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Robert R. McLaughlin Bible Ministries
The Tree of Life is a weekly teaching summary.
The Tree of Life from the week ending 08/12/07
The Doctrine of Motivation & Introduction to the Divine Decrees.
Motivation is a great principle in the Christian way of life. During the depression years, there were many people who had at least one college degree who found themselves without a job, and in dire circumstances. These people would therefore have to get a job dishwashing, or being a busboy or pumping gas, and often these people were told they were over-qualified for the job. This is an erroneous concept, of course, and has certainly destroyed a great deal of capacity for life for many. If you are starving you are never overqualified for any job. You are motivated to make enough money to stay alive during some financial crisis. So the term over-qualification has become a common term, but what it really means is lack of motivation. No one is over-qualified for anything if their motivation is correct. None of us are over-qualified in the Plan of God, because none of us can ever learn enough Bible doctrine. After all we are left here in order to advance to maturity, in order to receive the imputation of divine blessing from the justice of God, to the imputed righteousness of God.
            This has led us to take a look at the Doctrine of Motivation. Motivation is not only what makes people tick, but it will be the basis for the evaluation of your life at the judgment seat of Christ. 2CO 5:10 “We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or worthless.” In 1CO 3:13 “Each man's work will become evident; for the day will show it, because it is to be revealed with fire; and the fire itself will test the quality of each man's work.”
Point 1. Definition.
            A) Motivation is what is located inside the individual's soul impelling or inciting action. Everything you do in life has some type of motivation behind it even if it's from the subconscious. B) Motivation is the mental and/or the emotional incentive or impulse. Mental attitude is not emotional. You can do things that you don't feel like doing, but you do it because your mental attitude says it is the right thing to do, and that is proper motivation. You do not have to feel like doing something in order for it to be genuine or to produce divine good. JAM 4:17Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do, and does not do it, to him it is sin.” Mental attitude is the key to motivation, not feelings or emotions. C) A motive is any thought which determines a choice or induces action. Proper motivation can encourage, influence, or convince an individual to do what is right. However, doing what is right is not the ultimate purpose; it is the motivation which is most significant. PRO 16:2 “All the ways of a man are clean in his own sight, But the Lord weighs the motives.” D) As a part of motivation we have inducement which is an attractive consideration held out to persuade. It is something within that helps bring about an action or the desired result. E) There is also impulse which is an involuntary feeling prompting to act. Many people do things based upon an impulse which is a sudden wish or urge that promotes a certain act or feeling. That's not necessarily good, but it is still a part of motivation. That's why if you have an urge or a feeling to do something, you should check into the word of God and receive divine guidance from Bible doctrine. Peter had an impulse to try to stop the Lord from going to Jerusalem where he would suffer (MAT 16:21-23). Peter had a sincere impulse, but he was sincerely wrong. F) Therefore, motivation is a mental state or emotional force which induces an act of volition. The Lord will test your motivation even if it's from the emotions, PSA 7:9 “For the righteous God tests the right lobes and the emotions [reins].” G) Motivation is the design or object one has in any action; it is one's intention or purpose. This is important because in 1CO 4:5 we read, “Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, {but wait} until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of {men's} hearts; and then each man's praise will come to him from God.”
            So, our motivation or reasons for why we do what we do, give what we give, serve how we serve, learn what we learn, will be evaluated. In the Christian life, the believer is either motivated by Bible doctrine in the soul, and the filling of the Holy Spirit, which produces personal love for God, or by the lust pattern of the old sin nature and Satan's cosmic system which produces good and evil. This is why JAM 4:3 says, “You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your lusts.” Your attitude toward doctrine and spiritual growth determines proper motivation.
Point 2. The Word of God is the critic of motivation (HEB 4:12).
            Doctrine judges your motivation. As you sit and listen to doctrine, there are certain areas of your life where doctrine hits you right between the eyes. This is because the Bible is a book that is alive and active, it is said to be sharper than any two-edged sword. HEB 4:12 “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge,” Our Lord said it another way in JOH 6:63“It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.”Now, as a result of the Word of God being living and active, it does two things, and it works for two reasons. If you look closely at verse 12 you will see the things that it does and at verse 13, the reason why it works! First, what does it do? In verse 12, itpierces; this is the Greek word diikneomai, and it means to cut through. The Word of God cuts through the garbage, confusion, excuses, rationalization, and it cuts through the tradition. Notice how far it pierces, as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow. This means to the innermost intimacies of man's being, the human soul and the human spirit. The second thing that God's word does: It judges! We get the word critic from the Greek word kritikos which here is translatedjudge. The word means to critique, judge, discern, or to evaluate. The word of God will critique, judge, discern and evaluate your intentions and motivations in life. In fact, our Lord said this in JOH 12:47-48, “And if anyone hears My doctrines, and does not guard them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. He who rejects Me, and does not receive My doctrines, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day.”
            What is it about God's word that regardless of culture, age, sex, or circumstance, when it is learned and believed, it works? HEB 4:13 “And there is no creature hidden from His sight, all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.” It works because it is universal in scope; no one is hidden from God's sight. He knows everything about us including our innermost secrets, all the skeletons in our closet, and all the mistakes we are going to make for the rest of our life. When God deals with a subject all things are exposed. Secondly, it is limitless in exposure. God's two-edged sword reveals the thoughts of the heart and the motivation behind our actions. It is able to go beyond the action to the very motive. God is able to expose and reveal to us the true meaning behind our thoughts, our words, and our actions, that is, if we would simply listen to His truths.
Point 3. Evil is the source of anti-Christian motivation.
            PSA 21:11 “Though they were motivated to do evil against Thee, and devised a plot, They will not succeed.”Speaking of the Exodus generation 1CO 10:5-6 says, “Nevertheless, with most of them God was not well-pleased; for they were laid low [the sin unto death] in the desert. Now these things happened as examples for us, that we should not crave evil things, as they also craved.” There is false motivation. Our Lord brought out evil motivation in MAR 7:14-23 as well.
Point 4. False motivation hinders spiritual growth.
            There are a lot of people who do the right thing, but they do it in the wrong way, with false motivation. They give, serve, pray, learn, they even apply what they learn, but they do it with false motivation. PHI 2:14Keep on doing all things without sullen discontent [without pouting] or argumentations [which undermine authority].” If you're going to reach the different stages of spiritual growth, advance in the Christian way of life, you must do it under the authority of your right pastor, without argumentations which undermine that authority. JOB 17:11 which describes Job in reversionism says, “My days are past, my motivations are torn apart, Even the desires of my right lobe.” False motivation hinders spiritual growth; this means a good deed may be promoted by a bad motive.
Point 5. Divine motivation is the grace of God as seen in the Predesigned Plan of God (ROM 8:28; ROM 9:11; EPH 1:11; EPH 3:11; 2TI 1:9). 
            It is described by the Greek word prothesis. Grace and impersonal love are the motivators of the essence of God, while justice is the action of the essence of God. All correct motivation is related to prothesis and God's Predesigned Plan of grace. All divine motivation is epitomized by the one word, grace.
Point 6. The great issue in spiritual giving is motivation.
            2CO 9:7 “Let each one do just as he has purposed in his heart [been motivated in his right lobe]; not grudgingly or under compulsion; for God loves a cheerful or a joyful giver.”
Point 7. For the mature believer, God turns evil motivation into grace blessing (GEN 50:20, DEU 23:5).
            DEU 23:5“but the LORD your God turned the curse into a blessing for you because the LORD your God loves you.”
            GEN 50:20 “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.”
Point 8. The motivation of the mature believer is often maligned (EXO 17:3). No one has been more maligned than Moses who was a mature believer with great humility and great motivation. EXO 17:3 “But the people thirsted there for water; and they complained against Moses and said, ‘Why, now, have you brought us up from Egypt, to kill us and our children and our cattle with thirst?”’ There was nothing wrong with Moses' motivation, but everything wrong with those who criticized Moses' motivation. They did so because Moses was a constant challenge to their pride until finally their pride blew up and triggered the mechanism of jealousy, vindictiveness, implacability. All of this was filed into the soul where they combined with evil, and this explains all of the maligning that came in the direction of Moses.
            Having looked at motivation, we are now begin our study of Romans chapter 9. ROM 9:1-6, “I am telling the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit, that I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh, who are Israelites, to whom belongs the adoption as sons and the glory and the covenants and the giving of the Law and the temple service and the promises, whose are the fathers, and from whom is the Christ according to the flesh, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen. But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel;”  Then in ROM 9:11-26, “for though the twins were not yet born, and had not done anything good or bad, in order that God's purpose according to His choice might stand, not because of works, but because of Him who calls, it was said to her, “The older will serve the younger.” Just as it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.” What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be! For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I raised you up, to demonstrate My power in you, and that My name might be proclaimed throughout the whole earth.” So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires. You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?” On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, “Why did you make me like this,” will it? Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use, and another for common use? What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? And He did so in order that He might make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory, even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles. As He says also in Hosea, “I will call those who were not My people, 'My people,' And her who was not beloved, 'beloved.’” And it shall be that in the place where it was said to them, 'You are not My people,’ There they shall be called sons of the living God.”
            We have come to that section of the Word of God where we must learn certain doctrines which are pertinent to our application to life on a daily basis. We are here to glorify God. We are also to have capacity and an enjoyment for life. We are here to find the true meaning and purpose and definition of life, as it relates to being a member of the Royal Family of God, and therefore a stranger in cosmos diabolicous. We are left here for many reasons, which demand that we learn, understand, and apply Bible doctrine. We will approach this from the standpoint of the doctrine of the Divine Decrees, for this is the secret to the interpretation of Romans chapter 9. We will see how the omniscience of God is one of several attributes that must be understood. It is also a part of God’s knowledge. God’s eternal knowledge of Himself is the first category, omniscience is the second, and foreknowledge is the third. Billions of years ago in eternity past, the omniscience of God knew every thought, every freewill decision, and every action of every person who would ever live. All of this was fed into a giant computer if you will, which is actually categorized theologically by two things. The first is Divine Decrees, and the second is foreordination. Only facts, which we call actualities, were fed into this computer. That means the actual decisions. Now, there were many probabilities which were not included. These are the things, events, etc. that could have happened, but did not. While the omniscience of God knows the result of all of the probabilities that could ever be, nevertheless, they were not entered into the computer. Only true facts were entered, then these facts, of course, must be categorized. For example, we have believers and unbelievers in history. The omniscience of God therefore has facts about the believer in the computer. So we get a printout that we call election. We get another printout called foreknowledge; this is a part of the perfect Plan of God. Then we have, of course, another printout, which comes from foreordination, which we simply call predestination. There is also the printout called justification. We have many printouts regarding the believer. None of these printouts have anything to do with the unbeliever. The unbeliever is never said to be elected or foreknown. The unbeliever is not predestined to heaven, nor is he predestined to hell, he’s not said to be justified or sanctified, for those printouts are for the believer only, and they are stored in this computer of Divine Decrees. There are many printouts concerning the unbeliever: Condemnation, reprobation, judgment and so on. These are for the unbeliever only. This is only one of many categories of this printout of information from the Divine Decrees, and therefore this computer of Divine Decrees contains all of the facts and all of the information of history.
So, let's begin the subject of the doctrine of divine decrees.
Point 1. Definition and description.
The decree of God refers to His eternal (always existed), Holy (perfect integrity), wise (the application of omniscience to creation), and sovereign purpose, comprehending simultaneously all things that ever were or will be in their causes, conditions (status), successions (interaction with others that leads to certain
decisions), relations, and determining the certainty of their future.
This definition begins by expressing the source of the decrees which is found in the word "comprehending" referring to the omniscience of God. The definition emphasizes that the omniscience of God knew simultaneously in eternity past everything that would happen in human history (the thought, action, and decision of every person in his life). Furthermore, the omniscience of God knew everything in relation to all of the things pertaining to it. So that the several contents of this one eternal purpose are, because of the limitations of our faculties, necessarily perceived by us in partial aspects and logical relations (from Scripture). Therefore, we classify the decrees as being plural, but in reality it is all one decree.
            While all of this will be technical, it is very important for you to understand this because, while it is technical, it is a reminder to you that billions and billions of years ago before man existed God had you personally in mind. EPH 1:3-6, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. Or EPH 1:11 “also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will,” EPH 3:11 says, “This was in accordance with the eternal purpose which He carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord,”
            So, the decrees of God are His eternal and immutable will regarding the future existence of all events which will happen in time and the precise manner and order of their occurrence. The term decrees means the eternal plan by which God has rendered certain all of the events of the universe (angelic history, human history) past, present, and future. So the decrees of God are the chosen and adopted plan of God for all of His works. The decrees of God are His eternal purpose according to the counsels of His own will whereby for His own glory He has foreordained whatever comes to pass.
2TI 1:8-9, “Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, or of me His prisoner; but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity,”
            The decrees are the all-inclusive will and purpose of God concerning all that ever was or ever will be, which originates wholly within Himself. The fact that our life hangs by a fine thread for His glory, and His satisfaction, ought to cause all believers to take their calling and election seriously.
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