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Are you body and soul or body, soul and spirit ?

A Message for Four Seasons/Reasons

Whatever your attitude and views on our civilisation, it is a progression from one opinion to another, and these opinions are created and governed by the society we live in. Some years ago I was totally surprised when I met a man who genuinely had never heard of God or had any religious knowledge - Christian or otherwise. As we talked, he had no concept of God or any god, love or creation. That made me wonder about us supposed educated society dwellers, just what do we know and understand ? How much of what we hear at church services, or read during any of the limited time we spend in Bible study, or learn from general conversation, do we really understand or just accept as jargon. One only has to listen to opinionated media commentators to realise how little they know and how much they copy each other and thus invent new meanings for old words and even invent new works without meaning.

How much of that translates into our experiences with God ? What does being born again really mean to us, and to that man who had no concept of God ? How much has the use of jargon lost the basic truth of Creation, Separation from God, God’s love for us, God’s plans of Restitution, and Eternal life with God ?

In this look at the basics of Christianity, I have developed these notes around the four seasons which we encounter annually; Summer, Autumn, Winter and Spring. Here in the southern hemisphere we start each year with that beautiful season of Summer, when we holiday, the weather is hot and sunny and the landscape is absolutely beautiful.

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1.Summer - The Start

Summer in the southern hemisphere is a beautiful time; lots of sunshine, wonderful vegetation; plenty of fun and a great time to be alive. Just like it was at creation when God and Adam and Eve spend the cool of the evening together in the Garden of Eden. The conditions prevailing then were conducive to a very pleasant life style. A little different now days. We view all aspects of life by the standards prevailing at the time of the evaluation. However, the basics do not change at all. The basic laws of physics and maths do not change; even though we find out more about the effects and application of these basics, the actual foundations do not change.

Tradition is a very strong factor in our life, and to try and change a tradition is hard whether it be personal, family, national and/or civilisation based. We have all experienced situations where some long held belief has turned out to be not quite correct. The physics of the atom we were taught in the 1940's and 1950's was very different to our knowledge of atomic physics today.

Likewise when knowledge is available to one group and not others, such as the wheel or even fire, will give an advantage to

one society, while the other accepts what they have and progress along a different path without the assistance of a wheel or fire. Imagine the problems for the wheel-less society when they come in contact with the wheel-possessing society.

It is the same with religious beliefs and attitudes. While most religions have a moral base, as a Christian I believe that there is a God who is the Creator and is in control, and one who loves all of us regardless of our attitudes. However, He has set a criteria for those who will share eternal life with Him. I have no doubt that God created me and my life, and that I will be included in His eternal life plans. Maybe I am in the wheel possessing society, and I want to share with all my friends regardless of the society they belong to, so that they have the opportunity to take advantage of the free gift God offers to all His created people, regardless of their culture.

While evolving societies try to think God out of existence and some church groups have different interpretation of what God has said in His Word, we do not have the power or authority to effect these ideas. So what does God say ? God told Moses, in Exodus 3:14, to tell the Children of Israel, captive in Egypt that His name was I AM WHO I AM, and in Malachi 3:6 says For I the Lord do not change. That being the case, let us look a little further back, and start at the beginning. Genesis 1:1-5 “ In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters. And God said “Let there be light”; and there was light. And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness and God called the light Day and the darkness Night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day.” Genesis chapter 1 continues to give account of God’s creation activities and this account has been accepted and taught until the last few hundred years, when man questioned God and His abilities.

As stated in Genesis 1:26 Then God said "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness....." and in verse 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. Much has been said about this act, and it is still argued about today. However, it is pointed out that in John 4:24 Jesus stated that God is Spirit..... Thus Adam, the created man was part SPIRIT and since God did the creating and the creator is always master of the created so He is greater than man, His creation. So the Spirit realm is the real world as we would term it, and the created world, as we know it, is temporal and subservient to the Spirit realm. In Genesis 2, it is recorded that God and Man walked in the garden and conversed - obviously friends, or should it be classified as Father and son. There was a common bond between them. Adam was created in the image of God; body, soul and SPIRIT. God wanted the relationship between Him and Man to be a love relationship, reciprocated through faith. Thus, unlike the animal kingdom which is governed by an internal behaviour mechanism that we call instinct, man was given a free will, since true love is only possible in a free relationship. This way God and man had a united spiritual life. Adam and Eve were living in a God ordained purpose in life by walking in a dependent love relationship with their creator. Thus, through that relationship, they were bearing a full, visible representation of the invisible God. Being created in God's image is not a physical image, nor mere intelligence, but a display of a certain kind of life - God's life, but since both Adam and Eve were not god, the life in them was determined by their free decision to remain in that relationship.

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2. Autumn - The Fall

Yes, this is a convenient play-on-words. In Autumn things begin to change as degradation sets in, just as it did in the Garden of Eden after that initial sin of Adam and Eve. This series of events are well known. God said in Genesis 2:16-17 And the Lord God commanded the man, "Your are free to eat from any tree in the garden, but you must not eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die." Satan, in the form of a serpent, sowed doubt in Eve's mind by questioning God's instructions. The decision to eat the fruit was thus a freewill decision on their behalf to act against God's specific instructions, and consequently broke the spirit relationship between God and Man - forever - that is until Jesus Christ, God's Son came to earth to make a full propitiation for that sin for all mankind. Immediately Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, their eyes were opened and they realised that they were naked, indicating their death in the Spirit realm. God's later walk in the garden and the subsequent events are also well documented in Genesis and are widely known. Adam and Eve lived for some 900 years after that event before physical death, and some traditional teaching has allowed us to think that without that disobedience, humans would have lived for ever. However, Adam and Eve did die to the Spirit realm, immediately they ate the fruit. The Spirit part of the created man was separated from man and man died and immediately realised that he was naked, as he was now living totally in the created world only. The Spirit component had died.

God had made man in His own image - from the Spirit world, and the Spirit died in man, and severed an ongoing spirit relationship and link with God who is Spirit. Then, as recorded in Genesis 5: 1-3, When God created man he made him in the likeness of God. He created them male and female and blessed them. And when they were created he called them "man". When Adam had lived 130 years, he had a son in his own likeness, in his own image, and he named him Seth. It is quite clear that Seth was in Adam's image not God's, and since Adam's Spirit content had died, Seth did not inherit the Spirit content originally created in man. Thus as far as the real world - the spirit world - is concerned we are all dead - forever - that is, until Jesus Christ, God's Son, came to earth to make a full propitiation for that sin for all mankind, and we individually accept that reconciliation and repent of sin and have a restored spiritual re-birth.

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3. Winter - The Tempest, A Period Awaiting Re-Birth

During winter, many plants and insects die, and many as it were ‘hibernate’ while their life is and functions are ordered prior to re-birth. So it is with out spiritual experience, we need a time to re-evaluate our circumstances and re-order our life and priorities before we can be one of God’s chosen people.

The understanding of re-birth into the Spirit realm has become a stumbling point in the life of many as they try to relate the validity of a re-birth, and decide that it is a symbolic gesture. The Pharisee named Nicodemus had this problem. Nicodemus’ question and Jesus' words recorded in John 3:1-8 "Now there was a man named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, ‘Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do, unless God is with him.’ Jesus answered him ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God’. Nicodemus said to him,’How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born ?” Jesus answered “ Truly, truly I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I say to you, ‘You must be born anew.’ The wind blows where it wills, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know whence it comes or wither it goes; so it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit." Nicodemus said to him “ how can this be ?” Jesus answered “Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand this ? Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what you know, and bear witness to what we have seen; but you do not receive our testimony. If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things ? No one has ascended into heaven but he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted, that whosoever believes on Him may have eternal life.”

The man created by God was body, soul and spirit, and through Adam's sin, the spirit section died, and we are all born in Adam's likeness, body and soul, but dead in the spirit. Since God is Spirit, and the Spirit world is the real world, we are dead unless we accept God's Grace through Christ's death, resurrection and ascension as our passage into God's kingdom. In the passage above, Jesus points out to Nicodemus, that while he was a respected leader and teacher of Israel, he still didn’t understand the significance of Adam’s sin and death in the Spirit realm. Nicodemus was still looking for a re-birth in this world, not the re-birth to the Spirit Kingdom. In this day of vast knowledge the majority of people and teachers, are like Nicodemus and do not understand this basic concept that mankind is dead in the Spirit Kingdom where God Lives forever. Many rely on jargon type statements which when heard by someone for the first time, they will conclude that Christianity is indeed a closed club and the teaching does not impress their level of education and intelligence. This may be why churches are empty today, compared with 50 years ago and more.

John summarises the truth well in John 3:16-18 For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that who ever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. He who believes in him is not condemned; he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God..... In other words, anybody who truly believes and accepts God's gracious offer to re-establish the Spirit component of the original created life, becomes a new creation - back to the original created man, and those who do not believe reject the re-connection/re-birth into the Spirit realm and are eternally separated from God - that is dead.

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4. Spring - A period of Re-Birth

Spring is a period when the flowers grow, food is sown, and preparations are made for the future season - summer. Similarly, once we have recognised our need for re-birth into the Spirit, and accept that God has provided a way for this through his grace toward us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us, and He is the propitiation for our sin, a full perfect and sufficient sacrifice for the sins of the whole world, then we have a renewed three-fold relationship with God, body soul and spirit. We are renewed in and through Christ Jesus.

At this point frequently we are encouraged to join a church group, a Bible believing church group where the Word of God is read and taught absolutely. Unfortunately, and not intentionally, some churches only teach half the truth, and are very active in church building. As one converted man said when he arrived at the church and was immediately invited to join a number of committees, "I came for restitution of a relationship with God, not for employment".

How often have we been told that we need to work to show our faith, and work at it to ensure that we don't backslide ? How much of God's grace we have missed ! Most parents know what it is to love a child. They are part of us, they share the parents' genes, they are different from each parent in that they have a 50% contribution from each parent, yet they are very like us because they have 50% of each of us. As parents, we contributed from ourselves to bring them into the world. WOW !! I have three daughters whom I love very much. I told them many years ago, when they were teenagers, that they would not know how much I loved them until they had children of their own. That was no great statement on my part; I had realised how much I loved each of them when they were born. Then I thought of my parents' love to me, and while I had never doubted it, I realised how much they loved me when I experienced my love for my children, and I then had a re-newed relationship with my parents. Likewise, as parent and now grandparent, I have an improving appreciation of how much God loved Adam and Eve, and me and you, and how much He grieves over each one of us as we go our own way, and how much joy there is in heaven over each sinner who repents and is re-birthed into a spirit relationship with God. That is a real prodigal son situation - Luke 15:8-32.

There is nothing that my children, and now extended family, can do that will turn off my love for them. I have given them freedom, and try not to ask why did you do that ? too often.

But then, think of God and His relationship to us. God loves each of us on purpose ! Once we have accepted God's offer to give us back the spiritual life that died when Adam violated God's command, we again become human and spiritual beings - as was the case in the original at creation - and become part of God's family, and thus the term often mentioned, God’s Kingdom here on Earth - an outpost if you like, where we are expected to serve and tell others of God’s love, forgiveness and provision to enter the Spirit Kingdom where God is, while we await our individual calling home to the Spirit Kingdom. Unfortunately there are many people who do not recognise the loss of the spiritual segment of their life, and they spend the rest of their life trying to keep in good with God, or just ignoring Him. While those who do and accept God's gift, realise that just as we do not have to work at being accepted by our parents, neither do we need to work at being accepted by God. Romans 8:28-39 For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Being part of this renewed life, by natural desire we want to please God and not violate His standards. So why then do so many church groups teach that we have to really work at staying in God's favour and worry about sin separating us from God ? As Paul says, that does not mean we can do anything we like now, disobedience to God's Law is a different situation, but it does highlight Jesus' statements recorded in John 10:25-30 ".....My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me, and I shall give them eternal life and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. I and the Father are one." God still respects our free will, and while we cannot be snatched from His hands, we can still jump or be pruned from the vine and so Jesus' words recorded in John 15 have a greater significance. Jesus points out that He is the Vine, and we are the branches. Our job is to be pipelines and transmit God's love to the foliage, while the Holy Spirit pollinates the selected flowers.

Thus, once we have be baptized into Christ and the Spirit relationship is restored, we are accepted by God as sons of God and we have a complete relationship with Him here on Earth and that relationship automatically continues into eternal life when our earthly life ends. Most church groups put us into a bondage that is non-existent and we walk around feeling that we fail God and that He has had enough of us. As I have already said, I love my children and grandchildren no matter what. I may correct and even chastise, but I never stop loving them. I have understood my relationship with them, and that helps me understand the relationship God wants with me. I am His ! As we live together, I let Him down, and rather than belt me and sentence me to Hell-fire; with the loving care of a Father, He picks me up and sorts out my cuts and bruises and helps me on my way again. When I succeed, He is overjoyed with my results and does not remember my failures that have occurred on the way.

Satan will never give up trying to convince me and you that we are failures, and he continues to put obstacles in our way. As we watch our children grow and encounter problems in life, we encourage

and support them, and share their joy on success, and comfort rather than punish them when they encounter set-backs. God, who now has His Spirit in me (and you?), will always support and encourage as we learn and grow to recognise and resist evil. Eventually I am going home to be with Him - in His time. What about you ?? I do not know who you are, but you know the truth about you, so What about you - have you been re-united with God in Spirit ?

Let us look again at what scripture says; Romans 5:17-19 If, because of one man's trespass {Adam}, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God's abundant provision of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ. Then as one man's trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one man's act of righteousness [Jesus Christ] leads to acquittal and life for all men. For as by one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, so by one man's obedience the many will be made righteous.

Righteousness - which is a right standing of total acceptability before God - is a gift. You don't work for it. You don't earn it. You don't deserve it. Like any gift, all you have to do is accept it or reject it. Once you have it - it is yours !!!!

There are many aspects in a growth and fulfilment grouping, however one which I think I am lead to include concerns woman. In Genesis 2:16 :And the Lord God commanded the man, saying “You may eat freely of every tree in the garden; but the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die.” Then in Genesis 3 the serpent tempts Eve, and in verse 6 “ So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked ; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves aprons.”

As a result of this sin, God told Eve that Adam would rule over her, Genesis 3:16.

While God forgave Adam and Eve their sin, the consequences of that sin remained, and they had died in the Spirit World, but God had a plan from these early stages, to restore the Spirit relationship for both man and woman. In Luke 1:30 “And the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid Mary, for you have found favour with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus......”.

There are many real and consequential aspects to this act, and was one of them a demonstration to us all that God had removed the stigma from Eve and her descendants and made woman equal to stand with man now ? There is still the authority and responsibility that man has to answer to God for the woman which is effected through love, respect and co-operation as described through the Bible. However, the ‘second citizen syndrom’ so prevalent through ancient times and even today in many societies has been nullified by God choosing to bring Jesus into this world via human birth with a woman. God’s created conditions are another step closer to being restored with this act about 2000 years ago.

God's grace is continuous and is a free offer to restore the Spirit segment of the originally created man which died when Adam and Eve broke God's instruction and direct communication was lost between God and Man. While each person has life on earth, God has not given up on you, and His free invitation is still in force. Unfortunately, many are tied up in the activities of this world, which is to pass away, and so do not accept the free gift of restoration with God. Many even laugh at the thought of a God, until the minute after they have died in this life.

God is unchanging, and He is persistent and we need to recognise that Jesus Christ did not just come to get men out of hell and into heaven; He came to get Himself out of heaven and into men!

Because the sinless saviour died, my sinful self is counted free: for God is just, and satisfied to look on Him and pardon me.

Praise God !!!

Now we can understand and sing with heart and voice, those wonderful verses penned by Ian Kerr in the 1960's;

Sold out to Jesus, Be this my song, that I’m
Sold out to Jesus, all my life long
Sold out to Jesus, I cannot go wrong
But bring glory, and honour to Jesus

Led by the Spirit, who’ll guide me each day
Led by the Spirit, I’ll not go astray
led by the Spirit, In His perfect was
To bring glory and honour to Jesus

Walking in the light of the living Lord
Walking in the light of my glorious Lord
Walking in the light I’m in complete accord
To bring Glory and Honour to Jesus

Living His life for I’m washed free from sin, yes I’m
Living His life for He now lives within
Living His life my one purpose to bring
All the glory and honour to Jesus

Soon I shall see Him in all of His grace
Soon I shall see Him and gaze on His fac
Soon I shall see Him and take up my place
With all glory and honour to Jesus — Until then I’m

Sold our to Jesus Be this my song, that I’m
Sold out to Jesus, all my life long
Sold out to Jesus, I cannot go wrong
But bring glory, and honour to Jesus

Where do you stand - right now ?

Are you body and soul or body, soul and spirit ?

God has said that anyone who accepts that Jesus Christ is Lord, and confesses it with their mouth and accepts the free gift of forgiveness made possible by the life, death and resurrection of His Son Jesus Christ, has Eternal Life !!!

Because the sinless saviour died, my sinful self is counted free: for God is just, and satisfied to look on Him and pardon me.

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