Pastor-teacher Don Hargrove
Faith Bible Church
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
DDR & FBC PRAYER LIST #529
DEATH FOR THE CHRISTIAN: THE 7 BIBLICAL PICTURES OF DEATH:
#6 Our True Homecoming
This doctrine is also available in audio @ http://fbcweb.org/doctrines.html
Preparation for Bible Class
Before we begin our Bible class, it is important to remember that God divides the human race into three separate categories: the natural man, the spiritual man, and the carnal man. Each category is distinguished on the basis of ability to receive God’s Word, i.e. true spiritual phe nomenon (1 Corinthians 2-3:4).
First there is the natural man, 1 Cor. 2:14,
14 But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.
The term natural is psuchikos (ψυχικὸς) and literally means soulish man. He is called a soulish man because as an unbeliever he does not possess a human spirit and so he is incapable of receiving spiritual truth. He is dichotomous, possessing only a body and soul whereas the Christian is trichotomous, possessing, a body, soul, and a human spirit.
We are told that this soulish man cannot receive spiritual truth. He lacks capacity. He does not have capability to know spiritual Truth (οὐ δύναται γνῶναι). Regardless of I.Q., intellectual ability, morality, or position in life, he cannot comprehend the spiritual truths in the Word of God. No matter how sincere or how positive and open he may try to be – he simply is unable to know Truth (οὐ δύναται γνῶναι). Spiritual Truth as per Bible doctrine (i.e. the unique Christian truths) is foolishness to him. The only issue before the unbeliever is the Lord Jesus Christ and His work on the Cross. As far as understanding these gospel truths, the Holy Spirit fills in for a human spirit to enable the unbeliever to understand the gospel (Jn 16:8-11) and if he unbeliever accepts Christ he receives a human spirit (i.e. born again, born from above) which gives him capacity to understand true Bible doctrine.
The second category in 1 Cor. 2-3 is called the “carnal” (σάρκινος), which literally means “fleshly.” The instructive thing to note about this person is that he is a born-again believer. He is permanently indwelt by God the Holy Spirit. He is trichotomous, possessing a complete human spirit required to comprehend Christian truth. Yet he is incapable of grasping true spiritual truths. Though he is a Christian, he lives under the control of the old sin nature and we are told that he walks like a “mere” man. He may be able to recite Bible verses or what he has learned but it never becomes a reality in his life. Furthermore, God tells us that in a state of carnality all he is able to receive is milk, i.e. baby food: basic concepts of God, the spiritual life, religion, and basic virtue and morality. This believer is out of fellowship. He has grieved and quenched the Holy Spirit. In many cases his life is not distinguishable from the life of the unbeliever. He lives for the same things the unbeliever lives for; though he has an altogether different destiny. Regardless of this believer’s I.Q, doctrinal background, time as a believer, or any other factor, in this state he is totally unable (οὐ δύναται – same words used of unbeliever’s incapacity) to “get it.” The sole issue for this believer is to get back in fellowship under the filling of the Holy Spirit (this is not to be confused with the heresies found in Charistmatic and Pentecostal movements of the “Holy Ghost”). The issue is 1 Jn 1:9 for cleansing and restoration of filling of the Holy Spirit.
The third category of man in 1 Cor 2-3 is called “he who is spiritual” (Ὁ δὲ πνευματικὸς, 1 Cor 2:15). This believer lives under the full ministry of the Holy Spirit. He is able to discern all things in the spiritual realm. Regardless of I.Q. or anything else, he is able to fully grasp Christian truth, to fathom Bible doctrine and the supernatural Christian way of life. He is so superna tural that he can understand and evaluate all Bible doctrine and actually becomes an enigma to the natural man or carnal Christian – i.e. no one understands him – his focus, his love for Bible doctrine, and worldview.
1 Corinthians 2:15 But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no man.
His apprehension of the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ as he grasps spiritual realities (i.e. from divine viewpoint orientation to life to the Christ-centered life at work and in marriage) are of such a degree as to make him an enigma to mortal man – or the carnal Christian. He is a man of faith who lives in constant fellowship with God as to make his entire life above and beyond what the world can offer. The spiritual doctrinal believer is not like any other person on earth. He truly lives a supernatural life – in thought, in motivation, in orientation, and in production.
So as we approach the Word of God, let’s take a few moments to insure that we are in the category of “he that is spiritual” and thus controlled by God the Holy Spirit, so we can really grasp the spiritual realities before us – like the fact heavenly home awaits us. Status quo spirituality and fellowship with God is the issue in understanding and “getting it.”
Death as a Permanent Home
When God tells us that heaven is our home He is not using a figure of speech. Heaven really is our home. It was Jesus Christ Himself who told His disciples that He would build a “mansion” for them in the world beyond. The King James reads in
John 14:2-3 In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
The term “mansions” can be a bit misleading. For some it would elicit a picture of a Beverly Hill’s mansion of the sort that the Clampetts moved into after discovering “black gold…that Texas te a.” For others it would conjure up a vision of a ranch-style home with a fifty-acre front yard and limousines parked in the driveway.
The phrase “many mansions” is monai pollai (μοναὶ πολλαί from μονή) really means “dwelling places.” The translation “mansions” is due to the fact that when Jerome translated the New Testament into Latin he used the word mansiones at this point, and the King James translators simply used the English word that came the closest to that.
What Jesus has in mind with reference to these dwelling places can be gleaned by noting His reference to them being “in My Father’s house” (ἐν τῇ οἰκίᾳ τοῦ πατρός μου, Jn 14:2). The “Father’s House” is a reference to heaven and Jesus is telling us that in heaven there is room for all; there are many places to dwell.
Note Christ’s assurance: “if it were not so I would have told you.” If there were any real cause for concern about God’s provision for his people, Jesus’ whole teaching would have been very different. These words bring comfort and assurance to the troubled. Jesus assures us that they have every reason for trusting Him. They know him and if there were not the dwelling places in heaven of which he speaks, He would have said so. Not only does He assure us that there is a place for us in heaven, He informs us that He goes to prepare a place for each and every believer. Christ is creating a future home for us and awaits our arrival in heaven. It will be our true and final home, for it is where we belong.
When the Apostle Paul speaks of heaven he specifically calls it our “home,”
2 Cor 5:8 we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.
The word translated “home” in this passage in the original Greek is endemeo (ἐνδημέω) which is a compound word which means to be among one's own people, dwell in one's own country, stay at home, to have a fixed abode, be at home. Paul says he prefers to be at home, endemeo, with the Lord. Understandably, he preferred the mansion to the tent – he understood that it was “much better.” Home is the natural place to find support, love, acceptance, and comfort. Often even when young people leave home to go off to college and enjoy their new freedom, they still really enjoy going home – there is no place like home…home sweet home.
Why should we fear death if it is the route to our final home? Jesus assures us that there is nothing to fear; in fact, the knowledge that we shall die gives us courage and hope to live triumphantly in this world!
The fact that many Christians are afraid of death today and really do not seriously entertain that death and heaven are far better” indicates the lack of spiritual dynamics and the saturation of human viewpoint in their souls. The fact that many don’t view death with optimism just might be because many think of death as taking us from our home rather than bringing us to our home! They are in love with the world and as a result do not have capacity for personal love for God or desire to really be with Him (1 Jn 2:15) – and they look with skepticism as Christ’s promises. Unlike Paul, many have become so attached to our earthly tent that they just don’t want to move. The doctrinal attitude is expressed in the old song,
This world is not my home,
I’m just a pass’n through.
My treasures are laid up
Somewhere beyond the blue.
To die is to go home to heaven; to live is to exist in a foreign country on earth – as ambassadors for God. Someday we’ll understand this distinction much better because it will become a much greater reality after we take our last breath here.
Heaven is God’s house and our home. Home is where we belong. We are aliens to this world and are here as God’s representatives, but some day God will call of His ambassadors Home – at the Rapture when He will declare war against all of those on earth who reject Him and His marvelous matchless grace.