February 26, 2017 Instructions and Feedback

Instructions and Feedback

In Matthew 25.14-30, Jesus tells the Parable of the Talents to illustrate the Kingdom of Heaven. Remember that He had instructed that we should pray for the Kingdom of Heaven to come to Earth, in Matthew 6.10, where, He said, the will of God would be done just like in Heaven. The three servants receiving the talents might be viewed as a body’s limbs receiving “motor” impulses from the Head, using Paul’s picture from Ephesians 1.22-23, and sending back “sensory” impulses through the 43 pairs of nerves in the human nervous system (see The Spiritual Nervous System for 170219 at www.sozoclass.com). For example, your two legs run to the scope and sequence of motor and sensory impulses to and from the quadriceps and calf (gastrocnemius and soleus) muscles in each. The servant receiving five talents ran faster and, thus, farther than the one receiving two, to complete the illustration. So, why did the servant receiving the single talent, motor impulse, not return with two, a like sensory response?

One of several explanations might be his misunderstanding of the motor impulse. In his prayer of Ephesians 1.15-23, Paul for understandings of the “hope of His calling”, of His “rich inheritance in the saints”, and of His “exceeding great power toward” believers (verses 18-19). Herein we have the formula for success in any endeavor: hope = (understanding of the requirements for hope and of the available resources) x (effort made to contemplate these, expressed in desired exponential). The exponential ‘effort made to contemplate’ might include dialogue with someone knowledgeable about aspects or views of the hope and how the resources have been or might be effectively combined to produce the hope. For example, the hope of self- driving vehicles is resulting from the thoughtful combination of hardware and software produced by many different technologists, in group, overcoming each new barrier that clouds the dream. The third servant was unwilling to challenge his perceived barrier to obeying the king, with a disastrous result.

Now, to return to the spiritual lesson, Jesus, the Head, sends motor impulses through the Holy Spirit to prompt our (the body’s) words of witness and/or acts of service to lost and saved persons to increase their understanding of His calling (John 3.16; Jeremiah 1.5; John 3.27; Matthew 25.31-46). Our timidity is overcome and our pictures of personal success are clarified by our time in prayers for courage and our review of relevant Scripture verses and examples. The person’s joyous reception of this good news becomes our sensory response back through the Holy Spirit to Jesus, prompting His, “‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’”

So, don’t hide the talent God has given you. Rather, ask Him how He wants you to use it to accomplish the task He has assigned. He provides the resources and is patient until you understand. Consider Moses’ example in Exodus 3.1-4.17. Thus, the Kingdom of Heaven comes to earth, and the will of God is done on Earth just like it is done in Heaven…through us.

170226 Praise God!!! Copyright (C) by Maurice Painter, 2017. www.sozoclass.com

 

February 19, 2017 The Spiritual Nervous System

The Spiritual Nervous System

The Master, God, sends His bondservants on important missions. We see this pattern in Abram (Genesis 12.1-4), Moses (Exodus 3.10), Jeremiah (1.7), Jonah (3.1-4), and Paul (Acts 26.17-18). What were the missions of Abram, Moses, Jonah, and Paul? God’s words to Jeremiah were, essentially, His words to the others at different times: “For you shall go to all to whom I send you, and whatever I command you, you shall speak”. Jesus acknowledged the same in John 12.49. God’s instructions have not changed for us! The Jesus identifies to us people who are ready to learn more about Himself, and His Holy Spirit gives us His words for their enlightenment. In a sense, the Holy Spirit corresponds to our body’s nervous system.

A. Consider the interesting word picture painted by the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 1.22-23.

  1. God “gave [Jesus to be] head over all to the church”. “All” includes every Nature of 
Reality: aesthetics, metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics: everything that can be 
known (John 1.9)!
  2. The church (us, who subscribe to John 14.6) is Jesus’ body; i.e., “the fullness of Him 
who fills all in all.” Let that reality sink in for a moment; then, say: I AM part of Jesus’ body. [Thus, Paul writes Romans 12.4-8 and 1 Corinthians 12.12-27; all are equally important.]
  3. Consequently, thinking of your human body, since Jesus is the Head and we are His body, the Holy Spirit might be viewed as the 90,000+ miles of sensations that are sent by the Head (motor nerve impulses) and received from the body (sensory nerve impulses) through 100,000 billion neurons in 43 pairs (motor and sensory), with 12 pairs going to and from the brain and 31 pairs going from the spinal cord (formed by nervous tissue more than 16 inches long and in the vertebral canal inside the spinal column) (Google; human nervous system).
  4. Psalmist David did not know this but still penned Psalm 139.14! And, Jeremiah (1.5) could not understand God’s words. Can you comprehend that this results from the union of microscopic sperm and ovum? Solomon expresses this understanding in Proverbs 23.22 and 25 (ESV “gives you life”).
  5. Therefore, Jesus is saying in John 16.13 that the Holy Spirit direct our bodies to persons and places He decides (motor; Isaiah 30.21) and communicates to Jesus our pains beyond words (sensory; Romans 8.26); for all 2.2 billion Christians in the world today (Google; Pew Research Center)!
  6. Jesus illustrates the Holy Spirit’s guiding in Matthew 4.1, Mark 1.12, and Luke 4.1; Paul and Silas in Acts 13.2. Thus, Paul writes Romans 8.14 to us, paraphrasing Isaiah 30.21.

B. Consider another word picture, this one painted by Jesus in John 16.8-11.

  1. The Holy Spirit came with three missions: lovingkindness, judgment, and 
righteousness (Jeremiah 9.24), because He delights in these.
  2. Hear the lovingkindness of the Holy Spirit in Paul’s words to lost Gentiles in 2

Praise God!!! Copyright (C) by Maurice L. Painter, 2017. www.sozoclass.com

February 12, 2017 Jesus Came to….

Jesus Came to….

(Author’s note: I have written this study from specific points to general principles. Hopefully, you can follow along my threads of Spiritual logic and receive the benefit I seek to communicate, which is that the Son continued what the Father had begun and what the Holy Spirit continues today; all expressing God.)

A. The Apostle Paul completes the sentence in 2 Corinthians 5.21. The Apostle John completes the sentence in John 1.18, generally, and in 3.16, specifically, agreeing with Paul. Dr. Luke adds to our understanding in Acts 10.38, a general statement. John, again, specifies 1 John 3.8b (affirming Isaiah 53.4-5, Amplified). Paul, again, narrows John’s thought further in Hebrews 2.14-15 (Jesus had to look like man to destroy our fear of death; consider Paul’s quandary in Philippians 1.23-24). And, Jesus collects all of these in Mark 10.45.

B. All of these are part of Paul’s fundamental description of Jesus in Philippians 2.7-8, NKJV: “but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient….”

  1. Men have no reputation beyond that which God gives them. Titles are constructs of man to identify a division of labor; note Jesus’ warning not to call man ‘father’ or ‘teacher’, however (Matthew 23.9-11). What does this say about ‘servant leadership’ and the correct picture of an enterprise’s organization chart? Everyone serves someone! And all are to serve the interests of God! Jeremiah 1.5
  2. Bondservants are known as property of their master. Mankind is, thus, identified as such because our bodies are made in God’s image (Genesis 1.27). How does Ephesians 1.22-23 explain Jesus’ declaration of our part in John 17.18? So, what, then, are the ‘good works’ God intended in Ephesians 2.10?
  3. Jesus confirms His servitude in John 5.19-20 and 49: He said and did only what His Master instructed. Why is this the best model for us bondservants? How can you implement this procedure?

C. What was Jesus accomplishing through the descriptions of Section A?

  1. John 1.18: He was revealing God to man, as He says in John 15.24, which refers back to Isaiah 7.14, which refers back to Deuteronomy 18.18, which refers back to Exodus 34.10. The Pharisees were unwilling to accept Jesus’ fulfillment of these verses because of 2 Corinthians 4.4.
  2. Matthew 6.10: He was demonstrating the kingdom of Heaven on Earth, and the will of God being done here like there. We see this in Matthew 10.7-8: kingdom pronouncement followed by demonstration of God’s will. Paul understood this, as he expresses in 1 Corinthians 2.4-5. How can you follow this protocol to bring the Kingdom of God to your contexts and, then, demonstrate God’s will therein?
  3. Exodus 19.4-6: Jesus was illustrating the duties of the Priest desired by God of the whole nation Israel, which 1 Peter 2.9 says includes us, now. Jesus showed us how in Luke 10.1-19.

D. Conclusion:

  1. All servants are here to do the good works that God has already ordained (Ephesians 2.10). John the Baptist acknowledges this in John 3.27.
  2. Paul says to follow him as he follows Jesus (1 Corinthians 11.1, 16-17). Same for 
us. Do your mentors and coaches remind you of Jesus?
  3. Jesus visually demonstrates what God said in Jeremiah 9.24. Jesus, then, said the 
Holy Spirit would do the same, John 16.8-11. God’s preference for lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness to be demonstrated through us. As Paul would write in Hebrews 13.8: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” There is no inconsistency with God: the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit evidence the same preferences. Should not His bondservants, made in His image?
  4. Would the people you relate to in your home, at work, and at play affirm experiencing these from you? Jesus came so they might.

[Author’s Second Note: so, what general principles do you understand (mindset) that are observed in Servant Jesus (behavior)? How do Jesus’ specific behaviors illustrate His thinking and mindset? Proverbs 23.7.]

170212 Praise God!!! Copyright (C) by Maurice L. Painter, 2017. www.sozoclass.com

 

February 5, 2017 The God of All Comfort

The God of all Comfort

         Isaiah 40:1-31 begins with a promise and ends with an assurance. Both, however, depend upon the One making the promise and having the ability to give such assurance. The middle verses describe God as the only One capable of stating both. These middle verse remind us of God’s description of Himself by contrast to Job (38-39); incomparably awesome! Both passages are satisfying reminders during the uncertainties of daily life. Rest in His arms.

A. “’Comfort, yes, comfort My people!’, says your God.”

  1. This command of Isaiah 40.1 was given for Isaiah to prepare the nation for their captivity in Babylon, spoken to King Hezekiah (Isaiah 39.5-7) after he, with pride, had revealed kingdom secrets to foreign visitors.
    1. The captivity of Judah in Babylon occurred between 605 and 586 B.C.
    2. In Jeremiah’s (29.1-32) letter to the captives during their 70 years of service for their sin, God speaks of the same comfort (verse 10): “’After seventy years are completed at Babylon, I will visit you and perform My good word toward you, and cause you to return to this place [Jerusalem].’” Verses 11-13 are an assurance of God’s love and control!
  2. Notice how the Apostle Paul, that scholar of Isaiah’s prophecy, reflects on God the Comforter in 2 Corinthians 1.3-7.
    1. He declares that it is God Who “comforts us in all our tribulation.” All individual struggles against satan (Ephesians 6.12), and all collective calamities (Proverbs 29.2b).
    2. And, while we solicit His comfort, we must remember to share our experience of comfort with those seeking such themselves (verse 4). Paul would amplify his ‘afflicted’ in verse six later, in chapter 12 and verse 10: “For when I am weak, then I am strong.” This summary comment reflects upon verse 7-9, remembering the events of Acts 13-14, as he mentions to Timothy (2.3.11). Note his reminder to Timothy that God comforted him during the affliction.
  3. Easton’s Bible Dictionary defines the name ‘Comforter’ as a characteristic of the Holy Spirit, in John 14:16, 26; John 14:16; 16:7.
  4. Today, the Holy Spirit comforts us by leading us through difficult situations as a continual reminder of God’s proclamation in Isaiah 40.1: “’Comfort, yes, comfort My people!’, says your God.”
  5. This is our command, too, in ministry to others. It is the application of Deuteronomy 6.4-9 and Jeremiah 9.23-24. It is our opportunity to be like Jesus in this world (38, John 17.18, Ephesians 2.10, 1 John 4.17, Ephesians 3.14-21).
  6. Remember when someone comforted you and/or you comforted someone else. How did the Holy Spirit confirm that He was acting through you and/or them?

B. “Mount up with Wings like Eagles!”

  1. Isaiah 40.31 describes us who ‘wait’ for the Lord: we mount up; we are not weary; we do not faint under the affliction and uncertainties of life’s demands!
  2. Isaiah 26.3 & 12 and 4 describes the benefits of ‘waiting’ for the Lord.
  3. And, Jesus said He is the Source of nourishment for us who ‘wait’, in John 15.1-8.
  4. Thus would Paul write Philippians 4.13 and amplify in Romans 8.31-39!
  5. Reflect upon the events that cause Moses to declare Exodus 15.2-3 and declare verse 11. Does this give you greater understanding of Jeremiah 32.17 & 27?
  6. Perhaps, then, we can appreciate better Paul’s protocol in 1 Corinthians 2.4-5 and empowerment in 2 Corinthians 12.10.
  7. Jeremiah 1.12! God is always ready to act for the one who waits for Him! This was the Apostles’ experience, in Acts 4.29-30!
  8. “What difference does it make in our lives that God has such power?” (M. Duduit, Ventures in Transforming Truth, Volume 5, Book 1, 2016)

C. Who is God Who assures successful completion of His promises?

  1. Absolutely: Isaiah 40.9-17, 26. “How does an understanding of God’s glory impact your thoughts about Him?” (ibid)
  2. Relatively: Isaiah 40.18-25 and 9-20. Paul identifies the source as satan in 2 Corinthians 4.3-4.
  3. Only: Isaiah 45.22! Isaiah 43.10-11 and 6 and 8! Why fear, indeed, when we know and understand the only God? 2 Corinthians 2.14!
  4. God is very aware of your circumstance and acting for and with you; Isaiah 40.27-31 and 21. Consider Jeremiah 6.16, too. Finish with Jeremiah 7.23.
  5. Again, Paul concludes our praise in Ephesians 3.20-21!
  6. “How does the glory and majesty of God have an impact on how we relate to Him?” (ibid)

D. Isaiah 40.8: “The grass wither, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever.” Be assured of His promises! He is!

170205 Praise God! Copyright © by Maurice Painter, 2017. www.sozoclass.com