"Creation Creates Understanding"
TEXT: Malachi 2; Matt. 7; Rev. 2; 2 Peter 2: Jude
1. Humanity can receive spiritual truth and revelation through careful observation of the created world. For example, when someone or something dies in our world, it is accompanied by an unpleasant smell. The aroma associated with passing away communicates that death is not good; that death is the result of sin.
2. The Bible uses the imagery of a dog returning to its vomit to illustrate the importance of practicing healthy, biblical discernment. Dogs will eat anything, good and bad. Instead of rejecting the bad, dogs will instead consume it. We need to be mindful that there is teaching being done in the name of Jesus that needs to be rejected by God’s children instead of consumed.
3. God not only rescues sinners, but He also restores them! Our God can redeem the areas of our lives that have become broken due to personal sin and foolishness. This helps us understand that, as we confront and deal with our proclivity to sin, we can run towards God’s presence full of awe and wonder. We don’t have to run away in fear because the God we serve is willing (and able) to forgive sin and restore what we destroyed.
4. The Bible mentions rotten fruit, feces on faces, pigs wallowing in mud, and dogs returning to their vomit to communicate that God makes it obvious who false teachers are. It may not be easily discernable at all times, but the N.T. reveals that the Lord will inevitably expose the filth present in the lives of those who use the Bible as a means of procuring financial gain.
5. God uses Satan for His own plans and purposes. The power of Satan and the power of God are not competing forces. The Lord is so superior to Satan that it is rather misleading to compare the two in the first place. The devil is essentially a ‘pawn’ that God uses to bring about His redemptive plan. The devil can’t 'steal' or do anything to us that our Heavenly Father doesn’t allow.
6. Misunderstanding the power of God and the power of Satan is a sign that someone or something is false. It is common for charismatic churches to teach people that our personal faith (as long as we have enough of it) enables us to control both the power of God and the power of Satan.
7. How do the children of God bind the devil? By resisting temptation and repenting of sin.
8. The following is a 'trustworthy saying' that should comfort our minds and encourage our hearts: we might not get exactly what we want, but God will aways give us exactly what we need.
TALK TO EACH OTHER:
1. God uses Satan for His own plan and purposes (Truth 5). How does/should this reality change the way we view our spiritual growth?
2. What does it mean to misunderstand the power of God and the power of Satan? What are some examples of each misunderstanding?
3. How has God used creation to create understanding in your life? What truths and revelations have been deposited into your heart from observing the created world?
4. How would you explain Truth 8 to a new believer so that their expectations are realistic and line up with the Word of God?
TALK TO GOD:
Pray as you feel led concerning the following areas:
- To be in awe of God and His goodness
- Wisdom to know whether a particular teaching should be consumed or rejected
- That the Lord would restore and redeem the broken areas of our hearts and lives
- Repent if you have supported false teachers who twist the Scriptures for their personal benefit and financial gain