Great Mission Series
Fred R. Coulter—June 18, 2011

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[Transcript begins at 4:20 of video] Welcome everyone to Sabbath services! We just saw a very enlightening video entitled, The Fingerprint of God, showing the design of God in everything that He does. And the design of every human being, each having unique identity as established by the difference in fingerprints, and He's made us for a unique and tremendous purpose.

So, let's begin this by going first of all to Psalm 139[corrected]. We've been there before, but after seeing this and then watching the effects of it and how that the design of the spiral in the galaxy is the same design that is in the sea urchin, and so forth. This talks about us, because, you see, every one of us a creation of God. I was talking to the group of men down there in the Helpers Class down in Arcadia, and just to prove a point, I said, 'All right, everybody hold your breath.' You do have to breathe. And the point of that was, if men think they are so strong and powerful, and can reject God, then stop breathing and live.

  • God has made us!
  • He knows us!
  • His creation is perfect!

A tremendous Psalm, very humbling, Psalm 139:1 "O LORD, You have searched me and have known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thoughts afar off" (vs 1-2).

How can God understand our thoughts afar off? Because He put a spirit in man, and that gives man the ability to think, to reason, and it gives man also the ability to think in terms beyond himself in time and space, and beyond himself in past and history. And it says in Ecc. 3 that 'God has put eternity in the heart of man,' which we can identify by this: None of us can remember when we weren't here, and though we know we're going to die, none of us can think about when we won't be here. So God knows us, everything about us.

Verse 3: "You measure my going about and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways, for there is not a word on my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, You know it altogether. You have enclosed me behind and in front, and laid Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it. Where shall I go from Your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from Your presence? If I go up into heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in the grave, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the furthest parts of the sea, even there Your hand shall lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me. If I say, 'Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light around me shall be night;' even the darkness does not hide from You, but the night shines as the day; as is the darkness, so is the light to you.... [Here's how God knows us. He created us spiritually with the spirit of man that… I don't know exactly how this works, but this defines it the best way we can understand it]: ...for You have possessed my reins..." (vs 3-13). The reins is what God uses

  • to lead us
  • to test us
  • to try us
  • to know us

Rev. 2 even says that of the Church. So that we know even as being God's children we're not an end unto ourselves. Part of this what we will understand is how we also relate the unity of Scripture.

He knows when we do good, He knows when we sin, yet He doesn't have to be right there personally to do it, because everything we are, everything we have done, everything our lives are, is recorded in our minds and God designed it that way. Here He talks about those who reject His way and He says:

Revelation 2:23 "And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am He... [This is Christ and Christ was the Lord God of the Old Testament.] ...I am He Who searches the reins and hearts; and I will give to each of you according to your works."

Let's go back to Psalm 139:15: "My substance was not hidden from You..." That's what they call right after the conception; what begins developing is substance. But that's still you, because without that you wouldn't be here, I wouldn't be here. So the cell divides in two, then the two divide to four, and the four divide to eight, and that's when the gene for the sex kicks in, right at the beginning. Oh, and they just discovered, they say that women are born different from men. God knew that all along.

Verse 14: "…Your works are marvelous and my soul knows it very well. My substance was not hidden from You when I was made in secret and intricately formed in the lowest parts of the earth…. [a metaphor for the womb] …Your eyes did see my substance, yet being unformed... [Being inside your mother's womb is no problem for God—right?] ...and in Your book all my members were written..." (vs 14-16).

Men today call that the genome. They thought once they got all the chromosomes worked out, they could solve the problem of the genes, but now they realize that the genes are so much more complicated than the chromosomes, and there can be 30,000 times 30,000 variations of the genes, so it's almost hopeless to try and map out the whole genome now.

"...all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there were none of them" (v 16). And that's what happens. What week is it? By the sixth week there's a heartbeat? And like one politician, who used to believe in abortion, said when he heard the heartbeat of his child, he said, 'That's a life! That is a life.'

Verse 16: "...when as yet there were none of them. How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more than the sand; when I awake, I am still with You" (vs 16-18). That's something!

Think of this and the greatness that God has done to form human life, and then think about that this human life, as I mentioned before, is a seed for eternal life. How everything is going to work, the only way we can say is, make it to the resurrection and when you're resurrected you can ask God, 'How did You do that?' And He'll probably tell you, 'Very carefully with much difficulty.' For those who don't believe in God, let's come to Isaiah 40. It's interesting, an atheist could look at that same video that we looked at and say, 'This proves evolution.' Well, God has another answer for that and for those who believe in idols.

When men get to thinking that they are so smart—and a lot of them do—when they get exalted they need to read Isaiah 40:12[transcribers correction]. Today we have the blessing and privilege of being able to watch fantastic videos of the heavens, the earth, the seas, all continents, animals, the whales, the fish, etc. So, He challenges man. 'You think there's no God?'

Isaiah 40:12: "Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out the heavens with a span?…." He commanded and they were created! And now with the new Hubbell they have just blown away all the theories as to how many galaxies there are.

They took that new Hubbell telescope that's up in space and they focused it on a part of the heavens that they thought there was virtually nothing there. When the photos came back and they developed them, they were awestruck because it was filled with so many galaxies in space that they couldn't even see that anything was there in the past.

They used to say there were 120-billion galaxies. They've had to revise that upward drastically, and the number now is 360-trillion galaxies, all having the fingerprint of God, all having the handiwork of God—360-trillion!

Verse 12: "…And who has comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighted the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance? Who has directed the Spirit of the LORD, and who was His counselor that he might instruct Him?" (vs 12-13). First thing God is going tell any atheist is, 'Get your own big bang and get your own dirt, don't start with Mine. And by the way quit breathing and make yourself live.'

Verse 14: "With whom did He take counsel, and who instructed Him and taught Him in the path of judgment, and taught Him knowledge, and made known the way of understanding to Him?.... [God looks down on the earth. We're able today to see pictures of what it's like to look down on the earth. But as God looks down here] ...Behold, the nations are like a drop in a bucket... [The next time you measure something out with a little eyedropper, just take one drop and that's how the whole earth and everything and all the nations are to God. Yet, in that, He is working out His plan.] ...and are counted as the small dust of the scales; behold, He takes up the isles as a very little thing. And Lebanon is not sufficient to burn, nor the beasts of it sufficient for a burnt offering. All nations before Him are as nothing... [What do men do? Fight and war over it—right? All the time!] ...and they are counted by Him as less than nothing, and vanity" (vs 14-17).

When you start looking at important people in kings and you look at everything that there is, then God comes out and He says this: Verse 18: "To whom then will you compare God? Or what likeness will you compare to Him? The workman melts a graven image, and the goldsmith spreads it over with gold, and casts silver chains" (vs 18-19). Make it beautiful. There's something about the glittering of gold and the shininess of silver and the sparkling of gems that captivates the human imagination, but yet that's nothing compared to God, because He made it all.

Then he says, v 20: "He who is too poor for that offering chooses a tree that will not rot; he seeks for a skillful workman for himself to prepare a graven image that will not totter." That's exactly what they do. I saw a special on the natives in New Guinea. And they did interviews with some of the natives who remember eating human flesh. What they did, they made their gods just like this: They would go out and select a tree—one that wouldn't rot—cut it down, carve an image, stick it in the ground. Then they would all dance around it and all get into an intoxicated spiritual high through some of things that they were smoking. And to them this was to be spiritual.

But God says to all human beings, v 21: "Have you not known? Have you not heard? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth? It is He Who sits above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers; it is He Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them out like a tent to dwell in; Who brings the rulers to nothing; He makes the judges of the earth as vanity. No sooner are they planted, no sooner are they sown, no sooner do they take root in the ground, then He shall blow upon them, and they shall wither, and the whirlwind shall take them away like stubble. 'To whom then will you compare Me, or who is My equal?' says the Holy One. Lift up your eyes on high, and behold, Who has created these things, Who brings out their host by number? He calls them all by names by the greatness of His might, for He is strong in power; not one fails" (vs 21-26).

So this is quite something what God has done, creating the universe. And this is what He says is what we are going to inherit with Christ. So that's something to really keep in mind. Let's come to Psa. 19 and let's look at one of the most basic things that we understand and that is the laws of God, commandments of God, and what they are to do for us, and why He gave them to us. He starts out with the heavens, so that we know that everything that God has done is glorious. And the heavens are all run by the mathematics that God has created.

Psalm 19:1: "The heavens declare the glory of God... [that's why He tells us to look up] ...and the firmament proclaims His handiwork. Day after day they pour forth speech, and night after night they reveal knowledge" (vs 1-2).

Men have been able to devise equipment and things that are really fantastic, not only out into the heavens, but they have a system in the United States of America, which they're getting around the world now, where they put seismic wells into the earth and they put data there. They hook it up so it all comes to a central computer. They can tell the instant that there is the smallest earthquake clear on the other side of the world. With this they are able also to measure down into the earth and get back a pattern of what's inside the earth.

With that they've been able to discover—you have the crust and then you have the mantle, then you have the molten rock that is there, but in the center of it is a huge ball of iron. They've been able, through all of these devices, to develop a picture of what that looks like at the center of the earth. That huge ball of iron is rotating and it's keeping the earth going. Then the magnetics come from the sun and also from Jupiter to keep the moon going. And all of this they can detect. They've got reams and reams and reams of data and material and books.

What we have here in the Bible is worth more than all of that. What we have here are the keys to eternal life. And what we have here is God's Word to us. So that's fantastic to understand.

Verse 2: "Day after day they pour forth speech, and night after night they reveal knowledge" Isn't it interesting, they have detected sounds from the universe. Up here in Stanford, if you go up Highway 280, when you get up by Stanford you'll see on the right there's a whole series of these huge, giant discs out there, and those are listening discs picking up sounds from the universe. They're trying to find other life. Problem is, they're tuned in to the wrong channel. Need to tune in to the Bible.

Verse 4: "Their line has gone out through all the earth and their words to the ends of the world. In them He has set a tabernacle for the sun. Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoices as a strong man set to run a race, its going forth is from one end of heaven, and its circuit is to the other end. And there is nothing hidden from its heat" (vs 4-6).

Notice what this leads into. This would be well advised for every Protestant to really read this and understand it, because v 7 tells us: "The law of the LORD is perfect..."

  • God is perfect
  • His Way is perfect
  • His Truth is perfect
  • His Law is perfect

—nothing wrong with His law. Human beings want to come along and they want to add to it, change it, get rid of it. But here is what the law does.

Verse 7:"...restoring the soul... [It brings you back to doing what is right. God made us so that we need to know how to live and we need to know what is right.] ...the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple." And we could say, 'Well, all the Proverbs are that'; everything in there to tell us right and wrong; good and evil. As a matter of fact, the Proverbs start out with the simple: 'How long, simple ones, will you be simple and not listen?'

Verse 8: "The precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart... [Every precept of God is good. Every precept of God is Holy. What we need to understand is God's way, then we will realize how fantastic that is.] ...the commandments of the LORD are pure, enlightening the eyes…. [To give you understanding.] …The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether, more to be desired than gold, yea, much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb" (v 8-10).

I don't know how much gold there is in the world. Even some people are wondering do we still have any in Fort Knox.; who knows? But everyone who possesses gold is going to die and leave it. So the Word of God—which leads to eternal life—is 'more desired than gold, than much fine gold, sweeter than honey and the honeycomb.'

Verse 11: "Moreover by them Your servant is warned... [If you know the commandments of God, you will know not to transgress. The warning goes off in your mind.] ...in keeping them there is great reward." You would think that the Protestants would be so happy about that—right? Think of what they're missing. Yes!

Verse 12: "Who can understand his errors? Oh, cleanse me from my secret faults." And that's with God's Spirit, using

  • the reins
  • the laws
  • the commandments
  • the precepts
  • the statutes
  • the testimonies of God

And all of these are to teach us then and lead us to the thing that becomes the most important thing in our lives. "…cleanse me from my secret faults." Remember the sermons we gave on The Washing of the Water by the Word—cleanse the mind, change the thoughts.

In conversion and in renewing the mind, God is re-programming the mind with His Spirit. That requires effort on our part through prayer and study and living and obeying, that all of these things can work in our lives.

Notice what else it does, v 13: "And keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins... [David had his presumptuous sin—didn't he?—with Bathsheba. Today the world's ridden with that, just terrible.] ...do not let them rule over me... [Isn't that interesting? With the laws and commandments of God in your heart and in your mind and the Spirit of God within you, sin shall not rule over you (Rom. 6). It doesn't say you won't sin, but it tells you it won't rule over you and that's a big difference, because it is God who rules over you through His Spirit.] ...then I shall be blameless, and I shall be innocent of great transgression" (v 13). Notice the progression here. It says:

  • You are warned. Isn't that the way that sin comes along? You get a warning!
  • Then you realize you made a mistake and you didn't understand your error, v 2, you need to have that cleansed out.
  • Then it keeps you back from presumptuous sins.
  • And it doesn't rule over you.

So He says, v 13: "...then I shall be blameless, and I shall be innocent of great transgression. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer" (vs 13-14). That's really something—isn't it? That's quite a thing God has done! That's quite a thing as to how God has made us!

Let's come back here to the book of Romans and let's pick up on this as why then we need to be baptized with a covenant baptism as defined in Rom. 6. This helps us to be able to change and grow and overcome and develop character. Let's see what some of the things the book of Romans has which helps us understand more about Psa. 19. Notice we're talking about sin and the forgiveness of sin. We saw the process—didn't we? (Psa. 19). Now we have grace.

  •  Grace is access to God that people in the world do not have.
  • Grace has to do with forgiveness of sin
  • Grace has to do with justification
  • Grace has to do with the sacrifice of Jesus Christ

All those things are part of grace, and we stand in the grace of God. The whole purpose of the grace of God is then to develop the character of God.

That's what they say, isn't it? Yes! Good comment was made. Today people say we're under the grace of God so we can do anything we want to. It doesn't mean that.

  • We're under the grace of God because we have His Spirit.
  • We're under the grace of God because we receive His love.
  • We're under the grace of God to obey Him from the heart.

Not freedom from God. The freedom we have is freedom from sin.

Come back here to Romans 5:1, here it talks about the grace of God: "Therefore, having been justified by faith..." That's through the blood, sacrifice of Jesus Christ. And I just might mention here that a lot of Jews in talking to Christians, they say, 'In the Old Testament human sacrifice was forbidden.' That's a true statement. But they don't know Who Jesus was. They don't know that He was God manifested in the flesh and He laid His life down. No one took it from Him and the Father gave it back to Him because He became the perfect offering—through His sacrifice of Himself—for the sins of the whole world. The only One Who could do that was God. A man can die for another man, but you save a man, maybe two or three. But have they received eternal life? NO!

Romans 5:1: "Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.... [Our hearts and minds now have been changed with the circumcision of Christ and the receipt of the Holy Spirit.] ...Through Whom we also have access by faith into this grace in which we stand..." (vs 1-2). It's like standing under the umbrella of God, and through God's grace comes:

  • the love of God
  • the faith of God
  • the belief
  • all of the blessings of God of:
  • love
  • joy
  • peace
  • plus the access to have our sins forgiven when we sin.

Jesus said, 'Every sin that a man—woman, too—has committed will be forgiven.' Speak a word against Christ it'll be forgiven. Blaspheme against Him it will be forgiven. The only one that won't be forgiven is the unpardonable sin, because you're rejecting God the Father and His Spirit. That's what the unpardonable sin is. So, we are standing under this grace.

Verse 2: "...and we ourselves boast in the hope of the glory of God." With conversion and with God's Spirit,

  • we have purpose
  • we have a plan that God has worked out
  • we have eternal life and glory to look forward to

"And not only this, but we also boast in tribulation..." (v 3). We can look back and see all the trials and difficulties that we go through, and we have many of them—right? What are they for? To show us the futility of the physical life without God, and to show us the struggle that we have to change and grow and overcome to become like God.

Verse 3: "...realizing that tribulation brings forth endurance..." Then as Paul said later, 'All things work together for good.' And even the most difficult problems we've gone through, after we've come out through the other side of them, we can look back and say, 'Boy, that was tough, but I learned from it and God has redeemed me, God has helped me, God has saved me.'

Verse 4: "And endurance brings forth character, and character brings forth hope…. [This is what God wants us to have continually.] …And the hope of God never makes us ashamed because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, which has been given to us" (vs 4-5). This is why Jesus said, 'By this shall all men know you're My disciples: if you love one another.' And we can only have that love if we love God with all our heart and mind and soul and being.

When tough times come, when the sledding gets like there is no snow—you ever tried to pull a sled over gravel? When it gets that way, realize God is going to help you. He will intervene in your life. Put in your notes there Isa. 45, where He says no less than four times: 'I will help you!'

Some people don't think that God can help them. Well, the way that God has created us, yes, He can, with His Spirit. He can send angels. He can watch over us. He can help us with repentance, change our minds. All of those things are possible. He will help us. All of that is the grace of God.

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Romans 6 helps answer a question. Most people think, 'Oh, yes, grace, you can do anything you want. We're free to choose whichever day we want. We're free to choose what we eat and don't eat.'

Romans 6:1: "What then shall we say?... [this is the conclusion of chapters 3-5] ...Shall we continue in sin... [And sin is what? 'Transgression of the law.' What did we read earlier? The law warns us, so we don't sin!] ...Shall we continue in sin, so that grace may abound? MAY IT NEVER BE!.… [Now the King James says 'God forbid,' but the Greek means 'may it never be.' Matter of fact, one of the reviews that we got on the Bible was they said that was really one of the features they like of the translation, because it was accurate and it was all in caps.] ...MAY IT NEVER BE! We who died to sin..." (vs 1-2).

We're going to see that's baptism, because we enter into a special covenant baptism that is our pledge of death and that then, is joined to the death of Christ. That pledge of death is that we will love God and serve Him and obey Him and walk in newness of life. We're not to live any longer in sin.

Verse 3: "...Or are you ignorant that we, as many as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore, we were buried with Him through the baptism into the death... [That's a literal translation from the Greek, and that means His death, because His death is 'the' death.] ...so that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, in the same way, we also should walk in newness of life" (vs 3-4). What is this newness of life to be? It's to be

  • changing
  • growing
  • overcoming
  • developing the mind of Christ
  • developing the love of God

Verse 4: "...newness of life. For if we have been conjoined together in the likeness of His death, so also shall we be in the likeness of His resurrection" (vs 4-5). That's the hope of eternal life. Now if God can take that little pinprick of life and create us out of that, think what He's going to do with us at the resurrection. I don't think there's anything comparable that we can say is like unto eternal life, because we don't know.

Here's what we have to do, and this is lifelong thing that we do, v 6: "Knowing this, that our old man was co-crucified with Him in order that the body of sin might be destroyed... [because it's a process. That's why it talks about in Eph. 5 about the washing of the water by the Word to sanctify the church. And sanctify means to be made Holy. So through the process of living with God's commandments, having God's Spirit, using God's calling, living in His grace, having access to God, we then are overcoming sin.] ...the body of sin might be destroyed, so that we might no longer be enslaved to sin" (v 6). What did we read in Psa. 19? About the laws and commandments so sin will not rule over us! We'll see Paul uses exactly the same language here in Rom. 6.

Verse 7: "Because the one who has died to sin has been justified from sin. Now, if we died together with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him. Knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more; death no longer has any dominion over Him. For when He died, He died unto sin once for all; but in that He lives, He lives unto God. In the same way also... [This is our dedication to God. This is what we pledged in the baptism.] ...you should indeed reckon yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God through Christ Jesus our Lord. Therefore, do not let sin rule in your mortal body by obeying it in the lusts thereof" (vs 7-12).

Doesn't say you won't sin. Because we have access to have our sins forgiven. We know that when we come to 1-John 1. This is what we understand, what we know, this is what we do. And really, the more we're converted, the more carnal you really see yourself to be. Not that you are getting worse, God is just exposing to you how bad you really were. That's what God is doing.

It isn't that you aren't changing and overcoming, you are. But now you're ready for God's Spirit to expose to you the deep sin that is within. Then you have the washing of the water by the Word to cleanse it out.

I had a man write an e-mail to me, castigated me with terrible language, whatever. He repented and sent back an email and apologized. It was a very humble email. I wrote him back, 'Thank you. I appreciate that. Apology accepted.' Move on. That's what God wants us to do, because sin causes us to do what we don't want to do. And after he wrote that, he knew he shouldn't have done it, so he did the proper thing and repented. When he repented, what should have I said, 'Well, you should have known better than that.' NO! Apology accepted, forgiven, move on. That's what God does with us.

It says here in 1-John 1:8: "If we say that we do not have sin..." That's the basic sum of Oprah Winfrey's New Age, whatever it is. It's not Christianity. No sin! If it feels good to you, it's good, it's fine, God accepts you, and all this sort of thing. God does not accept us as we are. He accepts us with repentance because we want to change what we are! Far different.

"If we say that we do not have sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the Truth is not in us. If we confess our own sins... [That is to God, through Christ.] ...He is faithful and righteous, to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.... [I want you to look at the way that he wrote this. The Apostle John wrote this after he had been a Christian for well over 60 years.] (And he says): ...If we... [including himself] ...confess our own sins, He is faithful and righteous, to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar... [You can't do that, because God is not a liar.] ...and His Word is not in us" (vs 8-10).

Let's come over here to Romans 8 and let's see what the Spirit of God is to do for us, how we are to use it, and exercise it. And how that gives us hope. Then we will see the greatest tool for overcoming contained in the Word of God.

Romans 8:8: "But those who are in the flesh cannot please God.... [That is, those who don't have the Holy Spirit of God cannot please God, because they're carnal minded and that's enmity against God.] ...However, you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if the Spirit of God is indeed dwelling within you... [That's how God looks at you. That's not how we perceive ourselves.] ...But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him" (vs 8-9).

This is why the covenant baptism is so important. There a lot of people who are able of their own will to be appear to be doing very well, but that doesn't mean they're converted. We can take someone who has lived a life of sin and gone through a whole lot of difficulty, and we can say, 'Yeah, I could really how they're changing.' Then along comes someone who is very nice by nature and we forget that that niceness, just of and by itself, unless they're converted, it's fine that they're nice, but they're still sinners—right?

They may be nice, but they keep Christmas. Oh, oh! They may be nice, but they keep Sunday. Oh, oh! They may be nice, but they're divorced. Oh, oh! Niceness of human nature is still carrying around the law of sin and death within them and so they can't be viewed as spiritual. But God views us as spiritual.

Verse 10: "But if Christ be within you, the body is indeed dead because of sin... [You buried it in the grave of water. You repent everyday. When you sin, you're warned. You change, you repent.] ...however, the Spirit is life because of righteousness, because we are looking forward to eternal life.] …Now, if the Spirit of Him Who raised Jesus from the dead is dwelling within you, He Who raised Christ from the dead will also quicken your mortal bodies because of His Spirit that dwells within you. 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 you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you shall live.... [That agrees 100% with Psa. 19—doesn't it? Yes, indeed!] ...For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God" (vs 10-14). That's how God deals with us today

  • to lead us with the reins
  • to try the reins
  • to try the heart

Verse 15: "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.'"

We have this close personal relationship with God. That's why we study everyday. That's why we pray everyday. That's why all during the day you may be praying in your mind while you're working, while you're driving, that's fine. Just make sure that's not your only prayers. Make sure that you pray on your knees everyday, because that shows that we are really yielding to God and wanting His Spirit.

 Verse 16: "The Spirit itself bears witness conjointly with our own spirit, testifying that we are the children of God. Now, if we are children, we are also heirs—truly heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ..." (vs 16-17). He's going to inherit the universe and we're going to be right there along with Him. And there are probably more than 360-trillion galaxies out there. If in one blank space of the heavens they can find so many they can calculate that, I wonder if they trained it on other so-called blank spaces in the heavens and see what they would come up with.

But notice, v 17: "...if indeed we suffer together with Him, so that we may also be glorified together with Him." These are the tribulations that we'll go through, the trials we will go through. All of this is to develop character. All of this is to develop love. The best way to overcome is through love.

We know what Jesus said. As I mentioned on Church at Home here for some Church at Home videos that we're going to do, everyone wants the love of God to them. But how many want to love God back? They love the verse where it says, 'God so loved the world that He gave His only Begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him may not perish, but may have everlasting life.' Oh, they love that.

One of the new stars in the national football league just got drafted out of college last year and he is quarterback for the Denver Broncos. Those little black patches that they put under their eyes so the sun won't reflect and cause them to not have good vision, he had those printed John 3:16. And Huckabee interviewed him on his program and said, 'Well, why did you do that?' Well in hopes that someone would see that and that might inspire them!

Everyone wants the love of God, but does everyone want to love God back? and How do you do that? I was reminded by my lovely wife that she saw the program and on his Facebook that he has up online with that, he had well over several million hits, because people didn't know what that was. Four million? How much? Several million! After they found out what it was, what did it do for them? How many just looked at it and go right on their way? 'Oh, that's interesting.' All right, let's see what Jesus said.

Here's what God wants, Matthew 22. Even God loves atheists by giving them food and air, breath, giving them life. Even giving them the choice and freedom to reject Him and castigate Him. But one day the reckoning is going to come. The Jews always like to debate: 'Which is the greatest commandment in the law?' So one of the doctors of the law came tempting Him and asked that question.

Matthew 22:37: "Jesus said to him, 'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart... [How many people are really doing that back toward God for what He did in loving you and creating you?] ...with all your soul, and with all your mind.'…. [Doesn't that sound like a pretty full-time occupation? Yes, it does! That's a full time thing that needs to be done.] …This is the first and greatest commandment; and the second one is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself'" (vs 37-39). Of course, everyone likes to hear about love. They may agree with this, but they don't agree with what I'm going to read here.

Verse 40: "'On these two commandments hangs all the Law and the Prophets.'" All of God's laws are based on love. Now the whole way that we are called to live is also a way of love.

Let's come here to 1-Corinthians 13, called the love chapter. I never could figure out when I was first studying the Bible, before I began learning the Greek, why the translators of the King James Version translated the Greek word 'agape'—which means love—as charity. The truth is, there were those on the committees translating the King James that were Latinists and they wanted to put in charity so they would have their signature of, 'We're Latinists.'

When you go to 1-John, and you go to the Gospel of John, the Greek 'agape' is translated love. This is what it should read. 1-Corinthians 12:31 reads: "But earnestly desire the more edifying gifts... [They're talking about all kinds of gifts of preaching and wisdom and different things like that.] ...and yet I show you a way far surpassing all these." The King James says a more excellent way.

That's the lead in to 1-Corinthians 13:1; starts right out with vanity. Remember what Solomon wrote? Vanity of vanities, all is vanity. A man at his very best state is altogether vanity. "If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels... [Wouldn't you be looked up to in the world if you could stand there and boldly say to everyone, 'I can speak all the languages of men and I can speak ten languages of angels'? Wooo, yes!] ...but do not have love... [How important is love?] ...I have become... [The King James says, 'as,' or 'like,' but it's not in the Greek.] ...I have become a sounding brass or a clanging cymbal." We could add another one in there: 'scratching backwards on a blackboard.'

Verse 2: "If I have the gift of prophecy... [Harold Camping missed out on that—didn't he? He thought he had it.] ...and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing" (v 2). All of those would be tremendous, notable deeds.

Verse 3: "And if I give away all my goods... [Especially on television, so 'I get publicity.'] ...and if I deliver up my body that I may be burned, but do not have love, I have gained nothing." I used to think of that when they showed from the Vietnam War, the Buddhist monks who doused themselves with gasoline and light themselves, and burn themselves up. What did they do, did they change the world? Did they end the war? No! I think they're going to be surprised when they're resurrected in the second resurrection. 'Oh, this is Nirvana.' No! No! You've got that wrong. This is the earth, now we'll talk about true spirituality.

Here's what shows that love is how we overcome. Notice what love produces, v 4: "Love is patient... [But it probably takes time to get there—right? Yes! That's why we need to be overcoming daily.] ...and is kind... [The next time you really get angry, think about that.] ...love envies not, does not brag about itself, is not puffed up." I think for the sins of the ministry in the past the first four verses apply to them more than anything else. I have my lovely wife to always remind me, 'Just talk, Fred.'

Verse 5: "Love does not behave disgracefully, does not seek its own things, is not easily provoked, thinks no evil." That's where you need the washing of the water by the Word—right? Yes, indeed! And there are a lot of helpers around to get you to thinking evil. You have television, you iPhones, Blackberry's—well, they're called Smartphones now. Even the Blackberry is getting outdated now, so it's the Smartphone. But I'll tell you what, if you put everything that you operate and you have that phone and you lose it, and you haven't been using your own 'noggin,' you're going to be in trouble. Like I did with my wallet, I hid my wallet so I couldn't find it.

What if someone hid your Smartphone so you couldn't find it? What would you do? Have you memorized all the phone numbers you put on your Smartphone where you just call up the name and punch it and it rings the number? Do you know what the number is? So you have 100 numbers on there, do you know them all? You transact all your banking business on there. Well, if you watch Church at Home, that'll be good, maybe that'll help you.

Verse 6: "Does not rejoices in iniquity, but rejoices in the Truth." That's what we are to have—the Truth! That's what we are dedicated to—the Truth of God. And in translating and putting together the Bible and everything that we do, it is the Truth. Whatever the Truth is, that's what we want. We don't want anything else—the Truth. Sometimes it's a little painful, because it gets rid of sin.

Verse 7: "Love bears all things... [Regardless of the trial and difficulty.] ...believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things…. [Perfect way to overcome—right?] …Love never fails... [if you strive after love, you're not going to fail] ...But whether there be prophecies, they shall cease; whether there be languages, they shall cease... [same word in the Greek] ...whether there be knowledge... [knowledge we have now] ...it shall vanish away" (vs 7-8).

 Do you remember what you first learned the day that you walked in the door to go to kindergarten? No! That knowledge has been replaced with everything else you've learned as an adult. Likewise when we're resurrected. What about human knowledge? Hey, we'll have Godly knowledge. Isn't that better? Yes, indeed!
Verse 9: "For we know in part, and we prophesy in part... [We don't have it all. Let's not get big egos and big heads and start prating around like little bandy roosters.] ...But when that which is perfect has come..." (vs 9-10). That's the whole goal—to be perfect.

That's what Jesus said in His very first sermon, Matthew 5:48: "Therefore, you shall be perfect, even as your Father Who is in heaven is perfect." Jesus stated the goal from the very first.

1-Corinthians 13:10: "But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part shall be set aside. When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I reasoned as a child; but when I became a man, I set aside the things of a child. For now we see through a glass darkly, but then we shall see face-to-face..." (vs 10-12). What is that going to be like, to see God face-to-face, and worship the Father. Isn't that something? You look directly in His eyes and He looks in your eyes. What a day that's going to be.

"...now I know in part but then I shall know exactly as I have been known. And now, these three remain: faith, hope and love; but the greatest of these is love" (vs 12-13). That's why we are to:

  • walk by faith
  • believe in hope
  • live in love

1-Cor. 13 is the perfect Scriptural recipe or guide—or however you want to list it—to overcoming carnal nature with the Spirit of God, the love of God.

All of that comes from watching the video before we had services. So what we're going to do, as you have already seen, we've added it on to the front of this video.

Scriptural References:

  • Psalm 139:1-13
  • Revelation 2:23
  • Psalm 139:15, 14-18
  • Isaiah 40:12-26
  • Psalm 19:1-2, 4-14
  • Romans 5:1-5
  • Romans 6:1-12
  • 1-John 1:8-10
  • Romans 8:8-17
  • Matthew 22:37-40
  • 1-Corinthians 12:31
  • 1-Corinthians 13:1-10
  • Matthew 5:48
  • 1-Corinthians 13:11-13

Scriptures referenced, not quoted:

  • Ecclesiastes 3
  • Isaiah 45
  • Ephesians 5
  • John 3:16

Also referenced:

  • Sermon Series: The Washing of the Water By the Word
  • Video: The Fingerprint of God (www.youtube.com)

FRC:lp
Transcribed: 6-28-11
Formatted: b—6-29-11

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