated with Hitler in trying to exterminate the Jews.

·        You ask yourself, why?  Why such a universal hatred.  Even Shylock [a central character, a Jew, in William Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice was portrayed as greedy and worthy of dislike], … and Mel Gibson’s Passion movie [also portrays Jews negatively].

·        It’s an undercurrent.  From my perspective, it just seems irrational.

 

Q:  Is this the punishment of God, like the Catholics say?

·        I don’t know.  All I know is that God said to Abraham, “I’ll bless them that bless you, and I’ll curse them that curse you.”  So I want to be on the blessing side.

 

Q:  Do you know if any country besides the US supports Israel?

·        There’s no doubt that the United States historically has been Israel’s best friend, along before ’48.

·        The Jews learned that almost unique from any other country, they could come here without being persecuted and vilified [slandered, reviled, defamed].

·        But even so, in our [American] culture there’s an undercurrent of anti-Semitism.

·        It’s just that the law so thoroughly protects them, which has not been true historically [in other places].

·        The UK and the French recognize them [the State of Israel].

·        Whenever Israel is up for a vote in the United Nations, you’ll note that they lose that vote by a wide, wide majority always, no matter what the issue is [that is being voted upon].

·        No matter what the issue is, they always lose – not enough friends.

·        Even our former president, Jimmy Carter, says that the Middle East is Israel’s fault.

·        That’s an extraordinary statement for a bright, educated former president of the United States to say.

·        I think it’s astounding.  Of course, if you’ve done any reading at all, you know how thoroughly he’s been taken to task [challenged] for that, but he stands by it in his own right.

 

Q:  Isn’t he [Jimmy Carter] a Baptist?  How could he go to church all those years and be against it?

·        Because the Church has historically been anti-Semitic.

·        The Church from the patriarchs forward has been anti-Semitic.

·        The only Christians that are not anti-Semitic are renegade [having rejected tradition] laymen who take the prophecies of Israel literally, but they are in a minority.

 

Q:  Was that starting with the Darbyites?

·        He was certainly / the Brethren were the first to formulate it into a theology.

·        The Brethren Movement – Darby, Scofield and Gabelline (?)

·        They were sympathetic [to the Jews].  They formulated it into a theology called Dispensationalism.

·        Remember, that’s 19th century theology, but that undercurrent of feeling was seen in laymen who took exception [disagreed] with the allegorical [hidden spiritual meaning] interpretation of scripture.

 

Q:  But how do the covenant theologians ever explain Romans 11?

·        Most of those who try to do justice to the passage say that at the end Israel will be saved through the Church.  It has to be through the Church.

·        The reason why we don’t have an appreciation for Israel is that the Church from the beginning stripped Israel of all the promises and of all the blessings and left her the curses.

 

Q:  [Don’t you think maybe] Carter had an issue with politics in Israel, not necessarily anti-Semitism – like building settlements in Palestinian territory?  [To some people] that seems like it’s egging on the Palestinians [to have conflict] – like I’m going to go build a house in your front yard.

·        I don’t want to go down this road, but let me remind you that at the peace accord that he himself [Carter] negotiated, Israel said that they would surrender all of that [land] for the recognition of Israel as a nation, and that is something the Muslim world will never do.  But let’s go on.

 

Christ brought peace and unity to the Jews and Gentiles (2:13-18)

Q:  In 2:14 it says, “He himself is our peace.”  Any comments on why Jesus is our peace?

·        He is our peace in the sense that He is the one that brought it.

·        The Jews and Gentiles are at peace with each other because they are at peace with God.

·        Cross-reference: 2 Cor 5:16 says we no long no any man in the flesh [from a worldly point of view]

·        In Christ all racial distinctions are obliterated.

·        All distinctions between people – bright and dull, good-looking and ugly – are obliterated.

·        We now see people as God sees them, and Jesus is the one that made that possible.

 

Six things based on the blood of Christ (2:13-18)

·        The Gentiles are brought to God.

·        The Gentiles gained peace with both God and the Jews.

·        That which separates Jew and Gentile no longer exists.

·        The Mosaic system was cancelled.

·        Jew and Gentiles are one as part of the body of Christ.

·        Both are given access to the Father by the Holy Spirit.

 

Short-lived benefits of that peace due to anti-Semitism

·        We can’t practice that unity now, because there are no Jews in our world.

·        If Church history is any indicator, a huge amount of the blame rests with the Gentiles, not the Jews.

·        Not that the Jews were blameless, but the healing that Paul envisioned, in reality, never came about.

·        Most of the churches he ministered to were made up of both Jews and Gentiles.

·        That quickly came to an end after the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD.

·        The believing Jews migrated to a little community called Pella on the east side of the Jordan River and just kind of withered away from there.

 

Brief history of Jewish dispersions

Q:  What was the political reason behind the destruction of Israel [in 70 AD]?

·        Israel rebelled.  They revolted, so at that point Rome showed no mercy.

·        Everybody was killed [or dispersed].

·        Stone by stone, the city was destroyed.  The temple was destroyed.  Everything was leveled.

 

Q:  When did we get Jews dispersed around the world?

·        There have been dispersions of the Jews through the centuries.

·        The Assyrian [dispersion of 721BC], and then the Babylonian [captivity starting in 605BC].

·        There were settlements of Jews all over the Roman Empire, even when Rome and Israel were on friendly terms.

 

Q:  So after 70AD, not until after World War 2 did it become a nation again?

·        It became a nation [again] for the first time in 1948.

 

Q:  Is there a strong believing Jewish church currently?

·        I don’t know about other parts of the world, but in our country there is a small group called the Messianic Jews that gather. 

·        As a matter of fact, San Francisco is headquarters for one of those groups, called Jews for Jesus.

·        There are little groups of these people in various cities.  They are definitely a minority in a minority in a minority.

·        They are usually people who converted in this age.  They weren’t continuing anything from the past.

 

Q:  Didn’t you mention once before that after 140AD or so they just gave it up – the Jewish customs – the second or third generation [of Jewish] Christians, because the parents wanted to pass on the Christian faith, so the Jewish faith became less and less important?

·        The Jewish faith was always important to the Jew but never important to the Gentile.

·        I don’t know the degree the Church tried to emulate the customs of Israel in the early Church.

 

Current Christian work to help Jews

·        You can go online to CJF Ministries to see some work being done today.

·        Some Christian groups are going over to Israel to provide all kinds of help.

·        Israel knows that a small segment of Christianity is firmly in their corner.

 

Prophets, foundations, strangers

Q:  Is 2:20 talking about the OT prophets or NT prophets?

·        I can’t be dogmatic on it, but my sense is that it’s talking about men living in the NT times.

·        I cross-referenced it with Eph. 3:5, which definitely seems to refer to the NT prophets.

·        Also, the mystery was not revealed to the OT prophets.

·        Some people say that 2:20 is about both OT and NT prophets – I would not argue with that

 

Two types of foundations

·        Eph. 2:20 – foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone

·        1 Cor. 3:11,12 – Jesus is the foundation

 

Q:  In 2:15, what does, “The two become one” mean?

·        Both come to God in the same way.  The Jew and Gentile and regenerated the same way.

·        They have the same position and are both equal in Christ.

 

Two types of strangers

·        Peter and Paul talk about strangers and pilgrims in a different way.

·        1 Peter 2:11 says you are strangers and pilgrims [in this world].

·        Paul says you are no longer strangers and foreigners [in Eph. 2:19].

·        It’s used in different ways and different contexts, and that’s how I’d understand the foundation.

·        So here it’s emphasizing the mystery [that Gentiles can be included in God’s program].

 

Q:  Can you comment on the ‘prophets’ in 4:11,12? Are NT prophets different from OT prophets?

·        Agabus was able to predict [famine in Acts 11:28].

·        1 Cor. 14 seems to be about proclamation rather than predicting.

·        There are prophets in the NT who are women.

·        We cannot judge NT prophets like in Deuteronomy [who tried to predict – Dt. 18:20-22 says they had to be 100% accurate or else they were presumptuous and not to be feared but rather killed], because the NT prophets were not trying to predict.  It seems like in 1 Cor. 14 they were proclaiming the scriptures, not prophesying the future.

 

 

[Second day’s afternoon break]

 

 

Transcultural Gospel

Q:  Are 2:15 “one new man” and 2:19 “household of God” the same?

·        Yes.  Synonyms

·        2:21,22 – God by dwelling in each of you by His Spirit collectively makes you His temple.

 

Q:  Was Paul saying that the Gospel was transcultural to counteract the Judaizers?

·        Yes.  In Rom. 11:11,15 Paul twice says the Jewish loss was the Gentile’s gain, because of the Gospel being transcultural.

·        Paul never prohibited the Jewish Christian from practicing OT Judaism.

·        He only insisted that it not be a requirement for Gentile converts.

·        So when Paul went to Jerusalem in Acts [21:17-26], and he was in trouble with the Jewish community, he said, “What should I do?” and they said, “Go to the temple and go through the rites of purification and offer sacrifices,” which Paul was happy to do.

·        I don’t think that he ever said a Jew practicing OT rites was prohibited.

·        He just simply said they were not normative for the Christian Gentile.

 

The Church – organized gatherings and organizations

Q:  So in 2:16 the church is a body, but in 2:20,20 it is a temple of the Lord?

·        Yes.  2:21,22 “in whom” refers to Christ, so he’s simply changing analogies.

 

Q:  Can you use this as a true definition of church?

·        Yes, but everybody would.  I don’t think anybody would disagree with that.

·        Those who argue for an institutional presence do not argue that there’s no such thing as a Church universal.  All agree with that.

 

Q:  Can you define when an organized gathering becomes an organization?  Is it when the organization becomes an entity in and of itself that’s greater than the people?  How do you know when you cross the line?

·        I’m not sure I would be able to give you all the indicators, but certainly one strong indicator is when you move from organizing to controlling.

·        Lucas – and we’re all indebted to him for this – graciously organized this event.

·        I’ve never sensed him trying to control it.  It’s simply what everybody wants.

·        So, the beautiful thing about non-institutional Christianity is we don’t have to agree on doctrine,
but the moment you organize, doctrine becomes very important.

·        We must as followers of Christ make a clear distinction in our own thinking between those things on which we disagree and those things with which we disapprove.

·        I would expect you to disagree with me on many things.

·        I would hope that you disapprove of me in few things.

·        When you institutionalize or create an organization, those lines blur.

·        So for example, we become a Reformed Dispensational Baptist denomination.

·        Somebody says, “I think we ought to baptize infants.”

·        [Another says,] “Not in this fellowship are you going to,” and so we’ve got now two denominations, and so it goes.

·        Now, whether I baptize infants or whether you baptize infants, we may not agree, but what difference does it make?

 

Essentials and non-essentials

Q:  Did you say that the difference between a doctrine and a command is simply that a command is something that’s clear-cut?

·        Yes.  Unambiguous, stated in the imperative.

 

Q:  Even with disagreements, if we disagree on essential matters, such as the Gospel of Jesus Christ, that would also break our unity, regardless of whether we have an institution or not. [Right?]

·        Yes.  I suggest three circles:

·        Inner circle – the non-negotiable essentials

·        2nd circle – important, but not essential

·        3rd circle – unimportant

·        Everybody has the three circles, and everybody has got to decide what fits into what.

·        The more you put into the inner circle, the more myopic [narrow in view and lacking in foresight and discernment] you will become, the less attractive you will be to the non-Christian and the more you will drift toward being a sect.

·        So you’ve got to be careful to not put too much in there.

·        But you are void of anything in your walk with God if you don’t put something in there.

 

Pros and cons of control

·        In the early Church, the non-negotiable essentials were quite limited.

·        And as things developed they put more and more things there.

·        Yes. Control.  Always control.

 

Q:  Control is a bad thing?

·        No.  Control is essential in some matters.

·        That’s the reason why [Roman] emperors called themselves gods,
And why in Europe they called them the divine right of kings
And why in your country [China] your government countenances [tolerates] no argument.

·        Control is very important.  No country can survive, no institution can survive without control.

·        As head of your home, you’ve got to have some control.

 

Q:  So institutions are neutral – not good or bad?

·        Right, it is not commanded in the scripture, but it is permitted.

 

Q:  Is the Lord’s great commission better served by organized activities or just by individuals running around and [serving individuals]?

·        Again, there’s strong disagreement.  We all know that five fingers are not as powerful as a fist.

·        For that reason there are seemingly compelling reasons to organize.  It just depends on whom you ask.

·        Gentlemen, I spent the first 20 years of my Christian ministry in an organization.

·        One of the primary reasons I left it was I didn’t want to spend my life trying to talk godly men into doing what they didn’t think it was the will of God to do.

·        I was never at any time angry with the organization or mad at it.

·        I just said to myself, “I don’t want to live there.”  Another mans says, “I do.”

·        And I say, “Be ye warmed and filled.”  It’s just what you think God’s called you to do.

·        Every man who’s involved in leadership in an organization knows the nature of what I’m talking about.

·        I didn't think they were wrong.  I said I don’t want to spend my life doing that.

 

Q:  What’s non-negotiable?

·        The commandments, the person of Christ, the authority of scripture.  I think I’d stop there probably.

 

Q:  How about the Virgin birth?

·        If you tell me the Bible teaches it, then I tell you [that] you are obligated to believe it.

·        You’re obligated to believe whatever the Bible teaches.

·        We may differ in what the Bible teaches – like infant baptism.

·        When Jesus said, “Unless you eat My flesh and drink My blood, you can have no part of me” [Jn. 6:53], did He mean that literally?  Why not?  I love a literal interpretation of the Bible.

·        Our Catholic friends say ‘yes.’  I don’t agree with them, but I freely confess they may be right.

·        I don’t think they are; otherwise I’d be one.

 

Q:  You’re always going to have some level of control, but when the control moves from the inner to the second or third circles [then you back away]

·        No.  I am not going to control whether or not you believe the Bible to be the Word of God.

·        I’m just simply saying to you I consider it essential.  It’s a non-negotiable.

 

Q:  But what if I told Lucas I didn’t think the Bible was the Word of God?  Ephesians is nice, but it’s relative.  I think Lucas might not invite me back.  So there’s some degree of control, isn’t there?

·        Well, I’m not sure.  We may be quibbling on words [evading a point], but there’s a commonality.

·        Why in the world would you want to come to a meeting of hardheaded bigots who think that the Bible is truly the Word of God when you know it isn’t?  Why would you want to come?

·        So it’s not so much that I want to exclude you, but why would you want to be part of it?

 

Q:  If a man says that only those who go through theological seminary can preach the Word in the congregation, will you treat him as a heretic?

·        [No.  This is] strange, but not heretical.

 

Q:  When did seminary start?

·        It’s good.  It’s great, wonderful!  Why would you not be pro-seminary?

 

Q:  But is seems like a modern think – in the last few hundred years.

·        Education is a modern invention.  Public education as we know it didn’t exist 200 years ago.

·        Seminary did.  That’s why a lot of schools came into existence – Harvard, Yale, Oxford, Cambridge

 

Q:  2:15 ‘enmity’ seems like a very strong word describing the law of commandments [doesn’t it?]

·        He uses the word ‘enmity’ twice.

·        In 2:16 the enmity is between God and man.  In 2:14,15 the enmity was between Jews & Gentiles.

·        In Dt. 23:6 Israel was commanded not to seek the peace or their prosperity of the Gentiles all their days forever.

·        That seems like it might have been part of the enmity.  They were just commanded to be that way.

·        In Dt. 4:19 God says that He chose Israel to worship Him, and He gave the heavens to the heathen to worship.

 

 

[End of second day’s discussion]

 

 

Chapter 3

 

Chapter overview

·        Four important words in this chapter: Gentile, grace, mystery and Christ

·        These 4 words are weaved together to form 3 divisions:

·        1-6 Mystery

·        7-9 Messenger

·        10-19 Manifestation

 

The mystery of the Church, a metaphysical entity separate from Israel

·        God’s eternal purpose of uniting the Jew and the Gentile finds its fulfillment in Christ and its expression in His Church.

·        The fact that the Gentiles were included in the eternal plan of God was not new.

·        That was not the mystery.  This was discussed often in the Old Testament, but it was always assumed that their absorption into the plan of God would be through Judaism.  In short, the Jews would proselytize them, so that they would become rightly related to God by becoming Jews themselves.

·        The mystery revealed through Paul was that God’s plan was entirely different
in that He was going to take something from the two – the Jew and the Gentile –
and make something entirely new, the Church.

·        The Church was not conceived in the Old Testament.

 

Q:  Why should the institution of the nation of Israel still exist or happen in eternity?

·        That is precisely the argument of the amillennialist.

·        There’s no reason for it to exist, because Eph. 2 says you’ve got something new, so it’s unnecessary.

 

Q:  So why would God still want to keep the institution of Israel in eternity?

·        The question, ‘why did God commit Himself to an institution in the first place?’ He never discusses.

·        My sense is – and this is simply supposition on my part – that God’s commitment to the nation of Israel is a more pure and clean expression of the grace of God than found in any other relationship, because in God’s gracious commitment to you reciprocity is required.  You must believe.

·        [For] Israel there was no reciprocity required.

·        Now, granted, a generation or two or three might receive the wrath/indignation of God,
but His promise throughout the OT scriptures is that His commitment to Israel is inviolable,
so much so that He uses Hosea’s ungodly, nonsensical of marriage to Gomer as an illustration of the fact that Israel has always been a whore.  She’s never been anything but a whore.
Nevertheless, God is committed to her in marriage, and that will never be broken.

·        So, it [Israel] is a magnificent expression of the grace of God.

·        So, Israel never had to make its election and calling sure.  You and I do.

·        Israel never had to demonstrate that it was one of the elect through a life of obedience.

·        Now, granted, Israel was required to obey, and God roughed Israel up [brought hard times] quite a bit when she refused to obey.

·        Nevertheless, the OT scriptures communicate that God would never for any reason rescind [take back] His commitment to the nation of Israel.  Period.

·        There are a number of promises that are made to the nation of Israel that either have to be allegorized, or they wait for their fulfillment.

·        For example, in the book of Amos 9:13-15: “Behold, days are coming,” declares the LORD, “When the plowman will overtake the reaper and the treader of grapes him who sows seed; when the mountains will drip sweet wine and all the hills will be dissolved.  “Also I will restore the captivity of My people Israel, and they will rebuild the ruined cities and live in them; they will also plant vineyards and drink their wine, and make gardens and eat their fruit.  “I will also plant them on their land, and they will not again be rooted out from their land which I have given them,” says the LORD your God.  (NASB)

·        My sense is that that is yet to be fulfilled.

·        God promises through the later prophets a material recreation.

·        The lion will lie down with the lamb; peace will be over the earth.

·        If Israel and then church are the same metaphysical entity, then you have to allegorize these promises and say that they are all pictures of the Church.

·        My hermeneutic says you only consider a passage or word figurative if the context demands it.

·        That’s why I would not be surprised if Jesus says to me in eternity, “You know when I said, ‘unless you eat My flesh and drink my blood’ in John 6, I really meant that.  Henrichsen, you’re the one who said you should not allegorize the scriptures.  Why did you make that a figurative phrase?”

·        I don’t anticipate that, but I would not be surprised either.

·        Remember, gentlemen, it is in the nature of the case that when you form an argument, you do so to the neglect of material that would support the opposite.  It’s in the nature of the case,
so that when we argue for a particular view or a particular interpretation, our tendency is to ignore those portions of scripture that would call that interpretation into question, but unless the guy is really way, way out [in error], if he believes something, he’s got a reason, and there are some very good reasons that the amillennialist offers, so make no mistake about it; it’s not a thoughtless conclusion.

 

Q:  So, in terms of 1948 Israel, they just dismiss it as just something God wants to do and not relating to the promises?

·        When 1948 took place, nobody knew how to look at Israel.

·        Even the staunchest dispensationalist would say, “I don’t know what to do with it.”

·        I don’t think I would feel comfortable suggesting that this is the promised restoration of, for example, Amos chapter 9.

·        So, Israel remains an enigma.  It is not a God-fearing, God seeking, law-abiding nation.

·        Granted, there is a strong Hassidic orthodox element in Israel that makes a huge emphasis on the keeping of the law, and so forth, but the nation is socialistic and secular.

 

Q:  Aren’t the borders also not yet the same as the Promised Land?

·        That is the reason why men like [Menachem] Begin, who was orthodox and took the Bible literally said, “We’ve just begun to take the land.  All of that is ours.”

·        So there is no pragmatism in that worldview – not of the orthodox Jewish view.  “They’re living on our land.”

 

Q:  So prior to 1948 when the nation of Israel was established by the United Nations, how were the people anticipating it?

·        Nobody knew what it would look like, but it was obvious that in the Book of Revelation if you take that literally, there is the presence of a temple, but nobody is willing to go in the middle of the night and bulldoze the mosque off the rock.  At least up to now nobody’s been willing to go and do that.  That’s why I say it’s a pragmatic nation.  It’s not trying to fulfill the OT promises.

·        There are plans to build a new temple, and they recently found the cistern that supposedly identifies the exact site next to the Dome of the Rock.

·        [But] those kinds of articles and rumblings have been present from Israel’s conception.

·        Nevertheless, is what we see in Israel the beginning of the end in the fulfillment of God’s promises to the nation?

·        I’ve never heard anybody say ‘yes’ to that definitively; ‘maybe’, but not dogmatically, ‘yes.’

 

Q:  Regarding the anticipation of the second coming of Christ, how did the 1948 event alter people’s view?

·        Nobody’s ever known what to do with it.  Those who were pro-Israel rejoiced.

·        The U.S. was the first nation to recognize Israel.

·        Before that time, prophetic conferences were very popular in the U.S., but not so much any more.

 

Q:  [Is it] because they don’t know what to do with it?

·        I think so.  I think so.

 

Q:  Then even today, for example, the dispensationalists in Dallas talk very little about the modern nation of Israel?

·        That’s a true statement.  At least I have not read or heard them talk about it.

·        I’ve talked with men like Howard Hendricks about it, but everybody seems to be rather tentative
 – not tentative regarding God’s fulfillment of the promises
 – but tentative regarding that being part of that fulfillment.

 

Q:  Are you saying that when everything gets fulfilled, the Church is a new creation, and you’re saying that the remnant of Israel will have its own specific promises that will be fulfilled, separate from the Gentiles and the Church?

·        Again – speculation – my sense is ‘yes.’

·        God said to Abraham, “I’ll give you the land, and I'll give it to you forever.”

·        The Bible talks about, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” [Mt. 5:5]

·        I suggest to you that for most of you sitting here, the thought of inheriting the earth does not really motivate you.  Now I may be wrong, but I think that has significance to the Jew in a way that it does not to the Gentile.

 

Q:  But could you say that if that’s true, it doesn’t mean necessarily that there’s a commitment to the nation and not to the individual.  It doesn’t necessarily mean salvation.  It’s just basically God fulfilling His promises.

·        Yes.  It assumes that there are two programs of God – one for the individual and one for the nation.

·        But as we’ve talked about in the past, the OT is strangely silent regarding the commitment to the individual.

·        When Paul says [in Rom. 4:3], “Abraham believe God, and it was imputed to him for righteousness,” he’s quoting Genesis 15:6, but it’s interesting to note that none of the OT writers went back and grabbed that and talked about it.

·        None of them talked about the imputed righteousness of faith that I’m aware of.

·        You certainly don’t find it in the Law of Moses.

·        So he says [in Gal. 3:29] that, “If you are of Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”

·        But what is the promise?  That I’ll impute righteousness to you if you believe.

·        But if there was an eternal hope in the OT, then why didn’t that verse become an anchor for the prophets, for example, like it is for the Apostle Paul?

·        When people ask, “How were people in the OT saved?”  We say, “Theologically, through Christ.  No man comes to the Father but by Me [Jn. 14:6].”

·        But it wasn’t an issue.  It wasn’t a question in the OT.

·        The only question was, “How do we get along with God?” and the answer is, “keep the law.”

 

Q:  You said that most Christians are not motivated by the inheritance in the land, but how about the inheritance outside the land?  In 1:18 Paul’s prayer is for them to see the riches of the glory of their inheritance.

·        I would suggest that most Christians see this inheritance as a rich, exciting entity of some kind that they will eventually inherit, but it’s all very, very vague in our minds.

·        We talk about ruling, as God said we will do.  We don’t think about ruling portions of the earth – at least I never have – maybe an asteroid or two out there.

·        In Revelation, it’s a new earth we’re inheriting, not the old earth with all the global warming and garbage.

·        Agreed, but does that fill you with expectation – inheriting a recreated earth?

·        It’s more perfected, and then there’s that big temple, like 4000 miles wide and high and talking to animals, etc.

·        Some brother wants to rule Causeway Bay, because it has lots of good restaurants.

 

Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, interrupts himself before he prays (3:1-14)

 

Q:  Why did Paul write “for this cause” in both 3:1 and 3:14?

·        Some people think he meant to start in verse 14 but got interrupted and inserted 1-13.

·        I.e., because of chapter 2 [Gentiles brought into God’s program], I pray 3:14-21.

 

Q:  In 3:1, he word is not doulos (slave) but desmios (prisoner), so whose prisoner was Paul?

·        Christ’s.  Christ caused Rome to put Paul in prison to help the Gentiles.

·        How did it help?  3:13 his tribulations were for the Gentiles’ glory

·        Note: Paul didn’t view himself as a victim.

·        Because Paul preached to the Gentiles, he provoked the animosity of the Jew / Judaizers – they were behind his initial arrest and imprisonment in Jerusalem.

 

Q:  Were they mainly unbelieving Jews?

·        Both

 

Q:  How was Paul martyred?

·        That’s conjecture.  The Jews could not, because he was a Roman citizen and appealed to Caesar.

·        The Romans put Paul to death, because God wanted them to put Paul to death.

 

The Church, a mystery not conceived in the OT

Q:  What was the mystery in 3:3,4,9?

·        That the Gentiles did not have to go through Judaism.

·        In OT, the prophets talked about the Gentiles being included, but everyone assumed it was by becoming Jews – just like Ruth.  There was no salvation outside Israel.

·        [In 2 Kings 5:14-19] when Naaman the leper said he wanted to serve the God of Israel, he took some dirt back to Assyria because he knew God was committed to that piece of real estate.

·        If you were disgruntled with Israel back in those days, you could not start another Israel.

·        The only way you could do it was reformation.

·        When the church saw itself as Israel, it came to the same conclusion.  Thus came reformation.

·        The word ‘mystery’ appears 20 times in the NT.

·        Paul used it 10 times.  It is in the Gospels 7 times and in Revelation 3 times.

·        It is used in Ephesians 3:3,4,9.

·        The two operative words in verse 3 are revelation and mystery.

 

Q:  If God revealed to you a truth that nobody else had seen before and ran counter to your understanding and to everybody’s understanding of the plan of God, do you think you’d receive opposition?

·        So did Paul, so the opposition of Paul is not surprising.

·        But Acts 15 was surprising.  James said OK, you serve the Gentiles; we’ll serve Jews.

·        I don’t’ think the apostles conceived what the Church would look like today.

·        I imagine the Judaizers came out of the churches of Peter and James.

·        James and Peter said that Paul didn’t have to make people follow the [Mosaic] Law, but they would.

·        The Jerusalem Council embraced the mystery, but they never made it part of their own ministry.

 

What happened to the Jewish church after 70AD?

Q:  Do we know when Christians stopped animal sacrifices? 

·        At the close of the book of Acts, when Paul was receiving a lot of opposition in Jerusalem, the leaders of the church in Jerusalem told Paul to go up and offer blood sacrifices in the temple.

·        This must have continued up to the time of the destruction of the temple in 70AD.

 

Q:  They still offered blood sacrifices, even though Jesus had been a sacrifice on the cross?

·        The OT Jew never saw sacrifices in propitious terms.

·        They never saw it as expiation for the individual.  Yom Kippur was a national rite.

·        I think that’s the reason Jesus chose the Passover rather then Yom Kippur as the time of His death.

 

Q:  So it was not until the he writer of Hebrews expounded on animal sacrifices that they stopped?

·        That’s right, but even he points out that the sacrifices were only for sins committed in ignorance.

·        There was no sacrifice for willful sin.  (Nu. 15:30.31)  [See also Heb. 10:26-28.]

 

Q:  Did Paul get a blessing from all 12 apostles to go to the Gentiles?  Some of them went too.

·        We don’t know what happened to all the 12 apostles in their ministries.

·        The evangelization of Asia and parts of India were attributed to Thomas.

·        I suppose he would not have tried to make Jews out of them.

·        But the leadership at the Jerusalem Council said, “We will minister to the Jews.  You minister to the Gentiles.”

·        I take that to mean they thought that’s where the action was [i.e., where God’s main work was].

 

Q:  So it was not a kind of strategy?  You do this part; I’ll do that part?

·        Well, yes, we can think of it in strategic terms.

·        My point is that I don’t think they went back to their congregation and said, “we’re not going to continue going to the temple, and we’re not going to circumcise our children.”

·        I think they continued doing that, and Paul never spoke against it.

 

Q:  So in 2 Peter 3:15,16, when Peter mentioned that Paul’s writing, his wisdom, his concepts were right (although difficult to understand), that didn’t mean that he was embracing that revelation into the teaching to the Jews?

·        I think they were happy to embrace it in the teaching of the Jew – the idea that the Gentiles didn’t have to [follow the Mosaic Law, but not the idea that the Jews had to give it up].

·        It would be like you ministering in Shanghai, and saying that Caucasians are welcome to your worship service, but you’re still going to speak Mandarin.

·        The truth of the matter is that the preponderance [majority] of the people to whom they were ministering to were Jews.

·        Peter’s teachings were similar to Paul’s, but Peter didn’t say that the law was abrogated or abolished.

 

Q:  How do you explain Galatians 2, when Paul publicly accused Peter of living like a Gentile but forcing Gentiles to live like Jews?

·        I think that Peter found himself trapped in a very embarrassing and contradictory situation when James’ party showed up, and he only ate with the Jews.

 

Q:  Do you think that maybe Peter didn’t have the same kind of conviction Paul had?

·        At the Jerusalem council Peter intervened on Paul’s behalf using the illustration [his own experience] with Cornelius.

·        So, theologically Peter accepted it, but two things I note with you:

·        One is that doesn’t mean that emotionally he accepted it and shifted his practice and ministry, and

·        No. 2, it doesn’t mean that he stopped practicing the [Mosaic] Law.

 

Q:  So what happened to the Jewish church founded by Peter, James and John, while the Gentile church was prospering?

·        They had no place to go.

·        As a struggling minority, they migrated to Pella and eventually dissipated and disappeared.

 

Q:  Is it possible at that time that the apostles decided to merge with the Gentile church rather than become a minority?

·        There was no compelling reason to tell the Jew he had to stop practicing Judaism, so why would he do that?

 

Q:  It seems that because of your culture you would automatically be isolated from other brothers.  The Chinese church in North America is a good example.  In theory, we are the same brothers with our American counterparts, but in practice we are the First Baptist Chinese Church of Chinatown.  The emphasis is based on culture.

·        Two things on that: one is that nobody – of the NT writers I can’t find evidence from any of them that – anticipated a long delay in the return of Christ.  They all felt it would happen in their lifetime.

·        So Peter saw the need in his second epistle to warn scoffers who say,
“Where is the coming of the Lord?” because everybody’s been preaching that He’s coming.

·        And so I think it was kind of a non-issue as far as they were concerned
[i.e., two separate movements – Jew and Gentile – so it didn’t matter.]

·        I think the second thing they never anticipated was that the Church would become overwhelmingly Gentile, when at that time it was overwhelmingly Jewish.

·        Even in Paul’s missionary journey, it had a strong, strong Jewish element to it.

·        I suspect Paul went there, first, because the Gospel [was] first to the Jews and then to the Gentiles,
but secondly, [because] that was where he was going to get the preponderance [majority] of his leadership.  They were less likely to be divorced, living in debauchery, etc.  They were monotheistic.  They knew the Bible.  They would become the obvious leaders in an emerging church.

 

Q:  Was the reason for the persecution of Paul his insisting that Jews and Gentiles are of the same status in the same family of the transcultural Gospel?  This was a mystery to the Jews, so the Judaizers hated Paul, but this brings glory to the Gentiles.

·        Yes, but I’m not sure if I’d use the word, ‘glory.’  ‘Benefit’ is a better word.

·        The mystery made it much easier for the Gospel to spread among the Gentiles.

·        Imagine what it would be like leading a guy to Christ in China and saying, “before you invite Christ into your life you must be circumcised.”  Then, he rolls his eyes and says, “You’ve got to be kidding me.  I’ve got to do what?”  It would be a tremendous impediment.

·        If a religion is too tied to a culture, then you’ll create enemies.

 

Promises for Israel and the Church

Q:  In 3:6 is it says the Gentiles will be fellow heirs and partakers of the promise of Christ.  That doesn’t include the Gentile inheriting the land, does it?

·        Right.  The promise is singular.  Notice in verse 6, it identifies three aspects in which the merger of the Jews and Gentiles finds expression: (1) fellow heirs (only time in NT that word appears), (2) fellow members, (3) fellow partners

 

Q:  What if I read Ephesians 2 and 3 and say I conclude that this new body, the fellow heirs, that they are also fellow fellow-partakers of the promises given to Israel, to the kingdom and all the OT promises, would there be anything wrong with that conclusion or position?

·        No, I think that in a figurative way, that’s what amillennialism does.

·        They can’t see any practical way of applying that in the way you stated that, so they do flip it around [unclear what flipping, maybe the Church = Israel?].

 

Q:  What if you flip it around the other way [unclear what was meant]?

·        If there is a literal 1000-year millennium, then I would say that in that sense it really will happen.

 

Q:  So is there one new covenant with two programs [dispensationalist view] or just one new covenant with one program [amillenialist view]?

·        The amillennialist rightly points out that the new covenant quoted in Hebrews 8 [which quotes Jer. 31:31-34] and also Hebrews 10 was inaugurated or instituted by our Lord Jesus.

·        That’s the point of chapter 8 – He’s the mediator of a new covenant.

·        The new covenant is with the House of Israel and with the House of Judah.

·        Therefore, we are the House of Israel and the House of Judah.

·        The law is operative, not abolished.

·        Therefore, whatever it is that Paul says about the abrogation of the law, it’s got to be modified by the fact that the new covenant includes the law.

 

Q:  Do you agree that there is one new covenant, or [in other words] do you see the new covenant of Jer. 31:31-34 to be the same covenant [of Hebrews 8]?

·        Yes, and it raises questions I cannot answer
[unclear what was meant, but perhaps it is related to part of Jer. 31:31-34 not being fulfilled yet.]

 

Why Paul’s tribulations were for the readers’ glory (3:13)

·        In Paul’s teaching the Gentiles and the Jews can be in the same body through the transcultural Gospel.

·        But the Jewish Christians rejected this kind of Gospel and started to persecute Paul.

·        Paul therefore encouraged the audience to not be disappointed by this fact
[“do not lose heart at my tribulations” in 3:13]

·        And [he said] the rejection actually brings about the true actualization of the transcultural Gospel, which in turn brought glory to the Gentile Christians [“my tribulations for you are your glory” in 3:13]

 

The mystery of 3:6

Q:  According the 3:6, what was the mystery?

·        It was not the inclusion of the Gentiles (because that could be done in the OT by becoming Jews)

·        It was the creating of the Church, which included both Jews and Gentiles – a transcultural entity.

 

Q:  Would there be a problem among Jews to be fellow heirs with Gentiles?

·        No, because the Jews were commanded in the OT to welcome sojourners.

·        If they became Jews they were given full rights and privileges.

 

The wisdom of God vs. the wisdom of man (3:10)

Q:  How would you define the wisdom of God?

·        God by definition is wisdom.

·        We see that wisdom as we begin to understand His purposes and programs being enacted in history.

·        We have questions, and finding answers makes us say, “Wow! What a wise, wise God!”

·        3:10 says that even the angelic beings [“powers in the heavenly places”] were still hindered from understanding [the wisdom of God in His design of the Church].

 

Q:  When you talk about wisdom, righteousness, truth or love, you are required to view these words from the perspective of a standard.  That makes it difficult when God is the standard.  So how do you define God being wise?  He is by definition all of the above.

·        The reason men naturally hate God is that we don’t want Him to make the decision.

·        Academia never argues for the abolition of truth.  They just say ‘We define it, not God.”

·        Therefore, you can’t say it’s wrong to fornicate, but you can’t cut down a tree.

·        God says He’s adamant on us believing what God says is true.

·        In the final analysis, the one who is the most powerful makes the definition.

·        The Golden Rule – he who has the gold makes the rules.

 

Q:  So why are we in such a mess with all this wisdom?

·        What do you think ought to happen that hasn’t?

·        The church be strong and everything under one head.  It seems the church is not a true union yet.

·        Yes, but Christ is building His Church.  He’s never been frustrated.  He is never behind schedule.

·        He never asked Peter to help him.  He doesn’t need us.

·        So the Church as we see it is the Church as God wants it.

·        That doesn’t mean that God is pleased with our disunity, sin and depravity.

·        But neither is he surprised by it. 

·        In chapters 1-3 the believer is passive.  It’s about what God has done.

·        The inclusion of the Jew and the Gentile was not something done at the spur of the moment

·        But it was planned since the foundation of the world.  That was the marvel of it!

 

The danger of defining or fixing form and structure in the Church

Q:  Why is Satan still fighting? 

·        Why are you and I still fighting?  He is stupid and proud – still learning his lessons.

·        Willfulness with God is stupid.  It’s dumb.

·        Our problem is we are trying to help God build the Church by organizing.

·        And we forget that we are invited to participate with God in what He’s doing so we can gain in eternity.

·        He said He’d build his church, but He didn’t say how, unlike how he specified how the tabernacle was to be built.  That’s why the Church wants to define form and why there are different forms of government.

 

Q:  Why did God give very detailed instructions in the OT for worship but not in the NT?

·        This is speculation, but a culture is the incarnation of a religion.

·        If you want to know what Hinduism looks like, visit India.  But the church is transcultural.

·        So God does not want the Church to become a culture manifestation.

·        Therefore, He gives it no structure.

·        If we had a God-given set of instructions on how to build the Church, then with it we would create a culture, and at that point the Church would cease to be transcultural, I think.

·        It would also limit the work of the Holy Spirit.

·        If a guy says he got something from the Holy Sprit, it’s fine as long as he doesn’t say the Holy Spirit wants me to do it too.

 

Q:  Is there something wrong with having denominations?

·        Even in the NT, the institutional church is a cultural manifestation.  It’s not a biblical manifestation.

·        The church at Corinth is cultural.  It’s not a biblical manifestation.

·        All churches will by definition have a culture, but that’s the genius of the Gospel.

·        You can go ahead and create it if you want, but the moment you say you’ve got agree with us if you’re going to be part of it, you make yourself a sect, because what you are saying to me is I can be a part of Jesus’ church, but I can’t be part of yours.

·        And you say to yourself, “I don’t think I want to go there.”

·        That’s not a happy place to be – you can belong to Jesus’ Church, but you can’t belong to my church.

 

Q:  But that’s what [often] happens.  Saying come to church 10-12 on Sunday is just like circumcision to non-Christians.  [Do you agree?]

·        It’s one thing to say that a group of us agree to meet from 10-12 on Sunday mornings.

·        It’s an entirely different thing to say that if you don’t meet with us, you are not a part of the church.

 

Paul’s progressive thinking about his depravity (3:8)

·        Earlier: 1 Cor 15:9 – I am the least of al the apostles.

·        Here (Eph. 3:8) – the least of all saints

·        Later: 1 Tim. 1:15 – the worst of all sinners

·        Gentlemen, we call that sanctification.

 

Unavoidable hypocrisy as we confront sin

·        The extraordinary thing of being a follower of Christ

·        Shakespeare, in Hamlet said, “Conscience makes coward of us all.”

·        He who does not have his shoes shined doesn’t tell other to shine theirs.

·        Paul freely admits he’s a hypocrite.

·        I’m a great sinner and capable of committing any sin, and God knows I hang by a thread,
but I warn you don’t break those commandments.

·        As we noted in chapter 2, you cannot appreciate your position in Christ apart from an awareness of your depravity.

·        Jesus did not come to save good people.

·        I should no more expect to see good people in church than expect to see well people in hospitals.

 

Q:  Paul had depravity, but he wasn’t sinning when he said things, so in that sense he was not a hypocrite, [right?]

·        I remember a dialogue with my daughter when she was small.  I asked, “Did you do that?”

·        She said, “Yes, but before you spank me, do you ever do bad things?  Who spanks you?”

·        I said to her, “I don’t spank you because you deserve a spanking but to help you.  Justice is not my objective.  Correction is.”

·        The biblical Christian says, “I would rather condemn myself to hell than to affirm your sin.”

·        If I allow my conscience to silence me, I do so to your hurt.

 

Q:  What if your daughter said she’s learned her lesson, so you don’t have to spank her?

·        Then I’d say fair enough (unless it was the 6th or 7th time).  OK.  I won’t spank you then.

 

Knowing our depravity should help us better help others

Q: A lot of people in the US say, “I go to church. I’m not a sinner.”  Isn’t that more hypocritical?

·        It would seem to me – I’m not sure I’m responding to your question or comment – that to the degree I realize that I’m the least of all saints, the chief of all sinners, it should soften me and make me empathetic, understanding, non-judgmental, humble.

 

Q:  But a lot of Christians are certain [rather than fearful].  These seem like the ones who aren’t very aware of their depravity.  So the awareness of it causes you to be unsure, not certain.  Therefore, there’s a fear [right?]

·        Yes, but that fear is directed vertically, not horizontally.

·        Horizontally, these other attributes ought to kick in.

 

Limits of authority regarding expectations for behavior

Q:  Does this apply only to rebuking those in willful sin, because in James it says not many of you should assume to be teachers?

·        Yes.  It depends on my line of authority.

·        As the head of my home in the raising of my children I will insist on compliance to expectations I would not expect with a brother or sister in Christ who’s not a member of my family.

·        As a physician you’ll expect compliance from the people who work for you that you would not expect from your patients.  So if you ask your nurse for a syringe or a piece of gauze and she says, “I’m not going to do it,” you’d say that may not be a biblical command, but we do have a problem.

 

Q:  What about in the body of Christ?

·        In the body of Christ the believer is free to do whatever the Bible does not prohibit.

·        That’s why it’s so important that we keep clear in our distinction between that with which we disagree and that with which we disapprove.

 

Q:  What if the elder in your congregation says I must do something?

·        Only within the parameters of the scriptures.  If the elders of your congregation say you ought to give all your money to them and they’ll decide how to spend it, you don’t have to.

 

Limits of authority regarding conscience and convictions

Q:  What if the elder insists you agree on certain doctrines?

·        Men, let me emphasize something.  Nobody surrenders his or her conscience or convictions to another person.  The wife does not to her husband.  The child does not to his parents.

·        The conscience and the convictions are exclusively the prerogative of God.

·        So if you ask me to keep silent regarding a conviction I have if I’m going to be part of your group, I can acquiesce [submit passively] to that, but if you ask me to make your conviction my conviction, you ask me something that you have no right to ask.  And no man should expect it of his family.

 

Q:  So are you saying that if a wife has a different conviction, she doesn’t have to submit?

·        No!  No!  No!  I didn’t say that at all!

·        The wife obeys the husband in everything other than the violating of the negative commandments.

 

Q:  So then in that case how could a wife not surrender her convictions?

·        We do it all the time.  We do it in all of our interpersonal relationships.

·        That is the nature of being in submission.

·        That’s the reason I did not want to be involved in the leadership of organizations – simply [because] I did not want to do that to my people, even though that was my right.  As a matter of fact, it was my job.

 

Q:  So in the earlier example, if the daughter gets spanked for correction, how does it work in heaven?  When we disobey do we receive correction or justice?

·        Forgiveness does not eliminate consequences.  Never has.  Never will.

·        If your daughter foolishly spends her money and asks, will you forgive me?

·        You say of course I’ll forgive you.

·        Then give me some more money.

·        No, that wasn’t part of the deal.

·        Eternal accountability has nothing to do with forgiveness.

·        It has nothing to do with discipline.  It’s just a consequence, giving an account.

·        Paul says [in Gal. 6:7], “Do not be deceived.  God is not mocked.  What a man sows, that he reaps.”

·        You’ve got the following conclusions you can make from that:

·        That takes place on this earth, in which case you’re no different from Job’s three friends, because that was their argument

·        Or Paul is wrong.  It’s not going to happen, in which case I’d say to you, “Good luck!”

·        Or the consequence – the reaping, that is – may take place here, but for sure in eternity.  And that’s where I will come down [stand].

 

Q:  Do you have any example of a wife not surrendering convictions to husband?

·        [If] I say to my wife, “I really think the elements in communion are the actual body and blood of Christ,” I have no Biblical right in saying she must have the same biblical conviction as well.

 

Decision-making authority and responsibility

Q:  What if the conviction involves a response in action?  [For example, if] I go home and I tell my wife that I have a strong conviction that God wants me to sell my house and move to Africa, and my wife says, “I don’t have that conviction,” but in action she has to submit [right?]

·        Absolutely.  Yes, and I would say further, no man should delegate determining the will of God to another person.  That’s his responsibility before God.  He can seek counsel.  He can even use counsel as a determining or decisive factor, providing he understands that the decision was not the counsel’s decision but his.  He and he alone answers to God for it.

 

Q:  Can you apply that to the body of Christ, if a leader has a particular conviction?  For example, he might have a conviction – not against the Bible – to preach the Gospel to a certain group of people, and we don’t have the same conviction, but we submit by working with that leader [right?]

·        Yes, because you can always leave the organization and do something else.  [So] you don’t have to submit to him.

·        It’s instructive that Luke in the Book of Acts at the Macedonian call [Acts 16:6-12], God called Paul, and “we sought to go.”  So God was doing the calling through Paul, but Paul’s conviction became Luke’s.  Earlier, Paul’s conviction did not become John Mark’s, so John Mark left [Acts 13:13].

 

Q:  What if a man decides to leave the decision to his wife?

·        That’s within his prerogative, but he has to understand that God will hold him accountable.

 

Q:  What if you make an unwillful mistake – you truly seek to obey God and you struggle to make a decision and later decide it was the wrong one?

·        My first question is how did you conclude it was the wrong path?

·        You certainly can’t do it through circumstances.  You walk by faith.  Life is a crapshoot.

 

Conscience and convictions

Q:  Are conscience and convictions the same, or can you use them interchangeably?

·        A lot of my convictions aren’t influenced by my conscience.

·        [For example,] I might be convinced that a passage means a certain thing, and my conscience may not be involved in it.  At least that’s how I think my mind works.

 

Q:  So we should never violate our conscience, but we can violate our convictions?

·        Part of growth in the Christian life is the altering of both, because your convictions are authoritative, but they are not absolute.

·        Your only absolute is God as he reveals Himself in scripture.

·        So you may have a conviction that it’s wrong to drink a glass of wine, but later change your conviction.

·        So I hope all of us would alter our convictions and conscience in the sanctification process.

 

Q:  Would you define conviction simply as something you feel strong about?

·        Yes.  I’m convinced it’s right.

 

Q:  But conscience is something you consider is right or wrong?

·        Right.  It has a dimension of morality to it that the other does not necessarily have.

 

Q:  How much should you influence other people’s convictions?  Or should you just stick with the essentials?  For example if you are trying to disciple someone or teach your kids, how much should you try to pass on convictions you have?

·        Seems to me that that’s one of the primary objectives I have as a husband, father and disciple-maker.

·        That’s why whenever I teach or preach or do anything, I pray, “O God, help me not to misrepresent You!”

 

Q:  So the way you teach is not dogmatic – you’re not making rules for us?

·        Some things I become dogmatic on, such as the commandments and my core.

·        The Bible is the inerrant Word of God.  I want with all my being to convince you that that’s the case.

 

 

[Third day’s morning break]

 

 

Foreknowledge and God’s eternal purpose (3:11)

·        God’s “eternal purpose” in 3:11 probably more than any other idea destroys and repudiates foreknowledge as the basis for which predestination takes place.

·        The Armenians say predestination depends on foreknowledge.

·        [They say] God knows I’ll believe ahead of time, so He predestined me.

·        This means God was a responder, not an initiator.

 

Faith, the great equalizing aspect of the Gospel

·        3:14 says we have boldness and access with confidence because of our faith in Him.

·        The question as we end the three chapters is, “How can I obtain this great treasure?”

·        Paul says, through faith in Jesus - the great egalitarian [equalizing] aspect of the Gospel.

·        I don’t need special knowledge, special intellect or special gifts.

·        I don’t even need to exercise self-control.  All I need is what anybody can offer: belief.

·        I believe You.  I trust You.  That’s the genius of the Gospel.  Obedience attests to my faith.

·        Story: a man was walking along the rim of the Grand Canyon and accidentally fell over the edge.

·        30 feet down he managed to grab a hold of a tree limb, but the drop was a mile to the bottom.

·        “Help!” he cried.  Then, a voice said, “Let go, and I’ll catch you.”

·        He thought and shouted, “Is anyone else up there?”

·        Really, though, he had no option.  Eventually he’s got to let go.

 

The dichotomy of the sovereignty of God and the responsibility of man

Q:  Are we all predestined to believe or not?

·        Yes and no.  We are still responsible

·        Nobody is comfortable with the tension of the sovereignty of God and the responsibility of man.

·        [It’s a dichotomy – something with seemingly contradictory qualities]

·        We tend to like more esoteric [difficult to understand] doctrines like the Trinity, because it doesn’t touch our moral sensibility.

·        The sovereignty of God and the responsibility of man strikes at the very core of our being.

·        Therefore, we wrestle with it, whether we are Armenian or Reformed.

·        In reality, all Christians agree that the tension exists.

·        For example, I’ve never heard a Calvinist say in evangelism, “This may not apply to you, but Christ died for the elect.”

·        I’ve never prayed with an Armenian who said in prayer, “God, I know you’d like to save this man, but you’re impotent, and there’s nothing you can do about it, and so the reason I’m praying is that I’m just kind of commiserating [feeling sorrow] with You, because of the fact that you can’t do anything with it.”  I’ve never heard anyone talk that way with God.

·        We believe both sides, we are just not comfortable with it.

 

Q:  Could our having a will after death be related to this issue?

·        Yes, but all was I was asking you to do is entertain the possibility.

·        I suggest you would be served well to entertain the possibility.

 

The manifold wisdom of God is displayed in all He does (3:10)

Q:  Is it the wisdom of God that a sinner can be seated in heaven with God and not make heaven dirty and violate his justice?

·        Yes, the genius of God – no other religion has ever sought to answer the question “how can God be both the just and the justifier?” [Rom. 3:26]

 

Q:  Is it the wisdom of God that sinners can be holy?

·        Yes

 

Q:  Is it also the wisdom of God that the enmity between Jews and Gentiles be destroyed and they form the same body

·        Yes.  All that God does manifests His wisdom.

 

Boldness and access with confidence through faith (3:12)

Q:  In 3:12 is the boldness and access with confidence related to assurance?

·        Yes.  Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace.”

 

More on the dichotomy of the sovereignty of God and the responsibility of man

·        The present reality of problems in the Church is simply disobedience on man’s part

·        Problems in the Church are our fault; Jesus is not behind schedule.

·        Part of bringing about the oneness is a command.

·        If people don’t receive the Gospel, at least we’ve done our part.

 

Win-win situation of Paul’s tribulations (3:13)

·        Verse 13 – I don’t want you to lose heart at my tribulations but rather glory in it.  My loss is your gain.

·        Your gain is my gain.  It’s a win-win situation.  Therein lies the glory of the matter.

·        The sufferings I have should not be a source of discouragement to you, but they should be quite the opposite.

 

Three-part and two-part views of the “inner man” (3:16)

Q:  What is “the inner man” of 3:16?

·        Where the Holy Spirit operates and dwells.

·        Rom. 7:22 – I delight in the law according to the inward man.

·        2 Cor. 4:16 – the inward man is being renewed day by day.

·        What does it mean?  What’s involved in it?

·        Two views:

·        [3-part man view]  Some argue that the higher powers of the soul – the reason, the mind, the spirit, the inner man – retain their integrity after the fall, but in themselves are too weak to gain their victory over the lower, psychic part of man, designated as the flesh or the soulish man, or the outward man.  [The argument is] namely, that this struggle goes on long before regeneration between good and evil inside of a person.

·        [2-part man view]  Others teach that the whole of the soul – the higher as well as the lower parts of the human nature – are both the seat and the subject of original sin, so that man is naturally disabled and made opposite to all spiritual good.  Therefore, says this second position, the conflict of which scripture speaks is not between our higher and lower nature, but between nature and what is not nature, that is it’s between the old and the new man.  The new principle is something supernatural, communicated by the Spirit of God rather than naturally present, because the sin of Adam did not adversely influence it.

 

Q:  So which view do you believe?

·        Is the second one total depravity?

·        The second one argues that the inner man is not the soul as opposed to the body, the rational as distinguished from the sensual, rather the inner man is the interior principle of spiritual life, the product of God in His power through His Spirit entering us and changing us.

·        Is man three parts or two parts?  Is he body, soul and spirit, or are soul and spirit the same?

·        Basically, the question of the inner man revolves around that issue or question.

·        The second option is saying that the inner man of which Paul is talking about is the regenerated man.

·        There are profound implications on the difference between man being a three part or two part [being]

·        I encourage you on your own to do some background study on that, so that it’s clear in your mind.

 

Q:  The second view would state that the unregenerate person has no inner man.  Is that right?

·        No.  Both views state that the unbeliever has an inner man.

·        The first view would say that that inner man is not adversely influenced by the fall.

·        The second view would say that that inner man when unregenerate is enslaved by sin.

·        The question is, when the Bible talks about the soul and the spirit, is he talking about the same thing or two different things?  And what difference does it make?

·        The three-part argument says that animals have soul – mind, will and emotions – but no spirit.

·        The two-part argument says that the soul and spirit are the same.

 

Q:  What about the dog and the cat [in the two-part view]?

·        He does not have a soul.

 

Q:  So the mind, will and emotions are not part of the soul?  Is that what it’s saying?

·        If you’re talking about whether a dog has a mind, will and emotion, then obviously that’d be the case.

 

Q:  I’m always amazed when you talk about man and animals.  We are the only animal that has the concept of God.  Does that mean anything?  Is this something about our soul or spirit?

·        Yes, and I would suggest to you that that is the reason why the argument that the soul is what we have in common with the animal is not accurate.

·        Jesus said, “What will it profit a man if he gains the world and loses his own soul?”

·        That’s the [Greek] word ‘psyche,’ from which we get psychology.

·        Spirit is an entirely different [Greek] word, ‘pneuma.’

·        I’m saying that they are synonyms.  I’m suggesting they’re synonyms.

·        But not everyone agrees, so I’m asking you why?

·        But rather than me going into that, let me suggest that as an object of your research at another time.

 

Q:  You are you suggesting that you believe in a 2-part [man]?

·        Correct.

·         

Q:  So you can say that your regenerated man needs strengthening [3:16] rather than your residual good inner man or so-called soul needs strengthening?

·        That’s exactly right.  Yes.

·        That goes back to whether we are inherently good or bad.

·        The first [3-part] view implies that there is some residual good.

 

Q:  Will this influence how you view Romans 7?

·        I’m not sure. I haven’t thought enough about that passage to comment.  I think I’ll take a pass on that.

·        I wanted to point it out, because it occurs 3 times – Rom. 7:22, 2 Cor. 4:16 and Eph. 3:16 – and it’s been a source of debate in the body of Christ for years and years.

·        I just wanted to call it to your attention.  I didn’t want to spend a day debating it.

·        It’s not my core, but it is in the next circle.  I think it’s important.  Not essential, but important.

 

Q:  If the first [3-part] view implies that man is basically good, wouldn’t it then become non-negotiable?

·        I would not exclude the Armenian from fellowship.

·        I would say that he’s missing an important but not essential ingredient.

·        A proper definition of election is also not a part of my core.  Mine, not yours.  Mine.

·        You can always find a Calvinist by when he falls down the stairs and when he gets backup he says, “I’m glad that’s over with.”

 

Q:  In 3:18, is it talking about now or in the future?

·        3:18 I want you to be able to grasp, comprehend now all these things.

 

 

[Third day’s lunch break]

 

 

Chapter 4

 

Beginning of the application section

·        3 ideas blend together in chapter 4: unity, equality and differences

·        Outline of chapter 4:

·        1-6 That which all believers have in common

·        7-16 What each person has to contribute to the common good

·        17-24 Hindrances of unity

·        25-32 Demonstration of unity

 

Q:  What do you understand to be the meaning of “vocation” or “calling” in verse 1?

·        Salvation.

 

Lowliness and gentleness in everyday life (4:2)

Q:  In 4:2, what is lowliness?

·        Modesty, having a humble opinion of oneself.

·        Meekness – gentle and mild and longsuffering, forbearing (sustain, bear up), constancy, patience, slow to avenge wrong.

 

Q:  What do they look like in every day life for you?

Q:  In what arena do you find the greatest difficulty in practicing them,
 assuming you are tested on occasion to violate them?

·        Some responses:

·        Driving.  Close family and friends, because the more you know them the harder it is.

·        Familiarity seems to causes it

·        You lose respect, which breeds contempt.

·        Nowhere to hide.  You have to do it every day.

 

Q:  Is it difficult because of union?

·        It sure tests it severely or destroys it.

·        A lot of it is that you have a vested interest in how that person performs.

 

More responses to question about difficulty in being lowly and gentle

·        When I forget that God is in control, I do not endure.

·        When I forget about eternal reward, I have trouble bearing up.

 

Awareness of depravity and empathy

·        My awareness of my own depravity and my own inability to meet my own expectations should make me willing to be kind and gentle with other people who fail as well.

·        Anger with others’ failings assumes that under the same set of circumstances you would not have done that.

 

Q:  Does that mean we should never be angry?

·        Depends on the reason: If you are angry because he’s hurting himself or because the cause of Christ is not upheld, it ‘s OK.  Be angry and do not sin.

 

Know your depravity or else you’ll risk trusting yourself instead of God

·        I don’t know about you men, but a great deal of my anger is directed at myself.

·        I know I’m a bumbling idiot, but it just infuriates me when I demonstrate it.

 

Q:  Is depravity always the absence of obedience?  Is it most of the time?  If not, what is it?

·        It’s my sinful nature. 

 

Q:  If you’re not disobeying, how do you know you are sinful?

Q:  Are all my manifestations expressions of my disobedience?

Q:  Is temptation an ingredient of depravity?  If so, why was Jesus tempted?

·        Paul said he kept all the law but was the chief sinner.

 

Q:  Can a man be depraved without disobeying?

Q:  What does it look like?

·        Thoughts of doing wrong.

 

Q:  Is the awareness of my capability depravity?

Q:  Are we saying that Jesus in the garden was depraved [had a sinful nature]?

·        Temptation and test are the same word in Greek.

·        A temptation is a test that you are in the process of failing.

·        Jesus was not depraved, but He was tempted.

 

Q:  How does your sinful nature express itself in a way that does not break the commandments?

·        I Cor. 4:3,4 says you can know when you have a bad motive but not a good one, so conscience has the ability to condemn but not absolve.

 

Q:  Have you ever said anything sincerely and without malice yet later regretted it, concluding that the words were inappropriate – thoughtless, dumb thing to say but not sin?

·        Rom. 7 – the good I want to do I do not, and the bad I don’t want to do I do.

 

Q:  Is this manifestation of depravity?

·        Yes.

·         

Q:  Is he breaking any commandments?

·        Not necessarily.

·        I would encourage you on your own, if you are in agreement with God that you are depraved, and if your depravity is more than the violation of the commandments, to think about this.

·        You should know what it looks like; or else you may not really believe you are depraved.

·        A man can say I’m the chief of sinners and not really believe it.

·        To say so theologically would be not be the same as acute awareness.

·        When my daughters were growing up, we did not want them dating Armenians.

·        A man who thinks he’s good I cannot trust.  And such a man I don’t want dating my daughter.

·        I want men who are aware in their sinfulness and who have no trust in themselves.

·        “We had the sentence of death ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises from the dead.” [2 Cor. 1:9]

 

The limits of unity of the Spirit (4:3) and when to discipline

Q:  Eph. 4:3 says, “Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
   What precludes unity?  Why can’t you have unity?

·        Wanting to have my way.

 

Q:  That assumes that the failure is your fault.  Is it always your fault?

·        No.  Sometimes it’s the other person’s problem.

·        Most doctrine and non-essentials are not grounds for breaking unity.

 

Q:  How can you have unity with disagreement?

·        It seems to me that there are certain things that force us to break the unity, like unrepentant sin.

·        If a man cheats on his wife and refuses to repent, unity is broken.

·        Also, you cannot have unity with a guy who does not want it.

·        Biblically, you should say that you have no enemies,
but that does not mean that people will not consider you their enemy.

·        You cannot be at peace with these two people:
a man who doesn’t want to be at peace and a man who refuses to live a repentant life.

·        In one case he doesn’t want to be at peace, and in the other you don't want to.

 

Q:  Do you apply Mt. 18:15-18 with your family?

·        If discipline is for the purpose of love, why would you love them less than anyone else?

 

Q:  Would not denominations be a hindrance to unity?

·        Denominations are not an endeavor to keep unity, but union.

 

Q:  What does discipline look like in the family?

·        Unless or until they repent, Paul says you don’t even have a meal with them [1 Cor. 5:11].

·        Rom. 12:18 says, “As far as possible, as much as it depends on you live at peace with all men.”

·        It’s not that you are not at peace with him, but he’s not at peace with you.

 

Q:  How many times you go to him and try to heal the breach?

·        That’s between you and God, but unless you did wrong, the problem is between him and God.

·        Assuming you’ve done nothing to grieve God or make him angry, you are OK.

·        Endeavor = keep working at it; it’s not natural.

·        There are times when you say it’s got to be on my terms or else we are not going to have it.

·        I remember reading a letter a few years ago from the National Council of Churches, which is an organization which seeks to unite all the denominations, and in their statement they said:

·        “We agree that there is a huge difference between essential and non-essential issues.  We further agree with you as to what those are.  And our unity is based on the fact that we will not impose our convictions regarding the essentials on you – that everybody can be persuaded in his own mind – because they are by nature essential.  We will, however, ask for you to comply with what we agree to be nonessential, and that becomes the basis for our unity.”

 

There are times when people seek it and you refuse to give it.

·        A man may be a professing Christian and a fornicator, so we disapprove.

·        I told a man I would not sit under a woman preacher,
because I will not create the impression of condoning that behavior.

·        He said life is too short.  For me the only deal-breaker is homosexuality.

·        There was no absence of unity between us,
but there was a huge difference in whom we seek unity with.

·        I’m not going to make his disagreement with my core issues a part of my core.

·        So I will not insist in you feeling the same about the commandments as I do.

·        Although you and I can be in unity, we won’t be in unity with the same people.

·        Therefore, keep our inner circle as tight as possible.

 

Q:  So obeying God trumps unity?

·        Never affirm an individual in the violating the commandments of God.

·        If a person breaks the commandments, I will not do anything to affirm the breaking of a command.

·        For me, sitting under a woman preacher affirms her violating the commandments, so I won’t do it.

·        You may be able to sit under her preaching and say you are not affirming,
but that’s between you and God.

·        However, never, ever affirm a person in the violating of the commandments.

·        Don’t ever do it.  I can’t think of a quicker way to live in eternal regret than to try that.

 

Q:  How would you not having union look if it were with your daughter?

·        My daughter would not be welcome in my home if she did that.

 

Q:  But you’d still love her?

·        Of course!  I’d do it because I love her.

 

Q:  So there’s no room for breaking a commandment?

·        Willful [breaking of a commandment]!

 

Dealing with women preachers and the breaking of commandments today

Q:  Will you treat those who disagree with your tight core in a heretical way?

Q:  Will you have unity with the heretic?

·        I’m schizophrenic and hypocritical, because the commandments of God are so ignored in my part of the world.

·        So I don’t know how to relate with that can of worms.

·        I’m not at peace with myself over what that ought to look like.

 

Q:  Is unity synonymous as having fellowship?

·        Yes.

 

Q:  So this means having fellowship even though you have disagreements?

·        Sure.  Yes.  Yes.  Yes, like my friend [who will sit under a woman preacher]

·        Wonderful friend – wonderful friendship and fellowship, but we just don’t agree on this.

 

Q:  So, women [not] preaching is part of your core, a non-negotiable [issue]?

·        [Yes,] because it’s one of the commandments.  The commandments are part of my core.

 

Your friend [who does not put women not preaching in his core] does not agree with your core

·        That is correct.

 

Q:  He permits a woman to violate a command, but in doing so he’s affirming a woman in sin, though, right?

·        I cannot accuse him of that.  That’s between him and God.

·        [He’s not] if he says to me, “No, Henrichsen, I’m not affirming her.”

 

But then he agrees it’s a command.

·        Everybody agrees it’s a command.  Commands are not ambiguous, my friend.

·        Even she will agree that it’s a command.  It’s still is a command, even if he calls it cultural.

·        Even is someone says it doesn’t apply today, it’s still a command.

·        In other words [she says], “I feel justified in breaking, but it is a command.”  Correct?

·        Let’s not be ambiguous with our language.  Either it’s a command or it isn’t a command.

 

Q:  So you both agree it’s a command?

·        That’s what she says.  That’s what the Bible says.

 

Q:  Your friend allows it to happen, though, so he supports the breaking of a command?

·        Right, so I say to you I’m schizophrenic.  I say I don’t know how to relate to the flagrant disregard for the commandments of God that I see around me.  I freely admit that.

·        He’s just saying to me that his line of tolerance exceeds mine.

 

Q:  If there were a command not to listen to a woman preacher, then you would break fellowship?

·        That’s where I’m schizophrenic.  The Bible says to wash feet, women have long hair, men have short hair, women not speak in church, and women cover their heads when praying or prophesying.

·        The Bible says there are certain requirements for a man to be an elder or deacon.

·        In my world, most vocational Christian workers do not meet the requirements.

·        How do I relate?  My friend’s wife’s hair is shorter than his is.

·        If I confronted this woman, she’s say,
“I never even considered it.  It’s not an issue for me.  Go away.”

 

Q:  At what point do you make an issue out of it?

·        Every man must draw the line at some point.

·        To be honest, I don’t know how to relate to the body of Christ.

 

Q:  We always talk about this every year.  Do you want to stop?

·        No.  We want to keep talking about it, because there are always questions about it.

·        Disregard for the commandments among professing Christians keeps getting worse, so it’s a bigger and bigger issue.

 

 

[Third day’s afternoon break]

 

 

The conscience is authoritative but not absolute

Q:  Some people would say, “My core is what my conscience says is a moral issue.  What would be your comment?  We’re talking about disobedience, where we draw the line.

·        He’s saying draw it on conscience, and I’ve heard this argument: “It does not offend my conscience.  Therefore it’s not wrong.”

·        Note with me that many, many of the commandments are not addressed by conscience.

·        The ones we talked about before the break fit in that category, such as requirements for elders, women preachers, etc.

·        But let me also remind you that honoring your mother and father is not an issue that is affirmed by conscience.

·        That’s why children today feel no compulsion [irresistible persistent impulse] to [not] dishonor their parents if they don’t feel they are worthy of honor.

·        Let me remind you that divorce is not addressed by conscience.

·        That’s why the religious leaders were surprised with the stance that Jesus took on it in Mt. 19.
[“What God has joined together, let not man separate … Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning that was not so.  And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for fornication, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery.”]

·        If you have a seemingly impossible marriage, and both of you agree to divorce and try it over, why not do it?  Conscience won’t address that.

·        We talked before about the fact that conscience is authoritative, but it can never be absolute.

·        And when a man moves to the position to where he only feels compelled to obey those commandments that are addressed by his conscience, he’s simply one half step from severing or searing [burning or injuring] his conscience.

·        You take homosexuality.  Show me a denomination which affirms the ordination of women, and I will show you a denomination who will then in 20-30 years will then affirm the ordination of homosexuals

·        Ones who will be at the vanguard [the forefront of a movement] of affirming it will be the ordained women, because after all, people like me are the male chauvinist pigs that they had to get rid of to get ordained in the first place.

 

How to deal with homosexuals and fornicators

Q:  Is there a difference in how we relate to a Christian or a non-Christian [homosexual]?  They’re my neighbors, and they’re nice.  I don’t mind talking to them or going to their house for dinner.  Is that correct?

·        Paul, when he finishes chapter 5 of 1st Corinthians, when he talks about the importance of disciplining fellow-believers, he makes it a point [in 5:13], saying that this does NOT include the non-Christian.  We don’t judge them.

 

Q:  Is it OK to say [to a brother who is fornicating] that according to 1 Cor. 6 immorality is against your own body, so it’s somehow worse than other sins?  Or would you just say we’re hypocrites?

·        I’m a hypocrite.  We start with that.

·        We know that when talking about getting into heaven, a sin’s a sin’s a sin.

·        But apart from that, there’s a huge difference between sins.

·        There’s a huge difference between having a lustful thought and going to bed with a woman,
a huge difference between being angry with somebody and killing him, so not all sins are the same.

·        All I say to such a man is – whatever it looks like – never affirm an individual in the violating of a command.

 

Q:  Do you think he will give account to God for what choice he makes?

·        [Yes,] but so will I.  He’s just simply saying, “I’m counting on it looking different from how you look at it.”  And he may be right.

·        But times are changing, and the sins in the US are spreading to Asia, so get ready for harder times.

 

Lack of unity is inexcusable (4:4,5)

Q:  What do 4:4,5 have to do with unity?

·        Paul is giving a rationale for unity.  After all, there’s only “one Lord, one faith, one Holy Spirit, one God and Father who is above all and through all and in you all.”

·        There’s only one body.  Jesus didn’t have 16 bodies.  Therefore, a lack of unity is inexcusable.

 

Does God give one or two types of grace (4:7)?

Q:  Does 4:7 mean the amount of grace dispensed differs in amount from one person to another?

·        [“But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift.”]

·        This grace is different from the grace of election in chapter 1, which is all or none.  So here, God dispenses grace in differing amounts.  [Not affirmed by Walt; he has never made this distinction.]

·        I’m accountable for what I am given, but He gives different amounts of grace.

·        So Paul is simply saying remember that when you talk about receiving more.

 

Q:  In Ph. 1:6, when Paul says, “Being confident of this that God will complete a good work in you and will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ,” is he saying that we can be certain that when God begins a work in a man’s life He’ll complete it?

·        The context was that he saw their track record over 10 years and felt good about their chances.

 

Q:  What about Demas?  He forsook Christ [2 Tim. 4:10].  What happened to the grace of God in his life?

·        [Some say] if you’re truly one of the elect, there is certainty, but you can’t be certain you’re one of the elect.

·        I’ve dealt with men who professed faith in Christ, walked with Christ, evangelized in the name of Christ and [then] abandoned Christ.

Q:  Would you say that the gift that was present in election was the same for everybody in that regard, or would you say that the gift of grace present in election differs from individual to individual in some mysterious way?

·        You and I know people who have all appearances [of following Christ] and then abandon God.

·        These people said Jesus is Lord, and Jesus said, “I never knew you.”

·        Now these people I’m talking about say, “I never knew Jesus.  I tried it.  I’m through.”

·        Would you say that the efficacious grace of God was never appropriated to such a man?

·        Paul said in 3:7 that his ministry was from grace.  This is similar to 4:7.

·        We want to distinguish it from salvific [bringing salvation] grace.

·        That’s the consensus I’m hearing [though not affirming].

 

Q:  We all agree that a man is not half-born.  Either he’s born or not born.  How about in the spiritual realm?  Are we saying that when God begins an efficacious work of grace in a man’s heart, He always culminates in conversion and eternal life?

·        I take that to be different from irresistible grace [4th part of Calvin’s TULIP] in that nobody thwarts the will of God.  If God wants you, you’re had, so to speak.  But that’s not the question I’m asking.

·        The answer I heard was there is a difference in the grace of salvation and the grace of spiritual gifts.

·        It’s not a third category [grace seeming to lead to salvation but not really]

·        I would have called it only one category.

 

Q:  So is it a myth or not a myth that you can fall from grace for your salvation?

·        From the sovereignty of God perspective, no.  From the responsibility of man, yes.

·        1 Peter – God will keep those who are called to the end [1 Pt. 1:2,5].

·        1 John – those who departed did not really belong to us [1 Jn. 2:19].

 

Q:  When John says they were never part of us, is he saying that God was never gracious to them in a salvific sense?  They flunked the grace of God.  They never were part of the elect.  Is that what he’s saying?

·        If one is part of the elect, he can never know, but if one is not part of the elect, he does not have the grace from God.

·        So Eph. 4:7 can say that a person can have the grace of God but then go away.

 

Q:  So it is not necessarily grace for salvation?

·        Well, I have never made that distinction.  Other people have made that distinction.

·        I created the impression of dividing grace into three parts.  I meant only to keep it as one part.

·        So people can act like Christians without the grace of God.

·        That’s the impression of John 2:19 – they left because they were never one of us.

 

Q:  So are you saying there is no distinction in the types of grace?

·        Why, apart from a desire for a theological distinction, would I conclude that they did differ?

 

Q:  So in all of Paul’s epistles’ greetings mentioning grace, are you saying all kinds of grace are salvific grace?

·        Eph. 4:29 – “Let no corrupt word proceed from your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.”

·        Like in the English language, so also in Biblical language the word grace is used in different ways.

·        Let your speech be seasoned with grace.  She was a very gracious hostess.

·        I understood 4:7 as being a grace that is dispensed by God, not a greeting, not a desire for good speech, but a gift from God.

 

Q:  The same as the Eph. 2:8 grace – for salvation?

·        My question is, why would I consider it differently?

 

Q:  In the greeting, what is Paul wishing?

·        God be gracious to you.

 

Q:  Can God be gracious to a man and not elect him?

·        What other grace is there besides salvation?

·        Paul says the grace is given in differing measures.

·        What he means by it we can’t agree, but that’s what he says.

 

Q:  So what do you think about verse 7?

·        I am desirous that we do not manage the text – “it can’t mean this because that is true”

 

Q:  How is this related to the context?

·        It says here the grace is a gift and is given in differing amounts to differing people.

·        He says this is the reason why the Bible says in verses 8-10.

·        Then he says in verse 11 gifted people that God gives to the Church for the equipping of the saints, that the saints may do the work of the ministry, the objective being that the body may be edified.

·        He doesn’t say in verse 11 He gave the grace of apostleship to some people in different measures, and He gave the grace of prophecy in certain measures to various people, etc.

·        The grace has nothing to do in this sentence here with these men.

·        God gives these men, it says, to the Church for the equipping of the saints, that the saints may do work the ministry, that the body might be edified.

·        But he precedes it by saying that he dispenses grace in differing amounts to people.

·        That’s why he said when He ascended on high, He led captivity captive and gave gifts to men.

 

The point of this discussion on grace

·        In part what I’m saying is that [if] I’m so committed to Reformed Theology, because I see the unprofitable peril of what that the opposite produces, that if I’m not careful, I will manage those texts which seem to call into question the reason I why I embrace Reformed Theology.

 

Q:  How do verses 11-13 support the argument that the grace in verse 7 is salvation grace?

·        It doesn’t.  The point is that he doesn’t make a connection.  He doesn’t connect it [11-13] to grace.

·        I didn’t say the gifts are not connected to grace.

·        I said that he [Paul] didn’t connect them.  He seemingly did not connect them.

 

Q:  How are we supposed to understand the measure of Christ’s gift then?

·        It may be in salvific grace, the amount He gives you may differ from another person.

·        So ‘gift’ of 4:7 is not necessarily related to the ‘gifts’ [of verse 8 or the gifted men who follow]

·        So we tend to think in verse 7 that “Christ’s gift” is a spiritual gift, but it doesn’t have to be, even though verses 11-12 are talking about spiritual gifts.

 

The danger of being too attached to a man-made system of theology

·        When we studied 1 Cor. 5 I asked the question, “When the disciplined individual is delivered unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus, when such a man is delivered unto Satan, does the Holy Spirit still live in him?”

·        If you say ‘yes,’ then you’re saying that the Holy Spirit continues to dwell in a man who’s been given to Satan.

·        If you say ‘no,’ then you say to me that the Spirit of God comes and goes in people’s lives.

·        And nobody wants to say that. 

·        I used that as an analogy to being so married to a theology that my understanding of a passage cannot be challenged.

·        One reason I enjoy liberal commentators is that they don’t care.

·        They’re very bright guys who’ve given themselves to study of these subjects, and they really don’t care.

·        They have no vested interest in this system.  They don’t have a system!

 

God’s partiality in giving enough grace to some people to be saved

Q:  If different amounts of grace for salvation are given to different people, will it affect their chances of being saved?

·        Sure!  That’s what I would suggest.

 

Q:  In the parable of the sower, of the four which ones saved and which ones lost?

·        1st two lost, but 3rd and 4th saved.

·        If 3rd is lost, then from where did he get his life?

·        The interesting thing about it is that we can’t agree.

·        We’ve never been able to agree, even after Jesus told us the meaning of the parable.

·        [Therefore,] why shouldn’t I say that God does that?

·        Because it makes one confused.

·        Grace is grace.  It all depends on God, whether initial or later.

·        God is not impartial when it comes to judging.  We all get the same standard.

·        But in every other way He is exceedingly partial.  He has favorites, and He has people that He hates.

 

Q:  So those who don’t have enough grace are not the elect, whereas those who have enough grace are the elect?

·        Yes, especially if we call elect/non-elect a heaven/hell issue.

 

Q:  Is there any other elect?

·        He calls Israel an elect nation, and we say that’s a beautiful illustration of God’s grace and election.

·        But as far as any individual Jew is concerned, why should he care?

 

Spiritual gifts and different amounts of grace to understand God’s Word

Q:  Does having a different gift mean a different amount of grace?

·        Yes.  Why not?

 

Q:  Can we say that the gift of apostleship is of greater grace than that of a comforter?

·        Paul was in a more favorable position than us.  He was taken to the third heaven.  He got to see these things first hand.  You and I have to walk by faith in a way that he didn’t have to.  He had an element of certainty to it that we never get.

·        So I’d say yes, why not?  But he has greater responsibility.

 

Q:  If God gives grace to a person but not enough to be saved, and he is not of the elect, then why even bother him any grace?  Is it for the sake of holding him accountable?

·        Eph. 1.  It calls attention to His greatness, and it’s for His pleasure.

 

Q:  So how does it affect me?  How does it make a difference?

·        The only difference it makes from my perspective is your ability to understand God’s Word.

·        To the man who says, “That’s not important to me,” then it makes no difference.

·        But to the degree that that is important to us, that is the reason why it’s important.

 

Q:  Should someone whose his gift is more prominent be careful to avoid thinking he has more grace than others?

·        Agreed.  Nor should you think that you’ve got more grace than another guy, because Paul says [in 1 Cor. 10:12], “If you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall.”

·        Gentlemen, I want to say that I look at the footprints of God in my life and I marvel.  I absolutely marvel at how infinitely good God has been to me, not only in what He’s given but also in what He’s refused to give me, and not only in what He has refused to give me, but in what He has insisted I not have even though I tried desperately to get it.

 

Q:  So how would you answer the question on Ph. 1:6?

·        I have every confidence that God who began a work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.  I have every confidence that when you die you will go to heaven.

·        I’ve got confidence, but it may not happen.

·        I had every confidence in a guy I led to Christ, and then he was living with a woman, and I called him.

·        He said, “I knew you were going to call me.  I just want to tell you before you get started that you can do whatever you want in terms of discipline.  I’ve read the passage.  I’ve memorized it, preached it.”

·        He said, “I don’t believe it.  Not any more.”

 

Q:  What does it mean, “He led captivity captive” or in the RSV, “He led a host of captives?” Who are these captives?  Probably he’s quoting from Ps. 68:18.  Does that help us answer the question?

[Discussion to follow on the next day.]

 

Well, gentlemen, having discussed irresistible grace and election, I want to close the day saying, “Good luck!”

 

 

[End of third day’s discussion]

 

 

Synopsis of where we’ve been from a brother in Shanghai

·        Regarding 3:14-21, the prayer is related to 3:13 (asking them not to faint).

·        The first three chapters teach salvation is by election, it's transcultural, and it's by grace.

·        Therefore, Gentiles enter into the promises of Abraham and his descendants.

·        Gentiles can enter the Church through a transcultural gospel.

·        Jews persecuted Paul because of his gospel.

·        Paul says they should not faint because of his imprisonment.

·        In fact, the Jews' rejection of the gospel enables Gentiles to gain.

·        Final glory goes to God, like in Romans 11.

 

Judaizers were a constant source of trouble to Paul wherever he went

Q:  To what extent were Paul’s problems caused by Judaism (rather than by the Judaizers)?

·        I’m not completely clear in my own mind.

·        Acts 15:1 begins with a statement that certain Jews said if a man was not circumcised, he could not be saved.

·        I don’t read that to mean that circumcision was essential for salvation, but rather that a person who is not circumcised could not consider himself to be saved.

·        Like evidence of salvation, not a condition.

·        For example, the absence of stealing does not get you to heaven,
but the presence of stealing means you’re not there, and so if you steal, you cannot be saved.

·        So he’s not arguing for a ‘works’ righteousness per se, but he’s simply saying that just as there are NT commands to be obeyed if we are going to call ourselves followers of Christ, so also these OT commands wrapped up in Judaism had to be obeyed.

·        As you know, these Judaizers – these Jewish Christians who insisted on compliance with the [Mosaic] Law – were source of consternation [dismay] to the apostle [Paul] in many of the places he ministered.

·        The unbelieving Jews and the Judaizers were part of the Jewish Christians.

·        My sense is that most Jewish Christians were to some extent Judaizers,
as evidenced by Paul having to rebuke Peter in Antioch.

 

Q:  But in Acts 15:1, they said if you are not circumcised you cannot be saved [i.e., a condition]

·        I would say, “If you continue to fornicate you cannot be saved.]

 

Q:  So was Paul being persecuted by the unbelieving Jews or by the Jewish converts?

·        Probably both, but certainly the Judaizers were a constant thorn in his side.

·        They were a very vexing aspect of his ministry.

·        It’s extraordinary that on two separate occasions he raised funds among churches to relieve the needs of the Judaizers in Jerusalem [Acts 11:28-30; 1 Cor. 16:1-4; 1 Cor. 9:1-5], and still they wanted his head on a platter.

 

Q:  In Phil. 1:15-18 are the competitors also the Judaizers?

·        I think so.

 

 

[Prayer before beginning chapter 4]

 

 

The captives whom Jesus led captive (4:8)

Q:  Eph 4:8 was probably taken from Psalm 68:18.  Of what importance is this? Who are the captives?  How is this related to the giving of gifts?

 

Q:  Why is it “received” in Psalms and “gave” in Eph 4:8?

·        One possibility is that the Hebrew word could be translated either way.

·        [Also see explanation below about David at Ziklag]

 

Background information and observations

·        [Ps. 68:18 – You have ascended on high, You have led captivity captive; You have received gifts among men, even from the rebellious, that the Lord God might dwell there.]

·        [David took the stronghold of Jerusalem from the Jebusites, and he called it the City of David (2 Sam. 5:6-9, 1 Chr. 11:4-7).  Not long afterward, he brought the ark of God to Jerusalem (2 Sam. 6:2-15, 1 Chr. 13:1-14, 15:1-16:43).  Then, he decided to build God a temple in Jerusalem (2 Sam. 7:1-17, 2 Chr. 17:1-15).]

·        Ps. 68 was [probably] due to David’s victory over the [rebellious] Jebusites, his enemies

·        Receiving gifts was from among the rebellious.

·        Probably all of them were rebellious, so in Paul’s mind the captives were all those in rebellion.

·        Jesus saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven (Lk. 10:18).

·        At Calvary He won the battle already over the evil spirits.

·        He took from the rebellious [demonic] authorities [locked up in Tartarus (2 Pt. 2:4,5) due to their fornication with human women (Gen. 6:2,4; 1 Pt. 3:19,20; Jude 6,7)] and redistributed it to believers, so as to build up the body and so that Christ could fill all things.

·        [Some people also interpret Ps. 68 and Eph. 4:7-10  to say that all in the promise of God were set free, so the captives were the believing Jews, the remnant], but the context of Psalm 68 seems to be dealing with David’s enemies he led captive.

·        In most of the world in those days, the victorious army participated in the spoils of war, so the leader distributed the spoils.

·        That was one of the compelling forces of Islam.  Men were attracted to the idea of plundering the spoils, like pirates.

·        David did that too at Ziklag, and some men got angry, because those who didn’t go still got spoils (1 Sam. 30:17-31).

·        Since David gave gifts [from the spoils after most all victories], Paul could use the word ‘gave’ in 4:8.

 

Where Jesus descended to (4:9)

Q:  What does ‘descended into the lower parts of the earth’ mean?

·        There are two possible interpretations:

·        Simple incarnation to earth

·        Descended into the deep of the earth to Satan’s throne

·        [There are at least three more:

·        Descended into the deep of the earth to Tartarus, the place where evil angels are locked up after they fornicate with human women (Gen. 6:2,4; 1 Pt. 3:19,20; Jude 6,7).

·        Descended into the deep of the earth to purgatory (2 Maccabbees 12:43-46).

·        Went to the spirits in prison and announced that the salvation plan was completed (1 Pt. 3:18-20)]

 

Q:  Is it your understanding of 1 Pt. 3:18-20 that between His death and resurrection, our Lord Jesus went into the underworld to a holding tank of saints in waiting and preached to them and set them free [third interpretation]?

·        If that were your understanding, then 4:8 would suggest that that was part of His mission.

·        But these were disobedient spirits (1 Pt 3:19,20)

·        Some people think these were souls in purgatory, based on 2 Mac. 12:43-46, part of the Apocrypha

·        However, the context of Ps. 68 is David’s enemies, so the gifts were part of the spoil that he gave to his own men, so none of these enemies were set free.

·        I can’t be dogmatic, but I think the enemies were enemies.

·        I called attention to it, because it’s a problematic passage, and like most problematic passages, you find people arguing about it.

 

Q:  Does this mean Jesus took something from the enemy and gave it to the saints?

·        God doesn’t have to, but He did.

 

The gifts Jesus gave (4:7-12)

Q:  Are the gifts of 4:8 related to the spiritual gifts of 11,12?

·        Yes

 

Q:  So it is true that Satan possesses some abilities or gifts to use with his demons?

·        Peter says he’s a roaring lion seeking one to devour (1 Pt. 5:8).  He’s powerful, seeking harm.

·        But always when he sets about to do something, it’s because God has sent him on that mission.

·        God said to Satan, “Have you seen my servant Job?” [Job 1:8, 2:3]

·        This was like throwing meat to hungry dog.

·        So any action the enemy takes is because God sent him.

·        In Rev. 9:1-10, when the demonic forces come out of the bottomless pit, they come out for a specific period of time [5 months] and then go back.

 

Q:  Are you saying that some of the fallen angels of Revelation 12 came down as the sons of God to marry the daughters of men in Genesis 6 but were sent to wait [in Tartarus] in the earth as mentioned in 1 Peter 3 until the time when Christ was victorious, as mentioned in Ephesians 4, so that He went down to proclaim His victory and take their spiritual weapons and then distribute them as gifts to the church, so the body of Christ could be built up and God glorified?

·        There is no need to connect all these verses, although it may be the case.

·        So the individual gifts in the body are not an end in themselves but merely a means to building up the body into maturity.

 

Q:  Is 4:11,12 about vocational and lay people?

·        No, this does not necessitate any of these people being full-time.

 

Q:  Why are we given this list?

·        Most of the gifts in 1 Corinthians 12:7-11 emphasize what God has distributed to the people.

·        Here, it’s what God has distributed for the people.

 

Observations about spiritual gifts

·        Evangelists are both to evangelize and teach others to evangelize.

·        The men in 4:11 are given for equipping the body.  I’m not suggesting that they do not do ministry.

·        If parenthood teaches us anything, it teaches us that the follower of Christ most not only be a disciple but a disciple-maker.  Every father has the responsibility of discipling his children.

·        In that we see that it is the intent of God Almighty that we not only go into all the world to preach the gospel to all creation, but also that we teach them all things.

 

Q:  Is there a difference between sheep and laborers?

·        Yes, but we should not make a distinction.

·        Part of what the pastor and the teacher hope for is that the sheep become disciples.

·        I think Jesus said strongly to Peter, “I want those sheep fed.”

·        You are my disciples if you continue in My Word.  A disciple feeds himself.

·        We can be both at the same time, but it should not be essential.

·        This is why I’m so appreciative of the dysfunctional local church.

·        For most Christians, attendance at the local church is the only exposure they’ll get to the Word of God all week.  It should not be that way, but it is.

 

Unity, union and strange doctrines (4:13-16)

Q:  In 4:13, is this unity the same unity we talked of in 4:3-6 earlier?

·        Yes.  “Union” does not appear at all in the KJV.

·        In the NIV and RSV it appears twice: in Zech. 11:7,14

·        There are illustrations that suggest union, so I suggest there is nothing wrong with union.

·        But unity is essential.  Union is optional.

 

Q:  Can we legitimately call ourselves the body of Christ?

·        All of us agree that we are an expression of the body

·        Are you suggesting we are half a body?

 

Q:  What is union?

·        You take a dog and a cat, tie them together by their tails and throw them over a clothesline.

·        Then, you have union but not unity.

 

Q:  Will we have unity in heaven?

·        It depends on whether we’ll bring our will into heaven.

 

Q:  What does 4:14 mean?

·        This tells us which doctrines not to believe.

·        It seems to me that the men you ought shun are not those who come up with a strange doctrine but those who come with an agenda, trying to deceive for the purpose of manipulating, like guys who talk you into going to South America to drink Kool-Aid.

·        If a man comes up with a crazy idea, and if he’s in the Word of God, he will rectify himself.

·        What about a guy not under a church and teaching?

·        The man who wants to receive glory is undone [in great trouble with God].

 

Q:  Is there a legitimate agenda?

·        Yes.  4:13 [“come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man…”]

 

Matrix of ministries

·        Nobody in this room is the product of a single man’s ministry.

·        All of us come from a matrix of ministries, orchestrated by the Holy Spirit.

·        It may start with a godly grandmother before you were born.

·        It’s as varied as a snowflake or a fingerprint.  Each man’s story is different.

·        Two things to remember:

·        Expose friends to friends, give away relationships

·  Because it is the matrix of ministries that makes the man of God, one of the most important things we can do is give away relationships.

·  When your friend becomes a friend of your friends, that improves the matrix.

·  So if we can expose ourselves to others, the cause of Christ is served.

·        Don’t feel bad when people leave

·  The ministry is like a train.  There are people getting off and people getting on.

·  It should not bother you when people get off.

·  Otherwise, soon you won’t have room for people getting on.

·  So when men get off, don’t take it personally.

·  Just be amazed that they stayed on as long as they did.

 

Q:  How about if your train car is empty?  It is difficult if you’ve spent a lot of time with a man.  It’s hard not to take it personally.  You know when things have changed.  There’s a coldness.

·        When John the Baptist was faced with this problem, he said, “He must increase, but I must decrease.”  [Jn. 3:30]

·        To the degree that you are less important and Christ is more important, you know you are succeeding.

 

More tips on ministering and affirming

·        You may find yourself ministering to men who will never be a part of your local congregation.

·        We should be proactive in affirming men in whatever they want to do if they are not violating scripture.

 

Limits of accountability

Three kinds of accountability:

1.      If I sin, you come to me whether I want you to come or not

2.      I ask you to watch for my soul as they that must give an account.  I want you to have permission to address anything you see that is counter-productive

3.      I’m going to ask you what you think and use your counsel as my urim and thummim.  I won’t tell him this, but I’ll ask.  Nobody wants to play Holy Spirit in another man’s life.

 

Accountability suggestions

·        If the man says, “I think God wants me to open a coffee shop,” I won’t go to him.

·        I have said to my [adult] children and son and daughter-in-law. “I need your counsel. How are we going to relate?”

·        If I see you involved in something counter-productive, do you want me to call it to your attention?

·        If so, then don’t get mad at me when I do.

 

Q:  What if a guy says, “Yes, I want you to call things to my attention,” but then “no” afterwards?

·        Gal 4:16 – “Have I become your enemy because I tell you the truth?”

 

Q:  As parents, do we automatically do 1 & 2?

·        When under my authority, yes.  When not, no.

 

Q:  When does that happen?

·        The Bible doesn’t tell us.

·        You only need counsel if you don’t have confidence.

·        For me, the line is ‘as long as they are feeding in my trough.’

 

Q:  For #2, is accountability usually unidirectional or bi-directional?

·        Accountability does not have to be reciprocal.

·        If I ask you to watch for my soul, you’re not obligated to ask me to watch for your soul.

·        A vivid illustration is when Absolom stole the kingdom, and he was killed, and David bemoaned his death.  Joab came to him and told him, “If you don’t clean up your act and stop your sniveling you’re going to lose the kingdom.” (2 Sam. 18:31-19:8).

·        My sense is he never forgave Joab for that (1 Ki. 2:5,6).

·        Joab took a liberty that he had no right to take.

 

Q:  Wasn’t Joab trying to serve the whole kingdom, though?  It could have led to disaster.

·        At no time will the fate of any individual or organization rest on your shoulders.

 

Q:  But Pr. 24:11,12 says, “Rescue those being led away to death.  Hold back those staggering towards slaughter.  If we say we knew nothing about this, doe not He who weighs the heart perceive it?  Does not He who guards your life know it?  Will he not repay each person according to what he has done?”  So if I see something – someone is in trouble – and I just remain silent, I’ll be accountable, don’t you think?

·        Pr. 26:17 – He who passes by and meddles with strife belonging not to him is like one that takes a dog by the ears. 

·        Be careful!  I can’t tell you where that line is.  If you’re not careful, you’ll get bit!

 

Speaking the truth in love (4:16)

Q:  Where is your greatest challenge in speaking the truth in love (4:16)?

·        [One brother:]  Not speaking up for fear of breaking the relationship.

 

Q:  Do you agree that doctrine is ambiguous?

·        On a doctrinal issue you take the issue irrespective of how the guy will take it.

·        [Same brother:]  I take the relationship into account.

 

Q: When people in the body disobey the commandments, will you go to them and ask them about it?

·        [Same brother:]  If they ask.

·        You have modified the parameters.

·        You are very close to someone who loves God, and her daughter cuts her hair short.

·        Will you call it to their attention?

·        The daughter is easier than the wife.  But I should do it.  It’s great I don’t have this problem.

·        There is an emotional aspect – when, how you say it.

·        [2nd brother:] My wife once said, “I know it was wrong, but you could have said it privately in a nicer way.”

·        There’s never an excuse to belittle, humiliate, embarrass, ridicule or say something at another person’s expense.  It’s absolutely inexcusable when others do it to you.

·        However, if my wife said to me, “You’re teaching me,” why wouldn’t I say to her, “Of course, I’m teaching you.  Are you saying that I shouldn’t teach?”

·        I guess one of the questions has to be, would my wife if she were sitting here tell you that I allow her to teach me?  Do I appear teachable – not to myself – but to my family?

·        Do my kids call me teachable?  I may think I’m teachable, but my family may say “no, not at all”.

·        [3rd brother:] I think what is difficult in loving is the subjective element in how people respond.

·        If I heard the 1st brother correctly, he said that’s the challenge.  Exactly!

 

4:17-24 breaking with the past

17-32: 13 things I don’t want you to do and 14 things he says I do want you to do.

 

 

[Fourth day’s morning break]

 

 

Q:  4:13 – when will this unity finally be accomplished?

·        For sure not before the end of the eschaton [age], but after that, maybe, depending on if we have a will in eternity.

·        Let’s say you have a will in eternity.  Just because you are the obedient servant of Jesus Christ, that doesn’t mean you have to like me.

·        So we need to continually strive for unity in that sense, drawing from His grace and power.

·        Yes.  You might say to me in eternity, Henrichsen, I didn’t like you much in the last life.  I like you even less in this one.

·        That’s a distinct possibility.

 

Vanity / futility of the unbelievers’ minds (4:17)

Q:  The unity of the soul with the spirit heart and mind would lead me to believe that the vanity or futility of their minds that he is talking about is the whole person.  It is a moral as well as an intellectual worthlessness he discusses here.  So, its the total person, the soul and the spirit, that’s included in the mind.  Would you agree or disagree with that?

·        Excluded from the life of God [4:18] would mean the totality of the person.

 

Q:  He’s saying in 4:17 don’t emulate the gentile, right?  Do you think it’s don’t emulate him in his soulish psyche, or don’t I emulate him in the totality of his worthlessness?

·        I won’t push it, but think about that.  This is where from my point of view it becomes important.

·        Coming from your training [Reformed?], I would assume that total depravity means that there is no spark of good in them.  They’re dead, and dead men do not have sparks of goodness in them, so therefore the distinction between the soul and spirit is a moot question.

 

Q:  If it [the futility of their mind] meant the totality of the man, wouldn’t that mean that you’d effectively need to isolate yourself from society, so the thinking of the guy next to you couldn’t influence you?  Whereas, if it’s separate, at least I can learn from a non-Christian some amoral issues like how to invest in stocks?

·        The Bible does not suggest that the unregenerate is void of natural wisdom.

·        He’s just void of spiritual wisdom.

·        Martin Luther was taught that it was what he did that was going to determine whether he’s going to go to heaven or hell, so he isolated himself from society as you suggest.  He went to the monastery.

·        Of course he realized to his horror that he brought the world with him into the cell.

·        So I don’t think anybody would be suggesting that.  At least I hope not.

 

Q:  So if it were the totality, and Paul is saying to stay away from that [in verse 17], then how would you apply that?

·        Well I would apply it in one way for sure in not encouraging such an individual in the direction of self-reformation.

 

Q:  You mean like Alcoholics Anonymous?

·        Right.  [However,] Alcoholics Anonymous was started as a Christian outreach, and in many segments, that’s exactly what it is.  I know a guy very successful in evangelism in it.

·        But I would not protest to try to get the Philistines to close the abortion clinics, or vote against gay marriages, or, or, or…

·        Because our hope is that their depravity will become so aware to them that it will bring them to repentance.

 

Darkened understanding and being calloused (4:18)

Q:  Can you comment on their “having their understanding darkened” and “being calloused” [past feeling] (4:18,19)?  How can they be ignorant if they were dumb on purpose?

·        Paul uses the voice, doesn’t he?  They had impaired or darkened minds.  They were born dead.

·        It’s for that reason that they’re ignorant.

·        I cross-referenced it with 1 Cor. 2:14 – “The natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him.  Neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”

·        So it seems to me that spiritual regeneration is necessary for spiritual discernment.

·        Romans 3 mentions 4 character qualities – none righteous, none understand, none seek God, none fear.

·        When you find an individual with any of the 4 ingredients present, though he may not be a Christian, but the Spirit of God is at work in Him, because the natural man does not have these.

 

Q:  How would you explain a person who is falling away?  You’ve worked with him, and he seems to get it, but then he goes back.  I wouldn’t call that person ignorant, because he has some knowledge.  What happened there?

·        Scripture so graphically portrays him: he’s like a dog that returns to its vomit (2 Pt. 2:20-22).

·        We talked at great length about the absence or presence of grace in that man’s life.

·        I don’t think we ought to go back there again.  I think that’s precisely the conundrum [dilemma].

·        How do you evaluate such phenomenon?  I don’t know.

 

Q:  In 4:19 the KJV says, “past feeling”; the RSV/NASB says “calloused.”  What does he look like?

·        Doesn’t hurt, doesn’t care.  If I build calluses on my hands, then my hands don’t hurt when I work.

·        They don’t even feel there’s natural law.  They have given themselves over so sin.

·        Point: when a man ceases to feel pain, that’s were he goes.

·        The nature of the soul in itself has no source of any good.

·        Romans 1 – God leaves these people to their own appetites.

·        God punishes sin by giving people what they want.

·        Like at Kadesh Barnea – want to die in the wilderness?  Then there you will die.

·        Want me to take care of the kids?  Then I’ll take care of the kids for you.

 

Learning Christ (4:20)

Q: “You have not so learned Christ” – How do you learn a person?

·        It takes time.  The other person has to reveal something.  That’s why dead men do not see it.

 

“IF indeed you have heard and been taught by Him” (4:21) – big assumption.

·         

Put off the old man (4:22)

·        Some Christians in US say when a man sins he’s just lost awareness of who he is – the Deeper Life Movement – Ian Thomas, Norman Grubb, Keswick Movement

·        If there were no such thing as an old nature fighting the new nature, then these words would not be necessary.

 

Truth and absolutes related to righteousness and holiness

Q:  What is the definition of “truth” as mentioned in 4:15, 21, 24, 25?  Biblical truth?

Q:  Is there such a thing as unbiblical truth?

·        Scientists would say so.

·        Jesus said I am the way and the truth and the life.

·        Truth requires a standard.  You cannot have truth without a standard.

·        How long is this table?  It is 96 inches.  But that assumes a standard

·        Everybody believes that truth is absolute.

·        That’s why Judeo-Christian truth brought about the scientific method.

·        There is truth in everything.  A law is just an explanation of truth.

·        So people who do not believe in absolute truth are not being truthful.  They do believe it.

·        Alan Bloom wrote a book, “The Closing of the American Mind” in which he was arguing that skepticism destroys the scientific method.

·        He argued that you’ve got to assume that truth is absolute to be a scientist.

·        Thus, truth is in a context of building up the body.

·        So in 4:24 righteousness and holiness are the products of applying truth.

 

Q: What standard do you use to determine righteousness and holiness?

Q:  “There are 27 books of the NT” – how does this statement influence your righteousness and holiness?

·        2 Tim. 3:16,17

·        I suggest that understanding John 1:1 helps you understand the source of truth,
but it does not help you become righteous and holy.

·        4:25-32 will help, because he tells you what a righteous and holy man will look like.

·        You don’t lie, you don’t let the son go down on your anger, you don’t grieve the Holy Spirit, and you put off bitterness.

·        So the gentiles don’t do 4:25-32 because they don’t believe it.

·        Abraham believed and it was imputed to him for righteousness.  Believing is always volitional.

·        Jn. 17:17 – “Sanctify them by the truth.  Your Word is truth.”

·        Jesus says if you do what I ask you to do, then you’ll know what is right.

·        But if you are not willing to do what I do, then you won’t know what’s right.

·        Rom. 1 – truth from creation, Rom. 2 – truth from conscience.

 

Q:  John 1:1 does not help me be righteous; what helps me understand the standard by which we become holy and righteous?

·        From Genesis to Revelation, what makes a man holy and righteous is not doctrine but obedience.

·        Paul said the OT is true, and the Judaizers said, “Why don’t you circumcise, then?”

·        Paul said, “Jesus and I had a conversation about it.”  So you can see why it was not well received.

 

Lying and bargaining (4:25)

Q:  4:25 – “put off lying” – can you comment on that?

·        What is the motivation to lying?

·        One brother said the difficulty of speaking the truth in love is that we want to preserve relationships, caring more about pleasing others than God.

·        Even if I am not trying to please men, I dare not run over others telling truth [be insensitive]

·        We lie for other reasons – to deceive or manipulate.

·        There are a lot of ways to be kind without lying.

·        The challenge is to say it well.

 

Q:  Is hypocrisy a form of lying?

·        Yes.

 

Q:  How about in bargaining in business?  Is it OK?

·        Mt. 10:16 – “be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.”

·        It’s OK if in your heart you are trying to serve rather than seek personal gain.

·        But that does not mean it’s right.  My sense is that God does not want us to figure that out.

·        In many cases the institution requires that you do things that are good for the institution, like making the numbers look good.

·        I go to certain parts of the world, and I bargain before I buy.

·        If I get the price ridiculously low, I feel good about that.

·        One day as I was giving to the Lord, He asked me, “Why do you feel good about giving to Me and also feel good about trying to cheat My servants?”  I said “ouch.”

 

Q:  What if it’s my job as a buyer at a company to bargain?

·        Be very careful when it comes to self-justification

·        He doesn’t want self-justification or an easy answer.

 

Q:  Any suggestions how to grow in this area?

·        Remind ourselves that we will give account for every word we say.

·        Always be sure that when you go before God you can say that you had his best interests at heart.

·        We all face many difficulties like this.

·        My sense is that God doesn’t want questions like this answered.

·        The golden rule helps in many situations.  [“Do to others as you’d have them do to you.” Mt. 7:12]

·        I know that if God were completely honest with me about myself He would destroy me.

 

Stealing (4:28)

·        Be careful that you do not steal from a man because you can get away with it.

·        God says it is more blessed to give than receive – not because you feel good but because He said it is.

 

The Holy Spirit and conscience

·        4:30 “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God” – any sin you commit violates your conscience

·        You do this because the Holy Spirit speaks to your conscience.

 

Anger (4:26)

Q:  4:26 – Is it sin if you let the sun go down on my anger?

·        There are various kinds of anger.

·        Generally speaking, fear is directed toward the future and anger toward the past.

·        They have in common that you don’t like what’s happening.

·        Jesus had righteous anger, so sometimes we can be angry.

 

Q:  What about when you are angry with yourself?

·        If you are angry for the wrong reason and/or don’t handle it well, you sin.

·        4:31 ties it with wrath.

·        It often just happens without delay.

 

4:29 – Don’t let any putrid talk come out of your mouths.

 

Heart, tongue and unity

·        One brother said 4:17-24 deals with the mind and heart, and 4:18-31 deals with the tongue.

·        The context of chapter 4 is unity in the church.

·        So maintain unity, we have to be mindful with the things in our heart and then our tongue.

 

Q:  Can you give an illustration of being angry and not sinning?

·        Have you ever seen a man or woman profess his faith in Christ and seemingly willfully violate the commands of God so that you know it is going to hurt them badly?

·        For example, a sister in Christ gives her heart away to a non-Christian.

·        A huge portion of my anger is towards myself, because I’m a stupid man.

·        Nevertheless there are times I think I’m angry for causes I feel justified for, such as the wholesale neglect of the commands.

·        Anger towards self could be an example of 4:26.

·        In the book, Pride and Prejudice, the father had a habit of regretting things and expressing self-anger.

·        But he’d say, “That’s alright.  It will pass.”  Most self-anger is like that.  It will soon pass.

 

Q:  I required my children to memorize 4:32 [Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you], and then found them quoting it to each other.  My question is therefore, what are the characteristics of tenderheartedness?  How do you identify it in your life or others? 

·        Weep with those who weep.  This is easier than rejoicing with those who rejoice (Rom. 12:15).

 

 

[Fourth day’s lunch break]

 

 

Q:  How define tenderhearted?

 

Bitterness (4:31)

Q:  Why would a person be bitter?

·        He’s hurt.  Bitterness is a poison that a man swallows, hoping to kill the other person.

 

Q:  Apart from God not wanting you to be bitter, why should you not be bitter?

·        It hurts you, but it always feels good.

·        There is something very soothing and enjoyable with self-pity.

·        If God is in control of your life and decides the hurt that comes into your life, then to be angry or bitter toward a person is to be angry toward the wrong person.

·        The Bible is full of illustrations of people being angry with God – like Lamentations, Habakkuk – “How could you send the Babylonians after us?”  Not a happy camper.

·        I suggest to you, gentlemen, there is nothing being wrong with being angry at God, as long as you don’t threaten Him.  That’s a quick way to hell.

·        For example: “God if you’re going to give my wife cancer, then that’s it with us.”

 

Q:  Is complaining to God OK?

·        It’s OK as long as don’t threaten Him.  Like, “If you do this, I’m not going to worship you.”

·        Jesus sure did: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” [Mt. 27:46]  Isn’t that a complaint?

·        1 Cor. 10:10 – [(Let us not) complain, as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer.]

·        If it calls into question the goodness of God, then I think you are in trouble.

·        Bitterness toward God is a form of threatening Him.

 

Tenderheartedness (4:32)

·        Let me suggest that tenderheartedness in the final analysis is vertical even though 4:32 applies it horizontally.

·        Perpetual brokenness and repentance is an irreversible minimum for tenderness, but the vertical plays out in the horizontal.  Like Ps. 51:17 – “A broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.”

·        Repentance is not just an act.  It’s a state of being.

·        The thing that makes me tender toward God is the knowledge of who He is and who I am.

·        Maybe I’m different from others, but it’s then when I’m undone, I’m broken.

·        Most of the time when I’m angry, it’s because I fail to recognize who I am.

·        Not all, but most anger is directed toward God and how He runs His universe.

 

 

Chapter 5

 

Outline of chapters 5 and 6

·        5:1-14 free from vice

·        5:15-21 filled with the Spirit

·        5:22-33 family relationships

·        6:1-3 family relationships continued

·        6:11-18 fighting the devil

 

Self-sacrifice and love (5:1,2)

Q:  In 5:1,2 is there a difference between offering and sacrifice?

·        Offering – after the harvest; sacrifice – blood

 

Q:  Does the Bible tell us whether or not God enjoyed the smell of burnt offerings?

·        Gen 8:20-22 – Noah offered burnt offerings … and the Lord smelled the soothing aroma …

·        A sacrifice is an extreme form of obedience.

·        In Isaiah 1 He said your offerings are odious, because your heart is not with Me.

·        I suggest the thing that makes it sweet smelling is that He gave Himself.

·        It was a freely given sacrifice.  And Paul said it was an odor that God enjoyed.

 

Q:  What is the relationship between loving as Christ loved us and self-sacrifice?

Q:  Is all love is sacrificial?  Is that the definition of love?

·        No.  It’s not always but sometimes it’s expressed as such.

·        Jn. 12:24 – kernel of wheat must die.

·        Eros love is not in the Bible; it’s antithetical to all love of the Bible

 

Q:  Does agape love require sacrifice?

·        Does every act of love toward your wife require sacrifice?

·        Example: if I have 2 billion dollars and give 1 million to someone, it may or may not require sacrifice.

·        If a person does not sacrifice, though, you won’t feel he really loves you.

 

Q:  If your next-door neighbor sees you downtown, and you offer him a ride home, is that an act of love?

·        Yes.

 

Q:  Where’s the sacrifice?

·        A spoonful of gas.

·        It becomes a sacrifice when you are not in agreement.

 

Q:  Would you say that man’s agape love for his wife is not natural?

·        Sacrifice by definition has an expectation of return.

·        So love seeks the best good of another and does not expect returned benefits from that person.

·        In your part of the world, to give a gift when visiting a home is appropriate,
but it must be proportional so that the person does not feel obligated to give more than planned.

·        Thus, to give sacrificially may not necessarily be in love.  It is just fulfilling an obligation.

·        The question is not can love be sacrificial.  The question is does it have to be?

 

Q:  Don’t you have to have the Spirit [to agape]?

·        Are you suggesting that the non-Christian cannot agape?

·        The pagan mother who protects her child at great cost, maybe even her own life – how is such a thing possible?

 

Q:  Does agape just mean seeking someone else’s good or is there a divine element?

·        The former.

 

Q:  Then if the pagan does that with her child, then what is it?

·        She would say it’s motherhood.

·        John 15:13 – greater love has no one than this that he lay down his life for a friend or daughter.

·        A non-Christian cannot live a life of perpetual self-sacrifice, because that requires an eternal hope.

·        But he/she can love sacrificially.

 

Covetousness and fornication (5:3,5)

Q:  In 5:3,5 Paul says basically the same thing.  Why do you think he does that – cover it twice?

·        Verse 5 gives the reason for verse 3 – they will have no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.

·        Emphasizing the importance of the content.

 

Q:  Is there always a link between fornicators, unclean, covetous and idolaters?

·        Yes, these things keep you out of the kingdom.

·        One thing is for sure: illicit sex is an environment in which all three meet.

·        That is, if I have sex outside marriage, then I am a fornicator, I am impure and I am a covetous man.

·        The three are not synonyms, but when you commit the first, you commit the other two.

 

Q:  What is the difference between desire and coveting?

·        Coveting is wanting something that is not your own.  Desiring can be legitimate.

·        Remember, because God wants you to have a temporal hope, coveting is one of the most difficult sins to identify in your life.

·        In this case [5:3,5], it is bad because I am desiring that which God expressly forbids.

·        Because covetousness is not identified by the senses, as Paul says in Rom. 7:7,
it is one vice that most Christians in the Church call a virtue.

·        Note also that covetousness and competition are not synonyms, but they live in the same house.

·        Most competition is covetousness.  That’s why you see grown men cry.

·        They coveted the prize, and they missed it.

·        Covetousness is another word for ambition.

·        Godly ambition: if it’s to be His obedient slave, then there’s no problem.

·        The line between covetousness and temporal hope is real but invisible.

 

Q:  Is it a matter of motivation rather than what you desire?

·        I don’t know.

·        I encourage all of you to have an agreement with God, “I’m going to ask You for everything – [because James 4:2 says] ‘you ask not, because you have not’, but I beg You not to give it unless You want me to have it.  Don’t grant me my request and send leanness to my soul!”

 

Q:  Why does he repeat [the mention of fornication and covetousness in] 5:3,5?

·        The same reason he repeat the commands to the husband – because we are such slow learners.

 

Q:  Is the idolatry related to all three or just the 3rd?

·        I think the first two [fornication and all uncleanness] are manifestations of the third [covetousness].

·        In the Greek and RSV it seems they all are.

 

Q:  Can you give me an illustration of illicit sex that is not covetousness?

·        If forced to at gunpoint.

 

Q:  When a man gives himself to impurity – pornographic literature, for example – is that or is it not covetousness?

·        It is, because if you are not content with what God has given you, there’s no need to.

·        If I have such a hard time drawing the line between temporal hope and covetousness,
then why would I want to do something that is obviously covetousness?

 

Q:  How would you advise a guy who is looking at Internet pornography?

·        If a man says to you, “I’m a follower of Christ, but I do not love my wife, and I care not what the Bible says about it,” then in this case, you discipline him, because he tells you [he’s a willfully sinner]. 

·        But in other cases you cannot tell a man he doesn’t love his wife.

 

Humor and laughter (5:4)

Q:  5:4 says to not have silly talk / coarse talking and jesting / levity / humorous pleasantries intended to be humorous but silly.  Who are some people in the Bible who come to your mind when you want to illustrate laughing?

·        Ps. 2:4 – God laughs here and in other psalms and proverbs

·        But in every instance it is an act of derision [the use of ridicule or scorn to show contempt, despising]

 

Q:  Can a man be in excruciating pain and rejoice?

·        Mt. 5:11,12 – “Rejoice and be exceedingly glad”
[“when reviled … b/c great is your reward in heaven”].

·        [Gen. 18:12] – Sarah laughed in unbelief [when she heard the Lord say she would have a son].

·        It’s interesting how little laughing, jesting and joking have a play in scripture.

·        Lk. 6:21 – “Blessed are you who weep (klaio in Greek – mourn, lament), for one day you shall laugh”

·        Ecc. 2:1-2 laughter makes a man mad and lose his sanity.

·        5:4 is not talking about innocent humor but using obscene speech to cheer others up.

·        It’s possibly related to 3:3,5 – which are related to immoral uncleanness.

·        I have no problem with laughter or joking unless the Bible prohibits it.

·        Sometimes humor can help people when they are tense to relax and not worry too much.

·        Yep.  God knows I laugh.

 

Relating to people with empty words (5:6,7)

Q:  What does Paul mean in 5:6 by “empty words / vain words”?

·        Words of no purpose

·        Be careful.  He says in 5:7, “Do not be partakers with these people.”

·        I think Paul does not mean separation, but emulation.

 

Finding out what is acceptable to the Lord (5:10)

Q:  What does 5:10 mean?

·        Prove / test (dokimos in Greek) what is acceptable to the Lord

·        It’s best for us to test everything that comes into our lives, to ask God Almighty in a spirit of brokenness and dependence, “Is this really where You want me to be spending my time?”

·        I don’t think anyone can answer that for another man unless he gets into filth,
but it’s a question we have to ask ourselves.

 

Redeeming the Time (5:16)

·        5:16 – “Redeem the time because the days are evil.”

·        Pr. 6:6 says, “Go to the ant you sluggard!  Consider her ways and be wise.”

·        But we see a greater emphasis on not wasting time in the NT, than there is in the OT.

 

Q: [Rom. 13:12] “The night is far spent, the day is at hand,” so buy up the opportunities – why is that?

·        Because the end times are near – like the readiness of the 10 virgins

 

Q:  Do you think the readiness of the 10 virgins had to do with time usage?

·        Not in terms of day-to-day living, but how we live our lives, not taking time for granted.

·        1 Cor 7:29 – Time is short, so husbands with wives should live as if they had none.

 

Q:  Do you remember when the watch or clock was invented [or when it became widely used]?

·        The railroad – prior to that there were [virtually] no clocks.

·        Only when railroads came into existence did people need to strictly follow a schedule.

·        Today, time is money.

 

Thoughts on the velocity of life today

·        It increases your margin for error.  Ex: bicycle at 10 vs. 100 mph.

·        It gives you a false sense of accomplishment.  One of my many weaknesses is to fight the feeling that I'm less than productive if I’m like going to the airport than otherwise.

·        It is addicting, like a narcotic.  It gives you a high.

·        It distorts your perception of reality.  I was going to the airport after a conference with a guy in his pickup truck, and he was going 80mph with one hand behind the seat.  He had completely distorted reality – didn't know how fast he was going.  The smallest mistake would mean disaster.

·        Remember, go, go, go does not mean grow, grow, grow.

·        Whenever I visited HK, I always came always having the feeling that they had defined velocity in a whole new way.

·        All it does is ratchet up expectations.

·        My dad used to do business in San Francisco.

·        It took him 3-4 days to get a contract, a few days to read it, then 3-4 days to send it back.

·        Now, people fax it to you in the morning and expect you to send it back before lunch.

·        That’s why psychiatric units getting more and more busy.

·        Whatever redeeming the time looks like, it must include doing those things that you know you need to do.

 

Q:  Could it not also be too much time in the Bible?

·        We are at this table free men, so how we spend our time is a reflection of our values.

·        Every man has time for things that he thinks are important to him.

 

Q:  Why is redeeming time tied with the fact that the days are evil?

·        We live in the U.S. in an entertainment-crazed society.  Increasingly, silence is a luxury.

·        When I travel and I meet a guy, and he turns the ignition on, almost always the radio is on.

·        Men do not want to be alone with their thoughts.

·        One guy said men don’t want to think. So many people want to be fed.

·        One brother: If I don’t grab the opportunity, I won’t be wise, so I set priorities.

·        None of us should succumb to the temptation to allow circumstances to rule our lives.

 

Q:  Why is it opportunity – kairos – opportunity at the appropriate time?

·        Today we have a lot of opportunities.

·        We don’t think of them as opportunities if we think of them as everyday things.

·        Don’t let the good become the enemy of the best.  Thus, be sure that you are not merely a responder.

·        It seems like you need to know the will of God to prioritize your schedule.

 

Q:  Do you have any sense of awe regarding what your God-given priorities ought to be?

·        The great commission

 

Q:  Do you regard it as your first priority, only priority or just a priority?

·        I try to as much as possible to wrap my priorities up into the eternal priorities.

 

Q:  What are your God-given priorities?

·        I’ve worked with business and professional men all my adult life, and in all my years I’ve never heard men say, “If I had to do it all again, I would have spent less time with Jesus,” or
“If I had to do it all again, I would have spent less time with my wife and kids, or
“If I had to do it all again, I would not have gotten so much education.”

·        I’ve heard many bemoan [express deep grief over] the opposite. 

·        I suggest every one of you ought to know what your priorities are.

·        If you don’t know, that’s an indication that you’re too busy.

·        You had better get alone with God and find it out.

·        Redeeming the time does not mean being more busy.

 

Dealing with impurity in a society without shame (5:11,12)

Q:  In 5:11,12 how do you expose what is shameful?

·        I’ve gotten to where I ask men, “How’s your thought life?  Do you look at pornography?
Do you mentally cheat with your wife?”

·        I can’t tell if a man is telling the truth, but I want him to look me in the eye and tell me.

·        Our society has lost its sense of shame.

·        What once was done in the dark is now done in your face.

·        Confront even if don’t know – ask, don’t accuse.

·        If he’s walking in purity, he’s eager to answer me.  If not, it’s a different story.

 

Q:  Would you go to someone in church or to your pastor and ask this question?

·        I wouldn’t with a stranger, but I certainly would with someone with whom I spend time.

·        This is a sin issue, so I can ask anyone.  There’s no obligation or prohibition.

·        If the guy is not telling the truth he’s not going to be eager to meet with me again.

·        If he tells me the truth and is embarrassed, then I empathize and share 1 Cor. 10:13 and ask what he’d like to do about it?

·        If I had lived in a dormitory as a young man I would have succumbed [to the temptation to fornicate].

 

Singing to the Lord (5:19)

Q:  5:19 “sing in psalms” is similar to Col. 3:16,17, but what if you are not good at singing?

·        Compare Col. 3:16 following with Eph. 5:18 following.

·        I would suggest that the result of letting the word of Christ dwell in you richly is the same as being filled with the spirit.  What it looks like is another question.

·        I always wanted to sing in the worst way, and that’s exactly how I do it.

·        My family says to not sing in their presence and that’s how it is.

·        I would suggest that the manifestation of 5:19,20 – giving thanks (1) always to God (2) for all things

 

Mutual submission and family relationships (5:21)

·        The family relationship section is a manifestation of the submission mentioned in 5:21.

·        All relationships rest on the idea of mutual submission, something required for them to be worthwhile.

·        Submission is far more profound than obedience, because obedience can sometimes be in agreement.

·        That’s why many non-Christian men are more moral than Christians – because they are in agreement [with God on many moral issues].

 

 

[End of fourth day’s discussion]

 

 

Q:  Did OT Jews get saved by faith?

·        In the OT people related to God on the basis of works, simply because no eternal hope was offered.

·        The idea of how you get to heaven is a New Testament idea.

·        Ask an OT Jew how to be OK with God, and he’d say follow the law.

·        One of the mysteries Paul reveals is that to get a relationship with God in the NT, it is through faith.

·        In the OT it was by works.  God never recorded an offer of eternal hope in the Old Testament.

 

Submit in relationships out of fear of God (5:21)

·        5:21 says, “Submitting yourselves to one another in the fear of the Lord.”

·        3 times in this material Paul says we have to fear.   This is the first.

·        5:33 – the wife is to fear her husband.  [This is the second.]

·        6:5 – the servant is to fear the master.  [This is the third.]

·        In these commands he says as unto the Lord [in 5:21 and 5:22 or as to Christ in 6:5]

·        I understand that not to mean that the individual is to fear the other individual.

·        5:21 – I don’t submit to you because I fear you, but because I fear God.

·        The same is true with the wife and servant.  They don’t fear a beating from man, but from God.

 

Fearing God vs. respecting God

Q:  When did people start talking of fear of God as respecting God?

·        There are words in NT for respect.  In these 3 its phobia.

·        Respect is on my terms.  Fear is on someone else’s terms.

·        The fear of God is supernatural.  The fear of God is one of the evidences of regeneration.

·        Romans 3:18 says the non-Christian has no fear of God.

·        When one thief on the cross mocked Jesus, the other one said, “You should fear God.” [Luke 23:40]

·        Thus the Spirit of God was at work in his heart.  Whether then there was conversion yet, I don’t know.

·        Regeneration is a process.  Acts 26:14 – Jesus said to Paul it’s hard for you to kick against the goads, indicating that God had been at work in Paul before Damascus.

·        Most of us can see the footprints of God at work in our lives long before we came to Christ.

 

Q:  Is there any relationship between fear and knowledge?

·        Yes, knowledge gives us a reason to fear.

·        We have a generation of people today who were not raised to fear God.

·        They genuinely believe God is not to be feared.

·        For a person who really believes that, the commandments of God are optional, because the force of law is in accountability.  In the state of California if the state patrol goes on strike, people drive as fast as they want because there’s no enforcement of the speed limits. 

·        We relate to God on the basis of fear.

 

Q:  What do we fear?

·        We fear His displeasure.

·        We can also say that the force of the commands is in accountability.

 

Fearing God and pleasing the Lover of your soul

·        For the obedient servant of God, who desperately wants to be the slave of God almighty, then, the commandments cease to be what he has to do, and they become the basis on which he discovers how to delight the Lover of his soul.

·        That’s why David says in Ps. 19, “I love the law.  It’s sweeter than honey, better than gold.”

·        Because when I understand the law I learn how to please the Lover of my soul.

·        The only time you need to fear God is when you contemplate disobedience.

·        God is like a warm fire on a cold night.  You want to get close as you can without getting hurt.

·        If people think I’m weird, I suggest that I’m weird in that I wanted my children and grandchildren to fear me.  If I’m with my grandson, and a car is coming, and I say, “Stop!” I want him to freeze, so as to save his life.  The fear of God will save your soul.

·        I feared my dad.  The only time I needed to fear him was when contemplating disobeying him.

·        If you ask wife to get a cup of coffee, and she says, “Do I have to?” you can say, “Yes you have to,” or you can get it yourself.  Irrespective of what you do, you know that something is terribly wrong.  You have a major, major problem.

·        When submission or request becomes obligatory, something is very wrong.

·        So a command is the last line of defense in a relationship that has gone bad.

·        You never want to go there with anybody unless you are forced to.

·        Because after the command, all you have are consequences.  That’s damage control.

·        So for us, we should not distinguish between a request and a command.

·        It ‘s a sign something is wrong when you say, “Do I have to?”

 

Children obey your parents (6:1)

·        My children learned to fear God from fearing me.

·        If you don’t teach them to fear you, you put them in harms way.

·        If your daughter keeps going when you say stop, it could be very damaging depending where you are.

 

Q:  How does this change as children grow up?

·        The last time I saw my father he was in fetal position.

·        I held his arms and prayed for him, but I still feared the man.

·        You’d have to ask my children that question regarding me.

·        There is safety in fear.  I loved my dad.  He was a delight to be around.

·        The thought of crossing him was too horrific to contemplate.

 

Q:  What was the fear of your father like when he was old?

·        I don’t have a good answer, but it was just a gut reaction to how he trained me.

·        I’m not saying it ought to be true for you and your father.

 

Fear is essential in society and in your relationship with God

·        All forms of governments in the world want people to fear them.

·        It is an essential ingredient for civil order.

·        We always relate fear with control.  Yes.  There is a relationship between the two.

·        If I fear, I don’t want to face the consequences, and I don’t have control over those consequences.

·        Remember, fear is not the enemy of love or hope.  Fear is the enemy of security.

·        When you are insecure, you are afraid, and nobody, nobody likes that feeling.

·        If I have a right relationship with God, then I should not fear the future, because even if it is a bad thing, it is the loving act of God.

·        I review each morning: God, I exist for you.  I am your obedient slave – when born, now, in eternity.  I am grateful.  If I could be free, I’d still rather be a slave.  O God, help me today to live that!

 

Lee Yih’s story of fearing God at a big meal

·        When he was in Hong Kong, he closed a deal that made a businessman a lot of money.

·        The man took him to a big meal.  Then 10 beautiful women surrounded the table.

·        The host said, “Your pick.”  Lee said, “I can’t afford it.”

·        The host said, “It’s on me.”  Lee said, “No, I can’t afford it.”

·        Gentlemen, what sin can you afford?

 

Cultivating fear

Q:  Is it true that the more you fear God, the less you fear men?

·        When I fear God, I don’t fear men.

·        We tend to fear those who are better.  That would be a lot of people.

·        Fear and hope are the head and tail of the same coin.

·        Show me your fear and I’ll show you your hope.  It cannot be any other way.

 

Q:  This is so counter-cultural, so you review this every morning?

·        Yes.

 

Q:  I suggest that most Christians who admit that they ought to fear God (and they are in a minority) in reality do not.  Why is that?

·        Our foolishness … we fool ourselves into saying that God didn’t say that.

 

Q:  Then how do you cultivate that fear?

·        I recommend it to you.

·        In the book of Job, chapter 39 Job gave up, but God went on for two more chapters.

·        Then, Job said, “I’d rather be your obedient servant than anything else.”

·        Jesus said, “Come to me all you who are weary and heavy laden … take My yoke upon you and learn form Me.”  [Mt. 11:28,29] 

·        You are going to wear the yoke, whether Mine or someone else’s.

·        God, like with Job, will not accept resignation.  He’ll only accept repentance.

·        If you say, “OK God, I’ve got to be somebody’s slave, so I want to be yours,” that’s not good enough.

·        You have got to really want to be His slave.

 

Q:  Is meditating on hell a way of nurturing fear?

·        I don’t know.   All I suggest is that you look deeply and be instructed.

 

Mutual submission (5:21)

·        Mutual submission is at the heart of every relationship.

·        Even if it isn’t your wife, and you ask [someone] for some coffee, [if the person doesn’t give it,] something is terribly wrong.

·        So it is the desire to please others without being men-pleasers.

·        The difference between the two is “as unto the Lord”.

 

Q:  Is there any difference between wife, colleagues and the general public?

·        Yes.  All authority is limited except for the authority of God Himself.

·        He alone has unlimited authority over another individual’s life.

·        Civility in interpersonal relationships requires that we understand where that line is.

·        For example, if I go skiing and ask an expert a simple question, I pay him a compliment.

·        If I ask him to spend the day helping me, I offend him.  That’s what all of us finesse in our lives.

·        It’s an art, not a science.  We all know people who have a hard time distinguishing between the two.

 

Trouble-shooting the wife not in submission to her husband (5:22)

·        Suppose your wife says, “We’re supposed to be in mutual submission, (5:21) rather than me be in submission to you (5:22).”

·        Then ask her, “When was the last time you asked me to do something, and I said no to you?”

·        If she gives 16 illustrations, then the problem is yours!

·        If she mentions an ongoing issue she’s unhappy with, then you exercise your headship.

 

Exercising headship 0.01% of the time

·        There are a number of decisions made in your home.

·        On 75% you are in agreement [with your wife or children].

·        On 20% you are not in agreement, but you don’t care that much, so you let them decide.

·        That leaves 5%.  I suggest that 4.99% of these decisions are important but not worth fighting for.

·        That leaves 0.01 % of the decisions when you come to the place that it is significant to both you and them, and there is no meeting of the minds and it is your vote that counts.

·        Then you exercise your headship.

·        In order to have the right to do that, you love and serve your wife as Christ does the church.

 

Certain things have got to be true for your wife to be in submission to you

·        First, if she is not in submission to the Lord, she surely won’t be in submission to you.

·        Second, if you wife in her soul of souls does not believe that God can protect her and the children from you, then she will never submit.  She will pretend to, but it will never happen.

·        Third, godly women who genuinely want to submit to their husbands tend to be unsubmissive in those areas in which they perceive they are living in self-sacrifice.

·        For example, when you don’t think your wife is eating properly, and she doesn’t eat – even if you push her to eat – because she thinks it’s herself she’s hurting [not anybody else].

·        She tends to resist you, because she thinks she is denying herself, [even though] it would be easier to do what you want.

·        This is probably one of those areas to let go [4.99% not worth fighting for], but I suggest you circle back a couple hours later and ask why she resisted you.

·        If she says, “I wasn’t hungry,” you could say, “You could have said, ‘I’m not hungry, but if you want me to eat I’ll do it.’”

·        [Although it is categorized under the 4.99% not worth fighting for], you could bring it up, because it could affect the 0.01% [when you exercise headship].  This could be a training exercise.

·        However, it’s important to wait two hours [to minimize the emotional element.]

·        In one way or another, in one setting or another, a man can say to his wife (calmly and slowly),
“I’m not going to hit you, but do you really want to meet God and give account for this?”

·        A godly woman will say no.

·        A woman never has reason to refuse to be submissive unless her husband asks her to violate the negative commandments.  If I tell her to steal, she must respectfully disobey.

·        5:24 says she must submit “in everything”.

 

Q:  What if a man has that conversation, and the woman still does not submit?

·        Men and I have had this conversation, and none have taken my advice.  They never took my advice.

·        If your wife professes faith in Christ and does not obey, I would discipline