Our Beliefs: 5. Man

Posted on 01/22/2017 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.

AUDIO: dialup - broadband - podcast

TRANSCRIPT: (does not contain everything found in the audio above)

*** listen to the audio for introduction and prayer ***


Public Prayer Requests:

Hi, I am seeking Gods help. I really need to get in touch with him more. Please, I ask for your Prayers in helping me reach God to hear my heart. Hear my pain, my sadness & to ask him for support in helping me through this heavy weight of anxiety I am going through. Amen
-Danielle Restless

I need a miracle healing and deliverance from depression, anxiety, headaches and nausea. This is urgent! Thank you!
-Greg

Prayers for 2017 and the Winterheart family, JT Evie and Riley to find peace and love together and patience and love for eachother
-LittleMisssRiley Resident


*******

Please click one of the offering plates in Second Life or at http://almcyberchurch.org, and give as the Lord leads.

*******


A REASON TO REJOICE
by Benjamin R. Faust

I have a reason to rejoice
I have a reason to clap my hands
I have a reason to lift my voice
and sing praises to the great I Am

I have a reason to move my feet
and take the Gospel into the street
I have a reason to lose my will
and let Jesus take full control

For you have set me feet to dancin'
You have filled my heart with joy
You have freed me from my passions
and filled me with the Holy Ghost

You have set my heart on fire
Fill my soul with your desire
and Melt me Lord 'til
only you remain!


POWER IN THE BLOOD
by Lewis E. Jones

Would you be free from the burden of sin?
There's power in the blood, power in the blood;
Would you o'er evil a victory win?
There's wonderful power in the blood.

There is power, power,
wonder-working power
In the blood
of the Lamb;

There is power, power,
wonder-working power
In the precious blood
of the Lamb.

Would you be free from your passion and pride?
There's power in the blood, power in the blood;
Come for a cleansing to Calvary's tide;
There's wonderful power in the blood.

Would you be whiter, much whiter than snow?
There's power in the blood, power in the blood;
Sin-stains are lost in its life-giving flow;
There's wonderful power in the blood.

Would you do service for Jesus your King?
There's power in the blood, power in the blood;
Would you live daily His praises to sing?
There's wonderful power in the blood.


FAIREST LORD JESUS
lyrics by Munster Gesangbuch
music by Schlesische Volkslieder

Fairest Lord Jesus, ruler of all nature,
O thou of God and man the Son,
Thee will I cherish, Thee will I honor,
thou, my soul's glory, joy, and crown.

Fair are the meadows, fairer still the woodlands,
robed in the blooming garb of spring:
Jesus is fairer, Jesus is purer
who makes the woeful heart to sing.

Fair is the sunshine, fairer still the moonlight,
and all the twinkling starry host:
Jesus shines brighter, Jesus shines purer
than all the angels heaven can boast.

Beautiful Savior! Lord of all the nations!
Son of God and Son of Man!
Glory and honor, praise, adoration,
now and forevermore be thine.


*** Choose your connection speed and listen to the audio to hear the introduction. ***


Last year some time, we started going through our statement of beliefs. As promised, we are pickup that up again where we left off last month.

You can find the items we're covering by going to almcyberchurch.org and clicking the "What We Believe" link, or here in Second Life by clicking one of the "Church Information" signs.

As as we've done for the first four items on our list, I'd like to begin by clarifying the reason for sharing these beliefs with you.

That reason is NOT because you have to believe everything I'm saying to avoid going to hell or being a deceived heretic. There's always the possibility that I could be wrong about something my mind is convinced is true.

For your Salvation, put your trust fully in Jesus, not in your understanding of doctrinal issues.

As Proverbs 3:5-6 (TLS*) says,

5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not dwell in or rely upon your own understanding.
6 Know Him in all things, and He will direct your paths, making them plain and straight.

The truth is, we ALL see through a glass dimly, and the conclusions your mind embraces as indisputable truth just might be wrong. Recognize the mind's pride in its firmly-held beliefs, and let go of its silly fits, as you bring your attention back into the Presence of God in His Holy Temple, the body in which You and He currently reside.

And now, let's read the next item on our list.


5. Man

Man was created in the image of God. Through disobedience, he took on the nature of satan, which means his mind was polluted and exalted to the role of moral guide, labeler of all things as good or bad, and controller of man's activities and attention.

Man's mind will be fully renewed, or made as it was when it was new, and redemption of mankind's soul was purchased by Jesus on the cross.


So man was created in the image of God. This is from the first chapter of Genesis, where we read this:

Genesis 1:26-27 (KMV*)

26 And God said, "Let us make man in Our image, after Our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth."
27 So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.


So we were created in the image of God. That means He is the original, and we are the copy, if you will. Or, more accurately, He is the blueprint He used to create us.

We have spirit, body, and mind -- three parts that make one whole -- just as He is mentioned throughout the Scriptures as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

It doesn't really matter for our discussion which is like which -- it would be easy to say the human spirit was modeled after the Holy Spirit, and the human body like the Son, but the obvious is as far as we're going to go concerning that for today.

But the point here is that we were created in the image and likeness of perfection -- beings with whom God could have the kind of relationship we have with another human -- to share thoughts and ideas, to converse using language, and to relate in the other ways that make us distinctly human.

And we were given dominion over the rest of creation -- from the non-human animals to the vegetation to the earth itself.

Now, the word translated as "have dominion over," like many other words in Hebrew and other human languages, shares one trait in common with many of our English words -- specifically that it can have different meanings in different contexts.

It COULD mean to tread down or prevail against. And I've heard this verse used to justify our mistreatment of animals and of the earth:

"Well, the Bible tells us to have dominion over everything, which means we are supposed to kill and destroy."

Okay, so I've never actually heard anyone word it quite that way, but what I HAVE heard some Christians say means the same thing.

Is this what that verse is telling us to do? Well, let's look at another meaning this word translated "have dominion over" could have, and what I believe it DOES mean in the context of this passage.

"Reign and rule over."

Or,

"Oversee. Take care of."

As overseer of the earth, God told man to tend the garden. To care for it. Not to tread it down or prevail against it.

And that is exactly what mankind did... Until what we commonly refer to as "The Fall."

Let's read the next part of today's statement:

"Through disobedience, he took on the nature of satan, which means his mind was polluted and exalted to the role of moral guide, labeler of all things as good or bad, and controller of man's activities and attention."

Genesis 2:15-17 (NKJV)

15 Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it.
16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, "Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat;
17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die."

Now, we could talk extensively about what is meant by "the knowledge of good and evil," but we're going to only touch on it today.

Does "the knowledge of good and evil" mean knowing the difference between right and wrong? If so, then that would mean Adam did not already know the difference between right and wrong. And if he did not, then God would have been incredibly unfair to tell him to not do something. After all, how would man know that it was wrong to not follow God's instructions if he didn't know the difference between right and wrong?

God Himself embedded the essence of right and wrong in His instructions to man. "Do not eat of that tree, because if you do, you will die."

In other words, there are consequences for disobedience. When your conscience hops into action about something you are considering doing, it is warning you of a consequence, usually the consequence of the feelings of guilt, or unwanted results that could come from that action.

Genesis 3:1-12 (NKJV)

1 Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, "Has God indeed said, 'You shall not eat of every tree of the garden'?"

2 And the woman said to the serpent, "We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden;
3 but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, 'You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.'"

4 Then the serpent said to the woman, "You will not surely die.
5 For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."

6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.
7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.

8 And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.
9 Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, "Where are you?"

10 So he said, "I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself."
11 And He said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?"
12 Then the man said, "The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate."


Okay. Back to whether "the knowledge of good and evil" means knowing the difference between right and wrong.

When God said, "Who told you you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree I told you not to eat?" was He really saying, "I put you down here naked, and that was wrong. You just didn't know I made you do something wrong until you ate that fruit that opened your eyes to it."?

A New Testament verse states that God does not tempt anyone with evil. If being naked in the Garden of Eden was wrong, then God was a sinner from the very beginning, and was just hiding it from His creation.

And as we already saw, if the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil meant knowing the difference between right and wrong, then the man and woman would not have known they were doing anything wrong by eating the fruit until after they had eaten it.

Is it a sin to drive a car? You're putting yourself at risk of injury or death every time you do. But few people would claim you are disobeying God just because you know you could die.

An even better example would be Jesus, who came to earth for the very purpose of dying. God could have said, "In the day you allow them to lead you to the cross, you shall surely die." Which was absolutely true. But was Jesus sinning, doing something evil, by going to the cross since He knew it would result in His death? I'm sure you would all agree the answer is "No."

So even though the man and woman knew eating the fruit would result in their death, that does not automatically make it a sin. If it did, then every time you eat a potato chip or put oil on your salad, you would be sinning, since vegetable oil has been proven to contribute to heart disease and an early death.

Instead, was it the fact they disobeyed God? Well, if they did not know the difference between right and wrong until AFTER they ate the fruit, then God could not have held them accountable for their actions.

No, mankind was not ignorant of moral right and wrong. They knew they were disobeying God. And it was this stripping of the glory through which God saw all of His creation as "good," the result of their wilfull disobedience, that gave them the "knowledge of good and evil," or, "the labeling of all things as either good or bad."

Are baby flies -- maggots -- bad? Most of us would have the immediate reaction of disgust. "Of course they're bad!" Are they really?

Is disobeying God wrong? Most of us would immediately agree that doing so is VERY wrong.

But knowing disobedience was wrong, came BEFORE the fall. Ignoring that inner knowing and acting in disobedience WAS the fall. And the knowledge of good and evil was the RESULT of the fall.

Or, "Through disobedience, man took on the nature of satan, which means his mind was polluted and exalted to the role of moral guide, labeler of all things as good or bad, and controller of man's activities and attention."

His mind was polluted and exalted to the role of moral guide.

What did the serpent do? He spoke to the mind, giving it reason to believe eating the fruit was a good thing to do. What did Adam and Eve do? They believed the moral guidance of their human minds, and the rest, as they say, is history.

We can assume from this passage that man used to walk in the Garden with God, because God was walking, "in the cool of the day," looking for Adam. Did they talk? Did they reason together? Maybe. Maybe not. But it's pretty certain they DID have a close relationship.

Unfortunately, that relationship seems to have drastically changed after man fell through disobedience, resulting in the poisoning of the human mind. Once the human mind became man's moral guide instead of the ever-present voice of God, it became a constant judge of everything as either good or bad; and once the human mind because man's moral guide instead of God, the human mind itself became a god.

We try to figure everything out with our mind. And that's fine. But then we believe the mind's conclusions, and even use them as our moral guide -- the voice of truth.

When your mind generates an epiphany about a Scriptural or doctrinal issue, does it not feel as though you have received divine revelation?

Most if not all of the Christian denominations and church splits have come about because of this. The human mind comes to a conclusion and issues a moral judgment. And if that mind is ours, we feel as though God has just spoken.

Well, He has. But all too often, it's the FALSE god that has spoken, the god that is the fallen human mind.

Does this make sense to you?

The human mind is constantly talking, constantly judging, constantly insisting it is perceiving the absolute truth, and speaking with absolute authority as though it is God.

But as Romans 12:2 (KMV*) says,

2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, acceptable, and perfect will of God.

Or you could put it like this:

Romans 12:2 (TLS*)

2 And do not be follow the pattern of this age, but be transformed as your mind is made as it was when it was new, that you may clearly know what is the good, well-pleasing, and perfectly complete will of God.


And as 2 Corinthians 3:18 (KMV*) says,

18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are changed into His image from glory to glory by the Spirit of the Lord.


Remember, we were originally created in His image. The fact that, as we behold Him, we are being changed INTO His image, reminds us that we have been corrupted. Our minds have captured our attention, masquerading as God; and as we bring our attention away from them and back onto Him, dwelling with Him in His temple, your body, the mind begins to be healed and renewed, or made as it was originally created to be -- tools, even toys, but not the gods they have become.

So the next time you notice your mind going on and on about this or that, just realize you are hearing something that is polluted. And bring your attention back into the Temple, your body, and feel the Life of God there.

It will warn you of the incredible and hell-worthy consequences of demoting it from your god to your servant. But that's okay. It is ill, and is slowly being healed as you dwell in the Presence of God instead.


And finally, we end with the last words of today's statement:

"Man's mind will be fully renewed, or made as it was when it was new, and redemption of mankind's soul was purchased by Jesus on the cross."

If you have received His gift, you have been redeemed! You have been purchased by the Blood of the Lamb! And although your sins have left upon your soul a scarlet stain, you have been washed whiter than the freshly-fallen snow.

So the invitation today is this: Give thanks for the amazing gift of redemption, of reconciliation, and of full and continual renew, that God has given to you! And moment by moment, Today, return your attention to the Temple of God, and to the Life of God that is ever-present there, and let your sick mind complain as it wishes, as the Presence of God slowly heals it, making it like He originally created it to be.