Door of Faith – Lesson Eleven

A Summary of God’s Major Moves    

Introduction

The aim of this lesson is to call attention to the sequential topics in the previous lessons in preparation to move this study forward to the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.  Jesus’ teachings in the Gospels were first presented to the Israelites and their proselytes.   After Jesus returned to heaven His teachings were made available for the world and particularly for the “children of promise.”  Since God’s promises through Abraham were eventually to be offered to both Jews and Gentiles, the Gospels in written form are now in print for the entire world to read.  Although, the kingdom of God theology has not been accepted by most people in all nations, the ethics taught by Jesus Christ has been, in one way or another, a blessing to families and individuals world wide.  Comments will be offered in this lesson about how the topics in the previous lessons are fulfilled “in Christ.”  Christians have faith in the theologies, ethics and practices taught by Jesus (Luke 4:43). He trained the apostles to accept the guidance of the Holy Spirit to teach the kingdom of God (Acts 20:25; I Cor. 2:10-13; 4:20; II Cor. 3:5).

Summary

A.        The following six items have been copied from the Introduction of Lesson Four:

 1.  “The Lord formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living being.”  Gen. 2:7.   See Job 33:4

2.  “So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”  Gen. 1:27.    See Heb. 12:9; Jas. 3:9

3.  “For those God foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brothers.”  Rom. 8:29.     II Cor. 5:16-19; Col. 1:21-23; 3:12-14

4.  God’s first covenant:

“You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.”  Gen. 2:17; Rev. 22:14, 19

5.  Satan said,  “You will not surely die, … you will be like God.”  Gen. 3:4.   See II Cor. 11:3

And the Lord said, “The man has now become like one of Us, knowing good and evil.  He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.”  Gen. 3:22

6.  “After He drove the man out, He placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.”  Gen. 3:24

The forgoing is a summary of the sequential thoughts presented in Lessons One through Three.  These lessons are about how and why God created mankind, and then, what went wrong.  Understanding and having faith in the significance of these three entities form Christians’ base for properly understanding the meaning of Biblical literature about our present life in a segment of God’s kingdom.  This segment is where Jesus Christ has been given a kingdom to bring many sons to glory (Heb. 1:9; 2:10).  The subjects of why and how God created us is the “highest level” of a Christian’s “thought process” while reading the narratives in the Bible.  Christians read the Bible narratives on three levels, simultaneously:  We read the individual narrative; while at the same time we asked, “What is God doing in this narrative?”  And then we seek to understand how “what God is doing” supports why and how we have been created.*  Our “thought process” is stimulated by our convictions interacting with our imagination.  Christians’ belief in God’s word produces convictions.  A wholehearted trust in these convictions is our faith (Heb. 4:2).

The human endowment of imagination allows us to have hope in what God tells us in His word (Rom. 8:24, 25).  A person who reads the Bible without an active imagination and trust in God will not be empowered by what they read.  Our imagination enables us to imagine ourselves having for ourselves what God is offering.  We may not have all He offers presently but we live “in Christ” with the joy of hope.  In other words, our faith allows us to enjoy the substance of what we hope and trust.  Christians’ personal Bible study is the only way we can hope to continually open wider our “door of faith” into God’s kingdom.

Jesus and the apostles preached God’s kingdom (Luke 4:43; Acts 20:25). The interaction of what we learn from our study of God’s word and our faith development can be likened to a revolving door: We hear God’s word; we accept it by faith; therefore, we move with the opening of this spiritual door into God’s kingdom: Then we do it again, again and again.  Christians move from “faith to faith;” and thereby, “from glory to glory.”  Rom. 1:17; II Cor. 3:18; II Pet. 1:3-11.  “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”  Heb. 11:1.  In other words, Christians’ mental/spiritual environment includes the kingdom of heaven.

Consequently, as our faith is being “made complete” by our practice of righteous behavior, we grow up into our salvation (Matt. 7:24; Luke 17:20, 21; Phil. 3:7-14; Jas. 2:22; I Pet. 2:2; II Pet. 1:3-11).  Our loving behavior with our brothers and sisters is made possible because of our spiritual environment in the kingdom of our Lord (Matt. 5:8, 9; I Pet. 1:22-25).  Christians’ citizenship in God’s kingdom can be eternal (Phil. 2:12-16; 3:20, 21).  We must think about our inheritance of God’s kingdom in terms of “can be” because our inheritance is protected by God, but His protection is dependent on our faith (I Pet. 1:3, 4).

Our need for the grace of God is understood in the context of the topic of study in Lesson Three; “Man Has Become as One of Us.”  See Gen. 3:22.  This means Deity has the capability of knowing what is good and what is evil.  Jesus proved this in His confrontation with Satan (Matt. 4:1-11).  Because all people have come from Adam, we have the endowment of “knowing good and evil.”  I Cor. 15:44-49.  Our problem: We only have the capability.  We need to learn what is good and evil from God’s word (Heb. 5:14).  From the time we mature in mind and conscience we become responsible for choosing good over evil (Rom. 2:15).

B.  Lessons Four through Seven are Biblical topics Bible students need to understand, believe and have faith in a sequential order.  Although they require a spiritual “in depth” study of the Old Testament, they are sequential faith building blocks for Christians.  These topics reveal spiritual entities that form a base for reading the New Testament documents.  However, they cannot be properly understood and accepted by faith before we have developed faith in why and how God created us.  The grace of God cannot be assimilated into God’s story until we know, believe and have faith in what happened to mankind because Adam and Eve broke God’s covenant.

God’s use of covenants and the promises He made to Abraham must be understood for us to follow the theme of God’s story from the Old Testament into the New Testament.  For instance, we may not understand, “And all Israel will be saved, as it is written.”  Rom. 11:26.  The erroneous notion of “all Israel” meaning physical Israel has created “Christian Zionism” in America and much of the strife in the Middle East.  The Apostle Paul carefully moved the saints in Rome from physical Israel in the Old Testament to spiritual Israel beginning in Acts in the New Testament.  See Romans chapters nine through eleven.  It would benefit the world if the members of the United Nations would study and accept this portion of the Bible.

Jesus’ teachings are the laws of life in God’s present covenant for mankind (Heb. 8:10-12).  God has always interacted with mankind through covenants.  Hearing God’s word, the development of faith in what we understand and being obedient to our faith is the way the laws of the new covenant are being written on a Christian’s heart and mind (Rom. 1:5; 16:25-27).  The result of this spiritual growth process is that a Christian’s personality and character will be continually conforming to the image of Jesus Christ.  We conform to the likeness of Jesus Christ when the law of life in the new covenant is being accepted because “In Him was life, and that life was the light of men.”  John 1:4.  Jesus Christ, personally, is our law of life in the new covenant.  Sin is lawlessness (I John 3:4).

1.    The aims of Lessons Four and Five are to show how God used covenants and the Melchizedek Priesthood to “attain and maintain” relationships with the “living souls” the Apostle Paul described in Rom. 5:12-14.  Sin had entered the world because all people identify with Adam; therefore, mature people have the endowment of “awareness.”  People with faith in God’s covenants enjoy the grace of justification while we are learning to submit our wills to God’s will.  God’s will and promises are included in the covenants.  The topics in Lessons Four and Five are easily understood by Christians after we form a “base of faith” in the scriptures in the first three lessons.   This is a sequential way to study the Bible.  At the same time it is a sequential faith building exercise.

Note:  To consider the challenges faced by maturing youth, please see Deut. 1:39, Isa. 7:16; Amos 5:15; Rom. 12:9; 16:19; Heb. 5:14.  Youth, with his or her recently acquired capacity for knowing and becoming responsible for overcoming evil with good in the “Post Garden of Eden” environment, will have life or death (Deut. 30:15).  They will need God’s grace on their life-long journey of learning to overcome evil with good.  Please review Lesson Four.

Adam and Eve could not go back to their innocence in the Garden; therefore, God worked with mankind from Adam to Moses as good parents work with our children.  Their sins were not taken into account; however, death reigned in most peoples’ life on earth (Rom. 5:12-14).   The law in God’s covenants during the Mechizedek Priesthood was the law of life.  Please review Lesson Five.  The Priesthood Jesus Christ is on this order (Heb. 7:11-17).

Because all people come from Adam, children cannot go back to their stage of innocence after they have matured in mind, heart, conscience and body.  Their mature minds and consciences will hold them responsible for their thoughts and behavior (Rom. 2:15).  They will mark the conscience of their “selves” guilty when they do not do what they believe is good.  This happens to all mature people because all are “in Adam.”  Christians have a justified life “in Adam, in Christ.”  See Rom. 5:18; I Cor. 15:22.

Guilt caused Adam and Eve to hide from God.  It is why people who practice evil do not enjoy studying God’s word.  See John 3:19, 20.  Evil behavior is choosing not to do good; that is, behaving in a manner that is not beneficial for the situation at hand (Rom. 12:21).   Guilt robs people of their glory.  The reason Jesus died on the cross, and thereby becoming God’s sacrifice for sin, was because there is no other sacrifice sufficient for the removal of guilt from the conscience.  See Heb. 9:8-15.  This grace only serves faith driven, repentant, born again sinners.

2.    Lessons Six is a study of the “covenant of promise” God made with Abraham (Gen. 12:1-3; Ex. 2:24).  The aim of this lesson is to show how only the people with faith in God’s covenants have the “children of promise” identity.  This is the identity of Abraham’s spiritual offspring through Jacob.  Based on the theology of “children of promise,” the Gentiles are also included in the promises God made to Abraham.  The Gentiles are included; even though, a “Door of Faith” was not formally offered to them by God until a few years after Jesus Christ became king and high priest.  See Gen. 12:1-3; Acts 10:1-6, 47; 11:18; 14:27; Rom. 9:6-8, 24-26.

3.  Lesson Seven is dedicated to identifying the people who had the joy of God’s kingdom within them in God’s story in the Old Testament.  Their citizenship was based on information from Jesus’ prayer in Matt. 6:10 and His response to the question, “show us the kingdom” in Luke 17:21.  The kingdom of God is found where the will of God is being done in an individual’s life.  The kingdom life was found in the people of faith listed in Hebrews Chapter Eleven and those Gentiles who did God’s will by nature (Rom. 2:14, 15).  God’s story in the Old Testament can be a discouragement to Bible students unless we understand God’s purpose in creation.  When we understand God was seeking children for His eternal kingdom in those narratives, we can then appreciate the major and the minor moves He made to have a remnant of those people for His eternal children.  The Apostle Paul chose a story about Elijah to introduce the “remnant” concept for the saints in Rome.  See Rom. 11:1-6.

What Christians want to grasp is the dynamics of spiritual growth involved in God’s development of children for His kingdom.  This is God’s purpose in creation.  His purpose did not “enter the mind of mankind” until the Holy Spirit became fully involved (I Cor. 2:6-13).   The “son of God” program offers satisfaction for our God-given need for glory and all other innate needs (Matt. 6:33; Rom. 8:16).  God’s purpose for creating people did not start in Acts Chapter Two, it started in His mind before creation.  As Paul said, “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.” I Cor. 4:20.  Paul does not speak of the “church of God” as something separate from the kingdom of God.

Christians read God’s story from Genesis through the end of Revelation with God’s eternal kingdom and God’s purpose for creating us in our mind.  There is no other story; however, people who identify themselves with Christianity have developed many other stories and multitudes accept them as truth.  The stories of these self proclaimed preachers and scholars are so obviously different from God’s story, it may make them suspect of being  Satan’s preachers (II Cor. 11:12-15; II Tim. 4:3-5; II Pet. 2:1-3; Jude 17, 18).  This is the choice they have made for themselves and as Peter and Jude stated, “God knows how to take care of them.”  Our concern in this study is for their followers who have shut themselves up in a “box of false stories.”  There is only one way out and this is the aim of this book.  Christians who want to be sons of God and inherit life in the kingdom of God need to study the Bible in a sequential manner.

We start our study in God’s mind before He created the world (Rom. 8:28-30).  We make what He had in mind the theme of His story (Rom. 8:5-17; 14:17, 18).  We hear what He tells us about Jesus return.  Jesus will bring to God what He had in mind before He created mankind (Heb. 2:10-13).  Only children of God are heirs (Matt. 19:29; 25:34; Jas. 1:12; 2:5; Rev. 21:7).

We do not want to cheapen our religion by reducing it to the term “church.”  We do not reduce the “fruit production” to mere Bible study and worship.  We are individually connected to the power of God.  He used several different covenants and entities as His tools to connect people to His Power in the Old Testament.  Christians enjoy all spiritual blessings “in Christ.”  We are the salt and light for the world (Matt. 5:13-16).  So let it be!

C.  Lessons Eight through Ten were presented in the context of God’s move to recover Abraham’s offspring through Jacob from slavery in Egypt.  It was during this period of time God used the Levitical Priesthood to maintain His kingdom in the hearts and minds of a remnant of faithful Israelites.  See Ex. 24:7, 8; 31:16, 17; Deut. 7:9; 31:9; Isa. 42:6; Jer. 11:10.  God never abandoned His purpose for creating mankind (Isa. 43:5-7).  Christians who understand God’s covenants with Abraham also need to understand how God worked His “covenant of promise” out with Abraham’s offspring through Jacob.  God is now finalizing His covenant with Abraham through Jesus Christ in His new covenant; therefore, Christians need to understand how the topics of these three lessons were used by God to “tutor and govern” the Israelites.  This continued until the time was right for the Messiah to come to finalize God’s purpose in creation for physical Israel (Rom. 8:17-25; Gal. 4:1-7).  God used the priesthood, the nation of Israel and the prophets as tools to save a remnant of the people to be His children.  He also used these entities for His ongoing program for the “children of promise” after the Messiah came and lived among the Israelites.

1.    The specific aim of Lesson Eight is to show how the Levitical Priesthood functioned from Moses until Jesus Christ returned to heaven.  It served as God’s “tutors and governors” for the Israelites, individually and as a nation (Gal. 4:1-7).  The first high priest was Aaron, the brother of Moses (Num. 25:10-13).

2.    Lesson Nine.  The aim of this lesson is to learn how and why God formed the nation of physical Israel.  The nation God promised through Abraham’s descendants via Jacob was another of the support systems God used to maintain His kingdom.   The Israelites lost their relationship with God Almighty because they associated with idolaters and became idolaters.  God’s development of His nation served as His tool for the separation of the Israelites from idolatrous societies.

3.  The specific aim of Lesson Ten is to understand how God used prophets to maintain His sovereignty, even though He allowed a man to reign over His nation – that is, His kingdom of Israel (I Chron. 28:5).  God spoke through the prophets about the Messiah, the anointed One.  This is a full and important study within itself.  It was very important for God’s people, such as those listed in Hebrews, Chapter Eleven, for their hope in God’s covenants.  His covenants were not fulfilled until the Christ, the Messiah, came (Heb. 11:39, 40).  The Old Testament prophesies relating to the Messiah were very important for the Jews.  Portions were given to help them recognize the Christ when He arrived; unfortunately, many failed to recognize Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah.  There will not be space in this book to do an in depth study of the prophecies.  Please see my book entitled, “The Kingdom of God,” Part IV, The Kingdom in Prophecy Becomes a Reality.  Eight lessons have been dedicated to this topic.  The book is posted on my website.    www.whydidgodcreateyou.com

*See “How to Read the Bible for all It’s Worth,” by Fee and Stuart.

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