Rich Geer, Earl Washington, Brian Holda, 2003
Borrowing some from Derek Prince
Many recognize Jesus indeed is the resurrected Lord and Savior. But, this prompts the same question asked by those listening to Peter preach the resurrection at Pentecost: “Men and brothers, what shall we do [next]?” (Acts 2:37). This Bible study will show the important Biblical truths of how to build a strong foundation for keeping in Christ and defeating Satan. After we receive Jesus as God, we still need to receive proper instructions of what to do next so that soon we can be believers “who have turned the world upside down” (Acts 17:6), and have stayed grounded in Truth.
Ephesians 2:19-22; 1 Peter 2:4, 5; Acts 20:32; Jude 20, 21 show that we must be “built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.”
- What is the foundation for our building?…1 Corinthians 3:5-17 (especially vv. 9-11) makes it clear that “no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid which is Jesus Christ”.
The foundation for a building:
- Is primary and essential.
- Sets limits on size and weight of the building.
- Laying the foundation…Matthew 16:13-18 shows the necessary steps one must walk through to lay their foundation (which is Christ).
v. 18 says: “And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.”…The Greek word used for Peter is petros, which means a stone or boulder that is a piece of the bedrock, and the Greek word used for rock is petra, which means the bedrock (of which the petros is a part of). This verse was to contrast Peter with the Rock which is Christ Jesus (Eph. 2:20 and 1 Cor. 10:4). Also, 1 Peter 2:4-5 shows that all believers are living stones. We see that it is only by the True Rock (Jesus) that the believers (church) can be built up
So, how does one get a hold of the Petra to build their house?
- Confrontation: “He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’” (v. 15)…Jesus is the door (John 10:7-10).
- Revelation: “Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.’” (v. 17)…The Father, by the Spirit, reveals the Son (John 15:26).
- Acknowledgment: “Simon Peter answered and said, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’” (v. 16)…You must receive this revelation and acknowledge Jesus (John 3:16).
- Confession: “Simon Peter answered and said, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’” (v. 16)…You publicly confess, with the mouth (Romans 10:9, 10; Matthew 10:32, 33).
Is this still possible today?…Hebrews 13:8 says: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”
Building on the Foundation…Matthew 7:24-27 and Luke 6:46-49 show that you build on the foundation of Jesus by hearing God’s Word and doing God’s word. Jesus himself is God’s Word made flesh (John 1:1, 14; Rev. 19:11-13; compare Matt. 4:4 with Matt. 26:26), so it does seem that a relationship with Jesus is interchangeable with a hearing and doing of the Bible. The Bible is given by God (2 Tim. 3:16 and 2 Peter 1:20, 21) as a sword (Hebrews 4:12 and Ephesians 6:17) to fight with. Interestingly, the Bible is the only offensive weaponry mentioned in Eph. 6:10-17 to fight the devil. Matthew 4:4-10 shows how Jesus used it against Satan, but it also shows how Satan tried to deceive Jesus by using the Bible. This leads us to the next question…
“Therefore whoever HEARS THESE SAYINGS OF MINE…” (Matthew 7:24)
It seems like Satan (usually by the means of people) could shape the Bible into saying whatever he wanted it to say, so what is the one thing that Christians need to keep us from straying?…
2 Thessalonians 2:7-12, specifically v. 10, tells us that we must “RECEIVE THE LOVE OF THE TRUTH”! (Notice truth and love are inextricably intertwined. “Love of the truth” yet Ephesians 4:15 tells us the truth shall be given in love.) (see also John 19:37: Jesus says those who are of the truth hear his voice)
V. 11 says: “And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie,”…God Himself allows demonic powers to deceive. God Himself sends these things. We need to receive the love of the truth, then we cannot be led into temptation and doctrines of demons (see 1 Tim. 4:1). The love of the truth is something that we need, but not only that, we need to receive the love of the truth. I can’t make someone love the truth. They need to receive the love of the truth.
Acts 17:11 shows that the people from Berea were more noble than those in Thessalonica because they “RECEIVED THE WORD WITH ALL READINESS, AND SEARCHED THE SCRIPTURES DAILY TO FIND OUT WHETHER THESE THINGS WERE SO.”…The Bereans weren’t saying, “I’m not going to believe a thing, until I search it out.” No, the Spirit of God is meant to open your hearts. There is nothing wrong with hearing and believing right away, but there is something wrong with not checking it out in the Word later on. That’s the problem we run into in many Christian circles. We get saved but then we never study what salvation really means and we wonder why we are unstable in Churches and doubt our own salvation.
Rom. 3:4 and John 14:6 show that God’s nature is Truth…
”There are certain symptoms or traits that exhibit themselves when someone receives the love of the Truth. If we receive the love of the truth, we will be like Jesus. Our purpose is to take on that nature. We want to be like Jesus, don’t we?
“The Bible says that we shall see him as He is. We shall be like Him. The way that this happens is that we receive the love of the Truth. Then, the things that come out from under that are faith, love, hope, which are eternal virtues [1 Cor. 13:13]. These are what our works are going to be built upon. These things cannot ever truly happen without the love of the truth. To give an example: People say that you can believe in a lot of things without the love of the truth. They can have all kinds of faith in a lot of things, but if it is not based upon truth, it becomes two things. At worst it becomes stupidity; at best it becomes presumption. What do I mean by that? Stupidity means you believe in things that are totally false. Presumption means that you are asking God, or telling God, to do things that He has never said that He is going to do.” (“Love of Truth” Bible Study by Richard Geer/Earl Washington)
Can we have true love without the truth?
“I don’t believe it’s possible. I believe we can have presumptuous love, we can have emotional love, we can have sexual love – we can have all kinds of things that have nothing to do with the love of God. Not to say that emotional love or sexual love cannot be godly. If things are not based upon truth to start with, then you’re basing your love on an erroneous view of what love is. To give an example: People say, ‘Well, I love that person, so I don’t want to hurt him, so I can’t tell him that he is going to hell.’ Now that’s a very obvious and foolish thing to say but there are people who truly think that way! The truth of the matter is that they are going to hell. The truth of the matter is that you have the way to get them saved. The truth of the matter is that Christ is the Truth, and He would bring them into all truth that they might be saved. So, it is a love based on truth if you tell them that.” (“LT”, Geer/Washington)
Matthew 4:5, 6 and 2 Peter 3:15-17 show us that the Bible can be manipulated…
Peter said that the Word of God is perfect but we’re not. In 2 Peter 3:15-17 we read, “and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation – as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, as also in all of his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures. You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked.” To be forewarned is the purpose of this lesson.
“The only thing that keeps me from error is the love of the truth. Nothing else. It is not my good intentions – I may have a lot of love, I have a lot of faith, perfect hope in Christ – all these will not keep me from error…
“We don’t have to talk about how many cults and false teachings, even among orthodox Christianity there is. Yet we’re shocked that this thing happens. We think, well, we’re not in Jehovah’s witnesses, Mormons, New Age, or whatever – we think we’re okay. I have news for you. If you don’t love the truth and are not testing things at all times, you can be sucked into things. We run into that in orthodox Christianity all the time. We say, ‘How can that person be wrong? He led me to the Lord. He has led 2,500 people to the Lord. He has been on TV…Even when we say we are truth-oriented, we are afraid to hurt people’s feelings, we are afraid to use Matthew 18 to come to the truth of matters, whether there be truth or error in the church. Consequently, we end up in greater error…greater falsity. We do not refute false things of the Word, by the truth things of the Word – we do it by our feelings. ‘Why, I think it means this?’ or ‘Well, you can interpret it any way you want to.’ People do this all the time. These are not acceptable ways to establish the truth.” (Geer/Washington)
An example of a belief – Who is the man of sin, or Antichrist (the point of this example is not to get into an eschatology (study of end times) argument, but rather to show that we must discern the Word of truth).
I have heard people say things similar to: “Anybody who thinks that the Papacy (the office of Pope) is the Antichrist has got to be crazy. I don’t believe it at all.” It must be noted that this is not the Word of God being used to seek the truth. It is also interesting to note that every reformer, from Martin Luther and John Calvin on down to John Wesley and others after Wesley, believed that the Pope was Antichrist. So if someone says he’s not, which is perfectly permissible, show why in the Word of God he is not. It is not enough, either, to tell him that just because the reformers all believed it he should believe it (for this is not using the Word of God to discern truth either), but it should make him think about it and go to the Word of God to determine the truth. But to say, “I don’t believe it, just because I don’t believe it, just because it’s unacceptable to me” is to be someone who is not discerning the Word of truth.
“People say, ‘Well, people need to know every detail.’ I don’t need to know every detail. Even if I may want to know every detail, I can’t know every detail. But, my point is that I should not be content to not know any detail. I should not be content to say, ‘Well, my pastor told me this. My leader told me this. I read it in a book years ago,’ and say that’s enough. (I remember years ago, somebody told my friend that the Pope was antichrist and I said, ‘That’s totally crazy.’ And then it took my friend years to realize that he was not studying.) I am not telling you what my conclusions are regarding this as far as the love of the truth goes, on whether he is or isn’t. But the point is, you need to understand the answer through the Scriptures…The point is that this is not an irrelevant issue. It is not an irrelevant issue to ask, ‘Who is antichrist?’ There are a hundred theories that consider everyone from the guru Maharajah Gi, Jimmy Carter, John F. Kennedy who was shot, (and it was thought he was going to get resurrected), from Hitler, to the Roman pontiffs. We do need to know the answer, but that’s not the point I’m trying to make here…about who the man of sin is. The point is, ‘What is your attitude regarding him?’ Do you want to know? Will you study the Scriptures? Can you find out why people believe one way or the other, and come to a conclusion yourself based on a love of the truth, and say, ‘Lord, even if it disagrees with something that I believe is good or right, or what I have been taught, I am willing to throw it out.’” (Geer/Washington)
John 16:13-15 shows that the Holy Spirit is a guide to truth…
“What about the Holy Spirit, as the second form of guidance? We have the word of God. We saw how that can be manipulated. We see how to get out of the manipulation by loving of the truth. The Holy spirit is God Himself. He is the Spirit of Truth. If we are listening to the Holy Spirit, can we be deceived? NO! However, the problem is we can listen to other spirits, and our flesh, the soul or unregenerate mind. How do we know what the Spirit of Truth is if we are not listening to it? In other words, if we allow things that are not the Spirit of Truth to get in our way – our own words, tradition, experience, false teaching, personalities, our emotions – all of these things can be interferences to the Holy Spirit. We listen to them all. We listen to books and teachings. The Holy Spirit is true, but we can listen to our flesh and even Satan, if we fail to love the truth. If we don’t love the truth we will not hear nor heed the Spirit…
“Hebrews 4:12, which is a very powerful Scripture, shows each one of us how interconnected our own emotions, psyche, and soul are with the Spirit of God. It says, ‘For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.’
“Now there are many teachings on this. But I will just bring up some points. What is the function of bone marrow as compared to the joints? How does this relate to the soul and Spirit? The joints keep the body together, but the bone marrow gives it life. In the same sense, the soul keeps the body together, but the Spirit gives it life. Without bone marrow the body is physically dead, and without the Spirit the body is spiritually dead. Also, bone marrow is found inside the bones, and, similarly, the Spirit is found inside the body. To get to the Spirit, you go through your emotions, your thoughts, and your own self first. This is why it is called the inner man. The word of God breaks through that. So, if somebody says, ‘I am depending on the word of God’. Remember the Bible says that the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life [2 Cor. 3:6]. The Word of God can be manipulated. If someone says, ‘I listen to the Holy Spirit,’ – how do we know it’s Spirit or flesh? We determine this by the Word of God. How do we use either one of these, then? It’s a Catch 22. Again it comes down to a love of the truth. The truth will let us listen to the Holy Spirit, not our own emotions or flesh. The love of the truth will get us to the truth. You see, God is not here trying to set us up. It is not like God sends lying spirits to those who are receiving the truth. No, He is sending them to those people who refuse to love the truth, who love their own traditions, their own contentments, their own emotions, their own experiences, – they love them more than they love the spirit of truth, than they love truth itself. So to what purpose does God send lying spirits? Lying spirits are sent to reveal those who don’t love the truth.” (Geer/Washington and Holda)
Jude 16-21 shows that there will be those who try to lead you astray, not lead you by the spirit…
“The point in verse 19 is, people who do not have the Spirit are soulish. They listen to their own thoughts and desires. You may ask, how do I know that I am listening to the spirit? You must love the truth. The Spirit is the Spirit of Truth. The Spirit of God is not going to lead you into false teaching. He is going to lead us into all truth. The Spirit’s job is to convict the world of sin, righteousness and judgment. (John 16:8) All these things are true issues. He is going to convict the world of these things. He is called the Spirit of Truth for a reason, but we listen to things other than that. The point is, ‘Be aware!’ Even when you think you are listening to the Holy spirit you may not be. That’s why we have people, such as the Mormons, who have revelations every day, supposedly from the spirit of God.
“Having visions are not good enough. Peter himself had a vision. The Holy Spirit Himself showed Peter to eat the unclean foods [Acts 10:9-16]. And Peter followed that vision, but he did not solely base his beliefs and actions on visions. It was not very long before the word of God was used to corroborate with that revelation [Acts 15:6-17].
“What should you do when a word of God contradicts your revelation? – YOU GET RID OF THE REVELATION.” (Geer/Washington)
Another example of a belief – the baptism in the Holy Spirit…
“Let us discuss the baptism of the Holy Spirit. This will really hit charismatics [people who believe the spiritual gifts such as speaking in tongues, prophecy, etc. are for Christians of today] to the heart. But it applies equally to non-charismatics [people who believe the spiritual gifts have ceased]. Does this baptism exist today or not? Some say, ‘I’ve experienced it.’ Others say, ‘I’ve never experienced it.’ And so we each will try to find the word of God to prove or disprove our experience.
“Charismatics, if someone could prove through the word of God that the baptism of the Holy Spirit or speaking in tongues did not exist for today, what would you do? Are you willing to throw that experience out, if it could be proven through the word of God, that it is not of God?
“I’m not saying that the Bible does say that. What I am asking is, ‘Where is your heart?’ Don’t come up to me and say, ‘Well, it doesn’t say that.’ I’m not interested in that. I’m interested in where your heart is. What would your response be if it could be proven that the Baptism of the Holy Spirit had ceased? I ask the same question of the non-charismatics – if it could be proven scripturally that the baptism of the Holy Spirit does exist for today, would you throw your reformation or Baptist theology out the window and receive the [filling of the] Spirit of God? Would you speak in tongues if I could show you scripturally that it is supposed to be for today…if speaking in tongues is something that is supposed to be for you, a few, or for everyone, but that you could have it? Forget your church teaching, your pastors and your leaders. What does the word of God say? Do you love the truth enough to get it? Or are you, charismatics and non-charismatics, listening to your emotions while you listen to this? (Both of you are probably mad at me. You should be. But now, you should get mad at yourself, for being tricked that way. For both of you are doing the same thing. That is how you listen to your own soul, rather than listening to the Spirit of God.) I’m not saying that the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is an invalid experience – I am saying, ‘What does the Word of God say?’ You need to search these things to see if they are true.” (Geer/Washington)
1 Thessalonians 5:21 says: “Test all things; hold fast what is good.”…
“People today are afraid to test things. Leaders will tell you, because they are supposed to do this, ‘Search the Bible.’ When you do and you catch them on something, they blow you off. They are not teachable. These people are not to be listened to when they do that to you. If somebody says to you, ‘Wow, I think you’re right here’, or ‘No, I think you’re wrong and this is why, scripturally; I think it means this,’ they are teachable. They are people who receive the love of the truth. It isn’t enough for me to hear somebody say, ‘Search the Bible, and if I’m wrong…’ People have said that over and over again. But where there are disagreements that totally contradict what they said, they get their hackles up in the air – these are false teachers. These are people that are a danger, not only in being deceived themselves but also spreading deceit onto you and on to the church. We need to be aware of these people. Some of them are conscious of it; some are unconscious of it.” (Geer/Washington)
“Again, I get back to ‘we must love the truth.’ If we love the truth, the Holy Spirit is going to get through. If we love the truth, the true ministers are going to get to us. If we love the truth, we are going to rightly divide the Word of God. God will not let us come into a false teaching, at least not for very long, IF WE LOVE THE TRUTH. In fact, the statement of our willingness to search and study, to test the spirits, take apart the word of God, challenge teachers and leaders is the measure of our willingness to not be led astray and that’s what will keep us pure on the day of salvation. That is going to keep us safe. That is going to keep our guidance right…
“The main thing that happens to Christians, both teachers and listeners, is laziness. As a teacher, we have accepted old teachings and then we build upon those. Then someone, maybe ten years later, challenges those teachings and they are right – but we don’t listen to them because we’re lazy. We don’t want to go back to old ground and restudy it. The same thing with listeners. Because of laziness, we do not search the Scriptures and we get led astray. In other words, someone may tell you something that they interpreted in the Scripture. This is perfectly valid. But it is not perfectly valid for you to accept that interpretation without seeing if it is true. You must listen and examine what they are saying. Not everything has to be analyzed in the Greek or Hebrew, for the Spirit of God is in you…
“I don’t want to infer by all the things that I have said previously that we are not supposed to listen to ministers of the gospel, or that the word of God is not valid in all situations, or that it isn’t the word of Truth, or that the Holy Spirit does not dwell in us and there is no intuitive sense that leads us into truth – all of those are the forms of guidance but without this inherent something inside of you, of loving the truth, these things could be manipulated or sidestepped.” (Geer/Washington)