Soul Searching Godliness: Living in God’s Heavenly Will
Soul searching godliness is a vital part of our living in God’s heavenly will.
A Sermon Delivered to
The Compassion Internet Church
9 March 2014
Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor
1 Corinthians 10:13
Soul searching godliness is a vital part of our living in God’s heavenly will.
Today is the first Sunday in Lent, a time when traditionally we were to meditate upon our lives and cleanse ourselves of our sinful or worldly ways.
However, this kind of soul searching godliness should be done on a daily basis throughout the entire year.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at Genesis 2:15-17…
15. Then the LORD God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it.
16. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely;
17. but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you shall surely die.”
At this point in time, Adam was sinless, or perhaps a better way of expressing Adam’s state of being is to say that he is innocent, because he has no knowledge of good or evil.
He is living in the goodness of God’s presence.
Let’s take a look at what God commanded Adam to eat in Genesis 1:29…
29. Then God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you;
Note very carefully that in this verse God gave Adam, and us, EVERY seed bearing plant and the fruit of EVERY tree in the whole world to eat.
There was no exception, not even a mention of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, which we will talk about in a few minutes.
Now let’s take a look at Genesis 3:1-13…
1. Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?”
We believe that the serpent was influenced by Lucifer, the angel of light, whose act of betraying God made him fall from God’s grace and become Satan, the devil of this world.
This also means that the serpent had knowledge of good and evil and chose to follow the evil influence of the devil; and it appears that there was no soul searching godliness in him.
2. And the woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat;
3. but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, lest you die.’ ”
God said nothing about not touching the fruit, which gave the devil another way of deceiving Eve, for he could now hold the “fruit” and show Eve that it wasn’t hurting him.
4. And the serpent said to the woman, “You surely shall not die!
5. “For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
6. When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.
Now let’s pause here for a moment and look at what we are told in 1 Corinthians 10:13…
13. No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.
This also means that each and every one of us has the soul searching godliness within us, if we choose to use it.
In spite of what we are told here, both Eve and Adam fell into the serpent’s trap.
Do you remember God’s command to Adam about what he and we should eat?
This is why we don’t believe that the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was a seed bearing fruit; it must have been something else, because God would not contradict Himself or trick Eve and Adam.
As an example, the word “fruit” could also mean “the product of” such as “the fruit of our labor”; and this tree could have been a honey bee tree to pollinate the plants and trees of the garden, and either honey was leaking out, or the serpent was holding a honey comb; and the golden color of the honey and the sweet taste was what attracted Eve.
In any event, Adam and Eve broke their covenant with God.
7. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings.
Adam and Eve failed to use their soul searching Godliness that was given to them to avoid falling into the serpent’s trap.
Thus, Adam and Eve now have knowledge of both good and evil.
Let’s go on and take a look at how they use this knowledge.
8. And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.
9. Then the LORD God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?”
10. And he said, “I heard the sound of Thee in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself.”
11. And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?”
We believe that this question is to find out how Adam and Eve use their soul searching godliness, as well as their knowledge of good and evil.
12. And the man said, “The woman whom Thou gavest to be with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate.”
Note how Adam is compounding his sin of disobedience by blaming God for what happened, instead of repenting for his act of disobedience.
13. Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” And the woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
Also note the way Eve compounds her sin and blames the serpent for her own disobedience instead of repenting.
Keep this in mind as we take a look at Psalm 32:1-11…
1. How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven,
Whose sin is covered!
Without true repentance there is no forgiveness for sins and, as we just read above, neither Adam nor Eve did any soul searching or repented for disobeying God; therefore, their sins are not covered.
2. How blessed is the man to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity,
And in whose spirit there is no deceit!
Based on what we have read, both Adam and Eve seem to have a deceitful spirit, and they are punished for their iniquity.
Then David speaks about himself.
3. When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away
Through my groaning all day long.
4. For day and night Thy hand was heavy upon me;
My vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer.
“Selah” is believed to have the meaning of pause and reflect or meditate upon what has preceded it as it relates to our own lives.
Adam and Eve are facing the same thing that happened to David, just as we would in a similar situation.
David is using his soul searching Godliness, which Adam and Eve failed to do.
5. I acknowledged my sin to Thee,
And my iniquity I did not hide;
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD”;
And Thou didst forgive the guilt of my sin.
This is exactly what every one of us should be doing when we go against the heavenly will of God and the way Jesus taught us to live.
6. Therefore, let everyone who is godly pray to Thee in a time when Thou mayest be found;
Surely in a flood of great waters they shall not reach him.
7. Thou art my hiding place;
Thou dost preserve me from trouble;
Thou dost surround me with songs of deliverance.
Note that the psalm refers to Godly people’s prayers and not prayers from those who are not Godly, which implies that God’s response is mainly for people who are living in His heavenly will.
8. I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go;
I will counsel you with My eye upon you.
God will lead us back into His heavenly will when we stray and are repentant, because He is watching over us.
He also prompts us through the unction of the Holy Spirit to do some soul searching.
We believe that David added the following verse as an example of the way he and the people of his day were living, but the statement about the horse and the mule is unfortunately really very worldly.
9. Do not be as the horse or as the mule which have no understanding,
Whose trappings include bit and bridle to hold them in check,
Otherwise they will not come near to you.
Remember that Balaam’s donkey spoke with intelligence when the Lord opened her mouth, but the intelligence was always there; it’s just that most humans don’t really try to reach animals on the animals’ terms.
And animals won’t come to people who are cruel to them.
We need to be the loving, compassionate, and peacemaking children of God who actively work at ending the corruption that has plagued creation for thousands of years.
10. Many are the sorrows of the wicked;
But he who trusts in the LORD, lovingkindness shall surround him.
11. Be glad in the LORD and rejoice, you righteous ones,
And shout for joy, all you who are upright in heart.
People who are truly righteous are living in God’s heavenly will; they naturally trust in the Lord and are surrounded by His lovingkindness.
Another very important part of being righteous is to utilize our soul searching Godliness before we make a decision to do something.
Having the spirit of repentance is a wonderful thing, but it is many times better to do some soul searching before we do something that would be against God’s heavenly will.
Soul searching Godliness really is living in God’s heavenly will.
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