Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Sunday’s Sermon Outline

Introduction: The number “3” is an important number in the Bible. The one God is revealed as three persons. The temple and tabernacle had three basic parts: the outside court, the inside Holy Place, and the innermost Holy of Holies. In Genesis 1:26, what did God mean when He said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness” (NASB)? We know that we are not divine. We are the creature, not the Creator. The number “3,” however, is significant for us. I am a trichotomist, not a dichotomist, and I thus believe that each of us has three parts, not two. In 1 Corinthians 3:16, Paul asked, “Do you not know that you are a temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” I believe that an analogy can be drawn between the temple/tabernacle and the human being. The outside court, like the human body, could be seen by anyone. The inside Holy Place, like the human soul, could be seen by a few people. The innermost Holy of Holies, like the human spirit, could only be seen by one man/Man. In 1 Thessalonians 5:23, Paul used the Greek optative mood to express his wish, “May your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Deuteronomy 6:5 also affirms three parts: the heart (spirit), the soul, and might (body). Let’s examine each of the three parts:

1. The Human Spirit – Both the Hebrew word “ruah” and the Greek word “pnooma” can mean breath, wind, or spirit/Spirit. We get our English words “pneumonia” and “pneumatic” from the Greek word. The Holy Spirit dwells in the Christian's human spirit. Ephesians 4:30 says, “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” The word “sealed” here does not refer to a seal that holds things together to prevent leakage; rather, it refers to a seal that is stamped on something as a sign of approval like the “Good Housekeeping” seal of approval or the seal on a signet ring. We can grieve the Spirit Who dwells in us. The spirit is an invisible part of us, and the conscience is part of the human spirit. Notice what Romans 2:15 says about the conscience: “They know the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness, and their thoughts alternatively accusing or else defending them.” The conscience can accuse or defend. It needs to be enlightened by the word of God. Some new Christians feel guilty about things about which they should not feel guilty, and the Bible says that they have weak consciences. The consciences of non-Christians can become seared and corrupted.

2. The Human Soul – From the Greek word “psuche” we get our words “psyche” and “psychology.” Freud is considered to be the father of psychology. He had a Jewish background and believed that human beings have three parts: the id (bodily impulses), the superego (high moral impulses), and the ego (the mediator between the often conflicting bodily impulses and high moral impulses). Perhaps Freud was influenced by Deuteronomy 6:5, a verse which affirms three parts. The soul is at the intersection between our visible (body) and invisible (spirit) parts. We can make both freewill and non-freewill decisions. When we make freewill decisions, the soul will be influenced by both physical impulses and spiritual impulses. Hebrews 4:12 states, “The word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and pierces as far as the division of soul and spirit.” The word of God is used like a scalpel to deal with sin and to help the soul separate spiritual impulses from physical impulses.

3. The Human Body – From the Greek word “soma” we get our word “somatic.” Paul in Romans 12:1 urged Christians to “present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.” Remember that the place of sacrifice in temple/tabernacle worship was the altar in the outside court. We should be willing to sacrifice our bodies for God anywhere and anytime. Our bodies should be kept holy. We should be good stewards of our bodies by being careful about our diets and exercise regimens.

Conclusion: At the time of conversion, the Holy Spirit will move into the human spirit and begin to change the soul and body in the process of sanctification (spiritual growth). We should desire to grow spiritually as much as we can in our lifetimes.