Lesson 5

Revelation

(Romans 1, Hebrews 1 & 4, John 16)
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Introduction: Does it seem reasonable that anything as complex as the universe, or even as complex as you, came about by accident? Isn't it more reasonable to believe that Jaguars (the car) are assembled by chimpanzees(the animal), then to believe the universe came about by chance? The more reasonable questions are these: What kind of a God do we have? Has He decided to talk to humans and tell them about Himself? How can we find His messages? Let's dive into our study of the Bible and see what it reveals about all of these questions!

  1. Some Things Are Just Obvious!


    1. Read Romans 1:18-19. Whenever a text starts out with the "wrath of God" I involuntarily duck! Seriously, what is God upset about here? (God is angry with those who hide His truth. Paul could be saying one of two things: 1)The wicked deny God because their wicked deeds tend to hide the truth about God; or, 2) Those who deny the existence of God do so because they are wicked.)


    2. Read Romans 1:20. Why are the wicked so obviously wrong about God? (The existence of God is plain from what He has created.)


      1. Do you agree that the creation reveals God? (Last Sabbath I saw a fabulous film on this very subject. The speaker is Louis Giglio and the film is entitled "How Great is Our God." You can find the first of several parts on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_82lZ2PpYQE&feature=related


      2. Notice that Paul also says "so that men are without excuse." Excuse for what? Believing in God, or believing that God has some message for us? (Paul's reference to God's "divine nature" argues that nature communicates some moral message.)


    3. Read Romans 1:21-23. What is the first moral truth we can learn from the creation? (That since there is a Creator God, we should glorify Him and thank Him for the creation. From that logically follows that we would not worship an image of something created, but rather we should worship the Creator Himself.)


    4. Let's skip down a few verses in Paul's argument to see how he further applies this idea. Read Romans 1:26-27. What does Paul mean by "natural relations?" (What is implied by the nature of how we were created.)


      1. How does the creation teach us that homosexual practice is wrong? (I listened to an impassioned plea for money to help fix the environment so that polar bears do not become extinct. I would guess, logically, that one of the "environmental" issues is to tell polar bears to avoid homosexuality. Of course, the money-raisers had nothing of the sort in mind. But, I trust you get Paul's point about "natural relations.")


  2. Spokespersons!


    1. Read Hebrews 1:1. How does this text say that God communicates to humans? (Through His prophets.)


      1. Notice the switch here. Paul tells us to look around and find messages from God. Hebrews tells us that God spoke through prophets. The creation argument is obvious. What "obvious" reason have we to believe that prophets were actually speaking for God? (Two things. First, if the creation is proof of a Creator, isn't it logical that the Creator would want to communicate with us? Second, the messages of the prophets are consistent. If a bunch of egotists over the centuries falsely claimed to speak for God, you would expect them to have as many messages as there were messengers. A consistent message suggests a common source.)


    2. Read Hebrews 1:2-3. Why should we believe Jesus is God? (First, Jesus claimed to be God ( Matthew 26:63-64; John 12:44-46). Second, His resurrection was unlike anything within human power or authority. This is clearly "God" stuff.)


      1. What message from God did we receive through Jesus? (Jesus says that if you know Me you know the Father. John 8:19. If we study Jesus' life, we understand the nature of God.)


  3. Look It Up!


    1. Read Hebrews 4:12-13. How many of you can describe the Bibles in your home as "living and active" as opposed to "dust collectors?"


      1. Notice the language "it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart." Our topic is whether God reveals Himself to us. What role does this suggest the Bible plays in this revelation? (All of us have thoughts and attitudes about how we should live and treat others. The Bible tests these thoughts and attitudes against God's standard of conduct.)


      2. Have you ever said, "I wish that God would reveal His will to me" on whatever is of most interest to you at the moment?


        1. If the answer is "Yes," have you looked up what God said on the topic in the Bible? If not, did you really want to know God's will?


    2. Read 2 Timothy 3:16-17. What is the source of the Bible? (God.)


      1. What role can the Bible play in revealing God's will for our life? (The phrase "teaching, rebuking, correcting and training" seems to cover all aspects of life.)


  4. Listen!


    1. Read John 16:7-9. Who is the "Counselor?" (The Holy Spirit.)


      1. Is Richard Dawkins (someone who does not believe in God) troubled about his sins? (Notice that verse 9 says that the Holy Spirit convicts even atheists of sin! (Or at least those who do not believe in Jesus.))


    2. Read John 16:10-11. Have you been convicted in the past about your sins? Have you been convicted in the past about what you should do about your sins?


      1. If you answered "Yes," to either of these, is this additional proof that God exists and that He is actively involved in communicating with humans?


      2. This is another problem facing evolutionists. Why would we evolve a conscience? Why would this "pile of meat" that controls the functions of the body have any thoughts beyond what is necessary to survive?


        1. What is the source of our conscience? If we did not evolve it, then it must reflect powers beyond the human, right?


    3. Read 1 Timothy 4:1-4. Can we have a malformed conscience? A conscience which tells us not to do things that are perfectly acceptable to do?


        1. How can you distinguish between your own thoughts and the Holy Spirit speaking to you?


        2. How can you distinguish between "deceiving spirits and things taught by demons" and the Holy Spirit speaking to you?


    4. Read Matthew 12:31-32. What is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit? Does it have anything to do confusing the message of the Holy Spirit with your own thinking or confusing it with demonic temptation? (To help sort this out, we need to look at the background.)


    5. Read Matthew 12:22-24. What was Jesus talking about when He referred to speaking against the Holy Spirit? (Jesus is warning those who attribute the work of the Holy Spirit to the work of Satan.)


      1. Why would this be an unforgivable sin? Why would saying bad things about one part of the Trinity be worse than saying bad things about another part of the Trinity?


    6. Read 1 Samuel 3:12-14. God is giving a message through Samuel to High Priest Eli about Eli's sons, the priests. Is this yet another example of an unforgivable sin? If so, how many unforgivable sins exist? (I don't think any per se unforgivable sins exist. Recall that Eli's sons were in charge of the sanctuary procedure for the forgiveness of sins. They held the levers of the sin forgiveness process. Since they had corrupted the process, they could not be forgiven. The same idea exists with "grieving" the Holy Spirit. It is an essential part of the sin forgiveness process - it convicts us of sin. Thus, if we reject the Holy Spirit we have corrupted the process for the forgiveness of sin.)


    7. Read Titus 1:15-16. If you corrupt your conscience, are you slipping into a place where, as a practical matter, your sin cannot be forgiven because you have corrupted the process?


    8. Having established that we can corrupt the Holy Spirit's work, let's go back to our unresolved issue about how can we distinguish between Holy Spirit messages coming through our conscience and other messages? (Read again John 16:15. The Holy Spirit takes His messages from God. Thus, the messages of the Holy Spirit should line up with the other revealed messages from God - through the Bible, true prophets and nature.)


    9. What is your level of alertness to the messages of the Holy Spirit? Can you hear clearly? Or, have the messages become barely discernable?


    10. Friend, we have a God who wants to communicate His will to us. Will you look for His messages and conform your life to them? Will you listen for the Holy Spirit and be open to His leading?


  5. Next week: Sin.

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