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Lesson # Matt. 10:16a
Study Material - Matt. 10:16a
You must be in fellowship prior to your Bible study, so that the spiritual information you receive can become a source, of blessing to your soul and produce spiritual growth.
16 Behold [idou] , I [ego] send [apostello] you [humas] forth [apostello] as [hos] sheep [probaton] in [en] the midst [mesos] of wolves [lukos] : be ye [ginomai] therefore [oun] wise [phronimos] as [hos] serpents [ophis] , and [kai] harmless [akeraios] as [hos] doves [peristera] . KJV-Interlinear
16 'Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; therefore be shrewd as serpents, and innocent as doves. NAS
Forewarned is not forearmed, but it gives the opportunity to forearm ones self and to be prepared in he event of trouble. Many a believer enters into the spiritual life with high hopes. Usually as with a child, the hopes are based on earthly rewards of various sorts, and those 'things' are focused on for the happiness expected.
Then life hits home and the realities of life do not pan out like the dreams and 'presumed' promises that were expected. Disappointment arises, discontent, disillusionment sometimes, and then bitterness often follows. The expected material blessings, from a long period of committed faith, obedience to the word, and even ones perceptions of self sacrifice, do not appear. Where does this leave the believer? Probably a little shaken and with a whole lot of disappointment.
Jesus teaches the Apostles that their life will not be a bed of rose petals. Nice, soft and fragrant. Their life will be filled with pressures and sufferings, and that is what we need (the teaching that is), to enter into life with our eyes open.
The Apostles have been given several tremendous powers - to cure all manner of illness, to even raise the dead. But their powers are not for their own profit, but to establish their credentials as teachers of the Word of God. They might have thought themselves as invincible now, even as mighty lions going out into the world and facing all manner of sheep in the world. Jesus taught them that it is, in fact, they who are the sheep, not the world, and that they would not be invincible despite their powers. They would suffer terribly instead, but that suffering would propel them into the greatest eternal life, even beyond their own imagination.
We need to look at ourselves in the mirror and ask ourselves whether we have been under the presumption of unreasonable expectations from life. Certainly the Bible makes many promises of peace and prosperity, but it does not exclude the possibility of problems in the life. We live in this devils world. I describe it in our Bible study as a jungle environment with all the risks and pressures that life in any jungle can deliver to its inhabitants. We are forewarned. There are wolves out there. Other passages speak of wild animals that take their pleasure on anyone who happens along. The wild animals take without warning, and certainly without conscience or remorse. They tear their prey apart, while alive, and the violence of the jungle is often times beyond comprehension. These examples of jungle life come out of singular events like those sniper murders back east these past weeks, from the efforts of the likes of Hitler, or Stalin, even from the interactions of snippy gossips in a local social club. None of us are exempt from the jungle and what it has to dish out, but since we know of its presence, since we know how it operates (its bias, its prejudice, its liberal philosophies, its unfair treatment of people, its medical problems, and so forth), then we can prepare ourselves and protect ourselves from disappointment in the event of problems that happen to come our way.
We already should know that the jungle has its own set of rules (lies, cheating, strong over the weak, etc.), and we know that God has established a set of rules to control the jungle (law and order, free enterprise, freedom, liberty, privacy, family, marriage, volition, national entities, and so forth), therefore we can protect ourselves in a sense just by understanding how things work in life. This is called 'not being stupid', or using common sense in life.
Being smart means that the wolves will have a less chance of taking advantage of you. It does not prevent the wolves from getting at you (office politics, back stabbing and such), but you should also know that you have an even greater set of rules at your command, guarding you and protecting you from all the rules of the jungle both the good ones and the bad.
We know that we have been saved, and we also should know that 'Christ in us' is a far greater power than anything in this world or in the universe. But, and there is that inevitable 'but', we are not in our eternal state yet. We do live in this world and as such we are exposed to its flaws, and we cannot escape our life in the midst of adversaries.
We as sheep are dumb. We have to be protected from all that we might eat. Sheep will eat anything, even bad food, so protection is necessary from that which we take into our soul. There are also predators out there who will devour us, and we need protection from their attacks as well as our own disappointments due to the pressures we will face in life. There will not be any getting around or escaping the problems of life. Expect them. Prepare for them, even mentally prepare for them (Bible study), and when they strike, faith with muscle will take over rather than emotion with disillusionment.
Now is the time to post a prayer.
End Of Lesson
Study to show thyself approved (mature) unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing (studying/discerning), the Word of truth.
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