Lesson 30 - The Water of Life and the Final Message

Lesson 30 - The Water of Life and the Final Message

(Revelation 22:1-21)

This seems to be a literal river of water that flows from the throne of God through a series of trees of life.  The Greek language makes this clearer with the phrase “a tree of life on this side and on that…”  The tree of life was first introduced in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:9) and should be understood to be a life-giving tree (spiritually speaking).  Jesus said that He was the vine and that we are the branches.  This will never change.  (John 15:1-8)  The new creation will be different than the old in that fruit is produced every month, not seasonally.  The curse that was on the original creation will no longer exist.  God’s servants will be free to serve Him without the corruption of the sin nature, Satan, demons or the world system.  Furthermore, the new creation needs only the light of God and there will be no night.

The final message of the book of Revelation is to those who are alive at the time John wrote this, but has a greater application to all who read and study this book.  Once again, John was stopped when he presupposed that the angel who spoke with him was deity, but was assured that it was not the case.  The angel said that the book was not to be sealed from understanding, but was to remain open (in the sense that it can be understood).  Though the book of Revelation is filled with figurative language and symbolism, it is meant to be understood. 

The time of the Second Coming of Christ was only a period away in God’s timetable (perhaps not in ours).  Doing the commandments of God is believing in Jesus Christ as Savior.  Scripture is clear that Jesus Christ will return.

Finally a warning is given to anyone who adds to or takes away from the prophecy that is written in Revelation.  After reading and studying the book of Revelation we should all make sure that we are setting ourselves apart to the service of God on a daily basis.  Serving God is not what most Christians think it is.  Serving God begins with the right thoughts – thinking the mind of Christ, which is accurate Bible doctrine.  Right thinking leads to right motivation – love for God and His Word.  And, right motivation leads to right actions – actions based on the control and guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Experiential Sanctification

(Galatians 5:16-26)

Even though we possess the righteousness of God, we will not realize the full aspect of this until we receive a glorified body at the Rapture, which is ultimate sanctification. (I Corinthians 15:50-53)  In the meantime, we still possess a sin nature, which tempts us to commit personal sins.  It is our responsibility as Christians to learn and apply the Word of God and to control our sin nature.  We can do this only through the power of the Holy Spirit.

There is a war being waged within every believer.  It is a battle to see who will control your soul.  Each of us holds the key - it is called volition or free will.  God did not make us robots.  He gave us the freedom of choice.  Let’s take a brief look at the scripture that relates to this war in our souls, in Galatians 5:16-26.

Verse 16

In Greek the word for “walk” is “stoicheo”, which means to walk in a straight line or row.  If we are “walking in the Spirit” our steps will align with His.  In other words, we will allow the Holy Spirit to control “our steps.”  Please remember that God is not an ogre waiting for us to fail so He can “zap” us.  God loves us and wants only the best for us.  Therefore, we should learn to love ourselves, which entails self-worth and self-respect.  God in His grace is always there for us, even in times of our failure.  Since God has compassion on us, we should have compassion on ourselves.  Evaluate yourself, make the necessary corrections and move forward, one step at a time.  But don’t spend time beating yourself up or condemning yourself because of some failure. (I John 1:6-10)

Verse 17

The desires of the flesh (sin nature) oppose the desires of God.  They are contrary to one another.  If you yield to one, it cancels the other.  You are either 100% spiritual (controlled by the Holy Spirit) or you are 100% carnal (controlled by the sin nature).  Remember, the Christian Way of Life is about making the right choices.

Verse 18

If you are allowing the Holy Spirit to lead (guide) you, you are not under the control of the law.  But what law - the law of the flesh (sin nature)?  What is the law of the flesh? - “If it feels good, do it”.

Verse 19-21

Here we have a list of the works of the flesh.  Let us remember that these verses are talking about believers.   Both overt sins and mental attitude sins are mentioned.

Verse 22-23

Here we have a list of the works of the Holy Spirit, which can be produced in the life of the believer.  Divine production is always a matter of right motivation, right power and right choices.  All of these are produced by God the Holy Spirit, when He is allowed to control our thinking.

Verse 24

Positional sanctification is clearly stated here.  The person who belongs to Christ has crucified the flesh (sin nature).  However, the believer still possesses a sin nature and still sins.  So, this is an obvious reference to positional truth and it is only potential experientially.

Verse 25-26

Here we see experiential sanctification and application.  Since we are positionally “in Christ”, we are to strive to make our daily experience  align with our position in Christ!

What do you think is the biggest hindrance to the execution of God’s purpose, plan and will for your life as a believer in Christ?  Most Christians think it is Satan.  Well, they are partially correct and partially wrong.  The biggest hindrance to your executing the Christian Way of Life is YOU!

Every believer has volition (the freedom of choice).  Satan is the ruler of this World System and has an army of demons to do his bidding.  Satan is neither omnipresent nor is he omniscient.  Contrary to popular belief, Satan can be only one place at any given time and most of his time is spent in Heaven before the throne of God accusing believers of wrongdoing.  However, we cannot ignore him because he is powerful and brilliant (much smarter than any human being).  He uses his knowledge of mankind through years of observation to influence them to do both human good and evil.  Satan’s demon army is at work continually leading unbelievers and believers astray.  Though demons (including Satan) cannot indwell a believer, they can influence him through this corrupt world system and the sin nature.  So every believer has a three-fold enemy that must be recognized and dealt with effectively: Satan, the World System and the Sin Nature.  How you deal with each will determine your success as a Christian.

Handling Satan (and his demons) is simple.  The Bible says that we are to flee from and resist him.  We are never commanded to go on the offensive with him.  Satan is much more powerful than human beings and has the ability to influence us into doing both human good and evil.  Since the power of the Holy Spirit is much greater than Satan’s power, we must learn how to use that power to overcome Satan’s deceit and trickery.  Remember that Satan and his demons disguise themselves as “angels of light” and “ministers of righteousness.” Satan is the greatest counterfeiter of truth that the world has ever known.  He comes as a wolf in sheep’s clothing in order to devour us.  As believers we must constantly be on guard against the subtleties of Satan’s program.  He wants to deceive us into believing that God does not want the best for us and that his way is superior to God’s way.  However, a brief study of God’s Word should be enough to convince anyone that Satan’s program leads only to destruction.  For the unbeliever, following Satan’s program leads to eternal separation from God and for the believer, it leads to destruction of his spiritual life. (II Corinthians 11:3)

Handling the World System is another matter and can be successfully overcome only by a power greater than yourself.  This power of course, is the power of God the Holy Spirit in control of your life.  It is also a matter of spiritual growth and the utilization of the ten problem solving devices.  Since it is your thinking that the world system attempts to influence, it is your thinking that must be renovated by the Word of God.  The Christian Way of Life is a life of thinking – thinking divine viewpoint instead of human viewpoint.  The believer cannot accomplish this apart from a consistent life of study and application of Bible doctrine.  A sermon or devotional occasionally will not get the job done.  Study is hard work – work to which most believers are unwilling to commit themselves. (I John. 4:4)

In like manner, the sin nature can be controlled only by positive volition toward the filling (controlling) ministry of God the Holy Spirit.   Study and application of Bible doctrine gives the believer the necessary tools to understand and use doctrinal rational to successfully make the right choice to allow the Holy Spirit to control his soul.  All temptation comes from your sin nature, not directly from Satan.  When a person sins it is because he wanted to sin – Satan didn’t make him do it – he chose to do it.  This is why we are all accountable for our own sins, not someone else’s sins.  It is sin that must be dealt with after salvation and God in His grace has given us a fantastic system of recovery.  By simply naming, acknowledging or admitting our sins to God, we are forgiven of all sins (known and unknown), restored to fellowship with God and filled with (controlled by) the Holy Spirit. (I John 1:5-10)