GRACE BIBLE CHURCH
The Tree of Life is a weekly teaching summary.
From the week ending 02/16/03
The Angelic Conflict
The "Essence Of God" Rationale
We have been continuing our study of the Satanic Game Plan to distract the believer in spiritual warfare. We have been looking at the weapons that God has provided for us, including the faith-rest drill, called the "shield of faith" in Eph 6:16, "In addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one."
The faith-rest drill is a sure solution for overcoming any difficulty, problem, or disaster in life. God has provided us with a place of inner peace, happiness, stability, and power within our grasp, and it is available in the midst of all difficult circumstances.
The mechanics of the faith-rest drill are comprised of three stages.
1. Faith claims a promise.
2. Faith develops a rationale.
3. Faith draws a doctrinal conclusion.
God has given us promises and doctrines in the Bible. It is our job to learn them, believe them, and use them to solve our problems.
When you thoroughly understand the essence of God and apply it in adversity and prosperity, you will possess and maintain peace and stability in every experience of life. If the problem is hopeless, and you are helpless, it is time to trust the Lord. Testing is a means of training us as Christian soldiers in the angelic conflict. Every time we apply doctrine under pressure, we are given a decoration in heaven, ZEP 3:17, "The LORD your God is in your midst, a victorious warrior. He will rejoice over you with joy; He will rest in His love, He will rejoice over you with singing."
While we enter into God's rest through the shield of faith, there is no room in the Christian way of life for laziness or irresponsibility. As we have seen, "Quietism" is a false doctrine that teaches that the believer is entirely passive, and basically eliminates the principle of application, and the service of the Christian soldier. In nearly every significant passage that teaches on faith-rest, the waiting and trusting is balanced by a command for rigor, alertness, and striving. The desires of the soul to be conformed to the image of Christ are the direct result of the grace of God, not something we generate from the flesh. There is no such thing as "drifting" into spiritual maturity; there is however, a danger of drifting into cosmic influence and reversionism.
HEB 4:1-3 Therefore, let us fear lest, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you should seem to have come short of it. For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also; but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard. For we who have believed enter that rest, just as He has said, "As I swore in My wrath, they shall not enter My rest."
The Word of God is as willing to warn us as comfort us, and as ready to command us as to promise us.
The Faith-Rest Technique
0. Establish fellowship with God (the filling of the Holy Spirit) through Biblical confession of sin.
1. You may then recover a relaxed mental attitude by claiming promises from the Word. The first stage of the faith-rest drill is to claim a pertinent promise from the Word of God. There are over 7,000 promises in the Bible for the believer to claim.
2. As a means of calling up divine viewpoint thinking, concentrate on pertinent doctrines related to the issue at hand.
A rationale is a "reasoned exposition of principles," an "explanation or statement of reasons," or a "set of reasoned rules or directions." It is an unassailable, watertight, ironclad argument.
Doctrinal rationales include the following:
· The essence of God
· The plan of God
· Logistical grace
· A fortiori
· Escrow and election
The definition of "essence" is "The quality or qualities of a thing that give it its identity; the intrinsic or indispensable properties of a thing." Essence refers to the qualities or attributes of God, attributes which have always existed. Essence is what remains stable in the midst of change. Without essence, a thing would not be what it actually is. Without His divine essence, God would not be God. The qualities and perfections that belong to God are classified as His attributes. The sum total of God's attributes is His essence.
The Bible also clearly reveals that there are three Persons to whom all the attributes of divine essence belong. The Trinity, one God with three distinct personalities, is taught in Isa 48:16, MAT 28:19, 2CO 13:14, 1PE 1:12.
MAT 28:19 "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit."
The oneness of God refers to His essence. God is one in essence. This means that all the characteristics of divine essence are resident in each member of the Godhead. The attributes or essence of God belong to three Persons-God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, who are one God in essence.
Divine essence is the description of the characteristics which belong to all three members of the Godhead. The Bible does not seek to prove the essence of God; it simply assumes it to be true. In fact, the Bible teaches that only the fool denies His existence.
PSA 14:1 The fool has said in his heart, "There is no God."
The believer is totally dependent upon divine revelation in the Canon of Scripture to understand exactly what God is like, the nature and attributes of God, and what forms His divine substance or essence. At no point does the believer feel his limitations more than when confronted with the responsibility of accurately understanding the essence of God.
The essence of God rationale recognizes each attribute of God and applies that attribute to a crisis. This results in a doctrinal conclusion to control the situation because of who and what God is.
1SA 2:6-8 "The LORD kills and makes alive; He brings down to Sheol and raises up. The LORD makes poor and rich; He brings low, He also exalts. He raises the poor from the dust, He lifts the needy from the ash heap to make them sit with nobles, and inherit a seat of honor; for the pillars of the earth are the Lord's, and He set the world on them."
Righteousness: God is absolute holiness, and has perfect integrity. He can never be wrong. He is totally perfect in His attitudes, actions, and ways. (ISA 57:15)
ISA 57:15 For thus says the high and exalted One who lives forever, whose name is Holy, "I dwell on a high and holy place, and also with the contrite and lowly of spirit In order to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite."
Justice: God is fair, and has no part in partiality. Justice is the believer's point of contact with God. Justice is the source of grace (both blessing and discipline). (Deu 32:4, NEH 9:33, PSA 89:14, 2CH 19:7)
2CH 19:7 "Now then let the fear of the LORD be upon you; be very careful what you do, for the LORD our God will have no part in unrighteousness or partiality or the taking of a bribe."
Immutability: God is absolute stability. God never changes, and He is always faithful. He never gets weary or tired. He will not change His mind. He will always treat you the same way-in grace! (ISA 40:28; Psalm 33: 11; PSA 102:23-28; PSA 119:89-90; HEB 13:8)
PSA 119:89-90 Forever, O LORD, Your word is settled in heaven. Your faithfulness continues throughout all generations; You established the earth, and it stands.
Eternal Life: God always was and always will be. God has no beginning or end. He has given this same life to each believer. His provisions were given in eternity past. (EXO 3:13-14, PSA 90:1-6, JOH 3:36)
PSA 90:1-6 Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were born or You gave birth to the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God. You turn man back into dust and say, "Return, O children of men." For a thousand years in Your sight are like yesterday when it passes by, or as a watch in the night. You have swept them away like a flood, they fall asleep; in the morning they are like grass which sprouts anew. In the morning it flourishes and sprouts anew; toward evening it fades and withers away.
Veracity: God is perfect truth. He can never lie. He will always provide the exact truth we need to handle any situation in life. All His promises are fulfilled. (PSA 12:6, Joh 1:17, 8:30-32, 16:13, 17:17)
PSA 12:6 The words of the LORD are pure words; as silver tried in a furnace on the earth, refined seven times.
JOH 8:30-32 As He spoke these things, many came to believe in Him. So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, "If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free."
1JO 4:7-9 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him.
Love is a choice to do what is best for another person.
Isaiah 46:10 "Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things which have not been done, saying, 'My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all My good pleasure.'"
Omnipresence: God is everywhere-present. God is present through-out the universe (immanent), and He exists apart from the universe (transcendent). God is always with you. (PSA 73:23-24, JER 23:23-24, MAT 28:20)
JER 23:23-24 "Am I a God who is near," declares the LORD, "And not a God far off? Can a man hide himself in hiding places So I do not see him?" declares the LORD. "Do I not fill the heavens and the earth?" declares the LORD.
Omnipotence: God is all-powerful and limitless in ability. God has the power to do whatever He wants to. There is nothing in your life that He cannot handle.
JER 32:17 "Ah Lord GOD! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and by Your outstretched arm! Nothing is too difficult for You."
PSA 115:3 But our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases.
Every one of God's attributes gives us comfort and confidence when facing the trials of life.
· Sovereignty: The King of the universe, my "Dad," gave orders in eternity past to solve my problem.
· Righteousness: I have the righteousness of Christ, so God is "tripping over Himself" to bless me.
· Justice: The Supreme Court of Heaven is open for my business.
· Immutability: God will always be faithful to me.
· Eternal Life: Death has no more power over me.
· Veracity: I can count on God's Word setting me free.
· Love: The Creator of the universe loves me with a love too great for me to even comprehend.
· Omniscience: God knew all about these problems in eternity past.
· Omnipresence: God is right by my side.
· Omnipotence: My loving Father, who intensely desires to have the most intimate relationship with me, made this whole universe with a flick of His wrist. I am His child-enemies beware.
For a more detailed study, order last week's tapes, 1840 to 1842.