Fred R. Coulter—March 20, 2010

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Let's read something that is very hard for some people to comprehend and understand. Isaiah 45:7: "I form the light and create darkness; I make peace and create evil. I the LORD do all these things." Why would God create evil? Does that mean that God is evil or does this evil have to do with consequences for sin? He does create consequences for sin, which result in evil because the transgression of God's law is sin. No one anywhere, at any time can sin without the penalty of sin or evil coming upon them. It doesn't matter who you are, where you are, whether you know God, whether you don't know God, regardless of what nation you're in, regardless of who your parents were. If you sin, you suffer the result of sin.

During the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the sin within, comes because of what Adam and Eve did. That's why 'all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.' So because there is sin in the world and there is author of sin, Satan the devil, and he has not yet been removed—we're looking forward to the day that he is permanently removed—there will be the penalty of sin that will come just as sure as you pick up a pencil and drop it, hits the table, that's how God's laws work, every single one of them.

That's why I've encouraged people from time-to-time, as you're watching television just have in one hand the Ten Commandments, and if you watch the History Channel or you're watching a program, ask yourself, 'Which one of these are they breaking?' Then also ask yourself, because if it is a dramatized thing, then they are also appealing to the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and just pick out the things that they are doing that are wrong. Likewise, if you are watching on the History Channel or National Geographic, you're looking at a documentary on a nation. You can gauge how they were blessed or cursed of God by also gearing it to the Ten Commandments. Everyone in the world everywhere, whether they know the law or not, are subject to the Ten Commandments. God made it that way. So in order to show that there is righteousness and blessings for righteousness, He also had to show that there are curses and evil for sin.

Deuteronomy 30:15: "'Behold, I have set before you this day life and good, and death and evil...'" Everyone's confronted with that, and then you also have

  • the deceitfulness of the human heart
  • human beings want to go their own way
  • 'the carnal mind is not subject to the law of God and neither indeed can be.'

So you have all of these factors that you need to consider. God put all of those out there. Now what does God want? We understand that the Israelites never had the opportunity for salvation, so there's obedience in the letter of the law.

Just like it was with Adam and Eve in the garden, God told Adam and Eve they could eat of every tree of garden except of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, but they chose to partake of that tree. So likewise with the children of Israel, God set before them 'life and good, death and evil.' Now He doesn't want them to choose the death and evil, but how many people do that automatically? And isn't that the whole history of Israel throughout the Bible, and the history of mankind down through all the history that we know of? Yes!

"In that I command you this day to love the LORD your God... [this sounds like New Testament doctrine—doesn't it? Loving God! God is a God of love. God wants us to love Him. He wants to love us, but we have to come to God on His terms. No one comes to God on their own individual terms, even the best intentions. You come to God His way.] 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.... [Doesn't that sound a little bit like the beginning in Genesis? 'Multiply and replenish the earth.' Yes, indeed!] ...And the LORD your God shall bless you in the land where you go to possess it" (v 16). And everyone wants the blessings of God, but they don't want the obedience to God. That's just the way the carnal mind is.

Then He gives a warning, because there's free choice: "But if your heart turn away so that you will not hear, 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 against you... [And it's still here, heaven and earth. We can look out and see it.] ...that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing. Therefore, choose life, so that both you and your seed may life. That you may love the LORD your God, 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" (vs 17-20). There we go.

Now they never received it, but their children did. Quite an amazing thing—isn't it? Now let's continue on here and see concerning what God has set before us and how we need to do this. Let's come to Proverbs 19. All the way through Proverbs—as we have done through some of the series we've done—are the universal laws of God that apply to every human beings everywhere. It's especially geared to young people so that hopefully they will have enough wisdom so when they want to get out on their own, they're going to have enough sense to not go out there and ruin their lives. But nevertheless, that's a choice that every one of them have to make and go through.

Proverbs 19:1: "Better is the poor who walks in his integrity than he who is perverse in his lips and is a fool." You see that all the time. Look at all these so-called movie stars. What rotten, miserable lives they lead. Isn't it something, the ones that are idolized the most are destroyed sooner than any others. You would think if you have all these goods, if you have all these things, you ought to be very happy, but they're not. You look at someone who doesn't have very much, but is honest, has integrity—we can add to it loves God—he's far better off.

"For a man to be without knowledge, it is not good, and he who is impetuous sins. The foolishness of man perverts his way, and his heart frets against the LORD" (vs 2-3). 'Well, why did God say not to do this?' That sounds kind of like that young man, the prodigal son. He was able to recover.

Now because of these proclivities of men, and the 'law of sin and death' in them, not being able to give ourselves eternal life, though we have the 'spirit of man' in us, though we have some spiritual qualities inherent because God gave it—what are we? What are we? This is why people should not get all excited and uplifted in vanity or uplifted in how great they are, and what great things they do, because it's just not so. Anything that we have comes from God—everything!—and anything do comes from God.

When we think of what we are compared to God as David was doing in this Psalm, it helps us really get a perspective on what human beings are cut off from God. Psalm 39:4: "O LORD, make me to know my end and the measure of my days, what it is, that I may know how short lived I am.... [or how frail I am. We certainly are—aren't we? The older we get the more frail we become. That's the design of life. Even Jesus told Peter, 'When you're old, someone's going to take you around where you don't want to go.'] ...Behold, You have made my days as a handbreadth... [So if you start getting lifted up in pride, just pick up your hand and look at it and that's the length of your life, right there. Turn it sideways and it's even less.] ...and the span of my days is as nothing before You. Surely every man at his best state is altogether vanity" (vs 4-5). Now being vain, we of ourselves cannot do anything eternal. Look at all the past civilizations. When did they fall? They fell when they got haughty, they got perverse, they turned their back on God, or if they didn't know God, they turned their backs on what they knew to be right and wrong. So the curses came. God is no respecter of persons.

Verse 6: "Surely every man walks about in a vain show! Surely they are in an uproar in vain. He heaps up riches and does not know who shall gather them.... [That's like Solomon said. He said, 'Oh, this is too painful for me to consider. All that I've accumulated and gathered, and when I die I'm going to leave it to my son? And what is he going to do with it?' The first thing he did was extended Solomon's sins, and didn't listen to wisdom and had the kingdom divided.] (So here's the conclusion of it): ...And now, LORD, what do I wait for? My hope is in You" (vs 6-7)—because we're created in the image of God and after His likeness and for a great purpose. We'll see this here as we go along.

Let's come to John 14. Now we have seen that man has a spirit. All human beings, men and women, have a spirit given to them by God and for a great and wonderful purpose. Not only to have intelligence, not only to have understanding, but more importantly to be able to have a relationship with God the Father. This is perhaps one of the most significant parts of the New Testament, so that we understand that we can have a personal relationship with God. As you go through and read all of John 14, 15, 16, and 17, you will see that is the whole message. In John 16:27 Jesus said, 'I don't say to you pray to Me and I will ask the Father for you, you pray to the Father, because He loves you.' Now notice how that can be and we can live in that, we can appreciate it, and we can have spiritual experience that God intended us to have. It only comes with the uniting of His Spirit with our spirit.

John 14:15: "If you love Me, keep the commandments—namely, My commandments.... [That's the literal translation] ...And I will ask the Father, and He shall give you another comforter, that it may be with you throughout the age: Even the Spirit of the Truth.... [Now that's very important, because the only way you can overcome a carnal, deceitful mind is with the Spirit of Truth and the Spirit of God—which is the Spirit of Truth—and His Word. That all works together to form the 'spirit of man' with the Spirit of God in us to develop the character of God and the mind of Christ. So God is actively, with His Spirit, working in our minds, working in our hearts, and giving us the desire to love Him and He love us in return. Then we become His children.] ...the Spirit of the Truth, which the world cannot receive..." (vs 15-17).

Why can't the world receive the Spirit of the Truth? Because they won't repent, because they won't obey God! Because the world—under the power of Satan the devil, who's the god of this world, the prince of the power of the air—wants to tell God what to do. Witness all the religions in the world: Aren't these all different ways of men telling God what they're going to do? That goes back to what, originally? The way of Cain! Most people don't understand it; most people really don't get it. When someone who doesn't have understanding reads Gen. 4 that God had respect unto Abel's offering and not unto Cain, they look at that and say, 'Well, why didn't God do that? He brought of his produce of the ground to God.' That was not according to God's commands. If it would have been the firstfruits, it would have been accepted. And Cain got all mad. I don't know what his thought was, but he probably thought, 'I intended this good. I brought this to you, God. Why won't you accept it?' You come to God on His terms! You don't come to God on your terms. We can have good thoughts, we can do good things, but that doesn't mean we're converted. That doesn't mean we're necessarily righteous, because only righteousness can come from God.

I thought this was a joke when it first happened There was a man who came to our services in Fairfield. He was an Irishman and he had a name that was very unusual, which I won't go into. He was training to be a chaplain for the services. We were talking about the Passover. He says, 'Well, what's wrong with Easter celebration to celebrate the resurrection of Christ?' God doesn't tell us to! 'Well, what's wrong with doing that? That would be a good thing.' See, even the good intentions of someone who is trying to find out about God, wants to come to God on his terms, rather than come to God on God's terms. God's terms are repent and be baptized and receive the Holy Spirit. The world's is, 'Oh, we read this. We don't like this, take that out. We read that, oh, we like that, that's wonderful. Let's love one another. Love your enemy? Nah, don't like that, we've got to take that out. We've got to kill our enemy.' That's why they can't receive it.

"...because it perceives it not, nor knows it; but you know it because it dwells with you, and shall be within you" (v 17). The Holy Spirit was with the disciples, but not in them. The whole purpose of God now to redeem man is not only repentance and baptism and forgiveness of sin, but the receiving of the Holy Spirit so now you can have the power and strength of the Spirit of God to do what is right, to overcome the deceitfulness of human nature, to have your heart and your mind made conscious of sin, so you can repent of it, and so forth.

Now lots of times people who are converted wonder, 'Why is all this sin going on in my mind when I'm converted? I thought I received the Holy Spirit.' You did, but why is it going on in your mind? Because the Holy Spirit is revealing to you that you have these sins in your mind and you need to repent of those as well. That's what the Holy Spirit of Truth is to do. It is a process. "…dwells with you, and shall be within you" (v 17). That's the key. When the Spirit of God comes within us, and unites with our spirit, then we become converted and on the road to growing and overcoming to fulfill our purpose as God intended us

Let's continue on because this shows that the receiving of the Holy Spirit is an absolute dividing line. Now some people can be very righteous. I got an email from a Baptist minister. He said, 'I am a true Christian.' I thought, 'Hmm, that's interesting.' He was all upset about the Bible, because when he read the advertisement where it has 49 books, he thought, 'Boy, you took some of those books out of the Bible. How do you get 49 when there's supposed to be 66?' I wrote him back, I emailed him back and told him, 'I'm sorry that you would judge me this way. You don't even know me and you've already judged my heart. That doesn't sound too Christian to me. You haven't even seen the Bible.' He'd have already condemned me to burn in hell. I said, 'I wish you would reconsider.' So he kind of backed down a little bit, emailed me back. I emailed him back and I think I offered to send him a Bible. While that email was going and his answer coming back, I decided I better not. So what I'll do, I'll send him some booklets. So I sent him Beliefs of the Early New Testament Church. I sent him The Grace of God. I sent him the Understanding Paul's Difficult Scriptures Concerning Law and Grace and Which Day is the True Christian Sabbath? That was the best one. I said, 'If I'm wrong, you please show me from the Bible where I'm wrong, and I'll change. But if you are wrong, are you going to be willing to change?' I'm sure he thinks he's converted. However, when you read the Bible, he can't be converted. Let's go on and we'll see. The Spirit of Truth is the dividing line between the world and those who are Christ's.

Verse 18, Jesus says, "I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. Yet a little while and the world shall see Me no longer; but you shall see Me. Because I live, you shall live also. In that day, you shall know that I am in My Father, and you are in Me, and I am in you.... [Put in your notes or margin Acts 2, when the Holy Spirit came. They actually knew before that when they saw Jesus after He was resurrected from the dead.] ...I am in My Father, and you are in Me, and I am in you.... [Now notice how He emphasizes this]: ...The one who has My commandments and is keeping them, that is the one who loves Me..." (vs 18-21).

So you see, it's not just a matter, 'Well, I agree we shouldn't have murder. I agree that we shouldn't have adultery. I agree that we shouldn't steal and bear false witness and covet, under some circumstances. But I don't know about that Sabbath.' And the Catholics say, 'Well, I don't know about that second commandment.' I remember I got an email from a Catholic really excoriating me for talking about the second commandment. I said, 'Well, look, you just check it out with your Douay Version of the Bible and your catechism. You go to your catechism book and the second commandment about idols is not there, but you go to your Douay Version of the Bible and it's there. Now, why don't you ask your priest why the difference?' Catholics want to come to God and say, 'God, we want it this way.' Isn't going to happen. The Baptists come to God say, 'We're going to have it this way. By the way, we hate those Catholics, but good Baptists are going to make it into heaven.' Why do you both keep Sunday then?

So here this nails it down. This narrows it down. "The one who has My commandments and is keeping them, that is the one who loves Me; and the one who loves Me... [I want you to really understand this last part of this verse, because this is perhaps one of the most important things to understand concerning conversion.] ...the one who loves Me shall be loved by My Father... [The Sovereign of the universe loves you personally, individually.] ...and I will love him and will manifest Myself to him" (v 21).

The disciples are hearing this and "Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, 'Lord, what has happened that You are about to manifest Yourself to us, and not to the world?'.... [How is that going to happen?] ...Jesus answered and said to him, 'If... [There's that nice two letter word in English which means life and death—if.] ...If anyone loves Me, he will keep My Word... [Now when it's in the singular, that means His entire message. We can't pick and choose.] ...and My Father will love him... [Notice He says (v 21) 'shall be loved by My Father'] ...and We... [That's  God the Father and Jesus Christ—We.] ...will come to him and make Our abode with him'" (vs 22-23).

We're going to see this is telling us there are two aspects to the Holy Spirit of God which then join with the 'spirit of man,' brings about the conversion of the heart and the mind. That's the only way for conversion, because Jesus said, 'I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through Me.'

Verse 24: "The one who does not love Me does not keep My words... [That's pretty straight forward—isn't it? No way around that.] ...and the Word that you hear is not Mine, but the Father's, Who sent Me." So everything Jesus taught was from God the Father, yet there are some evangelicals who say, 'Well, Jesus' message was only for the Jews and we don't need to be concerned with that.' Pick and choose. Now that's something—isn't it?

This ties right in, vs 24 and 17, that the world can't receive it, because they can't receive Christ. Remember when it starts out there in John 1, and 'He came to His own and His own didn't receive Him'? As I gave in one sermon, the world could only stand Jesus Christ three and a half years. They had to kill Him and get rid of Him. They couldn't stand Him. They didn't love Him.

Verse 25: "I have spoken these things to you while I am yet present with you. But when the Comforter comes, even the Holy Spirit, which the Father will send in My name..." The Holy Spirit is the power of God. Christian religions of this world got to have the trinity. You go to them and say, 'Please explain it to me.' We can't explain it to you, because it's a mystery. But you're to believe it and if you don't believe it, you're going to burn in hell forever. That's nice—isn't it? You say I'm supposed to believe it and you can't explain it to me. The thing is, it's not taught in the Bible. But what are we looking at with the trinity? We are looking at a doctrine which is trying to include Satan the devil as God. That's the bottom line of it.

"...But when the Comforter comes,even the Holy Spirit, which the Father will send in My name... [So the Spirit comes from the Father. We're going to see it also comes from Christ. Christ said, 'We will make Our abode with him.' So that's really something when you come to understand how the Holy Spirit is, how it comes to us, what it is to do for us.] ...that one shall teach you all things, and shall bring to your remembrance everything that I have told you" (vs 25-26). So that's something!

Now we see the other half concerning the Spirit. The Father will send it and now we see Christ will send it. John 15:26: "But when the Comforter has come, which I will send to you from the Father, even the Spirit of the Truth, which proceeds from the Father... [So it comes from the Father and is sent by Christ and sent by the Father.] ...that one shall bear witness of Me."

Now let's see how Paul explains this, because this becomes very important in understanding the Truth of God's way. Let's come to Romans 8:4, because with the Spirit of God that's how we become righteous. It is an internal thing from God, though the commandments of God are an external thing, which we are to do, but with the Spirit of God the commandments of God are to be become an internal thing as well.

I wonder how on earth the Baptists are going to get around this. Romans 8:4: "In order that the righteousness of the law... [And it is in the Greek 'ho nomos'—the law] ...might be fulfilled in us... [How are you going to have the law fulfilled in you if it's nailed to the cross and you don't need to keep it? It's just been dawning on me recently how insane that the doctrine of the Protestants really is. It's amazing!] fulfilled in us, who are not walking according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit." So it is spiritually kept, spiritually fulfilled, internally motivated by the Spirit of God, which is from Christ and from the Father. We'll see how he enumerates this in just a minute.

Verse 5: "For those who walk according to the flesh mind the things of the flesh; but those who walk according to the Spirit mind the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace, because the carnal mind is enmity against God... [This is why. This is why they can have a certain degree of righteousness because they do some things, but they have enmity toward the law of God. You bring up the Sabbath and it's like you set off a short-fuse bomb—Boom!] ...for it is not subject to the law of God; neither indeed can it be…. [That's how you tell whether someone's converted or not.] …But those who are in the flesh cannot please God.... [But those who are in the Spirit can please God. I did a sermon some time ago, Can a Man Please God?Yes, indeed!] ...However, you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if the Spirit of God is indeed dwelling within you...." (vs 5-9).

Now I want you to notice what we're going to read from here on, because this is important. Remember

  • we have the Holy Spirit that comes from the Father which the Father sends
  • we have the Holy Spirit which comes from the Father, which Jesus sends

—two aspects of the Holy Spirit.

"...But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him…. [So that's important. Then you have to ask the question: How do we belong to Him according to what He has instructed us to do? Through repentance and baptism and receiving the Holy Spirit, growing and overcoming, and so forth.] …But if Christ be within you, the body is indeed dead because of sin... [You're still alive in the flesh. Like he said in Gal. 2: 'And the live that I live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of man Who gave Himself for me.'] ...however, the Spirit is life because of righteousness" (vs 9-10).

I want you to see where he makes the distinction between the Spirit of Christ and the Spirit of the Father: Verse 11: "Now if the Spirit of Him Who raised Jesus from the dead is dwelling within you... [That's the portion of the Spirit that comes from the Father.] ...He Who raised Christ from the dead will also quicken your mortal bodies because of His Spirit that dwells within you." This means that

  • the Spirit of the Father is the begettal of eternal life that comes from the Father.
  • The Spirit of Christ is that which gives us the mind of Christ.

The two are one—aren't they? Didn't Jesus say, 'I and the Father are One'? Yes!

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Let's see what the Holy Spirit of God is to do for us, and as Jesus said, 'We—the Father and the Son—will come and make Our abode or dwelling place with you.' You can't get any greater personal relationship between you and God than that. That is fantastic and that is something you grow in. That is a lifelong relationship with the Spirit of God. It doesn't matter who you are, or what you are, but if you are Christ's, and you are the Father's, that's the relationship that God wants to have with you. Once you understand that, then you understand why God does not want a hierarchy of men between you and God. The ministry is to help the brethren be perfected in Christ by teaching.

Romans 8:12: "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 you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you shall live" (vs 12-13). So this shows that you need the Spirit of God to overcome the sin within. It's one of those things that you have to constantly be after. Paul talks about it in 2-Cor. 10 about 'bringing every thought into captivity to Christ and pulling down the strongholds of imagination.' That's where things start in sin. No one, without the Spirit of God, can control that.

I know living in this world there are all kinds of evil thoughts going everywhere and generated through radio, television, the internet, business, whatever. So we need to be putting those things to death. Now notice, v 14—this becomes critically important. "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God... [This tells us something important concerning the Spirit of God: it's going to lead you. It's not going to push you, it's not going to pull you, it's going to lead you, because you have to

  • choose to yield to God
  • choose to keep His commandments
  • choose to let the Holy Spirit of God lead you

The longer you have the Spirit of God, the more that you will see that there are thoughts that come to you which are from God. God not speaking to you and say, 'Hello, Noah, what are you doing down there?' Not like that, but thoughts will come to you to do something or to say something or to avoid something. It's not going to happen 24/7, but God's Spirit is going to lead you.] many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God." That's what we are. Another place it says sons and daughters of God.

"Now you have not received a spirit of bondage again... [Remember where we started out in 1-Cor. 2 where 'we have not received the spirit of the world.' The spirit of the world is aspirit of bondage unto sin. I think what epitomizes it more than anything else—and I just can't help but bringing this out—when you watch all of these ads for all of these medications that they have on television, everyone is happy and healthy, except those who have rare side effects of suicide, self-destruction, liver damage, and blindness, whatever other things that there are. You see them smiling, happy! Happy! Happy! 'Buy this Toyota. It'll go ninety miles an hour and you can't stop it.' Everybody's happy! Then you look at people in the world and they're all miserable. And all of those are taking all of these drugs, and the addiction to some of these prescription drugs is incredible. Just that one thing alone shows the contradiction of human nature. 'Oh, this is good for you, but you may die.'] ...spirit of bondage again unto fear, but you have received the Spirit of sonship, whereby we call out, 'Abba, Father'" (v 15). The most intimate relationship with God the Father. Abba is like saying Daddy in English.

The Father loves you. Christ loves you. That will heal any spiritual problem, through prayer and overcoming, and through letting God write His commandments in your hearts and inscribe them upon your minds, that you think with the Word of God. It guides you in every thought through the power of the Holy Spirit. That means that your relationship with God is ongoing, all the time, all day long, even when you're sleeping. I don't know about you, but every once in awhile I wake up and I've got a sermon on my brain. Now notice, here's the combination, v 16: "The Spirit itself..." Notice they didn't translate it himself, here—right? And even in the King James Version it says itself—does it not? Yes!

Let me tell you a little story. You read in here the exegesis of John 14, 15, 16 about that the Holy Spirit is neuter—it—and I have excerpts from Daniel B. Wallace, who is world's leading syntax expert on New Testament Greek. And he said there is no personality to the Holy Spirit at all. You can read it there. He lamented in his book, and I couldn't figure out why he lamented in his book. He says, 'But this is a theological thing that theologians, or ministers, read into it. So I've got that quote back there in one of the appendices. I've got an English Standard Version, how many have the ESV, English Standard Version? He was one of the editors on it. So being one of the editors on it, I thought, 'I wonder how they translated the Holy Spirit in John 14, 15, and 16.' So I opened it up and look there and it was he, instead of it. He [Wallace] was overridden by the theologians on the committee. So now I understand his lament. I thought, 'Oh, good. Here's the Bible.' As soon as I found out he was on the editorial board I said, 'Oh, good, here's a Bible that's got it translated correctly.' No, never happen.

But here it is right here. "The Spirit itself bears witness conjointly with our own spirit..." (v 16). Now let's answer the question here by using the parallel analogy with the Spirit.

  • Do we have the spirit of man in us? Yes!
  • Is that another person besides you? No!

—better not be!

If the Spirit that comes from God is called 'it,' rather than 'him,' is it another person or is it the power that comes from God? It's the power that comes from God, just like you have the 'spirit of man'—which is the power that comes from God to make you a human being to be able then upon repentance and baptism—receiving the Holy Spirit, to have a relationship with God.

"The Spirit itself bears witness conjointly with our own spirit..." (v 16). Being conjoined in the death of Jesus Christ through baptism, now receiving the Holy Spirit from God, it is conjoined to our spirit and now we, for the first time in our lives, when we receive the Holy Spirit of God, are able then to have a true relationship with God the Father. Now other people can keep some of the commandments of God, and God will bless them. They can be good and decent and virtuous persons. They can be loyal husbands and wives and things like that, but God expects that of every human being—does He not? Yes, indeed! But when you're living in an evil world, when you see people like that, you have to look and say, 'Well, that's a good thing.' But that doesn't mean they're converted. Conversion is: Do you have the Spirit of God? Then the question is: How do you receive the Spirit of God? And the question is: What is the Spirit of God? And that's what we're covering today, what it will do for you.

"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—if indeed we suffer together with Him, so that we may also be glorified together with Him" (vs 16-17). Quite a statement—isn't it? Yes!

Now let's carry this a little bit further, and let's understand how this works. Now here again even the King James translators could not say 'born again' at this point, because the Greek would not allow it. You know that if they could have translated it 'born again,' they would have. Now notice what we have. In everyone of the Epistles of Paul, it's nearly the same thing—isn't it?

1-Peter 1:3: "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ... [So there we have Jesus Christ and God the Father—don't we?] (Come back up here to v 2; that's an important lead in there): ...Who have been chosen... [Many are called, but few are chosen.] ...according to the predetermined knowledge of God the Father, by sanctification through the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace and peace be multiplied to you" (vs 3, 2). All the way through—God the Father/Jesus Christ. If the trinity were true, it would be God the Father, God the Son, God the Spirit, and it never says that in the Bible. Period! Any place at any time.

Verse 3: "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who, according to His abundant mercy, has begotten us again... [Why does it say 'begotten'? I was informed by our friend who did a translation into Danish, that there is no word in Danish for 'begotten,' so we'll have to figure something. Newly conceived, whatever. We'll have to figure that out. I wonder why that is? We can't answer that question here.] ...has begotten us again..." Now what does this tell us? This is 'anagennao'—which means begotten again. Which tells us what? It's referring to our first begettal—right? Were we not begotten once? Yes! in the womb of our mothers. Now we're begotten again by the Spirit of God. That's why in here we have the appendices, What Do You Mean Born of God, What Do You Mean Born Again? Takes place when the resurrection occurs.

"...has begotten us again unto a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead; unto an inheritance incorruptible... [Sound like Paul? There's no conflict between Paul's writings and Peter's writings.] ...incorruptible and undefiled and unfading, reserved in heaven for us, Who are being safeguarded by the power of God through faith, for salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time" (vs 3-5).

Let's see what Paul says about this in Ephesians 1:7—talks about the Holy Spirit. Notice how this parallels almost directly what we read from 1-Peter. Ephesians 1:7 "In Whom we have redemption through His blood, even the remission of sins, according to the riches of His grace... [Now you're going to hear a sermon on the Sabbath during Unleavened Bread that explains what Paul meant that by grace we establish law. You're going to find that the way we are to keep the commandments in the New Testament, being in the spirit of the law, that obedience is only obtainable through grace, not by human will to keep it yourself. So commandment-keeping in the New Testament is part of the grace of God to keep it spiritually. I think you'll really grab a hold of that sermon when you hear it.] ...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 7-8).

You stop and think about it. Here you are. Next time you're walking around the mall and you've got to do a little shopping. You're looking at all these people and here you are and whatever your thoughts are, remember this: None of them know the mystery or secret of the will of God. You do, because you have the Spirit of God and you have the Word of God. When you understand all of these things, doesn't it make prayer easier to do, want to do, and study easier to do, and want to? Yes, because those are the things that keep us in a relationship with God.

"...having made known to us the mystery of His own will, according to His good pleasure, which He purposed in Himself... [You can put it in another way: God has revealed to you His secret plan, which the world cannot receive. The sum of that is that we are to be the very children of God. 'You mean you're going to be like God?' That's what the Bible says. If He made us in His image, which He did; and after His likeness, which He did; and if He's given us the spirit of man, which He has; and if He's given us His Holy Spirit, which He has—is He going to make us like an angel? Is He going to make us like a super human being? or Is He going to make us like Him? Are your children like you? Yes! All my sons are taller than me and I look up to them now.] ...That in the divine 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, having been predestinated according to His purpose, Who is working out all things according to the counsel of His own will" (vs 9-11).

Do we every day pray for God's will to be done? Yes, in our lives! What pleases God? When we practice His will, when we love Him, when we love each other. Think of this high calling. You feel neglected, despised and unwanted by the world? Forget it. Don't worry about it.

Verse 12: "That we might be to the praise of His glory, who first trusted in the Christ [The Savior, the Anointed One.] In Whom you also trusted after hearing the Word of the truth, the gospel of your salvation; in Whom also, after believing, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise…. [And that sealing is what is called the circumcision of the heart.] …Which is the earnest of our inheritance... [Now if you've ever dealt in real estate, you know what an earnest money down payment is—right? That's a lesser amount that you put down to guarantee that you're going to buy the property, and guarantee that the rest of the money will be there—however you get it there, by borrowing it or however—and that is your earnest. Your earnest is your pledge that you will fulfill what you said you would do or you will forfeit that money—right? Yes! God has given us the earnest of that inheritance, which is the Holy Spirit.] ...the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession..." (vs 12-14). And the final redemption is when? At the resurrection! Have to be at the resurrection, because the final redemption is redemption from death, because in Adam we all die—isn't that true? Yes, indeed!

Now let's come to 1-John 3 and let's see how John does it. Unfortunately, here we're dealing with a terrible translation from the King James Version, which I won't go into very much depth here. Now for a detailed instruction on this, I have it in the appendices in the Bible here about What Does It Mean to Be Born of God?

1-John 3:8: "The one who practices sin is of the devil because the devil has been sinning 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... [And how do we know that it is 'begotten' and not 'born'?] ...does not practice sin because His seed... [And the Greek there is 'sperma.' That comes from the Father. We are begottenagain by God the Father, so I added the words] ...His seed of begettal is dwelling within him, and he is not able to practice sin because he has been begotten by God" (vs 8-9).

And that's important. It doesn't say you don't sin, because in 1-John 5 he says, 'If you see a brother sin a sin not unto death, pray for him.' But it means you don't practice sin. Why can't you practice sin? Because if you do, God's Spirit is going to convict that you are sinning—correct? Yes! It leads you to repentance. 'The graciousness of God leads us to repentance.' So you can see how everything fits together in one whole package. So that's the seed of the Father.

Now let's come to Colossians 1. Paul said, 'If the Spirit of Christ does not dwell in you, you are none of His.' What does the Spirit of Christ do for us? Unfortunately, almost the whole chapter is one long sentence in Greek. They can do that in Greek, but for punctuation purposes for English, it drives you absolutely nutty, because you can't contain all of those thoughts. If you turned in this to your English teacher as a really, highly professional written thing, one sentence long, you'd get an 'F.' Well, in Greek you can do that and get an 'A.' So we'll give Paul an 'A,' but we'll see if we can divide it down here.

Colossians 1:20: "And, having made pace through the blood of His cross... [Notice how often it comes up the blood of Christ—right? Yes, indeed!] Him to reconcile all things to Himself; by Him, whether the things on the earth, or the things in heaven. For you were once alienated and enemies in your minds by wicked works... [Because that's where sin is.] ...but now He has reconciled you In the body of His flesh... [Conjoined to His crucifixion by baptism.] present you Holy and unblamable and unimpeachable before Him... [Without spot, without wrinkle, without any sin, having these things completely removed from us. That will be when the resurrection takes place.] ...If indeed you continue in the faith grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the Gospel, which you have heard, and which was proclaimed in all the creation that is under heaven; of which I, Paul, became a servant" (vs 20-23).

"Now I am rejoicing in my sufferings for you, and I am filling up in my flesh that which is behind of the tribulations of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church; of which I became a servant, according to the administration of God that was given to me for you in order to complete the Word of God; even the mystery... [again he talks about the secret of God. Remember when you're walking down through the mall and maybe you get a little discouraged, or whatever, and you see all these people and they look all happy and all excited, remember you know the secret plan of God and they don't know it. That's not to exalt you and put you over them, but just to encourage you.] ...even the mystery that has been hidden from ages and from generations, but has now been revealed to His saints. To whom God did will... [By God's perfect will to you.] make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory." (vs 24-27). And that's through the power of God's Holy Spirit.

Now let's come back to Philippians 2, and we will see what this is to do for us. This is how we are converted, and conversion takes place over a period of time. Here is what we are to do. This is something we have to let God do to us as we respond to Him, because Christ is in us. Philippians 2:5: "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus." You have to let it. How do you let it in?

  • by yielding to God
  • by yielding to the Truth
  • by prayer
  • by study
  • by living by the Word of God

And you develop the mind of Christ. Then it goes on to show what He did to become the sacrifice for us.

Now let's see some other things that is to happen to our minds. Since we've 'all sinned and come short of the glory of God,' we have sin roaming around in that there mind of ours. We've got to get rid of it. So here's how to do it. Romans 12:1: "I exhort you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy and well pleasing to God, which is your spiritual service.... [Isn't that something? You can please God!] ...Do not conform yourselves to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind in order that you may prove what is well pleasing and good, and the perfect will of God" (vs 1-2). So we're to have our minds changed and transformed, by the Spirit of God united with our spirit in our minds.

We know that the mind is what they call plastic, not made of plastic as we think of plastic, but it has plasticity, which means that it can change, it can repair, it can erase. With the Spirit of God we can have with the washing of the water of God's Spirit the erasing of memories and sin and wretchedness and experiences in growing up and things that have traumatized our minds. Those can be erased through the Spirit of God. We need to do that. If you have something that is really bothering you, something that you just can't let go of, you go to God and let go of it. Repent! Ask God to cleanse your mind, to heal your mind, take away any hatred or bitterness or resentment or envy or jealousy or sorrow, or whatever it may be, or grieving over much. God can heal every one of those things, 'renewing our minds.'

Now let's come to Ephesians 4:21 and we'll finish here. It tells us approximately the same thing here. "If indeed you have heard Him... [Isn't that interesting? Heard Him! That is through the Spirit of God.] ...and have been taught in Him, according to the Truth in Jesus: That concerning your former conduct, you put off the old man... [You keep putting it out; every day put it out. Every day get rid of it.] ...which is corrupt according to deceitful lusts; and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind" (vs 21-23).

Let your mind be converted, your thoughts be changed with the power of God, because now you are a walking temple of God, the abode for Jesus Christ and God the Father. You can have no greater fulfillment in this life than that. That prepares you for the whole purpose of why you were created to be born into the Kingdom of God as a son or daughter of God and receive eternal life.

"And that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that you put on the new man, which according to God is created in righteousness and Holiness of the Truth" (vs 23-24).

Scriptural References:

  • Isaiah 45:7
  • Deuteronomy 30:15-20
  • Proverbs 19:1-3
  • Psalm 39:4-7
  • John 14:15-26
  • John 15:26
  • Romans 8:4-17
  • 1-Peter 1:3, 2-5
  • Ephesians 1:7-14
  • 1-John 3:8-9
  • Colossians 1:20-27
  • Philippians 2:5
  • Romans 12:1-2
  • Ephesians 4:21-24

Scriptures referenced, not quoted:

  • John 16:27
  • Genesis 4
  • Acts 2
  • John 1
  • Galatians 2
  • 2-Corinthians 10
  • 1-John 5

Also referenced:

Sermon: Can a Man Please God?


  • Beliefs of the Early New Testament Church
  • The Grace of God
  • Understanding Paul's Difficult Scriptures Concerning Law and Grace
  • Which Day is the True Christian Sabbath?

Transcribed: 04-06-10
Formatted: bo—4-8-10