Being Born Again, Part 1
This is the first in a series called “Being Born Again.” We are going to look at man’s relationship to God, and discuss the difference between body, soul, and spirit. While some of this is “head knowledge,” the important thing for us to remember is Isaiah 26:16-18.
Isaiah 26:16-18 – LORD, they came to you in their distress; when you disciplined them, they could barely whisper a prayer. As a woman with child and about to give birth writhes and cries out in her pain, so were we in your presence, O LORD. We were with child, we writhed in pain, but we gave birth to wind. We have not brought salvation to the earth; we have not given birth to people of the world.
We are going to discuss what it means to be born again. What do our lives show? Most of us have not really presented the new life to other people. We think we understand what being born again means, but our lives, what we teach, and what we declare to other people demonstrate that we have a very casual understanding of what it really means to be born again. Each church, indeed each Christian, seems to have a different idea about how you become born again and what that means. Acts 5:17 shows we are to be a people who proclaim the gospel, but not just ½ or ¾ of the gospel. We need to proclaim the full message of the gospel. Oh, we writhe in pain, we put forth a tremendous amount of effort to tell people what being born again means, but we don’t give birth. What is missing in our preaching and our lives that we are not giving birth to other people in terms of the new life?
Acts 5:17-20 – Then the high priest and all his associates, who were members of the party of the Sadducees, were filled with jealousy. They arrested the apostles and put them in the public jail. But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the doors of the jail and brought them out. “Go, stand in the temple courts,” he said, “and tell the people the full message of this new life.”
Don’t just declare 99.9% of the gospel, but stand in the temple courts where everybody can see and declare this is the full truth. Now if that happens today, if somebody stands in the temple courts and says, “This is the full message and what it means to be born again,” arguments break out just as they did with the disciples. The Sadducees seek to put them in jail and silence this message. Everybody has their own opinions about what it means to be born again. It would be like every woman who is pregnant having her own opinion about the best method of giving birth. So she sits down with the doctor and says, “I really don’t like the way this happens. Let’s work something else out,” or, “No, it’s not really 9 months, it’s really 4 months,” or whatever she wants. We would think she is crazy. Yet when it comes to God’s word everybody treats it with such callous disregard. One group says, “Ask Jesus in your heart,” another says, “No, you have to be baptized,” still another says, “You have to take a class.” We don’t even approach natural birth from this type of sporadic logic. It just doesn’t work that way. No matter how much a woman might say that being pregnant means you are pregnant for 12 months, it’s just not going to happen that way. There will not be any life there. In the same way, when we share the gospel with other people, we should have a clear and full understanding of what it means to be born again. Our life and message should declare it and we should be preaching the full message, not ½ or ¾ of it. Not our opinion or our ideas. But because people are not born again and they do not understand what the new life is about. We don’t bring people life even though they are in a great deal of pain. They go through prayers and efforts, they pass out tracts, and they talk to other people. They travel over land and sea. They put forth all the pain and effort associated with bringing people to life, but when it’s finally said and done, what they give birth to is wind. There’s nothing there. We haven’t presented the new life to people. Again, let’s look closely at the scripture.
Acts 5:20 – “Go, stand in the temple courts,” he said, “and tell the people the full message of this new life.”
You stand there no matter what other people say and proclaim the full message of the gospel. When we talk about the dynamics of being born again, we are talking about something far greater than looking at all the parts of what it would mean to be born again or how we should say a certain thing or what a certain doctrine means. We are looking at life itself, giving birth to other people, and making sure that we have that birth ourselves.
2 Corinthians 13:5 – Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you―unless, of course, you fail the test?
What is the test he’s talking about? To see if you are born again and if the life that you say you have is really there. He is writing to Christians, to people who are technically already born again. Today if one preached that message people would be insulted. If you stood in front of a church or group of people and said, “Everybody in here needs to test themselves to see if they are really in the gospel of Jesus Christ. If they really preach, know, live and understand the full message. To see if they are really in the faith and belong to Jesus Christ,” people would be indignant. Yet Paul concludes his letter with this. He doesn’t begin with this and then reassure them that everything is fine. He ends on a “sour note.” So when we talk about the dynamics of being born again, we are talking about the test of all tests to see if we really are in the faith, if we really are born again, if we really are a people who understand and live the full message of the gospel.
In Leviticus 10 we read about a group of men who wanted to add some things to God’s word, just like we do today. They just didn’t care for the way that God had said things should be done. When we talk about this whole business of being born again, what do we see? Certain groups saying, “Say this prayer and you will be in Jesus Christ,” and they lead the people word for word through a prayer and when they are saved. Other groups have you sign a card in the back of a Bible, hand it in, and that makes you saved.
Leviticus 10:1-3 – Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu took their censers, put fire in them and added incense; and they offered unauthorized fire before the LORD, contrary to his command. So fire came out from the presence of the LORD and consumed them, and they died before the LORD. Moses then said to Aaron, “This is what the LORD spoke of when he said: ‘Among those who approach me I will show myself holy; in the sight of all the people I will be honored.’” Aaron remained silent.
We are not approaching this like just a student who wants head knowledge and wants to get the words down right. We are talking about the very essence of what Jesus came to do and that he died to give us new life. What we are looking at is holy. It is not a matter of some course or study or going through a tape series and thinking we have it covered. We have to be in some fear and trembling that we would add our own little prayers, incense, fire, or our own little bit of zeal. We have to be careful not to change a certain aspect or alter a doctrine because we do not agree with some point. We need to come before God with a tremendous amount of fear and trembling, asking God to crucify our opinions and our thoughts and get rid of our fire. They offered unauthorized fire before the Lord, something that God did not set down. They had zeal. They had pain and suffering. They were seeking to bring people to life, but it was not what God had authorized and they were destroyed by that fire. A great deal of what is being taught today and what is being called “presenting life” is really unauthorized fire before the Lord. It is not life, and they will be destroyed because men do not understand what it is to be born again or how to present it. We no longer approach God as holy. We think each man’s opinion is what is life.
So we are going to consider and see exactly what it means to be born again. Read over the scripture we are going to examine. We are going to answer the questions, “Why does God require that we be born again? What exactly takes place? What does God do to us to make us born again?” We will be able to put ourselves and others to the test.
John 3:1-2 – Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him.”
Nicodemus is a teacher. He should understand these things. He slips in to see Jesus at night. He doesn’t want people to know that he doesn’t quite understand what’s going on.
John 3:3 – In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.”
We are not going to cover this in detail right now, but we will get to that later. First we have to lay down a foundation to get to this point. People often say, “But God answered my prayer,” or “I’ve seen this miracle,” to prove they are Christians. Nicodemus says, “We realize that you are a powerful man of God. You came from God and do all these miraculous things.” Yet Jesus says none of those things matter. The only thing that matters and the only way you can see the kingdom of God is if you are born again. So men rely on all kinds of outward things to demonstrate and say that they belong to Jesus Christ, but that’s not what matters at all. The only thing that will matter, the only thing that will show whether we have passed the test of faith or not is if we are really born again.
John 3:4-5 – “How can a man be born when he is old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!” Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.”
We are going to look at all this in great detail and we will find that Jesus meant exactly what he said.
John 3:6 – “Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” “How can this be?” Nicodemus asked.
This is really the question we are going to answer; “How can this be?” We are going to answer the “how.” How does it happen and what happens after it takes place? How does God do this? Is our new birth complete at one moment and instance or does it take some time? What does it really mean to be born again and what is the fruit of it?
John 3:10 – “You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things?”
We want to have a full understanding of this. We belong to Jesus Christ and we should be able to explain to other people exactly what it means to be born again in the greatest of detail.
John 3:10 – “You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things?”
You have been in Jesus Christ all this time and you don’t fully understand these things? We want to get to a place where we understand this.
Genesis 1:1 – In the beginning God . . .
If we miss this point we miss everything that it means to be born again. Only God is eternal, only God is sovereign, only God is love. I am not saying that God has love, I’m saying that God is love. There is a difference. If we miss this point we will miss the complete understanding of what it means to be born again. God is love, we will see that clearly. Only God knows right from wrong. Only God gives and maintains life.
John 1:1-4 – In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men.
God is life. He is the source of all life. His very essence is love and life. In the beginning man was completely united and in harmony with love and life. He soon became separated from all that is life and all that is love. So we begin to get a glimpse of why we need to be born again.
Colossians 1:15-17 – He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
He is the source, he is the foundation, he is life itself. If you step out of that, you die. If you step out of God you become death. In the beginning man was with God who is the author of life, who holds life together and keeps it alive. God’s Spirit connected with man’s spirit because man is given his Spirit. Everything flowed from that relationship. God, who is love, would flow love through man, and that love would in turn come out to other people.
James 1:16-17 – Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
Where does man get his love, and where does he get his source of life if he doesn’t know God? He gets it from here in the earth. He gets it from other people, he no longer gets it from God. But every gift that is perfect, holy and is life can only come from above. If you sever that relationship, then you no longer have life, love, peace, or truth. He is the source of everything that is good. When man fell he began to get truth from himself, from others, from the earth, from anywhere but above. All because that relationship is severed.
Genesis 1:26-27 – Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
So God sets out first of all to create man in his image. What does God mean by that? First of all, God did not evolve. God is unique, he is sovereign, and he has always been. He has no starting point. Then God decides to make man. Man is unique. He did not evolve into becoming man. He didn’t come from a monkey and then wind up being a man. God reached down and said, “There is man,” and made him. He is unique as God is unique.
He is created by a special act of God. Just as God is above everything, man is above all the animals. He’s in the image of God. Of course man is not going to be God, but will be a facsimile so to speak. God made man as an individual person.
Exodus 3:14 – God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’“
I am an individual. I am an identity. Each man is a person in terms of who he is. He has a certain identity and personality. So in the image of God man was created. He could reason, think and do abstract things. In other words, you are aware that you exist. A dog is not aware that it exists. It doesn’t reason in abstract terminology or ideas. You have a purpose and God has a purpose. There is a purpose to life and to love. So we are created in his image. In the same way that God is three persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, man is spirit, soul and body. He too is created in that image. We are created to be eternal beings just like God. That’s why your soul does not die. You either go to heaven or to hell for eternity. We have personality just as our Father has personality. First Corinthians 13:4-7 says that we were created like God in terms of love. That’s what we were.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 – Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
That is what we were when we were created in his image. But we fell from that. We will look at that in more detail in the coming sermons. We were created in the image of God and also to reflect his glory.
1 Corinthians 11:7 – A man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man.
Image is the character of God which is love, kindness, and never being self-seeking. We are also created in the glory of God. We express his glory. Glory is action and image lived out. So what we see in this particular passage is that woman is the glory of man. She is a reflection of his image. She is man lived out and expressed. She was designed in the beginning to be an expression of his love, of his being, of who he was. So in the same way, we are made in the image of God, as woman is made in the image of man. She is to reflect his glory and his image.
Genesis 1:27 – So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
Each was made in the image of God, but woman is the glory of man. We are to reflect the glory of God, meaning we put into action his character. When people see us in the world and they see our actions, conversation and behavior, we are to be showing forth the glory of God. Glory is something that you can see. The character or the image quality is that which is waiting to be alive. So in the same way, a wife is to reflect the husband’s glory. As she lives her life in the neighborhood, she’s not to tear down her husband. She’s not to complain about him, but is to reflect the glory of who he is. She is to take his character and image and reflect that so people can see the goodness of her husband. In the same way, we as God’s people are to take his character and live out his glory. So what people would see manifested from us is the glory of God. This is the end result of being born again. If people do not see this, then we are very simply not born again, because being born again is returning to that which we fell from. So if people don’t see a holy life, if they don’t see God reflected and he doesn’t shine out, then we simply are not born again. Woman is the glory of man. Glorifying God should be part of our everyday routine.
Genesis 2:7 – the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.
Man is first of all made up of a body of dust. All of this will be very important to remember as we get more into this topic. The dust is his body, the breath of life is his spirit and the living being is his soul. Man has a body, spirit and soul. Now man is just like the earth. He’s 85% water and has all kinds of minerals in him from Calcium to Sodium to Iron. He even has arsenic and lots of other trace elements. We are just like the animals and the earth. Now I know man thinks he superior and special in terms of creation, that there’s something due him because of who he is. People at church are always saying, “I was of such value that Jesus Christ died for me.” That’s utter nonsense. He died for you because of who he is, not because of who you are.
Ecclesiastes 3:18 – I also thought, “As for men, God tests them so that they may see that they are like the animals.”
God tests us and puts us through trials to demonstrate to us that we are just like dust and like the animals. No man can go up to God and say, “I’m so-and-so. Aren’t you impressed?” Nobody can go to God and say, “You loved me so much that you died for me because of who I am.” No. You are merely dust. You are an aspect of creation and are like the animals.
Ecclesiastes 3:19 – Man’s fate is like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both: As one dies, so dies the other. All have the same breath; man has no advantage over the animal. Everything is meaningless.
You have no special consideration just because you are man. But men walk around thinking they have a special significance. When was the last time you saw a dog walk around with a special significance of who he is. “I’m a Cocker Spaniel and not a German Shepherd.” Yet man thinks he’s somehow special. You even hear it among Christians: “I’m a Christian,” meaning you are exalted above everybody else.
Ecclesiastes 3:20-21 – All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return. Who knows if the spirit of man rises upward and if the spirit of the animal goes down into the earth?
So there’s no real special consideration for man. If there’s one thing God tries to convince man of it is that he’s dust. Yet man can’t seem to get that through his head. Men get puffed up in their religion, in who they are, in what they believe and in their opinions. People think they are greater than dust. Why do you think that one of the forms of discipline that God sent man was to serve the dust of the earth. That which he was taken from, that which he was supposed to rise above, he now has to serve. It’s a constant reminder to man “You are dust. You are nothing. You are no more significant and no more important than the dog.” He tests and tries us to convince us of this fact. Even saying that we are no better than a dog causes a reaction in us, doesn’t it. You are not entitled to any special consideration because you are a human being. To even dare suggest this one element of God’s word could cause a major discussion in a lot of groups. Try it sometime. If the conversation is a little low at a party just say, “You know I was reading the other day that God said that he tests and tries us just to convince us we are no more important than a dog or a worm.” Then just walk away. That conversation will still be going by the time you go home. Because men are not humble or lowly before God even though they talk about it. Even though they say, “I need God. I need his love and mercy. I am dependent upon him. I am nothing,” they are liars. They don’t understand. Until we allow him to do the testing in our lives, until we allow him to try us, until he has convinced us that this is truth, we have not yet received the humility that comes from the new birth.
Ecclesiastes 3:18-19 – I also thought, “As for men, God tests them so that they may see that they are like the animals. Man’s fate is like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both: As one dies, so dies the other. All have the same breath; man has no advantage over the animal. Everything is meaningless.”
Because of the fall, we all die and go through the same judgment. There is no special consideration or merit for man.
Man is also a soul. What is a soul? The soul is your personality and who you are. The brain is really a tool that the soul uses to express itself. The soul is your love, desire, striving, and mourning. It’s who you are. It’s your special identity. To put it in a worldly term, it’s your personality. Or to put it in the “spiritual” realm it’s your psyche. I’m not going to get into all the Greek and Hebrew and divide all that up for you. Just seek God and ask him. It really is the “I” of who you are. We are in a whole area that’s almost a mine field, because Hebrews says that the word of God is alive and active, dividing bone from marrow and soul from spirit. We’re talking here about a division that’s very narrow. So don’t hold me to a concrete definition. All I can do is give you a general picture of a soul and a spirit. If they overlap or I’ve got something wrong, fine. I already said I’m wrong. The following verses show us that we each have a soul and spirit.
Luke 1:44-47 – As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!” And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,”
There are two different elements. You have a soul and you have a spirit. The soul is the basic feelings and foundations of who a man is. It’s his personality, his thoughts, his desires, what he wants, and his feelings. Have you ever heard of the term “soul-mates”? That’s people who agree with one another and feel a bond with one another. Even though it’s a very perverted thing in the world, nevertheless there’s a sense of, “I belong to this person. We’re united and we’re together. It goes much deeper than a friendship. We are one in terms of ideas, concepts, the direction we are going and everything that we are. We feel a unity and a connection to call ourselves soul-mates.” In Genesis 9:5 it tells us why on a soul level we can relate to animals. Animals have a soul. They have being. They have life. Why do people feel such an attachment to their dog or hamster? There’s something else happening. A dog doesn’t particularly serve me. My dog doesn’t even bring me anything, she just gets in the way. She doesn’t even bring me the newspaper. Yet I feel a unity and a kinship with my dog.
Genesis 9:5 – And for your lifeblood I will surely demand an accounting. I will demand an accounting from every animal. And from each man, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of his fellow man.
I am not going to explain this because I can’t. All I can tell you is what it says. All I can tell you is that God will somehow come to my dog and demand an account for her life.
Genesis 9:5 – And for your lifeblood I will surely demand an accounting. I will demand an accounting from every animal. . .
We are right back to what we looked at in Ecclesiastes. Man is no different than the animals. He will demand an accounting. I suppose that means God will go to a worm and say, “Were you the best worm you could be?” I don’t know. All I know is that God says he will do it and it will be done.
Genesis 9:5 – . . . And from each man, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of his fellow man.
Man has a soul and that means that he relates to other people and other creation. So it’s on a soul level that we are to have a bond with one another and be accountable to one another. It’s the soul by which we reach each other. Of course after the fall more people relate to their animals than they do to other human beings. Everything is really twisted around.
Genesis 9:15 – I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life.
So there is a relationship where God comes to all animals and makes a covenant with them. Man again is unique in that he’s made in the image of God, but we all relate to other created things by way of the soul. Everyone has a basic personality of who they are. It is by the soul that we communicate and feel. You don’t even have to say a word and you feel a bond with some people because it’s on a spiritual level that you are communicating. When’s the last time you talked to your dog or cat, yet somehow you feel a bond with your pet and hope your animal does also. Something else is taking place that’s deeper than the cat just loving you because you opened a can of cat food.
Genesis 9:15 – I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life.
Remember in Genesis 3:1 that the serpent talked to Eve.
Genesis 3:1 – Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”
Somehow the serpent is communicating on a deeper level than just verbally, unless the serpent actually talked in her language. It could have been somehow on a soul level that they were communicating. Now I don’t want us to go too far with all of this. It’s just a soul, and it’s how we are created. This is one aspect of man. It will be important later as we look at the fall of man to see how man now relates to everything. But this is about as far as we need to go with it, so I don’t want to hear too many discussions about whether animals have souls and are going to go to hell. Scripture doesn’t say.
Genesis 3:14 – So the LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you above all the livestock and all the wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life.”
There was a personality, communication, and reasoning on the part of the serpent. He pays a price just as Adam and Even paid a price. The serpent used his personality and his soul to pervert truth and got her to sin. In the same way, we became perverted and everything became twisted. So man has a soul and he relates not only to other men this way, but to the whole world and all of creation. When this becomes perverted, what happens? People begin to worship trees and elevate nature above everything else. They feel a bond with nature and there’s no denying that it’s there. It’s not that they are crazy. There is a bond with nature, but since the fall it’s just really twisted and perverted. The idea was never to worship the serpent or creation. That’s not what God had in mind.
Man also has a spirit. The spirit is the action part of a man. It’s the extension of his soul. The best way to think of the soul is a static kind of independent thing that doesn’t have much movement. It desires, wants and loves but it doesn’t live things out. The spirit of a man is the action that he shows forth.
1 Corinthians 2:11 – For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.
The spirit is man’s thoughts and actions. It’s what moves forward. In the beginning the thoughts of God, the love of God and action of God were moving toward man. God’s Spirit moves toward man and man receives and pulls that into himself. No one knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of a man. The spirit is what moves forward and wants to go out. In other words, the soul has a desire for money but it is the spirit of man that goes to get the money. The soul of a man is greedy and that greed wants to be fulfilled. The soul fulfills that desire through the spirit of a man. So the spirit then begins to concoct a scheme in order to get rich, to express itself, and to move forward. Remember when Jesus’ mother said, “My soul and my spirit rejoices.” Everything was moving forward, coming out and showing forth. Now remember all things come from God in the beginning to receive from his Spirit. Our spirit was supposed receive everything from God’s Spirit.
Acts 17:28 – “For in him we live and move and have our being.” As some of your own poets have said, “We are his offspring.”
When we say that God is love, we mean he is action. When you talk about love today in the world it’s an idea, concept, or goal. But we are talking about the very essence of who God is―God is love. In other words, if we talked about electricity it is something that is happening and takes place. We can talk about it in terms of theory and how it flows, but if you grab a hold of a cord you have electricity. That’s what it is and that’s how it moves. So in the same way, in the beginning God’s love was flowing down. Truth was flowing. Everything was coming from God to man’s spirit because he was hungering for God. Man was in contact with God and so his soul was constantly refined, purified and made holy. That was reflected in his body and flowed out to other men and all creation. Very soon that will be broken when Eve sins.
The important thing to remember is that only God can really make all these definitions clear. This is by no means to be taken as any type of absolute statement. Let’s review. The body is equal to dust, that which can be seen. Scripture compares our bodies to the physical church or to the temple.
2 Corinthians 6:16 – What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.”
The body is to be a temple. It’s the physical part that can be seen. It is very, very important to remember that our bodies are considered a temple as we move into other things. Secondly, a man has a soul. This is his basic personality, what we call life itself. Your soul is the “I” of you. The soul is the basic foundation of your character and a life that makes up who you are. The soul loves, thinks, reasons, achieves, strives, mourns, grieves, rejoices, feels sorry, and feels sympathy, just to name a few. When we speak of a darkened soul we mean that a person has a twisted personality. Love and reason is all in the wrong direction.
Psalms 31:9 – Be merciful to me, O LORD, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and my body with grief.
You really can’t separate the two, but he’s saying his soul, his very life is in grief. Remember when Jesus was praying in the garden and said, “My soul is overwhelmed to the point of death.” That means his very life, his very essence was dying. He was overwhelmed to that degree.
Matthew 26:38 – Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”
Notice the desire for fellowship. “Stay here with me. Relate to me on a soul level. Be here with me. I am overwhelmed to the point of death.” The soul is what we relate to one another with.
The spirit is the activity of the soul and the activity of the physical body. The soul may love money, but it’s the spirit of man that moves to get the money. For example, God’s Spirit hovered over the waters and then that Spirit acted to make light. After that God saw that the light was good (his soul appreciated his creation).
Genesis 1:2-3 – Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.
So the Spirit of God was poised for action, hovering over the waters. Then God said “Let there be light,” and there was light. It was the action of his soul.
Genesis 1:4 – God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness.
Then God appreciated that it was good.
John 16:13 – But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.
The Spirit just relays what is in the soul of a man. The Spirit relays what is in God’s heart. So now you should pretty well have the definitions down.
Ok, now let’s look at the fall of man. To understand the fall of man (we’ll get into the details of that more in the coming sermons), you have to understand clearly the perfection of man. In the beginning man was totally and absolutely dependent upon God for everything. This is what Jesus Christ came to restore.
John 5:19 – Jesus gave them this answer: “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself;”
Jesus Christ could not do one thing by himself. Not meaning that he didn’t have the capability to do it. This doesn’t mean that somehow his arms were broken and he wasn’t able to do anything. What he meant was that he was so in love with God that he would not act or do one thing separate from the very direct will of God being communicated and flowing through his life.
John 5:19 – Jesus gave them this answer: “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.”
This is man in his creation. This is man when he was perfect and in a relationship with God.
John 5:20 – For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, to your amazement he will show him even greater things than these.
In the perfection of the beginning, Adam didn’t have to decide what was good and evil. God, who was love, was constantly pouring out to him only truth, only light. There was no need for that kind of reasoning. They were in perfect harmony and unity. So we see within Jesus Christ this ideal relationship put back into place. But men constantly think for themselves concerning religion, who God is, what scripture says, how their lives should be, where they will live, what they will do, where they will worship, and how they will spend their money. They take their lives in their hands and become God.
1 John 4:16 – And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.
What does it say we rely on? The love God has for us. What does that mean to most Christians? It means that most Christians independently, without surrender, though they talk about the word, live their Christian lives saying, “I rely on God’s love and mercy to allow me into heaven.” That’s not what Jesus Christ meant. In John 5:19 he effectively said, “I love the Father. God, who is love, is communicating to me all of his will, and what he wants to work. His will flows out from me and I never resist what God wants to work through me. For in him is life, in him is purpose, in him is everything that was created and by him all things hold together. So I would never step out of his will to do anything on my own. I rely on his love.” That’s what it means. It does not mean I am free to do whatever I want to do, to live my independent life and I rely upon the mercy of God because I claim Jesus Christ. It doesn’t mean I can claim the blood of the lamb to allow me in heaven when I finally get there. That’s exactly what most people mean. They don’t have the surrender, they don’t even know they are supposed to surrender. They would reject it if it was presented to them and so they are not born again. He who is in his perfection is like Jesus Christ. We rely on the love God has for us. That is, we live in his love, in his power, and we have surrendered everything for the Lord, therefore we hear and receive from him everything directly. We fellowship with him just as it was in the beginning.
Hosea 12:6 – But you must return to your God; maintain love and justice, and wait for your God always.
Everybody agrees with “maintain love and justice” but it’s the waiting part that very few people want. Jesus Christ did not have one independent thought apart from God. He waited on God at every moment to have his wisdom, knowledge, and thoughts. For in God is life. You are still distinct, you still have a soul, but you are dependent upon his Spirit to give you life in everything. Remember when Jesus’ brothers came to him and told him to go to the feast. Jesus said it was not time for him to go but told them to go on because any time was right for them. “Any time you want to do anything spiritual just go do it, because that’s what you do anyway.” Scripture says that after his brothers left, Jesus went to the feast. It might have been 10 minutes later. Jesus did not have one independent thought. He didn’t even say, “It’s not time for me to go, but if God tells me to, I’ll go later,” because God didn’t tell him to say that. He was constantly in a position of always waiting on God for everything. But we mouth our opinions, don’t we. We talk about God’s will in what we want to do. We are a people that act and do all kinds of things for God. We have not yet learned to wait on our God always. We will get into this in more detail later. This is what it means to return to God.
Let’s go back to the garden. The serpent comes along and some things begin to unravel. The serpent basically came down and said, “You don’t have to wait on God. You can be as God. You can be independent, act, be separate and be self-reliant. You can be unto yourself.” Hosea says to wait on God always but the serpent says, “Why wait. Just act, just do, just fulfill who you are.”
Genesis 3:1-4 – Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’” “You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman.
The first thing we need to notice is that Eve knew God’s word. She quoted scripture. She says, “God did say.” She gets it down, it’s in context, and it’s in Hebrew. “Yes, we can touch any tree but that tree.” The serpent doesn’t debate that issue. So in same way, we find in the church people quoting scripture. “Oh, I know scripture says this, but I think this. But the context was different,” or “the social economic times were different.” It’s the serpent talking every single time. “Yes God did say. I know it says it right there but there’s got to be a different explanation for it.” The serpent says, “Act on your own. Think on your own. You decide what’s good or evil. Is that really what God meant? Did God really say? Is that really what he’s trying to communicate to man? You have to distrust what this Spirit is saying. No man can really know the truth.” And so he has her.
Genesis 3:4-5 – “You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
By all outward experience, she didn’t really die. In fact, Adam lived to be 930 years old. You can cut a flower and it’s dead. It might take awhile for that flower to totally deteriorate and the petals to fall off, but you have pronounced the death sentence. In the same way, once she had done this, she died, though it might have taken some time for it to manifest.
Genesis 3:5 – For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.
Now the character of God is maligned. His image is maligned. Satan plants the seed that God no longer wishes you good. When you even talk to people about obeying the commands of God, they think you are bringing down legalism. Here is where it began. Had she been a Baptist she would have turned and said to God, “You are being a legalist. Why shouldn’t I touch that tree? We are freed from legalism. We are able to do those things.”
Genesis 3:6 – When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.
Now the relationship is broken. Now man has become the center of everything. Man has become totally separated from love, from life, from all that is good, from the source of everything that holds everything together. Man followed Satan’s whispers. “You will gain wisdom. You will gain knowledge. You will gain understanding. It will be pleasing to you. It is pleasing to the eye. You will grow in wisdom. You will become exalted. You will be the center of all things.” Now everything is perverted. Man begins to decide what is good and what is evil. Men do the same thing in terms of God’s word. They read it and decide what is good and what is bad. They are still not born again. What happened when man fell? He became separated from all that was really wisdom. So now he has no understanding. Adam and Eve were separated from life and have become death. Everything they do, everything they touch and everything they examine is from a position of self.
Genesis 3:6-7 – When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
Who told them they were naked? No one. Where did they get this wisdom that concluded that being naked was something nasty? Why did they conclude it was sin, and it was wrong? Where did they get this wisdom that came to the conclusion that being naked is somehow perverted and to be enjoyed in a sinister way? For themselves. Their whole grand conclusion once man fell and began deciding good from evil was that being naked was a crime against the universe.
Genesis 3:7 – Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
What is emphasized in this scripture: “they,” “themselves.” They concluded that being naked was a crime so they made coverings for themselves to cover their sin. So man has now picked all these things that he’s decided are wrong. “It’s wrong to do this. It’s wrong to do that.” And we cover ourselves in all kinds of directions. There are whole colleges and universities devoted to the psychology of the proper way we should raise children and conduct ourselves. We have concluded that these things are wrong and these things are right. We are totally separated from him who should be telling us the right thing to do.
Genesis 3:8 – Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden.
Remember that Jesus said he loved the Father and the Father loved him so the Father showed him everything. They communicated. They loved one another and related to each other. It’s a grotesque simplification to say they related on a soul level. They were one. And in the beginning God would come on the earth and walk in the cool of the day to communicate and fellowship with man. Now we have trouble in our prayer time getting in contact with God and feeling like we are fellowshipping with him. In the beginning that fellowship was so close that God came down and walked on the earth in the cool of the day. They sat down and chatted with each other. But man wanted to be independent. He didn’t want to receive fellowship from God. What we are talking about here is the essence of fellowship, not some aspect of morality or just deciding what was good and evil. This is not reduced down to the Christian religion or what kind of rules we need to set down to live. We are talking about being born again and coming back to a place that says, “I don’t know anything. I surrender to you. Let’s fellowship in the cool of the day.” That is really the goal.
Genesis 3:9-11 – But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?” He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”
Where did you come up with the conclusion that you were naked? God obviously knew man had fallen. He knows all things. He wanted desperately to reason with Adam. Remember they had a relationship. Like any Father to a son, “What are you doing? Where are you at? What is going on?” The Father understands. He knows the child has been disobedient. But it’s important that the child admit it. So what is the whole gospel call; “Where are you at? What are you doing? How did you come to the conclusion you came to?” If man would just acknowledge that he has lost all reason, all sanity, all source of life, and all love, then there’s hope. When a man can stand up and say, “My grandmother is equal to Hitler. She is the most vile, wicked, mass murderer on the face of the earth,” there is hope. Because anyone who is separated from God is separated from love, therefore everything that a man does is reduced down to its most wicked and vile level. If you look deep enough will you see that everything man does is for himself. Even in his worship of God, man cannot break this vicious cycle of self. People continue to cry out to God so they can go to heaven, so they can have some peace and gain something from God. In the beginning Adam was unaware of self. He wasn’t aware that he was taking from God or had to have certain things from God. They just fellowshipped. If you look at husband and wife relationships that are not in the Lord, they live together because they gain something from each other. Even a woman who has a child speaks of the joy that the child gives her. The father who is proud of his son is proud of what the son represents in terms of bringing pride to him. The fact that you can’t see how sinister and selfish you are only demonstrates that you are not born again. You have not tasted the new life. When you can speak of your grandmother as the most wicked woman on the face of the earth, then there is some hope. Because everything comes back to the pride of man. “Who told you? Where are you at? How did you get in this condition?” How did you come to the grand conclusion that being naked is a crime? Isn’t that how God created you? Isn’t that what God gave you? You felt no shame or guilt. Then in all your grand wisdom this is the best you can come up with? Truly they had sunk to a low level.
Proverbs 18:2-3 tells us that man delights in his own opinions. Since we know good and evil, since we can go to the word of God and read and understand it, we think we have it all down. But before the fall we were in a relationship with the Word of God. The Word was in us. It’s what filled us. It was pure and holy.
Proverbs 18:2 – A fool finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in airing his own opinions.
What are Sunday school classes all over this country but people sitting around in a circle, reading a scripture and then everybody giving their opinions about what they think it means. They are a bunch of fools running around, as proud as they can be, not realizing they are just like the dog next door. I could care less if my dog thinks the earth is round. I don’t care what his opinion is about anything. It’s of no value. So we run around saying “I’m a human being. I’ve been created by God. I’m special. I have this mind and this wisdom. I can read God’s word and put it all together. I have the understanding. You are wrong on that point and I’m right on this point.” Adam and Eve concluded that being naked was wrong. That was their opinion. That was the conclusion of the height of their glory. It’s just been downhill ever since.
Proverbs 18:2 – A fool finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in airing his own opinions.
What is understanding? The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Meaning what? You hate your opinions. You hate your thoughts. Jesus Christ didn’t have an independent thought. He didn’t say, “Gee, God, I love you but I am a republican,” or “I have this opinion about the way you should do things in this circumstance.” He knew that God’s will was best in everything. He knew God was love and everything that God did was perfect, even if he didn’t understand everything that happened.
Proverbs 18:3 – When wickedness comes, so does contempt, and with shame comes disgrace.
Is this not what happened with man? He had an opinion. He gained some wisdom and knowledge. Then they had to sew fig leaves together to cover the disgrace of their shame. In a church where people are born again, people do not express their opinions. They are dead and dying to their opinions. They hate their opinions. They realize the first opinion in the garden of Eden was wrong and any other opinion from that is just totally downhill. Do people really know what it is to be born again, to wait on God always, to not have an opinion about anything until God tells them what that opinion should be? Then it’s not your opinion, it’s his wisdom, and it’s him. No, we are fools. We delight in this. We think this is grand. We think this is Christianity. We think it’s life. I have seen very few men who are not proud of their opinions. Man has concluded that basically he doesn’t need God anymore.
Psalms 53:1 – The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, and their ways are vile; there is no one who does good.
There are a lot of people in church today that are saying this in their heart. The fool says in his heart there is no God, because to say there is a God means you have some fear and trembling about your opinions, and that’s just a basic beginning. To say there is a God means I’m not going to live where I want to live, or buy the car I want to buy, or do anything I want to do. To say there is a God means you submit to that God. To say there’s a God means you understand that God is love, and any love you have apart from God is wickedness toward other people. If a man says with his lips he believes in God, it doesn’t mean his heart is pure. Just look at his life. Look and see if he’s born again. When man fell all his relationships broke apart completely. First the relationship between God and man broke down. Next came a breakdown between man and woman.
John 4:27 – Just then his disciples returned and were surprised to find him talking with a woman. But no one asked, “What do you want?” or “Why are you talking with her?”
I’m not going to give you some stupid opinion like you hear all the time, “Well you know that was the social situation back then. They looked down on women. They were considered servants and they were surprised he was talking to a woman.” This goes back to the garden. Give me a break. The woman gave man the food. In fact he blames the woman. So there is within man this constant blaming of woman for his problems. There is a resentment for who she is and what she costs. So immediately when we sin and separate ourselves from God relationships break totally. Man is no longer in unity with his wife. In other words these men are not sensitive enough. Here he is talking to a woman with certain needs, but he could care less about her. That’s just ingrained in man. That’s just who he is. When a woman complains about that, she’s right. Now on the other hand, of course, she thinks she has all the wisdom about how to put his life together and make sure he’s sensitive, but that’s a whole different problem. How sad it is that after the fall relationships begin to break down because man is the center and now man looks at woman in terms of what he can get from her. Now if being naked is a crime then lust is what he would use her for. Now he looks at her in terms of how she can fulfill his needs. Everything comes back to self. God is out of the picture and man is the center of it. In the same way the woman wants to know what she can get from man. Everything is reduced down to the base level of animals. People are no longer soul mates. That is all shattered. It’s all flesh and what people can gain from each other. No longer are we in a right relationship with animals.
Proverbs 12:10 – A righteous man cares for the needs of his animal, but the kindest acts of the wicked are cruel.
In the beginning (we are going to cover this in detail later on) man was not just a vegetarian, he only ate fruit. Later on he began to eat some of the grass of the field (spinach and things like that). After the flood man began to eat animals. Man now eats those creatures he named as pets. The first thing that God did when he made Adam was bring all the animals to him to see what he would name them. It would be like me bringing a puppy to Joshua and asking him to name it. His soul reaches out to the animal and he gives it a name, and then I tell him that he has so sinned that he now needs to eat his pet. People now eat the animals that Adam named. That’s how far man has gone.
Proverbs 12:10 – A righteous man cares for the needs of his animal, but the kindest acts of the wicked are cruel.
This gives us both sides doesn’t it. What did I say about grandma? The kindest acts of grandma are cruel. When she brings you cookies and milk you should say, “Grandma, why are you being cruel to me?” The kindest and most loving thing she could do, if it’s done apart from Jesus Christ is cruel. It has a selfish and vile motive to it. Grandma is a mass murderer. But when everything is restored as it should be then the righteous take care of their animals. How much more are they kind to others and show love to others when that relationship is restored again. This happens when we really are born again. Even today we see how this is all perverted. Don’t people either abuse animals or worship them. No longer is man in unity with the way things are supposed to be. Man is to himself. All he can see is himself in everything. He is God. He has become the center of everything. When God is taken out of the picture and man is left alone he becomes as God. He is now independent. He is now separate. Only God is sovereign in terms of eternity and the source of all life. But man has become god. Now everything centers and worships around him. What a sinister thing self is. Men worship God because it comes back to them. Men and women marry because it benefits themselves. If you ask God to open your eyes to show you who you are, he will show you that everything you do and think and act on comes back to you. Why do you think Jesus says you have to deny and hate your own life? We have become totally, absolutely self-centered. Man must believe that he has no interest in being born again. Man is now in a vicious cycle. Man has a spirit, body and soul. The spirit originally would be acting toward God. But now since man is all that he is, man talks to his soul, his spirit talks to his soul, his body talks to the soul and all they can do is see each other. The body says, “I want this certain comfort.” The body talks to the spirit, the spirit talks to the soul and everybody is just going out to get what they can from each other. The spirit is acting on the attitudes of the soul and tries to gain everything for self. So man makes his own god. Originally his spirit was listening to the voice of God. But when man fell he began to mock that voice. So you hear people say, “I felt the presence of God.” Was it from being born again or was it because they are mocking the voice of God. Their spirit speaks to their soul and says, “I hear this voice. I feel this from God. Go get it for self.” That’s the ultimate test. If someone says they hear from God, self should be dying. Only God can make us born again so the cycle is broken. The bottom line is man does everything for himself and unto him self. He has become god.
Ecclesiastes 4:4 – And I saw that all labor and all achievement spring from man’s envy of his neighbor.
Man is god and no one will top him. He will have everything. Everything will come unto him. What is hell but everybody saying, “It’s all mine.” How many times do you hear someone say, “Who do they think they are?” Implying of course that they themselves are somebody and the other person is no one. Very seldom do you hear someone say, “That person is greater than I am.” Instead we hear, “Who do they think they are to act like that. They think they are so talented, and so gifted.” I can tell you who they think they are. They think they are god just like you do. When you get two gods running head to head with each other, they are going to fight. Each person is superior, each person wants everything. It’s all theirs. Whether you believe it or not, God says that all labor springs from envy.
Ecclesiastes 4:4 – And I saw that all labor and all achievement spring from man’s envy of his neighbor. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.
Remember what we saw in Isaiah? They gave birth to wind. We have not brought salvation to the earth. We have not proclaimed the new life. Men who are born again quit striving and learn to wait on God. If they don’t have something it doesn’t matter. They wait on God. How much striving there is even in the church. Why do you think there are so many spiritual stories that get so out of hand? Somebody walks into church and says, “I felt the presence of the Lord in my quiet time.” Me too. Then someone else tells their story, and somebody overhears that story and by the time it reaches the 500th person everybody’s story is exaggerated. Why do you think the books in the bookstores are so exaggerated from the truth? I have inside information on what these writers do. They embellish their stories. The most mundane things become the most spiritual things in their lives. They hear God more on an hourly basis than I hear in a year. All things spring from man’s envy of other men. “Oh, you heard God like that. Something’s missing with me.” So our striving is not to hear God because of who God is, but because somebody else gained something we don’t have. They have some peace. They have a spiritual gift. They have something that I don’ have and I’m not going to put up with it. I’m god and who do they think they are? If God can bless them he can bless me and he better do it now. Do you see the viciousness?
I am trying to show you the hopelessness of self. Until God breaks our competitiveness by the cross, until he breaks us and we could care less what so and so has, until we quit striving and learn to wait on God always, we will never have the new life. Do you know what it really amounts to? Until all that matters to you is greeting him in the garden and sitting down to talk to him, you don’t have anything from him. I don’t have to gain any glory from this, I don’t have to gain anything for myself from this, in fact I don’t even want to be conscious that I am there. I just want to fellowship with him. How much the church would be changed and Christians would be born again if this took place. We really would be presenting life to other people. When people wonder what you are trying to offer them, say, “I am trying to offer you fellowship with God in the cool of the day.” They say, “Oh, is that it? What do I get out of the deal?” Instead of saying, “You simply get God,” we say, “Oh, you can have salvation.” We bribe people. “You can gain all these things. You can have peace. If your life is miserable you can gain freedom. It’s all here for free. Just take it. Jesus Christ will give it to you. The gift is free.” Who is interested if you just simply say, “What I am going to offer you today is fellowship with God where you can sit down in the cool of the day and have a cup of coffee with him.” The response that usually comes back is, “What do I get? What gifts does he have?” Man has to be above everything. He uses his wife, nature and the whole universe for his own pleasure. Everything has to center around him no matter how stupid it is. Why do you think people go for money, and more money and they never have enough? Because they think they are god and the entire universe rotates around them. Isn’t that why people keep complaining, “Oh, it’s so hot today.” What? God is supposed to arrange the sun so you are not so hot today? Everything has to center around you.
All Satan was trying to do in the Garden of Eden was create the ultimate in distrust. This is why faith is so necessary. Man said, “I no longer trust God. I trust only myself.” Why do you think in our movies the macho man is always independent? He’s by himself, and he can handle any situation that is glorified and held up. It goes back to the original fall. Man has become independent. He doesn’t need God. He doesn’t need anybody and he resents anybody telling him that he does. Even in the church people refer to God as “My personal Lord and Savior.” I don’t need you, I have my salvation. I am independent of you. That soul is still not broken. They are no longer relating on a fellowship level. They are not born again. Nowhere in scripture do you ever find Paul saying, “My personal Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” No where is it written. Notice in scripture that when he talks about salvation, he talks about it in the context of “we.” He talks about it in the context of fellowship. It’s the ultimate in selfishness to say, “He’s my personal Lord and Savior.” These type of people usually have the attitude of, “Who are you? Not only am I god, I have a relationship with the God and who are you to tell me or question anything different?”
2 Thessalonians 2:4 – He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.
How can he get by with this in this world? Because everybody does the same thing. They exalt themselves. They stand up and say, “I am above everything else. I am going to heaven. I am cleared. I belong to God.” Everybody has become independent, separated from life and are running around like complete fools saying, “I am god.” Maybe they are not using those exact terms just yet, but there will come a time when sin is so rampant and man’s rebellion is so strong, when God finally draws back his spirit from the world and man will begin to say, “I can become a god. These things can be achieved.” All you have to do is look in your heart right now to know whether or not you will fall for it. To the degree that we are born again, surrendered and turning back to that which we fell from will show you whether or not you will follow the Anti-Christ. What a sinister thing self is. Are not people doing that now? They are just running around as little gods doing their own thing. There’s a demon called Beelzebub. Do you know what he’s king of? The dung heap. He thinks all the dung is his. Fine, you want all the dung, it’s yours. But he’s proud of it. We are just like him. We have our dung heaps, and we keep collecting the dung. “It’s all mine. You can’t have it.” Until a man wakes up and realizes that everything he’s collecting is nothing but a bunch of dung, he will never want to be born again. Beelzebub doesn’t want to be born again. He doesn’t want anything to do with God. He would rather have his dung heap than a relationship with God. Now do you understand why God has to judge self? Why God is coming back to send those people to hell? They deserve hell. To trade God for dung is the ultimate in distrust. To have been in the Garden of Eden, to fellowship with God in the cool of the day and turn your back on that is the deepest of sin. To not return to God now even though you see a little bit of the consequences of self, to not surrender everything to God, is the ultimate spitting in the face of all that is true, just, and lovely. A man who does that is worthy of hell over and over again.
Father, we ask that you open our eyes to just how much self that we live in that we might be in despair, and throw ourselves in the mercy seat. That we might, Father, allow you to restore to us that relationship. To long in our hearts, soul and spirit and all that we are, Father, just to fellowship with you in the cool of the day. Oh, Lord, only you can do this. Only you can open the eyes of the blind as no man can deliver from self. Deliver us, Oh God, from the lies that we live and believe. Teach us, Oh Lord, how to present life on this earth, to give birth and declare the full message. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
This transcription has been edited to a reader friendly format. Every effort has been made to be true to the speaker’s original message. Any mistranslations are unintentional.