A Voice in the
May 11, 2006
God's will: for my life?
Thing is, the Bible doesn't give individual specifics like that. If a person wants to know the name of the person they should marry, the Bible won't give that. And, the Bible is not a book to be (secretly) "codified", and do "hocus pocus" over, and "sh-zamm! WE HAVE AN ANSWER!"
But the Bible -does- give us this:
"For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual perversion; that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles, who do not know God;" (1Th4:3-5)
And it is the will of God that we should be "thankful" in everything (1Th5:18) because "...we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose." (Rom8:28)
Some came to Jesus asking how to do "the works of God" (kind of the similar question); to which He replied, "This is the work of God, that you believe into Him whom he sent" (Jn6:28-29)
If you fire up your Bible software and do a search on "will of God", what one finds is a spirit regarding doing God's commandments. The word "will" is similar in meaning to "want" or "desire". Thus: What does God 'want' from/for me? Well... what has He -said-? And where do we find what God said? The Scriptures. And are not the Scriptures the repository of God's "commandments". Yes, there are the "Ten Commandments". But the Bible is full of 66 books worth of God's will, written in various manners: Direct commands, History of His commands to others and how they responded, and the consequences to their obedience or disobedience. We learn not only from direct instruction to ourselves, but also in observing how others behave and the consequences that happen to them.
Thus, how might we summarize God's will for us?
"O man, He has declared to you what is good. And what does Jehovah require of you, but to do justice, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God." (Mic6:8)
For a person who qualifies, according to that verse, Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit was sent for the very purpose to "guide" us into "all truth". (Jn16:13) Do we need to know specifics? Listen to the Holy Spirit, as the early disciples did. (Ac13:2, 16:7) And how does the Spirit speak to us? Through the "witness" with our spirits (Rom8:16) because the person who 'qualifies' according to Mic6:8 is one in whom God's Holy Spirit resides. (Rom8:14,9)
Of course, if the person is in rebellion against the Lord, then that line of communication is cut, because God turns His face away and does not regard us when sin is in the way. (Is59:1-2) So, as a consequence, we will be 'blind' to His will.
Also: "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear." (Ps66:18)
Also: have you read the Dec,05 article "He did not know the Lord"? It speaks of things related to what I've just said here.
But God's primary "will" for my life is for me to "be holy" (Eph1:4, 5:27, 1Pet1:16) and to "keep His commandments" ... which are found in the Scriptures: "But the Word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may do it." (De30:14)
"And whatever we ask (e.g. direction for our life?) we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight." (1Jn3:22)
"Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep His commandments; for this is for every man." (Ec12:13)
Jesus Christ is God? (there is no trinity)
They do however, believe in some teachings that thay base on the Bible, that does make sense, up to a point. I have attached a document on their teachings of God..... I would like you to give some comments on them (if you know about them) but in particular, their take on "God".
VW: This person included a .doc file with the same title as this Q/A item. Some highlights of the teaching:
For past discussions on the Trinity please click here:
When God spoke of the "seed" of the woman, He meant to say that the serpent's battle would be with Himself? (Gen3:15) God (1st person) is speaking of "seed" (3rd person)
When Moses told Israel that Jehovah would "raise up a Prophet like me", why did he not just say that Jehovah would raise up -Himself-?
Jesus said, "I always do those things that please Him" (Jn8:29) Why didn't He just say, "I always please Myself"?
Paul speaks of "the Son Himself will be subjected to Him...that God may be everything in all things" (1Co15:28), He really should have said that Jesus would be giving back the authority given to Him (Jesus), back to Himself, because He had given it to Himself in the first place.
When God so loved the world that He "sent His only begotten Son" (Jn3:16), God was only merely sending Himself?
When Jesus cried out "My God...why have You forsaken Me?" (Ps22;1, Mt27:46) He was beside Himself, and really was thinking: Why have I forsaken Myself...???
And one wonders what they do with Jesus' immersion by John where you have: 1) Jesus being dunked under water, 2) the Holy Spirit coming down on Him, and 3) the Father's voice from Heaven, "You are My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased" (Mk1:11) He really meant to say, "You are Me...and I am well pleased with Myself!" ???
When Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit, He got His pronouns wrong when He promises, "We will come...and make Our abode with him" (Jn14:23,26)
So, what's the deal?
God promised Israel through Moses, "My Angel will go before you" (Ex23:23, 32:34) And Paul explains it, "that Rock was Christ" (1Co10:4)
They use Ac2:36 "Therefore let all the house of Israel understand with certainty that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ" showing lack of -basic- language skills. That "Jesus" is both "Lord" and "Christ", proves that Jesus is the same as the O.T.'s "Jehovah"?
If you remember back to basic school English grammar classes: "God" is the 'subject' of the thought, and "Jesus" is the 'object'. The fact that there is a subject and an object means that the two are not the same identical entities. Otherwise it would have to say that "God made Himself...Lord and Christ" But God (the terminology we understand as the Father) bestows upon -another-, "Jesus", some -titles-.
"Lord" is not a -name-. It is a -title-. For a man to be "mister", a judge "your honor", a king "your highness"... are not names. They are titles. "Lord" is a title of honor, glory, power, authority, etc.
"Christ" also, is not a -name-. It, too, is a -title-. It is the N.T. equivalent of the O.T. word for "Messiah". Greek vs Hebrew. They both mean the same thing, "anointed one". In the O.T. there were two kinds of people that were anointed, the high priest, and kings. Being anointed gave them a special authority from God in leadership. It meant that they were specially-selected.
So, when the Father bestowed upon Jesus the titles "Lord and Christ", that has nothing to suggest that Jehovah and Jesus are the same entity. Yes, they are "One"...just as the God-ordained union of marriage exemplifies "two become one flesh".
And... I am still scratching my head over their quoting of Mt28:19. Are they saying that God's name -is- "Father, Son, Holy Spirit"? How stupid is any thinking person supposed to be? In the O.T. Jesus is quoted, "Jehovah has said to Me, You are My Son" (Ps2:7)
Again, two different grammatical issues. The 'subject' Jehovah speaks to the 'object' Me. And again, Jehovah (3rd person) says to Me (1st person) Jesus is not saying, "I have said to Myself, I have begotten Myself"
Have we beat this into the ground enough?
Regarding "baptism", there is a previous Q/A at: "Baptized in the "trinity" or "Jesus' name"?"
Jesus said, "I and the Father are One" (Jn10:30) "He who has seen Me has seen the Father" (Jn14:9) Jesus is the visible "essence" of God. (Heb1:1-3)
If you read that past online Q/A, then also think about how man is made in God's "image". (Gen1:27) We are exhorted to keep "spirit, soul and body...blameless" before God. (1Th5:23) Notice how that order is backwards from how we typically say it: "body, soul and spirit". We are flesh and blood beings, "of dust" (Ps103:14) Our -bodies- are what we can 'feel', see and touch. And we think with our souls. And the spiritual often seems to be more 'distant' somehow. How do we differentiate the three? Only Jesus knows the exact distinctions. (Heb4:12-13) But if we wish to be pleasing to God, we must first get the spirit in line with God's holiness; then the soul follows, telling the brain to make our bodies respond in accordance with our spirit.
Can we separate our soul from our body? When we see and talk with someone, our body is communicating with their body. It is the body that sees, hears and utters the sounds of speech. But when we interact with people, we see more than their mere -body-....there is also body 'language'...which is controlled by the soul. So, in a complicated sort of way, we may speak of seeing a person's body, but in interaction we are actually communicating with their soul.
If you see a 'person' across an expanse at a distance, you see their body; but you do not see 'them'. Just as... many people saw Jesus, they know -of- Him historically; but they are at a 'distance'. But when Jesus said to Philip what He did, the disciples had been 'with' Jesus; they saw the body 'language' of God's (dare we say it?) 'soul', the Father, -thru- Jesus the "Son of Man". Thus, for a person who sees past Jesus "in the flesh" (1Jn4:2), and 'communicates' -with- Jesus, they see the Father... in the same way that a person -physically- interacts with another 'body', but communes with their 'soul'.
"No one has seen God" (Jn1:18) ... perhaps in a similar way that no one sees another's soul?
As two people become close, the communion of souls becomes deeper and they begin to commune at a spiritual level. -THAT- is what is necessary for a person to be "one" with God. (Jn17:21-23) That is why the Holy Spirit of God is given to us at salvation. The Spirit seals us (Eph1:13) and indwells us (Rom8:9-16, 1Co3:16,19)
To say that we become "one" with God is not to say that we -become- God. No! There are many who also teach this heresy, especially in charismatic circles. A husband and wife become "one" with each other, but do not -become- each other.
We know that we are made of body, soul and spirit. Do we understand it fully? No. Only God does. (Heb4:12-13, Ps44:21, Lk16:15, Ac15:8, etc) In the same way, God is made up of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Do we understand God fully? Even less than we do ourselves! But we know it is so. Just as we do not exist without our three parts, neither does God. Just as we view ourselves as 'single' entities, but also realize we are tri-partite; so, too, "God is One" (De6:4), but is also tri-partite.
The same Father who proclaimed, "You are My beloved Son" (Mk1:11), called out, "Moses, Moses" (Ex3:4) The same Son who walked up and down Israel with His disciples and ate with "tax collectors and sinners" (Mt9:11), is the same one who ate of Abraham's fatted calf and bread. (Gen18)
The Father says, "For I, Jehovah, change not!" (Mal3:6) And of the Son it says, "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today and forever" (Heb13:8) That's equally -both- O.T. -and- N.T. -and- forever.
VW so radically different: ineffective in reaching people?
READER QUESTIONS: (excerpts)
On a much smaller scale I feel this way at times within my church. I have convictions that make me so out of the mainstream at my church I feel most won't even consider what we stand for. Ex. I have been saved for 15yrs. I was taught by a Missionary in AK to take the Bible literally unless it doesn't make sense to. He taught us to examine EVERYTHING we do in light of Scripture.
I've been down both paths....and thus, from first-hand knowledge, have understanding about 'their' arguments, and their 'other' way. I've been there... and came back.
I grew up staunchly conservative. My dad had a firm hand on me every step of the way...almost to the point of suffocation. We used the KJV, although I wasn't to hear that there was such a thing as a cult called "KJ-onlyism" until years later. When I graduated and went away to college, I carried those 'conservative' (many of them, "Biblical") values with me. That was during the peak (or depths, depending on perspective) of the hippy revolution, Viet Nam, Nixon/Watergate, the (alleged) "revival" of the "Jesus people", 'christian' communes, and all the apostasy that was going on back then. (Man! That seems like a lifetime ago!)
After a couple years of Bible school I went to state university, and started mingling, initially, with the IVCF (InterVarsity Christian Fellowship) crowd. Went to "Urbana 70" (played the piano for one of the worship sessions). Those who were spiritually 'elder' to me suggested that IVCF was more 'sound' than Campus Crusade was. I didn't know....but had certainly seen CC's 'dancing girls' in their miniskirts performing/wiggling on stage and TV, and was seeing their worldly ways and methods.
It was in the IVCF (so-called) "Bible studies" where what was happening, instead, was the dialectic of "gray areas". They (we) would sit around, with our Bibles open. But there was no real 'teaching' going on. Rather, somebody 'facilitated' the -discussion- as everyone 'shared' their ideas as to "what does this passage mean TO ME". Of course me, with my background of believing that the Bible "means what it says" (what was I thinking!? tongue-in-cheek) would also "share" with them....and where they might have their Bibles open on their laps, looking at each other sharing personal opinions, I would try to focus back on the Word, the actual -words- written....as you say...LITERALLY. (The Bible -is- to be taken 'literally', unless the passage and context itself says not to) Of course, "literally" the Bible exhorts the Christian to holy living and rejecting worldliness....so naturally, if the Bible is put to -action-, being "doers of the Word, not hearers only" (Ja1:22) So, not only would I "share" what the passage -SAYS-, but would also start talking 'application'.
"Oh, you're so JUDGMENTAL!" was the predominant reaction from most. Seeing what the Bible -SAYS-, and desiring to -LIVE- accordingly, was deemed by them as "JUDGMENTAL" They wanted me to lighten up, "live and let live". And naturally, of course, I did not have any real 'fellowship'....while I went to meetings, and attended church, etc., they pretty much 'tolerated' my presence. But I was so 'rigid' and "fundamentalist", you know!!!
In the music department was another student with the label "Christian", who had attended a very conservative Bible Institute on the "prairies" of Alberta. I had known of her sister at the Bible school I went to....one played flute, the other oboe. While at Bible school I had heard the men's choir from this other school (PBI) when they were on tour around the Portland area. In comparison to where I was going, their 'spirit' was one of holiness and love for God. Even today, considering where I've grown to this point, I can pull out the recordings I made of those concerts and be able to recommend them to anybody as being "good" God-honoring Christian music. They used to have a reputation for sending out a high percentage of their graduates as missionaries.
Thus, with such exposure to that school, I naively somewhat expected that -anybody- going to such a school would be of a similar -dedication- to God. So when she made some 'suggestions' one day, I listened. I still remember the occasion. We had been to the same church, and for whatever reason, we decided to go get some KFC for lunch....and so we were sitting someplace, parked in my car, having lunch, and talking.
So....I CAVED. I did less talking. I started to use the same words of "toleration" for all sorts of things. I went and got myself a copy of the NASB translation. I started listening to, and learning to perform, some of the jazzy and light-rock renditions of some of the music that was coming out. I had quite a few of Evie's records...really liked her 'spark', and the Hawaiians. A few years later it was John Michael Talbot, Anita Kerr and Ken Medema; these sorta became my 'favorites' for a few years. (I really liked Medema's: "Pretending you're a Christian is a luxury you can't afford; maybe you can fool the people in the church, but you just can't fool the Lord...Cut the act, state the fact; why don't you be for real! Don't play the game, you just can't do it; Don't play the game, He'll see right through it." But then his doctrine would get into living for God by also "claiming His grace", "claiming His power", and "reaching for a star", etc. And the music was hard-pounding to go along with the words.) I even wrote a short little chorus on Ps118:24 (This is the day that Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it), that a couple of brothers recorded for a pastor to use on his radio program, the one on guitar, the other could play a pretty jazzy electric bass.
Then, my unequal yoke left (disappeared) one day. That occasion was like the Lord's 2x4 thwacked across my head, got me squared back on-track with the Lord, and back to the Bible.
During those years of tolerance, a lot of people claimed to be "blessed" by my ministry. I did a lot of solo singing in those days. For a few years I was thinking to start an itinerate ministry, going from church-to-church, doing concerts and preaching; actually did a few trips. People always responded favorably. They were "blessed". Lots of happiness and smiles. Some of those churches would invite me back. I would get asked to sing for conferences, and such things.
But how many of those were -saved- during that time? Well....I was carrying the wrong message. How -could- they get saved? I was not proclaiming "repentance and remission of sins". I was performing to people, assuming them all to already be saved, because they were in the churches, were smiling, and expressing how "blessed" they were.
So...of what benefit was it, to be 'like' them? How many people was I actually, truly, 'reaching' for the Lord back then? Sure, they listened. Sure, they opened their doors and welcomed me. But how many, who previously had NOT known the way of salvation, DID know 'after' I left?
Also....during those years I 'struggled' a lot. Although -I- was doing various things, I never had the peace that the Lord had "opened up" -the- door of ministry that -He- was wanting. I was always looking for 'more'. Like, I wasn't doing 'enough', or -quite- 'what' I should be doing.
Also....in such a state of compromise, using the NASB, and having married the unequal yoke....a lot of other compromises came into my (our) life/s. I won't go into details. Needless to say, although I knew the Lord, compromise led me down some paths where I began to condone certain things, and came up with excuses as to 'why' it was 'ok' for a Christian to do certain things. (Some things I maybe 'wanted' to do, I never did, however....because the 'conscience' was still "in there")
Once I got the compromise and sin out of my life, I reverted back to being that 'intolerant' person who was labeled as being so 'judgmental'. And now I 'know' I am in the center of God's will, and doing what He wants.
The argument that: one no longer has 'access' to proclaim to people? One cannot now 'reach' them because they are turned off? Well, what did Jesus say? "Let them alone. They are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind leads the blind, both will fall into the ditch." (Mt15:14) In other words, for many of them, it is not possible to reach them. They -will- not be reached. In their hearts they have already chosen their path in accordance with their own lusts.
You know...I actually had more meaningful times of witnessing before I caved...and that, with some pretty die-hard 'hippy' types. Back then hippies would listen to anything, and while I might be paired up with another guy, as we were laying up joints at that fibreglass pipe/tank factory, we would -talk- as we were squeegying/rolling out air bubbles. They wanted to know, so I gave them God's Word. They didn't receive it. But they listened. And when I didn't laugh at the lunch room dirty jokes, they noticed that I lived what I preached, "Hey! He's not laughing!" And then, too, I gained a nickname amongst them all, as the "apostle". But they were more 'tolerant' of me than the so-called "Christians" were. Just like: Paul's persecution came from the unbelieving Jews, not the Romans.
When fellow-students objected to my seeing what the Bible -said-, it was because I observed the Bible exhorting to holy living....something they did not want to do. They preferred to make excuses for why it was 'ok' for Christians to do/be this or that.....just as I did during my time of personal compromise. Occasionally some conservative person would make comments about my/our lives, and I would scoff at such 'nonesense'.
Object lesson time: At home I have a 3-position data switch, to connect the laptop to a printer, zip-drive, and direct-cable connection to another computer. If I leave the switch defaulted to "A" for the printer, sometimes I connect the cable intending to backup laptop data to the desktop computer, and forget to change the switch, and get an error pop-up message; the 'network' will not connect. To do the backup I need to put it at "C". It is not sufficient to switch it to "B", the point "in-between". I cannot imagine to myself that "C" is so "extreme", that "B" would be a good "compromise" of the 'gray-areas' between "A" and "C". If I want to print, it has to be "A". If I want the zip-drive, it is "B". And if I wish to transfer data to the other computer, it -MUST- be "C". No other alternatives will work.
If a person is looking for directions to some destination, and at the intersection in the road the person is directed to "turn -right-"; but the person really -wants- (for whatever reason) to go "left"; is going "straight" a successful alternative? "Right" is so "extreme"....and "judgmental"
It's the same way with Heaven and Hell. God has given His 'directions' in the Bible how to get there. But man in his sinful state is at 180 degrees from that. Opting for 90 degrees instead will not get a person to God's Glory.
The rich man wanted Abraham to send Lazarus back, because he had siblings that he didn't want to come to the same torments he was in. Abraham says to him, "If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets (the Scriptures), neither will they be persuaded though one should rise from the dead." (Lk16:31) And this was proven out: Lazarus -was- raised from the dead, and what did they want to do? "But the chief priests took counsel to put Lazarus to death also, because on account of him many of the Jews went away and continued to believe into Jesus." (Jn12:10-11)
What sort of Faith is it, if a person isn't willing to go "all-out" for Christ? How -real- is a Faith full of compromise? If a person is compromising, why should anybody else, seeing them, wish to become a -real- Christian? If a person is so ashamed of Jesus, so as not to be totally distinct (holy) from the world, why should the world convert? They don't!
Addendum (5/8/06): This morning's (Chuck Colson) "Breakpoint" with its president Mark Early (sp?) was talking about the growth of Islam in the prisons. Isn't Islam terribly harsh, cruel and holy (separated from all else)? But Islam provides a 'structure' and 'purpose'. Are their methods "ineffective"? Islam is one of the (if not, 'the') world's fastest growing religions! Over the week-end it was reported that a certain Mormon sect leader has now made it to the FBI's "top ten" (most wanted) list. Is not this sect 'constrictive' and 'intolerant'; not to mention cruel on women and little girls? And yet, in the clips they re-showed from a program that had aired some time ago: those in subjection have "devotion" for their leader, they are 'separatist' (holy) from the rest of the world, and -militantly- yell at the news camera crews to "turn off!" the cameras and "go away!" But that which calls itself "christian", being followers of the Lord of the universe, live lives of compromise?: don't want to 'offend' the world, or present the 'message' (whatever message they are spewing forth these days) in a "non-threatening" way..?
Salvation of compromise is a FALSE FAITH. If that's what the person (any person) wants, well...they will fall into the "ditch". "Even so, Amen!" (Rev1:7)
There have been various testimonies over the years of those who were truly 'seeking', and the Lord led them to this website even when they, at the moment, were searching for something totally unrelated....but "stumbled upon" the VW website...started reading....and found the 'answers' they had so desperately been looking for.
God knows the hearts. Jesus said that the "many" are on the broad way to destruction. But those finding Him are "few". (Mt7:13-14)
This ministry is for the "few". The others, even if they were to read the pages, would not humble themselves before God. The problem during college was not that -I- was judgmental...it was that -they- didn't want God's Word...IN THEIR HEARTS. It's the same today.
At least hopefully, now that I'm back on track after those years of compromise, I will hear, "Well done...faithful servant", without too much burned hay and stubble. It was 20 years of compromise!
Paul said, "I planted, Apollos watered, but -God- made it grow." (1Co3:6)
The results and responses of hearts are not the messenger's responsibility. It is God's work; He is the one who "draws" them. (Jn6:44) The messenger is sent to proclaim, "Thus says the Lord Jehovah" (Ezk2:4) And the "weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty through God" (2Co10:4) How will they know to respond to God, if the message is watered down and clouded; not what God said? The duty of God's minister: "Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful." (1Co4:2)
God's message, in God's way!
Even so, Amen!