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Reengaging the Spiritual II

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Reengage  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  37:10
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Last week I introduced a series titled Reengage. Now, the overall goal of Reengaging the Spiritual is to evaluate our beliefs about spiritual things, compare those beliefs with what Scripture teaches, and in doing so, to recapture a Biblical perspective of the physical and spiritual realms and how the two intersect.
15 Oct 17
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Last week I introduced a series titled Reengage. Now, the overall goal of Reengaging the Spiritual is to evaluate our beliefs about spiritual things, compare those beliefs with what Scripture teaches, and in doing so, to recapture a Biblical perspective of the physical and spiritual realms and how the two intersect.
What’s my reasoning behind this? Let me ask some questions:
1. What are my primary sources for my spiritual beliefs?
Why do I believe what I believe about life and spiritual things? Is it the Bible, tradition, some preacher on TV, or even self …? I challenge you to seriously look at your sources. If you have bad sources, you’re going to have bad theology. If you have bad theology, guess what - souls are at stake.
So, I encourage you to sit down and think, how much of your theology derives from someone or something else, rather than your own personal convictions based upon personal Bible study? How much of what you hold to be biblically true was derived from what you discovered in Scripture or confirmed what someone else taught, verses taking someone at their word?
Every Christian, in my opinion, should have a good study Bible or access to one. If can’t afford one, come talk to me and we’ll see what we can do.
Again, what are my primary sources for my spiritual beliefs?
2. Could I defend my theology using Scripture?
What I mean by that is this- could you open the Bible and show someone what you believe and why. Or, is your defense just hearsay?
I ask those questions to challenge all of us, for 3 reasons:
1) If you’re not studying Scripture, either in a group or alone, and if you’re not extrapolating your spiritual beliefs from Scripture, then you’re at the whim of someone else and you might even believe stuff that just isn’t true. And the more unbiblical beliefs we have, the worse off the church will be, and the worse off our world will be.
and you might even believe stuff that just isn’t true. And the more unbiblical beliefs we have, the worse off the church will be, and the worse off our world will be.
2) Devotional reading is not the same as Bible study. Devotionals are simply one person’s perspective on personal application. There are some good devotional readings out there that help us (Oswald Chambers), but they cannot replace personal Bible study. If you don’t know how to study the Bible, guess what - I’ll teach, just ask.
Rarely, does anyone ask about the Bible ….
3) Lastly, I guarantee that during this series I’m going to say things that will challenge us and challenge our beliefs, even some of our long held traditional beliefs. I say “us” because as I study, I’m being challenged. As I study, I’m shifting some of my beliefs and as I do, missing pieces of the spiritual puzzle are falling into place. And because of all that, you would be wise to not take my word for it. You should go home each Sunday, open your Bibles and check if what I’m saying is correct. Have conversations with one another outside of Sunday mornings. Start a Bible study ….
I don’t say any of that in a demeaning way … just out of care.
That was just a preface, so let’s move on.
If we’re going to Reengage the Spiritual, what better place to start than the beginning.
Genesis 1:1–2 ESV
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
In the beginning, God (אֱלֹהִים (ʾělō·hîm - going to see a lot of) created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit (רוּחַ (rûaḥ - wind, breath) of God (ʾělō·hîm) was hovering over the face of the waters.
In the beginning, God (אֱלֹהִים (ʾělō·hîm - going to see a lot of) created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit (רוּחַ (rûaḥ - wind, breath) of God (ʾělō·hîm) was hovering over the face of the waters.
To reengage the spiritual, we must understand that the Bible is clear - there are at least two realms of reality (of existence) that coexist: one is what we call the spiritual realm. This is where Yahweh and other ʾělō·hîm or spiritual beings reside. And the other realm, of course is our physical world and universe. Now, the spiritual realm precedes the physical realm. It existed long before our universe.
Hebrews 11:3 ESV
By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.
By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God (it had a beginning), so that what is seen (the physical) was not made out of things that are visible.
In other words, there is nothing in this universe that caused this universe to exist. The cause is something or Someone unseen.
In other words, there is nothing in this universe that caused this universe to exist. The cause is something or Someone unseen.
Jesus acknowledged the two realms when He prayed in,
John 17:5 ESV
And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.
So, our universe is a created universe and has a beginning. And even secular scientists agree that our universe at some point did not exist - it has a definite beginning. Not only does our universe have a beginning, but the Bible is clear that it was created by a Creator outside of the physical realm.
So, our universe is a created universe and has a beginning. And even secular scientists agree that our universe at some point did not exist - it has a definite beginning. Not only does our universe have a beginning, but the Bible is clear that it was created by a Creator outside of the physical realm.
Why is this important to know? Because both are real!
The physical and spiritual realms are reality. If there is no spiritual realm, we’re wasting our time and might as well go home. But if it is real, then there are some serious implications that will become clear the further we go.
I suppose my point is this - we cannot live in a vacuum. Christians, of all people should not live as if this is it. We, of all people cannot afford to ignore or have a nonchalant attitude toward the spiritual realm. We must be engaged physically and spiritually.
So, I encourage you to do two things:
1) Ask the Spirit to open your mind to the spiritual in Scripture.
It’s in there - but we often ignore it because we’re either lazy, it’s just weird, or we’ve become convinced that it’s not real.
2) Ask God to open your mind to the spiritual in our world.
In our physical world there are spiritual forces at work - good and evil. Think about this - in , we are told to engage or fight against the evil forces in spiritual places. If we don’t fight them, who will?
To disengage from the spiritual is to allow the enemy to win.
- win in our culture, with our children, in our schools, in our homes ….
Jeremiah 10:12 ESV
It is he who made the earth by his power, who established the world by his wisdom, and by his understanding stretched out the heavens.
Again, (ʾělō·hîm), who is spirit and in the spiritual realm, created the physical universe.
Again, (ʾělō·hîm), who is spirit and in the spiritual realm, created the physical universe.
For whatever reason, God focuses on this crazy planet called Earth. And in the first three chapters of Gen, we discover that the pinnacle of God’s creation (אָדָם (ʾā·ḏām), mankind, or humanity. Now we also discover that God created this garden called Eden. We don’t know a lot about Eden, but we what we do know is this:
a) It was separate from the rest of creation
b) God placed Adam in Eden after Adam was formed
(formed in Oregon, placed in paradise, Ohio).
c) It was a special or unique place where the spiritual and physical coexisted.
Now I say that for three reasons:
1) It was a place where Adam and Eve had an unobstructed relationship with Yahweh.
God, I believe in physical form would hang out with Adam and Eve. In , they heard Yahweh ʾělō·hîm walking. Throughout Scripture it was not uncommon for God or angels to appear in physical form. So, I believe this was common for them.
Second, reason why I think the physical and spiritual coexisted …
2) We can’t find Eden.
Either God can’t remember where it is - the parking lot thing, or there’s something spiritual about it and it’s hidden from our sight.
He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the (Jedi and a giant light saber) cherubim (plural for cherub - again, not angels with cute little bottoms - angelic being with wings) and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life.
Lastly, I believe Eden is a place where the spiritual and physical coexisted because
Genesis 3:24 ESV
He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life.
Lastly, I believe Eden is a place where the spiritual and physical coexisted because
3) There’s an intelligent non-human being that speaks
(I know they were vegetarians, but not speaking beans) - Ever wonder why Adam and Eve weren’t freaked about by a talking snake? So, check this out - it’s plausible that it wasn’t a snake - which is what I am beginning to believe.
Hebrew grammar is way beyond me (for the most part, so is English), but there is a possible connection between the Hebrew word (nā·ḥāšh) serpent, used here in Genesis and the word used to describe the bronze serpent in , the one Hezekiah destroyed. Bronze was often connected with brightness and fiery imagery in the OT. So, if this being in the garden, was a bright, shining spiritual being, or what some scholars would say, “A shining one,” rather than an actual serpent - it just makes more sense, especially if Adam and Eve were familiar with spiritual beings being in the garden. Not saying this is correct and it doesn’t answer every question, but it makes sense. Furthermore, think about the devil. The devil masquerades as what? An angel of light - a shining one.
The Eden was a place where spiritual and physical connected.
Back to Adam and Eve.
This rebellious being influences Adam and Eve to join the “Dark Side” and rebel as well (Adam, come to the Darkside, I am your father). That rebellion brought several things - death, separation from God relationally and spiritually, a corruption in our personal relationships, and a corruption of being made in God’s image. We didn’t lose God’s image - just a corruption.
So, they get booted out of this spiritual place and what’s the rest of the story? Remember, there’s a beginning, and every good story as an ending. The rest of the story between the beginning and ending is God’s plan of salvation and redemption for (ʾā·ḏām), all humanity and the reuniting of the spiritual and physical.
Listen to
Ephesians 1:7–10 ESV
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.
Colossians 1:19–20 ESV
For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
In , Paul wrote about the physical becoming spiritual; the corruptible becoming incorruptible; the mortal becoming immortal.
In , Paul wrote about the physical becoming spiritual; the corruptible becoming incorruptible; the mortal becoming immortal.
What in the world does all this mean? I’m going to read a lengthy bit of Scripture - . Don’t tune out or you’ll miss it.
- This is now the second letter that I am writing to you, beloved. In both of them I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, 2 that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles, 3 knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. 4 They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.” 5 For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, 6 and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. 7 But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.
2 Peter 3:1–14 ESV
This is now the second letter that I am writing to you, beloved. In both of them I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles, knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.” For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly. But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed. Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace.
8 But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.
11 Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, 12 waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! 13 But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.
14 Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace.
And the only way anyone can be found without spot of blemish is through the perfect sacrifice and blood of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
Revelation 20:15 ESV
And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
Like I said, we cannot afford to ignore the spiritual.
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