Grace Bible Church
Robert R. McLaughlin
August 18, 2019

It seems like no matter what passage we are studying everything is based upon the Word of God and the power of God the Holy Spirit.

This means that there comes a time in every believer’s life where if we desire to glorify the Lord, we must begin with the glass being half-full rather than half empty.

The main issue here is the viewpoint of the individual, is it positive of negative?

Notice the tremendous positive attitude that the apostle Paul had, even though he was chained up to Roman soldiers, Paul still had a positive attitude even though he was in prison.

While in prison, the apostle Paul observed the different weapons and clothing that the Roman soldiers used and that is why certain passages in the Word of God, especially Eph 6, relates the military to the spiritual life.

There is a very popular quote that one of the greatest military generals who ever lived named Sun Tzu was  known for, though there are some who disagree that he wrote this.

In reality, Sun Tzu was quoting a Proverb when he wrote “know yourself, know your enemy, and you shall win a hundred battles without loss.

In Eph 6:16, we have the military shield which for us refers to operating in faith-rest  as you protect yourself from the flaming missiles of the evil one.

Note that the apostle Paul mentions chains because he was chained up to four Roman soldiers and that was one of the main reasons that God the Holy Spirit inspired Paul to use military weapons as an analogy to the weapons of our spiritual life.

The apostle Paul, while in prison wrote the following books: Galatians; Ephesians; Philippians; Colossians, and many believe that he also wrote the book of Philemon.

The apostle Paul believed that a curse can be turned into a  blessing and that what Satan means for evil, God can turn into good.

In the ancient world, at the time that the apostle Paul wrote this, the athlete had to undergo ten months of strict training just to qualify to participate in the games. 

First of all, you had to enter a registered state gymnasium, analogous to living in the predesigned plan of God.

Secondly, every athlete went through identical training no matter what his event. This is analogous to every believer having the identical PPOG as the place in which we train and compete. 

Only the protocol Christian is living the Christian way of life, therefore, is qualified to compete in the spiritual games found in the Angelic conflict.

The athlete or, the athletai as they were known, were the ones who trained under the rules of the national gymnasium for ten months. 

You were not allowed to leave the large walled area of the gymnasium for ten months, and had to exercise under the authority of the gumnasiarch, the ruler of the gym.

It required extreme training to make it either in the military, or in the “Games” of the ancient world as athletes,  or the ultimate motivation for all of us who desire to become winner believers.

The gumnasiarch or the pastor-teacher had marshals under him who watched the athletes. 

He wore a purple robe with white sandals and is analogous to the pastor or evangelist bringing forth the good news ROM 10:15, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring glad tidings of good things!”

The marshals were comparable to the deacons.

After the completion of the ten month course, the athlete was then allowed to compete.

The athlete followed a set of very strict rules which constantly tested his motivation, decisions, and momentum. 

This is analogous to the concept of daily perception of doctrine and momentum testing to reveal what your true desire is.

You could not leave for any reason or you would be disqualified either from the games or from the military.

Everyone did the same exercise under the same authority. 

There were eight to ten exercise periods during the day which demanded that everyone would be prepared and ready at all time to a positive.

Everyone received group exercise naked outdoors regardless of the weather (analogous to everyone getting the same doctrinal teaching). 

Daily trumpet calls had to be met at various times and if you missed one you were disqualified). 

Everyone had equal privilege and opportunity to compete. 

Each class was preceded by a warning trumpet during which time the athlete reported to his trainer, the aleiptei, who rubbed him down with olive oil.

The athlete also wore no clothes, analogous to the filling of the Holy Spirit that causes us to be clothe naked before the Lord and   be honest with yourself and with Him.

All the athletes ate the same food: wheat, cheese, figs, no wine, no sweets. This relates perception of doctrine to strict academic discipline.

You were on a strict diet, which everyone ate (other foods being analogous to distractions of the cosmic system).

All earthly distractions were prohibited during the ten months, including contact with family, friends, no sex, no social life.

The agonistai were people who just worked out to stay in shape, which is just sheer agony; analogous to the believer in the cosmic system.

This is analogous to arrogance in the cosmic system, which is sheer agony.

1CO 9:24‑27, which illustrates how we compete to reach a reward which is imperishable.

Each winner in the national games received a crown of ivy leaves, which represented the rewards he would receive when he returned home.

The winner had a special entrance cut into the wall of the city through which he passed when he returned. 

For the winner, he rode in the best chariot through the city in a parade.

He also received a lifetime pass to all future games; a great amount of money; an ode was written by a poet; a statue was put up in the public square; his children fed and educated at public expense; he was exempt from all income taxes for life.

Whether it is the military or the athletic games, these are all shadows of the truth because the reality is that our Lord Jesus Christ is the greatest soldier or the greatest athlete in the universe.

I want to deal with a few more principles that we learn about believers who feel like they are prisoners to a prison situation.

Part of that “positive thinking” is to depend upon the doctrines that the Lord gave us which allows us to be prepared for anything that our Lord brings our way.

Most believers would have blamed someone else for their life going astray from the power and plan of God.

Most believers also think negative thoughts when they are going through something that they do not like or enjoy and because of that,  they also reject the positive attitude toward that our Lord portrayed during His earthly ministry.

This type of believers are always complaining about something or someone else and are controlled by their very own Negative Thinking.

Definition: Negative thinking is what produces pessimism, which is the tendency to take the most unfavorable view of situations.

What makes one believer positive and another believer negative, when they both are facing the same exact problems?

This is also another example of how two children can be brought up with the same parents, in the same house, in the same environment, and yet one of them is positive while the other one is negative.

Same parents, family, home, environment, but two different results.

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