Fred R. Coulter—May 4, 2002

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All of our children have been given the opportunity to make their own choices—to choose right or to choose wrong. In Deuteronomy 30, here is what God sets before everyone! This is set before everyone in the world! Everyone in the Church! Every human being is confronted with the choices that we find here. We always need to keep this in mind.

Deuteronomy 30:11: "For this commandment which I command you today is not hidden from you, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven that you should say, 'Who shall go up to heaven for us, and bring it to us, so that we may hear it and do it?' Neither is it beyond the sea that you should say, 'Who shall go over the sea for us to bring it to us, so that we may hear it and do it?' But the Word is very near you…" (vs 11-14). In other words, God has made it that wherever His Word is it is near to you!

I suppose if we calculated the billions of Bibles that are in the world, it would be absolutely amazing how many people have access to the Word of God. In those countries where, unfortunately, they don't have it, then God holds them to a little different standard. Their standard is found in Rom. 2 where just in living and debating good and evil among themselves that they do end up keeping some of the laws of God, which in that case Paul said, 'is a law unto itself.' But nevertheless, for those of us, we have the Word of God.

Verse 14: "But the Word is very near you in your mouth and in your heart… [in other words, the language that you understand] …so that you may do it. Behold, I have set before you this day life and good… [That's what God gives to every human being] …and death and evil, in that I command you this day to love the LORD your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His judgments so that you may live and multiply. And the LORD your God shall bless you in the land where you go to possess it" (vs 14-16).

In order for these blessings to come, then God gives us the choice. Here with the children of Israel—the descendants of Israel, the descendants of Abraham—God does certain things, not because the children of Israel necessarily follow this, but because of His promise to Abraham!

Because of that, this causes a lot of different nations of the world to look at America especially—and this is really part of the heart and core of difference between Islam and the western world—they look and see that these people are so corrupt, which they are; given over to various licentious things, which they are; 'here we are living in this desert being very frugal'—they're thankful they have the oil—'and we try and lead a decent life.' Yet, they [America] get all blessings!

That's the heart and core of the problem of it. Because God has given these blessings to us, He holds us accountable. God defers bringing His punishment or penalty upon people in hopes that they will repent—and even repent enough in the letter of the Law—that they would return to doing at least the commandments of God that they know, some people then really take it for granted that God endorses evil. He's not endorsing evil. He's giving an opportunity and space for repentance.

Many times they would repent in such a way, as it says in Psa. 78 that God is interested in mercy and kindness. We need to understand all that they did in the wilderness, and all that God provided for them. They wouldn't have had such a terrible time in the wilderness if they would have said, 'God, we know that You're a God of love, graciousness, mercy and kindness and we're out here in this wilderness and it's mighty hot. We know that You brought us out with a strong hand. We know that You performed many great miracles for us. Now, God, we would really love to have just a little bit of meat. We like this manna, but it's a wonderful diet and it really feeds us, but it would be nice if we could have just a little bit of meat to eat in the desert.'

No! They didn't do that! They spoke against God. They sinned, Psalm 78:17: "Yet, they continued to sin still more against Him by rebelling against the Most High in the wilderness. And they tempted God in their heart by asking food for their lust."

You read that account in the book of Numbers. They again wanted meat, so God said, 'Ok, I'm going to give you meat. I'm going to give you quail. You're not going to eat it one day or two days or ten days, but for a whole month. Because of their lusts, He smote them while it was still in their teeth. Sometimes, God will give you what you want, but not necessarily as a blessing. God basis everything on our heart and mind and attitude.

Verse 19: "Yea, they spoke against God; they said, 'Can God set a table in the wilderness?…. [Listen, God can do anything!] …Behold, He struck the rock so that the waters gushed out, and the streams overflowed! Can He also give bread? Can He provide flesh for His people?' Therefore, the LORD heard and was furious; so a fire was kindled against Jacob, and anger also came up against Israel, because they did not believe in God…" (vs 19-22). They looked to the physical thing, but they didn't believe God or believe in Him.

The greatest thing you can do is believe God! Then God can work with you. Not just, 'People who keep God's commandments get blessings, therefore, I'm going to keep the commandments.' You may end up with some trials because that's not the whole purpose. Keeping the commandments is required of everyone. To do Just to get blessings is not going to necessarily result in blessings, if that's your attitude. God deals with each of us in a different way. Believing God is the most important thing.

Verse 23: "Though He had commanded the clouds from above, and had opened the doors of heaven; and He had rained down manna upon them to eat, and gave them of the grain of heaven. Man ate the food of angels…" (vs 23-25).

  • Wonder what an angel meal is like?
  • Have you ever wondered what it's going to be like at the wedding feast? We're going to eat!
  • What kind of food does God have for spirit beings?
  • I'm sure it won't be just manna! But nevertheless, they did.

Verse 26: "He caused an east wind to blow in heaven, and by His power He brought in the south wind. And He also rained flesh upon them like dust, and winged birds like the sand of the sea; and He let them fall in the midst of their camp, all around their tents. So they ate and were filled to the full, for He gave them that which they craved. They were not turned away from their lust, but while their food was still in their mouths, the wrath of God came upon them and killed the strongest of them, and struck down the chosen men of Israel. For all this they still sinned and did not believe in His wonderful works" (vs 26-32).

I think in this age, it's going to be really something to really believe God, in spite of all of the circumstances around us. We're not in a literal, physical desert, but we certainly are in a spiritual desert.

Verse 33: "Therefore, He ended their days in vanity and their years in terror. When He slew them, then they sought Him… [when trouble comes, people come back to God]: …and they turned back and sought after God earnestly" (vs 33-34).

That's what happened with 9/11; 'Oh, we forgot God.' Then they went back and remembered Him, but not the right way. 'Oh, we have to go to church. Let's have ecumenical services and bring in a motif to show us how peaceful that the Muslims are.' Quite a thing! I think when you understand about the Word of God and how important that it is, then you realize how merciful that God is that He deals with people this way.

Verse 35: "And they remembered that God was their Rock, and the Most High God was their Redeemer. Nevertheless they flattered Him with their mouths, and they lied to Him with their tongues" (vs 35-36). 'Oh yes, Lord, we'll shape up. Oh yes, Lord, we won't do that anymore.'

Verse 37: "For their heart was not steadfast with Him; neither were they faithful in His covenant. But He, being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity and did not destroy them; yea, many times He turned His anger away and did not stir up all His wrath, for He remembered that they were but flesh, a wind that passes away and does not come again. How often did they provoke Him in the wilderness and grieve Him in the desert? And still again they tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel. They did not remember His hand, nor the day when He delivered them from the enemy" (vs 37-42). Then it goes on showing continuously that way.

When God sets before us life and death, He does so in such a way that He wants us to love Him. Isn't it really a paradox of God: God is love; God is full of love; yet, He is the least loved by His creation. Have you ever thought of it that way? That puts us with a great deal of responsibility upon us.

Deuteronomy 30:17: "But if your heart turn away so that you will not hear… [no longer listen to God, the Word of God] …but shall be drawn away and worship other gods and serve them, I denounce to you this day that you shall surely perish; you shall not prolong your days on the land where you pass over Jordan to go to possess it. I call heaven and earth to record this day…" (vs 17-19). Heaven and earth are still here—right? The words of Jesus Christ are based on heaven and earth—aren't they? Yes! So, that's a perpetual witness that God means what He says and says what He means.

Here's what He's put before all people. We much more so because now we—when we are baptized and receive the Spirit of God—are in a covenant relationship with God. That covenant relationship is unto death.

Verse 19: "I call heaven and earth to record this day against you that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing. Therefore, choose life, so that both you and your seed may live." Sound's a little bit like the Garden of Eden—doesn't it? Yes, it does!

Verse 20: "That you may love the LORD your God…" That's why it's so important! That's why the primary commandment is to love God. That's why! God wants you to love Him, and God wants to love you. God wants:

  • to give you of His love
  • to give you of His Spirit
  • to give you of eternal life
  • to bless you with those things that will help you accomplish that

"…and may obey His voice, and may cleave to Him; for He is your life and the length of your days, so that you may dwell in the land which the LORD swore to your fathers—to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob—to give it to them" (v 20). Ours is the Kingdom of God, the fulfillment of that. This is quite a thing that God sets before us in these particular cases.

There is something that has to happen to everyone that God deals with. God is patient, kind, loving and understanding. How long has God dealt with someone before they respond to the call?

I hope that we will have many, many more of the children who grew up in the Church and become adults that God will continue to work with them. I don't think God has forgotten them. I don't think God has forsaken them. But they are not in a covenant relationship with Him. When you're baptized and receive the Holy Spirit you're in a covenant relationship with God. Before that time they have life and death set before them and they have to choose! God wants them to choose life, but He wants them to know why they are doing this. He wants them to understand. He does not want them to do it just because father and mother say so. He wants them to do so because they answer the call of God individually.

Here we have the parable of the prodigal son. We can respond in several different ways. Luke 15:11: "Then He said, 'A certain man had two sons; and the younger of them said to his father, "Father, give me that portion of the property which falls to me." And he divided to them his living'" (vs 11-12).

Apparently he was of age. When your children come of age they have to stand or fall before God on their own. That's a difficult choice for parents to understand. It's very difficult when you know that they go out and make mistakes. Just as they have the right to choose the good, they also have the right to choose the bad. Hopefully, they will choose the good. Or if they choose the bad—like we have in this case—then they will respond back to God.

Verse 13: "And not many days after, the younger son gathered everything together and departed into a distant country. And there he wasted all his substance, living in debauchery." When we see our children make bad decisions financially, it's tough—isn't it? It's really difficult.

Verse 14: "But after he had spent everything, there arose a severe famine throughout that country, and he began to be in need." God brings out circumstances to bring people to understanding. That's why God does not constantly give blessings all of the time. With a blessing will also probably come a trial to see how you're going to receive the blessing. I like the way William Tyndale says it: "If God bid you over the sea, He's going to send you a little tempest to see whether you believe Him or not."

When the famine began, he was in want, v 15: "Then he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine." There is nothing more loathsome for a Jewish man to do than to feed swine. By the way, the swine there that Jesus cast the demons into—out of the man who had the legion of demons—and they went into the swine, the swine were being grown for consumption by the Romans soldiers in Jerusalem. So, He accomplished two purposes:

  • got rid of the demons
  • caused a shortage of pig meat

There's a proper use for hogs: to get rid of garbage! We would not have the problems we have with polluting the environment if we used pigs in the right way. So, there he's out there with the pigs:

Verse 16: "And he was longing to fill his stomach with the husks that the swine were eating… [It's just like going out here to the Midwest and they give them all this good corn.] …but no one gave anything to him." Here the swine, the lowest thing that could possibly come into the mind of a Jew as an occupation to do, they were being fed better than he was. God has a way of letting circumstances come upon people—come upon us; we can apply this to us or anyone else—so that He can continue to work with them. We'll see how He works with them.

Verse 17: "And when he came to himself…" That's when all of us repent, when we come to ourselves. Lots of times God will just let us go on our own vain way, our own selfish way, whatever, until we come to ourselves. God is merciful and kind. He doesn't dump it on us all at once. That's why you will go along and you ask God to help you grow, help you overcome, help you to overcome human nature, and all of these things, and help me to see my vanity and stupidity and my errors.

Then all of a sudden one day God begins to answer that prayer and BINGO! you begin to see some things. Maybe in prayer you begin to see yourself for what you really are. Maybe you begin to see that all the time when you thought you were so high and mighty and hoity-toity, you were really kind of low and dirty as far as spiritual standing before God. God is looking to the heart!

So, "…when he came to himself…" That's the key thing! Obviously, when he began he was not thinking right. It was 'stinking thinking'—wasn't it? 'Give me my inheritance, give me my money. I am young, strong, tough, good, I can go do it on my own, dad. Bye, see you later!'

So, he gets out there and lets the wilds of the world get hold of him and spends all of his money. Now he has nothing! Doesn't have his family, doesn't have his father; there he is all alone in a foreign country. I tell you, working in the middle of the hog field would be a stinky, stinky proposition and all the uncleanness that goes with it. Now he starts thinking correctly. That's what repentance brings about: correct thinking; provided you take it to God and let God give you more understanding and continuously help you to think in right way.

"…he said, 'How many of my father's hired servants have an abundance of bread, and I am dying of hunger? I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you… [That's repentance; that is admitting sin; confessing to God and confessing to the one that was offended. There he is preparing his speech.] …and I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me as one of your hired servants"'" (vs 17-19). He had this speech all ready in mind.

Verse 20: "And he arose and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off…" I wonder if he was kind of like Jacob after Joseph was sold off into slavery and he assumed the goodness of his own sons. There's a real case—isn't it? Joseph was sold off by his own brothers because of what they basically thought was vanity, that Joseph had this dream that they were all going to bow down to 'worship me' 'You young whippersnapper, who do you think you are?' But it was true. They were going to kill him, but Judah intervened and said, 'No, we'll sell him. We'll take this coat and we'll put goats blood on it and we'll take it back to dad and say, Dad, the lions got him.' There was Jacob for 17 years thinking that Joseph was dead. That's quite something!

Furthermore, Joseph got into Egypt and got caught into a corrupt legal system—didn't he? Yes! And he got accused of adultery, which he didn't do, and he was thrown into prison. There he was in the dungeon for however long he was in the dungeon, and God still intervened and worked the circumstances out so they wouldn't be so bad for him there in the dungeon. God was still with him to humble him, to meek him, to make him fit for what God wanted.
In examples like this, it's always necessary to see the other side of the story, to see the finish of the story. It did turn out for good, because it saved all the children of Israel—didn't it? After Jacob died the brothers said, 'Ut oh, we're in trouble, we better go to Joseph and humble ourselves. They did, they came to Joseph and said, 'We did it and we're sorry.' They repented! Joseph didn't say, 'It's about time.' No, he didn't! He said, 'I'm not God. I know you meant it to be for evil, but God meant it for good. Go in peace!'

We look at a life history like that and we see the lessons that God deals with us. God works with us, and God does not give up on us even though the circumstances get low and desperate and miserable. All of you who are parents, if things like this have happened to your children and they virtually rejected the things of God, pray for them. Ask God to intervene for them. God will in His time, in His way.

God is in the business of salvation. That's what's important to remember. I imagine that this father was much the same way. He'd go out there at sundown and probably see in his own mind his son when he left. Didn't hear from him. No cell phones! He didn't know what happened to him, didn't know where he was, but probably out there praying every night that everything would work out. One night he's out there and his father saw him. He father did not say, 'Well, it's about time you woke up. You only deserve to be one of my servants.' God doesn't do that to us, either.

"…his father saw him and was moved with compassion, and ran and embraced him, and ardently kissed him" (v 20). That's also how God views us when we repent and come back to him. You need to understand that.

The son started out, 'I've got my speech all ready, v 21: "And his son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, and I am no longer worthy to be called your son.' But the father said to his servant, 'Bring out a robe, the best robe, and clothe him… [get him out of these swine clothes and give him a bath and clean him up] …and give him a ring for his hand and sandals for his feet; and bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and be merry. For this my son was dead, but is alive again; and he was lost, but is found.' And they began to be merry" (vs 21-24).

God is the One Who has to work out the circumstances. There are many, many in the Church who have attended who are in similar circumstances. That's why it's imperative for us that when they do repent that we have the right attitude toward them. Be thankful that they're repenting. Don't remind them of all the wrongs that they have done, because they're repenting of them—and they know that!

Verse 25: "But his elder son was in a field… [this is likened to the one who's always been faithful in church] …and when he was coming back, and approached the house, he heard music and dancing…. [an unusual thing] …And after calling one of the servants nearby, he inquired what these things might be. And he said to him, 'Your brother has come home, and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has received him safe and well'" (vs 25-27).

Verse 28: "Then he was angry and would not go in. As a result, his father came out and pleaded with him. But he answered and said to his father, 'Behold, I have served you so many years, and never did I transgress your commandment; yet you never gave me a kid, so that I might make merry with my friends; but when this son of yours came, who has devoured your living with harlots, you killed the fattened calf for him.'" (vs 28-30).

That's a very good example of what we go through, too. That there will be more people who will see the error of their ways, there will be more children who have left God who will come back. God hasn't forgotten them. If we have this attitude then we will know for sure that they left for a good reason.

We have to have the attitude of compassion and forgiveness as the father had here. They know that they've got to get their lives squared around. They know they've got to change and keep the commandments of God. This is a momentous occurrence that takes place. This kind of repentance is deep and profound. It moves people to do the things that they need to do to get right with God. What is the whole lesson for the Laodiceans? Be zealous and repent! They all have to come to themselves; we have to constantly come to ourselves before God, too.

Verse 31: "Then he said to him, 'Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. But it was fitting to make merry and rejoice because your brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, but is found'" (vs 31-32).

Part of the problem involved in this with the other brother was that he didn't understand his own nature; he did not understand the problems of self-righteousness. Self-righteousness is so hard to see, because you're doing right. But because you do right, that hasn't necessarily changed your nature. Only the Holy Spirit can change the nature.

Let's look at another parable, Luke 7:36[transcriber's correction]: "Now one of the Pharisees invited Him to eat with him. And after going into the Pharisee's house, He sat down at the table. And behold, a woman in the city who was a sinner… [a known harlot] …when she knew that He was sitting in the Pharisee's house, took an alabaster flask of ointment; and she stood weeping behind Him, and knelt at His feet, and began to wash His feet with her tears and to wipe them with the hairs of her head; and she was ardently kissing His feet and anointing them with the ointment." (vs 36-38). I imagine that caused quite a little disturbance there in the Pharisees' house.

Verse 39: "But when he saw this, the Pharisee who had invited Him spoke within himself, saying, 'This man, if He were a prophet, would have known who and what the woman is who is touching Him because she is a sinner'" Jesus could understand the thoughts, so He gave them this parable:

Verse 40: "Then Jesus answered and said to him, 'Simon, I have something to say to you.' And he said, 'Teacher, say on.'…. [you could almost see it] …'There were two debtors of a certain creditor; one owed five hundred silver coins, and the other fifty. But when they did not have anythingwith which to pay him, he forgave them both. Tell Me then, which of them will love him most?'" (vs 40-42). Simon thought that's an easy one.

Verse 43: "And Simon answered and said, 'I suppose the one whom he forgave the most.' And He said to him, 'You have judged rightly.' And after turning to the woman, He said to Simon, 'Do you see this woman? I came into your house, and you did not provide any water to wash My feet; but she has washed My feet with her tears and wiped them with the hairs of her head. You did not give Me a kiss; but she, from the time I came in, has not ceased to ardently kiss My feet. You did not anoint My head with oil; but she has anointed My feet with ointment. For this cause, I tell you… [it's a lesson for him] …her many sins have been forgiven because she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, he loves little'" (vs 43-47). There's a key lesson, brethren. It's got to be the love of God. Everything we do has to be based on that.

Verse 48: "And He said to her, 'Your sins have been forgiven.' Then those who were sitting with Him began to say within themselves, 'Who is this, Who even forgives sins?' But He said to the woman, 'Your faith has saved you. Go in peace'" (vs 48-50).

We need to look at it the way that God looks at those things. We need to understand that we're going to be dealing with a generation that has been into all kinds of things—right? They're going to need a lot of understanding. They are going to need a lot of repenting on their part. They're going to need the example of love. A lot of times they did the things that they did because they weren't loved. That's very important for us to understand.

  • How does the Holy Spirit work with a person?
  • In particularly, how does the Holy Spirit work with someone before they're baptized?
  • What is it that God does?

If we believe that God only has His eye on His Church, then we are indeed most self-righteous! God is God of heaven and earth! God is interested in all the people on earth. God has special means whereby He seeks out those who are trying to find Him. He does answer those prayers.

  • How does He do it?
  • By what means does He do it?

We find it right here in Revelation 5:6: "Then I saw, and behold, before the throne and the four living creatures, and before the elders, was standing a Lamb ashaving been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God that are sent into all the earth."

  • What do those seven spirit do?
  • What is their job?

Let me give you an example of how God did something and the people didn't even have a clue. The soldiers who crucified Jesus, actually nailing Him to the cross:

  • What did they have? They had His garment and His vesture—right?
  • Did they know God? No!Had no thought about God!
  • What was their job? The nasty job of crucifying Jews!

Get rather callus in that kind of occupation. But nevertheless, they did what God wanted them to do. That is, they parted His garment and cast lots on His vesture to fulfill the prophecy in Psa. 22.

  • Did God work with them to accomplish that? Of course, He did!
  • Did they know it? I doubt it! I don't think they even had a clue!
  • Is God working with people that we don't even know about?
  • Is He working with them in a way that He desires? Yes!

I think that the seven spirits have an awful lot to do with it.

Let's look at how this operates and how it works. I do not care who the individual is, there is not one individual on earth—even an atheist… An atheist is just a 'good-time Joe.' When the going gets tough he calls on God. God is not like the joke; He doesn't answer them. God will deal with them.

Here's the principle, 2-Chronicles 15:1: "And the Spirit of God came upon Azariah the son of Oded. And he went out to meet Asa, and said to him, 'Hear me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin. The LORD is with you while you are with Him. And if you seek Him, He will be found by you….'" (vs 1-2). Jesus gave that promise—didn't He. He said, 'Seek, you will find. Knock and it shall be opened. For everyone who seeks will find, and everyone who knocks it will be opened.' We have the same principle here: "…if you seek Him, He will be found by you…." And God is interested in that. That's what God wants. He does not want to come down and destroy and kill people. That's why when He says, 'You that desire the day of the Lord, what is it to you?'

If anyone wants to be a prophet, you better read the book of Ezekiel.

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This is what we need to realize, Ezekiel 33:7: "And you, son of man, I have set you as watchman to the house of Israel…. [That's why no one should stand up and say, 'I'm a watchman'—because you have set yourself.] …Therefore, you shall hear the Word from My mouth, and warn them from Me. When I say to the wicked, 'O wicked one, you shall surely die;' if you do not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked one shall die in his iniquity; but I will require his blood at your hand. But, if you warn the wicked of his way, to turn from it; if he does not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity, but you have delivered your soul" (vs 7-9).

This is a responsibility for each of us in a way where we are to be a light. We are to be ready to give an answer of the hope that lies within us. That may be something that will help turn this person to God.

Verse 10: "And you, son of man, speak to the house of Israel. Thus shall you speak, saying, 'When our transgressions and our sins are on us, and we are wasting away in them, how then shall we live?' Say to them, 'As I live,' says the Lord GOD, 'I have no delight in the death of the wicked… [May all of Saudi Arabia understand that, and all of the terrorists. If you take in your hand to execute God's judgment, then God's judgment is going to be upon you.] …except that the wicked turn from his way, and live….'" (vs 10-11). 

That's what God wants. God is able to help repair any life. Do you understand that? Remember, there are going to be those called at the very last hour. "'…Turn you, turn you from your evil ways; for why will you die, O house of Israel?'" (v 11). God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked. Then He gives a warning: If the righteous turn from his way and sin then all the righteousness that he has done shall not be remembered. If the wicked will turn from his way and his sin, then all of his sin shall not be remembered either. That's also a very important thing for us to understand.
I think what you will see is that God is busy working with many different people at many different levels that we don't even know about, because of the way that God works. Remember when Jesus told the disciples in Samaria, 'Look at the fields, they're already white unto the harvest.' They didn't know what was going to happen, because that was early in the beginning of the ministry of Christ. That happened later on after the Day of Pentecost. The harvest was great—wasn't it? Yes, indeed!

We find the principle here: If you seek Him, you will be found of Him!2-Chronicles 15:3[transcriber's correction]: "And for a long time Israel had been without the true God, and without a teaching priest, and without law. And when they turned in their trouble to the LORD God of Israel, and sought Him, He was found by them. And in those times there was no peace to him who went out, nor to him who came in, but great tumult was upon all the inhabitants of the lands. And nation was destroyed by nation, and city-by-city, for God troubled them with every adversity. But you be strong and do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded" (vs 3-7). Asa took heart, he returned to the Lord, they made a covenant with God, all of Judah rejoiced at the oath, and they made this covenant:

Verse 15: "And all Judah rejoiced at the oath, for they had sworn with all their heart and sought Him with their whole desire. And He was found by them, and the LORD gave them rest all around…. [v 19]: "And there was no war to the thirty-fifth year of the reign of Asa."

Asa went ahead and he did the things that were not right, 2 Chronicles 16:7: "And at that time Hanani the seer came to Asa king of Judah and said to him, 'Because you have relied on the king of Syria and have not relied on the LORD your God, therefore the army of the king of Syria has escaped out of your hand. Were not the Ethiopians and the Libyans a huge army with many chariots and horsemen? Yet, because you relied on the LORD, He delivered them into your hand, for the eyes of the LORD… [here's the whole point, those are the seven spirits that are the seven eyes] …run to and fro in all the whole earth to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is perfect toward Him. In this you have done foolishly; therefore, from now on you shall have wars'" (vs 7-9). Then he got mad at Hanani the seer. God is seeking out whom He is going to seek out.

Let's see how God is going to begin dealing with different people. Here we have the disciples on the night of the Passover. Jesus is talking to them, John 14:15: "If you love Me, keep the commandments—namely, My commandments." That's why all repentance begins with transgression of the Law. Everyone who transgresses the Law has to see that he or she is a sinner and needs to repent to God. Then they have to come to the point that they desire to keep the commandments of God. That is a starting point for them.

Verse 16: "And I will ask the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter…" Let's say someone really has a messed up life. He or she wants to get it straightened out. They don't know God. They don't know anything about God. Maybe they just start praying. Is God going to ignore that prayer or are the seven eyes of God seeking those kinds of individuals to hopefully lead them to repentance. It's the graciousness of God that leads people to repentance! Then they begin to see they need to keep the commandments. Here we're going to find a great principle where this all ties up with love, too.

"…that it may be with you throughout the age: Even the Spirit of the Truth, which the world cannot receive because it perceives it not, nor knows it; but you know it because it dwells with you, and shall be within you" (vs 16-17).

How many people have the Spirit of God with them, but not in them? How they respond to that depends on how God will continue to deal with them. If they come along and come to church once or twice and they're gone, and they didn't go any further than that.

  • Has God necessarily given up on them? We don't know!
  • Can the Spirit of God be with them? Yes, the Spirit of God, I think, will be with them as long as they respond to God!

If they don't respond to God, I think it will be withdrawn.

  • What if they go through several sessions there, where then they really come to themselves? I'm sure the Spirit of God will come back to be with them!

But the Spirit of God is not in a person until they have repented, have been baptized, receive the laying on of hands and then the Spirit of God is within the individual as a begettal and the mind of Christ. We will see two functions of the Holy Spirit.

Verse 21: "The one who has My commandments and is keeping them, that is the one who loves Me; and the one who loves Me shall be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will manifest Myself to him." God is love and wants to be loved. Therefore, God will continue working with an individual until they come to that point.

Verse 23: "Jesus answered and said to him, 'If anyone loves Me, he will keep My Word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.'" What is an abode? A dwelling place! When you come to that point of receiving the Holy Spirit that you become a temple of God! That's what you are! That's what's important!

Verse 24: "The one who does not love Me does not keep My words…" Obviously the Holy Spirit is going to leave.

Let's see what the Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians concerning our bodies. When that happens, when the Holy Spirit comes into us we now have the abode of Christ and the Father. It says WE will come and make OUR abode with you—which means in you!

1-Corinthians 3:16: "Don't you understand that you are God's temple, and that the Spirit of God is dwelling in you?…. [His abode is within you!] …If anyone defiles the temple of God… [his body] …God shall destroy him because the temple of God is Holy, which temple you are" (vs 16-17). That's the key important thing. You've then become a temple of God, for God to live in you.

How is that done? We will see that in order to accomplish this, there are two functions of the Holy Spirit. There is one Holy Spirit but two functions of it. One we will see is the function that Christ does. The other is the function of the Father, which He does.

Romans 8:9: "However, you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if theSpirit of God is indeed dwelling within you. But if anyone does not have theSpirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him." Notice that we have two things:

  • the Spirit of God
  • the Spirit of Christ

That shows two aspects of the Holy Spirit. First of all, the Holy Spirit comes to those who are seeking God and is with them. When they repent and are baptized and receive the laying on of hands, then the Holy Spirit is in them, and they become the temple of God, because God the Father and Jesus Christ—through the power of the Holy Spirit—is dwelling in them!

Verse 10[transcriber's correction]: "But if Christ bewithin you… [that's the function of Christ, the mind of Christ, the function of Christ] …the body is indeed dead because of sin; however, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. Now, if the Spirit of Him Who raised Jesus from the dead is dwelling within you…" (vs 10-11).

We're talking about two aspects of the Spirit: Spirit of Christ that dwells in you; and the Spirit of "…Him Who raised Jesus from the dead…" What does that do? There are two distinct functions of the Holy Spirit!
"…He Who raised Christ from the dead will also quicken your mortal bodies because of His Spirit that dwells within you" (v 11). What is that called? What is the function of that?

Verse 12: "So then, brethren, we are not debtors to the flesh, to live according to the flesh; because if you are living according to the flesh, you shall die; but if by the Spirit… [this is using the power of the Spirit within you] …you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God" (vs 12-14). The whole function of the Holy Spirit is to lead us. There are two aspects of this that we will see.

  • The Function of Christ:

Let's look at the function of Christ, which is the mind of Christ. It is something that you have to yield to, want and desire. God is not going to force it upon you. As we started out He set choices before us.

Philippians 2:5: "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus." We are to have the mind of Christ. How do we have the mind of Christ?

  • by studying His Word!
  • by living by His Word!
  • by thinking with the Word of God!

That's when you begin really maturing spiritually; when you use the Scriptures that are in your mind because you've studied it and it has become part of you. Then you think with the Scriptures! Then you have the mind of Christ. That's the function that comes from Christ.

Part of what I am covering here I've covered in a little different way. That is the worse translated verse in the King James. Notice that it did not say to have the mind of the Father. It said to have the mind of Christ. Nevertheless, Christ said that 'we will come and make Our abode—or dwelling place—with the one who loves God.

  • The Function of the Father:

What is the function of the Spirit that comes from the Father? Unfortunately, in the King James Version is where a lot of difficulties and problems come. This is the false doctrine of Protestantism that once you are converted you are born again.

1-John 3:9 (KJV): "Whosoever is born of God does not commit sin; for his seed remains in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God." Wait a minute! If that's true, why do we have:

1-John 1:9[transcriber's correction]: "If we confess our own sins, He is faithful and righteous, to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." If you cannot sin, why do you have to confess your sins? It's an absolute contradiction!

1-John 5:16 "If anyone sees his brother sinning a sin that is not unto death…" If you cannot sin, if you are converted, then how can you see a brother sin a sin which not a sin unto death? It's totally contradictory. It doesn't make any sense at all. The reason is 1-John 3 is not properly translated—that's why!

A sin that is a sin not unto death is any sin that is not the unpardonable sin, any sin that can be repented of "…he shall ask, and He will give him life for those who do not sin unto death…." (v 16).

When young people have left the Church and have forsaken God, have they sinned a sin unto death? You don't know! So, you pray for them that they come back. Pray for them that God would work in their lives, whatever it may be, to have them come to him or her self. Then they can come back to God.

"…he shall ask, and He will give him life for those who do not sin unto death. There is a sin unto death; concerning that sin, I do not say that he should make any supplication to God" (v 16). How do we understand 1-John 3:9?

Let's come right through this so we understand it, 1-John 3:4 (KJV): "Whosoever commits sin transgresses also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.

A more precise translation, v 4 (FV): "Everyone who practices sin is also practicing lawlessness, for sin is lawlessness. And you know that He appeared in order that He might take away our sins; and in Him is no sin. Everyone who dwells in Him does not practice sin…" (vs 4-6). The verb in v 4, practicing, carries down into the meaning of v 6: does not practice sin!

"…anyone who practices sin has not seen Him, nor has known Him. Little children, do not allow anyone to deceive you; the one who practicesrighteousness is righteous, even as He is righteous. The one who practices sin is of the devil because the devil has beensinning from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God appeared that He might destroy the works of the devil. Everyone who has been begotten by God…" (vs 6-9)—the receiving of the Holy Spirit. The begettal comes from the Father! That is the action of the Holy Spirit on the Father's part. It is a begettal, because you are going to be His children at the resurrection.

Verse 9: "Everyone who has been begotten by God does not practice sin because His seed of begettal is dwelling within him… [Why can you not practice sin?]: …and he is not able to practice sin because he has been begotten by God." God's Spirit convicts you of sin—right?
Maybe for a time you can deceive yourself and think you're getting away with sin. But sooner or later you're going to come to yourself and understand that you cannot practice sin!If you truly have the Spirit of God you cannot practice sin! You can sin, but you can't live in sin as a way of life.

  • God's Spirit is there to ensure that.
  • God's Spirit is there to give you the mind of Christ
  • God's Spirit is there to retain the begettal of the Holy Spirit

so that you can become the children of God!

That's why this verse has led to a lot of problems, especially with Protestants who like to say, 'When you're born again you cannot sin, so therefore, you don't have to worry about the Law.' It doesn't mean that at all.

Verse 9, again: "Everyone who has been begotten by God does not practice sin because His seed… ['sperma' in the Greek] …of begettal is dwelling within him, and he is not able to practice sin because he has been begotten by God. By this standard are manifest the children of God and the children of the devil. Everyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, and neither is the one who does not love his brother" (vs 9-10). This is to develop in us.

Let's look at that. The function of the Holy Spirit—which comes from God—it performs that which brings you to become the children of God. When do you become the children of God literally? At the resurrection! That's when your mortal bodies shall be changed from flesh to spirit. Be fashioned like His glorious body.

Romans 8:11: "Now, if the Spirit of Him… [from the Father] …Who raised Jesus from the dead is dwelling within you… [that's the begettal] …He Who raised Christ from the dead will also quicken your mortal bodies because of His Spirit that dwells within you." Therefore, the function of the Spirit by the Father is for the begettal and then for the change at the resurrection.

This gives us a better understanding of how God deals with people in the world. If anyone is seeking God, He'll send one of the seven spirits to keep tabs on what he's doing. The Spirit of God can come and be with that individual—not in them. If they respond to God then the Spirit of God will continue to lead them. God will lead them to repentance. If they reject it and go the other way, the Spirit of God will be withdrawn from them. They have not been called unto salvation. They have been exposed to Truth, but because they were not willing to believe and obey, therefore, God's Spirit could not remain with them to lead them to repentance. Maybe that will happen again at a later time, we don't know.
Once we have been baptized and received the Holy Spirit as a begettal we are in a different category with God—we are His begotten children. It is the Father Who has caused this to be. That's why when we baptize, we baptize into the name of the Father, because He is the One Who sends the Holy Spirit of begettal. And of Christnot into the name of Christ—because it's through His crucifixion and resurrection that we can have forgiveness of sin, and of the Holy Spirit because the Holy Spirit is to lead us. Then the person is baptized. All of this together in the name of Christ.

Now then, we are in a different category than the rest of the world. We are not of the world, as Christ said. We live in the world—sometimes we wish we didn't have to, but we do—but we are not of the world. Therefore, we are in a constant battle against the world and against self, and that expends spiritual energy! That's why you need to constantly be renewed, constantly need to stir up the Spirit of God within you.

What we need to remember is that this came as a spiritual blessing from God the Father. Stop and think how great it is, what a marvelous blessing that it is that you are the children of God! That's a little hard to fathom, because of the limitations of our mind. Therefore, God has guaranteed that you will have a spiritual body by the very fact that you now have a physical body. You're walking around with your guarantee all the time.

Here's why we're in a different category, Ephesians 1:3: "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly things with Christ." We're not in heavenly places now, but we've been blessed with part of the heavenlies with the Holy Spirit of God.

Verse 4: "According as He has personally chosen us for Himself… [Isn't that interesting? God had this plan all ready] …before the foundation of the world…" But because He sets before us choices, we respond to God—many are called, few are chosen because few repent. Once we repent, receive the Holy Spirit of God, then here is what He has done.

"…in order that we might be Holy and blameless before Him in love; having predestinated us for sonship to Himself through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of His own will" (vs 4-5). Maybe you never thought of it before, but God has looked down upon you and called you "…according to His good pleasure…" He has! Every one of us!

What is the pleasure of God for us going to be? That's something—isn't it? Here's the Being that John said twice: God is love! He loved us first and manifested His Son Jesus Christ. Therein is the love of God shown to us.

How many people respond back to God with the love of God that they need? With the love of God that God desires? With all your heart, mind, soul, being! That's what God wants. There can be nothing greater in this life that you can do than that. That includes keeping His commandments. That includes everything that He desires to do. That God can have pleasure in us. Isn't that something? He's called us for His own good pleasure!According to His own will!

Maybe you've never thought of it this way. God the Father Himself has chosen you! The Supreme Being of the universe has reached down in your life to call you and to give you His Spirit that you can be in His kingdom! That takes a lifetime to really come to grasp the full meaning of that.

It's going to be, v 6: "To the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He has made us objects of His grace in the Beloved Son." That's what imputed righteousness is all about. God looks upon us as He looks upon Christ. That's something—isn't it? That's why we go daily to have our sins forgiven. That's why God wants us to be loving, to be forgiving, to be kind—because that's what God is!

There's a time when we stand for the Truth. There's a time when we give no quarter to anybody or anything because we are defending the Truth and standing for God. That in effect is showing supreme love for God, because you're going to stand against the enemy. That's what Christ did—didn't He? Yes, He did!

Verse 7: "In Whom we have redemption through His blood, even the remission of sins, according to the riches of His grace." That's a constant, ongoing thing, brethren. You always have access to the throne of God in heaven above through Jesus Christ. You always have access to the forgiveness of sins upon repentance. That's what we need to really grasp in this whole thing of our relationship with God.

Verse 8: "Which He has made to abound toward us in all wisdom and intelligence; having made known to us the mystery of His own will…" (vs 8-9). How many know the true plan of God? I imagine if you asked even a lot of religious people they wouldn't know. If you ran a survey in a shopping mall and asked, 'What do you think God's purpose is?' I don't think anyone would say to create His Family through mankind!

  • How's He going to do it? God has a plan!
  • How do we know what it is? It's laid out in the Bible and structured by the Holy Days!

Amazing thing! It is the mystery or the secret of His will. That's how much God loves you, that He's brought you into His confidence so much that He has revealed His secret plan to you, to me, to all those that He calls regardless of where they are. Isn't that a marvelous thing? All of that is through the power of the Holy Spirit.

"…according to His good pleasure, which He purposed in Himself; that in theDivine plan for the fulfilling of the times, He might bring all things together in Christ, both the things in the heavens and the things upon the earth; yes, in Him, in Whom we also have obtained an inheritance…" (vs 9-11).

Let's talk about the inheritance a little bit. I was talking to a man recently and he said that he received an inheritance, because one of his relatives died. What did he get? He got something! It was not an empty envelope with ethereal POOF! It was substance. God has prepared the universe for His Family. It's going to be a literal inheritance.

  • Did God give the inheritance of the land to the descendants according to His promise? Yes, He did!
  • Was it real substance? Yes, it was!
  • Are spiritual things of greater substance than physical things?
  • In inheriting the Kingdom of God and in living in New Jerusalem, is that not being blessed with substance greater than our mind can really fully grasp at this point?

Romans 8:14: "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God…. [let the Spirit of God lead you] …Now, you have not received a spirit of bondage again unto fear, but you have received the Spirit of sonship, whereby we call out, 'Abba, Father.'" (vs 14-15). Isn't that something? You can call God the Father, Daddy—a term of endearment.

Verse 16: "The Spirit itself bears witness conjointly with our own spirit, testifying that we are the children of God." Remember, God is preparing for us. Jesus said, 'If I go, I will come again. In My Father's house are many abodes and I go to prepare a place for you, that when I come I will receive you to Myself.' God is working, preparing that. That's why He wants us to work to prepare, in reciprocal fashion, spiritually in our lives so that when we receive the inheritance that He has prepared for us, we will be fully equipped to handle it. It's an inheritance.

Verse 17: "Now, if we are children, we are also heirs—truly, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ—if indeed we suffer together with Him, so that we may also be glorified together with Him. For I reckon that the sufferings of the present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us…. [That's quite a thing—isn't it?] …The earnest expectation of the creation itself is awaiting the manifestation of the sons of God." (vs 17-19).When it gets down to it, you need to realize this: the destiny of the world also depends upon you as a son or daughter of God!

That's why God wants you to do it His way. That's why God does not want you out trying to correct the world through politics and elections and militia today. The Kingdom of God is not here. If it were then we would fight. When it does come we will fight, and we will be equipped.

Ephesians 1: 11: "Yes, in Him, in Whom we also have obtained an inheritance, having been predestinated according to His purpose, Who is working out all things according to the counsel of His own will… [Your will be done in earth as it is in heaven; not my will by Your will] …that we might be to the praise of His glory, who first trusted in the Christ" (vs 11-12). That's a hard one for me to comprehend, that we should be "…to the praise of His glory, who first trusted in the Christ."

In other words, what God is doing with those that He calls and gives the Holy Spirit to, "…be the children and inheritors of His plan. That it is going to "be to the praise of His glory…" (v 12).

All Scriptures from The Holy Bible in Its Original Order, A Faithful Version by Fred R. Coulter (except where noted)

Scriptural References:

  • Deuteronomy 30:11-16
  • Psalm 78:17-42
  • Deuteronomy 30:17-20
  • Luke 15:11-32
  • Luke 7:36-50
  • Revelation 5:6
  • 2 Chronicles 15:1-2
  • Ezekiel 33:7-11
  • 2 Chronicles 15:3-7, 15, 19
  • 2 Chronicles 16:7-9
  • John 14:15-17, 21, 23-24
  • 1 Corinthians 3:16-17
  • Romans 8:9-14
  • Philippians 2:5
  • 1 John 3:9
  • 1 John 1:9
  • 1 John 5:16
  • 1 John 3:4-10
  • Romans 8:11
  • Ephesians 1:3-11
  • Romans 8:14-19
  • Ephesians 1:11-12

Scriptures referenced, not quoted:

  • Romans 2
  • Psalm 22

Transcribed: 8-13-12