There is audio from Grace Assembly Church services.
Thursday, June 2, 2022
There is audio from Grace Assembly Church services.
The Glorious Gospel
“But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.” II Cor. 4:3-7.
What is the Glorious Gospel? Is it not the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face (person) of Jesus Christ? It seems to indicate in I Tim. 6:14-16 & II Tim. 1:8-10, that this is far beyond the grasp of mental conception, or normal human vision. But we read of Jesus being the “image of the invisible God,” in Col. 1:15. In Heb. 1:3 Jesus is spoken of as being “the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His person.”
We are wonderfully blessed to hear the good news, the glad tidings of God’s goodness, greatness and grace, which are extended unto us in His dear Son. How marvelous to behold, even through a glass his holiness, righteousness and power, as well as the brilliance, splendor and radiance of Our God. He said in the beginning, “Let there be light: and there was light” Gen. 1:3.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shinneth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not…And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father), full of grace and truth” John 1:1-5,14.
Moses requested to see the glory of God, “If I have found grace in thy sight.” He was blessed to behold the afterglow or back parts of God’s glory (Ex. 33), while hidden in the cleft of the rock and covered by God’s hand. As we today find grace, we behold His glory. His light shines for all that believe, but is blinding to those that reject to receive. Such an attitude is to open oneself to greater darkness.
Verse five in our text expresses the attitude of those who truly minister the glorious gospel. Preaching Christ Jesus as Lord leaves out room for the self life. I am so very glad that there are still some to whom the gospel of the glory is being revealed, thus committed to their trust. Praise God, He is still enabling them for that which He counts faithful - I Tim. 1:11. There seems to be a minority being intrusted with such a momentous message. God who has commanded the light of His glory to shine in the face of Jesus, is writing this message in receptive hearts - II Cor. 3:3. A veil of legality or bondage to sin seems to be upon most hearts.
We would point out five great and gracious factors, features or related elements of this gospel of the glory.
“For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God” - Rom. 8:19-21.
It seems that the eagle wings and the wings of the cherubim express the most spacious freedom of our sonship. What a glory that all creation awaits our coming into our own as sons of the living God. Oh, to be able to soar to the throne on high, when our adversary is trying to chain us. He whom the Son has set free, is free indeed. Where the spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty II Cor. 3:17.
The glorious gospel contains the truth that makes one free. Sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under the law but under grace - Rom. 6:14. The perfect law of liberty is certainly the wonderful Word of God’s marvelous grace - James 1:25. This message not only teaches us to stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free, and not be entangled with the yoke of bondage, but also that we are called to liberty to use unto God’s glory. The liberty that we are called to makes us love slaves to our Lord and His people - Gal. 5:1,13.
“Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness” Col. 1:11. The glory of His power is extended unto us that we may be able to walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, in all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness, feature that! Most would tell you that God’s power strengthens us for many inferior reasons. The “dunamis” (Greek) of God is to be placed in the inner man according to the riches of His glory – Eph. 3:16. In II Cor. 4:7 we are given to understand why the Christ life-light is placed in earthen vessels, “That the excellency of the power be of God, and not of us.”
Oh, what a glorious treasure is placed in these “Clay Pots.” Let us value highly this eternally valuable deposit. The frailty of the vessel is certainly used to manifest, even magnify the excellence of treasure. This is illustrated in verses 8-14. In fact the difficulty we experience as we go on in the Lord’s will in these temporary dwellings serve to produce a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. They are part of our training for reigning verses 15-17. The afflictions of the moment won’t last, but thank God, that which they are working, will. Hallelujah!!
To be continued
Trust In The Lord
Gordon Crook, PastorGrace Assembly, Wichita, Kansas
“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.” Proverbs 3:5
Such a simple and familiar verse. Many have memorized this verse in their Sunday school class. But, as with most such simple verses, there are deep truths here that are very important to our spiritual life.
Trust – to trust, to have confidence, to be secure, to feel safe. These are the meanings of the original Hebrew word used here. These will help us think about what is really being expressed here, and what it means to our daily living.
Trust is something that is earned. It is hard to trust someone that you don’t know, or someone that has not proven to be trustworthy. So, when we read that we should trust in God with all of our heart (everything in us), we need to know if God is trustworthy. Has He earned our trust? You might be thinking that I have no business thinking about God this way. I see in Scripture that God wants me to think this way. On many occasions, God encouraged His people to watch Him work on their behalf. Exodus 14:13, 2Kings 6:16, 2Chronicles 20:17, Isaiah 41:10.
As I read God’s Word, I find that He has and is proving Himself to be trustworthy. In fact, there has never been anyone that can be considered more trustworthy than God. He has always done exactly what He said He would do. This is what Paul tells us in Romans 15:4. Paul reminds us that this gives us hope, because we can trust God with our future based on His trustworthiness in the past.
Trusting in the Lord is what will make us steadfast. This is an important fact for all of God’s people to understand. We do not become steadfast by looking to our own ability, but by trusting in our steadfast God. Psalms 125:1.
The level of confidence we have is also based on God’s record of never failing anything He said. Joshua 23:14, 1 Kings 8:56. It is also based on our understanding of God’s ability to do what He says. As humans, we might have a true intention and desire to do what we say, but sometimes we might just not have the ability to follow through. Ephesians 3:20. Having confidence in God’s ability to complete that He says, should put our heart at rest.
If you are expecting someone to do something really important for you, that might have significant repercussions if not done well, you might be uneasy until it is complete. We never need to be uneasy waiting for God to complete His promises. Philippians 4:6, Isaiah 26:3. In fact, we are encouraged to ask with thanksgiving which demonstrates our confidence in our Lord.
Secure and feeling safe. We feel secure and safe when our system of defense is working as it should. We lock our doors, and maybe turn on some lights to help us feel safe from someone coming in and causing harm. I watched a man who had guardian dogs for his flocks, and he spoke of feeling safe because he knew the dogs were always on alert and would never allow any predator to harm his flock.
When our trust and our confidence is fully in our Lord, we can feel safe and secure knowing that He is always on alert and will not allow our enemy to harm us. Hebrews 13:5, Psalm 91. This is better security than anything we can come up with.
Which brings us to the second part of our verse. If we are to put all of our trust and confidence in our God, then we cannot lean unto our own understanding. This also means that we cannot try to second guess God and His purposes. If we truly trust Him, we have to recognize that our thinking will only make us doubt God’s true ability in our life.
Our understanding is limited by our short existence and our ability to understand the world around us. Our ability is so limited by our human frailty and inability to see beyond the present. God sees the end from the beginning, so He has knowledge that we cannot.
Do not allow the enemy to rob you of your confidence in your Lord. Place all of your trust in the Lord with every part of your life, and He will give you safety, security and rest and relief from anxiety.
THE ETERNAL PLAN
Anita Clark – PastorGrace Chapel, Carbondale, Kansas
What do we know about Eternity Past, before the creation of the earth and mankind? Some things we know from the Holy Scripture. We know there was the Trinity - Father, Son and Holy Spirit - three persons of the Godhead.
God the Father - Before Genesis 1: there was no time. God created time for mankind as He created the earth and the heavens. This was part of His plan to redeem the humans at a later date. The fall of man did not surprise God. The title for “God” in the Hebrew language is the word “Eloheem.” This name occurs 2,601 times in the Bible. The Bible speaks of the Trinity, which shows the three persons of the Godhead - God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. They work together. When Jesus came to earth, He distinctively showed His love for His Father and spoke of Him often to those around Him.
God The Son - John 1:1 declares, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him and without Him was not anything made that was made.” Jesus is the Word. In John 17:5, & 24-26 Jesus prayed to His Father before He went to Gethsemane, and ultimately to the cross. Colossians 1:14-20 speaks of Jesus Christ as the Creator, “For by Him were all things created, that are in heaven; and that are in earth, visible and invisible...”. Of course God the Father and the Son always worked together on all things.
The Holy Spirit - the Triune God includes, this personage. Genesis 1:2 declares that in the beginning the earth was “...without form and void and darkness was upon the face of the deep, And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters” In Hebrews 9:14 it is said of Him, “How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God.”
Purposes and plans were made before time. Before the earth was formed, the Godhead, Father, Son and Spirit held a “mighty council, and divine foundation laid” (one of the Grace and Glory songs).” This was all decided before the Fall of Satan (Isa. 14:12-17). Galatians 4:4-7 says, “But when the fulness of time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the Law; to redeem them that were under the curse of the Law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because, ye are sons God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying, Abba Father,...thou art no more a servant (slave), but a son, and if a son the an heir of God through Christ.” The words “Abba Father” is a term of endearment such as “Daddy, Daddy.” The decision of this Divine Council was held before the earth was ever brought into existence. It took place before Satan’s fall. He has always tried to destroy what God has made, and works in the unbelievers today.
As we have already seen - God (the Trinity) was planning many things before time began on earth. I Peter 1:18-21 speaks of the redemption provided by Christ Jesus’ death. Verse 18, “...that you were not redeemed with corruptible things as silver or gold,...(Vs.19) “But with the precious blood of Christ, as a Lamb without blemish and without spot, who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you.” Acts 2:22-24, Peter speaks to the crowd on the Day of Pentecost, “Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God...Him being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken and by wicked hands have crucified and slain. Whom God has raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible to be holden of it.” Also, Rev. 13:8, tells us Jesus is: “...the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.”
Even the purposes of our individual calling by grace were ordained before the foundation of the world. II Tim. 1:9 Speaking of God’s plan, “Who hath saved us, and called us, with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given to us in Christ Jesus before the world began.” Eph. 1:4 says we have spiritual blessings in Christ, “According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world.” The plans of the Triune God have always been in effect. Titus 1:1-2 says that we acknowledge the truth, “In hope of eternal life, which God that cannot lie, promised before the world began.”
Satan is God’s Arch-enemy - I already mentioned the Scripture where Satan fell from the presence of God and has become our arch enemy as well as God’s. Another place where this is mentioned is Ezekiel 28:12-19. II Pet. 2:4 tells us what God did with the angels who sinned against God and followed Satan. “For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains darkness to be reserved unto judgment.” All through time, the forces of God and the forces of Satan have been in opposition. By reading Job 1, we gain more insight about Satan as he appears in the presence of God, where he is given permission to tempt and attack God’s servant, Job. Job went through terrible trials. Sometimes we think we have awful trials, but in comparison with Job’s, we haven’t suffered much. We learn to walk in victory in the Lord’s power despite Satanic darts coming from the old devil. The Lord strengthens us to have the power of the Holy Spirit to overcome all things. In Deuteronomy 33:27 it says of God, “The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.”
Dispensational View of the 7 Churches Continued
A dispensation is a period of time, we are living in the dispensation of the Church Age. We need to remember the view point of this revelation. John was taken to the Lord’s day and hearing a voice behind him turned and was looking back at the Church Age – Rev. 1:10-12. John saw the whole Church Age from the beginning to the end. The seven churches all together tell the story of this Age and how the Church has traveled from the Day of Pentecost to the present time and even beyond where we are now.
Sardis (Rev. 3:1-6) represents Protestantism. They have gone on a long time. Martin Luther came out of the Catholic Church and stood against the falsity of it. He had to hide for he was in danger of being killed by them. People have formed a religious organization named after him, which he was very much against that. Later Wesley came on the scene and God blessed him. After his death people made an organization after his name and there were others. Sardis had a name that they lived, professing to be God’s people. The Catholics say, “We are God’s people, we are The Church.” But in these last days, the Protestants cease to protest. That is what the name means – Protest-ants.” They protested the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church. After they ceased protesting they didn’t have much and now they are buddy buddy with the Catholic Church for the most part. They may have big churches, big programs, but not much reality (V. 2). Since the ecumenical movement they both are closer to unity all the time. Soon they will be one big glob, the Laodicean condition, that we will read of later.
Philadelphia (Rev. 3:7-13) like Smyrna, no fault is found in them. If Smyrna represents the full overcomers who go by the way of the grave during this Church Age, Philadelphia represents the full overcomers who will be alive when thee Lord comes and will be translated. I Thess. 4:16-17, “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first (Smyrna saints resurrected): Then we which are alive and remain (Philadelphia saints) shall be caught up together with them in the clouds (translated), to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”
An open door is set before these saints, the open door of heaven, the door of translation (V. 8). They will not have to go through tribulation, because they have kept the word of Christ patience, looking for their Lord to come (V. 10). Some true believers are not loving His appearance. They are careless and indifferent and will be asleep spiritually, drunken with the things of this world. To them He will come as a thief in the night. I Thess. 5:4-11, “But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. “Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him. Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.” Those who had been asleep spiritually, will wake up when they realize some saints are gone and they are left to go into tribulation days.
Laodicea (Rev. 3:14-22) is the condition of Christendom in the last days of this Church Age. There will be one united world church, not the true Church, the body of Christ, but Christendom, the visible religious conglomeration. The ecumenical movement will culminate with all the daughters going back to the mother church – Rev. 17:5. They are saying now, “We are not going to let doctrine keep us apart. We can be a powerful force in the world if we are united. It will sound so good, but the truth of the gospel suffers because of this compromise. It is not God’s will that His people compromise on doctrine. Love is a favorite topic in the ecumenical gatherings, but let we put the emphasis upon loving Christ supremely. The true Church has already been made one – Gal. 3:26-28; Eph. 2:13-22; 4:4-6.
Apostasy is the chief characteristic of the Laodicean church, “neither cold nor hot.” The Lord hates this lukewarmness and indifference – “I will spue thee out of my mouth” (Vs. 16-17). By the grace of God, true believers are called to come out, before God’s judgment of her – Rev. 18:4,8. In V. 18 there is salvation for whosoever will. Some individuals will be saved and come out, before God judges Christendom. That’s the grace of God.
So we see how the church has gone dispensationally. It had a wonderful beginning. It was God purpose for all the church to stay up on the Ephesian plane, seated in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus. Satan has corrupted the minds from the simplicity that is in Christ. They left their first love for Christ. The Church as a whole became worldly minded. Next false doctrine was allowed to be taught. Many evils followed such as Spiritual fornication, clergy over laity, etc. Some periods of revival occurred, but as a whole deterioration continued until the last condition is a self-satisfied one world church, with Christ on the outside knocking to get in (Vs. 20).
As a whole the church did not heed the Apostle Paul’s warning of II Cor. 11:2-3. “For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.”
Thank God some did heed Paul’s warning and there are some today that are holding fast. Rev. 3:11, “Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.” Some are looking for Jesus’ return, they are the Smyrna and Philadelphia saints.
Starting next issue, we will glean some Personal lessons from these letters of Christ to the 7 Churches.
Debra Isenbletter, Pastor, Christian AssemblySpringfield, Missouri
Jonah 3:5 “So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them.”
When we look at the People’s Response, three important actions are seen that are very revealing and an example of all who are convicted by the Word of God. (Faith, Fasting, Repentance). I do not know if Jonah only preached for three days, the time it took to cover the length of the city. What I do know is that while he preached and after he finished preaching there was a response that was amazing in its scope. Nothing like that every happened in Israel. Israel had many prophets come and preach and they were well known and preached for years. Many of those prophets did mighty miracles and yet Jonah is different. He was one prophet, not well known, he had only one short message, he did no mighty miracles. As far as we know he did not call upon them to repent or encourage them to repent. He only pointed out their sin and the consequence of that sin, a terrible judgment. What a different contrast to how God dealt with His people and what a different response to the message of one prophet. We can see how their response shamed God’s people.
Faith: The people of Nineveh believed God. The people were the first to see Jonah, they were the first to hear his message and they were the first to believe. What a testimony. They believed God because Jonah revealed God. They believed Jonah’s message was the Word of God. The word “believe” comes from “to build up or support, to foster as a parent or a nurse.” That shows the wonderful result of belief, it is a strength, it is a certainty, it is a trust. It is both the Word and God who has revealed the Word that brings this unshakeable faith, this unbelievable strength which is called faith. It is that belief in both the prophet and the message of the prophet that will bring about the reaction and action in the hearts and lives of the people. They are moved and motivated to do something, anything, whatever they can do to try to stop judgment.
I know that Jonah did not do any mighty miracles but he was a living miracle. It could be that they had heard from the sailors about their experience with Jonah, it could be that Jonah testified of his experience in the belly of the great fish. The Lord does not give us any other details other than Jonah preached and they believed. What this shows me is that believing God comes first, and that is the greatest work of all and it energizes anything else we might do. They were not saved because of their works, they were saved because they believed God and what they did showed their belief. Abraham believed God first (Rom.4:3; Gal.3:6; Jam.2:23). “Abraham believed in the Lord and he counted it to him for righteousness.” (Gen.15:6). I remember a comment by W.J. Franklin on this verse that I have never forgotten, He wrote: “Note that Abraham uttered no words, did no works, made no boast. He shed no tears, made no prayers. He simply believed God. His was an attitude not an action.”
Believing God is the definition of faith (Heb.11:1). What is striking is that they had faith in the negative part of Jonah’s message, in the judgment but somehow, they also had faith in something positive, in God’s mercy. They believed in God’s judgment but also believed in God’s mercy. They believed in what God would do (destroy them) but also believed in what God could do (deliver them). They believed and acted on that belief.
Fasting: and proclaimed a fast. This is a testimony of their faith. To “proclaim” means two things, first “to read aloud” and also “to call out to a person you meet.” That proclamation could have been a public decree which was read aloud in the market place. It could also have been a personal plea, carried by word of mouth from individual to individual. It was to abstain from all food or water for a stated purpose. We know the purpose of the fast was that they wanted to stop judgment. We do not know the period of the fast. I believe it started the day they heard the message and lasted until the forty-day deadline.
Repentance: and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least.
Visible Sorrow: and put on sackcloth”—In this we see a visible sorrow, an outward show of what they felt inwardly. They put on “sackcloth” which was a course loose black cloth made of black goats’ hair. It was used for repentance, mourning and sorrow. It seems every culture, Nineveh included, had this practice but we have many examples in the Old Testament. Jacob put on sackcloth and mourned his son Joseph (Gen.37:34). David and the people put on sackcloth and mourned Abner (2Sam.3:31). Sackcloth and ashes are a double sign of mourning and sorrow. Jeremiah described this type of sorrow, asking that God’s people do this (Jer.6:26). Ezekiel also described this type of sorrow asking those in captivity to do this (Ezek.27:30-31). In Esther, Mordecai and the Jews showed this type of sorrow when they heard the edict of the king concerning the Jews (Esther 4:1-3). Sackcloth also can show not just the sorrow of the people who hear the message but of the prophet who preaches the message because it is a message of sorrow. Elijah wore sackcloth from goat or camel hair (2Ki.1:8). John the Baptist was clothed with camel hair (Mark 1:6). The two witnesses wear sackcloth (Rev.11:3). It makes me wonder, what did Jonah wear?
Universal Sorrow: “from the greatest of them even to the least of them.” The “greatest” speaks of position and power and wealth. They could be the elders, the rich, the merchants, they were all men of importance. The “least” are those that had no position, no power, no wealth. They could be the young, the poor, the women, the children. Those that were not important. This really does show how widespread the effect of Jonah’s message was on the hearts of those that heard it or heard it passed on by others. Both fasting and sackcloth were outward expressions of an inward conviction. This shows a sorrow of the heart (Joel 2:12-13). This was often accompanied by prayer (Dan.9:3). This was also often accompanied by a confession of sin (1Sa.7:6). All of these things could have occurred and it would have felt like a tidal wave sweeping through the city. No wonder the king hears about it and reacted.
To be continued – The King’s Response (Vs.6-9)
God’s Timing and Purposes – Ecc. 3:1-8
Pastor Vicky MootsKingman, Kansas
Ecc. 3:3b (continued): “…a time to break down and a time to build up.” This is a continuation of the meaning of this verse. This time I would like to use the physical body for an illustration, specifically using the example of bones and how they heal.
There are two types of cells in bones that help to maintain and heal them as well as to help regulate calcium at the proper levels in the blood stream by either breaking bone down or building it up. Bone is living, growing tissue, not just a rigid lattice-work, composed of calcium, phosphorus and other minerals. Osteoclasts are the bone cells that break down bone, and osteoblasts are the cells that build it up. Both are equally necessary.
So, what determines whether it is a “time to break down” or a “time to build up”? If you fall and break a bone, the injured bone bleeds. The bleeding results in chemical signals being released which cause the osteoclasts and osteoblasts in that area to become activated. The osteoclasts secrete enzymes that break down the calcium from the bone and release it into the blood stream, thereby breaking down the damaged bone. But at the same time the osteoblasts must take some of that calcium and use it to start building up new bone in and around the break to strengthen and repair it.
These two processes of breaking down and building up alternate until the healing is complete. This is all coordinated by various hormones that are released by the body, such as calcitonin, thyroid and parathyroid hormones, as well as Vitamin D.
How does this apply to us spiritually? In the natural, we usually break bones by falling. When God created Adam and Eve in The Garden, they were innocent and without sin and able to fellowship with God without fear. But then they fell: they sinned by disobeying God, and the result was a complete break in that relationship. Sin separated man from God, much like a broken bone is separated, and death entered the world, both physically and spiritually.
But God had already prepared a plan. He sent His Son to heal that relationship. The sacrifice of Jesus was able to mend the break by paying the penalty for sin to bring man and God back together.
The provision for this healing was made for all mankind on Calvary, but each individual must accept it personally. However, sinful man does not want to seek after God. In fact, he does everything to avoid God, as Paul tells us in Rom. 3:11: “There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.”
So how does God break down our hardened hearts and our pride and cause us to realize our need of a Savior, our need for spiritual healing? Jesus told His disciples, in John 16:7-8, that after He departed, He would send the Holy Spirit, who would “…reprove the world of sin…”
The word “reprove” means “to convince and convict.” The Holy Spirit penetrates our calcified, hardened hearts and breaks down all the barriers, all the excuses, all our self-righteousness, and convinces us that we have “…sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23), thus bringing conviction to our souls. The Holy Spirit functions in this manner much like the osteoclasts do in our body when they secrete the enzymes that break down the calcium in the injured bone at the site of the break and release it into the blood stream in order to start the process of healing.
Do you recall that I stated that this process in the physical body was triggered by the blood that flowed into the broken area as a result of the injury? Our spiritual healing is also on the basis of the blood, apart from which there can be no redemption.
In the physical body a hematoma, or collection of blood, forms between the two separated edges of the broken bone. The osteoblasts begin building up new bone by depositing calcium into that hematoma to form a bridge connecting the two pieces back together so that they can again become one, while the osteoclasts continue to break down the old damaged bone.
The same thing happens to us spiritually. It is the blood of Jesus that spans the gap between God and man. Paul tells us in Rom. 5:10 that “…we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son…” The word “reconciled” means “to be brought back together.”
If the osteoclasts represent the Holy Spirit who breaks down our hardened hearts and brings us to God, then what do the osteoblasts represent? What is it that builds us up after we have been broken down? It is the Word of His grace that functions for us spiritually like the osteoblasts do physically, as Paul tells us in Acts 20:32: “…the word of his grace…is able to build you up…”
The Holy Spirit convinces and convicts us of sin, breaks us down and draws us to God, and then reveals God’s Word to us to enable us to grow and be built up. Paul explains to us in Eph. 4 that the gifts of ministry (listed in v. 11) have been given to the church, for the purpose of “edifying,” or “building up,” the body of Christ.
As we listen to the ministering and teaching of God’s Word, specifically the Word of His grace, and receive it personally and study it, it will begin to work in our lives, just like the osteoblasts, to build us up. During this process, if our hearts become hardened or lifted up with pride, the Holy Spirit, like the osteoclasts, will be faithful to break us down again, to allow the work to progress. The breaking down and the building up will continue alternating, with the ultimate goal of building us up unto “…the stature of the fulness of Christ” (Eph. 4:13).
In summary, in the Garden of Eden the relationship between man and God was broken when Adam fell. Sin separated man from God, but God has restored that broken relationship through His Son.
In the physical body, the resulting new, healed bone that is formed from a broken bone by the action of the osteoclasts and osteoblasts is actually stronger than the original bone before it was broken. And so, it is in the spiritual realm, regarding the union of man and God that was brought about by redemption. It is a new, permanent bond, one that cannot be broken, as we read in Rom. 8:38-39, that nothing “…shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”