The Surpassing Nature of Christianity


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The Surpassing Nature of Christianity 

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • January 19, In the year of our Lord, 2014



  1. What do you believe makes Christianity the best thing you have experienced? 


  1. Philippians 4.6–7 – The Peace Of God

    6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus (Phi 4.6–7).

    1. The world is anxious and troubled about many things; do not get caught up in the world’s anxiety.
    2. Anxiety casts out peace,
      1. not the problems, and
      2. exacerbates the problems.
    3. Sometimes we are anxious about things that do not matter.
    4. Sometimes we are anxious about matters that we should leave with God,

      6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, 7 casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you (1Pe 5.6–7).

    5. In Philippians 4.6, Paul showed how we can remove anxiety.
      1. People are anxious because
        1. it seems to show love, and
        2. it seems to show responsibility.
      2. “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything…”
        1. God rules the universe.
        2. Do you think your world is too small for Him to notice or care?
      3. “By prayer and supplication”
        1. Tell Him your burdens.
        2. Ask Him what to do.
      4. “With thanksgiving”
        1. Utter a prayer with sole purpose of thanking God
        2. for every physical and spiritual blessing.
      5. “Let your requests be made known to God”
        1. When sowing seeds in our gardens we leave the result to God.
        2. Do the same with those matters over which you are anxious.
    6. Philippians 4.7 then shows that with anxiety gone we have peace.
      1. What is the peace of God?
        1. It is not freedom from problems
        2. It is not being at war with God
      2. The peace of God surpasses all understanding.
        1. God’s peace is a heavenly phenomenon
        2. experienced by earthly beings.
      3. The peace of God guides our hearts and thoughts.
        1. Observe people with the peace of God and see how they live.
        2. Thankfulness for the past
          1. opens our eyes to what God has done,
          2. leading to confidence for the present and in the future.
      4. With peace dwelling in our hearts and thoughts we are guarded against
        1. sin, doubt, worry,
        2. even as love in the heart prevents hate.
    7. Speaking of love…
  2. Ephesians 3.14–19 – The Love of Christ

    14 For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— 19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God (Eph 3.14–19).

    1. “To know the love of Christ which passes knowledge.”
      1. To know the unknowable.
        1. Cannot know it by empirical means.
        2. By revelation we know what was previously unknown.
        3. We know that we cannot acquire full comprehension.
      2. We know the love of Christ
        1. when we comprehend our sin and
        2. its disgusting nature.
      3. Man could not and would not
        1. have invented a story of this nature nor
        2. would he have participated in such a plan.
    2. Why the love of Christ surpasses knowledge:
      1. Its timing – Rom 5.6–10
        1. Without strength
        2. Ungodly
        3. Sinners
        4. Enemies of God
          1. We do not deserve His love,
          2. we need His love.
      2. Its endurance – Rom 8.35–39
        1. Bodily harm does not stop it.
        2. Spiritual harm does not stop it.
        3. Nothing in history, past, present, or future stops it.
        4. Nothing in all of creation can stop it.
    3. The result of all the things Paul prayed for “filled with all the fullness of God.”
  3. Second Corinthians 12.1–4 – The Words of Paradise

    1 It is doubtless not profitable for me to boast. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord: 2 I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago—whether in the body I do not know, or whether out of the body I do not know, God knows—such a one was caught up to the third heaven. 3 And I know such a man—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows— 4 how he was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter (2Co 12.1–4).

    1. Sights and sounds of heaven go beyond our understanding.
    2. What did Paul hear?
      1. Singing will be indescribable!
      2. Sinful words?
      3. Possibilities:
        1. Incomprehensible
          1. John 3.11–12
          2. How much in this life is beyond our ability to know?!
          3. Deu 29.29
          4. God may be keeping us from being intimidated.
          5. When we encounter complicated knowledge we back away.
        2. Prophetic words
          1. Consider some heavenly conversations that are revealed
            1. 1Ki 22.17–23
            2. Job 1–2
          2. How would you react to predictive words about you?
      4. Like light that blinds initially, we are not ready to hear them yet.
      5. They might be incredible that we would not believe
        1. Dutch ambassador told king of Siam
        2. that water became so hard back home a man could walk on it.
          1. The king said, “I have often suspected you of falsehood but now I know that you lie.”
    3. Paul did hear these unlawful words.
      1. So we too someday shall hear them;
      2. when we go to Paradise.
  4. What more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of 
    1. God’s unsearchable judgments and undiscoverable ways (Rom 11.33–36),
    2. the glory awaiting us (2Co 4.17),
    3. the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe (Eph 1.19),
    4. the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus (Eph 2.7),
    5. God’s ability to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think (Eph 3.20),
    6. the exceedingly great and precious promises that we may partaker of the divine nature (2Pe 1.4).


  1. Do these things seem impossible to you? 
  2. Why not try Christianity? 
    1. If I told you that you had to do something complicated
    2. to experience The Surpassing Nature of Christianity,
      1. would you not do it?
      2. Why not then when I tell you something so simple as:
        1. Believe that Jesus of Nazareth is the Son of God,
        2. Repent of your sins,
        3. Be baptized,
        4. Live as a full-fledged disciple of Christ.