Lesson 13 - A Firm Foundation

Lesson 13 - A Firm Foundation

Lesson for December 2, 2012

Our Spiritual Assets

A Firm Foundation

A Firm Foundation

(Edification Complex of the Soul)

The Christian Way of Life is a life of learning, believing and applying the Word of God to every circumstance in life.  In order to properly execute the plan of God, the believer must learn to think divine viewpoint.  Divine viewpoint is found only in the Bible, the source of absolute truth.

God has given all believers a command to grow spiritually and He never gives us a command without giving us the means necessary to obey it.  God, therefore, has provided His written instruction book (the Bible) and the filling (control) of the Holy Spirit.  Both are grace functions for every believer in this age, regardless of education or I.Q.  Any believer with a positive attitude towards Bible doctrine can learn, believe and apply it.

At salvation all believers are placed into union with Jesus Christ and become positionally (our standing before God) complete in Him. (Colossians 2:10)  However, experientially (our standing before men) we are not complete because we still have a sin nature.  For this reason all believers are commanded to grow spiritually and to advance toward spiritual maturity. (Ephesians 4:14-15; II Peter 3:18)  Spiritual maturity and a stabilized mind should be the goal of every person who has trusted Christ as Savior.

Spiritual maturity does not happen overnight.  It takes a lifetime of persistent and consistent study to learn Bible doctrine.  God’s Word likens spiritual growth to building a house.  Often expressed as edification, the concept in Greek is to build or to build up.  For the Christian, this occurs in his soul as he exposes himself to accurate Bible teaching and applies the truth that he learns.  As with any building, we must be careful to first lay the right foundation before we build on it.  The Scripture is clear that the only foundation for the believer is Jesus Christ Himself.  We know that the Word of God is the mind of Christ. Therefore, the foundation is the written Word (Christ is the living Word).  The written Word of God is meant to be understood and utilized as a blueprint for the Christian Way of Life. 

The Biblical Usage of “Edification”

The Greek word for edification is “oikodome” and literally means the act of building or erecting a structure.  (Ephesians 4:11-29)  Like any structure, our “building” in the soul must have a firm foundation and properly constructed “floors.”  Our foundation is Jesus Christ and the “floors” are categories of Bible doctrine. Once the foundation is in place, then the believer can begin to build upon it with full confidence that it will stand. The foundation is received at salvation, but the floors must be built over a period of time, as Bible doctrine is learned, believed and applied.  (Ephesians 4:12,16,29; Colossians 2:7; I Timothy 1:4; James 1:4) 

The basis for any system from God is always His grace.  The word grace itself makes it clear that God’s system for the spiritual building is void of any human merit, human works, human ability or human viewpoint thinking.  The reason that God planned it this way is to eliminate human viewpoint thinking and human production as the means for building anything spiritual.  Instead, He provided a non-meritorious system for both perception and execution of the Christian Way of Life: FAITH.  We learn how to erect this building in our souls by faith and it takes faith to put into practice.  This method is the only one that can bring honor and glory to God. (Hebrews 11:6)

Glorifying God on earth as witnesses for the prosecution in the Angelic Conflict is the main reason we are left here on this earth after salvation, and is never accomplished by human works.  As we allow the Holy Spirit to guide and teach us, we reflect the glory of God to the world.  The filling of the Holy Spirit is the key to glorifying God in time. Anytime a believer is filled with the Holy Spirit he is glorifying God.  The Bible declares that the believer is the light of the world.  As light, we are to shine into dark places. This means we are to exhibit the character of Christ. (Matthew 5:14-16; Colossians 1:27, 3:16-17)

The Formation of the Spiritual Building

The spiritual building is built using the stored Bible doctrine in the soul.  Consistent study and application over a period of time is the method for developing our complex.  This building is literally Christ being formed in the soul of the believer.  Positionally, Christ is “in” every believer, but He is not “formed” in every believer.  Jesus Christ had this spiritual building formed in His soul.  He had all the characteristics of spiritual maturity:  1) He was full of grace and truth 2) He had a relaxed mental attitude 3) He was free from mental attitude sins 4) He had capacity for love and 5) He had divine inner happiness.  Christ erected the spiritual building in His soul as a demonstration to all believers that it is possible for us to do the same through the power of the Holy Spirit. (Galatians 4:19; John 1:14)

As a believer-priest, we have the opportunity to build a spiritual building in our soul.  With Christ as our example, we simply follow His pattern.  Christ built this building under the filling of the Holy Spirit as He learned and applied the Word of God.  As we abide in Him (fellowship with God) and His Word abides in us (Bible doctrine), we are allowing God the Holy Spirit to produce the character of Christ in our lives.  (John 15:10)  The Bible uses a number of terms to refer to this building process.  For example, “walking in the light” (I John 2:3-11), “walking in the Spirit”(Galatians 5:16-23), “imitators of God” (Ephesians 5:1), “Christ at home in your hearts” (Ephesians 3:17) and “Christ formed in you.” (Galatians 4:19)

The true function of the believer-priest’s spiritual life is the development of a relationship with God.  This relationship is your unseen, private life with God.  You and you alone know what that relationship is like.  Your life before others, which we call the Christian Life, can be faked. (I Corinthians 2:9-16)

There are many counterfeits to the spiritual life.  It is therefore of extreme importance for each of us as believers to learn, understand and execute the true spiritual life.  Without a correct understanding of the Biblical spiritual life, the believer will go through life executing some form of legalism or asceticism that will lead to only misery and unhappiness.  The spiritual life is not what you do for God, the church or other people.  The true spiritual life is your invisible relationship with God.

We must also understand that there is a difference between our function as priests and our function as ambassadors.  As priests, we represent ourselves before God (invisible) but as ambassadors we represent God before others (visible).  Before a believer can be an effective representative for God, he must have a maturing relationship with God.

Building our spiritual complex is a process of transformation (not reformation), which takes place in the mind of the believer as he thinks Bible doctrine (the mind of Christ). We call this thinking Divine Viewpoint Thinking.  As our spiritual complex is being built, happiness, stability and blessing are being produced by God the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer. (Romans 12:1-2; Galatians 5:22-23)

Your way of life right now is being influenced by what you think.  Since you have free will, you can think whatever you want to think.  According to Proverbs 23:7, you are what you think.

This World System has a way of thinking that, generally speaking, is contrary to the thinking of God.  We call this Human Viewpoint Thinking.  God’s thinking is found in the Word of God.  The Bible is more reliable than anything we see, hear, smell, taste, or feel.  The Bible is the Word of God the Father, the mind of Jesus Christ and the voice of the Holy Spirit.  Once again, we call God’s thinking Divine Viewpoint Thinking.  (I Corinthians 2:16; Hebrews 3:7, 4:12; II Peter 1:12-21)

In order to have Divine Viewpoint Thinking, you must know the doctrines taught in the Bible.  The more Bible doctrine you know and apply, the more Divine Viewpoint Thinking you will be able to utilize.  The less Bible doctrine you know, the more Human Viewpoint Thinking you are going to utilize.  The more Human Viewpoint Thinking you use, the more insecure and unstable you are going to be.

Daily study of God’s Word keeps Divine Viewpoint Thinking fresh in the mind and helps counteract Human Viewpoint Thinking.  (Psalms 119:129-135)  Thinking your way through life with Divine Viewpoint Thinking will bring victory, peace, power and stability. (Isaiah 26:3-4, 33:6)  It also eliminates mental attitude sinning, such as maligning, character assassination, gossiping, jealousy, self-pity, etc. Vacillating between Divine Viewpoint Thinking and Human Viewpoint Thinking makes a believer unstable according to James 1:8.  An unstable believer is an unhappy believer.

The Christian Way of Life is a supernatural way of life, which cannot be lived apart from knowledge of Bible doctrine and the guidance of God the Holy Spirit. (Romans 7:6, 8:2; Galatians 5:25; Ephesians 5:18) This way of life requires thinking.  All changes in our lives must come from the inside.  The true character of the believer is determined by what he thinks, not by what he does.  God never forces the believer into any course of action.  We determine what our own spiritual lives are going to look like based on what we allow ourselves to think.  Divine Viewpoint Thinking equals a victorious Christian Way of Life.