Chapter 14 Meanings
The Author of Life/Ruler
The author of life is a reference to the Ruler (Jesus). Jesus is called the Author of life in Acts 3:15 and the Ruler of the kings of the earth in Revelation 1:5.
Observing cottage pieces illustrates reading the Bible. Studying a cottage piece and grasping it tightly illustrates taking the truth of Scripture to heart.
The inscriptions on the cottage pieces are the text of Scripture. The inscription on the piece Adam receives in Chapter 14 is the parable of the hidden treasure (Matthew 13:44).
Dropping a cottage piece illustrates forgetting or doubting a portion of God’s Word. The truths of Scripture do us no good if they don’t remain in our hearts (James 1:23-25).
Being empowered represents receiving the Holy Spirit. All believers received the Spirit at conversion (1 Corinthians 12:13), and each has received a manifestation of the Spirit (a spiritual gift) to be used for the common good (1 Corinthians 12:7). It is the Holy Spirit who empowers believers to accomplish God’s purposes (Romans 15:13).
|“It’s important,” she said, holding it out to him, “that you hold the colors in your mind. If they fade from your memory, study the piece again. That will give you strength to walk.” -p.118|
How does one become strengthened through God’s Word? See Psalm 1:2–3; 1 John 2:14; 1 Peter 2:2.
Ps.1 – Through delighting in it and continuously meditating on it.
1 Jn.2:14 – Through having the Word live within you (memorization and meditation)
1 Pe.2 – Through craving the life-giving substance that comes from it
|“So when I visit the cottage, I’ll become … better?”
“Not if you merely visit. Only when you pass through will you be transformed.” -p.116
What role does the Bible play in a person passing from spiritual death to spiritual life? James 1:21; Romans 10:14.
It plays an essential one. It is impossible to be saved without hearing the gospel message (Ro.10). The Word is as essential to spiritual life as a seed is to the existence of a plant (James 1). If there is no seed, there’s nothing to grow into a plant.
What is the dividing line between those who merely hear the word and those who are transformed by it? See Luke 8:12; Matthew 7:24–27; James 1:22–25.
To be transformed, one must believe the gospel message (Lk.8), and believe it so deeply that it governs the direction of his life (Mt.7 & James 1).
|“Permeant strength,” Watson added. “The gem you hold in your hand will never wear out, never decay, it will exist in good condition ten thousand years from now. And if you grip it tightly, it can spark new life in you that will endure just as long.” -p.118|
How can we draw comfort from the connection Peter draws between the permanence of the Word and the longevity of the spiritual life that comes from it? See 1 Peter 1:23-25.
The fact that our spiritual life came from an imperishable seed means that life is itself imperishable.
|The piece warmed Adam’s hand, as if it were a living thing. He strengthened his grip. The tighter his grasp, the more healing warmth radiated into his hand and chest, spreading throughout his body. -p.120|
What are some ways the Word of God brings spiritual healing? See Psalm 19:7-8. Is there a specific example you can point to in your life when this has happened?
It infuses energy and motivation when we have become spiritually listless, it provides wisdom when we are lost or confused, in replaces spiritual darkness with joy and happiness, and it fortifies life, bringing spiritual health, strength, energy, motivation, and liveliness.
I have experienced these many times. Sometimes in small ways—I’m a little dry spiritually and I spend some time in God’s Word or listen to a good sermon and come away refreshed.
On a much larger scale, a few years ago I went through one of the most painful ordeals of my life and it affected me in ways I had never experienced before. My faith was deeply damaged—to a point that seemed impossible to recover from. I even began putting my affairs in order because it seemed my life was over and I wondered if the Lord was about to take me home.
I began listening to sermons on a daily basis, and it brought spiritual healing that I feared could never happen.
|“A gentle breeze brushed Adam’s face like velvet on his skin. A warm mist enveloped him, and his thinking became clearer. He looked again at the inscription. –p.119|
Unbelievers can understand the meaning of the words and sentences in the Bible. What advantage, then, does the Holy Spirit give to the believer in understanding Scripture? See 1 Corinthians 2:14.
The passage says unspiritual people cannot “accept” the things that come from the Spirit (the Holeman translation says “welcome”). They can understand what the words mean, but they are incapable of accepting the truth of the words and allowing them to shape their beliefs.
|“The cottage was designed and built by the author of all life, and those colors are glimmers of his life.” -p.115|
In Acts 17:28-30, what conclusion does Paul draw from the fact that the life and existence of all people come from God?
All people everywhere in the world must repent. If everyone received life from God, then everyone is answerable to God.
|“Look at it again. What was it that made the man give up everything he had?”
Adam studied the words. “His … joy?” –p.118
What emotion drove the man in Matthew 13:44 to give up everything? What caused that emotion? And what is the significance for the Christian life?
The emotion was joy. It was caused by his realization that the treasure he was going to acquire was vastly more valuable than all his possessions. The fact that he would come out so far ahead stimulated the joy and made him eager to make the trade.
The significance for us is that the treasure we have in Christ is worth so much more than everything else we have in life, that when faced with the opportunity to give up everything in this world for Christ is such a great deal, it should fill us with joy that drives us to dump the earthly stuff as fast as possible.
|“Those colors give substance to life. The gray of the lowlands is a sign of deadness. The life of that whole world is draining away. The cottage was designed and built by the author of all life, and those colors are glimmers of his life. His nature is pure goodness and virtue. …. It is the source of all beauty and all joy. Everything that is good emanates from his heart. He created the cottage as a way of transferring traces of his nature to us.” –p.116|
What are some ways a person can receive life from God through his Word? See 1 Peter 2:2-3; Psalm 119:37; Mark 4:14-20.
1 Pe.2 – One aspect of life we can receive through the Word is spiritual growth and development. This comes when we taste enough of the sustenance that comes through God’s Word that we begin to crave more.
Ps.119 – Another aspect of life we can receive from the Word is preservation and security. This comes when we turn our eyes away from that which would distort or cloud our understanding, or corrupt our desires so that our hearts become lest receptive to God’s Word.
Mk.4 – The first way life from the Word is prevented in this parable is when the seed doesn’t penetrate because of inability to understand. This is solved through listening to good teachers and personal study.
The second way life is hindered is by shallowness. This is solved by counting the cost and preparing for persecution and suffering.
The third problem comes from the deceitfulness of wealth, the worries of life, and the desire for other things choking the Word out of our hearts. We must fight against love of money and take great care not to sacrifice the important on the altar of the urgent.
What are some examples of the character of God that we can receive through his Word? See John 5:24; 1 Peter 1:22-2:2; Psalm 19:7-8, 199:28,92,165.
1 Pe.1 – Imperishable life
Ps.19 – Wisdom, joy, and light
Ps.119 – Strength and peace
How can we participate more in God’s nature? See 2 Peter 1:4.
By trusting God’s great and precious promises.
What would you say to someone who argued, “My honesty, integrity, love, patience, etc. was not given to me. I worked hard to develop those virtues”? See Mark 10:18 and 1 Corinthians 4:7.
A gift is a gift even if you have to put forth some effort to receive it. And even the ability you have to put forth that effort is from God. If you learned patience by enduring suffering, your ability to endure and your ability to learn from it is a gift from God. If you learned about integrity from rigorous study, your ability to read and comprehend is a gift from God. What do you have that isn’t ultimately a gift from God? Nothing. And since only God is essentially good, then all good things must derive from him.
|“Arguments are most effective when they agree with appetites. Adam wants to taste the banquet, and a man hungry for the Ruler’s food is hard to deceive. But a man who is craving fruit will open his heart to almost any argument that coincides with his desires. Capture a man’s appetite, Lieutenants, and the rest of him comes easy.” -p.121|
We might expect 2 Thessalonians 2:10 to say people perish because they refuse to believe the truth. Instead, it’s because “they refused to love the truth.” What are the implications for the Christian life?
The implications are massive. Most of the time we measure how well we are doing in the Christian life by what we do. How different would our assessment be if we looked back on the previous day and measured it by what we loved and didn’t love?
Many of the things we do wrong are merely the results of loving the wrong things in the period leading up to that action. And many of our biggest struggles arise from our failure to love what God loves.
Can you think of a time when you were deceived because of a strong desire in your heart?
I’m sure there are doctrines I believed because I felt pressure to accept them, though I can’t think of any examples right now. I can think of times when I thought a theological position was absolutely ridiculous, but then when someone I love adopted that position, I became much more open to it. Suddenly the arguments hit me as more tenable. I may not have been deceived, but it did show me that when there is a strong desire for something to be true or false, that desire affects the way the brain processes the evidence.
|“Anzu spit his words through clenched teeth. ‘Adam has not been empowered and has no idea how to use the weapon he holds. A single blow from me and he will drop it and never take it up again.” -p.120|
What kinds of things does the Holy Spirit empower believers to do? See Romans 8:13; Galatians 5:22-23; 1 Corinthians 2:14-15; Philippians 3:3.
Ro.8 – To live (spiritually)
Gal.5 – to grow in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control
1 Cor.2 – To understand and accept the things of God and to make spiritual judgments
Php.3 – To offer God acceptable worship
All believers have received empowerment from the Holy Spirit. Empowerment to do what? 1 Corinthians 12:13; Romans 8:9-11; 15:13; 2 Timothy 1:14; Ephesians 3:16-17.
1 Cor.12 – To be a part of the body of Christ
Ro.8 – To resist the impulses of the flesh
Ro.15 – To overflow with joy
2 Tim.1 – To guard the good deposit (the teaching we have received), holding fast to it in our hearts
Eph.3 – To have the strength needed to have Christ dwell in our hearts through faith
Can you think of an example from Scripture or from your own life when doubting or forgetting a principle from Scripture resulted in sin or failure?
Mostly for me it’s been times when the Bible gives strong warnings about staying far from temptation, and I didn’t believe the danger was as dire as Scripture made it sound. I didn’t feel like I was vulnerable, I didn’t take sufficient precaution, and ended up falling into sin.