American Gospel #4
Make plug for “Getting Over Yourself” by Dean Inserra in Library and other Hebrews books that arrived today. Getting Over Yourself is a helpful correction to the prosperity Gospel movement and can help you if you know of anyone struggling with that doctrine. Costi Hinn’s book “More Than a Healer” is very similar and helpful.
What are some of the differences between God and man?
Many in our world want to demote God and deify man - people crave control and power and love the idea of being on the same level as God or assuming that God does things the way that we do them. The fundamental problem with this line of thinking is that God is different than us as humans. This isn’t to say that we are completely unlike God - we are His image bearers, after all - but sin distorts things and sin separates us from God. Even before sin, though, Adam was not God and God was not Adam. Adam was a human. He was fully man. Sure, in the Garden initially he was a sinless human… but he wasn’t God. The problem for many, even churchgoers is that we want to be just like God and we want Him to think like us. What we do whenever we believe that God acts and thinks just like us, though, is we create an idol.
18 For God’s wrath is revealed from heaven against all godlessness and unrighteousness of people who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth, 19 since what can be known about God is evident among them, because God has shown it to them.
25 They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served what has been created instead of the Creator, who is praised forever. Amen.
Paul is sharing here that people know that God exists - we see it in creation and we know it in our minds… Solomon shared that God has written eternity on our hearts! Yet, so many suppress the truth and exchange it for a lie and worship creation rather than the Creator. Many people worship the God of their own mind rather than the God of the Bible. Whenever we think that God thinks and acts just like us, we reveal that we don’t truly know the God of the Bible. The God of the Bible is above us and so much smarter than we will ever be.
One of the leading examples of this comes in the form of suffering, sickness, and loss. Have you ever suffered and asked God why that suffering happened? We’ve all done this! In your suffering, how has God proven Himself to be faithful?
Segway to the story of Job briefly. Suffering isn’t a sign of God’s displeasure with us or of our disobedience as many think in our world of karma and cosmic accidents… Somehow, God works through suffering to accomplish something that only He can see in the moment. Yet, in the suffering, God is still faithful. So many people think that good people don’t deserve bad things to happen to them. What is the fundamental problem with the question: Why do bad things happen to good people?
There’s no one good!
How do we know what is happening to us is bad?
We so often judge what God is doing based on our finite understanding. We make God just like us whenever He is holy and all-knowing and all-powerful! So often in our lives, God is accomplishing multiple things all of the time and Romans 8:28 reminds us that all of those things are for our good - even suffering. Even heartache. Even difficulty. In those moments, we must trust in the Lord and understand that God is still faithful even when things don’t go the way we’d like them to go. Even in the suffering, He is good.
The good news of the Gospel is that Jesus isn’t most interested in how you feel, although He does care for our physical needs and He does care about how we feel, but Jesus is most interested in us becoming more and more like Him. The Bible shares with us that we don’t just need a little help or a new medication that we take every morning so that we feel better… The Bible tells us that we are sinners who are separated from God who need a Savior and that without Jesus we are hopelessly lost. The great news of the Gospel is that Jesus does for us what we could never do for ourselves and this message must be shared with others.
American Gospel Session #4
1. What is the danger in saying that we have the same spiritual DNA as God/Jesus?
2. What is a potential danger with the following statement, “God told me…” ?
a. You can justify anything you desire at that point… Plus, was it God or just your inner monologue? Hebrews 1 shares with us that God has spoken in these last days through His Son! There is no new revelation from God only His guidance from His Spirit. The Holy Spirit does help us and convict us – but it’s a slippery slope to say that God told me to do this or that because no one can argue against that statement. You can live a sinful lifestyle and justify it by saying that you’re simply doing what God said. God never contradicts His Word – we must remember that truth.
Joseph Smith said that God gave him the book of Mormon and the book of Mormon directly contradicts the Bible in places… Which is right and which is wrong? God can’t lie! Mormons claim that they put the Bible first but when push comes to shove the book of Mormon goes above the Bible.
3. While we are to respect our leaders, God’s Word is our ultimate authority
4. Kenneth Hagan – Father of the Modern Word of Faith movement
a. Claimed to receive his teaching from divine revelation – slippery slope
i. See Mormonism!
5. Is Jesus fully God and fully man or mostly one and part of the other?
6. What did Jesus empty Himself of in the incarnation in Philippians 2:5-11?
a. He didn’t change – Hebrews 13:8.
b. He emptied Himself by becoming human – He veiled His deity… He didn’t void it
c. Matthew 17 – Mount of Transfiguration
d. He didn’t lay His deity aside
e. When it was in God’s will, He used His divine attributes for God’s glory
i. We cannot do this because we have a human nature… Jesus had a divine nature
Jesus didn’t stop being God as many in the Word of Faith movement argue. They have to argue this way because then they say that Jesus did His miracles as a man and that we, as humans, can do all the miracles that Jesus did. I’m not arguing that miracles don’t happen anymore - God still does miracles - but we can’t claim that we’re the exact same as Jesus as He was fully-God and fully-man. He emptied Himself of His privileges for a period of time in the throne room of heaven but He didn’t stop being the Eternal Son of God. Chief in village illustration as He took off His headdress and robe.
7. What is the Trinity and what are some consequences of not caring about the Trinity?
a. 1 in being
b. 3 in person
c. Colossians 2:9 – the fullness of deity dwells in Christ
d. If we get the deity of Jesus wrong, we get the Gospel wrong
e. Only a human can pay the penalty for human sins but only God can endure the wrath of God. He must be both!
Impossible to fully comprehend the Trinity but important that we understand that the Father Son and Holy Spirit are all God but the Father isn’t the Son and so on and so forth. We don’t believe in 3 gods, we believe in 1 God in 3 distinct persons. He doesn’t change forms like water (vapor, liquid, ice), He simply is all 3.
8. As Christians, what is the best news we have to share with others: Physical assistance or Spiritual salvation?
a. You must have signs and wonders in your ministry according to the Power Gospel
b. Miracles are not the barometer of our success or lack thereof
c. We are to simply preach Christ crucified and let the chips fall where they may
d. This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t meet physical needs – we are commanded to! But spiritual needs > physical needs
If all we do is live a good life and do nice things then people will go to hell thinking that Christians are nice, friendly people who do nice things for others! We want people to think that Christians are nice and friendly and forgiving and welcoming - we certainly don’t want to come off as mean, cold, and uncharitable. But, we can’t just be known for being nice… We have to be known for following Jesus. We have to be known as people who proclaim the Gospel! The most unloving thing that you or I can do as a Christian is to fail to verbally proclaim the Gospel to people around us.