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INVISIBLE REALITIES

A.     Introduction:  If you are going to live victoriously in this life, you must learn to live according to revelation      knowledge.
     1.     There are two kinds of knowledge available to us -- sense knowledge and revelation knowledge.
          a.     Sense knowledge is the information which comes to us through our five physical senses.
          b.     Revelation knowledge is the information which God has revealed to us in the Bible.
     2.     Sense knowledge is limited.  It cannot tell us anything beyond what we see, hear, taste, smell, or feel.
          a.     But, there is a realm beyond what we can see, hear, taste, smell, and feel -- the invisible realm.
               II Cor 4:18
          b.     Through the new birth, we have become part of the unseen, invisible kingdom of God. Col 1:13;                     Luke 17:20,21
          c.     And, all of our help, provision, and power in this life comes from that unseen realm. Eph 1:3
     3.     God has chosen to reveal facts about this unseen kingdom and these unseen realities to us in the Bible.
          a.     It is vital that we get our picture of reality from the Bible, from revelation knowledge.
          b.     It is vital that we learn to live in the light of these unseen realities -- live as though they are real                     (because they are).
     4.     In this lesson, we want to continue to emphasize the value and reality of unseen information and the                importance of learning to live by that information.
B.     We want to begin by briefly restating some things from the last lesson.
     1.     The central event of  Christianity is the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
     2.     The people who saw Jesus crucified and resurrected had sense knowledge information about the event                -- what they could see, hear, feel, etc.
          a.     Although the information they had was accurate, it was limited.
          b.     Standing at the foot of the Cross, the disciples could not tell why it happened, what it                               accomplished, or what value it had to anyone.
     3.     As Jesus hung on the Cross, all kinds of things were going on in the unseen realm.
          a.     While Jesus hung on the Cross, God the Father laid our sins and sicknesses on Him, on His spirit                     (the unseen part of Him). Isa 53:4-6,10
          b.     His soul (the unseen part of Him) was made an offering for sin. Isa 53:10,11
          c.     On the Cross, Jesus was made sin.  He took our sin nature on Himself. II Cor 5:21
          d.     He not only went to the Cross for us, He went to the Cross as us.  We were united with Him in His                death.  When Jesus died, we died.  Rom 6:6; Gal 2:20
          e.     When His body died and He left it, Jesus went to hell to suffer for us as us.  We went there with                     Him. Acts 2:24-32; Isa 53:11
          f.     When He was raised up from the dead, and restored to life and relationship with the Father, we                     were raised up, too. Eph 2:5,6
     4.     None of these things could be seen with the physical eyes as the disciples witnessed the crucifixion                and      resurrection of Jesus
          a.     Yet these things are real.  They really happened.  And, the potential is there for these things to                     have tremendous impact on every human being if we will respond to them.
          b.     Keep in mind, if we did not have the information given to us in the Bible, (revelation knowledge)                     we would not know any of the unseen aspects of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.

C.     As soon as Jesus was raised from the dead and began to appear to His followers, He began to give them           revelation knowledge about His crucifixion.  He began to discuss the OT scriptures with them
     1.     Notice an important point.  One of the first things Jesus did was rebuke His followers for not believing           the scriptures about His death and resurrection. Luke 24:25-27; Mark 16:9-14
          a.     Jesus expected them to believe the scripture.
          b.     That means they were able to believe.
     2.     Believing begins with an act of the will.  I choose to accept as fact what God has said. John 20:25
          a.     When it comes to faith and believing, we often take this approach -- How can I believe?  I don't                     have enough faith.  Help my unbelief.
               1.     But, notice, the whole focus is on me, my, I.
               2.     Faith doesn't  rest on me, my, I, but on God -- His greatness and His faithfulness.
          b.     Why did Jesus expect them to believe the scripture?  Not because of their great faith, but because                     the Bible was, is, God talking to them (and to us).
          c.     Faith rests on the integrity of God's word, the fact that the Bible is God speaking to me now --                     God who cannot lie, God who is faithful.  
          d.     You must understand that if you are going to live by revelation knowledge.
     3.     We cannot know or benefit in this life from all that God has for us without revelation knowledge -- the           information given to us in the Bible.
          a.     We must take the time to find out what the Bible says -- get our picture of reality from it.
          b.     We must choose to accept it as fact because it is God speaking.  The Bible is God speaking to me                     now.  And, it settles every argument presented by sense knowledge.
          c.     We must take time to meditate on revelation knowledge (the Bible) until the reality of it dawns on                us and that information becomes as much a part of our consciousness as two plus two.

D.     A lot happened at the first meeting between Jesus and His disciples on Resurrection Day. Luke 24:33-48
     1.     v36-39--Jesus showed Himself to them.  He let them touch Him to prove He wasn't a ghost.
     2.     v44-48--Jesus began to explain the OT scriptures concerning His crucifixion and gave them the “why”                behind it.
          a.     He died as a sin sacrifice and satisfied the claims of justice against every man. Isa 53:4-12
          b.     And all who repent (turn to the Lord) will receive remission of sins = their sins blotted out and                     removed.
     3.     John 20:19-23--The disciples believed what Jesus told them, received eternal life, and were born again.           Gen 2:7
     4.     Mark 16:15-18; Luke 24:47,48--Jesus began to explain their mission to them.  As eye witnesses of the                crucifixion (death, burial, and resurrection), they were to go out and preach repentance and remission  of sins.
     5.     Something else fascinating happened on Resurrection Day.  At the Last Supper, Jesus told the disciples           He would not eat and drink with them again until they ate together in His Father's kingdom.
          Matt 26:26-29
          a.     Jesus kept His promise to them, fulfilling it on Resurrection Day.
          b.     Remember, the disciples were born again in this meeting with Jesus.  When they were born again,                     they entered the kingdom of God. Col 1:13; Luke 17:20,21
          c.     Here, on Resurrection Day, Jesus and His disciples ate and drank together -- all of them in the                     kingdom of God. Luke 24:30,31; 41-43; Mark 16:14: Acts 10:41
          d.     At that moment, the disciples were as truly in the kingdom as you and I are now, because the                          kingdom had come into them through the new birth -- just as it has in us.
     6.     Acts 1:3--Jesus spent forty more days with the apostles, giving them unseen (revelation) knowledge                before He went back to heaven.

E.     When Jesus went back to heaven, that did not end the process of Him giving unseen information (behind           the scenes facts) about His death, burial, and resurrection to His followers.
     1.     Jesus had many more things to say.  And, He chose to reveal them primarily to the apostle Paul.
     2.     Paul was not one of Jesus' original followers.  He was a Jewish Pharisee who persecuted the first                     Christians. Phil 3:5,6
          a..     There is no evidence that Paul had any contact with (sense knowledge of) Jesus.  Traditions says                     he was born the second year after Jesus came to earth.
          b.     About two years after Jesus returned to heaven, Paul was on his way to the city of Damascus to                     arrest Christians when Jesus suddenly appeared to Paul and he was converted. Acts 9:1-9
     3.     Acts 9:15,16--Paul had a unique call on his life.  God has a special mission for him.
          a.     When Jesus appeared to Paul, He told Paul a little of what he was to preach.  But, Jesus also told                     Paul that He would appear to him later and give him additional information.
               Acts 26:15-18
          b.     That is exactly what happened.  Jesus later directly taught Paul unseen facts about what His death,                burial, and resurrection accomplished. Gal 1:11-23; 2:1,2
     4.     Jesus revealed to Paul things He had not yet told anyone else -- including His twelve disciples.  Paul                was given the privilege of revealing certain mysteries of God.  He is called a steward of the mysteries  of God. I Cor 4:1
          a.     In the NT, mystery does not mean something that can't be known or must be kept secret.
          b.     Mystery refers to plans and works of God which up to that time had not been revealed.  For                          example:
               1.     God revealed to Paul the previously unknown fact that there was coming a generation of                               believers who would not see physical death. I Cor 15:50-53
               2.     Through Paul, God revealed the mystery of the Church -- the fact that the Church was to be                          the Body of Christ and was made up of both Jews and Gentiles. Eph 3:1-11
               3.     Through Paul, God revealed the previously unknown fact that the Church was to be the Bride                          of Christ. Eph 5:28-32
     5.     Through Paul, God revealed the unseen plans and purposes He accomplished through the Cross of                     Christ.
          a.     One of the things God revealed to Paul, and through Paul to us, is that all who believe on Christ                     and His sacrifice are united to Jesus through shared life. Col 1:25-27
          b.     The unseen events of the death, burial, and resurrection made that union possible.
     6.     God's plan since before He formed the earth was to have holy sons and daughters conformed to the                image of Christ. Eph 1:4,5; Rom 8:29
          a.     A holy God cannot have sinners (by nature and action) as sons and daughters.
          b.     So, God united us with Jesus on the Cross -- punished us, executed us, and buried us through,                          with, our substitute.  Then, God raised us up together with Jesus to new life.
          c.     When a person makes Jesus Lord of his life and accepts the facts of the Cross, what happened at                     the Cross goes into effect for that person.  His sins are remitted (removed).
          d.     God can then legally make that person His literal child by putting His actual life in Him.
               I John 5:1; 5:11,12
     7.     In the Book of Acts, we get the history of the early Church (who gets saved, when, where, and how).                 But, there is little doctrine or explanation of what was happening those being saved and why.
          a.     In the epistles of Paul, we get the explanation of what was happening to the people who accepted                     Jesus as Lord and why it was happening.  We get unseen facts or revelation knowledge.
          b.     There are over one hundred and thirty statements (mostly in Paul's epistles) describing what is                     true about us now that we are born again, now that we have the life of God in us, now that we are united to Christ.
               1.     II Cor 5:17--So if any one is in union with Christ, he is a new being.  His old life has passed                          away, and a new life has begun. (20th Cent)
               2.     Eph 2:10--The truth is that we are the handiwork of God.  By our union with Christ Jesus we                          were created for the purpose of doing the good actions which God had in readiness, so that we  should devote our lives to them. (20th Cent)
               3.     I Cor 1:30--But you, by your union with Christ Jesus are God's offspring; and Christ, by                               God's will, became not only our wisdom, but also our righteousness, our Holiness, our Deliverance, so that -- in the words of scripture -- Let those who boast, boast about the Lord. (20th Cent)
          c.     But, the information in Paul's epistles is all about unseen facts.  Just because you can't see it                          doesn't mean it's not real.  It is real.  And, if you will learn to walk in the light of it, it will  revolutionize your life.

F.     Conclusion:  What is the point of studying all of this?
     1.     This can give us understanding of how to study the Bible -- what to read and why.
          a.     All scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable, but, everything in the Bible was                          written to somebody by someone about something.  
          b.     We will get the greatest benefit from the Bible if we will spend time in the parts written to us, the                     Church.
          c.     The epistles (especially Paul's) were written to the Church to unveil the unseen facts of the death,                     burial, and resurrection of Christ and the new creation which Jesus brought into being.
          d.     Spend most of your time in the epistles of Paul.
     2.     II Cor 5:16,17--The Holy Spirit tells us through Paul that we are not to know ourselves according to the           flesh anymore, but according to the new creatures we have become through union with Christ.
          a.     You cannot do that unless you learn to live in the light of revelation knowledge.
          b.     I John 5:4; II Cor 5:7--It is those who live by faith (by unseen realities) who overcome in this life.
     3.     This is God's plan for your life -- that you be His literal son or daughter filled with His life and nature,                and then be conformed to the image of Christ.
          a.     It is through the unseen provision of the Cross that this is possible,  that this is accomplished.
          b.     Rom 5:10--For if, when we were God's enemies, we became reconciled to him through the death                     of His son (invisible), much more, when we have been reconciled to him (invisible) shall we be saved by sharing Christ's life (invisible). (20th Cent)
     4.     These invisible realties will produce visible results in our lives as we learn to walk and live in the light of them.