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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Why Some People Cannot Understand Spiritual Things

Each week I share the gospel in some form. I preach a message intended to lead people to Christ. Some of those people are believers in Christ; some are not. I look at the faces of those who are sitting in front of me to see if the lights come on. Some obviously get it. I see them smile, nod or even respond with an affirmation. Some of these lean forward and absorb all that is being said.

Of course, I have those who are just the opposite. Some of these nod off. They look and act bored. The immature may even start a conversation with someone sitting to next to them. They are a distraction for those who are hearing and seeking the Lord.

Most people explain why some people get it and others don't as a difference in their personalities or interests. Yes, these are certainly factors which affect their eagerness for the gospel but they are not the major consideration. These people are trying to grasp the mysteries of the gospel with their minds rather than their spirits. They either try to explain the faith of others in human psychological terms or in their own ways of making it all fit somewhere between hobbies and voodoo. For them the gospel is an initiation into the Christian club or it may go so far as to carry the superstition of tapping unseen forces to manipulate the world. Nothing along this spectrum explains the gospel

The gospel is mysterious because it takes a spiritual understanding. That spiritual understanding requires a spirit that is alive in the person having the understanding. That means that the person must also understand all truly godly spiritual things with their own alive spirits.

It is no wonder that the gospel is boring to so many people. They either understand it in human thoughts or they don't understand it at all.

I have an extremely smart dog. She understands many of the words I say. She knows what I ask of her even when she doesn't want to do it. Sometimes I talk to her as if she is human. She looks into my eyes and tries her best to discern what I am saying. Eventually she lays down and closes her eyes. She simply can't understand. I have bored her to sleep.

My dog doesn't understand me because she doesn't have the capability. She has many instincts that I don't have but she does not have a sufficient brain to understand much speech. Certainly, she has learned some words but not enough for any complicated communication.

Thus, we have people understanding their own guilt and the need for forgiveness but failing to understand that a price had to be paid for their sin. They see praying the prayer of salvation, baptism and church attendance as penance for their sins. They don't have to like their penance; they just have to go through the motions. None of it makes sense even when they mimic the words which they know are acceptable. "Yes," they say, " I believe in Jesus as my Lord and Savior. He is the only way to salvation." Thus, they pass the test but do not really understand what they have just said. They have no concept of a spirit made alive within themselves which communicates with the Holy Spirit. The Spirit reveals the mind of God.

The Holy Spirit longs to fellowship with the Father and Son. He listens intently in what is being said. He is more than simply interested for the gospel is in the Trinity.

At first, I was distressed because of the few people who read my blog. I got over it when I realized that many of the people, even Christian people, may be incapable of understanding spiritual things because their spirits are dead. They cannot recognize those things which are life changing because the Spirit is required to reveal those things to them. (Please don't think that all that I have written is worthy of the Spirit's attention but I do believe that there are some in which God spoke through me.)

Don't get me wrong. I don't want to look down on those who fail to understand the gospel. I want to continue bathing the gospel in prayer as I present it. I want those who cannot understand to listen to the "still, small voice" which is telling them to receive Christ. I want to see them understand as those who have live spirits.

I want to see people changed by the glory of God.

 1 Corinthians 2:11-13 (NIV)
11 For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man's spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12 We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. 13 This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words.


Anonymous said...

I just finished Jim Cymbala's new book Spirit Rising: Tapping Into The Power of the Holy Spirit. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants more insight into tapping into the power of the Holy Spirit in their daily lives.

high-expressions said...

Ps Prentis, if I were writing, I would include v14, you stopped at v13; for it summed it all:

1 Cor 2:14 - The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.

It is the Holy Spirit who gives the spiritual understanding; and one does need to understand to be truly responding with sincerity, to the basics of Gospel.

But before anyone runs away with the wrong idea, the Spirit of God is NOT sleeping! "But I don't understand-what!" Are you sure, you do NOT understand or you do NOT believe? They are NOT the same. Or is it you are NOT attentive; in other words, you are NOT eager for the truth or understanding? "What do you mean, I thought he came into the church, into the sanctuary-what; how can you accuse him (or them) of NOT being eager?" No, people can come into the church, but they can be "switched-off", or he is just going through the motion, for it is the thing he (or they) is accustomed to do in the usual time slot - just go to church! The heart condition is key; there has to be humility, and hunger or thirst.

The Hebrew "hearing/listening" word, “Shemah” is a very rich word; in fact, in my view, the Hebrew word's richness superseded that of the Greek. It embodies the "soul's attitude" of hearing; ranging from, on the one end of the spectrum of mere hearing (I hear the door-bell ringing, for example) to the listening to comply or to render or satisfy, on the other spectrum. So, how are you hearing the Word or the preaching? It is also the case when the word is applied on God; sometimes, people are confused when they read that God hears all the time, and at other times, they read that God does NOT hear; it is because different shades were implied in different situations. A simplistic summary, from me, is to say that God hears all the time, but He does NOT necessarily listen to you to render to you every time. So, how do you hear or listen to God and God's words being preached; what is your heart attitude?

Scripture said that God neither sleeps nor slumbers; His Spirit is at work all the times, and His desire is for all men to be saved from the pit of Hell. He is drawing men unto God, and of the core things He does is to give spiritual understanding to people. Yes, there is the concept of timing, but this is only about our readiness, NOT so much about God’s readiness to receive us in. It could be we are NOT ready to believe, NOT necessarily that we do NOT understand; it may be we are NOT ready to commit, NOT necessarily that God is lacking the determination or faithfulness to see His desire through; it may be we are still wanting to play with fire, meaning we want to defer, we want to still go after the things of the world, and hope to come into His fold, in the nick of time, NOT necessarily that we do NOT understand or believe; and it can be we “consider too many things”, like family objection, etc, and NOT necessarily that God would NOT help us along. We can think of other issues involved, but the prime consideration is still, we must decide to come into the fold.

Cont. on next page...

high-expressions said...

COnt. from preceding page

Frankly speaking, the basics of the Gospel are simple enough to be understood by all, with the aid of the Spirit. I believe what is working against most people is our own, so-called “intellect”. Essentially, it often calls for “I want to know it all or as nearly to it!” Ultimately, we cannot go into the faith by our intellect alone; we NEVER go into the faith by intellect solely. But many people just want to do that, when they do NOT do so, with the many decisions of life, like agreeing to marry a person, taking up a job or career, making huge monetary commitments, like buying a big house or fanciful car. We ignore a lot of unknown in our major decisions, but when it comes to giving of our life over to the Lord, we use the unknown as the excuse to defer our decision. We risk many things and many times in our lives, but we are reluctant to “risk” giving God the chance to love us! We “shemah” the promises of men and “things”, but we are unwilling to listen to believe the promises of God as detailed in His Word or preached over the pulpit by faithful servants of God. One of the “falls” in the Fall of Man (in the Garden of Eden) is the fall from being far-sighted, to short-sighted.

Many great men of the world, to me, so long as they do NOT look beyond their mortal lives, they are still short-sighted, despite their many achievements and their so-called long term plans and their successful executions. Our vision needs to be adjusted, and it can only be adjusted when we come into salvation. Part of the redemptive works of Jesus, our Lord, is to adjust this fallen vision of ours. As much as we find that the current popular theme of Christian preaching is on kingdom living on earth, it must to be subjugated to the vision of a much more far-sighted vision of kingdom living in Heaven. If there is NOT this subjugation, there is a great danger that we be ensnared by the perversion of the Devil of sole “living in the present moment”. There is no more far-sightedness for the Devil, for His fate has been sealed; there is no future to talk about for the Devil, and so, for him, the Devil, it is only “live and let live”, and while he is at it, the anger, the resentment and bitterness of him has grown full-blown into a vengeful spirit against God. And so, his (the Devil’s) aim is to drag men along with him to the pit of Hell through illusions and deceptions. We need to be counted with God, and NOT be counted with the Devil, for the former leads to far-sightedness, of fulfillment in kingdom living in Heaven for eternity, and the latter, to a life of temporal fulfillments, that can, at best, last as long as the mere remaining years of one’s mortal life.

The truth of the matter, and the truth of life, is a choice; and generally speaking, you and I have to make choices, especially for one who has NOT re-vested his freedom to choose, into the hands of God. A Christian or a believer has his right to “freedom to choose”, unencumbered from the legal hold of the Devil. When encumbered, the Devil hampers the person to choose God (NOT impossible, but being hampered). Jesus has broken that legal hold, and Jesus already holds that right of all men. He, Jesus, does NOT encumber like the Devil did and does (for those NOT yet a believer); He was and is waiting for you and I to come into salvation, at which point, He hands over your right, back to you. Jesus does NOT do anything the Father God does NOT do; and so, as the Father God did NOT encumbered in the first place, Jesus too, did NOT, when He won over the right, from the Devil, on the Cross. As a Christian, we have our volition right fully vested in us; yet we are to, willingly and constantly (and hence, the talk of heart attitude of a believer) encumber the right to the Lord. Jesus is the propitiation for the world, yes, the whole world, but each individual has come to “lay claim” to that which has been wrestled back.

Cont. on next page...

Anthony Chia said...

Cont. from perceding page

It is true we, as Christians and servants of God urge people to cross over the threshold; unless you enter through the gate or door, you will NOT experience what is beyond that threshold. The Word promises, and there is a great cloud of witnesses, that there is only goodness beyond the gate of salvation. Of course, it is also true that “others” are urging people to cross over their faith, basing on their “book”, and their belief, and so, it is understandable that you need some time to consider the matter. But life is like that, we are presented with choices; we have to choose. Not choosing is also a choice, and one cannot wait forever, for life is transient, and more than a little unpredictable. Is it really you are without understanding from the Spirit, or is it, more of you, NOT choosing?

Moses, the great leader God had chosen to lead the Israelites out of Egypt, on renewal of the Covenant between God and the Israelites, at Moab, in Deu 30:19, said this:

This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live

Life is a choice and is to be chosen. When the Gospel is presented, a choice of life and death is presented; may you choose life, after the understanding by the Holy Spirit.

Anthony Chia, high.expressions