Golden Pillars Class Study, pastor Dave Goble.
Our faith needs to be active and alive so it’s useful and solves problems or it isn’t good for much. We can compare this to having books in our house that we aren’t using. They’re just taking up space and aren’t very useful. We’re looking at two aspects of faith and how we believe. Faith is a function of both experience and reason. Reason is what comes from our thinking brain and is how we interpret the world or make sense of it. Experience is how we encounter God and it isn’t meant to come from our brain but from heaven. Reason and experience help us through the Word and the Spirit.
John 8:1-5 Jesus went unto the mount of Olives. And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them. And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?
The Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery to Jesus and tried to trick him into saying something against the law. They asked what he thought when the law of Moses said the woman should be stoned. Jesus created a new remedy for the woman at that moment. The Pharisees daily living and morality was only governed by the law, not by mercy. They accused him of heresy for what he said. God gave the law to Israel because of the hardness of their hearts. The law of God creates good governance among men because humans are inclined to sin and have a sinful nature. There was no remedy for those who did things that required death according to the law. Sin separates us from God, but he sent Jesus to be a sacrifice that’s eternal – to be our Savior.
John 8:7-11 So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground. And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.
Jesus cast woe on the Pharisees because they were trying to use human intellect and reason to have a relationship with God. Mercy and faith come from experience. Jesus said he came to fulfill the law. He brought the ability to have the experience of a personal relationship with the Lord. The law of God required no personal, heart relationship with God. It required obedience to a law. If they obeyed the law, they were found pleasing to God.
Matthew 23:23 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.
The Spirit of truth or Holy Spirit guides and teaches us the truth. We need the Spirit to understand what the law teaches.
John 16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.
Jesus spoke to Philip, one of his disciples, and said there are things we’ll only know if the Spirit is in us. We need a motive in us that is not just in our head. It helps us interpret life. Human reason always comes from the human mind so we have a bias that’s based on our experiences.
Brother Dave has a bias in planning trips out of the country by details from his reasoning. It includes how to get a taxi or bus and to a hotel, so he’s not lost. He sometimes gets stressed and feels out of control if he doesn’t know all the details. It’s good to understand your bias so you can be neutral. It can influence how we interpret scripture. If you don’t understand your bias, it will inform your thinking and you won’t listen very well. Some people have a preference for the experience and how it feels. Some incorrectly believe in relativism so there’s no right or wrong – it’s only subject to what the person feels.
John 14:7-10 If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him. Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father? Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.
Nicodemus used reason to say how he felt about Jesus – that he was a teacher come from God who performed miracles. Jesus told him that he needed to get an experience – to be born again. Nicodemus’ reason couldn’t understand being born again. The experience comes by submission of our intellect or reason to the Father. Some theologians are saying the Bible is no longer relevant today. When reason is disconnected from experience, anything goes. Nicodemus seemed to be coming because he recognized he didn’t have the experience. His knowledge prompted him to go talk to Jesus.
John 3:1-3 There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
Consider reason as the written word or the law and experience as the Spirit. The Word and the Spirit work together. In the Revelation when the two witnesses were killed and left dead in the street, we think of those two as the Word and the Spirit. To leave a body in the street and not bury it was the ultimate disrespect. There was no respect for the Word and Spirit so it was like they were dead. Over time if people depend more on their reason and interpretation, there won’t be mercy and judgment that come from the Spirit. Some people say, let’s just measure right and wrong by our own spirit and how we feel about things. That turns out to be shown by liking each other and treating each other fairly, but it leaves out what the Word says. Our reason and experience need to work together. Our experience needs to be governed by our reason and our reason to be governed by our experience. The Spirit is ultimately the spirit of love. If we don’t allow our experience to govern our reason, the experience of love will be missing. Our experience with the Spirit will also include humility. If we want to argue about scripture, then love and humility aren’t governing there.
If we have disagreements at home: 1. Let God be true. And 2. Seek to understand what the experience will bring and God will approve of. Let the revelation of God through reason make sure we’re still in agreement with the word of God. Unless we’re faithful to the word of God, we can get off in our experience so it only becomes a social gospel.