Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Why God’s Plan Matters

As we have already seen, we are only laborers in building the church.  God is both the architect and general contractor.  Our responsibility is to do our job in accordance with his plans, so that the finished construction will be suitable for what it was intended.  When properly done, every part should fit seamlessly together with each part complimenting and blending smoothly, much like a properly designed house.   For example, if the electrician has done his job properly, one should be able to find the light switch when he steps through the door, without having to feel around for several feet or reach around the door.  Such problems arise because the electrician or other laborers did not take time to work with other craftsmen or the builder.

Sadly, in the modern church, there are many who have decided how they want things to be and begun to do their own thing without concern for God wants or has planned.  As a result, we find conflicts between the various aspects of the church.  For example, they may talk about having their sins taken away, while ignoring overt things God has expressly condemned, such as homosexuality or promiscuity, or condemning things he said nothing against, such as using a particular version of scripture. 

In Isaiah 55:9-11, God said, “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.  For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.”   God planned the moisture cycle so that water from the ocean would evaporate and be carried overe the dry land where it would condense and fall as rain or snow to water the seeds and plants enabling them to grow and produce fruit.  In a similar fashion, he planned that even seemingly unrelated teachings and actions in the church would work together to make the church grow and productive in a particular manner. 

By cutting down the rainforest, reshaping the surface of the land, or damming the rivers, man can affect where the rain falls, how the water is absorbed, and change the amount of water available to different areas, causing flooding or erosion.  While God knows exactly what the effects of his actions will be, people seldom understand all the consequences until after the action is taken and end up spending a lot of time and energy trying to fix the problems they have caused. 

Through his apostles and prophets, God has given specific instructions as to how things are to be done, as I Corinthians 2:6-16 tells us.  Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought: But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.  But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.  For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.

Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.  Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.  But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.  But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.  For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.” 

We can only begin to understand what God is doing through the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives, and trust that obeying him will produce the proper results.   When we begin to think we know a better way we only demonstrate our own lack of understanding.  I Corinthians 8:2-3 tells us, And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know.  But if any man love God, the same is known of him.”  Only those who are obedient to God truly understand him and what he is trying to accomplish as John 14:21 tells us.  “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.”  

When we don’t obey God’s plan, we cause serious problems in the church.  We condone sin, and cause people to blaspheme the Holy Spirit.  We hinder the Holy Spirit by distracting people from what he is teaching them, even turning people away from God’s plan to follow their own ideas, as Jesus described the Scribes and Pharisees in Matthew 23:13.  “But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.”  He describes how they were doing these things in Matthew 23, 14-33. 

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