(Elder ministry 8 Jan 2010)
Let us go direct into the word of God. The word of God is itself answers and not principles. The opposite of the word of God is the little things that we hold, and they hold onto us. Do not hold onto good things, or expecting good things to come, on wanting to be happy, also wanting man’s relationships, quick and convenient ways. It is not to say that we do not need all these. But all these things must be received from the essence of the word of God. Do not touch on things, for touching will cause you to be tempted. The world has a culture of merry-making, exciting their own flesh because they have no more hope. My colleague has a display name saying, “Tomorrow will be better, but the ultimate end is death.” Therefore, he can only hope on living happily at each moment. He always ask why he must be a slave to the forces in the world, and he would not be able to understand with the ideology of the world because the world does not know about where it comes from and where it goes.
(“Jeremiah Overview” conclusion recap)
Have we had no evidences that if we go by the ways of the world, we will go only go from bad to worse? Jeremiah’s last message of conclusion is to tell us that though the 9 countries (empires and small pricks of nations) around Israel were strong, their pride, riches, valor, self-dependency, self-explanatory self-righteousness, ideology, wisdom, culture will just be stripped, driven away and brought down suddenly in a flash by God’s wrath of terror. Only Israel would become better and better. Israel is the Holy people of God. They have a true hope of having their very remnant “belonging to the kingdom” exalted by God. They must go through much discipline and “always learning but never be able to acknowledge and enjoy the truth”. Till the day they understand that if God is their only hope of “receiving” 蒙 (not about giving faith to God), all their stories of failures, discipline and carnal things will all resurrect to become glorious testimonies.
Therefore, let us go right back to the word of God. Let the word of God form the basis of our life and living, joy and hope, family and brethren.
The whole bible starts with Genesis. Genesis is about one blessed person, Abraham, representing me. Exodus has the five big contents that this person and his descendants would have. Leviticus is about prayer on how to see God’s glory in the tabernacle. Numbers is on how to walk with God after knowing God’s perfect will. Deuteronomy is on repeating so that he can test and approve God with a fixed perspective in his heart. Following this are the history books starting with Joshua – with a fixed perspective, no failures but all wars are won. Prophet books are on receiving the Spirit of God to see, hear and preach blessings and curses. The books of praise are testimonies. The New Testament starts with the four gospels where history of mankind, Jesus Christ is revealed. The Church is established in Acts by the Holy Spirit, and books from Romans to Revelations reveal how to live this living belief.
=> All these are repeated again and again to drive away “always learning but never be able to acknowledge”.
For the lesson on Exodus Overview, we will build up the systematic theology of understanding the belief.
The most important is the start.
1. Israel who is in Egypt (Chapter 1-4): The problem before salvation (born again)
God’s blueprint, Israel’s sufferings, Moses like Savior Jesus Christ, prepared from death and resurrection from his front few chapters of biography.
2. The Israel that came out of Egypt (Chapters 5-13)
There is an emphasis here on being born again. Born again must form the understanding from the hardness of Pharaoh. We do not come to Christ if we do not have problems. We must understand the meaning of why God chooses to bring us to total nothingness, so that we can understand the compassion of God.
This week, it seemed that everything went so smoothly that I felt that I was on top of the world. When there are people weak, I felt “being able to give them answers” by teaching them. It was not the same as having compassion first. Therefore, before I came here today, God gave me some weakness to cause me to know that I myself am really nothing. If not for understanding about Satan and the world pushing me till the state of condemnation, I will never be able to understand about what is being born again. God told me that if I want to see other people being in condemned state, I must become totally nothing, and only be revived by the Emmanuel/love of God. Then I will mourn for all the weak peoples in the world, and I can pray for them with a heart of compassion and love. I say again: there is no way to understand “born again” unless you understood “the hardness of Pharaoh”. This starting point is the most important for systematic theology.
3. The Israel that cross the Red Sea (Chapter 14-15) = Baptism
After being born again, Israel must first understand about giving everything to God. It is not sacrificing, but for receiving the voice of the Holy Spirit. Without this, there can be no blessed start.
4. The Israel in the wilderness (Chapter 16-18) = Christian Living Pilgrim’s Journey
Not of man’s, but in order to move in the wilderness, can man walk their own. The start is already wrong with this. He must receive the direction, method, provision, victory, life / lifestyle system from God Himself.
5. The Israel before Mount Sinai <sanctification> (Chapter 19-24) = Sanctification = Restore God’s perfect will
We pray to God, but in order to see and hear God, we must know His prayer topics for us first. We are not orphans, but children of God.
6. Build the Tabernacle, restore worship (24:12-40:33) = The things that happen each time during worship and prayer
Lastly, build the temple. This is FORMAT. For the sake of receiving a fixed perspective. This is so that we can receive the full gospel to have full answers for every kind of challenges and problems in our life.
As a last exhortation, I give you some emphasis:
1) Born Again (Assurance) <Jn 3:3-8>
This means that all of God’s conditions have become the conditions of the one who has been born again. In other words, a person can see the conditions, background, relationships that he has have God inside. Therefore, for a person to meet God, he must be able to meet Him inside his own conditions. A person who has assurance of being born again will have God in his mind, so that God is not dead in his conditions, but his mindset has a thought that, for all things 24 hours, “God is alive”, “there must be God’s plan”, “what is God’s perfect will?”, “What is the love of God to me in this situation?”. It is not about the own courageous strength to believe, self-righteousness, fear and acting immediately by one’s flesh and blood.
However, what I must emphasis here is that there is a difference between knowing that you are born again (or people telling you that you are born again), and having the assurance of born again yourself. People can tell you and encourage you to tell you are you are loved, so that you have a good feeling and so, you can believe that you are born again, and from then, can believe that all things are the love from God. However, if you lose a good feeling of believing, or your emotions get the better of you, do you still have the assurance of being born again? There is a difference if you have, for even if you mourn, you will mourn for not being able to see God’s rewards to you, and from there, you can just die with God and resurrect with Christ to hear the loving voice of God.
2) Hear Holy Spirit’s Voice (Counteract) = Prayers: Expectation <Heb 11:1> <Col 3:1-17>
You must face your own spirit of the cross to understand the Holy Spirit. When you want to pray, you will meet with struggles. If you have struggles during prayers, they are good, for it proves that there is a battle between the spiritual and the flesh. Whatever is heard in true prayers are opposing to that of the world, to that of which is coincidence, of excuses of some comparatively inferior conditions, man’s obligations, muddle-headedness. Instead, start from the mindset of Christ, which is being loved, covenanted, favored and called, so that you start with the already confirmed idea that all conditions are God’s given. If you have gone through by letting your spirit go through the spirit of the cross, you will find that you do not put expectations of being happier or that things will change for the better. Rather, God is your reward and your inheritance. In other words, you will find that you only need to do one thing, and this is how to please the Spirit of God, or how to make the Spirit within you happy. This means that you have no other expectations, but you will be satisfied if you are able to see God as being pleased.
* Do note that people may think of prayers wrongly. Aunt Xie actually asked me if praying for others first in prayers is correct. No and yes. If you have peace before praying, and that peace is because God is your Father and that you know that He will use you, your intercession for others is okay. However, it also leads me on to think if people will know what to pray for others, for it is the soul that is the most important.
3) Transformation <Ps 16:7-11>
If we continue to hear the Holy Spirit, we will only become more spiritual. This means that we can forget the hints and wrong mindset, and move ahead towards the goal of Christ, which has all the noble thoughts in our life. The identify, heartbeat, purpose, content and method will all be transformed (no longer do you need to force yourself to think that you are blessed, but you naturally already start your thoughts that, if God says that He will bless us, then blessings will surely come to us. By this, I meant that your problems would already have disappeared.