In our last Teaching Notes, we shared a brief presentation about the Holy Spirit. We now look at the Spirit of God in more depth.
We know what we know about God because He revealed Himself to us. We find His revelation in His Word, the Bible. God reveals Himself to be the Creator and Sustainer of the universe and all life within the universe.
“Know therefore this day, and consider it in thine heart, that the Lord he is God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath: there is none else.” Deuteronomy 4:39
God also reveals Himself as our Refuge and Strength, a very present help in trouble. Even if the earth is removed, and mountains are carried into the middle of the sea, and waters roar and are troubled, and mountains shake with the swelling, we will not fear. Why? Because we know God is in complete control.
“Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.”
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘The just shall live by faith.” Romans 1:16-17
In our last study we looked at God’s plan – a plan Father, Son and Holy Spirit designed together in eternity, before creation, before time began. We saw how the plan unfolded in the garden of Eden as the serpent deceived the woman and through that deception has deceived “the whole world” (Revelation 12:9). We saw how God quickly took control of the problem and presented the solution – “So the Lord God said to the serpent: ‘Because you have done this, You are cursed more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you shall go, And you shall eat dust All the days of your life. And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel” (Genesis 3:14-15). Jesus Christ won that victory on the Cross.
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”
In our last study we looked at God’s Eternal Plan that Father, Son and Holy Spirit purposed together “before time began.” Genesis 1 is a recounting of how God revealed the Plan and how it culminated in God’s crowning achievement – man (male and female). God (elohim) made (na’a’seh – let us make) man (adam) “in Our image” (besalmenu), “according to Our likeness” (kidmutenu).
“Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong.” 1 Corinthians 16:13
“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.” (NIV)
Standing fast or firm in your faith is a vital part of the ‘Christian walk.’ The primary word for ‘walk’ in the New Testament is peripateo. It was used in the physical sense in the Gospels and Acts. Paul used the word in a figurative sense.
The Greeks understood the figurative definition to be: ‘live, conduct yourself.’ The way a person ‘walked’ meant the way they lived their lives and conducted themselves.
God is “all wise.” That may sound simple, but its depths no man knows.
“… to God, alone wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever.” Romans 16:27
“Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” 1 Corinthians 1:20-25
Every time God says something – stop and listen. God does not waste words or actions. He’s Perfect and does all things perfectly. When God brought Israel out of bondage to Egypt and spoke with them in the wilderness He wanted the Israelites to listen to Him. Why? Because He knew what was best for them. That is true today. God saves us from the bondage of sin and death and speaks to us through His Word and His Spirit. He expects us to listen to Him because He knows what’s best for us.
As we bring this special series about Teaching Wisdom to Our Children to a close, for now, here’s an example of God’s Wisdom that children need to learn, understand and obey in order to be successful in bringing God glory during their life on earth.
“For the house of Israel and the house of Judah Have dealt very treacherously with Me,’ says the Lord. They have lied about the Lord, And said, ‘It is not He. Neither will evil come upon us, Nor shall we see sword or famine. And the prophets become wind, For the word is not in them. Thus shall it be done to them.” Jeremiah 5:11-13
The lies of false preachers are so devious and treacherous that even true preachers can fall prey to their lies. How can that possibly happen when we know so much about false preaching and teaching from God’s Word? Shouldn’t church leaders be wise enough to know when someone is trying to ensnare and trap them?
“For among My people are found wicked men; They lie in wait as one who sets snares; They set a trap; They catch men. As a cage is full of birds, So their houses are full of deceit. Therefore they have become great and grown rich. They have grown fat, they are sleek; Yes, they surpass the deeds of the wicked; They do not plead the cause, The cause of the fatherless; Yet they prosper, And the right of the needy they do not defend. Shall I not punish them for these things?’ says the Lord. ‘Shall I not avenge Myself on such a nation as this?’ ‘An astonishing and horrible thing Has been committed in the land: The prophets prophesy falsely, And the priests rule by their own power; And My people love to have it so. But what will you do in the end?” Jeremiah 5:26-31
In our last study about false preachers we looked at what they preach and why they preach it. We looked at how to discern false preaching and teaching in local churches, conferences, denominations, writing (e.g. articles, books), radio and television, and new media (e.g. social media, blogs, online videos). Once you become adept at discerning false preachers and teachers, you will find that distinguishing between truth and lies is something you can do with the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Unfortunately, there is one more thing we must consider and that’s how good preachers and teachers are “caught and trapped” by false preachers and teachers. While it is sad to see good men trapped by “wicked men,” it is even sadder to see how many trusting Christians who follow the truth preachers are pulled into the trap with them.
God’s Word gives us the insights we need to know how to handle this growing problem in the Church.
“Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, But those who deal truthfully are His delight.” Proverbs 12:22
God does not want His children to believe anything that’s not true. Truth is the centerpiece of the Christian worldview. Truth is what sets people free from wrong thoughts, beliefs and actions (John 8:32). God’s Son came to earth from Heaven filled with “grace and truth” (John 1:14-17). Jesus said that true worshippers of God will worship Him “in spirit and truth” (John 4:23-24). Jesus said He is the “truth” (John 14:6). Jesus said that the Holy Spirit who lives in Christians is the “Spirit of truth” (John 14:17). Jesus prayed to His Father before going to the Cross and asked Him to sanctify believers by His truth, identifying that truth as God’s Word (John 17:17).
However, Christianity has a powerful enemy who does not want God’s children to know or believe the truth. As Jesus reminded us about the enemy – “You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.” (John 8:44)
Satan does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. That also goes for people who say they are speaking for God, but are really speaking for Satan. As harsh as that sounds to say someone who claims the name of Christ is really speaking for Satan, that is the truth.
We’ve seen God’s warnings to His children about false preachers and teachers. We’ve seen God’s methods for discerning false preachers and teachers. Now it’s time to learn how to use those warnings and methods to guide and protect us from the lies of Satan.
“Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of My pasture!” says the Lord.” Jeremiah 23:1
“Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying: ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah 1:4-5
I feel a special kinship with prophets in the Bible. It started soon after leaving atheism for theism and Christianity. Each of the prophets was a unique individual, but they all had something marvelous in common: God spoke to them about fulfilling His special purpose for their lives and expected them to do it.
In our previous post about Teaching Wisdom to Our Children, we saw some examples of good teachers in the Bible. They included Bezaleel, Aholiab, Joshua, Samuel, David, Solomon, Ezra and the greatest Teacher of all time, Jesus Christ.
God also points out the dangers to His people of bad teachers. These are people who will try to lead children away from the truth through their bad instruction. Christian parents should be careful of these types of teachers. Here are some examples of those kinds of teachers.