Manual

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1. Salvation is more than just being saved from hell

God has a much greater purpose for our lives here on earth and into eternity. (Jesus said) … I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance. (John 10:10)
But as it is written: What eye did not see and ear did not hear, and what never entered the human mindGod prepared this for those who love Him. (1 Cor. 2:9)

 

2.  Man is a special creation

God set man apart and put His spirit into him. Then the LORD God formed the man out of the dust from the ground and breathed the breath of life into his nostrils, and the man became a living being. (Genesis 2:7)

Man is a Special Creation

Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely. and may your spirit, soul, and body be kept sound and blameless for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Thess. 5:23)

spirit - God awareness. We interact with God through our spirit.

soul - self awareness. Personality, reasoning, emotions, mind, will, understanding.

body - world awareness. We interact with the physical world through our physical body senses.

   

Animals have no spirit - thus no consciousness of God.

 

3.  The problem started with Adam and Eve

God gave a commandment (a law), which they disobeyed. As a result of their disobedience sin and death entered into the world. Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, in this way death spread to all men, because all sinned. (Romans 5:12)

The Bible describes God as: Loving, Perfect, Sovereign, Faithful, Holy, Just, Merciful, Forgiving. He can do no wrong. He cannot lie. He never changes. He is totally trustworthy.

Satan portrays God as someone who cannot be trusted, nor counted on to do what is in my best interest. Satan’s lie is that we can obtain peace, happiness, satisfaction, joy and lasting pleasure independent of God.

The joy and peace that God intends for every human is only possible in companionship with Him. (Jesus said) “… My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. … (John 14:27)

for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. (Romans 14:17)

 

4.  NOT EVERYTHING AN UNBELIEVER DOES IS EVIL

An unbeliever can do many good things from man’s perspective. The problem is that man cannot do good that measures up to God’s perfection.
All that man does is blemished, distorted, and falls short. God cannot accept “my best”.

All Unbelievers

 

Their works (fruits) have no life (eternal), are less than perfect, and cannot please God. Even their good deeds are temporary, only for this life.

Eph. 4:18 They are darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God, ...
Rom. 3:23 For all have sinned and fall short ...
Rom. 3:10-12 ... There is no one righteous, not even one.... there is no one who seeks God. ... There is no one who does what is good,...
Rom. 8:7-8 For the mind-set of the flesh is hostile to God because it does not submit itself to God's law, for it is unable to do so. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

 

 

Human Nature=  The human nature is pictured as a bad tree: (Jesus said) … neither can a bad tree produce good fruit.  (Matt. 7:18)

 The human nature can only produce artificial fruit. It may look good, but it has no life. How much nourishment would you get from eating a piece of artificial fruit? Would it be satisfying?

 

5.  SALVATION

An unbeliever comes to the conclusion (after enough pressure) that things are hopeless and cries out to God. For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.  (Romans 10:13)

Salvation is just the beginning of the Christian life. “Eternal life” is not an object, it is God’s life, without end.

 

6.  AT SALVATION I RECEIVE THE HOLY SPIRIT AND A NEW LIFE WITH GOD

The Normal Christian Life

 

 At salvation I was put into this position of fellowship with Him, by virtue of Jesus' righteousness, not through my own merits. (1 Cor. 1:30) But it is from Him that you are in Christ Jesus, who became ... for us—our righteousness, ...

THE HOLY SPIRIT IS A PERSON!

1 Cor. 6:19-20 Don't you know that your body is a sanctuary of the Holy Spirit ...
John 16:13 (Jesus said) When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you intoall the truth....
Romans 8:16 The Spirit Himself testifies together with our spirit that we are God's children,

 

 

Before (as an unbeliever), I was a guilty sinner before a holy Judge. Now (as a believer), I am a child of the Father, cared for by a divine Person, the Holy Spirit.

Note: The circular “dotted line” represents the “conditional” aspect.

 

7.  THERE IS GOOD NEWS and BAD NEWS!

Bad News! Our human nature has not been changed, it still cannot produce good fruit.
The Spirit is the One who gives life. The flesh doesn’t help at all. … (John 6:63)

Good News!  It doesn’t matter that our old sinful human nature has not been changed, because God has given us a new nature, His divine nature in the Person of the Holy Spirit.
His divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. By these He has given us very great and precious promises, so that through them you may share in the divine nature, …
(2 Peter 1:3-4)

MY HUMAN NATURE WAS NOT CHANGED WHEN I BECAME A CHRISTIAN!

= Same sinful human nature, not the least bit improved, still incapable of producing acceptable fruit.

After beginning with the Spirit, are you now going to be made complete by the flesh?
(Gal. 3:3)
For the flesh desires what is against the Spirit, and the Spirit desires what is against the flesh; these are opposed to each other, … (Gal. 5:17)

THE LAW EXPOSES THE CHARACTER OF OUR HUMAN NATURE.
because the knowledge of sin comes through the law. (Rom. 3:19-20)

The human nature is pictured as a salty spring, unable to support human life:
Does a spring pour out sweet and bitter water from the same opening? Can a fig tree produce olives, my brothers, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a saltwater spring yield fresh water. (James 3:11-12)

Imagine the Law as a sign by a water hole in the desert;
“WARNING!  This water is contaminated and unhealthy to drink."

 

8.  MORE GOOD NEWS and MORE BAD NEWS

Good News = The Holy Spirit is permanent. He will never leave you.
the Father, … will give you another Counselor to be with you forever. (John 14:16)
(Note: The Holy Spirit helps the believer to understand and follow Him, He should not be regarded as a Servant who waits for the believer to command Him.)

Bad News = The human nature will not leave you until you physically die. We all have the same sinful human nature.

 

9.  ABIDING IN FELLOWSHIP WITH THE LORD

The condition of living in fellowship with Him is called ABIDING. Everyone starts the Christian life here.

Illustration of Abiding: If you are holding a small object and you let go of it, the force of gravity overcomes the object and it immediately falls. Think of gravity as a representation of the way in which your human nature attracts you away from God and towards sin. Now place that object on your open palm. Because the power of your hand is greater than the force of gravity, the object can safely “rest” on your palm. The object does not fall, even though the force of gravity has not diminished.

The Holy Spirit can be represented by your hand, and you can be represented by the object. For as ever long as you desire you can confidently “rest” in Him, that is, you can continually experience His power over your sinful nature.

This is a place of rest. This is the condition of a branch on a tree.  (John 15)
“Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. All of you, take up My yoke and learn from Me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for yourselves. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

 

10.  SHOULD I EXPECT TO LIVE A SINLESS LIFE?

Continue to think of gravity as a picture of the way in which my sinful nature attracts me to fall. Do I go through the day expecting to physically fall? Of course not. Although I must always remain alert, I should not “expect” to be dominated by the sinful nature.  
My little children, I am writing you these things so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ the Righteous One. (1 John 1:9, 2:1)
I say then, walk by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. (Gal. 5:16)

 

11.  WHAT IS THE HOLY SPIRIT DOING AS I ABIDE IN FELLOWSHIP WITH HIM?

»  He is increasingly producing His fruit through my life.
Gal. 5:22-23  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law.
John 15:5  … “The one who remains in Me and I in him produces much fruit, …

»  He glorifies the Father through me.
John 15:8  My Father is glorified by this: that you produce much fruit

»  He is causing me to grow in spiritual maturity.
John 15:2  … and He prunes every branch that produces fruit so that it will produce more fruit.
Rom. 12:2  … but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.

»  He causes me to experience His joy.
John 15:11  “I have spoken these things to you so that My joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.

»  He is producing an eternal inheritance for me.
John 15:16  … I chose you. I appointed you that you should go out and produce fruit and that your fruit should remain, …
2 Cor. 4:17  For our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory.

»  He is attracting others to Himself through my life.
Acts 1:8  (Jesus said) But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

 

12.  LIVING IN ABIDING FELLOWSHIP IS “CONDITIONAL”

I still have the sinful human nature, and God will not take away my right to choose. At any moment I can choose to remove myself from the condition of “rest” (abiding), and allow my human nature to reign as my master.

Going back to the hand illustration, if you are not resting on the hand it is because you have chosen to remove yourself. This has nothing to do with the issue of salvation, but rather with the fruitfulness of your life here on earth.

The Christian husband - wife relationship is meant to be a model for abiding fellowship.
(Eph. 5:31-32)  … a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. This mystery is profound, but I am talking about Christ and the church.
(Eph. 4:30)  And don’t grieve (offend) God’s Holy Spirit. ...

As a Christian you have that living water ready to flow through your life. But when you are out of abiding fellowship, the tap is turned off. Jesus said in John 7:38-39  The one who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, will have streams of living water flow from deep within him.” He said this about the Spirit. …

 

13.  AS A CHRISTIAN YOU CAN LIVE UNRECONCILED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT

Condition of not Abiding

Note: The circular “dotted line” represents the “conditional” aspect of abiding.

How can I know if I am out of fellowship (not abiding)? Usually symptoms indicate an ailing body. Similarly look for “on-going” spiritual symptoms of the sinful nature, such as: Worry, Anxiety, Stumbling, Striving, Critical or Judgmental attitude, Impatience, Lack of peace, Anger, Frustration, Sense of defeat, Complaining, Irritability, Addictive behavior, etc.
IMPORTANT: In a healthy family the oversight of parent-child harmony is the responsibility of the parents, not the children. In the same way, the Holy Spirit oversees our abiding harmony with Him, and we need to be continually sensitive to His promptings, since our judgment is often flawed.

 

14.  WHY DO SOME CHRISTIANS LIVE UNRECONCILED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT?

Some are unwilling to give Him authority over their lives. Do you think of yourself as walking side by side with the Lord, but you are in charge (that is, He’s your Partner?). Is He just there to help you when you think you have a need? Or do you see Him as your Master, the One you follow as His servant? That is Lordship!

He doesn’t ask you to design your future and let Him fit in at your convenience. It is the other way around. He has a personalized plan that He is willing for you to fit into if you are willing.

Some see God as the Divine 911. They call upon Him when things get out of hand. (Is God your co-pilot in case you get lost?) Do you want God, or just His blessings?

Some think that God’s greatest priority is to make me happy here on earth! As a matter of fact He does want our happiness, but not just temporary. God wants to give us lasting satisfaction. If left on our own we will usually accept temporary satisfaction. Because God loves us and wants what is best for us, He will not let you be content with less than what He has planned for you, in companionship with Him. Your happiness is a by-product of living in fellowship with Him. God loves you so much that He will only let you experience His true joy as you abide in fellowship with Him.

Who knows what will best satisfy me, me or God? We come into the Christian life with a perceived mental list of what is good and what is bad, what makes me happy and what doesn’t. Weneed to unlearn many habits and misconceptions that we brought into the Christian life, and some we’ve learned since we became Christians. As Christians we cannot expect God to fit into our program. He has better things, things that can only be experienced through trusting Him.

Therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God. (Romans 12:1-2)

Can you do “good” spiritual deeds while you are living out of fellowship with the Holy Spirit? Absolutely! You can attend church services, read your Bible, pray, give money, do good deeds, etc. Doing good things is no guarantee that you are abiding in Christ. Paul warns us in 1 Corinthians 13:1-3  If I speak human or angelic languages but do not have love, I am a sounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith so that I can move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I donate all my goods to feed the poor, and if I give my body in order to boast but do not have love, I gain nothing.

 

15.  HOW TO IDENTIFY “UNRESOLVED ISSUES”

Often, being overcome by sin is a symptom of a problem. There is a good chance that the most troublesome areas for you are symptoms and not the problem. That is, He will not allow me to abide in fellowship with Him and have victory in one area of my life while I am consciously allowing disobedience and defeat in another area.

What is keeping you from abiding in fellowship?

Unforgiveness?
Mark 11:25  …if you have anything against anyone, forgive him,

Unreconciled relationships?
Matthew 18:15  “If your brother sins against you, go and rebuke him in private. If he listens to you, you have won your brother.
Matthew 5:23-24  ... First go and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift.

Restitution?
Numbers 5:5-7  … When a man or woman commits any sin against another, that person acts unfaithfully toward the LORD and is guilty. The person is to confess the sin he has committed. He is to pay full compensation, add a fifth of its value to it, and give it to the individual he has wronged.

Unconfessed sin? (Consider “sin” to be “anything that is displeasing to the Lord”.)
Proverbs 28:13  The one who conceals his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them will find mercy.
1 John 1:9-10  If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say, “We don’t have any sin,” we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.

 

16.  NEED FOR RESTORATION

Yes, it is true that sin is an offence against God’s holiness. However, the greatest effect that sin has on my relationship with God is that it disrupts my abiding fellowship with Him, and hinders Him from blessing and using me. God cannot bear His good fruit in my life while I am choosing to allow my human nature to reign.

(John 15:4-5)  (Jesus said) Remain in Me, and I in you. Just as a branch is unable to produce fruit by itself unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in Me. “I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in Me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without Me.

Only what is motivated by the Holy Spirit has eternal value.

King David is an example of a believer living out of fellowship for about 9 months. (2 Samuel 11:1 - 12:25)

God’s desire is for you to be restored quickly. The Holy Spirit wants to reveal to you whatever disrupted your fellowship. You only need to be honest with Him and to acknowledge whatever He shows you. Ask the Lord to show you in what way(s) you have offended Him.

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