Bible Study from Calvary Chapel Newberg
with Tom Fuller
Bible study from Calvary Chapel Newberg
We hide death - we don't talk about it, we dress up and make-up our dead so they look ready to wake up and go to a party. At funerals we read Bible verses that make us all feel good that the person has gone on to a better place. And we certainly hide death when it isn't "normal".
But death is a shot of reality - for without Jesus Christ we are like a dead corpse, lying on the side of the road. It is an uncomfortable image but one we must embrace to fully understand what God wants us to know about him, about us, and about what He has done for us.
A. About Him
Wisdom: sophia (wisdom)
Revelation: apokalupsis (disclosure, appearing, coming, manifest, revelation)
Knowledge: epignosis (recognition, full discernment - from: "fully acquainted with")
Note: "While sophia is the insight into the true nature of things, phronesis is the ability to discern modes of action with a view to their results; while sophia is theoretical, phronesis is practical" (Lightfoot). Sunesis, "understanding, intelligence," is the critical faculty; this and phronesis are particular applications of sophia.
Use of phrenesis:
Luke 1:17 (The angel talking to Zechariah about his coming son: John the Baptist)
17 And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous-- to make ready a people prepared for the Lord."
Use of sophia:
33 Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!
God wants us to have insight into His character. He will reveal or disclose this to us so that we may fully know Him.
Wisdom can come to us from other sources as well: (speaking of when we harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in our hearts)
15 Such "wisdom" does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil.
We need to be careful that "wisdom" we receive draws towards knowing God more - sin won't accomplish that, instead we become acquainted with wisdom from Satan.
Note that it is the Spirit of wisdom. It is a reference to the Holy Spirit, which Jesus said:
13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.
In other words, getting to know God isn't something you can just do on your own. It takes a work by the Spirit. Relying on your own intellect and ideas about God isn't enough.
Paul is painting a word picture. "eyes" "lighten up, illuminate". Understanding is kardia, heart or middle. The idea is that the lights will go on in your deepest parts - like a light bulb brightening up a dark room.
"know" is eido "to see" (eyes is ophthalmos "vision") You can have vision but not see. You can get revelation of God but if it doesn't light up your inner being, if it doesn't effect you in a significant way, then you are like those Jesus spoke to:
13 This is why I speak to them in parables: "Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand.
There are primarily 2 Greek words used for this idea of "to know". The first is Ginosko which means a 'progress of knowledge.' Whereas the word here is eido, suggesting a 'fullness of knowledge'. The two words are found in the same verse in John 8:55.
55 Though you do not know him, I know him. If I said I did not, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and keep his word. (NIV)
"do not know him" is ginosko, "I do know him" is eido.
God wants us to know fully the "hope of His calling" hope - a certainty of coming good. In "the riches of His glory in the inheritance of the saints". God's reality - ("very apparent" Doxa) worked out in us as an inheritance.
"The exceeding greatness of His power" exceeding: "to throw beyond the usual mark - surpassing. Greatness: magnitude. Power: Dunamis (dynamite) force, or miraculous power.
The same power was exerted to make us believe as was used to raise Christ from the dead.
Working of His mighty power: working: energia 'the energizer'. mighty: forcefulness. Power: vigor.
All the power we need is available - the incredible power of raising Christ - toward us. He wants us to fully know this kind of power.
Everyone is under Jesus: evil spirits, earthly rulers, even angels of light. Even creatures we can't name are under Him.
Not only is He universally exalted, but He has total dominion (under His feet) "Put in subjection under"
Jesus is the HEAD, FOR the church - to our advantage.
The church is the continued revelation of His divine life in human form.
B. About Us
In order for us to know the "hope of our calling" and the great power of God, we must look back to what He has taken us from.
Dead: from a word meaning "corpse"
Tresspasses: Paraptoma to slip to the side (ie: fall away)
Sins: Harmatia from: to miss the mark
Paul goes from this glorious statement about our position in Christ to a stark contrast of our past position in sin. Instead of "raised from the dead" as in verse 20, Paul describes us as a corpse, still lying in the ground. We are dead because 1- we intentionally or unintentionally do things that violate the precepts of a righteous God (tresspass) and 2- because we do not live up to the holy character of the person of God (sin).
In verse 2 there is interesting contrast - we are "dead", an unmoving corpse, yet he says we used to "live" (to walk all around) in the ways of the world and Satan. What people here on earth believe is living really isn't. All the glitter and glamour is nothing but window dressing on a coffin.
Compare "power" in 1:19 connotes "ability". Power here is the idea of "privilege". God's power is real power to do things, Satan's power is something God has allowed him to have.
Make no mistake, just because the power of Satan was granted by God doesn't mean it's not still power. Paul says that this power "is at work" - it's the same word (energeo) as in 1:20 "exherted".
Disobedient: apath'ea unpersuadable.
We used to "live among them" busying ourselves the Greek says, with two things:
1- Gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature, and 2 - following it's desires and thoughts.
The idea is two fold: "longings" and "choices"
Longings are the lusts of the flesh, the "cravings" as NIV renders it.
Desires are choices, determinations that we make to choose to sin.
First we are enticed, then we give in to those longings and choose to disobey God.
As a result our "native disposition" (nature) is to invited the wrath of God. Wrath is an interesting word. From it we get the word "orgy". It means a violent passion, a reaching forth.
God is active in the life of the unbeliever, but in a violent revulsion to sin.
C. About What He Has Done For Us
Verses 4 and 5 show us that it is through God's love (agapeo) that we can find a way of escaping this endless cycle of sin and disobedience and wrath. A cycle we are unable to break.
God "abounds"(rich) in "compassion" (mercy).
He "made us alive with Christ" The union described here is not the idea of "accompanying" or the concept of "near" but "with" or "together" - and is translated "resemblance".
(sood-zo-op-oy-eh'-o); to reanimate conjointly with. As God brought Jesus back to life, he brought us back to life with Him, at the same time, so that Christ's life becomes our life, and we come to resemble Him.
Saved is sodzo which means to make whole, deliver or protect, heal.
That is why Paul can then say that it is by "grace" Karis that we have been saved.
Grace is understood as "unmerited favor".
It is contrasted with
" Debt (Rom 4:4-16), Its not something God owes us.
" Works (Rom 11:6),. Something that we do to earn it (the opposite of grace)
" Law (John 1:17) righteous requirements is also not grace.
God raised us up - not only did he make us one with Christ (union) but he woke us up. Then He went further and lifted us up and we sit down together with Jesus in the "heavenly realms"
So we are with Christ in His death, resurrection, and ascension. We have a right to heaven, and, in spirit anyway, we are already there - seated - part of a finished and completed work.
Why did God do this? So that after all the mess with this world is through, God can show to everyone just how kind and gracious He really is. His church is to be an eternal example of God's love.
We are then saved by grace (God doing it for us) through faith, not 'on account of faith'. Wycliffe says that faith is not what saves us, it is merely the channel through which our salvation comes.
Not by works - the negative compliment to vs 5 - works are the product of salvation, not the cause of it.
We won't boast in heaven because there won't be anyone there who has anything to boast about.
23 This is what the LORD says: "Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches,
24 but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight," declares the LORD.
Walk - same word as in vs 2. From walking in the ways of death as corpses, we come full circle, to walking in the ways of life - God's work, doing God's works.
Workmanship: a product, from 'to make'.
Created: to fabricate
Before all of this happened, God prepared things for us to do, knowing that He was going to raise us to life in Christ. You have a purpose, its just a matter of finding what it is.
" You really were dead
" God really does care for you
" Thanks to His mercy and love you are really alive
" You really are in heaven right now with Jesus
" There really are things God wants to do through you - old plans for a new creature
1- Question: How do we know the difference between earthly and heavenly wisdom, and are there times when we mistakenly think we are getting to know God and His character more and in reality are going along with earthly wisdom?
2- How deeply do you know God? Do you allow Him to reach deeply into your soul, or do you withhold certain areas of your life from His touch? What happens when we open up to Him fully?
1 Cor 13:12
12 Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
12 For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
3- How can we make the power of God more real in our daily lives. Is it through spiritual goose bumps, or are there other ways this miracle power makes itself known in our lives?
4- What happens when a Christian sins? Do we die again, become a corpse? Does Christ have to die all over again? What is the process and outcome?
13 How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!
22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.
I Jn 1:9
9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
5- What are some "works" that God prepared for you to do - recite some of them. Do you ever begin to feel like your "works" are earning you points with God for some extra favor later?