Powerful Seed

Christians are physical people who have been made spiritual people by means of the Word of God, which lives and abides forever (1 Peter 1:23). To become a Christian, one needs neither reformation nor religion. One does not need to follow the teachings of Islam or Buddha, to become a devout Hindu, Mormon, or Jehovah’s Witness, or even to follow the example and teachings of Jesus Christ. A person does not need to become a Baptist, a Presbyterian, a Catholic, or an Episcopalian. One needs to be born of God by hearing and responding to the gospel. 

The gospel, guided by the Holy Spirit, is the only power on earth capable of infusing spiritual life into the spiritually dead. The only place on this earth where this message is found is in the Bible. This is why the Bible was given to man. This is why Paul was not ashamed of the gospel of Christ and why he called it “the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16).

The Greek word for “power” is dunamis. It is where we get our English word “dynamite.” The gospel is the dynamite of God.

The gospel is God’s powerful seed planted by the Holy Spirit into the soil of the mind. When the Spirit germinates the seed, it results in faith in Christ and new life. The gospel has the power to break through every barrier, every objection, every human argument, and all the human rationalization that is thrown against it. The simplicity of the gospel insults both man’s intelligence and his pride. No amount of education, success, or wealth can give us a spiritual birth. Only the gospel wielded by the Holy Spirit of God can make it happen.

We have no control over God’s power to give the new birth. A great illustration of this is our human birth. God alone determined that we would have life and how and when and where this life would occur. He determined all of the various circumstances behind it. He made it happen.

The same is true with spiritual birth. The new birth involves hearing and believing the gospel. It also involves trusting in Jesus Christ, becoming connected to Christ by birth.The result is that the one believing in Christ becomes a child of God. But God does it all. God is in complete control of the whole process.

John was very clear on this. He wrote that all who receive the Lord Jesus Christ are given the authority to become children of God. He then quickly added that God’s children are born not from a physical genealogical line of human beings, as a result of human choice, or from the choice of any human father, but from the source of God alone (John 1:12–13). No power on earth or in heaven can cause God to give life or prevent Him from making it happen.

 

 

Regeneration and Seed

One does not have to be a Bible scholar or an expert theologian to understand how sinful people become Christians. All we need to know is a little something about the birds and the bees and the flowers and the trees, and we are there. God is the great genius. He penned the Bible for ordinary people who are acquainted with His creation. Arguably the most amazing and powerful glimpse into the invisible world of God is the Bible’s teaching about regeneration. The science of biological regeneration is a God-ordained fact of life. In the beginning, God established this unchanging blueprint. After His initial creative act, God destined that all living organisms reproduce themselves. God ordained that both plants and animals procreate by making seed within themselves and reproducing more plants and animals according to their kind (Genesis 1:11–12).

Thus God commanded what scientists call “organic reproduction.” It is referred to as the cycle of life. He created trees that produce fruit containing seed, and the planted seed again regenerates the tree. Apple trees make apples and the seeds within them. Other fruit trees do the same. Corn seeds regenerate corn plants and then corn, and the process starts again. The seeds always produce fruit after their kind. James said that the fig tree does not produce olives, and the grapevine does not produce figs (James 3:12).

A seed can be stored away and lie dormant for years. It may give the appearance that there is no life within, but when it is placed into the ground, the whole of God’s universe springs into action to cause germination. The earth turns on its axis, and the seasons change, bringing the spring.

The sun, which is located some 93,000,000 miles away, warms the soil to just the right temperature. The tides move in with the pull of the moon, causing the warm air to rise from the oceans and to turn to tiny droplets of water. The wind currents move this moisture inland, producing condensation and the rain that waters the seed. The lightning flashes and produces the necessary nitrogen to fertilize the soil. The seed germinates, and another plant is born. This process has been repeated throughout history.

It is God who sends the rain from heaven and provides fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness (Acts 14:17). What an amazing thought! God is in absolute control of the whole process.

God also established the same biological regeneration pattern for the animal world. He created sea creatures and birds and told them to “be fruitful and multiply on the earth” (Genesis 1:20, 24–25). The phrase “according to its kind” is repeated over and over. There are obvious genetic changes within the plant and animal world. There are different kinds of plants and different breeds of animals, but there is no crossing over from one species to another. Plants do not reproduce animals, animals do not reproduce plants, dogs do not reproduce cats, birds do not reproduce fish, and so forth. God’s established order is firmly in place and He has an amazing purpose for this. God created it all to reveal to us His beyond this world plan. It is all a gigantic object lesson.

The remarkable truth made known is that God’s words – all 774, 646 of them – are His incredible seed, His sperma(1 John 3:9). This seed is in the form of the good news of the origin, the death, and the resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:23-25). This seed is being used to birth a new generation – a heavenly generation after its kind(James 1:18).  It is spiritual seed, therefore it produces a spiritual product, a spiritual birth (John 1:13, 3:6). God’s seed is guided by Him – generation after generation – all over the earth reproducing a heavenly people that will one day occupy a new heaven and a new earth (Revelation 21:1). God sends His seed to accomplish His purpose, and it never fails. There are no miscarriages (Isaiah 55:11). Wow!  

Bible People

Image result for bible imagesThe very first time the word Christian is found in the Bible is in the book of Acts where it says that the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch (Acts 11:26). King Agrippa said that Paul almost persuaded him to become a Christian (Acts 26:28). Peter said that if anyone suffered as a Christian, he should not be ashamed but should glorify God (1 Peter 4:16). That’s it. Those three references are the only times in the Bible the word Christian is mentioned.

What does the word Christian mean? It means “belonging to Christ” or “connected to Christ.” Some of the most exciting glimpses into God’s invisible domain are the ones that teach us exactly how we are connected to Him.

True Christians know quite well that we are connected to Christ by faith and faith alone (Ephesians 2:8–9; Romans 4:4–5). Some still erroneously believe that to be saved, human works must be added to faith. This is not the case. We receive God’s gift of forever life by placing our faith alone in the person of Christ alone.

First and most importantly, Christians are Bible people. For most readers, this would appear glaringly obvious. “Well, of course,” you might respond. “What else would we be?”

Then again, you may not understand exactly what I mean by Bible people. Christians believe the Bible to be God’s inerrant, infallible Word. Christians are to be faithful to study the Bible, seeking to find the correct interpretation so we can do what it says and teach it accurately. There is much more to the Bible than most people understand.

There are books considered by many to be holy books, including the Hindu Veda, the teachings of Buddha, the Muslim Koran, the Book of Mormon, and the Bible. People become Hindus because they are taught out of the Veda. Buddhists study and attempt to follow the teachings of Mahatma Buddha. Muslims believe and follow the teachings of the Koran. Mormons form their beliefs from both the Bible and the Book of Mormon.

However, there is no book equal to the Bible. There is only one God, and He has spoken to us only through the Bible. The apostle Peter said, “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:20–21).

The teaching contained in the Bible is not a record of man’s thoughts about God. It is, in fact, God’s Word about Himself. The Bible says that all Scripture is inspired of God. The word inspired means “God breathed.” Every word recorded in the Bible is the very breath of God revealed in written form (2 Timothy 3:16). Since this is true, the Word of God is living and powerful. The words are spiritually alive, and when wielded by the Holy Spirit, they make a spiritual impact upon readers (Hebrews 12:1–2).

The Holy Spirit moved special men to write down God’s Word as He dictated it to them. The writers’ human minds were active, but the Holy Spirit was in complete control of everything they thought, spoke, and wrote. They used their own words, but their words were guided through the directing hand of God.

God used forty different writers to pen His Word over a period of some 1,600 years, yet it tells one story from beginning to end. The Old Testament was written in Hebrew, with a short portion in Aramaic. The New Testament was written in Greek. The Bible has been translated from its original languages into many languages, allowing God to speak to many nations and peoples around the world. From Genesis through Revelation, God’s Word, the Bible, is complete and completely truthful. God preserved and protected His Word and brought it safely down to us today.

The result is that the Bible that we hold in our hands includes all the words with all their proper meanings that God intends for us to have. Every word matters. The Bible in its original language is inerrant and infallible. Every noun, verb, adjective, adverb, participle, infinitive, conjunction, and prepositional phrase is in the Bible by God’s design. The Bible contains 1,189 chapters; 41,173 verses in the Old Testament; 33,214 verses in the New Testament; 593,393 words in the Old Testament; 181,253 words in the New Testament; and 774,646 total words.[i]  The longest chapter is Psalm 119, and the shortest is Psalm 117. The longest book in the Old Testament is Psalms, and the longest in the New Testament is Luke.

Let’s ask a most searching question. Why did God choose to make His Word known to us? It is because no other book on earth can do what this book has the power to do. Stay tuned!

 

[i]Roy B. Zuck. The Speakers Quote Book.Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 1997, 33.

E-zine Volume 3, Issue 2

Just a reminder

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn [Manthano– to endeavor, to desire, to seek, to know more fully] from Me, For I am gentle and humble in heart and you shall find rest [Anapausis– cessation from toils] for your souls. For My yoke is easy [Chrestotes– having nothing harsh or galling about it] and My load is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

Please pray for Mike Moore, our Ezine editor. He is recovering from serious back surgery.

Links to articles in this edition of the Glimpses Ezine:

Addiction – Jessica Moore Otto in her “Front Porch Living” addresses an issue that affects almost every family 

An Answered Prayer – Danny Forrest, in his new series of Kingdom Stories: Guardians of the Gospel, explores how life in the kingdom relates to life today.

Happiness is a Choice – Taking ownership of your “this” by Tanya Moore

The Importance of Prepositions – by Ken Sheppard. Little words make a big difference.

The King is Coming– deep insight into why Jesus will return to earth and set up a literal thousand-year kingdom by Dick Hill

When Fear Turned to Joy– an Easter message preached by Justin Moore

Well Said– notable quotes

Glimpses Conference 2019– Guardians of the Gospel is our theme. We hope you will join us May 31-June 1. Register now!

 

 

The Mind’s Eye

“We do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18).

These intriguing words of Paul became the motivation behind my life’s ministry. He said that as we read God’s Word, we are to begin a journey of looking beyond things that human eyes can see and begin to peer into God’s unseen world. Things that I see with my physical eyes are destined to pass into oblivion. They are just temporary. The truths found in the Bible that I cannot see with my human eyes are eternal.

God impressed upon me that I am to use the eyes in my mind to see the unseen. My thoughts went quickly to the words of Jesus Christ when He said, “Blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear.” He was obviously not speaking of human eyes or human ears. My mind raced on to another passage that I had recently studied. Contrasting human wisdom with God’s wisdom, Paul wrote these incredible words that God etched forever into my mind:

But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. (1 Corinthians 2:9–13)

God’s wisdom is knowledge that cannot be seen with human eyes or heard with human ears. That sounded familiar. In fact, God’s wisdom has never entered a human mind before. Incredible! That means that God’s wisdom is not some rehashed human understanding coming from the mind of man.

Paul then wrote something that has become the motivation for Glimpses of Grace Ministries and the day-by-day church ministries that God has led me to. He said that God has revealed these hidden things to us through His Spirit.

Hold it! Is this saying what I think it is saying? Is Paul saying that God’s Spirit opens to our human spirits the deep things of God, the hidden wisdom of God? Is he saying that we can know the things that human ears have never heard or eyes have never seen? We can know the things that no human mind has ever thought? That is exactly what he is saying. This is fascinating!

How is this possible? The next line reads, “What man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man, which is in him?” I alone know my own secret thoughts. Likewise, the Spirit of God alone knows the deep things of God. My mind began to race. We have received not the spirit of this world but the Spirit who is from God! Why? So that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. The Spirit of God lives in me. He has a purpose for being there. He can teach me the deep things of God. We can know the things that have been freely given to us by God.

The final words of the passage “comparing spiritual things with spiritual” actually sent me into another world. The Holy Spirit brings to my mind spiritual thoughts as I read the words of Scripture. As I study the written words of the Bible, verse by verse and line upon line, God the Holy Spirit opens the eyes of my mind to see and understand the deep, fascinating wisdom of God. This is absolutely incredible. We can know the mind of God!

But there’s a catch. These glimpses into God’s unseen world cannot be found by searching for them. God opens them to us at His pleasure as we study the Bible word-by-word and line-by-line year after year. These glimpses are not unique to only one Christian. They are open to all. Since we have the Holy Spirit living in us, we meet the criteria to receive these spiritual nuggets. There are not different glimpses for different people. Every believer receives the very same truth.

God has not taught me everything that I have desired to know about His plan, but He has been pleased to give me small insights, little glimpses. These insights placed together began to etch a beautiful portrait in my mind. God has opened to me His incredible salvation plan, the true identity of Jesus Christ, the immense value of His death and resurrection, and the nature and purpose of the Holy Spirit, to name a few. These are glimpses of grace.

Dick Hill is director of Glimpses of Grace