An introduction to the word Sequence by Rev Louis Escoto
The word Sequence is a word that describes experiences that influence as much in this present life, as it has in the past, and also, that in the same way, it will work in the future of each person. Placed in the square of human experience, this word, on examining it, is of great importance, and we should study it carefully as to it’s’ place and relationship in our personallife and collectively in the life of human beings. It is essential to understand it well to resolve problems, and misunderstandings that impede progress in the development of the mind and equally, and of greater importance, the spiritual life of many persons that are believers in Christ; and it will help those who are not yet believers to understand in what direction they are traveling.
The word sequence is defined: “1. a series or succession of things that follow an order or keep in it a determined relationship. 2. A succession not interrupted of plans or scenes of a film that refers to the same part or aspect of the argument.” (Larousse, Gran Diccionario de la Lengua Española.). And in addition, it means, “3. The order of succession.” (Webster’s Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary) and “the following of one thing after the other; succession. 4. Result: consequence.” (Webster’s Universal College Dictionary). Some persons who study the science of probability might say that it is a cause that has an effect.
The words of Jesus in the gospels give us direction in this sequence with the theme, “Do not worry about your life.” In Matthew 6:25, 28, Jesus speaks to us:
“Therefore I say unto you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Verse 28, 29 follow: “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” (NKJV).
In the Worries of Life there are these material things that are needed, and should be acquired by the process of working and buying as needed. There will always be sequences of difficult times, and because of this, desperation arises in us. If that is the case then, it would be better to follow the sequences that trust in God and not unnecessarily struggle when the economy fails and there are no jobs. In many occasions worry precedes trusting in God because of the pressure of the moment. But, trusting first in God, guides us to a good consequence and of these, there are many examples, and we will see some at a later time.
Ecclesiastes 3:1, 2, gives us a sequence of life as to time, and states: “To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven: A time to be born, And a time to die, A time to plant, And a time to pluck what is planted,” (NKJV) And the sequence continues.
In the area of time of a humans’ life, all that involves our experiences will arrive at its’ consequence, even though it be incomprehensible at times as to why things have happened as they have. There always exists a sequence in the works of man, be it to a good or a bad consequence.
Gal. 6:7. “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.” (NKJV).
In our daily lives, we then ask, must all things that pertain to life have to have its’ sequence? In our lives we understand that there are things that we do which are positive to us and that bring us positive results, and there are things that we do not do because they don’t come out right. And also, each one of us have a different way of thinking as to what we believe to be good, and many times we have disagreements as to what we understand to be the most correct or the best order of sequence to achieve a good consequence. The Bible also speaks of disagreements among the church. Let’s read Rom. 14:5-7.
(5. “One person esteems one day above another, another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind. (6. He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord, and he that does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it. He who eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks; and he who does not eat, to the Lord he does not eat, and gives God thanks. (7. For none of us lives to himself and no one dies to himself.” (NKJV).
And certainly nothing will be carried out in life without us making a decision that seems to us the most correct. And we understand that there are certain results that we expect by this decision. And it is interesting that many of us anchor ourselves in deciding some important business in the way we have learned from many sources. Some of these sources of information are: primarily our family, and then our experiences, and in addition, our education, and on occasions, the opinions of persons or people of intelligence and fame, and we trust in them because of the success they have had, and because what they have written make common sense. And in this manner we form a plan of action to make decisions of value that will help us overcome in our daily lives and with our families. In each thing or business that we decide to do, we always see the sequence or the order that follows to a consequence or result.
In the word sequence we have examples that are easy to contemplate. We see a famous chef prepare a special plate or closer to us; the lady of the home offers us a special plate. They always decide the time that it takes for this work of art and she watches it and tastes it until the work is finished at last, and thus, to enjoy the food that is rich and delicious.
And moreover, we see on television an educational program for children whose name is “Sesame Street”, in which a little girl is asking herself questions in which she has to make a decision. First, she asks herself, “If I do this, and she mentions something that she knows is not good, and she answers herself, this is going to happen to me! And then vice versa she says: “If I do this which is good, this will happen! We can learn from children about the sequence that takes us to a good consequence. Nevertheless, man seeks his own analysis of life.
There exists subjects that are in question in scholarly studies by the most scientific persons, and that involves things that pertain to governmental business and the politics of the most outstanding parties, and of things that have to do with religion and that which is biblical. According to what is seen and heard, they are changing certain beliefs that for them are not applicable for modern times. And one of these important conclusions for humanity, which they speak and publish, is that for man there is no standard in deciding things that pertain to morality and ethics in our daily lives. That is why they say, that there is no absolute truth to guide us in clear and definite decisions. Every person they comment, and each one of us has to do what they believe to be correct, and this, by their personal studies, about any moral or ethical thing. And for reference, we see this often on public television channels, in special programs of themes that are religiously, archaeologically, geographically, and scientifically oriented. What is difficult to assimilate is that there are such a great variety of opinions, and philosophies that are discussed over this that it is difficult to make compatible or to arrange a belief that would arrive at a clear determination and would help in what is an immovable truth. Each person then, according to this thought, has to choose the belief that has more common sense or is applicable to their life. In all these categories of expositions there exists a sequence to a consequence because of which is more probable to be a passive unbelief. It does not seem to go forward or backward but it lives stagnant without a clear definition.
How difficult it was then for Pontius Pilate to hear the Lord Jesus Christ say at His judgment: “Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice.” And then listen to the testimonies of the religious against the Lord, and hear the people in tumult speaking in judgmental words, we hear Pilate exclaim: “What is truth?” (John 18:37-39). (NKJV). And we know the decision that he made and historically what happened to him. He didn’t govern much longer there. He chose.
It is possible then, at not having absolute truth in moral and ethical life that the result is chaos of mental and spiritual confusion. Pontius Pilate suffered then, hard consequences after the sequences reached its’ consequence. It can, then, be easy to call evil good and good evil. Perhaps, because of this, we see and hear daily, by the media of communication that informs us about people that live in fear, and depression in growing numbers. According to people that are living like this, they say that the unknowable future brings them terror, confusion, and fear. And they ask with anguish, “Who am I?” “What is my destiny?” “How long will I live?” Death to them is not a good theme. Because of this, as we can see, there are so many with low self esteem. Being that many believe that there is not an absolute truth that is a solution to their conditions of depression, and of a life without hope, they determine that nothing is important but that moment that brings them pleasure. Pleasure is that which brings a momentary entertainment. Or they use a drug so that they can sleep or live on. These are a series of experiences that progress towards a consequence that is a condition of a desperate depression in which a solution is not found, in other words they are patches on cloth, or arrangements of change without end.
In addition, if this wasn’t enough to worry about, many people are as preoccupied as to when the world will end. As to this, there is no lack of a multitude of writings and programs as much secular as religious that will sell them these publications and make profits off of them. And all this in conjunction, they hear also, that there is no absolute truth as a moral and an ethical life. And there are so many publications that centralize on the anxiety of persons, and do not give them an answer that takes everything to a solution. We can see why many walk in feelings of dissolution. It is a sequence of negative information can take some, if they believe this, to not have hope and by consequence, commit suicide.
Looking at another side, the sequence of criminal acts that carry consequences of prison and execution can be seen in growing numbers in recent times more than in the past. And this is more apparent among young people. The alarm has sounded in the ears of many governing leaders. The ignorance of morality and ethics can be seen in youth by the violence in which they live and participate. They live in the streets, in parks, and under bridges. They rob so that they can eat or buy drugs. It seems that they live only to survive. This is why; remedies are being sought by U. S. governmental institutions to change the course of declining morality and ethics among them. They are in low conditions and each day it becomes worse and worse. And these young people are our future? Will these be our leaders of tomorrow? We await changes that bring hope to establish a better future for them and for us. We need to define things that are defective and what is effective! Those who want to live in peace and want to see their young people be successful, have to define the words morality and ethics for them.
The word morality is defined by the Dictionary, Larousse-Gran Diccionario USUAL de la lengua Española this way: “1. Conjunction of or norm or moral precepts,” and the word moral is defined: “4. Conjunction or rules and principles that direct conduct of a person or a community and that are proposed by a determined doctrine or proper to an epoch (time) or culture.”
And the word ethics is define in terms almost the same: “2. Part of the philosophy that studies the moral acts of human beings and qualifies them as good or bad.”
According to these definitions and others, human beings determine what is moral and ethical. If everything was defined in this way, being that humans are imperfect, there exist then some problems and imperfect sequences. And what are the consequences? All history of imperfect human beings confirm this, in injustices, wars, disputes, contentions by which each person, or nations that take part believe, that they are in the right. To know or to understand what is a principle or what is a preference will help to give a clear picture as to why decisions are made that bring positive or negative consequences, or what does good to us or what does wrong to us in its’ consequences.
This is why it should be explained that there is a difference between principles and preferences. Using the same dictionary, the word principle is defined as: “6. a moral standard by which behavior and conduct are governed.” The word preference is defined as: “1. to elect a thing or person over several.”
On humanities side, in which God is excluded, we can see examples in which we can see differences as to how humanity is in its thinking and in the sequences of their actions.
As we can see, for example, in cases that happen daily of human laws, in their sequence, at times they are politically self serving and or are of gain to certain individuals, or groups of people. For example, if you have a home that is in the way of a plan of development of a certain city, your house has to be sold for the good of others, and by law, at a price that that city wants to pay. And then, you have to look for a place to live. And also, if some don’t want you living in their neighborhood, they can have a petition signing and move you out of there. There are many ideas as to why they would want to do this, meaning, as to the government and neighbors. What do you think? The laws of man can vary in their sequence according to the preference of human beings. The sequence of these actions carries a consequence of the loss of a home for the poor, and a gain for political conveniences.
But, could there be a sequence that would take us to an absolute truth? Those who have searched for absolute truth that takes us from a sequence to a good consequence have found it in the Bible, the book of God. This is the revelation of God to man. And it takes him to a relationship with the almighty God. And He, yes He does have absolute truth, and He keeps His word as he says. A confirmation of the absolute truth of the Bible is found in 2nd Peter 1:19.
It tells us: “And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts,”
A clear and undeniable example of biblical prophecy is the nation of Israel that still exists after centuries have passed. At a certain time it was said that it would be destroyed by a prophecy spoken by Jesus Christ in Mathew 24 verses 1 and 2 saying of the Temple, “I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that will not be thrown down.” And it happened in the year 70 A. D. by the roman general Titus when he destroyed the city. But Israel rose once again by prophecy in 1948. Isaiah 66:8, “or shall a nation be born at once? And she will continue to exist prophetically the Bible says. The Bible is worthy of believing yesterday, today and always will be.
The Bible speaks by means of moral principles and ethics in laws and ordinances. (Psalm 119). And it gives us examples that are exact of these, and it gives us a clear understanding of principles as to how God thinks. (Proverbs). And it takes us in sequence to a consequence, that is, a relationship with God.
And furthermore, by His grace, so that there may be no excuse, God has given us a free will to make our own decisions, be they in accord with the Bible or not, be it to live our lives with biblical principles or with our own personal preferences. The principles will take us to a more abundant life of liberty of not falling into an error with bad consequences, and He gives us eternal life, but preference takes us to a life of frustrations by the imperfection of our preferences. And this is because by our own will we do not use or don’t want to use the sequences that God has provided to reach a relationship with Him. They only punish themselves because that was what they decided and their decision costs them judgment.
Heb. 10:26, 27. “For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries.”
And moreover, God has mercy for human being that does not know how to read, or has never heard the message from God, and has a way to communicate absolute truth, and He does it by our conscience, because of His love.
Upon reading and studying the Bible carefully, we find that God has placed a conscience in all human beings. By which, the human being can comprehend some things are evil that affect our neighbor as taking or stealing what is not ours, lying with bad intentions, speaking denigrating about someone etc. And the day will come when God will use the law of conscience to judge all human beings.
In Romans 2:11-16 speaks clearly about this: “11. For there is no partiality with God. 12. For as many as have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and as many as have sinned in the law will be judged by the law (13 for not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law shall be justified, (14 for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, (15 who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them) 16 in the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel.”
And there is not a person that will not receive light. John 1:9. “That was the true light (Jesus) which gives light to every man coming into the world.”
While the conscience is alive, human beings can function with certain righteousness. But, if the conscience is killed, or is burned, there is no longer a righteous sequence. Then each person will do what they think is just, and not according to the Bible. The Apostle Paul says that having known the things of God, it is possible, by rebelliousness, to have our conscience cauterized, or burnt. Some, knowing the Bible, want to live so much in apostasy, or separated and against God and that their consequence is to be an apostate and if they don’t repent, to be lost forever.
“Now the Spirit expressly says that in the latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy having their own conscience seared with a hot iron,”
And we repeat, to achieve a relationship with God, we have to understand that He has placed a sequence of steps and experiences that take each person, if they want to, to know God.
Under the laws of each government of the world, there exist sequences that carry certain knowledge of what is right or wrong. But they’re not in total accord with the Bible. They are similar but are different. In moral and social life of human beings, there are laws in which justice is served. And these laws are based on mutual respect, and of treating the individual with honor and dignity. But as we already know, these laws have their limitations because of human imperfection.
The laws of governments and the laws of the government of God have their differences. The laws of human beings are temporal and of situations, while the laws of God are eternal in their morality, and ethics of perfect judgment. Thus, this is why human laws and Gods’ laws are parallel and can never be completely the same. And each law, be it of God, or be it of human beings, has their sequence to its consequence and those of God are better for human beings.
Upon contemplating human history and of the Bible, we can understand why we are as we are. We can see in many cases that man has decided to follow the way of preference. And there is much to comment about this. But let us study in detail, in our personal time the sequence of the moral and ethical standards growing in failure, that was seen more clearly, at the beginning of the 19th and 20th century. These are some points to study and contemplate.
When this nation (USA) began to exclude God as the only fountain of absolute truth in the 19th century, there started a rapid falling away of solid principles of absolute truth in God towards the insecurity of preference. The teachings of Darwin and then of Freud in sequence began to undermine the faith of many under their teaching of atheism and of psychology. On the side of secular education, John Dewey in the 1920s established changes in the schools, changing the textbooks for the new teachings pro atheists. Almost at the same time, there was the judgment of the court case where it was tried to discredit the Bible and also the existence of God. By what the newspapers published, many believed that evolution had won, but legal data prove to the contrary.
And we see across the years how preference has affected the government, the judiciary, and education, and biblical religion. Let us see cases that in the transition of annual happenings have been seen. Let us look at the 20th century circa 1945.
After the Second World War, there were many changes and adjustments as to government, religion, and the family to the principles as they use to be. The changes would be in more liberality as to morals and ethics.
At the same time, they were trying to repair and to console a nation in grief and establish changes so that there would be an adaptation to the philosophies of relativism and to trust the government for restoration and to take the nation to an era called modern and different. It seemed the most logical. Even the dress styles and ways were made, little by little; more liberal, continuing even toward nudity.
Then, at the same time, many veterans upon returning from the war were seeking work and education. And the government supplied this through a law that would pay for their education. (GI bill).
And many of them (the veterans) came without body members and with mental problems that they suffered and experienced because of war. And adjusting to a normal life was difficult. Their women suffered with them and many other women suffered from grief.
Consequently, many women were left, because of this war, widows and with children. And the children struggled without a father that they might know, and that would give them direction. Some of the women, in their grief, gave themselves up to vices that destroyed them.
Many of these people, then, decided not seek God anymore as they use to, maybe because of their grief and maybe because of atheistic teaching and they no longer attended a Christian church.
The conservative norm of biblical morality and ethics were called antiquated and they began a new morality in the late years of the 50’s like “free love or free sex” with uncontrolled actions or ethics. The “hippies began to live an anti-establishment culture.” And the drug culture was established with LSD, and other drugs that promised to make them more intelligent. Through their mind, they promised they would learn visions “psychedelic ones” in trips. And the trips have increased with devastating consequences. And some have never returned from their “trips” and are in an insane asylum.
Beginning in the 60’s until today 2011, there has been seen a fast developing evil that has never been seen before the Second World War. The media used the instrument of information (or disinformation) by showing by means of films, by television, by revealing publications the acceptable life of lewdness or lust, and to say that sex outside of marriage is not a sin, even showing the act itself, if not complete, almost. And as the serpent deceived the woman Eve, many have accepted this philosophy of life, and we have seen an augmenting of pregnancies of under aged girls. And illnesses that have been overcome before, have come once again appeared, and especially aids arrived which spread worldwide. Medical healing is sought after, but without consulting God.
That is why we cannot deny the sequence of happenings that have happened even until our day, seeing its roots or beginnings. Many of us have been observers of all of this history. We have lived it. And we have lived through it. The sequences have become consequences. And we can see them and read them in these points:
(1. Shame has been lost in how people speak or as many express themselves. Saying curses and bad words to another person is the public norm or practice, and it doesn’t matter who does it and to whom it is done to, be it to a child, to a man, to an elderly man or woman, to women, or even to God. A dirty or insulting word is the norm for many as it is in public or private.
(2. The value of the life of an innocent person or of a human being, has been lost and there is no lack of who would kill them, be it by one person or by many at one time. The killer may be a boy or girl, by a youth, or man, or woman, or some elderly man or woman.
(3. We cannot deny that many churches have changed the message of biblical holiness that is to do that which is straight and righteous with their neighbor who is made in the image of God. To take advantage of another person by whatever method is sin. In the name of business many so called Christians in churches steal from their neighbor, selling them useless products. “Thou shall love thy neighbor as thy self.” This biblical word is ignored frequently. It seems also; that in some churches living together is practiced by a man and a woman and without it being called to their attention that that couple are living in fornication or adultery. And it seems that some of their youth are permitted to have sex among themselves as part of their normal physical development. This is a mortal sin! An even so, some of them get up and minister on the platform and everyone knows it and accepts it or tolerates it!
(4. We cannot deny the daily abuse that happens to children and also how women are treated by violence and beatings by their husbands or boyfriends. There are many places today that the government or non profit centers have placed, well prepared to hide the victims, from the claws of some abuser. And these abuses can happen in government classrooms, in schools and homes, and sadly, in some churches.
(5. If this is not enough, life is taken away from babies that have not yet been born, neither can defend themselves, and this, by people of great intelligence, that place more importance on the preference of an individual, instead of using the biblical principles of morality and of ethics and of common sense.
All these things have passed in sequence towards a fatal consequence, and without consulting with God. The enemies of human beings have planned it this way. This being prophetic, that in the latter days he would reign in many hearts who is called Satan. And furthermore, he attracts with celebrations of living in the joy of lewdness. But the worst enemies that human beings have are the unbridled desires of the flesh that they cannot control, and the philosophy that all things are relative doesn’t help matters either, or to say the same that there is no absolute truth. To all those that fear God and belong to him, Galatians 5:16 says, “I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” You can walk in the Spirit!
The best advice to overcome all this is prevention. As soon as we see or understand that an attack is coming from our enemies, we have to stop it in its first sequence. This to say, as soon as we identify it, we can overcome any temptation with prayer and fasting in clamor; this, combined with the help of God and faith in his word, guaranties the victory. And if we strive to discard all those things that want to entrap us and that spoil us, and other persons we deal with, we shall overcome.
James 1:12-18 presents it this way: “Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. (13. Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”, for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. (14. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. (15. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full grown, brings forth death. (16. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. (17. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. (18. Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we be a kind of first fruits of His creatures.”
When a human being wants a solution that is an absolute truth, he doesn’t have to go too far, open the Bible! And all the scriptures have sequences that carry you to victory. And this is, to know the why of the past and the why of the present and the why of the future in an intimate relationship and communion with the Creator and the God of his life who gives the solution and answers to all the questions and needs of his life. He will find these absolute truths in their sequence:
Jesus is Immanuel, “God with us.” Matthew 1:23. God came as a human being to the world as a baby and He lived in the world with us and like us. He understands us. And He loves us. Jesus died for our salvation, Romans 5:6. He is the love of the Father revealed. Jn. 3:16.
Jesus resurrected from the dead, 1 Cor. 15:20. In this entire chapter, Paul presents the argument of the absolute truth that Christ resurrected and the significance of our relationship with Him. In his experience of his having encountered Jesus on the road to Damascus, Paul can’t but say that his encounter with the Lord Jesus took him to a consequence which is of a glorious relationship. (Acts 9:1-19).
Jesus wants to save you and transform you in sequence so that you can be with Him forever in His glory. (John 17:20, 24).
He has sent the Holy Spirit to be with us and in us. (John 14:16, 17).
The Holy Spirit is our advocate and comforter and so that all those that belong to God have a continuous victory. (Romans 8:26, 27, 37-39).
The believer full of the Holy Spirit can overcome anything. (Acts 2:15-18, 38, and 39).
God by the Holy Spirit has given us the baptism of the Holy Spirit to give us power to live our lives daily and to give testimony of that power to save to others. (Acts 1:8); and he gives us gifts also, 1 Cor. (12:1-11.)
The truth is that Christ in us is our hope of glory, (Col. 1:26) and this is the relationship.
Paul expresses the true sequence of Jesus Christ in 1st Timothy 3:16. “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, Justified in the Spirit, Seen of angels, Preached among the Gentiles, Believed on in the world, Received up in Glory.”
In John 17:24, Jesus manifests that the glorious consequence for us, which is, to be with Him. “Father, I desire that they also whom you gave me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which you have given Me for you loved Me before the foundation of the world.”
There is only one thing left and it is appreciation. Appreciation for the salvation we have. And appreciation for the mercy of God that permits us the opportunity to understand what we have in Christ Jesus, and appreciation to know him deeply.
It has been said of a certain man who traveled on the sea in a grand and luxurious ship. He had invested all he had in a beautiful pearl and of great price. It took all of his fortune to buy it. One night he went out with this pearl to the side of the ship, next to its fence. And standing there, seeing at night the waves of the sea, it came easily to him to take out the pearl he was carrying, and he started to toss it up in the air and then catch it before it would fall in the water. He repeated this many times, and someone asked him, “What are you doing?” And he answered, “I’m proving my agility.” At that moment the pearl went though his fingers and fell into the sea. He lost everything for not appreciating what he had in his hand. That is the way many play with the most precious thing of their lives, the pearl of their eternal soul. His pearl was lost at sea. How about your pearl? Do you appreciate the importance of the absolute truth that God has, or are you playing to see how close you can come to the dangerous sea of sin of this actual world?