Seek First the Kingdom of God

Recently my good friends Peter and Larry asked me to join them on their very first episode of a new podcast called “Come to Life”. I jumped at the chance. As the name suggests it’s a podcast that deals with a lot of the issues of life like how to pray or coping with grief or overcoming addictions. They interview all sorts of fascinating personalities. It’s a very interesting mix of subjects.

The foundation of it all is the word of God, using the Bible as their guide. With that in mind they wanted to start off by establishing what is behind every episode for them and that is the promise of God’s coming kingdom. God’s plan and purpose for everyone. Jesus Christ told us to seek first the Kingdom of God. If Jesus says its first, then what else could be more important?

I encourage you to check out the Come to Life podcast on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts.

https://cometolifepodcast.podbean.com/

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-come-to-life-podcast/id1583424714

 

The Ways of Providence (Part 2) – God’s Hand Among the Nations

Our study of God’s providence continues this time with a focus on how God works among the nations. The Bible gives us key insights on God’s view of the kingdoms of men and how he is ultimately in control to bring about his kingdom on earth. Join Dan and Tim as they grapple with difficult questions about how God’s rules in the Kingdoms of men, how these rulers are still responsible to God and what this means for the believer’s involvement in politics.

Visit the Bible Basics Webinar  

Key Verse:

“The sentence is by the decree of the watchers, the decision by the word of the holy ones, to the end that the living may know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will and sets over it the lowliest of men.” Daniel 4:17 

Show Notes:

God is in control of world events

  • God, Daniel and Nebuchadnezzar (three times Daniel 4:17, 25, 32 cp v. 35; 2 Chronicles 20:6)
  • Proverbs 21:1 – God turns the heart of kings like a stream of water

God’s use of Kings

  • Cyrus, God’s anointed (Isaiah 45:1-3; Ezra 1:1)
  • Nebuchadnezzar revisited (Ezekiel 30:21-25)
  • They are unaware (Daniel 4:29-31)
  • They are still responsible for their actions (Jeremiah 25:8-9,12-13)

One of the reasons that Christadelphians are not involved in politics

  • Our awareness that God is in control
  • A great comfort to know that all things will work out according to God’s will
  • Daniel’s advice to Nebuchadnezzar (4:27)
  • We shouldn’t get caught up in the criticism of government but pray for them (1 Timothy 2:1-2)

The Ways of Providence (Part 1) – God’s Hand in Your Life

For the first time we have Dan from the Bible Basics Webinar (www.biblebasicswebinar.com) here to talk with us about the providence of God. This is an essential Bible study because it gets at the heart of how we perceive the circumstances of our life. Are events just by chance or can God manipulate them for his purpose? This question leads us to consider many examples from the Bible of how God works behind the scenes in the lives of believers.

Key Verse:

“But all this I laid to heart, examining it all, how the righteous and the wise and their deeds are in the hand of God. Whether it is love or hate, man does not know; both are before him.” Ecclesiastes 9:1

Show Notes:

What is Providence?

Providence vs. Miracles 

  • Providence is more applicable to today
  • Example of the healing of the man blind from birth in John 9
  • His healing = a miracle 
  • His circumstances = providence “that the works of God might be manifest in him”

Providence vs. Time and Chance

  • Ecc. 9:1 “the righteous and the wise and their works are in the hand of God” vs. Ecc. 9:11 “time and chance happens to them all”
  • “God has control of chance, but not all chance is controlled by God” (The Ways of Providence, Robert Roberts., pg. 5)
  • Proverbs 3:5-6 – God will direct our paths, if… 1) we acknowledge Him. 2) trust in Him. 3) lean not on our own understanding
  • God’s direction over our lives can be lost (e.g. Saul 1 Samuel 18:12; 28:15)

Life Won’t Always Be Easy Because of Providence

  • Example of Job – “shall we receive good at the hand of God and shall we not receive evil?” (Job 2:9-10)
  • God promised to keep Jacob in all his ways (Genesis 28:15; 41:9; 48:16)
  • “All things work together for them that love God…” (Romans 8:28-32)

The Importance of Knowing God’s Will

  • Danger of assuming that circumstances in life are clearly a result of God pointing us in a certain direction (e.g. of David with Saul in 1 Samuel 26:7-11,18-19)
  • We must make life decisions based on Biblical discernment, not on what appears to be a direction God is sending us

We Might Be the Instrument of Providence for Others

  • God uses various means to accomplish his will
  • Control of nature
  • The angels
  • Us! Examples of Abigail (1 Samuel 25:26,32-34 and Esther 4:14)

The Word was made Flesh

In conjunction with last week’s podcast from John 1:1, Jay and Tim consider the context and the importance of verse 14, “the Word was made flesh”. What is it about Jesus being flesh that is so crucial to his sacrifice? Does it contradict the doctrine of the Trinity? How are we to understand this glory that was seen? The scriptures lead us to the wonderful conclusion that we will all eventually share in the divine nature, Jesus being the first among many.

Key Verse:

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14

Show Notes:

 The Importance of Jesus Being Flesh

  • Flesh and blood  the same as our nature (Hebrews 2:14) the key to the sacrifice of Christ.
  • Had to be tempted like us (Hebrews 4:14-15). God cannot be tempted (James 1:13).
  • Flesh is sinful! This is why his obedience is such a wonder. He had to overcome the temptations of flesh like no other man.

Made Flesh: What it Doesn’t Mean

  • Revisiting the definition of the Trinity and the nature of Jesus and God
  • Was Jesus the God-man? Is he just a man? Neither is true.
  • Jesus was a special creation made strong by his Father (John 3:34; 2 Cor. 5:19)

We Have Seen His Glory

  • What is glory? Both moral and physical.
  • The moral glory (Exodus 34:6 cp. John 1:14). The wider purpose of God to fill the earth with this glory (Numbers 14:21; Isaiah 11:9; Habakkuk 2:14).
  • His physical glory – the example and meaning of the transfiguration (2 Peter 1:16-18). Jesus the first to be transformed (Philippians 3:20-21; 2 Peter 1:4).
  • The Apostle saw both of these glories (1 John 1:1-3)

In the Beginning was the Word

John starts off his gospel by saying “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God”. This is a key verse for what many refer to as the Trinity. Jay and Tim discuss an attempt at a simple definition of the Trinity and whether this verse supports it. They then get into looking at what John is truly saying about the Word and Jesus by his use of the principle of personification found in other scriptures and the New Testament concept of a new creation in Christ Jesus.

Key Verse:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1:1

Show Notes:

The Trinity in a Nutshell (https://credohouse.org/blog/the-doctrineof-the-trinity-in-a-nutshell)

The Word was God

  • The Word is the expression of the thoughts and wisdom of God
  • The Word is Who He is, Love is Who He is, Light is Who He is
  • God is light (1 John 1:5) – intelligence, understanding, purity, truth, righteousness, life
  • God is love (1 John 4:8,16) – reconciling, slow to anger, tender care, rebuke and correction
  • It all starts with God. We come to know Him – His love, His light – through the Word.
  • Everything that Word is – love and light, grace and truth – was revealed in flesh and blood – when the Word was made flesh.

The Word in the Beginning of Creation

  • The Greek word for “Word” is Logos
  • The Word is the expression of the thoughts and wisdom of God (Psa. 33:6)
  • An appeal to consider Genesis
  • “Light” is the first spoken word that the Bible attributes to God! (Genesis 1:1-3)

The Word was with God in the Beginning

  • Personification of the word (Isaiah 55:10-11)
  • More personification (Psalm 107:20; 147:15; 2 Thessalonians 3:1)
  • Personification of the wisdom of God (a woman!), that was WITH God (Proverbs 8:1-2; 22-31)

Christ and the New Creation

  • The new creation (Colossians 1:13-20; 2 Corinthians 4:5-7)
  • The new beginning (Mark 1:1; Luke 1:2; John 1:12-13)

The Virgin Shall Conceive

Knowing Jesus better starts with his miraculous birth, born of a virgin by the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesse rejoins Tim to expand on studies from Genesis 3:15 to see how this prophecy/promise sets the stage. We delve into some wonderful verses in Isaiah predicted that Jesus would be born of a virgin. The Scriptures then lead us to the fulfillment in the Lord Jesus Christ and what it ultimately means that he was both the Son of God but also the Son of Man.

Key Verse:

“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” Isaiah 7:14   

Show Notes:

  • Revisiting Genesis 3:15 and the prophecy of Jesus that sets the compass for the dual aspect of Christ being both the Son of God and Son of Man.
  • Isaiah’s Prophecies of the Virgin Birth (Isaiah 7:13-15; 9:6-7; 49:1-2)
  • The Prophecies Fulfilled in the New Testament (Matthew 1:20-23; Luke 1:26-33)
  • Why the Virgin Birth is important and why Jesus is both Son of God and Son of Man (John 5:24-29)

Overcoming Temptation

With all this talk about sin on the podcast lately, it’s about time we discuss some practical matters on how to overcome temptation. Stephen joins Tim to discuss the Biblical definition of temptation and provide examples and stories to help us in our fight against sin. Find out what it means to “not pack a snack for the flesh”.

Key Verse:

“Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.” James 1:13-14

Show Notes:

Temptation Defined

  • Temptation a major topic of the Bible from Genesis
  • James 1:12-14 defines temptation and our need for God
  • Desires are not bad in themselves (Luke 22:15)
  • The worlds overwhelming temptations. Lusts that war against our souls (1 Peter 2:11)

Recognize Temptation

  • Where temptation originates (James 1:13)
  • The example of Samson (Judges 13&14)
  • The categories of lusts in the world (1 John 2:15-16)

Overcoming Temptation and Sin

  • Jesus’ instruction in the Lord’s prayer (Matthew 6:13)
  • Taking God’s escape route, fleeing temptation (1 Corinthians 10:12-14)
  • Practical points: David (Proverbs 28:13), Paul (Romans 7:18-23)
  • Do not make provision for the flesh (Romans 13:14)

Practical Points for Discipleship

  • The need for prayer (Philippians 4:6-7)
  • Guards – why you have them, how to implement
  • Jesus’ example in the wilderness temptation using the word of God (Matthew 4)

The Curse of the Serpent

After the fall of man, God pronounces a curse upon the serpent which includes an enigmatic statement concerning a future enmity. Jesse joins Tim for the first time to discuss this earliest of prophecies about the Lord Jesus Christ and how he would crush the head of the serpent. Listen in as we break down each of the characters and what the allegory all means.

Key Verse: “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” Gen 3:15

Show Notes:

Introduction

  • The Edenic covenant in Genesis 3:15 is the first prophecy and promise of the Bible. It is an allegory using events to represent another spiritual meaning.
  • Quick overview of what is represented by the serpent, woman and the two seeds.

The Serpent

  • More subtle than any beast of the field that God had made (3:1)
  • Spoke based on animal instincts to speak a lie therefore represents the mind of the flesh at enmity with God (Rom. 8:7)

The Woman

  • She proclaimed the truth of God’s revelation even though she was beguiled.
  • The woman represents the mind of the Spirit (Rom. 8:5)

The Seed of the Serpent

  • The wicked are described as a generation of vipers (Psalm 58:4; 140:3; Matt 23:33; John 8:44)
  • The seed of the Serpent are therefore those ruled by the mind of the flesh.

The Seed of the Woman

  • Represents those who have the mind of the Spirit.
  • First of all, this is Jesus (Gal. 3:16; 4:4)
  • Second, it is all those who seek to be like Jesus, transforming their minds (Rom 6:11-13; Gal 3:26-29; Eph 4:22-24)

The Defeat of Sin

  • “Bruise” = crush. The difference between a wound to the heel and head.
  • How that relates to Christ’s death and resurrection (Heb. 2:14)

Conclusion

Sin Entered the World

In this episode, Rob and Tim read through and discuss the Bible’s record of the very first sin in Genesis 2 and 3. Why was there a tree of the knowledge of good and evil? Why did God command Adam not to eat of it? What is up with the serpent? What lessons can we learn about temptation and sin? It’s all here in this episode.

Key Verse: “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned” Romans 5:12

Show Notes:

Introduction

  • Sin is the cause of death (Rom. 6:23)
  • Sin and therefore death came by one man (Rom. 5:12)

The First Sin – Reading through Genesis 2 and 3

  • Genesis 2:16-17 – God’s law and its consequence
  • Genesis 3:1,4 – The serpent and the lie
  • Genesis 3:6-7 – Temptation (1 John 2:16; James 1:14) and the fall of man

Final conclusion

  • The seriousness of sin and its effects on the whole world
  • Hope and forgiveness in Jesus (1 John 3:5)