Don’t let words bug you
It’s tough to have a sermon series with the word “Recovery” in it. That word conjures up images of dark alleys and seedy people living out of control; people unable to cope; whose lives are dominated by drugs or alcohol. Well, just take a step back. I’ve got news for you, we are all addicts.
- All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all – Isaiah 53:6
Each day our mind, will and emotions encounter the question of what we are doing in contrast to what we ought to be doing. We give in. We enjoy the passing pleasures of unrighteousness. We seek to satisfy our whims and yearnings for indulgence. We all got stuff. We got things that nag and even dominate us. Hurt feelings from being wounded by others, substance abuse, abuse of power or authority – being trapped by a destructive habit. We try to shake it – we want to do better. We want to walk the Jesus path, however:
- But I see a different law in the members of my body waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. – Romans 7:21-23
But I see a “different law” in the members of my body; a different law. A law is something to be obeyed; but is this different law there to establish peace? No, it is not! It wages war against the law of my mind – do you see those words? Waging war? And what happens when your defensive position gets overrun by the enemy? I’ll tell you what, you get taken prisoner. We all suffer from the effects of this war; we have all been taken prisoner and we cannot escape on our own. Let’s join together then and climb up to Bible Ground to find answers to those things which have us trapped.
Going it alone
What happens when you try to deal with these “presumptuous sins” (Psalms 19:13). I can tell you from personal experience, things don’t work out all that well. Here are only seven negative outcomes from trying to get it done alone; I’m certain you could add more to this list.
- No progress with abstention
- Living in bitterness at wrongs suffered
- Conscious of moral impairment
- Hounded by craving
- Emotionally mangled
- Persistent self-loathing
- Deteriorating relationship with God
For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate – Romans 7:15
So where is the starter’s line? You want to run this race – you want to get these destructive habits, immoral deeds, and selfish indulgences out of your life. But you need to be pointed to the place where Recovery can begin. I am convinced you can get real traction once you understand (not just head knowledge) but understand the Four Realms of Existence; the workings, doing and limitations within the four domains or operational spheres of all life.
The Four Realms
Nothing really fancy here. The Bible is very explicit in its descriptions about four places or domains of everything – that’s right, everything. (One quick remark – if there is more than these four, the Most High God has not revealed them to us in His Word.) The four are the three heavens and the earth. There are four characteristics, or truths about the four:
- Each have a strict authority structure and a well defined level of influence
- Each are populated with differing orders of sentient beings
- Three were made from nothing
- All are subject to the complete control and sovereignty of the Most High God, the Creator of all things
There are multiple heavens – three to be exact.
- To the Lord your God belong the heavens, even the highest heavens, the earth and everything in it – Deuteronomy 10:14
- I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know – God knows – 2 Corinthians 12:2
The Third Heaven
The third and highest heaven is the domain of the Most High God. It’s certainly tough to rap our crainiums around the idea that He occupies a “place”. When David was gathering materials to construct the Temple he remarked – “Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain You, how much less this house which I have built!” (1 Kings 8:27). But though we lack a true vision, the Word uses terms we can understand. If Jesus is “sitting at the right hand of God” – that something we can picture. So there is a “place” where He resides, or dwells:
- He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light – 2 Corinthians 12:2
The Second Heaven – Domain of what is Unseen
There are all manner of unseen and created beings. Seraphim – (Burning Ones), Cherubim – (with Four Faces) Archangels, Angels, etc. Hebrew writings speak of angels of the Presence, angels of sanctification, angels of the spirit (ruach) of fire, angels of the ruach of the winds, angles of the clouds, and of darkness, angels of snow, and hail, angels of the voices of thunder and lightening, angels of cold and heat, angels of winter, spring, autumn and summer. Paul adds to this list in Ephesians:
- For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms – Ephesians 6:12
Rulers and Authorities – Principalities – Spiritual Forces of Evil. And there is another collective name the “Sons of God”.
The First Heaven – Domain of what is Seen
The first heaven holds the birds, the weather, the Sun, Moon and Sky; the Solar System – The Universe. These are things that we can observe with our physical eyes.
The Last Realm – Earth
The three heavens and the earth comprise the four realms of existence.
- In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth – Genesis 1:1
- You alone are the Lord. You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You give life to everything, and the multitudes of heaven worship you – Nehemiah 96
- Notice the multiple heavens – within which are a “starry host” and “multitudes” The earth is cited separately.
Now you might ask what does all this have to do with recovery; with getting traction over the crud in your life? Well actually is has EVERYTHING to do with it… Because we learn that fully a third of those unseen creatures of a different created order turned evil.
- And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon…and his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth – Revelation 12:3-4
This means that a third of this multitude of unseen, powerful and non-human critters are filled with a malignant resolve toward the Most High God and toward you and I. The Lord reveals the implications of this truth in the Law:
- You shall have no other gods (elohiym) before me – Deuteronomy 5:7
You see, the great truth is that when we perform those deads about which we need healing and recovery – the implications goes beyond the physical act. What actually happens is that we place ourselves at the mercy of these evil elohiym – small “g” gods. The word means rulers, – divine ones – angels. This word appears more than 2200 times in the OT. 2200 warnings against them. 2200 reminders that we serve and obey them when we perform our indulgences. Because you and I are not only attracted to our sin – but ultimately to the force behind the sin. The power of sin is death and the evil elohiym. To obey our inclinations is to turn to these evil elohiym and to serve them, to worship them – or in Bible language to sacrifice to them and make an idol of them.
- Take heed to yourselves, that your heart be not deceived, and ye turn aside, and serve other elohiym, and worship them – Deuteronomy 11:16
- Do not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God – Exodus 34:14
- YAHUAH made a covenant with the Israelites, He commanded them: ye shall not fear other elohiym, nor bow down to them, nor serve them nor sacrifice to them – 2 Kings 17:35
- For all the elohiym of the nations are idols, but the Lord made the heavens – Psalms 96:5
You see, God’s primary focus is not the act itself – but that we are unwittingly worshiping the elohiym behind the act. It’s about the other elohiym taking the place of God in our lives. He hates when they take His place. – when creatures of the unseen world pretend to be God. – pretend to satisfy us, to meet our needs, to love us. Do you think idol worship is only an Old Testament concept? Guess again:
- Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry – 1 Corinthians 10:14
- Little children, keep yourselves from idols – 1 John 5:21
- Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry – Colossians 3:5
We think of our downfalls in terms of bodily issues – but behind them are larger spiritual issues. When we engage in unrighteousness we engage with the evil elohiym. Now BG is to not worry over the evil ones. Paul writes :” I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil – Romans 16:12″ But there are some characteristics we must face if we are going to get traction over our presumptuous sins.
- The elohiym are powerful and unseen
- The elohiym are all about deception
- The elohiym empower our devotion
- The elohiym only pretend to meet needs
- The elohiym use us to oppose El-Elyon
The name most associated with the fallen angel is “satan” . As a noun that name means “accuser” or “adversary” In verb form is means “to obstruct” or ‘”to oppose” . Let’s not forget. Those evil elohiym do not care a wit for you. They are only using you to make the Most High God look bad. They hate the Creator of the Universe and seek to lure you into carnality in order to quench your giftedness – to stop you from becoming light and salt to the desolation of hopeless so rampant in our world.
This is the beginning of Recovery. Recognize you serve, honor, and idolize evil elohiym when you seek out your hedonistic pleasure. Keep in mind that you are doing this at the behest and assistance of unseen, malignant forces who wish to trap you and make you an object of embarrassment to the Savior Jesus – who died a horrible death for your foolish, blind, and selfish occupations. Call out to God. the beginning of all healing is to UNDERSTAND who it is you serve and idolize when you turn off the Jesus Path.