The Principle Of Life (Part 2): Sermon Series By Bishop Gobanga
“And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.”1 John 5:20 NKJV
“And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”John 17:3 NKJV
“And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.
These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.”1 John 5:11-13 KJV
As a believer in Christ Jesus, we should live in consonance with the principle of the Tree of Life. That is, we should depend on God.
When God created Adam, he was a very mature person. He was wonderfully designed and he was perfectly formed in so far as his physical stature is concerned. However, Adam’s mind was devoid of knowledge. He was complete as far as everything else was concerned, except that he was devoid of knowledge. Adam’s mind was in a blank state.
We know that God knows everything, but Adam knew nothing about God or about the universe above him at the time that he was created. Adam did not even know about the spectacular ecosystem in which he was existing and yet he was created to be part of it. It therefore became incumbent upon the Divine to be able to impart a knowledge that transcended all other kind of knowledge. A knowledge which had to be the first instruction that God had to put in the mind of Adam.
“And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, ‘Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.’”Genesis 2:15-17 KJV
The knowledge of the two trees was the first teaching that God gave to Adam. Adam used to fellowship with God in the cool of the day. But in the context of fellowship, it became necessary for God to bring Adam to the place whereby he was able to receive a prophetic instruction.
So the knowledge of these two trees, the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was the very first piece of information that Adam needed to receive immediately after he was created. This is because God wanted the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil to be the very foundation of Adam and the existence of Eve and the world in which they would build.
The two trees carry a mystery. There is a certain unique mystery to the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, to the point whereby even to Adam and Eve in their pristine state, these trees became a mystery despite the fact that God was directly teaching them the subject of the two trees.
Even today, the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil are quite hazy to a lot of people. In fact, the entire teaching of the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil has become a forgotten figment in the imagination of mankind. Yet, it is important to realise that as much as mankind may reject the whole notion of the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, it does not in any way make the truth any less.
The mystery of the trees remains at the heart and at the core of the Bible. When you read the Bible with prophetic insight from Genesis to Revelation, you’ll discover that the mystery of the two trees is at the very bedrock of it all. The mystery of these two trees is the foundation knowledge explaining human civilisation.
The Tree of Life refers to the Book of Remembrance where all our members are written.
“Then those who feared the Lord spoke to one another and the Lord listened and heard them;
So a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the Lord and who meditate on His name.
“They shall be Mine,” says the Lord of hosts, “On the day that I make them My jewels. And I will spare them as a man spares his own son who serves him.” Then you shall again discern between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve Him.”Malachi 3:16-18 NKJV
Loyalty unto God does not go unnoticed. Serving God is not a thankless job. Serving God is not in vain. Serving God can never go without a reward.
““He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me. He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward. And he who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward. And whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward.””Matthew 10:40-42 NKJV
“For whoever gives you a cup of water to drink in My name, because you belong to Christ, assuredly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.”Mark 9:41 NKJV
“Rejoice in that day and leap for joy! For indeed your reward is great in heaven, for in like manner their fathers did to the prophets.”Luke 6:23 NKJV
““And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work.”Revelation 22:12 NKJV
Jesus speaks of storing up a treasure in Heaven. This is much more than making deposits as if in a bank account.
Whatsoever is done on earth is forever recorded in Heaven. Anything that you do in this life will be recorded in Heaven and it’ll be there forever. It’ll stand before God and before His angelic host as a memorial unto Him. That is why, them that are wicked let them continue to be wicked and them that are righteous should continue to be righteous. At the end of the day, we shall stand before the judgement seat of Christ where we’ll be judged according to what we did as believers and for those who are not believers will come before the great white throne judgement.
“Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.”2 Corinthians 5:9-10 NKJV
“And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.
And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”Revelation 20:11-15 NKJV
The Book of Remembrance is a concept that God uses to encourage the faithful people that their love and service unto Him is something that God appreciates. Experiencing God’s rewards is not only meant for after one is dead but there is a certain level of glory that God wants you to walk into while you are still alive. This is so that God may use your life as a testimony, that He may display you before the principalities and the powers of the unseen realm that indeed He is God and besides Him there is no any other.
The Tree of Life with its central placement within the Garden of Eden was supposed to serve as a symbol to Adam and Eve of their life in fellowship with God and their total dependence on Him. Adam and Eve were much more than biological beings. They were spiritual beings who would discover their deepest fulfillment in their fellowship with the Divine. You cannot be a spiritual being yet you miss out on fellowship.
The fullness of life in its physical and spiritual dimensions can only be maintained through obedience to God’s commands.
When God created man in His image and after His likeness, it was so that man could have fellowship and communion with Him. In order for the relationship, fellowship and communion to be able to be sustained, there was a need for certain regulations and mechanisms.
There was need for a structure to be in place that would ensure that the relationship, fellowship, and communion was maintained. This is where you find God issuing the first prophetic instruction to Adam.
In the eyes of God, the greatest sin that you can ever commit is independence. Where you decide that you want to do things for God or in God’s name but you are without God’s living presence.
Declaring your independence from God amounts to you declaring your total autonomy from God.
God wants believers to come to the place where we understand our need to abide in Him, to depend on Him, to live invariably in direct contact with God. Without God you can never be able to survive because the principle of the tree of life is the principle of life. When you live by the principle of the tree of life, you are living by the principle of life. The principle of life is living in total dependence on God.
When you have sheer spiritual knowledge without living in contact with God, you are basically living according to the principle of the tree of the knowledge. When you decide that your life is going to be governed by mere head knowledge about the things of the spirit, about what God says in His word without the living presence of Christ in you, you are basically operating on the principle of the tree of knowledge.
The Tree of Knowledge is a twisted illusion in the form of memory. It is perverted and downgraded. This is because the meaning of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil is man acting apart from God. Man coming to the place where he believes that he can exist without God.
The principle of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil is that it makes mankind try to pursue goodness according to his self will. You allow self to govern and modulate all your decisions and all your aspirations. Where you operate hastily and with a lot of impatience, seeking after the knowledge that God has not granted you.
There is knowledge that God has not granted mankind, and there is knowledge that He has granted.
“The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.”Deuteronomy 29:29 NKJV
Whatsoever is secret is knowledge that God has not permitted unto us. Until He decides to give/allow us access, it remains His. When you try to access that kind of knowledge, you’ll end up destroying yourself.
The principle of the Tree of Knowledge is when man decides to pursue progress by his own means rather than pursuing or trusting in God.
The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil basically represents the Law of Moses metaphorically. It is a denotation of legalism whereby emphasis is adherence to humanly imposed laws that you are trying to implement hoping that you’ll become righteous. God did not ordain that man live in a structure that he has cogitated. He created man in His Image and after His Likeness so that we may live out of every word that proceeds out of His mouth and have a relationship with Him, so that the essence of our existence is relationship and not systems.
The Church, for example, is a living organism. It is supposed to be a spiritual entity and not a corporate institution. The moment we adopt ideas from the secular world and bring them into the Body of Christ, no matter how good they are, we are out of order and end up introducing confusion where there shouldn’t be. For example, appointing people to positions of leadership in the Church simply because they are lauded in the world, yet have no heart for God or for ministry. God doesn’t judge people according to their outward appearance or the opinions of fellow man.
The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil is basically religion. Religion is humanity’s frivolous exertion to be able to revert to the latency of God in restitution for the loss of the Kingdom.
Religion is man’s egoistic search for God; looking to recover a position that he lost in the Kingdom amiss and in vain. This is looking to restore yourself to your place of relevance in God without God.
Eternal life in not just life that you receive when you get saved. It is something that we must depend on and exercise ourselves to constantly live by. Eternity is the sanctorum of God’s abiding and consummate presence.
Eternal life is a life that beams forth/radiates from the sanctorum of God’s abiding and consummate presence that is vested within the multifarious confluence of His attributes. This is true life.
Eternal life brings you to a place of equilibrium.
True life means deriving your existence from the perfected living presence of the Divine and not from your circumstances. Where you know very well that the very presence that sustains you is within the multidimensional convergence of the attributes of God that are balancing. God knows how to balance Himself within the confluence of His attributes. For example, God is a God of love and a God of judgment. None of His attributes is conflict with the other within His nature. God is not conflicted within Himself.
Eternity is the place where the presence of God abides in an unchanging manner.
Eternity is the place where the Person of God radiates constantly. He radiates the streams of His purpose through His character.
The purpose of God can never be apprehended without you understanding the character of God.
Just in the same way that you need to eat and drink everyday so as to live, every believer needs to partake of the Lord everyday for them to live. Just the same way you feed on food so that your physical body may be sustained, you also need to partake of the spiritual food of God’s word. You need to be a partaker of the living water of the Spirit of God and His presence so that your spirit man may be nourished each and every day.
For every believer to be at a place where they can become a beneficiary of whatsoever they partake of God, they must be able to rebuff their inherent fanaticism, their natural potency and tenacity that makes them fall short of allowing the Divine life to flow in them and out of them. There is that natural tendency that man has to depend on self rather than on God. Most times it is not the devil who is a hindrance but self.
God does not need us to do many things. He just needs us to allow His life to flow out of us. He wants you to be a partaker of divine life, and at the same time this life must flow out of you and through you in an unhindered way so that the very life may minister to others.
You cannot possess God for yourself. He cannot be caged in a person, a belief system or in a congregation. God is sovereign and He is Spirit.
God is as vast as eternity is. He made sure that He did not give the whole of Himself to any one person or church assembly. He distributed Himself to each and every person, to each and every church, so that if we are to experience the fullness of God, we must learn to submit one to another. It is only in Christ that the fullness of the Godhead dwells.
Christ came so that the Church may become one man and not a divided entity. Through His vicarious death on the Cross, Christ dismantled and destroyed the wall of hostility that existed between the Jew and the Greek and He created out of that the new man, so that the Church comprises of not only Jews and Greeks but each and every member from every kindred. The Church then, is not a group of people, but one man – the corporate man.
Believers must bring themselves to the place where they allow the Cross to work in them. The Cross must be allowed to destroy everything that is natural that causes you to depend on it. The Cross of Jesus Christ must bring you to the place where you deny your natural ability so that whatsoever is not of God is put to death so that the life of Jesus Christ may flow within you and through you. Until you come to this place, you’ll find yourself very rigid, very stingy and you’ll always shun people. But if the Cross works in you, you’ll find it hard to hate anybody and to despise people. It’ll make you have so much compassion.
May God shine on you and expose how much you still do in your natural strength. What you derive out of natural zeal devoid of spiritual enthusiasm. So that you may exercise your spirit to be burning in the Spirit and not in any natural enthusiasm but serving the Lord.
“…not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord…”Romans 12:11 NKJV
It is important to be brought back to God’s original intention of what He desired to do and achieve from the very beginning. God wants to dispense Himself into us as life so that He becomes our life. He wants to become our life supply. God wants to become our everything so that we may express Him corporately.
God’s intention has never changed. He does not change. It is man who changes. Even today, God wants a group of people who are open to Him to receive His life.
God is seeking a people who will grow in His life and not in their life. He wants people who will allow His life to spread in their innermost being so that they may be reconstituted afresh. God wants us to live out this life (His life) so that we may become His corporate expression, because as an individual you cannot be able to fully express Christ to people unless you are joined to a fellow sister or brother.
This is why the Bible commands us to love one another. When we love one another, we’ll have the ability to dismantle every programming that militates against the agenda of God in our lives, especially in our country. This is why the Church of Jesus Christ in Kenya needs to be one.
God wants us as His people to express Him in His image and represent Him with His dominion so that we are able to fulfill whatsoever He desires us to fulfill.
Today, many Christians pay attention to teachings and doctrines and to practices and outward things much more than opening up to God at a personal level. Much more that incorporating with Christ Jesus so that His life in them may grow.
Our destiny as believers is to forever partake of God as the Spirit. We must partake of God as the river of the water of life. We must partake of Jesus Christ as the Tree of Life [another imagery of the Tree of Life that it represents Christ Himself]. So that we may live forever with God and be able to express Him and represent Him corporately in the entire universe.
As a believer, God is calling you to live according to the principle of the Tree of Life. Where you live in total dependence unto Him. Where you allow God to be in touch with you within the stratum of your human spirit. God is telling us that may you never, ever graduate from partaking from God. May you constantly be partaking of Him without graduating.
God wants us to come to the place where even when He gives us plenty, we still depend on Him.
God wants us to come to the place where we understand that the principle of depending on Him is the principle of the Tree of Life, and when you are independent on God, you are operating on the principle of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Because the Tree of Life denotes God Himself as life.
“And out of the ground the Lord God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
Now a river went out of Eden to water the garden, and from there it parted and became four riverheads. The name of the first is Pishon; it is the one which skirts the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold. And the gold of that land is good. Bdellium and the onyx stone are there. The name of the second river is Gihon; it is the one which goes around the whole land of Cush. The name of the third river is Hiddekel; it is the one which goes toward the east of Assyria. The fourth river is the Euphrates.
Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.””Genesis 2:9-17 NKJV
In formal education, one graduates from one level of learning to the next until such a point where at the end of your given course you graduate and are given the mandate to function in the marketplace. At this point, you no longer need/depend your teachers/lecturers because you have the knowledge. This does not apply with God. God gives you the power to depend on Him. He gives you the capacity to be able to operate in Him and with Him in a deeper way.
“…for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’”Acts 17:28 NKJV
God does not give you the power to be puffed up with knowledge whereby you no longer depend on Him. That means that we must keep going to God even as we become much more knowledgeable. We must allow the Spirit of God to lead us into all truth and know what to do with whatsoever God has given to us.
Knowledge makes one independent and opinionated. It makes you feel that you are much more enlightened. It makes you feel that you are even better than them that have taught you. Yet, knowledge in and of itself is not bad. It is good because in the first place it is divine. But it must be founded on the right premise. That’s why God wants us to understand the mystery of the two trees; the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. They must be the premise upon which we build our knowledge and not anything else. That is why the knowledge of the two trees was essentially the first piece of prophetic instruction that God gave to Adam and Eve.
The more we understand the two trees the better we’ll be able to understand and grasp other doctrines. Every biblical doctrine and teaching is founded on the premise of the knowledge of the two trees in the garden.
The knowledge of these two trees will also empower you to be able to apprehend biblical prophecies. It’ll enable you to understand world history as well as current events that are happening even in our human nature. Learning about these two trees will also help you know and understand your heart better.
God wanted the knowledge of these two trees to become the premise of Adam’s education. God wants the two trees to become the basis or the premise of the spiritual education which He is taking us into.
The two trees are a test of our character. God wants to see whether you are going to eat from the Tree of Life, or if you are going to follow Adam and the rest of civilisation to be a partaker of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and eat the fruit thereof, which is death.
This is why we cannot graduate in the school of God. We have to be in this school each and every day, each and every night. We must breath in and breath out that which is of God. When you partake of that which is of God, you are becoming totally dependent on Him.
Unless you eat and drink Christ, unless you become a partaker of the very life that Christ has, you can never have life.
“Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me. This is the bread which came down from heaven—not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever.””John 6:53-58 NKJV
“And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”John 17:3 NKJV
In the natural, if you want to go on living, you must keep on eating and drinking. The same applies to life in the spirit.
The more we grow in the divine life, the more dependent on the Lord as life we become. This is why it is important for us to incline ourselves to our tendency to become more and more of God rather than being independent.
One of the signs of maturity is the amount of divine life that you have within yourself and the spiritual maturity which you have been able to attain. This basically means that you have an increased dependence on God.
Mature Christians are totally dependent on God and the more mature they become, the more dependent on God for everything they become. Even the small things.
“…and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.”Matthew 18:3 NKJV
“You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.”John 5:39-40 NKJV
Knowledge is good. Religion may appear to be good. It is good to worship God and even work for God. But it is very dangerous to work for God, and do things for God, without living in the presence of God. In other words, a place where you do not have a relationship with God.
There are believers who define having Bible knowledge as having a relationship with God. Bible knowledge is not relationship. The living presence of God should be in you. Because, that is the very presence of God that will enable you to operate in divine revelation, knowledge, understanding and wisdom.
The Pharisees at the time of the Lord used to search the Scriptures. There is nothing wrong with searching the Scriptures to determine what is true and what is false. But they were not willing to come to the Lord Himself. They knew the prophecies concerning the Messiah and even the place where He was to be born. But when the time of their visitation came, they were not able to discern it.
It is possible for you to know the Bible and yet miss out on the time of your visitation. May Spirit of God enable you to come to the place whereby you have the living presence of Christ in you to the point where you are able to operate in spiritual discernment. Where you are able to discern times and seasons.
The Pharisees were not willing to acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord so that Jesus may give them life. Depending on the knowledge of the Bible is a sign of independence unless you go to God with what you read so that God may share with you insights for it is the Spirit of God that leads us into all truth. It is not your brain that will lead you into all truth.
The Spirit of God converts that which is written to become the voice of God. It means that the more you are willing to become totally dependent on God, the more you go to Him. Knowledge of the Bible without touching on God is basically living a life of independence from Him. It implies that you’ve got more knowledge than you can morally handle.
The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was an expression of God making Adam and Eve understand that they were not morally capable of handling a certain dimension of knowledge. There was nothing with the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. However, there was an aspect of that tree metaphorically that signifies that there are certain things that Adam and Eve could not handle morally. They had no capability. Just in the same way, there are things that you do not expose young children to.
Adam and Eve could not handle what the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil could express through in and through their lives. This is why it is always important to allow God to help us understand that there are certain things that we cannot handle. The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil refers to the discernment between good and evil or making wise judgement.
Adam and Eve had not come to the place where they were able to operate in high levels of discernment. One of the things they needed to learn was to first obey what God says after receiving the prophetic instruction that God gave to them. Once they had passed that stage, then they could have been able to attain to that measure of being able to operate in high dimensions of discernment. God was training them on how to discern His voice from another voice, but they fell short.
The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil is a tree that is associated with maturity. It is a type of maturity that is required to be in a position of making moral judgements.
Sometimes it is good not to allow yourself to handle things that are way beyond you. If you do not have the maturity to make some decisions in your life the best thing is not to try them.
If you cannot learn basic instruction from your Pastor, how can take instruction from a God that you do not know?
Adam and Eve failed to heed the prophetic instruction that they received from God concerning engaging with the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. They felt that what the serpent told them was much wiser.
God desired that by obeying Him, they would begin the journey to spiritual maturity.
There is a level of spiritual maturity that God is calling us into before He can entrust us with certain things. Until you reach that particular level, if you try to do anything outside whatsoever God requires of you, you’ll miss it.
When you are short of a particular dimension of knowledge, it is equivalent to you being a child.
The knowledge of good and evil did not in any way signify that the tree was a magical tree. There was nothing magical about it.
The temptation was not in any way intended to achieve omniscience. This was simply a discerning activity that Adam was to exemplify and to attain.
The fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was good to be food for Adam along with the rest of the trees if he were to grow in wisdom and maturity that would bring him to the place whereby he’d be able to demonstrate the capacity to discern and judge between good and evil. So until Adam was able to grow in wisdom, that Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was not good for him at that particular moment in time.