Come Let Us Reason
Romans 3:5 – But if our unrighteousness brings out God’s righteousness more clearly, what shall we say? That God is unjust in bringing his wrath on us? (I am using a human argument.)
Let’s look at four points and put them in a human way of outlining things. I’ll say it is the psychology of God’s way of dealing with man so we will be sure to understand exactly what we are looking at.
Romans 6:19 – I put this in human terms because you are weak in your natural selves. Just as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness.
He put it in psychological terms in human arguments and discussions be-cause we are weak in our natural selves. He explained it in a human way so the people would understand. I want to put this in human terms so we can understand too. I know we don’t understand it. I can see it in the way we reach out to other people, the way we raise our children, and in our prayers. I know we really don’t understand God’s way with man the way he works with us. Let’s look at the psychology of God’s way with man. God says:
Isaiah 1:18 – “Come now, let us reason together,” says the LORD.
God calls each of us to sit down with him and discuss things to debate with him. He asks us to come and talk, reason, think, and say things out loud. Have you ever noticed how God is slow to speak and how much he allows man to talk?
Isaiah 1:18-20 – “Come now, let us reason together,” God says, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best of the land; but if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword.” For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.
Our sins are cleansed with reasoning together with the Lord. Our sins are washed away. Though they are red like scarlet and are everywhere, they will be pure, white and clean because we came into a relationship with God and began to reason with him. Now, how many of us feel like we reason with the Lord? How many of us feel when we talk to other people that we are drawing them into a discussion or debate with the Living God? In our prayers and our relationship with God, how much of it is reasoning, debating, or discussing with the Lord? “Come now, let us reason together.” He says in the process of this reasoning with God that our sins will be dealt with. What are people missing? They wouldn’t reason with God. They wouldn’t sit down and discuss, or listen with God. They wouldn’t pray and ask. God bids us to come and reason with him. I know we don’t understand it because I can see that in the way we raise our children. We tell them something is right or wrong. We don’t teach them to reason or think. We don’t draw them out into the light and teach them to examine their hearts. We seem to have a list of laws and we say, “This is what you need to do. This is right. This is wrong. This is proper. This is improper.” But, we do not teach them to search their own hearts. We do the same thing when we talk with other people. We ask them a question and don’t give them time to reason or to think about what is presented to them. If they say one thing that is not right, we immediately jump in and correct what they say. We think that we have to explain everything that is in the Scriptures.
In Mark, we see that Jesus wants to teach the people to reason with God. He wants to teach us to think, and there is a purpose for this.
Mark 4:1-2 – Again Jesus began to teach by the lake. The crowd that gathered around him was so large that he got into a boat and sat in it out on the lake, while all the people were along the shore at the water’s edge. He taught them many things by parables…
Why parables? That is not how we teach. We explain the parables. We outline them. We give them the four steps to salvation. We have commentaries about what the Bible states. We have volumes of explanations. Everything is perfectly laid out, but not so with Jesus Christ. He visits. He says for us to come and reason with him, and then he says everything by parables. Why? The reason is that God does not deal with what we deal with. We are concerned about our minds but that is not what God is concerned with. That is the last thing he is concerned with. God is only concerned with the heart. He isn’t interested in making it like an exam where you learn certain facts; “I’ll give you the exam now and then regurgitate them back to me.” Yet, in our evangelism and the raising of our children even in our own relationship with God we think that is what it is about. We think about facts or information, and that somehow if we say or do the right things, or think the proper things that somehow we are in a right relationship with God that somehow we have arrived. Why do you think so many people accept others who say they are Christians? It is because they don’t look at, and fail to deal with, the heart.
Mark 4:33 – With many similar parables Jesus spoke the word to them, as much as they could understand.
He did not say, “Look at this.” He did not say anything to them without using a parable. Jesus didn’t die on the cross to change our logic or give us correct theology. Jesus Christ did not bleed so that our sons and daughters might act in a proper religious manner. Jesus Christ said everything in a parable. Why a parable? Why not just give us the facts, Jesus? Why not just write them on a chalkboard, explain to us what they mean, and tell us the five different aspects of God? Why not give us the psychology of God’s way with man, Jesus Christ? He spoke in parables.
Mark 4:34 – He did not say anything to them without using a parable. But when he was alone with his own disciples, he explained everything.
They heard the teachings from Jesus. They heard the parables and then confusion set in. “What did he mean by this? What would he possibly mean by that?” But, when we are alone with Jesus Christ and sit down to reason with him, then he explains everything to us. He bids us to come to him. He doesn’t deal with our minds, but with our hearts. What is the first thing that should happen when a man reads a parable? He should examine his heart. When you look at a parable you should ask, “How does this apply in the world? How does this apply to my life? How does it apply to my heart?” This is not so with facts. I can teach you that two plus two equals four, but it may never cross your mind to ask, “How does that apply to my life?” Listening to the parables of Jesus Christ should cause us to sit down and be concerned with what he says. We should find out how it relates to us and the world. We should ask ourselves, “What does my heart have to say about that?” Jesus always spoke in parables so that we might reason before the Lord and sit down and say, “What in the world are you talking about?” When we evangelize with other people, do we teach them to reason or do we give them all the answers? Do we say, “You have to say it this way,” or “Oh, no, that is not the correct way to say that”? Do we just present them the questions? Do we lay out the parable as the Spirit would lead and let them decide, think, and reason as to what is in their hearts? In short, what Jesus wants us to do with the parables is to say, “I don’t understand what you mean. Explain it to me.” That is exactly what the disciples did.
Number one: Be slow to speak and quick to listen. Have you ever noticed how loud God is with his silence? God is very, very, very slow to speak. It is extremely frustrating for us as Christians when it takes him so long to talk. Have you ever compared that in how you evangelize or in your relationship with God, other people, or your children? How quick we are to explain, talk, and correct.
James 1:19-20 – My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.
Being slow to speak always! Is God not slow to speak? Does he not delay in saying things to man? Is he not quiet? Why? It is like a father waits for a child to quit his temper tantrum so he can begin the discussion, so God waits for us to settle down long enough to say, “What do you mean, God?” and give him a chance to speak. You know how it is when you talk to a child and try to teach him something, but he tries to explain why he did something. You can’t say anything because he is constantly interrupting. If you stand there long enough and there is nothing left for him to say, then you might be able to explain to him what is going on. Why be slow to speak? It is a holy silence that causes men to search their hearts, souls, and spirits. We are concerned about proper P’s and Q’s, that everything is logically correct, and everybody understands everything. Jesus deals with our hearts. It says: “Slow to become angry.” Slow to any type of anger or correction ignore that urge. I’m not saying that never happens but, there is a slowness and understanding about what you will do. There is a reason behind it. We must allow other people to say things that are totally and absolutely stupid. Look at the disciples. Did not Jesus allow them to do it to draw it out of them? They followed Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and talked about who would be the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus Christ turned to them and said, “What did you talk about along the road?” Didn’t he know what they talked about? Didn’t he understand what they said? He knew to ask the question, and he knew the sin they committed. Why didn’t he just simply rebuke them, as we would have done? Would we not have said, “That was stupid, guys. You are in pride!” He asked the question out loud. He said, “Let us reason together.” We get it out in the light. We say things that are pretty stupid and see how foolish they are as we reason before the Lord. What about our children? Do we teach them to reason before the Lord? Do we let them say all kinds of foolish things and then just ask the proper question, “What were you talking about? What were you doing?” We know the answers. We know the sin that is there. I am appalled when I see how little our children are able to do that, and how little we reason before the Lord. We teach other people to do the same thing not even knowing the proper questions to ask so that they might see their own hearts. God began his relationship with man in this way. What did he do? He gave man time to think, act, and speak, didn’t he? Are we slow to speak, slow to anger? Do we give people an opportunity to reason, think, and consider what we already know? You see, the issue is not to get you to logically say something correctly. For example, a child is at the table. He says, “Pass the salt.” We ask, “What are you supposed to say?” then he says, “Please,” but we never go deeper and ask, “What is the reason for saying ‘please’? Why didn’t you say ‘please’?” Have them see what was in their heart not to consider saying the word “please.” God is not interested in law. He tried that once and man could not live by it. The heart has to be changed.
Genesis 3:8-9 – 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. But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?”
Did God not know where he was? Was God lost in the Garden and couldn’t find Adam? Did he not understand where Adam might be? He understood. He knew Adam, but Adam didn’t know where God was, and he wanted Adam to consider and think. “Adam, where are you?” Adam had to consider the question. God didn’t just come to him, smack him down and say, “You’ve sinned,” and that’s it. He said, “Adam, what happened? What did you do? Consider. Think. What is going on? Let us reason together and your sins will be dealt with. Where are you?” In our evangelism with other people, we are to ask, “Where are you at?” We are not to get them to repeat some formula.
Genesis 3:10-11 – 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?”
Did God not know the answer to the question? Was he ignorant? What you see here is one step after another, one question after another. “Consider your life, Adam. Who told you that you were naked? What happened, Adam? Come into the light. Let us reason together. Understand the foolishness of what you are doing and saying.” When I sit down with younger people, I’ll ask them one question after another question, and box them in. I’ll let them dig their own hole with one question after another in order for them to see their own folly. It is not for me to show my superiority in asking questions, but for them to be able to see. I’ll say, “Wasn’t that stupid?” and they’ll say, “Yeah, that was stupid!” But, when we hold the questions inside, and never utter them with our mouths, or when somebody just tells us we are wrong, we think in our hearts that we are right somewhere. But if we get the questions in the light, and say what happened, we state who we are, and men begin to see their folly and stupidity. “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?” God didn’t know? He could have said, “Adam, you’re guilty” and Adam would have said, “Yeah, you’re right, I’m guilty.” God did more than that. He asked him questions so that Adam had to admit to his guilt not just one time! He didn’t say, “Did you eat of the tree? ”Yes, I did that and I’m guilty.” He asked, “Why did you do this? Why are you hiding? Why are you guilty? Why do you know you are naked? “one question after another to reveal Adam’s sin. He wore Adam down with questions. He brought Adam’s heart and actions out into the light.
Genesis 3:9-12 – 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?” The man said, “The woman you put here with me she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”
Of course he blamed God! Have you ever had that happen? God asked questions and Adam said, “It is your fault!” Don’t let that surprise you. Ask the questions. What did God do? Did he smack Adam across the face and say, “Shut up, Adam”? I’m not telling you that you don’t need to discipline children in a firm way, but what are we seeing here? When God asks the questions, we are allowed to say things that sound pretty smart aleck. “God, the woman you gave me, the one you put in the Garden, she came to me and it is her fault and yours.”
Genesis 3:13 – Then the LORD God said to the woman…
He didn’t even answer Adam’s questions. Why? You know that those statements will gnaw at Adam’s heart! You know that the folly and stupidity of what he said will eat away at his soul. God didn’t respond by lashing out. He didn’t react with quick anger. He just asked the questions and let Adam all the days of this life consider that comment that he made to the Living God.
Genesis 3:13 – Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
Do you know what is so sad about this whole conversation? They missed the whole thing. Not one time did Adam or Eve say they were sorry to God. That is all he was looking for! Not one time did Adam turn and say, “I’m guilty and that’s what I did. I’m sorry forgive me!” Not one time did it come from Adam or Eve’s lips. The one thing we miss in all of this reasoning together is that we never reach that point where we answer the questions, turn to God, and say, “I am sorry!” Isn’t that what we are looking for? If I lead someone to Jesus Christ and am asking him one question after another about his life, and revealing one thing after another, what is the whole purpose that I have in mind for him? It is for him to turn and throw his hands up and say, “You’re right, I’m sorry and I am wrong. I want to be forgiven.” “Come, let us reason together.” “Let me ask some basic questions,” God says, “Give me your answers and let’s see what the conclusion of the matter is.” Brothers and sisters, God doesn’t want robots! He doesn’t want us teaching other people to be robots, and he doesn’t want us training our children to be mindless creatures. He wants them to think, reason, to have the guilt and emotions in order to lead to one purpose to say, “I am sorry.” This is not Moses coming down off of the mountain providing the law, but Jesus Christ hanging on the cross so that people might ask the right questions in reasoning with the Living God. We look to our words. We look to our excuses and reasons why. That is exactly what Adam and Eve did. “These are my reasons. These are my excuses. This is why I did this.” All of the words and reasons were there. But, it never led them to ask if I’m to say, “I’m sorry.”
I want you to see how Jesus Christ began the evangelism of a whole town. He didn’t put stickers up on the telephone poles announcing a mass revival in the center of town. Look at what he did:
John 4:7 – When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?”
What a holy question! The first thing she has to consider is: Will I give the guy a drink or not? “Come, let us reason together.” Let me tell you, God can take a glass of water and turn it into an evangelism experience! Now, how much do we experience that kind of questioning in our life? How much do we feel the Holy Spirit asking us questions? He leaves it at that and then we are in all kinds of turmoil for the rest of the week. “Why did you do that?” Then, we have about seven days worth of excuses, and then maybe by Sunday we say, “You know, there really was no good excuse.” “I’m sorry.” How much in our evangelism with other people do we just ask the question? Ask the people in the world that are after money: “Why are you chasing after that piece of paper?” Then, walk away. How much are we really led of the Spirit? Do we ask the questions of our children, knowing that the Holy Spirit will do the work? “Will you give me a drink?”
John 4:16 – He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”
He knew the answer to all of these questions.
John 4:17-18 – “I have no husband,” she replied. Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”
It all started with a question. He made statements he already knew about. He drew her to answer him. “Go, call your husband…” He knew the answer to the question, but she had to bring it into the light and reveal her sin. She had to see the folly of her own life. I’m not saying there isn’t a time for rebukes. Jesus said the same things to the Pharisees, the Sadducees, and the disciples. But, there is an element missing in our relationship with man, with each other, with God, and with our children where we come along with the law and do not teach them to reason with the Lord.
Number two: We must ask the questions. In all of the things that we have looked at, God is in control of the situation. He always asked questions. Where we start to fail in sin is when the world asks us the questions and we’re on the defensive in order to explain all this. When the Holy Spirit leads in this kind of way, God asks the questions and allows man to answer but he asks the questions first.
John 8:3-5 – The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?”
How does Jesus respond to their questions and to their pressures?
John 8:6 – They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger.
He totally ignored their question. I don’t know what he wrote on the ground. If it were important I’m sure Scripture would tell us. The only thing for us to consider is that he ignored all of the pressures to answer. Are we that slow to speak? Somebody comes to us, and hits us with one question after another, “Well, what about God? What about the fact he does…” And, they go on and on for days and you don’t answer. You just draw in the sand. Never mind that they think that you have lost your mind. Be slow to speak and quick to listen.
John 8:7-8 – When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
Maybe he was writing a list of sins I don’t know. Now, those people walked away with more guilt and shame than all of our debates and arguments we put out and we would have said, “Oh, that’s wrong and you shouldn’t do that.” Why? He reasoned with the Living God and the sin was revealed. In Acts 26:24 you see that our whole lives should cause people to ask questions. Everything that we do in action, behavior, prayer, our relationship with God everything that we do should cause people to ask questions.
Acts 26:24-25 – At this point Festus interrupted Paul’s defense. “You are out of your mind, Paul!” he shouted. “Your great learning is driving you insane.” “I am not insane, most excellent Festus,” Paul replied. “What I am saying is true and reasonable.”
Now look at what Paul did:
Acts 26:26-27 – The king is familiar with these things, and I can speak freely to him. I am convinced that none of this has escaped his notice, because it was not done in a corner. King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know you do.
He asked a question, didn’t he? Look at King Agrippa’s reply:
Acts 26:28 – Then Agrippa said to Paul, “Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?”
He didn’t answer the question about believing the prophets, did he? The nature of Paul’s question was to drive home the fact that this man should be a believer of Jesus Christ. Agrippa has just finished telling Paul that he is insane, but Agrippa knows he is not. An insane man simply asked a question: “Do you believe the prophets or not, king?” And the king’s answer was, “Do you think you can convince me to become a Christian right now?” That had nothing to do with the question, did it? It had nothing to do with the debate of whether Paul was insane or not, did it? It had nothing to do with the discussion that was going on. Out of the clear blue, out of this one simple question he said, “Look, I’m not going to become a Christian today.” Why? Because it is a holy reasoning with God. The man’s heart was being tugged and pulled. His soul was in unrest. He didn’t know what to do with himself. He said, “You’re insane.” He didn’t know what to say! The king is the one who lost his grip. When the Spirit leads us to talk with other people, they will lose their grip. They will become angry and not want to have anything to do with you because of their facades and all of their walls are crumbling. They will become sorrowful for their sins. They will want to delay the conversation until another time. But, whatever the situation, the nature of the questions and the way the Holy Spirit works always leads people to lose their grip. Now, I ask you again, in your discussions with other people, and even in raising your children, how much do you cause them to lose their grip? Let them talk and explain. Let people at work say what they want to say. Ask the questions. Let the Spirit do its work. Say what you need to say, but let them come to the conclusion of the turmoil that is in their hearts. It is not a question of me saying, “That is just wrong.” It is a question of laying it out in such a way that they have to come to that conclusion. So what if I say, “That’s a wrong thing for you to do”? Who am I? If I lead them in the questions, if I show the scriptures, if I leave them there and say, “What do you think it says?” what can they say?
A man called me a couple of weeks ago. He said he had read the Grace tract. He said the whole thing was totally out of context. Of course, he said it was unloving, unkind, and a bunch of other things, and he thought every scripture was totally taken out of the context. I asked, “Tell me one scripture. Show me one scripture that I can change, that I can put into context show it to me.” There was a long pause on the telephone. He said, “Well, I’ll have to write you a letter.” Now, with everything was out of context, he still couldn’t come up with one thing to tell me to repent of. I asked the question. If I had said, “No, it isn’t. They are all in context. They are in their proper place, “and had gotten into an argument with the man, he would have always had one other argument in the back of his head so that he could say, “I’m right, that’s out of context.” But, I just asked the question: “Show me what I can repent of.” I was serious. If something were out of context I would have changed. But, I asked him the question to tell me what was wrong, and he could not do it. By the end of the conversation he said, “I’ll read over it again, and I may call you back to pick your brain some more.” Why? Because the question led him to consider. I wasn’t concerned with defending the tract or myself, but that all things were presented perfect in Jesus.
Acts 26:29-31 – Paul replied, “Short time or long I pray God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am, except for these chains.” The king rose, and with him the governor and Bernice and those sitting with them. They left the room, and while talking with one another, they said, “This man is not doing anything that deserves death or imprisonment.”
Once the king reached the point where he said, “Do you think you can convince me to become a Christian?” that was the end of the show. They didn’t want to go any further, did they? There was nothing else left to discuss. Even the world does not want to carry on for fear that they, too, might become Christians.
If there is anyone that God just listened to, it was Job and his friends. Talk about slow to speak, God was extremely slow to speak. Job was nearing the end of what he had to say. He said:
Job 31:35-37 – (Oh, that I had someone to hear me! I sign now my defense let the Almighty answer me; let my accuser put his indictment in writing. Surely I would wear it on my shoulder, I would put it on like a crown. I would give him an account of my every step; like a prince I would approach him.)
See Job’s boasting. Think of his conclusions and what he said. God listened to everything Job said. He listened to what all of his friends said. God was extremely quiet to these men. Would most of us have been that patient listening to this conversation? Suppose we had heard Job and his friends talking, do you think we could have really sat by that whole time and not interjected one comment into the conversation? God does the same thing to a lot of us. He is waiting for something to happen. Let’s read on:
Job 31:38-40 – “…if my land cries out against me and all its furrows are wet with tears, if I have devoured its yield without payment or broken the spirit of its tenants, then let briers come up instead of wheat and weeds instead of barley.” The words of Job are ended.
Why did God tell us that? Because it is the end of the chapter? I doubt it. “The words of Job are ended.” He had nothing left to say. He presented his case before the Almighty. He had said everything he knew to say. He was at the end of his rope. Then, what happened in the following chapters? The Lord God Almighty appeared before him and asked him some questions. Do you not think God is waiting for us to get to a place where the words of Tim end? He finally quits arguing, debating, discussing, and telling God what is best. God is just waiting for one thing to come to my lips the words of Tim have ended! All of the words and discussions have ceased the words that we pour out over and over again. Ecclesiastes says:
Ecclesiastes 5:1-2 – Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. Go near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools, who do not know that they do wrong. Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few.
Let us be slow to speak with everyone before God and before man. Let us be slow to correct and say, “That is right” or “That is wrong” or any of those things. Let’s just come before the Lord to reason and teach other people to reason, to present them before the Living God. Let’s stand them before the Living God and say, “There you go. Present your case and begin your process.” It is really not your job to make them Christians. It is the work of the Holy Spirit through you. It is God’s job to present the Living God to each person. You couldn’t do it anyway.
Number three: You believe nothing that comes out of your mouth. I know you don’t really believe this because many times people say, “But I really did do it out of a pure motive,” and I’ll say, “Did the Holy Spirit tell you that?” They’ll respond, “Well, I don’t know.” Or, I’ll talk with somebody and he says, “Oh, this person really loves God. He really has a desire for him.” I’ll ask, “Did the Holy Spirit tell you, confirm to you, that is true?” “Well, no. I don’t know, but they said all of that and they do all this and they pray. You know, we outlined it all.” When will you finally believe that everything you say is a lie that your heart is really deceitful above all things? Don’t even tell me with your lips you know that because you are lying.
Romans 3:10-18 – As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one. Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit. The poison of vipers is on their lips. Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; ruin and misery mark their ways, and the way of peace they do not know. There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
Yet, we are so quick to justify ourselves and give excuses. It is the old Garden of Eden routine. “Oh, but I was noble in what I did”, and “The fruit was pleasing and it was good food” and all of the different reasons we can come up with. Have we not been taught that in everything we must ask the Holy Spirit if it is true or not. It is only the Holy Spirit that is the spirit of truth. You are not the spirit of truth. Your mind is not the Spirit. In fact, you are the opposite of it. But, look at what Romans 3:19 is supposed to do.
Romans 3:19 – Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God.
The questions, the law, the whole purpose is for the words of Job to end that the excuses, the logic, the reasonings, and the boastings of man would finally cease. It is a grand bidding when God says, “Come, let us reason together.” It leads to our silence. It leads us to say that what God says is true. It leads us to say: “Yeah, God, you’re right. Not only was that a stupid thought, but it was also a stupid question. And God, when I said that I did what I did out of noble reasons, I was a liar. If you say it is so, it is so.” We know it is so because he reveals it that way.
Just consider for a moment that every motive you have, every noble deed you do everything you do is impure. You are a natural born liar. Every man that you meet is a pure liar. Only God is true and only the Holy Spirit is true. It is to him that we must ask, and it is to him that we must reason before if we are to know the truth. And we can.
Matthew 26:31-33 – Then Jesus told them, “This very night you will all fall away on account of me, for it is written: “‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.” Peter replied, “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.”
Is he a liar? Is he deceived? Of course he is!
Matthew 26:34-35 – “I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” But Peter declared, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the other disciples said the same.
They are all liars! We are all lairs. We all deceive ourselves. None of us speak the truth to ourselves. We don’t know the truth about ourselves. We are not God or the Holy Spirit. We do not know right from wrong. We don’t know what we do whether it is good or not, but we have a Jesus who knows. I am tired of people telling me that what they do is good and noble, or that they prayed and sought God, but they never heard Jesus Christ say to them: “Yes, that is of me” or “No it is not,” or “Let’s divide it here and clean it up.” In our relationships with other people, all men are liars. All of them deceive themselves naturally, and it is only when the Holy Spirit leads us to teach people to reason before God that it is revealed. How many of you have experienced that? You know the sins and justifications are all there. You call and we go through a series of questions or statements. I’ll say, “Think about what you just said here and how does this fit?” Then you say, “Alright! I’m guilty.” But, when we sit in our corner, in our own dark world, we think we are so right. We must cry out for the Holy Spirit to give us the spirit of truth. If Jesus says, “You will deny me,” say, “Yes, Lord!” Oh, say what you have to say, but when he speaks when you reason with him understand that what he says is true. I plead with you to teach your children to reason, to ask them the questions, to teach them to think, for their own hearts to be revealed. Do it in our evangelism with other people. In Mark 6:7 Jesus says:
Mark 7:6 – He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.’”
What are the parables supposed to produce? What will reasoning with God bring in our lives? It is to touch our heart sour hearts! So many of you have the cold, hard, logical facts that come out of your mouths, but it is the heart that Jesus has in mind and that is the purpose in all of this.
Mark 7:7 – They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.
Everybody thinks that has to do with some type of man’s lie. You can look good. You can say, “It is wrong to murder,” and that is right! But, unless the parables of Jesus have broken your heart, unless reasoning with God has broken you, your words have ended, and you have experienced the kind of Jesus that asks for a glass of water, then you haven’t experienced anything that Jesus had in mind. We teach our children what is the right thing to do. All of these rules are laid out. Those are rules taught by men, but if it is in their hearts to do what is right, then it comes from the Holy Spirit. It is the same with other people. We could teach people the five different steps to get to God, and all of it would be done. Even some of their hearts would be touched, but this is about a God that humbles us completely.
Number four: God seeks to let us see our weakness when he reasons with us. I mean, just consider it for a moment. God doesn’t lay down all the rules for the ballgame. He doesn’t have a chalkboard with everything outlined. He is not a policeman. He is a father.
Genesis 15:1 – After this, the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.”
Now, look at this:
Genesis 15:2-3 – But Abram said, “O Sovereign LORD, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?” And Abram said, “You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir.”
Now, look at what he said to the Living God. Do you think these guys have a relationship? The Living God said, “I will be your great shield. I will be your very great reward.” Abram said, “Great, but I have no one to inherit everything you give me!” He reasoned with the Living God! Most of us think God is some type of policeman. If God were to come along and say, “OK, I’m your shield and your great reward,” We’d say, “OK, God, that is the way it is going to be,” and we walk on with our Christian lives. We never bother to turn and just have a discussion with the Living God. “What about these facts over here, God? What about this here?” Abram was not irreverent about it. He was in a relationship with his God.
Genesis 15:4 – Then the word of the LORD came to him: “This man will not be your heir, but a son coming from your own body will be your heir.”
Now, look at verse 5:
Genesis 15:5 – He took him outside and said, “Look up at the heavens and count the stars if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”
Was God just interested in providing Abraham a son just a logical conclusion? It would have been enough for God to say, “OK, I’ll give you a son.” But he led him outside of his tent and said: “Look up…” That is how many you are going to have.” Isn’t that the nature of parables in everything that Jesus taught and walked?
Why don’t you reason with God the way Abram did? You might inherit some righteousness. You might also receive some promises you would never imagine that could ever be yours. We don’t teach other people to reason with the Living God because we don’t reason with the Living God. We don’t look at his word and say, “But what about this?” and bring all of that stuff before the Lord. We sit there like zombies letting God just walk all over us in terms of what we think he wants to do with us. This is not a relationship. This is not even what Jesus Christ had in mind. He could do that with the whole world. In fact, Revelation says there will come a time when God will do that. It says that everyone who doesn’t serve Jesus Christ it says the reigns are withheld from that nation. They will all be forced to follow Jesus. They won’t fall in love. Abraham was in love, so he reasoned with the Living God.
We don’t have time to look at them at all, but I want you to see how Jesus caused men to think and consider.
Matthew 9:9 – As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him.
Jesus didn’t come to create a think tank where we all sit in nice leather-backed chairs and examine the different fifteen aspects of Jesus Christ. He came to Matthew and told him to walk. As you begin to walk, you reason with the Lord and those things begin to come out. The light is there and you are blessed and purified. Then, you begin to experience the Living God. Jesus told them:
Matthew 9:13 – But go and learn what this means: “I desire mercy, not sacrifice.” For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.
What did he tell the Pharisees? “You go and you learn!” But no, we would explain it. We would give them a commentary. We would give them a book and a tape about it. We’d explain everything in its proper detail and show them everything. He said, “Look, you guys, go and learn what I mean by this.” You battle that, and those with good hearts finally reach the end of their words.
Matthew 9:14 – Then John’s disciples came and asked him, “How is it that we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?”
The very nature of Jesus’ life of his obedience with the Living God caused men to ask questions. What does that say about your life? The very nature of your life in following of the Holy Spirit will cause people around you to ask questions: “Why do you do this?” and, “Why don’t you do that?” Everywhere we see is Jesus Christ. It is called a reason to think, answer, and speak.
Matthew 9:28 – When he had gone indoors, the blind men came to him, and he asked them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” “Yes, Lord,” they replied.
Why ask the question? Does Jesus not know the answer? You see, faith has to speak and some action. “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” The men said, “Yes,” but Jesus already knew the answer, didn’t he?
Matthew 9:29 – Then he touched their eyes and said, “According to your faith will it be done to you”;
Question after question, reasoning and discussing with the Living God.
Matthew 11:1-3 – After Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples, he went on from there to teach and preach in the towns of Galilee. When John heard in prison what Christ was doing, he sent his disciples to ask him, “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?”
Jesus Christ even tolerates our doubts! He allows us to ask the questions. He is not unapproachable for us to come and say, “Are you really the one?” Now, if we persist in doubt, that is a different story, but what I am saying is that John went before Jesus and was not afraid to ask, “Are you the one? Give me the reasons. Demonstrate it to me. Let us reason together. I do not believe. I’m not sure anymore if you are the one I should have baptized or not.”
Matthew 11:4 – Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see:”
“Come, let us reason together.” The whole bidding in the Garden of Eden was to discuss, to admit your guilt, and say you were sorry. Come to me with your doubts. Come to me with your fears and your sin. Come to me with it all. Let us reason together, and “though your sins are like scarlet, they will be as white as snow.”
In Job 40:7, Job reasoned with God. He gave all of his reasons, excuses, and boasting. Everything was laid out for many, many, years. Job reasoned with God, and do you know what he won? He won true repentance. A man who will not reason and debate with God, who will not come before him, be honest with who he is, and walk in the light to see his sin and folly, will never gain true repentance. Look at what Job says:
Job 40:7-8 – Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me. Would you discredit my justice? Would you condemn me to justify yourself?
This is what Job gained from the hand of God all of the questions he asked God. God said, “Would you discredit me in order to justify yourself?” Don’t we do that on a daily basis? But, we never hear God say it to us. We never reach the end of our words. We never reason with the Living God. We don’t teach other people to do it. So, our religion is nothing more than outward with rules and regulations. That is not a relationship with the Living God, or being in love with him.
Job 42:1-6 – Then Job replied to the LORD: “I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted. You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my counsel without knowledge?’ Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know. You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer me.’ My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.”
You see, we can tell people about Jesus Christ all day long. I can point out to you all of the error of your logic. I can even convince people to stay in church or follow Jesus Christ for a long period of time just by sheer logic but they never repent. That is a hard lesson to learn, but it is true. The logic never, never drives them to despise themselves in the dust. You can regurgitate logic back to me all of the proper things that are to be said. Your heart can learn to function well, you can say everything properly and right. Your children can come back to you and say what they are supposed to say, and you can put a smile on your face, but still never meet the Living God. “My ears had heard of you…” I have heard the Bible stories. I’ve been told the sermons. “…but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.” Is that not what it means to reason with the Living God? Reasoning and debating with me is not reasoning with the Living God, is it? But, come before a Holy God, with your words ended then he can ask you a few basic questions and you can wrestle with the Holy Spirit. That will lead you to eventually despise yourself like you say that you do. You will repent in dust and ashes like you say that you have done, only like you have never done before. Brothers and sisters, when we lead people to Jesus Christ this is what we lead them to. We lead them to ask questions before the Living God. It is to him they must answer. The fruit of all of this is something grand. Abraham was a man of faith, and this is what we can have also. We can.
Genesis 18:16 – When the men got up to leave, they looked down toward Sodom, and Abraham walked along with them to see them on their way.
After someone has come to visit you, you walk him or her out the door and to thecar, what is that a sign of? It is a sign of friendship, loyalty, and love. This isn’t an explanation that they all walked out of the house and walked down the road. This says that Abraham was in love with these people and they were in love with him. They were friends. If you will reason before the Lord you will become a friend of God. If you will teach other people to reason with the Lord they will become friends with God. If you will teach your sons and daughters to reason before the Living God, they will become friends of God.
Genesis 18:17 – Then the LORD said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do?”
“He is my friend. Should I hide it from him?” The only obligation God had to share with him was love and friendship. This is our goal in our relationship with God. Let us reason with him.
Genesis 18:18-19 – Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on earth will be blessed through him. For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing what is right and just, so that the LORD will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him.
Do you see now the connection? Is it coming together here? Abraham was in a relationship with the Living God. God says he can’t hide it from Abraham, and he went on to say that Abraham would guide not only his children, but also his household. Everybody that he affected, he would teach the right way of the Lord. This was not a bunch of rules and regulations, but a relationship and reasoning with God. Is it sinking into our hearts?
Genesis 18:20-22 – Then the LORD said, “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me. If not, I will know.” The men turned away and went toward Sodom, but Abraham remained standing before the LORD.
Not sitting, not cowering in the dust though there are times for that. You know that, but not this time, or at this place, not always. My children have a holy fear of me. They have the proper respect. They know we have a relationship.
Genesis 18:22-23 – …but Abraham remained standing before the LORD. Then Abraham approached him and said: “Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked?”
He just asked God a question a derogatory question on the surface, isn’t it? He will rebuke the Living God. He will tell God that he has to do what is right. When was the last time you told God he had to do was right? When was the last time your relationship with God was so personal and close, that you had reasoned so much together bad and good attitudes that you turned to God and said, “God, will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked? Now, come on, let’s get it straight about this.”
Genesis 18:24 – What if there are fifty righteous people in the city? Will you really sweep it away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous people in it?
“Come on, God, is this really what you are about?” Do you have that kind of boldness and brashness before the Living God? This is what you should teach other people to do, teach your children to do. This kind of freedom comes from true faith.
Genesis 18:25 – Far be it from you to do such a thing to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. Far be it from you! Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?
“Far be it for you to do such a thing.” When was the last time you told the Living Holy God that? “Far be it from you to do such a thing to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. Far be it from you! Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?” The Lord enjoys a good conversation, doesn’t he? He is very tolerant, very appreciative.
Genesis 18:26-27 – The LORD said, “If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake.” Then Abraham spoke up again: …
The guy just didn’t quit! “Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord as though I am nothing but dust and ashes…” All of this as was done in humility. True faith that speaks from the dust, knows who you are. This isn’t the presumptuous kind of faith that you see going on. This is really true humility. But, you can speak! You can have a living relationship with God. We can teach our children to do the same.
Genesis 18:27-29 – Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, though I am nothing but dust and ashes, what if the number of the righteous is five less than fifty? Will you destroy the whole city because of five people?” “If I find forty-five there,” he said, “I will not destroy it. Once again he spoke to him. What if there are only forty found there, he said, for the sake of forty I will not do it!
These guys are in a debate over something that really God could say was none of Abraham’s business. If you want to destroy it, it is your city! He questioned God’s character and they debated back and forth. Is this what we teach other people to do? Is this what we are doing? I plead with you, is this what we teach our children to do?
Genesis 18:30-32 – Then he said, “May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak. What if only thirty can be found there?” He answered, “I will not do it if I find thirty there.” Abraham said, “Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, what if only twenty can be found there?” He said, “For the sake of twenty, I will not destroy it.” Then he said, “May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak just once more. What if only ten can be found there?” He answered, “For the sake of ten, I will not destroy it.”
Now, you look at the freedom in the speaking here and you ask yourself how much you are in that kind of relationship.
Genesis 18:33 – When the LORD had finished speaking with Abraham, he left, and Abraham returned home.
God had finished speaking with Abraham? I thought it was Abraham speaking to God. Do you understand? It is all a relationship. It is reasoning together with the Lord. God shows you the stars in the universe and says, “Count them. Read the parables. Explain them to me.” “Here, Job, I want to ask you about sixty questions not too hard a test. Just answer one of them.” When you learn to do that you will repent in dust and ashes. You learn that then everything will come from the heart. It won’t be because I tell you to do what is right or the pressures of society. We won’t teach our children to do what is right or wrong because they will know they will get in trouble for doing it, it will be in their hearts. We don’t ever lead them to the questions. They don’t ever see their own folly. And, we believe what they tell us! We think we are truthful. We think our neighbor is truthful. We think our children are truthful. We never bother to ask the Living God. Let’s reason with him and we will be found holy.
Let’s go ahead and pray:
Father, may your name be glorified among us. Teach us, O Lord, what it is to come before you and to reason. Teach us, O Lord. 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.