This is the third post in a series where I'm reviewing each of the Design for Discipleship Bible study books.
Page five of Foundations for Faith begins
In this book you will explore these five areas:
- Who is God?
- The Authority of God's Word
- The Holy Spirit
- Spiritual Warfare
- The Return of Christ
Those are some pretty weighty areas of study! Who is God? Pretty deep. The actual questions are deeper than those of the earlier books as well. Each chapter ends with a blank page for you to outline/summarize/paraphrase its most important points. Sometimes it takes a while - chapter one took me a month!
One thing that clicked for me in chapter one that I'd never really understood before was jealousy. I always thought of jealousy as pretty much like covetousness - like I'm jealous of the one guy down the street who just bought a brand new Camaro. That's not what it means when the Bible says God is jealous. It means that He wants back what is rightfully His. You married dudes are jealous for your wives, right? You want to be the only, only, only one for her, and be her everything, right? That's the jealously God feels. He is jealous for us, and for good reason… He is our Creator, Redeemer, Lord, Savior, Healer, etc. etc. etc. He's supposed to be our everything. Why would we worship anything else?
(http://scottcheatham.wordpress.com/)Chapter two is a really good study on God's Word because it points out Jesus’ total confidence in the Scriptures. He built that confidence on two things: His knowledge of the Scriptures and their fulfillment, and His knowledge of God (see chapter one above). If we know that God's word has proven true (Proverbs 30:5-6) from before creation (John 1:1) until now, why would it change? If we know that our unchanging God (Malachi 3:6) is the author of His Word (II Peter 1:20-21), how could it change? Christ's confidence in the Scriptures was so absolute that He doesn't hesitate a moment during His temptation in the desert (Matthew 4:1-11). He knows the Word of God, and He knows that it is absolute.
My most profound epiphany in chapter three, “The Holy Spirit,” was that every single believer receives that Spirit (Romans 8:9). You're thinking, “Duh,” but it was a big revelation for me. In any case, it's interesting to juxtapose that free gift with Ephesians 5:18, which tells us to be filled with the Spirit. So there is responsibility on our end to be seek the Spirit and allow it to fill us, but we can't get it on our own. God has given it to each believer… what will we do about it? Will we ignore it? Or will it fill us and overflow so that we “[speak] to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,” and give thanks and praise to God (Ephesians 5:19-20)?
Chapter four, “Spiritual Warfare,” is pretty interesting. I don't ever really think about Satan being in control here on Earth, but that's the picture that the Bible paints. Our adversary has temporary power in this world. Note the italics - that means the word temporary (there they are again!) is important. The real take away, however, is that Christ wins in the end. It's not like football season, where every newspaper has a list of predictions every week. We know who wins (Revelation 20:10). I don't know about ya'll, but I prefer betting on the winners.
I'm not really into eschatology (study of the end times), so I didn't really expect to get much out of chapter five, “The Return of the Jedi Christ.” I tend to just let I Thessalonians 5:1-2 remind me that “the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night.” However, there is a dynamic of our view of His coming that I find very interesting. II Peter 3:9 tells us that God wants all to come to repentance, and II Peter 3:15 says to regard God's patience as salvation. Seems pretty simple, right? We should want God to wait until as many people as possible have come to know Him, then He can go ahead and destroy the wicked. But do you really want to wait forever for Heaven? In Philippians 1:21, Paul writes that to die is gain - and that means Heaven. The eternal Kingdom of Glory. I don't want to wait another second for it to arrive - I bet it's even better than having a Camaro! Those two ideas taken together mean that we ought to be “looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God,” (II Peter 3:12) and sharing Him with everyone (Matthew 28:19-20).
What will we do when the day of the Lord comes? Will we know Him, through the Spirit and His Word? Will we have resisted the evil of this world? Will we be alert to His coming? All I want to hear on that day is Jesus’ voice saying to me, “Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your master.”