Gen 8:7-8                  The Raven and the Dove                                       1/21/2017      ßà   

 

 

 

 

#1.       Not a Raven, But “The Raven” (Gen 7:24, 8:4-19, Lev 11:13-15, Deut 14:14, 1King 17:4-6)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#2.       Not a Dove, But “The Dove” (Gen 8:8-12, Mat 3:16, Mar 1:10, Luk 3:22, Joh 1:32, Lev 12:6)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#3.       Did God Remember You? (1John 4:19)

 

 

 

Please open your Bibles to the prophecy of Genesis, Gen 8:1 (2X). Last week I covered Gen 8:13, where Noah removed the covering of the Ark, and where we discovered that Noah was celebrating the Feast of Tabernacles as long as  he was residing in the Ark, for the covering that Noah removed was the same covering that was on the tent over the Tabernacle in the wilderness. And so, from the words that God used to describe this historical event of Noah, and the Ark, and the Flood, we can very quickly see the spiritual pictures that God has hidden in this story. The flood is a picture of the judgment on the Last Day. Noah is a picture of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Ark is a picture of the eternal church that must be raptured on the Last Day. And thus, when “The Lord shut him in” it was a picture of the Rapture of the saints on the Last Day. Last week I focused entirely on Gen 8:13. And therefore, this week I must go back and discuss the story of the Raven and the Dove in verses 7 through 12, which I skipped last week. And so, the title of this sermon is The Raven and the Dove (2X). But I would not want us to miss the first verse of this chapter, where we read:

This is the last sermon on Gen 8, since verses 20-22 really belong to chapter 9. I will not have time to discuss all the relevant verses, but I will leave all of them in the sermon outline so that each one of you can search out in the Bible if I have been faithful in my teachings. We read in Gen 8:1,

Ge 8:1-2  And God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the cattle that was with him in the ark: and God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters assuaged; The fountains also of the deep and the windows of heaven were stopped, and the rain from heaven was restrained;

Ge 8:3-5  And the waters returned from off the earth continually: and after the end of the hundred and fifty days the waters were abated.          And the ark rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat.   And the waters decreased continually until the tenth month: in the tenth month, on the first day of the month, were the tops of the mountains seen.

God remembered Noah. What does that actually mean? It does not mean that God had a lapse of memory. It also does not refer to an anthropomorphism, where God acts as if He is a man. Let us look at some references and find out what it really means. Please turn in your Bibles to Gen 19:29 (2X). We have here the story of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, and the miraculous way in which God rescued Lot and his two daughters. And since the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah is also a picture of the Judgment on the Last Day, we see in this rescue of Lot and his two daughters a picture of the Rapture on the Last Day. The Rapture is on the Last Day. We read here in Gen 19:29,

Ge 19:29  And it came to pass, when God destroyed the cities of the plain, that God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when he overthrew the cities in the which Lot dwelt.

God remembered Abraham. God reminded us that He remembered His promise to Abraham that He would not destroy the city if there were found ten righteous people in there. In fact, God would not destroy the city if there was only one righteous person there, since God’s love for His chosen ones surpasses His wrath on all the unrighteous. Therefore God first raptured Lot out of the city, and then He destroyed the city. But can you also see the love of God for Abraham? When we read that God remembered Abraham, God expresses in these words that His love for Abraham was so great that God would be faithful to all the promises He has made to Abraham. That is really the meaning of the words, “God remembered Abraham”. Please turn now to Gen 30:22 (2X). We have here the story of Jacob and his two wives, Leah and Rachel. After giving Leah ten children, God remembered Rachel.

Ge 30:22  And God remembered Rachel, and God hearkened to her, and opened her womb.

God expresses here His love for Rachel. God would be faithful to all His promises to Rachel when she married Jacob. And all the promises of God to Jacob were shared by Rachel, for it was God who joined them together, and God made the man and his wife one. And so, when we read that “God remembered” Rachel, it means that God showed here His great love for Rachel. Please turn a few more pages to your right, to the prophecy of Exodus, Ex 2:24 (2X). We have here  the story of the children of Israel who were brutally afflicted in the land of Egypt. God was going to deliver them from their slavery in the house of bondage. And so, God raised up the man Moses. We read in Ex 2:24,

Ex 2:24  And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob.

God remembered His covenant to the Patriarchs, which means that God was going to be faithful to all the promises He made with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, because He loved them. That is really what it means. Let us now return to Gen 8:6. And now we understand the words of verse 1 where God says, “And God remembered Noah”. It really means that God loved Noah dearly. And God loves Christ who is here typified by Noah. Truly, God loves His only begotten Son. Let us go on in this story

#1.       Not a Raven, But “The Raven” (Gen 7:24, 8:4-19, Lev 11:13-15, Deut 14:14, 1King 17:4-6)

Ge 8:6-9  And it came to pass at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made:         And he sent forth a raven, which went forth to and fro, until the waters were dried up from off the earth.       Also he sent forth a dove from him, to see if the waters were abated from off the face of the ground;  But the dove found no rest for the sole of her foot, and she returned unto him into the ark, for the waters were on the face of the whole earth: then he put forth his hand, and took her, and pulled her in unto him into the ark.

Ge 8:10  And he stayed yet other seven days; and again he sent forth the dove out of the ark;

Ge 8:11-12  And the dove came in to him in the evening; and, lo, in her mouth was an olive leaf pluckt off: so Noah knew that the waters were abated from off the earth. And he stayed yet other seven days; and sent forth the dove; which returned not again unto him any more.

At the end of 40 days”. Let us understand which 40 days God has in view here. The flood started on “Day # zero”, which was the 17th day of the 2nd month of the 600th year of Noah’s life. The waters increased for 40 days, which takes us to “Day # 39”, which was the last day of the flood. Then we add another 110 days to “Day # 149”, for we find in Gen 7:24 “And the waters prevailed upon the earth an hundred and fifty days”. What was left of Satan’s kingdom? Nothing! It was all under water, under the wrath of God. On this “Day #149”, which was the 17th day of the 7th month, the Ark rested on the mountains of Ararat (Gen 8:4). Then we add another 75 days to “Day # 224”, which was the 1st day of the 10th month, when the tops of the mountains were seen (Gen 8:5). Then we add another 40 days to “Day # 264” where Noah opened the window of the Ark, and Noah sent out the Raven and the Dove. These are the 40 days that are mentioned in Gen 8:6. Then 14 days later, when Noah sent out the Dove for the 3rd time was “Day # 278” (Ge 8:12). Then we have to add another 36 days to arrive at “Day # 314”, which was the 1st day of the 1st month of Noah’s 601st year, and Noah removed the covering of the Ark (Gen 8:13), and Noah saw that the face of the ground was dry. But God required him to stay in the Ark for another 56 days to arrive at “Day # 370”, which was the 27th day of the 2nd month of Noah’s 601st year (Gen 8:14), which was the last day in the Ark. And thus Noah and his family and all the animals were in the Ark 370 days, which God defined as a year and 10 days. And thus, in this story God counted a month as 30 days. But this is the only place in the Bible where a month is counted as 30 days. Undoubtedly there are spiritual meanings to all these numbers, but we will not try to unravel all those spiritual implications, for God has hidden these for our eyes. More importantly, on “Day # 264”, 40 days after the tops of the mountains were seen, Noah sent out The Raven and The Dove. In our King James Bibles we read in verses 7 and 8, “A Raven and A Dove”. But I want you to know that the Hebrew text reads “The Raven” and “The Dove”. In other words it is a particular Raven and a particular Dove that Noah, as a type of Christ, sends out. We can readily see that understanding these verses in just the historical fashion will not work. For example, we know that there were only two ravens in the Ark, for the raven is an unclean animal. But where is the 2nd raven? The 2nd raven stayed in the ark for another 106 days, since we have to add 14 + 36 + 56 = 106 days. And then, after 106 days the 2nd raven has to search all over the world to find her mate, the 1st raven, which she may, or may not find. You can see that this is not in agreement with God’s command to replenish the earth in Gen 8:17. And so, since God wrote The Raven we must find a spiritual meaning for the sending out of “The Raven”. Please turn in your Bibles to the prophecy of Leviticus, Lev 11:13 (2X). You find Leviticus after Exodus: first Genesis, then Exodus, then Leviticus. We must first understand that the raven was not only an unclean animal, but it was an abomination in God’s sight. And equally abominable are eagles and all the vultures. We read in Lev 11:13,

Le 11:13  And these are they which ye shall have in abomination among the fowls; they shall not be eaten, they are an abomination: the eagle, and the ossifrage, and the ospray,

Le 11:14-15  And the vulture, and the kite after his kind;         Every raven after his kind;

These birds are birds of prey. These birds also feed on dead corpses. Death is already an offense

to God, for death came as the wrath of God on the sins of man. And so, the animals that feed on the dead are an utter abomination to God. Likewise Satan and all his fallen angels also feed on people who are dead in trespasses and sins, and they feed on them again when both the demons and all of unsaved mankind endure the second death in Hell. And so, there is a great likelihood that God would hold “The Raven” as a representative of all the unclean birds of prey. Moreover, God would hold all the unclean birds of prey as types representing the demonic host which will be cast into Hell. Please turn again to Gen 8:7 (2X). Noah sends the Raven out of the Ark into the world where death reigns. The question is: Does Christ, in the person of Noah, send the demonic host into the world to feed on dead people? You must keep in mind that Satan is not an independent agent. Satan and all his demons can only do what God allows them to do. For example, we read in 1Kings 17:4-6 that even the ravens obey God’s commands. Let us look at the spiritual picture that we have been unfolding for the past six weeks. The timing where we presently are is a picture of after the Rapture, and after the Judgment on the unsaved has taken place. And now we are looking at:

Please turn in your Bibles to the prophecy of Ezekiel, Eze 39:17 (2X). You find the prophecy of Ezekiel right after Isaiah and Jeremiah. Regardless which view of eschatology anyone holds, the passage that we are going to read deals with God’s continuing judgment on all the unsaved after the Rapture of the saints, and after the Judgment on the unsaved has been executed. And so, this runs parallel to the judgment on the unsaved world that we read about in Gen 8. We read in Eze 39:17,

Eze 39:17-18  And, thou son of man, thus saith the Lord GOD; Speak unto every feathered fowl, and to every beast of the field, Assemble yourselves, and come; gather yourselves on every side to my sacrifice that I do sacrifice for you, even a great sacrifice upon the mountains of Israel, that ye may eat flesh, and drink blood.         Ye shall eat the flesh of the mighty, and drink the blood of the princes of the earth, of rams, of lambs, and of goats, of bullocks, all of them fatlings of Bashan.

Eze 39:19-20  And ye shall eat fat till ye be full, and drink blood till ye be drunken, of my sacrifice which I have sacrificed for you.            Thus ye shall be filled at my table with horses and chariots, with mighty men, and with all men of war, saith the Lord GOD.

What does this mean? If the wild beasts and the fowls of the air indeed represent the demonic host, then this means that the demons shall execute God’s judgment in Hell, and that they shall be the tormentors of the unsaved in Hell. And thus, the wrath of God shall be delegated to the demonic host, who themselves shall also be tormented in the Lake of Fire. The demons shall gladly torment the unsaved, for they shall blame their misfortune on mankind. Please turn to the last prophecy in your Bibles. Please turn to the Revelation of Jesus Christ, Rev 19:17 (2X). We have here a similar scene. The timing is again after the Rapture of the saints and after the Judgment on the unsaved. Christ has come with all the armies of heaven, and has waged war on the apostate church called Babylon, and on all the unsaved who are adamantly opposed to Him and in the power of Antichrist. And now Christ calls on all the fowls of heaven to have their fill and eat the flesh of all who have been defeated by Christ and His army. The demonic host is invited to take out their anger on all unsaved mankind, mighty men as well as slaves, both small and great; all who were opposed to the Christ of the Bible and who are now defeated in the last spiritual battle of Christ against Satan. We read in:

Re 19:17-18  And I saw an angel (Christ is that angel) standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God;           That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great.

And that this scene refers to the Judgment on the Last Day is made clear in the last verse of this chapter. Again it is a reference to the demonic host as the tormentors of those in Hell. We read in:

Re 19:21  And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.

And so, all the abominable fowls, the tormentors of the dead, represented by one of them: The Raven, are sent by Christ to do the work they like best. Please turn again to the prophecy of Genesis, Gen 8:7 (2X). The literal translation of the Hebrew text is a little different. Literally we read, “And he sent out the raven, and it went out, going out and returning until the waters were dried up from off the earth”. The raven was going out and returning to the Ark, but the raven never went back into the Ark. Christ, in the figure of Noah, sent the raven out into the world of death, and there he had to remain. On the other hand The Dove received a far different treatment.

#2.       Not a Dove, But “The Dove” (Gen 8:8-12, Mat 3:16, Mar 1:10, Luk 3:22, Joh 1:32, Lev 12:6)

Here again the historical interpretation does not match what we find here. We read in Gen 8:9, “The dove found no rest for the sole of her foot”. In other words, the dove found it was all a water wasteland, or at best there was no tree or shrub where the dove could rest her feet. But 7 days later the dove brought back one olive leaf. How can this be? An olive tree, or even a little olive shrub, does not come out of the ground in 7 days. This was made possible only by a miracle from God. But why did God arrange this story in such a peculiar way? Why could the dove not have brought am olive leaf the 1st time she went out? And why did the dove not return again when she was sent out the 3rd time? This is altogether against the nature of doves, who like to return to the nest they are accustomed to.

The reason is that we must again search for the spiritual picture of The Dove. The Hebrew text speaks of The Dove, and not “a dove”. This is not a common dove, but it is “The Dove”. And who does The Dove represent? We need to see a contrast here. On the one hand we see a black raven, an abominable bird, and on the other hand we see a beautiful dove, probably white, and considered a clean animal by God and by man. Doves were allowed as food for man, and doves were also used for sacrifices to God. But when we speak of “The Dove” we think especially of a representation of God the Holy Spirit. If The Raven represents the demonic host, then The Dove must represent the Holy Spirit. For example, we read in Mat 3:16, “And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him”. “Like a dove” means looking like a dove, but not actually a dove. It is peculiar that this event is mentioned in all four narrative Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, and in all four Gospels we find the words, “like a dove”. And thus, it is most fitting that The Dove is a picture of God the Holy Spirit. And we know, from the Gospel according to John, that it is Christ who sends the Holy Spirit into the world. This is typified by Noah sending out The Dove. But Noah sent out The Dove three times, with three different results. This is pointing to three different activities of God the Holy Spirit, and the wording of verses 8 through 12 should tell us what these activities are.

·      Three Activities of the Holy Spirit (Gen 8:9,11, Josh 1:1-5, Rev 22:10, Isa 60:8,1-7,8-11,12-22, Mat 5:14, Isa 65:17-23, 66:23-24) The activity of the Holy Spirit is a flash-back to before the flood.

We read in Gen 8:9, “The Dove found no rest for the sole of her foot”. What does that mean? Please turn in your Bibles to the prophecy of Joshua, Jos 1:1 (2X). You find Joshua right after the five scrolls of Moses, right after Deuteronomy. The children of Israel are encamped on the East side of the Jordan River, ready to go into the Promised Land, and God appointed Joshua to be their leader.

Jos 1:1 ¶  Now after the death of Moses the servant of the LORD it came to pass, that the LORD spake unto Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ minister, saying,

Jos 1:2-3  Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel.   Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses.

Jos 1:4  From the wilderness and this Lebanon even unto the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and unto the great sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your coast.

Jos 1:5  There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.

When God said to Joshua, “Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you”, do we believe that this only applied to Joshua? No! It applied to everyone in the army of Joshua. And likewise, today it applies to everyone in the army of Christ, for if Christ lives within our souls, then we are the temple of Christ, and thus the ground on which we stand is holy. We must believe that this is literally true for each one who has truly become a child of God. Let us now apply this to what we found in Gen 8:9, “The dove found no rest for the sole of her foot”. Spiritually it means that the Holy Spirit could not find one soul that was given to Christ; not one. And here we have arrived at the first of the three actions of the Holy Spirit. Like The Dove flew around all day over the miserable wasteland that was under the judgment of God and did not set foot anywhere, so God the Holy Spirit leaves alone all those for whom Christ has not suffered and died. They will not receive the Gospel, and in fact are not able to come to Christ, for only if the Holy Spirit makes them alive will they come to Christ. That is why God says in Rev 22:10, “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still”. It is not God’s will to bring them into the New Creation, for they have not been given to Christ. God the Holy Spirit knows who they are, and thus He leaves them alone.

The second activity of God the Holy Spirit refers to The Dove being sent out the second time. And since The Dove returned with an olive leaf we must infer that the Holy Spirit has been successful on an evangelical mission. But we do not have to pull this out of thin air, for we have a Scripture reference to guide us in this direction. Please turn in your Bibles to the prophecy of Isaiah, Isa 60:8 (2X). The theme throughout this chapter of Isaiah leads us first through the beauty of evangelism, and after the damnation of the enemies of the Gospel God leads us into the New Creation, and He then describes the New Creation for us in parabolic language, so that we must be careful in interpreting these verses. The key verse that has turned our attention to this chapter is Isa 60:8, where we read,

Isa 60:8  Who are these that fly as a cloud, and as the doves to their windows?

We can see that this is a direct reference to Gen 8:11, where we read, “And the dove came in to him in the evening; and, lo, in her mouth was an olive leaf pluckt off”. In Gen 8:11 we are looking at the activity of God the Holy Spirit, and that is why there is only one dove. In Isa 60:8 the activity of the Holy Spirit is within many believers, and thus there are many doves flying to their windows. The question remains if this is the right interpretation of Isa 60:8. And thus, we have to understand the context where this verse is found.  Let us begin with verse 1. We read in Isa 60:1-3,

Isa 60:1 ¶  Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee.

Isa 60:2  For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee.

Isa 60:3  And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.

God says to us, “Arise, shine, for thy light is come”, referring to the statement made by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount where He said in Mat 5:14, “Ye are the light of the world”. We know this is right, for in the last verse of the previous chapter God speaks about the Covenant, and since there is only one Covenant of Grace He speaks about us, for if we are saved we are in that Covenant. And thus God is addressing us in Isa 60:1, when He makes us spiritually alive, and makes us shine the light of the Gospel into all the world. And that is necessary, for spiritual darkness covers the whole earth. But the glory of the Lord shall be seen and heard in the words that we speak, and Gentiles shall come to the light of the Gospel and be converted. They are the kings who shall come to the brightness of the Gospel light that we are spreading. And thus the second activity of the Holy Spirit is to make alive all those for whom Christ suffered and died. In Isa 60:4-5 the manifestation of this activity of the Holy Spirit is shown as they who shall gather themselves together, and that the forces of the Gentiles shall come to us. Today we would say that the technology of the Gentiles shall be made useful for the furtherance of the Gospel. But in Gen 8:11 the manifestation of the activity of the Holy Spirit is shown in the olive leaf that He brought back. Let us skip to verses 8-9. There we read,

Isa 60:8  Who are these that fly as a cloud, and as the doves to their windows?

Isa 60:9  Surely the isles shall wait for me, and the ships of Tarshish first, to bring thy sons from far, their silver and their gold with them, unto the name of the LORD thy God, and to the Holy One of Israel, because he hath glorified thee.

Verse 8 asks, “Who are these”. God gave the answer in verse 9. It is the people in the isles that wait to be converted, and the ships of Tarshish shall bring them from far. When we search for the spiritual meaning of the ships of Tarshish, we find that they represent institutions, or churches, which spread the true Gospel far and wide, and bring home those that have been converted. Then starting in verse 13 God describes the conditions in the New Creation. For example, He says in Isa 60:18,

Isa 60:18  Violence shall no more be heard in thy land, wasting nor destruction within thy borders; but thou shalt call thy walls Salvation, and thy gates Praise.

Isa 60:19  The sun shall be no more thy light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee: but the LORD shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory.

Isa 60:20  Thy sun shall no more go down; neither shall thy moon withdraw itself: for the LORD shall be thine everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended.

Isa 60:21  Thy people also shall be all righteous: they shall inherit the land for ever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified.

And thus, the doves that fly to their windows are in a setting that refers to the end of time, and just before the entrance into the New Creation. And this is also the setting of the Dove returning to His window in Gen 8:11. But why did the Dove bring an olive leaf? The olive leaf refers to the Olive Tree.

Please turn in your Bibles to the Epistle to the Romans, Rom 11:17 (2X). God speaks in this chapter about saving the remnant of Israel as well as saving the remnant of the Gentiles. All these are symbolically spoken of as the branches of One Olive Tree. Christ is the root of the Olive Tree, and we, the eternal church consisting of both Jews and Gentiles, are the trunk and the branches of this olive tree. And so, the Olive Tree identifies with the eternal church. We read in Rom 11:17-18,

Ro 11:17-18  And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree;        Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee.

And so the olive leaf in the beak of The Dove returning to Noah was referring to a group of true believers in Christ who were made alive by the second activity of the Holy Spirit. Please turn in your Bibles to the Revelation of Jesus Christ, Rev 11:3 (2X). One more time God uses the metaphor of the

Olive Tree to indicate that the Olive Tree identifies with he true eternal church. We read in Rev 11:3,

Re 11:3 ¶  And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.

Re 11:4  These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.

The third activity of the Holy Spirit is reflected in Gen 8:12, where we read that The Dove did not return to Noah any more. We are now getting close to the stage where Christ and all the faithful are going to enter the New Creation. What is the Holy Spirit’s role in this? God the Holy Spirit is preparing the entire NH&NE, to make it ready for our entrance into it. No longer does the Holy Spirit work to save souls, for the time of salvation has now past. And that is why The Dove did not return to Noah. Please turn again to the prophecy of Genesis, Gen 8:1 (2X). Now I want to return to the wonderful words that were penned down in this first verse of Gen 8, and I want to ask each one of you:

#3.       Did God Remember You? (1John 4:19)

“And God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the cattle that was with him in the ark”.

We have read in Gen 8:1 that God remembered Noah, and God remembered every living thing that was with Noah in the Ark. We have seen that it is an expression of God’s great love for those whom He wants to love, us, and for His commitment to remain faithful to all His promises to us. And when I say “us” I mean all of us who have been saved. And so, the question that remains is this:

Did God remember you? Never mind the six billion other sinners in the world. Did God remember you personally? And did God shower His great love and commitment on you personally? What it boils down to is this: How can you know if God indeed loved you?

We listen to the sermons, and we learn about all the intricacies of how God operates in our lives, and we hear about the sovereignty of God, and we hear that it is absolutely necessary to believe this, for this is what the Bible says, and we store it all in our mind and do our best to remember it. But we are not saved by our knowledge. We are also not saved by our understanding. We are saved by God, from the inside, if Christ indeed suffered and died for us. The question remaining is this:

Did God change us from the inside? Do we have the evidences in our life that we indeed have been changed? Is it all cold orthodoxy in our minds, or have we really been born from above? Well, the Bible says that He gave me faith. If He did give us faith, then remember this: God gave us faith because He gave us a new heart. And with this new heart our loves and our desires have changed also. For example, did God give us a love FOR Christ? Everyone who is saved has a love FOR Christ But let us remember that we love Him because He first loved us (1John 4:19). And what are the evidences that we have a love FOR Christ? The one and only evidence is that we now desire to serve Christ with all our being. Can we really see that in ourselves? Can we see if we serve Him with our substance, and with our time? Do we share Him with our children, and with our friends? And do our prayers reflect our love for Him? These are the questions I want to leave with you when you think and meditate on the three activities of God the Holy Spirit in our life, how He has worked in our life in the past and how He is presently working to keep us faithful.   AMEN.    Let us turn to the Lord in prayer.