THE NATURE OF MAN
In order to understand God’s plan for man, we have to look back to the book of beginnings (Genesis) in the Bible. We see that in God’s original plan, he created all of the universe, stars, planets and things, then created the earth. He created the land and sea, and all of the living creatures that live here: the fish and the birds and the beasts, and the flowers and the trees. We were given dominion over the the earth. Not individually, but as a race.
We were given stewardship over the animals, and commanded by God to rule over them with the law of kindness. That’s why cruelty to animals is so wrong, they generally know their place, to serve and please us. Hence deforestation of rainforests and extinction of species is wrong.
(Gen 1:26 NIV) Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
Notice here that Adam had a job to do, BEFORE the fall of humanity. Work is not evil, but slavery is….
So let’s look at God’s creative order for a moment. We see God created everything, then created man as the crowning centerpiece of all his work. Literally, we are in His image or likeness.
Let’s look at Psalm 8:4-6, in the King James:
- What is man that thou art mindful of him? And the son of man, that thou visitest him?
- For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour.
- Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands: thou hast put all things under his feet:
Notice if you will, the word ‘angels’ used here. When we look that word up in the Strongs condcordance, we discover something interesting here. The Hebrew word used here is “elohiym”, which means Deity or God. It is a plural word, that scholars say refers to the Trinity.
Is the Bible inaccurate? No, but the translators were. They couldn’t believe what this verse actually said, because the truth of it has far ranging implications. It’s nice to think of a holy God, far distant from us, His creation. Yet, to think of man as having authority, subject only to God Himself, requires us to address the issue of responsibility. Mankind is fully responsible for the mess this planet is in, and we are fully accountable to God, for our part in it.
In God’s creative order, this is strong. It was supposed to be God, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost upon the throne of power, with men acting as his representatives here in the earth, using His delegated power to get things done. The birds, the bees, the flowers, and the trees were all meant to obey us, and we were to rule this planet according to the laws of God. Angels were created to serve us and help us in this duty for it is written:
(Heb 1:14 NIV) Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?
In the beginning we were given a beautiful place to live, and a job to do.
(Gen 2:8 NIV) Now the LORD God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed.
(Gen 2:15 NIV) The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.
I like the way this verse in reads in the King James Version:
(Gen 2:15 KJV) And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden to dress it and to keep it.
“Dress it” agrees with the NIV, it meant God gave Adam a job as a farmer and horticulturist. So we see God created meaningful work, it’s not a result of the fall of man. On my Sunday sermon’s I’ve explained how God views work. He wants you growing and blessed with meaningful work.
Yet, the word, ‘keep’ here is much stronger in the original Hebrew. This word means: “to hedge about, as with thorns, to tend to, to protect.”
Well, if we were supposed to protect this place called paradise, there must have been something to protect it from.
Jesus speaking tells us a little about him.
(Luke 10:18 NIV) He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.
(Luke 10:19 NIV) I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.
(Luke 10:20 NIV) However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
Well, we know the story.
Eve ate of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, being deceived of the devil. Adam knew better, and followed her example, committing high treason against God.
Men, hear me. God has created you to be head of your families and homes. Most of the time you will need to stay humble and listen to your wife, and serve her, for the Bible says that she is supposed to be your glory. However, headship requires responsibility. If
she tries to influence you to something that is contrary to the word of God, you must stand up in gentleness, and strength, and say “No dear, I’m not going to do that, it is against the Word of God, and is not right.” To be successful in marriage, you must care more about what God thinks of you, than even her. She’s not worth going to hell over. The wisdom of the ages is “know when to listen to your wife!”
Well, the moment Adam sinned, he died spiritually, and God had to throw Him out of the Garden of Eden. Why? Because there was another tree there, the tree of eternal life. If man had eaten of that tree in his fallen state, he would have lived forever in his fallen state. God is a good God, kind, loving, and infinitely merciful. The moment Adam fell, God set in motion His plan to restore him back to his rightful place of authority.
Satan won the initial victory. When man fell, this foul rebellious spirit, Lucifer, the fallen one, became the prince of the powers of the air. Now mankind was subject to him, and so we see the effects of his rulership on this war-torn, pain-wracked planet. Jesus shows us his nature:
(John 10:10 NIV) The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
There’s an old saying, “Satan steals, men hoard, but God so loved the world that He gave…Whenever you see somebody giving something with no strings attached, know that you see the nature of God being demonstrated in the earth.”
God is love…
So why is there evil in the earth? Because there is a mad dog loose in the system who influences the minds of men. He is a killer, a thief, a liar, and the father of all lies, the accuser of the brethren. One day he’s going to burn in hell forever, but in this generation we live in, he still exists, and we must overcome his onslaughts in our day to day affairs. Hell was never created for men, but for the devil and all those fallen angels that serve him. Unfortunately, some men choose to serve Satan, and they will get the same reward as the god they serve. Some of the most chilling words in the Bible are these uttered by Jesus:
(Mat 25:41 NIV) “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
Re 21:8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and SORCERERS, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
SORCERERS: 5332 pharmakeus far-mak-yoos’
from pharmakon (a drug, i.e. spell-giving potion); ; n m
AV-sorcerer 1; 1
1) one who prepares or uses magical remedies
In one definition, a sorcerer is:’ one who administers mind altering potions’.
Surely this refers to drug dealers, the medicine men who insist on the use of peyote, the rasta man who needs his ganja (marijuana) to meet with God, but notice in the garden, the fruit of the tree that produced death was the fruit of ‘knowledge of good and evil’. Just because something is legal, and considered good by society, does not always make it right before God. What about the bar tender, pharmacist, doctor, or person that administers ‘mind altering potions’, that clearly destroy human lives.
No not all medicines are bad, clearly God gave us the medicinal use of plants for the good of humanity, but when one tries to medicate a spiritual need….
You see, because of Adam, every one of us was born into this world of pain, and at some point in our life, we chose to rebel against God. The Bible calls this act, sin.
(Rom 3:23 NIV) for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
All of us were separated from God, because He is holy, and can stand no evil in His presence. In order to be just, He has to punish sin.
The law, you do the crime, you do the time.
When you work at a job, they should pay you a worthy wage. Sin also pays a wage. Its payment is death. For every sin you and I ever committed, a price had to be paid. Some one had to take the rap, do the time.
Yet the gospel is good news. God is a good God. God has reached out to humanity, to draw us again unto Himself. Into our rightful position as joint-heirs to all the universe.
(Rom 6:23 NIV) For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(John 3:16 NIV) “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Jesus came, He lived upon this earth to show us how to serve God, He died upon the cross to pay the punishment each of us deserve, He went into the lowest hell in our place, He rose again on the third day, He ascended to the right hand of God our Father where He reigns as King of all kings, Lord of all lords, forevermore.
That’s mercy. That’s love. That’s the goodness of God, that leads us to turn from doing our own thing, to trying to do His thing.
He is King of kings (You are created, and called to be a king)
He is Lord of all lords, (You are called to be a lord before Him)
Rev 1:5 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,
- And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen
Rev 5:9 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;
10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.
John 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
When you receive Jesus, you are adopted into His family, and literally become royalty, before His throne!
1Pe 2:5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.
1Pe 2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:
That’s the gospel. Good news to all who will receive it.
THE NATURE OF ADDICTION
GOD’S CREATIVE ORDER
Like my little picture? Let me explain.
On the left-hand side we see how God designed this world to be, with us ruling and reigning as regents under Him. Angels were instructed to obey and help us, as was Creation. The devil, stripped of his power, was meant to be ruled over, and kept away from our work, the garden.
Yet, our great, great, great… grandfather Adam, sold us out. Committing high treason against God.
(Don’t be too hard on Adam, you’ve blown it too!)
By default, the devil became the ruling spirit in the earth. That’s the picture on the right.
But, praise God, there was a second Adam. Jesus Christ the righteous.
(1 Cor 15:45 NIV) So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being” ; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit
When you invited Jesus in your heart, God Himself came into you heart, and recreated your human spirit. You were born-again, and adopted into the family of God.
Notice that Jesus did not come to make bad people good, or good people better, rather He came to make dead people alive!
Before, the devil ruled over you at will. How? All he had to do was put an evil thought in your head, and you’d do it, unless somewhere, some praying saint invoked the power of God on your behalf.
Glory to God though! You accepted Jesus!
He has saved you from yourself. You have left the kingdom of darkness where Satan reigns, and have been translated into the kingdom of God.
(Col 1:13 NIV) For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves,
You’re a king’s kid now. Victory has been imparted into your very spirit.
So what does this have to do with addictions you may ask?
Notice this. Satan hates you, and wants to kill you. Although Jesus defeated him at Calvary, he used to rule over you, and he wants to destroy you. It’s not personal. You are created in the image of the God who he knows is going to throw him into hell. His sentence has been issued, but not executed yet, and you represent the One who is going to carry it out.
So, how does he do it?
Well, (Psa 24:1 NIV) The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it;
God is a good God, who gives good gifts.
(1 Tim 6:17 NIV) Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.
(James 1:17 NIV) Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
So, we look at a beautiful flower, say a poppy. The devil inspires a thought to someone, to slit the side of that flower, drain the juice, dry it and smoke it. You get opium, but hear this: the moment you smoke that thing, you reach for comfort from the Creation rather than the Creator who has already provided for us the comfort of the person of the Holy Spirit. What happens? Instead of obeying God, we listen to that little voice, and we bow before the one we serve.
(Rom 6:16 NIV) Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey–whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?
Do you see it? When you obey Satan, and seek comfort in the creation instead of the Creator, and you violate God’s creative order. Instead of a man ruling over a plant, you have a plant ruling over a man, and the man bows his knee to Satan as god of this world.
You can quickly see how every addiction comes from this same deception. You take some hops and malt grain, let it ferment, and get beer. You drink it to relax (receive comfort), and come under the influence of a plant. You’ve got a plant ruling over a man, instead of man ruling over a plant. Distill it down a little more, you get malt whiskey. You drink it, you’ve got a plant ruling over a man, instead of man ruling over a plant.
Ok, you get it.
See it in any recreational pharmaceutical, and drug on the street, marijuana, hash, tobacco, even coffee if it owns you.
We all have a legitimate need for comfort! Yet, when we reach for comfort from the creation instead of the Creator, we open the door for the god of this world to rule over us…
(Gen 4:7 NIV) If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.”
Sin is deceptive. It always costs more than you were willing to pay, and takes you further than you were willing to go!
Get OVER IT!
Positionally, you have been given authority over every demon, for it is written: Eph 2:6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
The problem of every addiction is NOT a power encounter, as the devil would make you think (You can’t quit, no matter how hard you try!), because all power and authority belongs to Jesus, and you now belong to him. No, the problem of addiction is deception, it is not a power encounter that is required, rather a truth encounter, for it is written: John 8:32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
By permission, I am going to give you two testimonies of people that heard this teaching, and were set free from their addictions.
Steve Travers was the local drug lord in the community where I pastored in Ottawa, Ontario. Steve was the typical party animal, and as a former Olympic level boxer, was known to beat people up to collect drug debts. His drug of choice was crack cocaine…I learned that he was living with the mother of three children that attended our Sunday school, so I decided to pay him a visit and invite him to church. I drove the church van home one day, and while dropping off the children I knocked on his door, and asked if I could buy him lunch the next day. He was very polite, and smooth ( I learned later that as he closed the door on me that day, he was heard to say: ‘That ain’t ever going to happen’). Guess God must of heard him, and arranged a different way to get Steve’s attention. Next morning a SWAT team showed up to arrest Steve, that resulted in a two day armed stand-off. Seems my phone blew up during those two days, as multiple members of the neighborhood called repeatedly requesting prayer. Miraculously, no one was shot!
Since Steve had a long track record of drug related crimes and violence the arresting officers were not exactly gentle with him. Guess they delayed transferring him from the police holding cell to Innes road detention center, to allow him time on a concrete floor to get cleaned up a little bit…I visited him at Innes road a week and half later, and opened the conversation by saying: ‘Hi Steve, you missed lunch!’ He laughed, and so did I, and we became friends in an instant.
I told him that I was writing a 26 lesson Bible study on how to get free from addictions, and was going to run an alcohol/drug rehab in the community where he had been arrested. He agreed they really needed it. I asked him if he was willing to take the lessons inside the prison, and he agreed. So, each week, I would reserve a private counseling room (reserved for attorneys and clergy), and we would spend our hour prayerfully reading through this material. When we read through this teaching, the lights came on in Steve, and he decided to leave alcohol, drugs, and cigarettes behind, and he did it! Steve ended up serving 4 years for a number of crimes, yet he walked his time out, clean. He was selected by the inmates and guards as the prison mediator, and was respected by both inmates and guards alike, because he was a straight shooter, no games. He eventually was selected for release in a job placement with the city of Montreal, Quebec. Steve married, and came to see me in Ottawa, staying the weekend at our house, so that he could attend church with us, and give his testimony….
There was another man that attended our church named Murray. We ran a Christian coffee house, and he would cook for us, and we all ate well. He had been through a brutal divorce, and lost everything. He was a very gentle man, with a wonderful sense of humor, and the teens affectionately nick named him ‘Mr Murr’. Problem was, Murray had smoked for over 30 years, and could not quit. He attended the class where this material was taught, and he came to me and said that despite the teaching, he could not quit smoking.
So I told him the truth. Well, Murray, I couldn’t save myself either. In fact the Bible says that apart from Jesus we can do nothing (John 3:27). The good news is that Jesus paid the price to set you free from cigarettes, and He is not a man that He can lie. He is holy, and ever watches over His Word to perform it. So here is what I want you to do:
Remember that verse Col 1:13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son?
I want you to keep smoking, but I want you to do one thing as you smoke. You see, the Bible says that there is pleasure in sin for a season. Problem is, those seasons end, and all you are left with is a cigarette addiction. Now, smoking will not send you to hell, it will just make you smell like you have already been there.
Each morning, as you light up your first smoke of the day, look at it and SAY: ‘You are no longer my Lord cigarette, Jesus, you have delivered me from the power of this smoke, and until you manifest your promise in my life, I’m going to enjoy my smoke.’
Laugh at it some, because it is good to be childlike before God…
Every time you have a smoke. Light it up, and again explain to it that it is not your Lord, that Jesus is your Lord, and He has already translated you out of the power of that addiction.
Well, Mr. Murr, thought this was pretty funny, but he decided to try it. Imagine a 50 year old man, talking to his cigarette each morning, noon and night! Yet, HE DID IT!
One morning, he forgot his smokes beside his night table in his bedroom, so he decided to put on a pot of coffee before having that first smoke. Seems the coffee was brewed before he thought about it again, so he decided to drink a cuppa, before grabbing his smokes to head out the door to work.
Then, it was time to go, and he realized that he forgot his cigarettes! “Oh, well” he thought, “I’ll pick up another pack at work.”
Yet, he wasn’t feeling his traditional ‘nic-fit’, so he decided to wait until lunch to have one. He has never smoked since…
Some people are waiting for this great spectacular lightening bolt to hit them and deliver them from their addiction.
Don’t miss the supernatural, waiting for the spectacular!
Murray felt nothing, as the Lord delivered him!
In my case, I went through AA and got to steps 4,5, and 6, asking God to forgive me, and I forgave others. Wrote out a 23 page list of things I had done wrong, and then wrongs done to me, and I worked through it, One night, I cried out to Jesus, and it literally felt like 10,000 volts shot through my body, and in an instant, the Lord delivered me from alcohol, cigarettes, and my bag of weed. Unforgiveness will hinder the power of God from operating…
- Can you see how we all look for comfort in the creation instead of the Creator?
- Can you see how we are supposed to receive comfort from God, not people, places and things?
- Can you see how you have used drugs or alcohol because you were lonely or wanted to relax?
- Where have you missed it?
1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Mr 11:25 And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.
Mr 11:26 But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.
- Invite Jesus into your heart, and receive Him as your Lord and King.
- Make a list of all the horrible things you have done against Him, and others and ask His forgiveness.
- Make a list of all the horrible things that have been done to you, and deliberately forgive the people who did them.
- Declare, like Mr. Murr that you have been delivered from the power of every addiction, and tell your substance of choice that it no longer rules your life, that Jesus has set you free.
- Keep telling your substance that it is no longer Lord, that Jesus is your Lord, and it cannot continue to own you. Thank Him for setting you free.
Jesus, I receive you as my Lord and King! God here’s where I see I have been missing it and messing up my life. Please forgive me, and help me to live right. Only you can fix the mess I’ve made in hurting others and in letting you down. Now, I choose to believe Your Word Father, that I am translated out of the kingdom where my addiction has reigned, into the kingdom of Your love, where Jesus reigns. No longer is my addiction my lord, but Jesus reigns over it! In your name I pray Lord Jesus. Amen.