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"For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others."
Nelson Mandela 

 

TWO TREES: 

Ge 2:9  And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. 

The  tree of life represents Jesus. ‘I  am the way the truth and the life’

‘In him was life, and that life was the light of men’.1Jn 1:4

Life was in the tree, life in Jesus.

It tells us in Corinthians:

It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.1Cor 1:30

Jesus brings spiritual wisdom  

He is the tree of life and He gives us wisdom  See Pr 8:22-35

Joh 1:1 (In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning) 

The tree of life is JESUS, tree of life, wisdom Pr 3:18 ‘Wisdom is a  tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and blessed is every one that retains her’.

Tree of Knowledge of good and evil. 

Man knows more than he understands.

Knowledge... Known facts that have been acquired by learning and possessing information. Knowledge is dependant on data. Knowledge is flawed by conception. Trial and error can increase knowledge

The human conscience relies upon knowledge about what is right and wrong and that is what determines and controls thought and behaviour.

Fruit of knowledge of good and evil is judgment of oneself and of others. 

Self righteousness, when ok,or guilt when not.

Fruit of knowledge of good and evil is religious laws.

It distracts us from Jesus – gets us measuring our performance and others- gets us focusing on what we do instead of looking at Him.

PRIDE/guilt – thinking we are better than others and our standing depends on us/ or thinking we are worse than others.

Tree of Life is Jesus who gives spiritual wisdom

 

Wisdom grants insight through intuition (instinctive knowing without the use of rational processes) Spiritually this is the Spirit in union with your spirit.

The fruit of the tree of life is righteousness before God.

As we know His life in us we look at each other more thro His eyes of love than our critical eyes.

Humility – knowing our righteousness depends entirely on Him & we have an equal need of Him as everyone else.

TREE OF LIFE present in the first book of the bible and the last.  

Re 2:7  He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.

 

A tree produces fruit according to what it is;

When Jesus is planted in us He grows within us and produces His fruit. Spirit:

Ga 5:22  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness , gentleness and self control. Fruit takes time to grow.

You can fake the fruit but you will be found out.  

When knowledge of good and evil is planted within us it produces laws and judgement. 

When we know Jesus – when His Spirit dwells in our spirit, He gives us spiritual wisdom – wisdom to know we belong to Him, that we are loved by Him, that He is with us. These things are only grasped spiritually by our 7th sense, in our KNOWER.

This wisdom is life giving, life enhancing.

Our faith in Him makes us right with God.

When we trust his working in our lives, when we have faith in Him, We have spiritual understanding regardless of IQ or education.  

Heb 11:3  ‘By faith we understand ………….’  

Knowledge depends on education, upbringing, IQ. It varies greatly and our knowledge of things can change through our lives – a child to an adult and it is different depending on what era we live in e.g. in Elizabethan times the current knowledge was that the, world was flat, in 21st century, we know the  world is round. Knowledge can be learned from someone else.

Spiritual wisdom is intuitive ‘knowing’. Spiritually knowing with our ‘knower’ . This wisdom is personal. Can only be gained through direct relationship with Jesus.

When we have different levels of knowledge we have disagreement and argument and judge others by our knowledge.

When we have Jesus and His wisdom we know Him, know His peace, his joy, don’t judge ourselves and don’t judge others. Having Jesus causes us to relate to Him and as we GROW in Him we are more able to see others through his eyes instead of our own. We are more able to trust Him in our lives.

What is our Centre?  by Kokichi Kurosaki

One might think that with the Bible as the centre of Christianity, the unity of Christians could be easily realized. Unfortunately, this has not proved to be true. This inability of Scripture to unify the Lord's people proves that the letter of the Bible cannot really replace the living Christ as the centre of our faith. The Bible speaks to us of the Life and work of God, and since "life" is greater than its manifestation, it cannot be expressed completely in any logical or theological form. Therefore, the Bible itself cannot escape being understood in many different ways. Thus we see how, in the wisdom of God, it is impossible to make the Scriptures the end or final authority in themselves, for they only express God's authority to those who live in fellowship with the spirit.

Let us pause to remember. In rejecting the authority of the Roman Church, the reformers turned to the Scriptures as the authority for their faith and actions. In the fierce conflict of the early days of the Reformation, it was natural that they should seek the security of some objective standard to meet the seemingly unlimited politico-ecclesiastical power of Rome. Therefore the position of the Bible as the God-inspired testimony of the apostles' personal faith in Christ gradually changed and became the source of Protestant "dogma" and the criterion of acceptable faith. Replacing the roman pope, the Bible became the centre of the protestant churches.

And so on the one hand there are the so-called fundamentalists who, accepting the Bible as the "infallible Word of God," believe there is no mistake in the whole Bible, not even in one phrase or manner of wording. To them it is, in the most literal sense, the Word of God from cover to cover, and their faith is utterly dependent on its literal infallibility.

On the other hand there are liberals who try to compromise biblical truth with science. Denying the spiritual in favour of the rational, or adopting the results of the higher and lower criticism, they reject the inspiration of the whole Bible.

There are yet others, though, who take the whole Bible to be the Word of God as do the fundamentalists, but in a little different way. They believe that the Spirit acts in the words of the historical records to reveal the living Word. They recognize the Bible as the record of God's revelation of Himself throughout history, climaxing in Christ--an inspirited record resulting from the activity of the Spirit in the individuals who wrote it. There is only one centre of Christianity, and this centre is spiritual fellowship with God through Christ--life union with God in Christ. When there is this koinonia (fellowship) there is the Body of Christ, the Ekklesia. The Ekklesia exists where there is this life-union with God through Christ. Only this union with God in Christ can be the centre of Christianity.

Ekklesia is the Greek word for ‘called out’. Roman Catholics translated the word to ‘church’ in order to consolidate their position of power and authority. William Tynedale used the word ‘congregation’ to undermine the authority of Rome, thus influencing all protestant biblical translators that followed.

Quotable Quotes:

Christianity seems at first to be all about morality, all about duties and rules and guilt and virtue, yet it leads you on, out of all that, into something beyond. One has a glimpse of a country where they do not talk of those things. Every one there is filled full with what we should call goodness as a mirror is filled with light. But they do not call it goodness. They do not call it anything. They are not thinking of it. They are too busy looking at the source from which it comes.

From ‘Mere Christianity’  by  C. S. Lewis

‘A baby may mess itself and stumble as he learns to walk and be a perfect baby for its age and stage of development.

A green apple, not yet ripe, is still a perfect apple for its time.

There is no pressure on us to be something we are not. The Lord will take care of our development as we live our lives loving Him.’

John Wimber                                

Remember Christ is the Judge, His Spirit the advocate, and the Christian is only a witness. Anon

You and I do not see things as they are. We see things as we are. Herb Cohen 

Faith is not something that makes sense to others. Following the reasonable path is only another law in disguise. God presses us to know Him in a unique way that He has set out for each one of us to discover. 

John Collings

Conviction and condemnation are parallel words, they have exactly the same meaning. People who say that they are 'convicted by the Holy Spirit' are in error. Ro 8:1 states that this is impossible.

Jim Parker

Common Sense
. . . it looked like perfect madness for Jesus to give Himself up to the authorities, let Himself get killed.
Somewhere in our hearts I think we'd all love to have a role like that, be used by God so dramatically. To find it, wisdom is just not enough -- may even hold us back from doing the will of God. The particular foolishness of the church in the past century was Reason above all else. The result has been a faith stripped of the supernatural, the Christianity of tips and techniques. The commonsense life, which, as Oswald Chambers warned, can be the enemy of the supernatural life. Many of the ministries and churches I've known made their decisions by principles and expedience. We have our morals and we have our precepts, but where is the living God? How will we hear him call us out of Ur, and lead us to our own promised land, bring us through our own Calvary? Putting all our confidence in human reason was naive, and it left us in a very dangerous position. The only way out of this mess is to turn to our Guide, our Captain, to learn to walk with God. We begin by assuming that God is still speaking.
John Eldredge
from: The Glory of a Heart Fully Alive: Waking the Dead

Bible Study/Discussion at previous meetings. We have discussed our spiritual makeup and also how our personality effects the way we relate to God.

We looked at the way our being is divided into body/soul/spirit.

We discussed ways different people had ‘heard’ God speaking to them – sometimes as an inner voice, sometimes as words in scripture suddenly ‘coming alive’ to them and having personal relevance to a real situation in their life. 

We discussed how when God spoke or gave an inner leading it was fulfilled in amazing ways that went beyond our ordinary experience.

We will go on next week to discuss how for each one of us the spiritual side of our being can develop more to recognise and experience God in our day to day lives.

Our Personality and relating to God 

God has created a world full of variety. He has created different types of personalities so making people who will relate to each other and to him in different ways. No one personality type or way of relating to God is better than another. The important thing is to relate to God as we can and not think we have to push our self into a mould to relate to him as we can’t.

 

This week we did another quiz and looked at whether we think more in terms of facts or ideas or in a mixture of both.We also looked at whether we think in terms of our head or our heart and whether we are extravert or introvert.(For personality test see www.bbc.co.uk/science).

FACTS PEOPLE : tend to be very observant, like exactness and order. Need routine and predictability. They start at the beginning and work through in a ordered way.

They relate to God through real things they can see, hear, touch etc.

A candle or a cross, picture of nature, an icon or a sculpture, can help them to connect with God. Music can help them express themselves to God. 

Often they find it very helpful to read prayers that others have written.

Familiarity and repeating prayers can be helpful. The place of prayer can be very important to them. 

They like a regular routine of prayer and reading scripture.

They find prayer lists and prayer diaries helpful. Facts people who extravert their senses may draw or paint, dance or sculpt to express themselves to God

IDEAS PEOPLE: Grasp impressions and the big picture. They don’t do the detail. Function best doing things on the spur of the moment.

Changes in routine refresh them spiritually and physically

Dislike having to follow instructions. Dislike repetition and sameness 

In relating to God Don’t follow fixed times for long. Muse on many different things like a butterfly. Often use few words – a kind of daydreaming with God. They ‘go with the flow’.

An ideas person who is extraverted : Scans the outside world like and minesweeper picking up perception that have meaning – finds new and interesting ways of connecting with God.An ideas person who is introverted : Is drawn to contemplation They value silence, for them silence is when they really pray. 

Points to ponder As we understand how we ourselves function we need to be able to allow others to function in the way they are designed to do.   

Your personality and relating to God

God has created a world full of variety. He has created different types of personalities so making people who will relate to each other and to him in different ways. No one personality type or way of relating to God is better than another. The important thing is to relate to God as we can and not think we have to push our self into a mould to relate to him as we can’t.

We are looking at four different aspects of personality. We started by doing a Quiz and finding out if we are more of a planner or more of a spontaneous person. We watched a DVD, and had a laugh, about the sort of characteristics that go with each.

(For personality test see www.bbc.co.uk/science).

Planner: Quick to make decisions, stick with their decisions, need structure and boundaries. Rules and regulations make them feel safe and they obey them easily. They thrive when life is settled and predictable. Feel stressed when life is changing.

In relating to the Lord they find prayer lists, Bible reading plans and notes very useful and they follow through and stick to them. They like predictability and sameness in church services and in praying. They find tradition helpful. This can make them relax and be more able to relate to the Lord.

Advantages; orderly, reliable, persevere.

Disadvantages: may be too rigid, make decisions before they have all the info needed and then are unable to change their minds.

Spontaneous: Act on the spur of the moment, like to ‘play it by ear’ and not plan things too much. Feel hemmed in by plans. Keep options open as long as they can. Put off decisions. Regard rules and regulations as guidelines only and don’t tend to stick to them consistently. Like variety and find a set routine stressful.

In relating to the Lord they are interested in a variety of approaches. Feel hemmed in and stressed if advised to follow a particular routine of prayer or schedule of bible reading. May find it easier to connect with God when there is a lot of variety in when and where they pray. They tend not to find tradition helpful.

Advantages: flexible, can adjust to change easily.

Disadvantages: may leave options open so long they don’t make decisions. Can have trouble sticking to priorities.

Points to ponder

Things that seem ‘natural’ and ‘right’ to some seem decidedly uncomfortable and alien to others. As we understand how we ourselves function we need to be able to allow others to function in the way they are designed to do.               

God accepts all personalities.                                                                 /to be continued...

 

 

 

 

Liberty Church Blackpool