LESSON 2
THAT WE MAY KNOW HIM 
(COLOSSIANS 1:16-18; 2 PETER 1:16-21; JOHN 16:7-14)

Copr. 1999, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.  All scripture references are to the
New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International
Bible Society,  unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used
by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found
within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or
some other visual aid.

Introduction: Last week we decided that if God created us He would want
to communicate with us.  We also discussed the ways in which God
communicates with us. This week we look more deeply at God's methods for
communicating with us. Let's get into our study!

I.       GOD AND CREATION

        A.      How important to your faith is the issue of whether God created us?

        B.      We agreed (well, maybe not Pat) that nature is a flawed revelation
of God. What kind of revelation would nature be if it evolved and were
not created?

                1.      I have a friend who says that God created the "building blocks" of
life and then used evolution as His method for "creation."  What do you
say about that?

                2.      Read Colossians 1:16-18. What do these verses suggest is the level
of personal involvement of Christ:

                        a.      in creation?

                        b.      in maintaining the universe?

                        c.      in the political situations on earth?

                        d.      in the church? (I think this text is a killer for the idea of
Theistic evolution. At the heart of "Theistic evolution" is an "absentee
landlord." The  idea is that God set things in motion, and then moved on
to more exciting things.  This text shows that is not true. Jesus still
has an active role in "holding" all things together (v.17), supervising
the "political process" (v.16) and supervising "the church" (v.18).)

        C.      Either mentally or actually scan through the creation account of
Genesis chapters 1 and 2. If days are not actual days, and the six days
of creation are long periods of God-guided evolution, what does this say
about the nature of God's communication to us in the Bible? (That it is
not to be trusted or taken too literally.)

                1.      What impact would such a view logically have on doctrines such as
the virgin birth?

                2.      What impact does the idea of long evolutionary periods have on the
holiness of the Sabbath?

        D.      If you were the devil, and you wanted to disrupt the "lines of
communication" between God and man, how would you go about it? (Cast
doubt on the accuracy or authenticity of the message. Cast doubt on the
nature of the Speaker: ie., that the Speaker is disinterested in the
communication; that the Speaker is not what He claims to be; and, loosen
the association between the weekly reminder of the authority of the
Speaker (the Sabbath) and the Speaker's claim to authority (the creation
event).)

II.     GOD AND THE PROPHET

        A.      Turn with me to 2 Peter 1:16-21. Read. Right in these few verses we
have at least three different types of revelation from God. What are
they? (Jesus'  appearance here. God's direct verbal affirmation that
Jesus was His Son (the story is found in Matthew 17:5). Prophets.)

                1.      Which is the most "direct" revelation from God? (Matthew 17:5 is a
direct quote from God.)

                2.      Is that how prophets get their information from God? God dictates
and the prophet writes it down?  Sort of like the executive and the
secretary making a letter?

                3.      Verses 20 and 21 are critical on this issue. As you look at these
verses, tell me what part of a prophecy comes from God and what part
comes from man? (God: origin, inspiration and interpretation. Man:
words.)

                        a.      Are the words always from man?

                        b.      What about the Matthew 17 event? (The entire event was recorded in
the Bible. However, some of it is a direct "dictation" from God and the
rest is a record, in the disciple's own words, about what took place.)

                        c.      We have not mentioned the Holy Spirit so far in the context of
this text. What does v.21 mean when it says the prophets were "carried
along by the Holy Spirit?"

                4.      Read Ezekiel 40:2-4. What kinds of revelation/prophecy do we see
here? (The prophet uses his own words to tell what he has seen.)

                5.      Notice that 2 Peter 1:20 says "no prophecy of Scripture ...." Are
there "non-Scripture prophecies?" Prophets who never wrote a book of the
Bible? (Yes. Nathan is a prominent example. See 2 Samuel 12:7.)

                        a.      Does this make any difference?

                        b.      In Acts 2:17-18 we are told that in the "last days" "sons and
daughters," "young men" "old men" "men and women" will prophesy. Do you
think the quality of that prophecy is on the same level as a "prophecy
of Scripture" (to quote 2 Peter 1:20)?

                        c.      Let me be more specific, if you were to have a dream that you
thought came from God, would you put it on the same level as what you
read in the Bible?

                                (1)     What if someone you did not like in the church had a dream
that
described "reforms" that should take place in your life that are not
wanted and (you think) unneeded?

                                        (a)     Would you accept it?

                                        (b)     Would it be proper for you to "test" it against
the Bible?

                                        (c)     What if the Bible had no clear statement on this
topic? For
example, if the dream warned you not to drink caffeine?

                                        (d)     What if the Bible, although unclear, seemed to be
contrary to
this dream? (See Matthew 15:10-12.)
 
                6.      Let's go back to 2 Peter. Notice that 2 Peter 1:19 talks about the
word of the prophet becoming "more certain." How does prophecy become
more certain here? (The word of the prophet is now confirmed (for the
disciples present) by a direct statement from God. The nature and work
of Jesus was also confirmed by what they saw.  They simply had
additional proof of what the prophets wrote.)

                        a.      Is it necessary for it to become more certain?

                                (1)     Are we "entitled" to more proof?

                                        (a)     If not, should we look for it?

                        b.      Are there certain types of prophecy that must be tested? (Read 1
John 4:1-3.)

                                (1)     Isn't this test pretty general? (We are going to get into
this
in much greater detail later in the quarter.)

                                (2)     What if someone, who acknowledges that Jesus is God, has a
dream
that you should not dye your hair blond any longer? Does this dream pass
"the test?"

                        c.      We are not going to answer these questions today. I want to
introduce these questions so that you can be alert to these issues as
you continue to study this quarter.

III.    THE WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

        A.      Read John 16:7-14. The "Teacher's Comments" say "the Holy Spirit
should not be viewed as only one among several ways that God
communicates."  Do you agree?

                1.      Haven't we been discussing several ways in which God communicates
to us, with the Holy Spirit being one of them?

                        a.      Does John 16 suggest any way in which this teacher's comment is
true? (It suggests that the Holy Spirit not only communicates God's will
to us, more than  that, He helps us to understand that will. More than
that, He helps us to want to understand God's will. He is certainly not
a simply communicator.)

                2.      I have been asking you questions about testing prophecies, whether
there are different "levels" of prophecy and how you go about figuring
these things out.  Does the Holy Spirit play a role in this according to
John?

                        a.      What role does He play? (Verse 13. The Holy Spirit is an essential
"guide" to lead us to what is true and what is not.)

        B.      Friend, are you looking for truth?  Is your heart open to what God
has in mind for you?

IV.     NEXT WEEK: "WHAT INSPIRATION IS."