Saturday, March 07, 2015

COMMANDS, APPROVED EXAMPLE, AND NECESSARY INFERENCES: HOW TO UNDERSTAND GOD'S WILL IN THE BIBLE

To understand the Scriptures, look for the following and learn.

[1] Studying the Bible, we learn through COMMANDS from God.
 
God now commands that all men everywhere repent, Acts 17:30. Jesus commanded that we must love God and love our neighbors, Mt 22:37-40. Jesus sent the disciples out into the world and told them to teach the disciples to obey all of His commands, Mt 28:20.
[2] Studying the Bible, we learn through the approved EXAMPLES we see in the Scriptures. Note that I didn't say we learn through all examples in the Bible because some examples are ungodly and we don't learn to follow those. But our practices in life and godliness (2 Pt 1:3) are learned through the good examples we see in the Bible. We see the living, praying, talking, worshiping, evangelizing examples of people like Jesus, Paul, Peter, Timothy, Titus and others. An "approved" example is one that is clearly acceptable to God. In Galatians 2 we don't follow the example of Peter and Barnabbas who have become prejudiced against the Gentile Brothers. But we do follow the example of Paul who confronted and rebuked Peter to his face for the error. We learn the very best by seeing the good example in others.
[3] Studying the Bible, we learn through the necessary INFERENCES we find in the New Testament. What is an "inference"? When God, a person in authority, gives instruction whether explicitly or implicitly, then the things we "necessarily" conclude from the instructions are called "necessary INFERENCES": they are the reasonable conclusions are part of the instruction.
My Bro. Doug Post offered the following examples of necessary INFERENCES and if you follow along with them, you will understand the simplicity of the principle and you will see how you use this all of the time in your own life.
Paul explicitly teaches implication. "If He ascended on high then what does it mean but that He also first descend ..." (Eph.4:9) For the Lord Jesus to ascend on high to the throne, He must have descended. That's implied and and therefore we necessarily INFER it.
"When God said to build the ark out of gopher wood, that implied no other wood." The person of faith, like a Noah, understands that God said the specific type of wood for a reason, regardless if you understand the reason, and so you respect that, conclude that God does not want you bringing a tractor trailer load of pine. You INFER God doesn't want oak or walnut.
"When God said (to Noah, DM) build an ark, that implied not for him to build a house." The specificity of the command "necessarily" excludes other types of structures. Noah's son could ask, "Pa, did God say we couldn't build a house?" Noah would say, "He said 'build a boat', and I conclude God doesn't want a house."
"When Jesus said wait in Jerusalem, that implied no where else." Jesus told the disciples to wait in Jerusalem for the Holy Spirit to come. Jerusalem was the place the church would begin. Today I have let people know we are meeting at Starbucks at 9 for a study. You may INFER from that that I won't be at the library at 9.
"When God says singing and playing your heart to the Lord, that implies no other instrument but the heart is to be played." You might wish to know what 'instrument' you might play before the Lord. Ephesians 5:19 says the heart is the only instrument and God IMPLIES no other. Many people use musical instruments in their worship to God, but they did not conclude those were acceptable based on what God said.
WHEN IT COMES FROM A LEGITIMATE AUTHORITY...
There has always been disrespect for God's authority. Nadab and Abihu showed it. King Saul showed it. David's census showed it. Moses' striking the rock showed it. These all erred when they did not follow God's implicit instructions.
But many people treat God as if He were the next door neighbor is just giving suggestions. Because the neighbor has no authority, you can choose to follow him or not.
But what if the neighbor is Jesus? If Jesus says (not being irreverent here either), "the property values are coming down because your house is unkempt." Taking a look around you see the peeling paint and the weeds in the grass and decide to do something about it. It's clear what He means and you know what you must do.
What the next door neighbor implies you must do is only a suggestion. But when God Almighty, who says you will be judged on whether you did His will, says His will implicitly, then your ears perk up and you start painting and weeding the yard. Show some respect to God! I say this in love. Dan

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