UNDER COVER STUDY OUTLINE
SECTIONS 1 & 2 (Chapters 1-4)
1. Introducing Under Cover
Lightning, a pygmy goat given to us just recently, left the "cover" or safety of her fenced area next to our house looking for mother. She heard another goat crying on the other side of the neighbor's house here in the country. There were dogs over there and the goat was not her mother and she found herself confused and trapped behind a fence that separated her from freedom to return "home".
It was dark but when she heard our voices she followed them along the fence to a gate where she was rescued and carried back to safety.
Do we not also make the same error when we get out from under the various forms of "cover" that God provides through His church and other authorities?
Gen. 1: 27-31 God gives His creation over to Man and gives to man authority and responsibility for it. God remains to "cover" man, indeed Adam and Eve walked with God "in the cool of the day" (Gen. 3:8, Amp. Bible)
Gen. 3:7 Immediately after their rebellion by eating of the forbidden fruit Adam & Eve need "cover" because of innocence lost when they lost God's covering.
Lucifer, Adam, and every person falls because of rebellion in our hearts. We want to be the "god" of our own lives. We do not want accountability.
Gen. 4 Cain responds to the request of God for a sacrifice from a heart of rebellion. Able responds with a heart of gratitude.
2 Sam.12 David responds to Nathan's challenge of David's sin with a heart of repentence.
2. It's Hard to Kick Against the Goads
Acts 9:5 A goad is a sharp staff used to cause an ox to obey. Kicking it is just as foolish as kicking at God.
James 1:16 But every person is tempted when he is drawn away, enticed and baited by his own evil desire (lust, passions). Then the evil desire, when it has conceived, gives birth to sin, and sin, when it is fully matured, brings forth death. Do not be misled, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect (free, large, full) gift is from above; it comes down from the Father of all [that gives] light, in [the shining of Whom there can be no variation [rising or setting] or shadow cast by His turning [as in an eclipse]. (Amp. Bible)
Rom. 12:2 Be transformed, turn away from the priorities and temptations of the world whose Prince is Satan. (Adam and Eve decided to trust Satan over God and every day that we rebell in great or small ways we renew that choice.)
Job 36:11-12 Hear and serve, OR, perish without knowledge
The author of Under Cover shares his story of planning a huge network of youth small groups only to have the project canceled by his pastor's change of direction. God showed him how quickly we move from anger to self-righteousness, to rebellion and how to
fail to stop that process can undermine a larger work of God.
Acts 15 We read that James is in charge and Peter, Paul, John humbly submit to the one whom God has annointed at that time and place.
Watchman Nee wrote that we must come to grips with God's "inherent authority" before we are able to submit to His "delegated authority". We cannot be well used of Him if we have not accepted the former as we will instinctively rebel against the latter.
3. Sin Defined
Make a quick list of three major sins. Murder, rape, slavery, child abuse, adultery, stealing, lying are likely on your list.
Adam's sin of rebellion in the Garden would not disqualify him to be a pastor, deacon, or a Bible college professor based on the checklists used for those positions by most organizations. We don't ask about rebellion, we only ask selective questions about a few of the symptoms of our rebellion.
Adam's sin of rebellion in the Garden cost all of mankind our freedom and doomed us all to Hell.
Sin is visibly expressed by anything that is imperfect. "God don't make junk!" My imperfect body and imperfect faith are not representative of God's work but of Satan's.
I bear a distant resemblance to the "in the image of God" pre-Fall Adam and faintly to post-
Fall Adam. The best of "in the image of God" is my capacity for the spiritual in addition to the physical.
1 John 3:4 Sin is lawlessness, substituting self will for God's will. "... He will give you the desires of your heart." (Psalm 37:4) Yes, He will make His perfect desires for you the longing of your heart if you surrender to Him and then He will fulfill those perfect desires. God does not give is the desires of the flesh in rebellion to Him except to teach us through their Ecclesiastes-like emptiness.
Luke 14:24 Heaven parable. God invited Israel but they rejected His Son. He then invites many others yet many made excuses and did not come. None of those invited but who rebelled will be allowed into Heaven.
All manner of sin destroys, not just those we and others list as the "big ones"
The 2006 SBC Convention made alcohol a "big one" baning from SBC leadership anyone who drinks. We all recognize the parallel of alcohol today to the eating of meat sacrificed to pagan gods in the first century. We also recognize that the decision was one left to the prompting of the Holy Spirit and not mandated by the Apostle Paul. One wonders if anywhere in the evaluation of candidates for SBC leadership is found an equal absolute ban on those who engage in rebellion?
Mat. 24: 12-13 Last Days of the End Times - He who endures to the end,
without their love for Jesus going cold shall be saved. This has traditionally been understood to refer to the unforgivable sin - blaspheming the Holy Spirit/denying Christ Who sent Him.
Mat. 7:21 ... he who does the will of my Father in Heaven, those who both confess and do the will of God will enter Heaven
Mark 3:33-35 My mother and brothers are those who do the will of God
Hebrews 12:28 Grace to serve God acceptably, the standard is not perfection
A BIBLICAL CLARIFICATION
Bevere argues somewhat past the dangerous line of "performance Christianity" and drifts into the teaching that one salvation is constantly at risk. This is common in Assemblies of God and other denominations but it is not the teaching of the SBC or of this church.
STAGES OF SALVATION may better explain what he cites:
Awaiting Heaven (pre-judgment & Jesus's return)
Saved and working out our salvation (rehearsing repentent submission)
Confessing belief in Jesus but not yet submitted to His Lordship
Intentional rebellion, witchcraft, satanism, occult, cults, paganism, etc
4. The Secret Power of Lawlessness
2 Tim. 3:1-4 We must love truth more than anything
Rev. 12:3-4 Satan led a rebellion in Heaven, he is experienced
Romans 8 Some in the church rebel knowingly, drifting toward spiritual death
1 Cor. 15:55-58 Sin's power is through law, Grace empowers us to overcome
Gen. 3 The key to Satan's deception was distorting God's motive by
emphasizing what He denied Eve vs what He had given her.
Eve's will replaced God's will.
Q: Consider parallels in modern business, culture, and politics. "Needs" are invented then promoted to gullible consumers. Differences are amplified to be scary leading to fear-based prejudice and conflict. "Issues" are "spun" by special interests to cause economic and social change not possible via carefully
Rom. 6:16 We are slaves to those we obey, we must choose: God, or the world
Isa. 14:12-14 Satan desired to be like God yet not subject to God. Enslaving God's
creation via the deception of Adam and Eve enthroned Satan as Prince of God's creation ... temporarily.
James 1:16-17 Nothing about God has changed, Satan's schemes remain the same.
SECTION 2 (Chapters 5-10)
5. The Consequences of Disobedience I
"The enemy of the soul ..." (Satan) wants us to believe that near-term good
results from rebellion will be free of long-term negative consequences.
Prior to the Fall Adam & Eve lived not according to right and wrong but in
grateful and trusting obedience to a perfectly loving Creator and Father. This
is where the post-Cross/post-Ascension New Testament writers try to guide
us as we live out our lives under Grace.
Adam & Eve covered themselves with the fruit of the ground, fig leaves,
yet still felt their nakedness and remained hidden. God clothed them with
the skins of animals He sacrificed. He showed them what was an acceptable
"covering" for their sin.
Cain & Abel were taught by Adam & Eve, both knew that an animal
sacrifice was correct. Abel did as he was taught, Cain did as he pleased.
When God called Cain on his rebellion Cain copped an attitude then his anger
was misdirected toward his brother and festered into a murderous hatred.
"This is the classic response of a religious person person when he is
confronted with truth. He gets angry ... This anger is fueled by pride, and
pride rejects God's will or ways in order to cling to its own."
"The second point God made to Cain is ... sin is crouching at the door."
Envy entered his (Cain's) heart, closely followed by offense. Then came
hatred. ... He was belligerent, and he lost his fear of God. ... he was lying
"He loses touch with reality ... He attempts to lower the image of God to his
level ... imagines himself as wise as God ..."
Biblical examples? Job, David & Bathsheba, Judas, Annais & Sapphira.
6. The Consequences of Disobedience II
Partial Obedience - King Saul.
History of Disobedience - 1Sam. 13:1-13
Instructions - 1 Sam. 15:3
Actions - 1 Sam. 15:11
Rationalization - 1 Sam. 15:13 & 15
Consequences - 1Sam. 15:22-29
Three Step Process
Conviction Luke 18:13-14;John 8:32, 16:7-8, 13; 1 Jn 1:8-10;
2 Cor 7:8-11
Prophetic Messenger James 5:19-20
Judgment 1 Cor. 11:30-31; Matt. 7:20-23; Luke 12:45-48
Share pgs 62 & 63 illustration
God is not the author of disease, plagues, and troubles -- He lifts
His hand of protection and allows the Enemy access because we
have demanded it through our rebellion.
Rebellion = Witchcraft 1 Sam. 15:22-23
A slave to what controls you 2 Peter 2:19; Rom. 6:16; John 8:34
"... the undeserved curse does not come to rest." Proverbs 26:2
"There is no witchcraft that works against God's people, nor any divination
against His church." Num. 23:23 (Bevere's paraphrase)
Balaam wanted the reward of King Balak but could not directly curse Israel
so he told Balak how to lead them to bring the curse upon themselves.
Num. 24:10-11, 31:16; Rev. 2:14, Num. 25:9
What has bewitched us Gal. 3:1 (context was drifing into performance
salvation vs Paul's teaching of salvation through grace)
Deception not discerned can lead to controlling spirits 2 Tim. 25-26
"Resist the Devil and he will flee from you." James 4:7
Hardship brings growth, rebellion-caused witchcraft demands repentence.
8. Does God Know Who's in Charge?
Do we know who's in charge? Rom. 13:1-2 We are commanded to submit.
Pharoah was "... raised up ..." by God. Ex. 9:16; Rom. 9:17
The author postulates that Israel came under the yoke of the Pharoah as a
result of God's great plan to make His name known thoughout the
world instead of as a consequence to rebellion. I disagree.
God knew the future and thus He worked Conviction, Prophetic Messenger,
and Judgment into His greater plan to make His name known -- there
were better ways but His "stiff necked people" made the hard way
God also used the interaction with Egypt to teach of the coming redemption
of Christ via "types" such as Joseph and the "setting free" of His
God redeems what Satan means for evil as a result of our rebellion. God
also tests us as to our obedience and rewards us. Acts 12:5, 12:22-24
9. Honor the King
Isaiah 11:2-3 The Spirit of the Lord is not limited to the sight of man's eyes.
Obey even though other people criticize because you serve God. 1Pet.2:11-12
Honor the King, even though he may be bad. 1Pet. 2:10-17; Jude 1:8-11
Do not speak evil about the ruler of your people. Acts 23:5 Ridiculing legal
authorities is wrong. Ridiculing false religious leaders is occasionally
acceptable e.g. 1 Kings 18:27 (Elijah vs Prophets of Baal) and Jesus vs Pharisees & Sagisees; not personal attacks but exposing hypocrisy.
Pray for leaders, even those with whom you disagree. 1 Tim. 2:1-3
To be free from fear of authority act honorably. Rom. 13:3-7, Col. 3:23-25
Why? To not create the appearance of evil. To not be fairly viewed as a
gossip. To earn trust so as to have opportunity to encourage the
believer and to witness to the seeker.
10. Double Honor
God works through the sinner and the saint, and even Balaam's donkey!
Matt. 7:22-23 Some who do miracles in Jesus name will be used to
bless those He wishes to bless yet they will not enter Heaven.
John 6:70; Mark 6:7-13; Luke 10:17 Jesus empowered Judas to do
miracles yet declared that he would be revealed as a "devil".
Corrupt church leaders are to be avoided. 1 Cor. 5:9-11
However sometimes sin is hidden. 1 Tim. 5:24
Never accept an accusation against a church leader without two or three
witnesses. 1 Tim. 5:19 If proved then a public rebuke 1 Tim. 5:20
God's authority may be delegated. Matt. 28:18, Matt. 10:40-42
The Father to Jesus, Jesus to Holy Spirit, Holy Spirit to Prophet/Pastor,
Prophet/Pastor to Righteous Man/Elder/Deacon, Righteous
Man/Elder/Deacon to Disciple, Disciple to New Believer.
Even the baby believer has more authority than the unsaved.
Jesus will come to purge rebellion from His church. 1 Cor. 15:24-26
How we receiver those He sends with church authority defines the nature of
the reward that we receive. **Read Pgs 122-123 "Will you be my
Buddy?" Also, John 13:20, "... he who receive him whom I send
Pastors/Elders/Deacons who "rule well" shall receive double honor.
1 Tim 5:17-18
This is in the context of proper financial support of church leaders but
carries the larger principle of risking the call to leadership (judged by
God at a higher standard) and receiving the praise of God and of man.
SECTION 3 (Chapters 11-17)
11. Obedience & Submission
Mere obedience is not sufficient, it must be accompanied by a
submissive & teachable attitude. Grumbling and criticising in
secret is not OK.
Mere submission and pretend teachability is not sufficient, it
must be accompanied by active obedience. In counseling we
call it "passive aggressive"
In reference to the Final Judgment (Rev. 2-3) Jesus says that
He "... knows our deeds ..." (Rom. 2:6)
Unconditional Submission vs Unconditional Obedience?
We must always have a submissive attitude.
We must always be obedient -- with only one exception --
when we are asked to do something in direct contradiction
to the Bible.
If we cannot obey then we respectfully state our reasons and
submit to the consequences.
If God chooses to intervene that is His to do, we are to be in
submission because He permitted those authorities to assume
12. What if Authority Tells Me ...?
The Israelites in Egypt condemned Moses when Pharoah reacted to
his demand that he "Let my people go!" by no longer providing the
straw they used in making bricks yet still demanded equal production.
Note1: The straw helped to strengthen the bricks. Having to gather their
own straw was an added burden.
Note 2: In some areas animal dung, presumably dried, is used for the
Note 3: In some areas the material used for bricks is called "adobe".
When the Israelites criticized Moses they conveniently forgot that
he was the annointed of God and that it was God Who commanded
Moses to speak to Pharoah.
They continued to whine and complain their way through the Exodus.
Leaders will be judged for the decisions they make in rebellion, direct
or indirect, against God. So will followers.
Leaders who are teachable will receive correction from God and will
alter course. We must pray for our leaders to be teachable and continue
to submit and obey.
Esther submitted to and obeyed her guardian Uncle Mordecai when he
counseled her to submit to and obey the King.
Later she discovered that she had been so positioned as to be the tool
of God to save His people from an evil plot to destroy them.
When David petitioned King Saul to allow him to confront Goliath
Saul responded from the evidence of his eyes. David respectfully
shared additional information and prayerfully allowed God to instruct
King Saul was a very prideful man, had David confronted him with
arrogance or demandingness he would never have given permission
Moses petitioned God to allow his people to not be destroyed for
their sinful rebellion because God's grace could be a great testimony
to all. God honored his request because it was pure -- Moses had
himself considered his own and his people's death due to their
endless rebelliousness -- he wanted only to honor God through life.
God sometimes calls us to take several steps in a direction as a test,
not as a definite goal. He needs us to rehearse obedient submission
in order to prepare the way for His intended work.
At FBCSH God called for us to endorse the construction of a large
somewhat traditional church structure. He grew us in faith along the
planning and early fundraising process.
God then pulled us back and gave us a less costly and more quickly
completed building and we now find that easy!
13. Unfair Treatment
"A prerequisite for intimacy with God is a broken heart." Ps. 34:18
A warhorse, a soldier, and a follower of God must be trustworthy to
obey no matter what else they are not safe in the battle.
Read: 1 Peter 2:13 & 18 (Pg. 162 in Under Cover)
Definitions of harsh include: "crooked, perverse, wicked, unfair, tyrannical,
unjust, cruel, unreasonable"
1 Peter 2:19 instructs that God is pleased when we "patiently endure".
If Jesus accepted His abuse, unjust treatment, and execution because
it was God's perfect timing for God's perfect purposes who are we to
demand freedom from suffering as submitted and obedient followers
When we try to justify ourselves before authorities we displace God
Who has said that such is His job -- so we have no reason to expect
Him to intervene on our behalf.
Often we come to these situations with selfish motives, not a heart
condition God will honor. Sometimes we have to walk in our
troubles until God first deals with our hearts. He will deal with others
in His time and in His way.
1 Peter 3:18; 4:1 (pg 176 in Under Cover) reminds us to have the same
heart as Jesus.
14. Self-Inflicted Judgment
We may be factually correct and spiritually wrong.
Noah's son Ham was factually correct about his father Noah -- he had become
drunk and had passed out in an rather improper state of nakednedd.
Noah's son Ham, like the Israelites re. Moses, had forgotten that Noah was
God's annointed and it was Ham's obligation to be respectful.
Noah's other two sons remembered their place and treated their father, God's
annointed with honor. They passed the test, Ham made it a temptation and fell.
Miriam and Aaron challenged Moses disrespectfully for marrying a Cushite
woman and God punished them.
Authority in the church flows through the delegated authority of God and
not through the gifts -- gifts are given for the purpose of supporting the
mission God has revealed to the one He has appointed as His authority.
That one is gifted as a counselor, teacher, preacher, conduit of healing or
hospitality or music or giving does not impute a delegation of authority.
This is the terrible sin of many churches -- those with money or personal
charisma or musical talent often usurp authority that belongs to the leader
appointed by God.
Paul is one example where God showed the leaders of his day to be annointed
as he served faithfully in one small task and then greater ones. God calls His
leaders and reveals His calling to other faithful leaders.
Jude warns in verses 8 and 11, that like those who sought to displace Moses
in Numbers 16:24-35, there would in the last days be those who would attack
the annointed leaders of God and suffer for their misconduct.
Read Romans 16:17-18 (pg. 193 in Under Cover)
God does not expect perfection, He does expect us to be teachable and to
learn and grow in obedience and submission. Even Moses chose his attitude
and actions wrongly from time to time.
15. Odds and Ends
Children & Parents
Children honor and obey parents in the Lord and be blessed. This
inplies the corrolary, fail to do so and lose the blessing if not suffering
an outright curse. Ephesians 6:2-3; Colossians 3:20
Note: I am not in agreement with the author re. marriage being the
only moment that one leaves the authority of one's parents. Same as
the revelation of a new leader to spiritually mature leaders so comes
the clarification of one's independence from parental supervision.
It is, however, critical that we are always accountable to authority so
that God may keep us safe (under cover) -- parental authority is
replaced by church authority.
Ephesians 5:24 Wives are to submit to their husbands in everything.
It is not because the husband is trustworthy, it is because God is.
Wives agreed to be honorable partners when they marry. In a Biblical
Christian wedding wives agree to submit.
True, sometimes a wife becomes a Christian after she marries and her
husband does not. The Bible says she may not push him out nor may
she force him to remain. She is to honor him that God may lead him
to salvation though her witness.
Read: 1 Peter 2:18-19; 3:1 (pg 203 in Under Cover)
Read: Titus 2:9-10 (pg 205 in Under Cover)
Read: Col. 3:22-23 (pg 206 in Under Cover)
Read: 2 Cor. 5:9-10 (pg 206 in Under Cover)
Watchman Nee, imprisoned for 20 years in China based on false
charges reminded in his writings that we are to submit. Many
fellow prisoners were saved. (pg. 207 in Under Cover)
Secular authority is obvious as a matter of office.
Legitimate spiritual authority is revealed to recognizable mature
followers of Christ already in leadership.
These two measures may be helpful in discerning a called of God
spiritual leader versus one who has illigitimately asserted the call
1. They evidence the "fruits of the spirit" in their conduct (this
requires a thorough study of the "fruits" and how they are
2. They are teachable.
16. Great Faith
Read: List of Biblical men of faith on pg. 219 in Under Cover
Several religions speak of multiple lives through which we are moved
toward perfection, generally with the result that we then fade into nothingness.
I fail to understand the appeal of that! :-)
In our one life here on earth we find ourselves in the places that God has
ordained so that we may best hear His call of salvation. Many still fail to
hear and respond.
After salvation there are three requirements of increasing faith:
1. Obedience to authority.
Matt. 8:7-10 The Centurion
2. Complete what we are commanded to do.
Genesis 12 Abraham offers his son as a sacrifice
3. True humility
James 4:10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord.
1 Tim. 3:6 Do let pride destroy you as it did the angel Lucifer.
1 Cor. 13:4 Love is not arrogant.
Reward for obedient submission
Seek forgiveness and healing from the consequences of disobedience
and rebellion against God, directly and via His appointed and
Reap the benefits of freedom, peace, and restoration.
Song of Solomon 2:3-4 (pg 225 in Under Cover)
Read: Jude 24-25 (pg 227 in Under Cover)