September 4, 2016 The Sword of the Spirit

Sword of the Spirit

How powerful are the words we speak? Jesus said His words were “spirit and life” (John 6.63). Was this because He was God (Isaiah 7.14)? No, because of the illustration of Luke 10.1-19; the disciples spoke one Word “Jesus’, (Spirit) to effect life! Thus, the name ‘Jesus” IS “Spirit and life”! Paul reminds us of this in Philippians 2:9-11. In verses, 12-13, Paul says that Jesus expects us to use His name for overcoming satan. There is great power when we say what God has said, as Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 3.16-17: the word of God IS God-breathed; thus, filled with His power! Ezekiel 37.1-14 illustrates this power, especially verses 9 & 10. John 1.9 generalizes about this Source of all knowledge, as Jesus focused in John 14.26. “Christ is described as the cosmological Logos, he presents Him as the epistemological Logos….He is also the ground of all human knowledge” (Ronald H. Nash, The Word of God and The Mind of Man, P&R Publishing, Phillipsburg, NJ, pp. 66-67).

Now, combine this knowledge with Paul’s declaration in Ephesians 6.12, that our daily struggles are against ‘spirits’ and not persons. Thus, we discover how the Word of God, the Bible, becomes an effective ‘sword’, and the only weapon needed, for fighting Spiritual Warfare, as Paul encourages in Ephesians 6.17. Matthew 4.1-11 gives us Jesus’ example for teaching us the protocol for effective use of the Sword. He, as a ‘Son of Man’ (Matthew 1.1-17; Luke 3.23-38), was subject to satan’s temptations to pride and lust (1 John 2.15-17) but did not give in (2 Corinthians 5.21; 1 Peter 2.22). Rather, He defeated the temptation by speaking “spirit and life”, not repeating the ‘death-results’ of satan’s words and ways, as Jesus identifies in John 10.10a. We must develop a vocabulary of ‘swords’ to thrust back at satan as we quench his fiery darts with our polished shields of faith (Ephesians 6.16)!

The power of words is in its Source. The Bible is “God’s word for God’s people; hear it, believe it, and live,” as my pastor says each week after reading the sermon text. Faith comes from hearing the word of God (Romans 10.17). We need faith for God’s salvation and from satan’s destruction (John 3.16-21; Romans 10.9-10. His-stories of ‘who, what, when, and where’ from the Bible develop into the ‘how’ of faith through the work of the Holy Spirit in helping us to understand the ‘why’ of the story, thereby revealing God (Jeremiah 9.24; John 1.18; 1 Corinthians 2.6-16). The Source is God Himself!

A. An Overview of the Bible.

  1. The Bible contains statements of God’s principles for righteousness and His promises for those who obey. He states this to Jeremiah in 7.23 and 23-24. Paul affirms this in Hebrews 11.6.
    1. God’s principles begin with the foundation of Genesis 1.1 (ESV): “In the beginning, God….”
    2. He continues with promises for Abraham and principles for mankind in Genesis 12.1-4, including a foretelling of the salvation of mankind at the Cross and Tomb (John 3.16; Romans 10.9-10).
    3. God enumerates and explains His principles for righteousness in the Decalogue of Exodus 20.1-17 and the Sermon on the Mount of Matthew 5-7, including the Model Prayer of Matthew 6.5-13. Is our Father’s Name to be ‘hallowed’ because of what Jesus says in the next verses? Remember that Jehovah+tsidkenu, jireh, raphe, rohi, nissi, shalom, and shammah cover all of life. Thus, is His name worthy of “hallow’? Notice Paul exclaims this in Ephesians 3.20-21.
  2. The Bible, then, illustrates leaders and followers who succeeded so long as they obeyed.
    1. In Genesis 17.1-22, Abraham talked with God about carrying out His plan in Genesis 12.1-4, and God called Abraham His ‘Friend’ (2 Chronicles 20.7; Isaiah 41.8).
    2. Moses depended upon God to deliver the Israelites from Egyptian bondage and to deposit them in the Land Promised to Abraham, illustrated in the defeat of Amalek (Exodus 17.8-16).
    3. The shepherd who became the greatest King of Israel, David, was a ‘man after [God’s] own heart’ (1Samuel 13.14) because David obeyed God wholeheartedly (1 Kings 14.8; 2 Chronicles 16.9a).
    4. These understood and enjoyed the essence of what Moses encourages the Israelites in Deuteronomy 28.1-14.
  3. But, there were leaders and followers who failed because they, apparently, did not read Deuteronomy 28.15-68.
    1. Notably, Solomon in his later years became deceived by the gods of the foreign wives he had married (1 Kings 11.1-11).
    2. King Manasseh did more evil than those before him in leading the Israelites to worship the heavenly hosts (Moon god, predecessor of Islam; 2 Kings 21.9, 11-12).
    3. Even King Uzziah became deceived by pride and ended his years alone (2 Chronicles 26.16-21).
    4. They should have remembered God’s words to Cain in Genesis 4.7. Success is found in ruling over sin, not giving in to it!
  4. Thus, the various Prophets were sent to warn the Israelites to return to God but without success (2 Kings 17.13-15). John the Baptist (Luke 1.17; Matthew 11.14) fulfilled the prophecy of Malachi 4.5-6. JB was the last of the Old Testament prophets and was to identify Messiah (Isaiah 40.3-5; Malachi 3.1-2; Matthew 3.1-3, 13-17; John 1.29-34).
  5. Jeremiah 44.1-30 illustrates the patience and firmness of God to honor His word. One lesson from this illustration is to follow the advice from God for which you asked! See Psalm 138.2. Read Solomon’s observation about words in Proverbs 18.20-21. Is your stomach aching or calm?
  6. Lastly, God sent His only ‘Begotten Son’ (1 John 4.9, NKJV; John 1.14) to free mankind from satan’s bondage (John 8.31-32) and “deliver us from this present evil age” (Galatians 1.3-5; 2 Peter 1.2-4). We, Jesus’ prophets, continue the task of reconciling lost mankind to God (1 Peter 2.9; 2 Corinthians 5.20; Matthew 28.18-20) before God calls an end to the opportunity of salvation (Revelation 4.1).

B. Bible Readership Statistics.

  1. As at January 2015, Barna Group reports that 28% of those surveyed read the Bible four to seven days each week, 17% once a month to once a week, 26% one-to-four times per year, 28% never, and one percent ‘not sure’ (www.statista.com).
  2. “Pew Research Center said Wednesday [160824] that 49 percent of what they term ‘nones’ left their church and religion because they ‘don’t believe.’ Another 20 percent said they don’t like organized religion. Other reasons included ‘common sense’ and a lack of belief in miracles….The survey is the latest from Pew that demonstrates a growing trend in America: more and more people are junking religion and many are giving up on God” (Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner, Pew: Americans giving up on God, miracles, August 24, 2016, http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/pew-huge-surge-in-americans-who-no0longer-believe-in-god-miracles/articles/2600066).
  3. “Americans have a high interest and awareness of the Bible, but a majority believe the scripture has too little influence on a society some of them say is in moral decline, according to a recent poll for the American Bible Society” (www.deseretnews.com; April 9, 2013).
  4. “The number of those who are skeptical or agnostic toward the Bible—who believe that the Bible is “just another book of teachings written by men that contains stories and advice”—has nearly doubled from 10% to 19% in just three years” (barna.org/The State of the Bible: 6 Trends for 2014; April 8, 2014).
  5. “Digging into the population segmentation of Bible skeptics, we find that two-thirds are 48 or younger (28% Millennials, 36% Gen-Xers), and they are twice as likely to be male (68%) than female (32%). They are more likely to identify as Catholic than any other single denomination or affiliation (30%) and are the most-likely segment not to have attended church (87%) or prayed (63%) during the previous week. They are also most likely not to have made a commitment to Jesus that is important in their life today (76%)” (ibid).
  6. A greater travesty is that Christians were included in the survey! “‘The tyranny of political correctness is causing people to step away from their values,’ says Judge Wayne Mack, a justice of the peace in Montgomery County, Texas” (The Daily Signal, August 17, 2016).

C. Rationale for Obeying the Bible today.

  1. Simply stated, the Bible will be the test document for mankind at the Great White Throne Judgment of God Almighty (Revelation 20.11-15). Notice there that the judgment of unbelievers will be “according to what they had done” (ESV), especially as related to John 14.6 (John 3.16-21). Jesus emphasizes this in Matthew 12.36-37; again, the spoken word!
  2. This was Solomon’s summary, too, after examining existential philosophies, in Ecclesiastes 12.13-14. God EXPECTS mankind to obey His commandments! These are His criteria for separating good from evil (Jeremiah 15.19).
  3. This was the essence of Paul’s argument with the philosophers at Mars Hill, Athens, Greece. Notice, in Acts 17.22-31, his use of words in presenting the argument for the exclusivity of Jesus. Such ‘escape’ was Paul’s point in Galatians 1.4, too; we do not escape judgment through philosophies of relativism, secular-humanism, pluralism, etc. All these have resulted from Jeremiah 13.10: leaving God’s truth and following devolving lies from satan’s demons.
  4. Mankind has become ignorant, as God pointed out specifically about adulterous Israel, in Hosea 4.6. James (4.4) repeats this theme to Christ-followers, too. Ignorance is rampant, including among ‘people of the Book’!
  5. James (4.7) continues with the imperative: “Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (NASB). This is what God had encouraged Cain to do in Genesis 4.7. Paul gives more details and the necessary practical steps in Ephesians 6.10-19. You must do this; others can only stand with you; they cannot stand for you (unless you are a child before their ‘age of accountability’).
  6. In the “Bible sword drills’ of my childhood, the leader would command, ‘draw swords’, before naming the Bible verse to look up; then, give the start command, ‘charge’, to see which student could find the verse first. We probably need to renew this practice.

D. So, why Study the Bible?

  1. Solomon answers in Ecclesiastes (12.13-14) that there will be a future ‘judgment’ of mankind for their ‘whole duty’.
  2. Paul answers in Acts (17.22-31) that the ‘ignorant’ philosophies of any era will be ‘Judged’ by Jesus.
  3. John answers in Revelation (20.11-15) that God will ‘throw into the Lake of Fire’ all persons ‘according to what they have done’ against God or to earn their salvation, but whose names are ‘not found written in the Book of Life’ because they believed John 14.6
  4. Since there will be a Judgment by God, people should study the practices illustrated in the Bible with the help of the Holy Spirit to discern the principle of God being taught, so that they may perform the principle in the contexts to which into which the Holy Spirit will be guiding their lives.
  5. As Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 10.11: “Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come.”
  6. R. G. Lee preached a famous sermon about this titled ‘Payday Someday’. We should listen to it from time to time as a reminder.(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TNoMuCspTKE)

  The opportunities are great for Christians to walk their talk by reading and obeying their Bibles and living out God’s principles in all of their daily contexts, which is where the Holy Spirit has placed them to make an impact for God. Someone should know God better each day because of you (Isaiah 55.5)! Angels are waiting for your orders to complement your use of the Sword of the Spirit (Psalm 103.20; Hebrews 1.14)! Pick up the Sword and learn to use it in Spiritual Warfare (2 Corinthians 10.4-6)!

Praise God!!! Copyright © by Maurice L. Painter, 2016. www.sozoclass.com

August 14, 2016

Great Faith

How much faith is enough? How much depends upon how small we want satan to be and how big you want Jesus to be in the bisected rectangle of our lives (see 160627 “Growing Faith” at www.sozoclass.com; either two equal right triangles or one right triangle, with one short side, and a quadrilateral, with one short side, representing not fully our of ‘darkness’ into ‘light’ (John 1:4-5). Ideally, we want to experience what the disciples reported to Jesus in Luke 10.17 and to hear His response in verse 19. Theirs was the reality of what Apostle Paul writes, later, in 2 Corinthians 10.3-6. By the way, these express the reality the Apostle John presents in Revelation 12.11; “Jesus” is the only word needed (Philippians 2.9-11)! Remember, also, that the list of our Spiritual equippers in Ephesians 4.11-12 are there to produce verse 13 in us. Continually adding knowledge and understanding that knowledge will develop a stronger faith (Romans 10.17; Jeremiah 9. 23-24; 1 John 5.4). Consider the following examples of great faith and based upon an important principle.

The Fundamental Principle.

  1. Since our faith is to grow into the size of Jesus’ (Ephesians 4.13), how should we measure Jesus’ faith?
  2. Mark 11.22-26 (Matthew 21.20-22) is Jesus’ answer: ask according to God’s will (1 John 5.14; expressed in His names, Jehovah+__; illustrated by Jesus’ life and work on Earth; see John 5.19-20 and 12.49; Jeremiah 7.23).
    1. Notice, too, in Mark 11.23-24 that believing faith speaks and that it does not doubt.
    2. Notice, also, in verses 25-26 the importance of forgiving others; what is the connection of forgiveness to answered prayer? Consider 1 Corinthians 11.27-31 and Matthew 5.21-24 in your answer.
    3. Paul discusses this with Timothy in 1 Timothy 2.8. [Many versions use ‘wrath and quarreling/dissension’ and differentiate a view external (inter-personal) and internal (intra-personal; a troubled mind or uncertainty), respectively. However, the New King James Version uses ‘wrath and doubt’. Doubt is the better word to express internal incomplete certainty.] Paul was repeating Jesus’ emphasis of ‘forgiveness/no wrath’ and ‘complete certainty/no doubt’ (i.e., faith resulting from understanding of the knowledge of God’s will from history and/or personal experience). Certainty is gained from remembering experiences of God showing up and showing off for self and/or other people! Doubt flees; James 4.7!
    4. James 1:5-8 discusses the importance of not doubting: i.e., being certain about ‘grace’; defined: God’s word of promise and His unwillingness to use His mighty power to bring it to my reality.
  3. In Romans 10.9-10, Paul emphasizes the desired connection between our minds and our lips: speak only what we believe with certainty! Does this principle only regard believing Jesus for eternal life? Or, does the principle include believing for Jehovah+tsidkenu, jireh, rapha, rohi, nissi, shalom, and shammah? Thus, the importance of growing from ‘faith to faith’ (Romans 1.17) is for understanding God more fully (Jeremiah 9.24) and for developing capacity for spiritual warfare (2 Corinthians 10.6; James 4.7; 1 John 5:4-5; Hebrews 5.14; 1 John 4.4).

B .Frantic Pleas.

  1. As you review the following examples, identity 1) the satanic attack, 2) what salvation was needed, 3) any prior experience of the requestor with that salvation, 4) what did the requestor say, 5) any doubt by the requestor, 6) any barriers in the way, 7) the results for the requestor and for the beneficiary, 8) you ‘why’ understanding of the ‘who, what, when, and where’ knowledge of the incidents, and 9) your ‘how’ you will personally use this review to increase your faith.
  2. Matthew 9.18-26 records the frantic plea of a father for his daughter, who has just died. “My daughter has just died, but come and lay Your hand on her and she will live” (my emphasis). And, she did; verse 25! How great was his faith in “the Name above all names” (Philippians 2.9-11) that took on flesh (John 1.14)? What was God’s will, which the father reasoned (Genesis 6.3; Jeremiah 29.11)?       Remember the definition of grace is God’s word of promise and His willingness to use His mighty power to bring it to your reality.
  3. John 4.46-53 records the frantic plea of another father, whose son was almost dead. What circumstantial differences are there with the other father? It is important to note that the father’s faith in Jesus’ words did not waiver, even when Jesus did not continue the journey with him.       How great was his faith?       What do you think the father muttered to himself all the way home? He had no doubt! How strong was the father’s faith after the events of verses 51-53?
  4. [How do these two examples above help you to understand Abraham’s faith, as is discussed in Hebrews 11.17-19, Romans 4.16-25, and James 2.14-16?       Remember that Abraham grew from faith to faith over 25 years to the fulfillment of God’s promised birth plus, probably, another 25 years until the sacrifice! “Faith comes…” by acting from God’s promises (knowledge + understanding)!]
  5. Luke 5.17-26 (Matthew 9.1-8; Mark 2.1-12) relates the story of friends lowering a paralytic through the roof to position him before Jesus for the purpose of receiving healing (John 1.12; Mark 11.23-24). Jesus “saw their faith” in action, especially the faith of the paralytic, who probably had called his friends to take him to Jesus (James 5.14-15). He, too, said with his mouth what he believed in his heart!
  6. Mark 10.46-52 tells the story of ‘Blind Bartimaeus’. What barriers did he overcome to get to Jesus? How did Jesus help him to become specific about his request? Why did Jesus include the caveat in verse 52? What do you learn from this example?
  7. Luke 8:43-47 (Matthew 9:20-22; Mark 5:25-34) tells a similar story. Answer the questions in B. 6. for her. What is your takeaway from both stories? Was there any doubt?
  8. Acts 3.1-10 tells the story of another paralytic who received healing. How did Peter know his desire? How did Peter know the words to say? (Consider Luke 10.7) How did Peter describe this in Acts 3.16 and 4.12 and to whom? What is the importance of these declarations?
  9. So far, our considerations have been personal and family and related to health. Isaiah 37.1-35 discusses a threat to the survival of Israel when Hezekiah was king. What did he do? What was the result? What quality of God do you read in verse 32, that may be new to you? (Consider Isaiah 9.7, 42.13; John 2.17.) How were King Jehoshaphat’s actions similar in 2 Chronicles 20.1-30? How were God’s actions similar? Genesis 12.1-3 and Isaiah 7.14 and 9.6-7 explain God’s defense of Israel, in addition to King J’s reference to Solomon’s prayer in 1 Kings 8.22-61, especially verses 33-34. What were His reasons? What was King J’s important declaration in 2 Chronicles 20.12? Why was/is this important? What general truth does Peter illustrate in Matthew 14.22-23? Remember Psalm 127.1.
  10. What important perspective do you learn from Psalm 138.2? Numbers 23.19! Isaiah 45.22!

C. Great Faith!

  1. Jesus recognized “great faith” on only two occasions, as follows. What made faith great?
  2. Matthew 8.5-13 is the story of a Roman Centurion (i.e., responsible for 100 troops) who asked Jesus to heal his paralyzed servant, who was “dreadfully tormented”.       Even though the Centurion was a Gentile, Jesus offered to come to his house to heal the boy. Why did the Centurion object? What made his faith ‘great’? How do his words in verse 8 and Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 7.24-27 help you? Also, how do John 5.44 & 15.24 explain why Jesus said, “I have not such great faith with anyone in Israel” (NASB)? Notice that Jesus acknowledged the Centurion’s responsibility for the boy in Matthew 7.13. The boy was not yet ‘accountable’ for his faith.
  3. Matthew 15.21-28 records the story of a Syrophoenician mother who persistently implored until Jesus “cast the demon out of her daughter” (Mark 7.26). [Matthew 4:24-25 indicates that Jesus had already encountered Syrians.] What made her faith ‘great’?       How was her faith like that of the Centurion? Compare Matthew 15.25 to Matthew 8.8. John MacArthur wrote: “Great faith, the kind of faith that you see with this woman, has great reverence, a sense of respect and awe. I know she didn’t understand the fullness of the Lordship of Christ, and she would not have perceived the sweeping reality of what these titles meant, but she sees in there some sense of His Lordship, and power, and supernatural character” (The Quality of Great Faith).
  4. The illustrations in Section B, above, were not called “Great” because God was the foundation for their faith. Jesus came to return them to ‘truth’ (John 1.17) from their philosophy called Judaism. The Centurion expressed “Great Faith” by calling Jesus “Lord” (Matthew 8.8); thereby, displacing Caesar from that position, which was treason punishable by death. The woman expressed “Great Faith” by calling Jesus “Lord” (Matthew 15.25); thereby, perhaps, going against the traditions of other gods of the Syrophoenician peoples and her family. The rick was worth the taking because of the reward was desperately desired… and received!
  5. The woman was persistent in her focus and had answers to every one of Jesus’ qualifying comments. She did not give in to fears of failure (Matthew 13.18-22). The Centurion recognized Jesus as having authority over His words; he had proven this in the practice of his leadership; see Hebrews 5.14. Words cause results, as Jesus said in John 6.63!
  6. Notice that neither Gentile doubted that what they spoke in faith would be what they found when they returned to their sick loved one. How does this illustrate Mark 11.22-24?
  7. “Great faith” is contrasted from “little faith” by Peter in Matthew 14.31. Then, what makes the difference? What is Paul’s conclusion about this in Romans 14.23? James’ in 1.7-8? Contrast Peter’s experience with King Jehoshaphat’s statement in 2 Chronicles 10.12. What do you learn from the difference?
  8. Was Matthew 14.28 Peter’s fleece? If so, did it seem to bother Jesus? Notice, too, that what both asked was according to God’s will: Matthew 10.7-8 and Acts 10.38. So, how does Matthew 6.30-34 wrap this together? How is this a resentment of Isaiah 45.22? “Great Faith” does!

D. How is faith a shield?

  1. Jeremiah 12.5 was God’s way of framing the challenge. The thicket of the Jordan River was where lions roamed (Jeremiah 49.19 & 44) and is the contrast to peace. You must be up to the challenge! Learn now to use the ‘shield of faith’ and the ‘sword of the Spirit’.
  2. Notice the potential of the ‘shield of faith’ that Paul describes in Ephesians 6.16: “above all (in degree and/or function), taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one” (NKJV; my parenthesis for explanation and italics for emphasis).
    1. Above all”: remember Who is greater, as in 1 John 4.4 & 4-5, 2 Corinthians 2.14, and Philippians 1.27-28. God applied this to Joshua in 1.6-9. Remember Zechariah 4.6 and Romans 8.14! Receive Paul’s encouragement in 2 Timothy 4.17-18.
    2. Will be able”: remember what God has already done with satan, as in Revelation 12.7-9, Isaiah 14.12-15, John 12.31 & 33, Ephesians 1.22-23, Psalm 7.10, Matthew 28.18, and Luke 10.17-19. Remember, too, that the command to ‘rule over’ was given in Genesis 1.26, 28 & 4.7. Notice how the disciples of Jesus exercised this in Luke 10.17!
    3. All”: Paul knew about ‘all’ as he relates in 2 Corinthians 9.8 (NKJV): “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work” (my underline). God IS able! Remember the definition of Grace in Section B.2 above.
    4. Fiery Darts”: What are ‘fiery darts’? How does John 10.10a summarize ‘all’ the ‘fiery darts‘? How do you see this in Jesus’ Parable of the Sower in Matthew 13.18-22?
    5. Which ‘fiery darts‘ do you recognize by the following shields that quench them: Jehovah+tsidkenu/righteousness (Jeremiah 23.6, 16), jireh/provider (Genesis 8.13, 22.14), rapha/healer (Exodus 17.15, 23.26), rohi/guide (Psalm 23), nissi/protector (Exodus 17.15, 23.22; Joshua 16.11; Psalm 81.13-14), shalom/peace (Judges 6.24), and shammah/companion (Ezekiel 48.35)? Remember, too, 2 Corinthians 10.4-6 & 12.9-10 includes ‘all’.
    6. What ‘fiery darts of the wicked one’ do you see in Sections B and C, above? Notice that the shield of faith was raised in anticipation of the fight in some instances. In other instances, it was raised along with the ‘sword of the Spirit’ (Ephesians 6.17) to stop the wicked one’s abuse and to drive the demons away. The healing of the epileptic son illustrates Jesus encouraging his father to raise the shield of faith, in Mark 9.14-27, especially verse 23.
  3. What are some events when you used faith as a shield to quench satan’s fiery darts? What did you learn? What happened the next time satan threw this ‘fiery dart‘ at you? How did you use this new-found shield of faith to quench new ones? Remember Ephesians 6.12.

So, against what anticipated attack from satan are you believing for God’s promised salvation? Where do you find His promise in the Bible? When do/will you meditate upon the Bible-promise of Jehovah+ to build “GREAT” faith? Put your name in Mark 9.23! Habakkuk 2.4b!

Praise God!!! Copyright © by Maurice L. Painter, 2016. www.sozoclass.com.

July 31, 2016 Great Faith

Great Faith

How much faith is enough? How depends upon how small we want satan to be and how big you want Jesus to be in the bisected rectangle of our lives (see 160627 “Growing Faith” at www.sozoclass.com; either two equal right triangles or one right triangle, with one short side, and a quadrilateral, with one short side, representing not fully our of ‘darkness’ into ‘light’ (John 1:4-5). Ideally, we want to experience what the disciples reported to Jesus in Luke 10.17 and to hear His response in verse 19. Theirs was the reality of what Apostle Paul writes, later, in 2 Corinthians 10.3-6. By the way, these express the reality the Apostle John presents in Revelation 12.11; “Jesus” is the only word needed (Philippians 2.9-11)! Remember, also, that the list of our Spiritual equippers in Ephesians 4.11-12 are there to produce verse 13 in us. Continually adding knowledge and understanding that knowledge will develop a stronger faith (Romans 10.17; Jeremiah 9. 23-24; 1 John 5.4). Consider the following examples of great faith and based upon an important principle.

A. The Fundamental Principle.

  1. Since our faith is to grow into the size of Jesus’ (Ephesians 4.13), how should we measure Jesus’ faith?
  2. Mark 11.22-26 (Matthew 21.20-22) is Jesus’ answer: ask according to God’s will (1 John 5.14; expressed in His names, Jehovah+__; illustrated by Jesus’ life and work on Earth; see John 5.19-20 and 12.49; Jeremiah 7.23).

1. Notice, too, in Mark 11.23-24 that believing faith speaks and that it does not doubt.

2. Notice, also, in verses 25-26 the importance of forgiving others; what is the connection of forgiveness to answered prayer? Consider 1 Corinthians 11.27-31 and Matthew 5.21-24 in your answer.

3. Paul discusses this with Timothy in 1 Timothy 2.8. [Many versions use ‘wrath and quarreling/dissension’ and differentiate a view external (inter-personal) and internal (intra-personal; a troubled mind or uncertainty), respectively. However, the New King James Version uses ‘wrath and doubt’. Doubt is the better word to express internal incomplete certainty.] Paul was repeating Jesus’ emphasis of ‘forgiveness/no wrath’ and ‘complete certainty/no doubt’ (i.e., faith resulting from understanding of the knowledge of God’s will from history and/or personal experience). Certainty is gained from remembering experiences of God showing up and showing off for self and/or other people! Doubt flees; James 4.7!

4. James 1:5-8 discusses the importance of not doubting: i.e., being certain about ‘grace’; defined: God’s word of promise and His unwillingness to use His mighty power to bring it to my reality.

3. In Romans 10.9-10, Paul emphasizes the desired connection between our minds and our lips: speak only what we believe with certainty! Does this principle only regard believing Jesus for eternal life? Or, does the principle include believing for Jehovah+tsidkenu, jireh, rapha, rohi, nissi, shalom, and shammah? Thus, the importance of growing from ‘faith to faith’ (Romans 1.17) is for understanding God more fully (Jeremiah 9.24) and for developing capacity for spiritual warfare (2 Corinthians 10.6; James 4.7; 1 John 5:4-5; Hebrews 5.14; 1 John 4.4).

B. Frantic Pleas.

  1. As you review the following examples, identity 1) the satanic attack, 2) what salvation was needed, 3) any prior experience of the requestor with that salvation, 4) what did the requestor say, 5) any doubt by the requestor, 6) any barriers in the way, 7) the results for the requestor and for the beneficiary, 8) you ‘why’ understanding of the ‘who, what, when, and where’ knowledge of the incidents, and 9) your ‘how’ you will personally use this review to increase your faith.
  2. Matthew 9.18-26 records the frantic plea of a father for his daughter, who has just died. “My daughter has just died, but come and lay Your hand on her and she will live” (my emphasis). And, she did; verse 25! How great was his faith in “the Name above all names” (Philippians 2.9-11) that took on flesh (John 1.14)? What was God’s will, which the father reasoned (Genesis 6.3; Jeremiah 29.11)?       Remember the definition of grace is God’s word of promise and His willingness to use His mighty power to bring it to your reality.
  3. John 4.46-53 records the frantic plea of another father, whose son was almost dead. What circumstantial differences are there with the other father? It is important to note that the father’s faith in Jesus’ words did not waiver, even when Jesus did not continue the journey with him. How great was his faith? What do you think the father muttered to himself all the way home? He had no doubt! How strong was the father’s faith after the events of verses 51-53?
  4. [How do these two examples above help you to understand Abraham’s faith, as is discussed in Hebrews 11.17-19 and Romans 4.16-25?       Remember that Abraham grew from faith to faith over 25 years to the fulfillment of God’s promised birth plus, probably, another 25 years until the sacrifice! “Faith comes…” by acting from God’s promises (knowledge + understanding)!]
  5. Luke 5.17-26 (Matthew 9.1-8; Mark 2.1-12) relates the story of friends lowering a paralytic through the roof to position him before Jesus for the purpose of receiving healing (John 1.12; Mark 11.23-24). Jesus “saw their faith” in action, especially the faith of the paralytic, who probably had called his friends to take him to Jesus (James 5.14-15). He, too, said with his mouth what he believed in his heart!
  6. Mark 10.46-52 tells the story of ‘Blind Bartimaeus’. What barriers did he overcome to get to Jesus? How did Jesus help him to become specific about his request? Why did Jesus include the caveat in verse 52? What do you learn from this example?
  7. Luke 8:43-47 (Matthew 9:20-22; Mark 5:25-34) tells a similar story.       Answer the questions in B. 6. for her. What is your takeaway from both stories? Was there any doubt?
  8. Acts 3.1-10 tells the story of another paralytic who received healing. How did Peter know his desire? How did Peter know the words to say? (Consider Luke 10.7) How did Peter describe this in Acts 3.16 and 4.12 and to whom? What is the importance of these declarations?
  9. So far, our considerations have been personal and family and related to health. Isaiah 37.1-35 discusses a threat to the survival of Israel when Hezekiah was king. What did he do? What was the result? What quality of God do you read in verse 32, that may be new to you? (Consider Isaiah 9.7, 42.13; John 2.17.) How were King Jehoshaphat’s actions similar in 2 Chronicles 20.1-30? How were God’s actions similar? Genesis 12.1-3 and Isaiah 7.14 and 9.6-7 explain God’s defense of Israel, in addition to King J’s reference to Solomon’s prayer in 1 Kings 8.22-61, especially verses 33-34. What were His reasons? Remember Psalm 127.1.
  10. What important perspective do you learn from Psalm 138.2? Numbers 23.19! Isaiah 45.22!

C. Great Faith!

  1. Jesus recognized “great faith” on only two occasions, as follows. What made faith great?
  2. Matthew 8.5-13 is the story of a Roman Centurion (i.e., responsible for 100 troops) who asked Jesus to heal his paralyzed servant, who was “dreadfully tormented”.       Even though the Centurion was a Gentile, Jesus offered to come to his house to heal the servant. Why did the Centurion object? What made his faith ‘great’? What is your takeaway?
  3. Matthew 15.21-28 records the story of a Syrophoenician mother who persistently implored until Jesus “cast the demon out of her daughter” (Mark 7.26). What made her faith ‘great’? How was her faith like that of the Centurion? What is your takeaway?
  4. Notice that neither Gentile doubted that what they spoke in faith would be what they found when they returned to their sick loved one. How does this illustrate Mark 11.22-24?
  5. Notice, too, that what both asked was according to God’s will: Matthew 10.7-8 and Acts 10.38.

So, against what attack from satan are you believing for God’s promised salvation? Where do you find His promise in the Bible? How and how often do you meditate thereupon for faith? Habakkuk 2.4b!

Praise God!!! Copyright © by Maurice L. Painter, 2016. www.sozoclass.com.

July 24, 2016 Great Faith

Great Faith

How much faith is enough? How much was enough for the widow to feed Elijah, her son, and herself with the little meal she had until it rained; 1 Kings 17:1-34? How much was enough for the widow to keep pouring the little she had until she paid her family debt; 2 Kings 4:1-7? How much was enough to float the iron axehead; 2 Kings 6:1-7?

How depends upon how small we want satan to be and how big you want Jesus to be in the bisected rectangle of our lives (see 160627 “Growing Faith” at www.sozoclass.com; either two equal right triangles or one right triangle, with one short side, and a quadrilateral, with one short side, representing not fully our of ‘darkness’ into ‘light’ (John 1:4-5). Ideally, we want to experience what the disciples reported to Jesus in Luke 10.17 and to hear His response in verse 19. Theirs was the reality of what Apostle Paul writes, later, in 2 Corinthians 10.3-6. By the way, these express the reality the Apostle John presents in Revelation 12.11; “Jesus” is the only word needed (Philippians 2.9-11)! Remember, also, that the list of our Spiritual equippers in Ephesians 4.11-12 are there to produce verse 13 in us. Continually adding knowledge and understanding that knowledge will develop a stronger faith (Romans 10.17; Jeremiah 9. 23-24; 1 John 5.4). Consider the following examples of great faith and based upon an important principle.

A. The Fundamental Principle.

  1. Since our faith is to grow into the size of Jesus’ (Ephesians 4.13), how should we measure Jesus’ faith?
  2. Mark 11.22-26 (Matthew 21.20-22) is Jesus’ answer: ask according to God’s will (1 John 5.14; expressed in His names, Jehovah+__; illustrated by Jesus’ life and work on Earth; see John 5.19-20 and 12.49; Jeremiah 7.23).
    1. Notice, too, in Mark 11.23-24 that believing faith speaks and that it does not doubt.
    2. Notice, also, in verses 25-26 the importance of forgiving others; what is the connection of forgiveness to answered prayer? Consider 1 Corinthians 11.27-31 and Matthew 5.21-24 in your answer.
    3. Paul discusses this with Timothy in 1 Timothy 2.8. [Many versions use ‘wrath and quarreling/dissension’ and differentiate a view external (inter-personal) and internal (intra-personal; a troubled mind or uncertainty), respectively. However, the New King James Version uses ‘wrath and doubt’; doubt being the better word to express incomplete certainty.] Paul was repeating Jesus’ emphasis of ‘forgiveness/no wrath’ and ‘complete certainty/no doubt’ (i.e., faith resulting from understanding of the knowledge of God’s will from history and/or personal experience). Certainty is gained by remembering experiences of God showing up and showing off for self and/or other people! Doubt flees: James 4:7!
    4. James 1:5-8 discusses the importance of not doubting: i.e., being certain about ‘grace’; defined: God’s word of promise and His unwillingness to use His mighty power to bring it to my reality.
  3. In Romans 10.9-10, Paul emphasizes the desired connection between our minds and our lips: speak only what we believe with certainty! Does this principle only regard believing Jesus for eternal life? Or, does the principle include believing for Jehovah+tsidkenu, jireh, rapha, rohi, nissi, shalom, and shammah? Thus, the importance of growing from ‘faith to faith’ (Romans 1.17) is for understanding God more fully (Jeremiah 9.24) and for developing capacity for spiritual warfare (2 Corinthians 10.6; James 4.7; 1 John 5:4-5; Hebrews 5.14; 1 John 4.4).

B. Frantic Pleas.

  1. Matthew 9.18-26 records the frantic plea of a father for his daughter, who has just died. “My daughter has just died, but come and lay Your hand on her and she will live” (my emphasis). And, she did; verse 25! How great was his faith in “the Name above all names” (Philippians 2.9-11) that took on flesh (John 1.14)? What was God’s will, which the father reasoned (Genesis 6.3; Jeremiah 29.11)? Remember the definition of grace is God’s word of promise and His willingness to use His mighty power to bring it to your reality.
  2. John 4.46-53 records the frantic plea of another father, whose son was almost dead. What circumstantial differences are there with the other father? It is important to note that the father’s faith in Jesus’ words did not waiver, even when Jesus did not continue the journey with him. How great was his faith? What do you think the father muttered to himself all the way home? He had no doubt! How strong was the father’s faith after the events of verses 51-53?
  3. [How do these two examples above help you to understand Abraham’s faith, as is discussed in Hebrews 11.17-19 and Romans 4.16-25?       Remember that Abraham grew from faith to faith over 25 years to the fulfillment of God’s promised birth plus, probably, another 25 years until the sacrifice! “Faith comes…” by acting from God’s promises (knowledge + understanding)!]
  4. Luke 5.17-26 (Matthew 9.1-8; Mark 2.1-12) relates the story of friends lowering a paralytic through the roof to position him before Jesus for the purpose of receiving healing (John 1.12).  Jesus “saw their faith” in action, especially the faith of the paralytic, who probably had called his friends to take him to Jesus (James 5.14-15). He, too, said with his mouth what he believed in his heart!
  5. Mark 10.46-52 tells the story of ‘Blind Bartimaeus’. What barriers did he overcome to get to Jesus? How did Jesus help him to become specific about his request? Why did Jesus include the caveat in verse 52? What do you learn from this example?
  6. Luke 8:43-47 (Matthew 9:20-22; Mark 5:25-34) tells a similar story. Answer the questions in B. 5. for her. What is your takeaway from both stories? Was there any doubt?
  7. So far, our considerations have been personal and family and related to health. Isaiah 37.1-35 discusses a threat to the survival of Israel when Hezekiah was king. What did he do? What was the result? What quality of God do you read in verse 32, that may be new to you?  (Consider Isaiah 9.7, 42.13; John 2.17.) How were King Jehoshaphat’s actions similar in 2 Chronicles 20.1-30? How were God’s actions similar? Genesis 12.1-3 and Isaiah 7.14 and 9.6-7 explain God’s defense of Israel, in addition to King J’s reference to Solomon’s prayer in 1 Kings 8.22-61, especially verses 33-34. What were His reasons? Remember Psalm 127.1.
  8. What important perspective do you learn from Psalm 138.2? Numbers 23.19! Isaiah 45.22!

C. Great Faith!

  1. Jesus recognized “great faith” on only two occasions, as follows. What made faith great?
  2. Matthew 8.5-13 is the story of a Roman Centurion (i.e., responsible for 100 troops) who asked Jesus to heal his paralyzed servant, who was “dreadfully tormented”. Even though the Centurion was a Gentile, Jesus offered to come to his house to heal the servant. Why did the Centurion object? What made his faith ‘great’? What is your takeaway?
  3. Matthew 15.21-28 records the story of a Syrophoenician mother who persistently implored until Jesus “cast the demon out of her daughter” (Mark 7.26). What made her faith ‘great’? How was her faith like that of the Centurion? What is your takeaway?
  4. Notice that neither Gentile doubted that what they spoke in faith would be what they found when they returned to their sick loved one. How does this illustrate Mark 11.22-24?
  5. Notice, too, that what both asked was according to God’s will: Matthew 10.7-8 and Acts 10.38.

So, against what attack from satan are you believing for God’s promised salvation? Where do you find His promise in the Bible? How and how often do you meditate thereupon for faith? Habakkuk 2.4b!

Praise God!!! Copyright © by Maurice L. Painter, 2016. www.sozoclass.com.

July 10, 2016 Growing Faith

Growing Faith

In a previous lesson concerning “Life” and “Light” from John 1.4 (151108; Where is Your Hypotenuse?; www.sozoclass.com), we drew a rectangle and bisected it from the lower left corner to the upper right corner. This common hypotenuse of the resulting right triangles was used to describe how Christians become sanctified; that is, grow to be like Christ Jesus over time. The lower left corner represented acceptance of Jesus as Savior and a rebirth from death, without Jesus, into eternal “Life” because of Him. Traversing to the upper right corner represented a “life” increasingly committed to Jesus as Lord, a growing up into the “Light” of Jesus; i.e., sanctification or Christian maturity. We wrote ‘satan’ from inside the left vertical line of the rectangle with a large s and diminished each letter until the n was small near the inside of the right vertical line of the rectangle. Conversely, we wrote ‘Jesus’ with a small J at the left vertical and increasing each letter size until there was a large S at the right vertical line. On the outside of the right vertical line we wrote “Light” from the upper corner down to the lower corner. Thus, the light of Jesus becomes ever more brilliant over time from the new birth until the end of our lives (Proverbs 4.18). You might reconstruct this rectangle on paper, now, for use as we examine, as it were with a magnifying glass, the many, small vertical and horizontal lines that make up the seemingly smooth hypotenuse. This is what is meant by growing from “faith to faith”, as we discuss below.

A. Apostle Paul observes that we grow “from faith to faith”.

  1. He states this in Romans 1.17, connecting his thought to the statement from Habakkuk 2.4 that Christians “live by faith”.       Just as we grow physically, Paul says we should grow spiritually over our lifetimes. The hypotenuse represents such growth—increasing light.
  2. Paul writes about five years later, in 60 AD, that Jesus is the “Founder” of faith and its “Perfecter”; that is. faith’s best illustration (Hebrews 12.2 ESV).       From our new-birth “founding” (lower left corner of the rectangle) upward to the right along the hypotenuse is Jesus’ “perfecting” our faith.
  3. This is the work of the Holy Spirit in us, as Jesus described in John 16.8-15. The Holy Spirit’s work is accomplished in our personal relationships with Him (Romans 8.14; John 14.26) and through the teaching and encouragement of those He uses, as Paul lists in Ephesians 4.11-13.
  4. Why would Paul describe our Christian maturity as growing into Jesus’ “faith”, then “knowledge”? Logic might argue for the reverse, since the trivium of education says we acquire the facts of “who, what, when, and where” which we logically process into an understanding of their “why” before we know how to use the knowledge and understanding in some action of “faith”, that we might call wisdom.
  5. Let’s see this by magnifying a portion of the hypotenuse. We accept the salvation of God in Jesus by faith, resulting from understanding facts received earlier. We grow in Christ Jesus horizontally over time by adding facts about His life and work and adding our understanding thereof until we are ready to exercise these by jumping vertically to a new level where we repeat the process by acquiring new facts. This magnified view is what is happening along the hypotenuse of our maturing in Jesus’ “faith” and “knowledge”. Faith is required to acquire the facts; faith is required to correctly understand them; faith is required to act thereupon with wisdom.       This is as James (1.5-8) instructs us.

B. Filling in the puzzle pieces to see the complete picture.

  1. Paul writes in Hebrews 11.1 (New English Bible, 1961) that “faith gives substance to hope”. That is, the more we meditate on a verse or passage, the clearer it becomes and the more assured we become of it’s truth.
  2. This is the process that Paul describes in Romans 10.17 ESV: “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” Note the cautions about hearing in 1 John 4.1-6 and 1 Timothy 4.1. Remember, also, that “Christ” means “anointed” (g5547 in Olive Tree Enhanced Strong’s Dictionary). “Faith comes” through “hearing” (understanding of knowledge through meditation guided by the Holy Spirit; John 14.26 and 16.13-15) and “hearing” of the “word of Christ” (the “anointed” word of God; 2 Timothy 3.16-17).
  3. Each new level of “knowledge and understanding” becomes our solid foundation (“Founder” in A.2 above) for confidently climbing by “faith” to the next, new level of spiritual growth. From our new creation through Jesus (2 Corinthians 5.17), we grow to know Jehovah-tsidkenu (righteousness), then to know Jehovah-jireh (provider), then to know Jehovah-rapha (healer), then to know Jehovah-rohi (guide), then to know Jehovah-nissi (defender), then to know Jehovah-shalom (peace), then to know Jehovah-shammah (presence), etc.; a process like Paul describes in Romans 5.1-5 and Peter in 2 Peter 1.3-8.
  4. Do the declarations in Hebrews 13.8 and 1 Peter 1.20 mean that these characteristics of God also existed before the Earth’s founding and are to be discovered by us by faith?
  5. “Jesus” is getting larger and “satan” smaller as we progress through these “faith-knowledge” increments up the hypotenuse of our growing faith.

C. Stronger to resist philosophical attacks.

  1. The higher we climb on the “knowledge-understanding-faith” hypotenuse, the stronger we become to resist satan, just as Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 2.11, not ignorant.
  2. Thus, Paul writes the result of Ephesians 4.11-13 in 14-16, not tossed about.
  3. He repeats this with more clarity in Colossians 2.8-10, not traditions of men.
  4. God challenges the same in Jeremiah 9.23-24. The knowledge of God can be summarized as “lovingkindness, justice, and righteousness”. Boast in these things to express the understanding of your knowledge of God!       Then, practice Deuteronomy 6.4-9.
  5. The result will be a victorious faith, like John describes in 1 John 5.4-5! Faith overcomes!
  6. Thus, wisdom is the application of our understanding of knowledge. That is, the confidence of “how” to exercise faith comes from understanding the “why” of the knowledge of “who, what, when, and where”. We repeat this cycle in spiritual growth.
  7. The result will be John 14.12 and 2 Corinthians 10.5 and Ephesians 6.10-12!
  8. Indeed, the Gospel of Christ is the power of God’s salvation; Romans 1.16-17!

D. ‘Because, to me, Jesus is (“I AM”) _________, therefore it is possible for Him to be (“I AM”) _________ to me.’

  1. This is the statement expressing growing “from faith to faith” (Romans 1.17). It envisions a movement up the vertical axis of each incremental progress along the hypotenuse. For, “Jesus” does not get larger in you if you are only following the horizontal axis; that is, ever gaining knowledge and understanding but not applying these against satan to make him smaller in your life.
  2. This is Paul’s criticism in Hebrews 5.11-6.3. His readers were repeating the knowledge and understanding they had received (John 1.12) because they were satisfied with that level of maturity and power. “Milk” is the foundation upon which we add “meat”!

So, how big is “Jesus” in the rectangle of your life?

Praise God!!! Copyright © by Maurice L. Painter, 2016. www.sozoclass.com

June 19, 2016 The Word, The Name, Jesus

The Word, The Name, Jesus

This study begins a series of studies about Spiritual warfare. A capital “Spiritual” indicates the participation of the Holy Spirit with our spirits in fighting “against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (ESV Ephesians 6.12). Apostle Paul also writes about the weapons with which we fight in 2 Corinthians 10.3-6; they are spiritual, not fleshly or human weapons, for defeating “arguments” and “opinions” contrary to God’s word; see Jeremiah 13.10 for the fundamental cause of spiritual warfare. Our weapons—the name Jesus, the Bible, and faith; i.e., the war cry, the sword, and the shield—are spiritual; yes, even the Word of God is spiritual, as Jesus reminds us in John 6.63. We will consider each weapon in the coming studies.

Apostle John reflected, taught, and wrote about his experiences with and understandings of Jesus for the next 60 years (approximately) and three small epistles (AD 85-90; NKJV Open Study Bible) and wrote his Gospel from Ephesus (perhaps as late as AD 97; Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary) and the Revelation of Jesus from the prison-island Patmos about AD 95 (Open Study Bible). His writings present both the physical and metaphysical Jesus. John’s metaphysical presentation is important to connecting the name “Jesus” to the “Name” used for God in the Old Testament. I believe that John’s use of “Word” in John 1.1 is synonymous and the first in order—Word, Name, Jesus—as I discuss in the following.

John had moved to Ephesus after Jesus’ mother Mary had died, according to commentators. Roman Emperor Domitian (AD 81-96) had banished him to Patmos about AD 95 (Commentators). There, John had a metaphysical experience with Jesus. Emperor Nerva released him in AD 96-97, and John returned to Ephesus and wrote his Gospel. Matthew (3.16) and John (1.28-34) are the two Gospel writers who include John the Baptist’s comments about the Dove (of the Holy Spirit) coming upon Jesus at His baptism. John, prompted by the Holy Spirit, remembered this occasion and dialogue with John B and understood the metaphysics to include it.

Hebrews 11.1 from the New English Bible (1961) helps us to frame John 1.1-18: “And what is faith? Faith gives substance to our hopes, and makes us certain of realities we do not see.” You will, also, see how this applies to Genesis 1.

A. John 1.1: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

  1. s, remembering who we are from 1 Thessalonians 5.23 and what we must do Matthew 22.37-38, how do we fulfill John 4.24? How does Colossians 3.17 help to accomplish this?
  2. Also, the Word is purposeful, as in Galatians 4.4-5; similarly in John 1.13 and Romans 9.16. How does this explain Jeremiah 29.11-13 and John 3.27? Does God determine which egg of woman to fertilize by the sperm of man? The sex of the child? Purpose?       How does Jeremiah 1.5 help to explain John 1.14-18? What three purposes of the Word taking on flesh are discussed in this passage? (Verses 17-18 and John 14.9-10 explain why the Holy Spirit will not give new revelation of God; John 16.13-15. This is illustrated by Luke 16:19-31, especially verses 29-31
  3. Solomon writes in Proverbs 1.1-7, 23 that Wisdom gives the answer to every riddle and is available to us whenever we ask for answers. James (1.5-8) encourages the same! Note the requirement to obey and act on Wisdom’s instruction. If you ask in faith, you must act in faith!
  4. Solomon personifies this light as “Wisdom” in Proverbs 8.22-31 as being with God in the beginning and before the creation. Paul reminds in 1 Corinthians 1.22-24 that the anointed or Messianic (i.e., “Christ”) “Jesus” is the wisdom of God, truly personifying “Wisdom” and in juxtaposition against the traditional, existential, and utopian philosophies of Jews, Greeks, and modern mankind.
  5. “All the more joyous emotions of the mind, all the pleasing sensations of the frame, all the happy hours of domestic intercourse were habitually described among the Hebrews under imagery derived from light” (1 Kings 11:36; Isa. 58:8; Esther 8:16; Ps. 97:11; Easton’s Bible Dictionary). 1 John 1.5-7 and James 1.17 state this summation in the New Testament.
  6. John 1.4-5 declares this great light as being able to overcome every demonic philosophy given to mankind for deceiving away from God (Jeremiah 13.10). Paul writes about this in Colossians 2.8-10 and 2 Corinthians 10.3-6 and John in Revelation 12.11 [here the “Word” is the same Greek word as in John 1.1]! Note Jesus’ warning about preferring ‘darkness’ in John 3.19-21.
  7. How powerful is the Word? The inbreathing of the Word for life is the light that mankind needs during their walk through their years on Earth; see Psalm 119.105, where ‘word’ means ‘advice’ given by God.       See Psalm 36.9 and Proverbs 6.23 also. Jesus reminds us that we are to give His ‘light’ to the world; i.e., to reflect Him (Matthew 5.14-16).
  8. Remember, also, that there were two trees in the Garden of Eden that Adam and Eve were not to eat fruit from (Genesis 2.9). Why did the serpent/satan choose one instead of the other?
  9. How is the in-breathing of life into Adam (Genesis 2.7) like Solomon’s statement in Proverbs 23.22a? Then, John 1.14 is more easily understood; also Revelation 19.13. The Word is powerful, as Paul declares in 1 Corinthians 1.24!
  10. John 5.26 reminds us that God has life in Himself; life is a part of God, as life is of the Word and Holy Spirit. Jesus told Martha that He is the ‘resurrection and the life’ (John 11.25) and reminded the apostles of this ‘life’ in John 14.6 and the Pharisees in John 5.39. Jesus reminds us of the only Source of ‘everlasting’ life for mankind in John 3.16!
  11. How does this amplify John 6.63? John (1.4) explains that the metaphysical is life and gives life to the physical. See this happening in Genesis 2.7. The Word breathed life into man. Could this be one of Paul’s meanings in writing 2 Timothy 3.16-17?
  12. John 1.3 is the summary of Genesis 1.3-2.1, where “God said” and what He said invisibly became visible! Note the scope and sequence of “God said”, that Creation was progressive in detail and supported the purpose of God: mankind made in God’s image.
  13. Before the declaration of Genesis 1.1, the Word existed with and was equal to God, on the same level, as John 1.2 confirms. Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance says “Word” is single and unified, like the Trinity of God.

Psalm 135.13 ESV: “Your name, O Lord, endures forever, your renown, O Lord, throughout all ages.”

  1. does the Psalmist reassure you when reading the famous statement of Soren Kierkegaard: “Life is lived forward but understood backward”?
  2. Likewise, Psalm 102.12 reminds us of the eternity of God.       As He says in Isaiah 43.10, there never has been nor will be another God and, in Isaiah 44.6, He is First and Last and, thus, why worry about pretenders (Isaiah 44.8)? (Overcome them! John 16.33; 2 Timothy 1.7; overcome is the common word in all of Jesus’ letters to the seven churches in Revelation 2-3.)
  3. How many names in Scripture identifying God can you list? Probably not as many as in the several books that have been written for listing His names.
  4. The important word in Psalm 135.13 for understanding the use of “Name” in the Bible is “renown”. It denotes an understanding from history. Specifically, how do you see God’s involvement in your life “backward”? This will change with time and circumstances of needing healing, finances, restoration of relationship, intervention with another, etc. Psalm 111.1-10 is such a remembrance.
  5. This is key to understanding Moses’ question of God in Exodus 3.13. What name of God would validate Moses to the leaders of Israel in Egypt? God’s answer in verse 14, “I AM WHO I AM”, interpreted as “El Shaddai”, meaning, “I AM whatever you need”, covered every conceivable understanding of God that each might have. And, God’s inclusion of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob would establish His relationship back to the beginning of the nation. Psalm 113.1-4 exclaims praise for the summary God gave of Himself (“I AM”) to Jeremiah (9.24)!
  6. In Exodus 6.3, God collects His “renown” under the term “God Almighty” and explains His future as “Lord”. God would continue to provide for their needs, and ours, as “God Almighty”. But, with the abuse of His chosen people, God would deliver them and would use them to deliver the Promised Land from the abuses of satan through the Amorites, Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Jebusites, and Perizzites (Isaiah 14.12 and Exodus 3.17). In Exodus 12.12, God explains to Moses what He is about to do to Egypt’s gods, which is a picture of what He does to all “gods” who oppose Him! He IS Lord! Satan is defeated; God is exalted; Jesus IS Lord!
  7. In 1 Kings 5.3-5, King Solomon attributes the idea of a “house for the name of the Lord” to his father, King David and that God chose Solomon to construct it. Again, “Name” connotes the “renown” of many experiences!
  8. So, how limiting or expansive in your understanding is the “Name” when you say “God” or “Jesus”? Is that all of His power? Which of His promises have you not received by grace? Study those promises to understand and to gain faith to receive (Romans 10.17). What are you missing?
  9. What was God asking Aaron to do in Numbers 6.22-27? Is this what Jesus was asking to be done in Matthew 28.19 (“in” is more correctly read “into”; Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance: indicates destination reached)? Do His words in John 17.20-26 help your understanding? How does the Holy Spirit living within you fulfill this (John 14.15-17; Ephesians 1.13-14)?
  10. How do Boaz’s and his reapers’ words in Ruth 2.4 fulfill Numbers 6.27? Were they saying, “The One Who provides whatever you need be with you”? Should you greet your believing friends this way? What pictures of this Psalm 127.1 present? Is this true of all our contexts? Explain.
  11. Does Jesus mean “renown” in Matthew 6.9 (understand “Hallowed” from Revelation 4:11; illustrated in Isaiah 29.23 and God in Exodus 20.7? How is Matthew 22.37 (Deuteronomy 6.5) the natural response? How is this done? 1 Thessalonians 5.23 and Hebrews 4.12 and Proverbs 20.27 instruct, and Luke 16.19-31 illustrates. Google ‘spirit soul body’ to view several drawings depicting interrelatedness. Paul presents an interesting connection of these in worship, in Romans 12.1-2. Note the importance of your spirit in Proverbs 20.27.
  12. What will you do this week to become more aware of the “renown” of God to you and others? I might suggest making a list of such observations to share “where God showed up this week and showed off”. Share these with others for comparison and encouragement.

C. Jesus, Name above all Names!

  1. This is Paul’s declaration in Philippians 2.9-11. Note that the name “Jesus” is “Anointed”, which is the meaning of “Christ” [Greek: “Christos” means “Christ” when used in a Gentile context (here) or “Messiah” when used in a Jewish context (1 John 2.22); Apologetics Bible].
  2. Paul tells us in Galatians 4.4 that Jesus was born according to God’s timing, prophesied in Deuteronomy 18.18 and Isaiah 7.14 and 9.6-7, fulfilling Exodus 34.10.
  3. God instructed Mary and Joseph, separately, to name God’s Son “Jesus”; see Luke 1.31 and Matthew 1.21, respectively.
  4. Why “Jesus”?       Jesus, Himself, answers in His Lord’s Prayer in John 17.6 and 11-12a: “Jesus” is the name of the Triune God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; see Matthew 28.19 (“into”) & John 1.14, 17-18)! How does Hebrews 13.8 validate this?
  5. Thus, “Jesus Christ” means the anointed name “Jesus”! This name, “Jesus”, has the full significance of “the Name” (“renown” in B.4, 6; see Acts 10.38) used in the Old Testament and which “became flesh” (John 1.14; Philippians 2.7-8; Hebrews 2.14-15).
  6. Consequently, Paul continues the emphasis of Philippians 2.9-11 into the reader’s actions in verses 12 and 13. God works in us “to will”; i.e., as Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance defines: Greek for “will” is “thelō: to determine as an active option from subjective impulse [meaning, to choose; contrast passive]”. God works in us “to choose” what pleases Him, like Jesus said to pray in Matthew 6.10 and God expressed in Jeremiah 9.23-24; then, “to do for His good pleasure”.
  7. An illustration of such choice is God’s instruction to Cain in Genesis 4.7: sin is at your door, and you must rule over it [my paraphrase; Genesis 1.26]. This IS Spiritual warfare! See 1 John 3.8b and John 16.11. This is what Jesus prayed in John 17.18: that believers will continue doing what I have been doing. See Ephesians 2.10 and Mark 16.15-20.
  8. It is interesting that the Hebrew for “door” in Genesis 4.7 and the Greek for “door” in Revelation 3.20 have the same meaning. From our early study about the devotion of the Christian church as seen through the regressive sequence in Jesus’ letters to the seven churches of Asia Minor in Revelation 2-3, we learned that Jesus’ standing at the door represented His plea for just one believer in Laodicea to open the door from the inside to invite Him into the church. Our personalizing of this is appropriate to understanding God’s warning to Cain in Genesis 4.7: rule over the spiritual enemy that stands at the door to your mind wanting you to accept it (like the present push by the LBGT community to affirm their lifestyle, against Scripture). You might, also, read Solomon’s warnings about adultery in Proverbs 1-10 from the same meaning of spiritual warfare. You can see the same warning in Jesus’ Parable of the Sower in Matthew 13.18-22.
  9. Cain (Genesis 4.7) was capable of ruling over sin because he had knowledge of God through the testimony of Adam and Eve, especially in contrast to their condition after the ‘fall’. Cain was capable of understanding God, just as Abel had come to understand God enough to truly worship Him. Now, then, all Cain needed to do was to apply his understanding of his knowledge against the sin that was waiting to trap him.       This is the ‘trivium of education’: grammar/knowledge; logic/understanding; and rhetoric/wisdom.       Knowledge of ‘who, what, when, and where’ gives enough information. Reflection/meditation thereupon gives the ‘why’ of understanding. Wisdom is the ‘how’ application of such knowledge and understanding within or against a circumstance, as in the following example.
  10. We are to use the anointed name “Jesus” as our war cry in Spiritual warfare with the same results as the 72 disciples who reported to Jesus in Luke 10.17-19! (Verse 18 is explained in Revelation 12.7-12.) Pay attention to Jesus’ response in verse 19. We have that authority and promise, too, as Jesus prayed in John 17.18! It is for anyone who believes John 3.16 and 14.6. See what happens when non-believers use the ‘war cry’ in Acts 19.11-17.
  11. Use the anointed name “Jesus” as one of the Spiritual weapons Paul alludes to in 2 Corinthians 10.4-6! Don’t pray that God oppose satan for you.       You must oppose satan Philippians 2.12) with your ‘war cry’ (and ‘sword’, ‘shield’, while continually communicating with the Holy Spirit through ‘prayer’). This was Jesus’ example for us in Mark 9.25 and Paul’s instruction in Philippians 2.13.
  12. You have been given the Name above every name in satan’s kingdom; Luke 10.19. Now, use it and give God praise! See Revelation 12.11! Jesus did His part and expects you to do yours.

Takeaways thus far:

  1. The “Word” existed with God before the Creation and acted as Creator.       Sect. A.
  2. The metaphysical Word took on flesh to reveal grace, truth, and God to man. Sect. A.
  3. The Word is all powerful, as manifested by Jesus (Acts 10.38).       Sect. A.
  4. The “Name” is a summation of all of mankind’s experiences of God, the Word (John 1.1). We see Him when we remember/reflect upon the history of our lives. Sect. B.
  5. The Name IS the best blessing given by one to another. Sect. B.
  6. “Jesus” is the anointed “Name” of God and full of His renown. Sect. C.
  7. Jesus, the “Word” that took on flesh, has all authority, everywhere (Matthew 28.18). Sect. C.
  8. The anointed “Jesus” is with you to do great works (John 14.12-14; Ephesians 2.10)! Sect. C.

What part does “faith” play in Spiritual warfare? We begin to consider that in the next study. You should review Romans 1.16-17, which may be our initial text. Hope you enjoy!

Praise God!!! Copyright © by Maurice L. Painter, 2016. www.sozoclass.com.