11.5 Revelation – Resisting the Truth

Resisting the Truth

There is a part of me that desires for God to treat us as nothing more than infants.  To feed us.  To care for our every need.  To unconditionally welcome and embrace us regardless of the level of temper tantrum and rejection we show.

I particularly want this when a friend, neighbor or family member rejects the calling of the Holy Spirit and declines to accept the gift of the saving blood of Jesus Christ.  Especially when that person has died.  I want the delusion that God will treat that person like the helpless infant that doesn’t know what they are doing and to just go ahead and save them anyway.

But this is not the God that Peter speaks of and it is not the God shown throughout any part of the bible.  God expects us to grow up and make choices.  We are not helpless infants.  We have been given facts, words, laws, science and all of nature and the entire cosmos to confirm that God is God.  God is a teacher.  God does love us, and He loves us so much that He gives us the ability to either accept or reject Him.  And, He then loves us so much that He is willing to honor and accept that choice.

The God that Peter speaks of is one who is patiently waiting.  Who allows His adult child to go off and squander the health and wealth He has given them, to treat Him as if He were dead, but still wait by the door longing for that child to return (see parable of the prodigal son).

As much as I may want all my loved ones to be saved, I recognize that God does, too.  And, unlike me at times, He loves them enough to honor their decisions and choices while holding the door open for as long as is possible.

God is not slow, but He is exceptionally patient.

My Answers:

13.
a.
to live holy and godly lives

b.
scoffing and following their own evil desires, mockery

c.
Things have not “always” been as they are now – there was a creation event

14.
God is not slow, He is patient, not wanting anyone to perish but to come to repentance.  There are still people who can and will be saved.

15.
a.
I like to think that all of my family and friends will be judged to be believers despite the evidence I have seen in their words and ways.

b.
To repent – to rend my heart not my clothing – in other words, not repentance for show, but repentance at the soul level

 

11.4 Revelation – HS Uplink Cable

HS Uplink Cable

Today’s lesson is all about the Holy Spirit.  There are many roles the Holy Spirit plays and, as such, it is difficult to draw a single analogy or illustration.  The Holy Spirit is described as the breath of God, the mist, the counselor and advocate.

I’m a bit of a nerd at heart and one way I think of the Holy Spirit is as an uplink cable.

The Holy Spirit provides the very real connection between our physical presence and God.  Jesus is the network but bridges the connection between our sinful state and the holiness of God, but the Holy Spirit is the cable that plugs us in.

No one comes to faith in Jesus without the work of the Holy Spirit.  We pray through the words of the Holy Spirit.  We teach and profess, comfort and heal through the Holy Spirit.  We have God present in us in the Holy Spirit.  It is our connection.

Without the Holy Spirit, we have a hole in us.  When sin takes us far off-track and we feel the tug, that is the Holy Spirit trying to keep us connected.

My Answers:

10.
a.
Peter quoted the prophecy of the arrival of the spirit of God.  The arrival that would prompt additional prophecy relating to Christ’s return.  The day of the Lord is progressing now that Jesus is risen and sits at the throne in heaven.

b.
Consistency and magnitude.  This is not something that will be missed.  It is not something within the control of man

11.
a.
The Holy Spirit has been present and a part of everything that the other parts of the Trinity are involved with.  From creation to the prophecy and arrival of Jesus, to the start of the church and in the end times.  The H/S has been God’s spiritual presence with and in man in the same way that Jesus was the physical presence and the Word a linkage between the two.

b.
Guiding my actions and life.  By setting and controlling all things in the spiritual realm and providing strength, peace, protection and guidance.

12.
a.
Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved

b.
God is in control and righteousness wins and redeems what belongs to Him.

11.3 Revelation – Repent

Repent

Joel’s prophecy paints a picture of the Mighty Hand of God.  He also calls for the only appropriate response by mankind: Repentance.

In the past (and present), when the people of God would rebel, He would place them in a state of hardship and persecution, calling them to turn back to Him.  The appropriate response at these times has been lamentation.  To humble ourselves and confess our wrongs.  To regret earnestly the wrongs we have done and to mourn the time we have spent away from God.  We were called to act as one in mourning until we are fully restored to God, something we do not have the power to do (to cast off our oppressors), but that through our acts of attrition God would see our desire to return to Him.

In Joel 1, he addresses this time and state.  But, in chapter 2, looking forward to the level of things during the Day of our Lord, this is insufficient and But Joel cuts deeper than most prophets and preachers in his definition of repentance.  He says, in 2:13, “Rend your heart and not your garments.  Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.”

In the days to come, it is not a show of repentance, but it must be fully of the heart.  Don’t tear your clothing as one in mourning, but feel the tear at your heart for the time you have spent away from Him and causing devastation in the world He created.

We think of the spiritual and physical worlds as being separate, but both are creations of God.  We understand at some level that they cross with each other and that both are completely real in their own ways.  We do not understand the interconnection, but we know that God was in flesh, that God’s spirit is real and present, and that God intervenes in every moment of every day.  In the same way, our spiritual actions also impact and permeate the physical world.  There are obvious ways, such as pollution and environmental damage, But, there are less obvious ways as well – Sin has permeated throughout creation.  In the same way that a carpenter would remove rotted wood or dig out a weak foundation – the creator of the Universe will root out the evil that has permeated His creation so that everything can be made new again.

My Answers:

6.
a.
Sin cannot go unpunished and sin has permeated the entire world

b.
Through the restitution paid by Jesus who paid the price for my sin through his blood and death on the cross and his defeat of death through his resurrection and ascension to heaven

7
a.
return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning, rend your heart (not your garments), return to the Lord, Gather the people, consecrate the assembly, bring together the elders, gather the children.. call out to the LORD

b.
gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, relents in sending calamity

8.
Jealous for his land and took pity on his people, “I am sending… ” provision, peace, protection, separation from sin – do not be afraid

9.
Rebel, Repent, Restore – During times of rebellion, God would allow oppression and persecution (often by foreign hands) to bring His people to a state of repentance then he would send a judge (book of judges) to either encourage them to repent and/or restore them when they had repented

 

11.2 Revelation – The Hand of God

The Hand of God

Chuck Smith, in his commentary on the book of Joel, made a very insightful explanation of this book and its meaning.

Joel was a prophet to the nation of Judah at a time of the divided kingdom: 10 tribes (Israel) to the North, 2 tribes (Judah) to the South.  Both nations went through lengthy periods prior to their ultimate captivity to foreigners, where they lived in open rebellion to the Lord.

Throughout the history of the Old Testament (and modern times for that matter), there is a cyclical nature to behavior of God’s people: Rebel, Repent, Restore.  The people would turn from God, rebelling against Him and worshiping other gods.  He would place hardships in their pathway, calling them to repent and turn back to Him.  When they would, He would restore them to His family and way.  As they lived in harmony with Him they would become comfortable and sinful and repeat the cycle.

At the time of Joel, we are seeing the stage of rebellion.  Joel, as well as other prophets, such as Hosea, were sent to the people to highlight their sin, remind them of God and call them into repentance.

Chuck Smith pointed out that while other prophets were attesting to the “Heart of God”, Joel had the unique task of talking about the “Hand of God.”

He starts that discussion through an analogy to a past event.  He begins with calling them to remember a time of a major locust infestation.  He is using a real event of locusts to provide reference (starting in chapter 2) for the way, in the future, that the mighty hand of God will return – but with soldiers instead of locusts.

Through this reference we can get a picture of the might of the army of God.  The strength of their numbers.  The destructive power.  But we also quickly get an understanding of the wrongness that they are coming to make right.

My Answers:

3.
a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and blackness, like a coming mighty army such as never was, devouring, earthquakes, the sun and moon are darkened and the stars no longer shine, the Lord thunders at the head of his army

4.
Rebellion by the people of God – following false idols.  (there are 2 destructions described, a swarm of locusts that had occurred in the recent past as reference to the swarm of soldiers to come in the future)

5.
(Personal question)