You must be in fellowship prior to your Bible study, so that the spiritual information you receive can become a source, of blessing to your soul and produce spiritual growth.
22 And [kai] [men] of some [hos] have compassion [eleeo], making a difference [diakrino]:
23 And [de] others [hos] save [sozo] with [en] fear [phobos], pulling [harpazo] them out of [ek] the fire [pur]; hating [miseo] even [kai] the garment [chiton] spotted [spiloo] by [apo] the flesh [sarx]. KJV-Interlinear
22 And have mercy on some, who are doubting; 23 save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh. NASB
As a result of a world antagonistic against Christianity, you will encounter three types of people who have been influenced to some extent by the worlds attacks.
The first category are those who have uncertainties. They know the Bible. They have heard the comments from the world regarding the Bible, and they have heard all sorts of commentary on the Bible. The result is confusion. Who is telling the truth?
Perhaps God really did start the universe with a Big Bang and then has allowed evolution take its own course through history. Perhaps another religion is the 'one true' faith and Christianity is one of the false ones. Perhaps there really is no God and we are all here by accident. Perhaps we live and we die and that is it. Perhaps all you have to do is live a good and decent life and God will accept you for who you are.
And so the doubts, the theories, the second guessing continues into a very long list of possibilities. Which is correct? So to these doubting types of people, have patience. All you can do is give them the doctrine as you know it. Hopefully you know it right.
God the Holy Spirit will enter into the communication picture and make the correct doctrine real and apparent to the listeners. They will respond or they will not. Sometimes it takes many years before people become convinced.
People generally look to you as an example, rather than to doctrine as the standard. So in the beginning their focus of looking at Christians (who are flawed human beings) as the example of Gods policy, and that is their error. 'If you are so spiritually great, then why aren't you filthy rich? Why aren't you leading the world for God? Why aren't you doing something that is superhuman?'
Tolerance and patience and time will bring the positive people around.
The second category of people includes those who are bound for the Lake of Fire. These are unbelievers who don't care, nor do they understand anything of the spiritual realm.
There is only one thing which will save them and that is the Gospel of Christ. Telling them of fellowship, of spirituality, of the uselessness of their life in this world will get you nowhere. Sin is not the issue in their life. So don't bother threatening them with the, 'change your life or else,' routine. Their life style is not the issue. Faith in Christ is, and that is the one hurdle that has to be overcome.
Trusting that the unbeliever can control their life after death needs to become the point in question. God holds the universe together. Man does not. Living with God is a good thing and a very beneficial thing. Trying to live a life where you cannot control anything is a very bad thing. Who among us could have controlled the recent hurricane? Who among us could have controlled that tsunami last year where over 200,000 died in a matter of minutes? Who among us can assure that there will be no traffic accidents tomorrow?
Of course none of us can control anything in life when you really come down to it. So why risk the Lake of Fire when all you need do is believe in Christ. A thought which takes but a moment to think within your little brain. What does one have to lose by that one-second thought?
And then there is the third category of people who know all of the facts, but they choose to live a life of sin by continually functioning under the power of their sin nature. These types of people are vary righteous types. They are very immoral types. They include lots of folks who know of God, but choose to ignore the Bible and live life their own way. 'We have believed in Christ and that is all we need out of life,' is their attitude.
'Show me. Prove to me. What are your credentials? How do you know this or that? I am doing ok in life and I don't have to study all of this Bible stuff everyday. I am not doing very well in life and God hasn't helped me out one bit. Why should I look to Him?'
These are the typical attitudes of folks who are not interested in anything which cannot be documented and proved in every lesson, every night, or provide immediate results to their advantage. They always have an argument against, or an indifferent attitude toward, every point of doctrine.
They live a life of sin in the jungle and by that are a very real threat to your life style and faith. Often times we as believers in Christ will fall on hard times. Sometimes hard times last a very long time, and there exists a very real threat to you from within your own faith in God and in life.
These are the 'garments that are polluted.' Other peoples life styles that seem to accomplish the things you want for yourself but don't have. There are life styles of others who don't seem to be having a tough life and yet they ignore God. 'Why do the wicked prosper and we don't?' Is not an uncommon question.
So dealing with negative and defiant people can have repercussions resulting in damage to your own spiritual life. Be on guard. Fear more, your spiritual loss, than desiring your carnal gain.
God has a plan for your life. God has a very good plan for your life. That plan is detailed and designed and tailored specifically for you. And if you pursue your spiritual life, then Gods plan will work flawlessly for you.
Most people enter into life with a plan of sorts. They want a good education, a good job, good investments. The want to live the good life in comfort and prosperity. Unfortunately they pursue this plan for this life to the exclusion of God and they will live their whole life, and then discover at death that they have made a huge mistake and they can't do it all over again.
But you, as a believer in Christ and pursuing your spiritual life regardless of the circumstances in you life, will one day discover that God has a plan for you and that His plan is far better than any plan you could ever come up with on your own. And, His plan will last forever.
Help others, but do not throw your own spiritual life away just because others don't seem to want or even need theirs. Remember that the circumstances of life are irrelevant, but the circumstances of the soul are relevant.
We cannot see or measure the content of the soul, but God can and that is what is important.
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End Of Lesson
Study to show thyself approved (mature) unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing (studying/discerning), the Word of truth.