30 Days to Understanding the Bible Session 17

Faith Church May 1, 2004

Chapters 29 & 30



Since we have talked about our relationship to God, today we are going to talk about what the author refers to as relating properly to self and others.


Now, right off the bat, I do need to make some clarifying comments about these two chapters.  I do believe that on a whole, these chapters are accurate Biblically.  However, it uses terminology that could lead people to conclusions that are not Biblical.

INPUT:  For example, the tile of chapter 29 is “How to be properly related to self”.  Does anything odd strike you about that title?


(“relating” involves two people, a relationship involves two people, no where Biblically am I told to relate to myself, I don’t even know what that would mean.  This could lead people to conclusions like “I must love myself”, “I must relate two myself in a proper way.  So this is confusing terminology.  I would like better to talk about a “Biblical perspective of self” or a “proper view of self”.  Do you see the difference?  —cf Rom 12:3)


Now, let me set up another example for you in this way. . .

INPUT:  If you were to ask a man off the street, a stranger the following question, “What are mankind’s greatest needs” (to be loved, to have happiness, to have peace, etc.)


The author in this book states that man’s greatest needs are 1. to have meaning and purpose in life and 2. to love and be love


INPUT:  Now if you were to ask that same man on the street, “What happens when we don’t get those needs met?”  what do you think his response would be

(dysfunction, end up being violent, criminal, immoral, child abuser, etc.)


INPUT:  What happens when we emphasis these  needs/ and unmet needs?

(You wind up justifying behavior because of unmet needs and ignoring the real source of the problem. Or you might end up saying that a man can not function properly unless he has these needs met..  Some have even taken this so far as saying you can not love God or neighbor until you have your own needs met first—However, as we will see the “needs” arise from a broken relationship with God which is a result of sin)


I.  Proper View of Self


A.  The Condition of Man

INPUT:  How do the following passages describe the condition of man?  Contrast that with “need” terminology.    Where is the focus—(1) on  “Self” which says “What I need” or on (2) God which focuses on “What I am before a Holy God”  Where should the focus be?

Romans 1:18-31

Eph 2:11-12

Col 1:21-22


INPUT:  Now, what would you describe Biblically as man’s greatest “need”?

(Need to be in right relationship with God.   When I am not, senses or “needs”  of loss of meaning/fulfillment/satisfaction in life, come as warning signs like warning on a car dash board)


INPUT:  In the following passages when did life become “vain” or “meaningless”

2 Kings 17:15

Prov 22:7

Romans 1:21


Why Does it work this way?

Because of the way God designed man. . .


B.  The Purpose and Function of man

Let’s examine four passages and determine the purpose and function of man


Acts 17:24 & ff   24“The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; 25 neither is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all life and breath and all things; 26 and He made from one, every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times, and the boundaries of their habitation, 27 that they should seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; 28 for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we also are His offspring.


Leviticus 18:5   ‘So you shall keep My statutes and My judgments, by which a man may live if he does them; I am the Lord.


Deut 8:3   3 “And He humbled you and let you be hungry, and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord.


Isaiah 43:7  7 Everyone who is called by My name,  And whom I have created for My glory,  Whom I have formed, even whom I have made.”


POINT:  Man was created for God’s glory and was intended to live in complete dependence upon Him


INPUT:  What happens when you use a tool in a way that was never intended?

(Breaks, doesn’t work, etc.  In the same, life without God doesn’t work.  And God designed it that way so when we get senses of emptiness and frustration, etc, those are warning signs to get back to God


Bottom Line:  The Bible nowhere describes the condition of man as one of “needs” unless you define need as the need for God.  When we are in proper relationship to God—All of our “needs” are met. (Matt 6:33).  When we are outside of a  relationship with God we have “needs” because we were not meant to function w/o God


INPUT:  How might you rephrase the paragraph at the bottom of 235 to make it more precise Biblically?

(One example:  God created man to be dependent upon Him in a personal relationship with Him.  When man breaches that relationship by sin, he experiences a loss of meaning and purpose in life and a loss of meaningful relationship with God and others)



II.  Proper Relationship to Others


Now, we won’t spend a lot of time on this one, I hope you will read the final chapter if you have not already.

Pastor Viars, recently covered “Love” in the fruit of the spirit series, so with the time we have left let’s just look briefly at this.

The question is how to be properly related to others in my life—The Answer is Love

(Read pp. 240 through and 241—There is just some great stuff here and ask what stands out to you about the author’s comments)


INPUT:  What are some hindrances to growing in Love  (bring out some of the following as they discuss this question)


A.  Separation from God

The source of love is God.  One must be united to Him through salvation (I Jn 4:7-10)


B.  Adherence to false connotations about Love

INPUT:  What’s wrong with these views. . .

(Love is an excuse for not-disciplining children, Love is an excuse for not upholding convictions or speaking truth, Love is an excuse for not solving interpersonal conflicts, Love is an excuse to get married when real obstacles are not removed, Love is a way to describe lust, Love is a weakness, Love is not masculine))


C. Fear of Risk/hurt/loss

(Love is costly , John 3:16, and it requires commitment and sacrifice, and it may requires change, and it may expose me to pain-- Rom 12:15


D.  Dependence upon self—“I can get along without people”, “I don’t need people”

(We are not meant to be islands to ourselves and it is interesting that we can not grow in love without being involved in people’s lives)

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