GRACE BIBLE CHURCH
Robert R. McLaughlin Bible Ministries
The Tree of Life is a weekly teaching summary.
From the week ending 9/12/04
The Doctrine of Spiritual Metabolism. Part 3
2 Peter 3:10-18
Point 8: The Biblical Warnings Concerning the Rejection of Spiritual Metabolism.
Virtually every doctrine includes a set of warnings. 1TH 5:19 commands us, “Do not quench the Spirit.” You quench the Holy Spirit when you allow the sin nature to control the soul; this is caused by stress in the soul producing sin, by false doctrine in the soul, or by using defensive mechanisms instead of the problem-solving devices. In this state, you have no divine power at your disposal, and you need the recovery of the power of the Holy Spirit, EPH 4:30,“Furthermore, stop grieving the Holy Spirit, the God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”
Spirituality (the filling of the Holy Spirit) is the link from salvation to spiritual maturity. The journey from salvation to maturity requires the daily metabolization of Bible doctrine under the filling of the Holy Spirit. We can lose the filling of the Spirit through sin (grieving the Spirit), but we can never lose the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, JOH 14:16.
Inasmuch as God the Holy Spirit has certain specific relationships with members of the human race, there are certain ways in which man sins specifically against the Holy Spirit. Since the human race is divided into two categories based upon attitude toward Jesus Christ, the sins against the Holy Spirit are divided the same way. The sins committed by the unbeliever against the Holy Spirit are committed in the status of spiritual death.
·Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, MAT 12:14 32. Believers cannot commit blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. In fact, this sin could only be committed during the dispensation of the Hypostatic Union. This sin was the rejection of the signs, miracles, and person of the Messiah.
Resistance of the Holy Spirit, Acts 7:51, “You men who are stiff necked and uncircumcised in your right lobes and ears [they heard and rejected common grace], you are always resisting the Holy Spirit; you are doing what your ancestors did.” Resistance of the Holy Spirit is rejection of Jesus Christ by the unbeliever during the course of human history. To the unbeliever, the Holy Spirit acts as a human spirit in order to make the Gospel real, 1CO 2:14. Therefore, the unbeliever resists by rejecting Gospel information. Resistance of the Holy Spirit includes three stages of negative volition.
– Negative volition at the point of Gospel hearing.
– Negative volition at the point of the divine call.
– Negative volition at the point of salvation opportunity through faith.
– Then we have the three sins of the believer against the Holy Spirit.
·- Lying to the Holy Spirit, Acts 5:3.
·- Grieving the Holy Spirit, EPH 4:30.
·- Quenching the Holy Spirit, 1TH 5:19.
Lying against the Holy Spirit is inordinate ambition and inordinate competition in the spiritual realm, and a perfect example is found in Act 5. A man named Ananias and his wife Sapphira, controlled by their approbation lust, sold a piece of property and gave a portion of the money to the Apostle Peter for the church. However, they claimed that the money they gave was the entire price for which they sold the property! The problem was not that they kept some of the money, but after seeing Barnabas selling his property and giving the entire sum to the church, they wanted to give the impression that they were doing the same. The Supreme Court of Heaven dealt with both of them on an individual basis, and they both dropped dead. At this point, they were the worst enemies of the Church, not because they didn’t give enough, but because they were hypocrites.
Grieving the Holy Spirit is failure to rebound and self fragmentation from sins in soul and trends toward legalism or antinomianism, and includes the early stages of Christian degeneracy. However, no matter how low a believer sinks into sin, he always has the choice to rebound and learn doctrine.
– Quenching the Holy Spirit occurs in different of battles in the soul:
– Stress in the soul (little or no problem-solving devices).
– The old sin nature controlling the soul (human good and dead works).
– False doctrine in the soul.
Quenching the Spirit is the entrance into the final stages of Christian degeneracy, i.e., blackout of the soul, scar tissue of the soul, and the total collapse of the believer. It is perpetual living inside Cosmic 2 (antagonism toward God and His Word). This believer is under the influence of evil and produces only human good, as he is locked into moral or immoral degeneracy.
Point 9: Spiritual Metabolism Related to the Communion Service.
In JOH 6:35 our Lord said, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me shall not hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.” The phrase “I am” (ego eimi) is the first of the seven I am titles of Christ found in the Gospel of John. These titles refer back to God appearing to Moses in the burning bush and sending him to Egypt (Exo 3). The Lord’s use of these titles at once identifies Him with Jehovah of the Old Testament, and unequivocally demonstrates His absolute deity. “Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died” (JOH 6:49).
The manna did not prevent their physical death; however, the new manna will prevent spiritual death (for the unbeliever in salvation), and temporal death (for the believer after salvation). Spiritual death is the penalty of sin, and was so given as the warning to our original parents in the garden, GEN 2:17, “Dying you will die.” Spiritual death is separation from God forever.
Living in the cosmic system is temporal or cosmic death (no spiritual life in time). The manna from heaven, whether faith in Christ for the unbeliever or spiritual metabolism for the believer, delivers us from death, JOH 6:49-50, “Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread [a reference to His person] which comes down out of heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die.” When we celebrate the Lord’s Supper, we are told in 1CO 11:26, “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.”
Our Lord goes on in JOH 6:51, “I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he shall live forever; and the bread also which I shall give for the life of the world is My flesh.” The Lord Jesus Christ alone can satisfy the soul and fill the void in every human heart. This satisfaction begins at salvation but finds its fulfillment in spiritual metabolism, eating the Word of God. If we are to derive physical nourishment and energy from food, we must eat. This analogy is even of greater importance in the spiritual realm; we must know the truth. Speculating or talking about it will do us no good. We must perceive it, 2PE 3:18, have it metabolized by God the Holy Spirit, ROM 12:2, and apply to our lives, JAM 1:22. Eating means responding to a necessary need; we have the need for physical food to sustain us physically and the need for spiritual food to sustain us spiritually. Eating is always a personal act; it is something no one else can do for us.
We can respect the wonderful person of our Lord, admire His perfect life, be touched by His unselfishness and tenderness and compassion, and moved to tears at the sight of Him dying on the cross. However, it is not until we abide in Him through His Word, and live with Him as He lived, that we experience His life-His truth that sets us free.
This principle of the “bread of life” correlates with the great central theme of the Gospel in JOH 1:14, “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” Our Lord is the living bread, which has come down from heaven. The world passes away and vanishes, but the food which comes down from above will endure forever. For the unbeliever the bread of life, or the manna from heaven, is the person of the Lord Jesus Christ, ACT 16:31, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you shall be saved.” For believers it is Bible doctrine, the mind of Christ, 1CO 2:16.
God has promised to give His people shepherds to feed them, Jer 3:15, PSA 119:103, HEB 5:14, JOH 21:15-17. InJOH 21:15-17 we read, “So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?’ He said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.’ He said to him, ‘Tend My lambs.’ [The Greek noun arnion refers to lambs, therefore analogous to the new believers.] He said to him again a second time, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love Me?’ He said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.’ He said to him, ‘Shepherd My sheep.'” [The Greek verb poimaino means to rule or “clobber,” which is necessary for believers who have a little doctrine and think they have a lot.] He said to him the third time, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love Me?’ Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, ‘Do you love Me?’ And he said to Him, ‘Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Tend My sheep.’ [The verb bosko is a command to prudently feed the humble sheep, the mature believers.]“
The point is that eating His flesh has to do with believing upon Him for the unbeliever and metabolizing His Word for the believer. He is the Passover Lamb that the Jews celebrated. As JOH 1:29 says, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”
Point 10: The Conclusion. When a believer lacks spiritual metabolism, he lacks spiritual energy and therefore has no momentum in the Christian life. The average believer turns to a substitute system of human power manifested by various systems of pseudo-spirituality.
· Personality imitation. This is a misunderstanding of passages such as 1CO 4:16, “I exhort you therefore, be imitators of me”; or 1CO 11:1, “Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.” In both verses, the Greek noun mimetes means a follower of the doctrine being taught, not the personality of the teacher!
· Superficial mannerisms. In 2TI 3:5 Paul warns us about those who are “holding to a superficial form of the spiritual life [eusebeia], although they have denied its power; and avoid such men as these.” In religion, mannerisms of dress, especially wearing dull colors, is considered spiritual, and bright, attractive clothing is thought to be worldly. The scriptures do not forbid a particular style of clothing; they simply instruct us that true beauty resides in the soul, not in our appearance, as in 1PE 3:3.
There are all kinds of personalities in the Christian life and each is designed by God for its own purpose. The spiritual life does not demand that we all act a certain way. God has provided for every believer his very own spiritual life with a uniform set of principles and divine mandates, and the means of glorifying Him. The spiritual life is not a uniform personality. There are changes that will occur in you as a result of your growth, but there is no mold into which you can be forced. No one has the right to bully you into changing your personality.
· Clichés and “holy” language.
– Program Christianity·
– The works of the flesh.
– Change of behavior pattern.
· “Yielding” (a misunderstanding of the English translation of ROM 6:13,16,19 in the King James Bible). This is trying to be spiritual through rededicating oneself or making vows.
– Self-crucifixion-denying yourself anything enjoyable.
– Prohibition-no drinking, no smoking, etc.
– Relativity-comparing oneself with others, as in 2CO 10:12.
The Bible says be care of those who have a morbid interest in controversial questions and disputes about words, out of which arise envy, strife, abusive language, and evil suspicions, 1TI 6:4.
To advance to spiritual maturity, we need divine energy, which requires diligence, 2PE 3:14, “Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless.” The verb translated“be diligent” is the Greek word spoudazo, which means to labor, to make a constant effort, and to study. 2PE 3:15-16 continues, “And regard the patience of our Lord to be salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you [this indicates the tremendous spiritual growth of Peter, who had been rebuked by Paul in Jerusalem], as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction.” Ignorant believers distort doctrinal teaching; they create major issues out of something inconsequential, MAT 23:24, “You blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!”
Peter has established his premise in 2PE 3:11-14, “Since all these things [the earth and its works] are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct, looking for [looking forward] and hastening the coming of the day of God, on account of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat! But according to His promise [life in the eternal state] we are looking forward with confidence for new heavens and a new earth, in which perfect righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, since we are looking forward with confidence for these things, be diligent [self-motivated] to be found by Him [at the Judgment Seat of Christ] in peace [a state of tranquility and prosperity], spotless [the execution of the spiritual life] and blameless [no embarrassment for lost opportunity].” This passage emphasizes the futility and vanity of living for the things in this life, which will all be destroyed in God’s timing, and that is why the Lord Jesus Christ Himself said in LUK 9:25, “For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses [forfeits] himself?”
Peter then continues in 2PE 3:17, “You therefore, beloved [all believers are loved by God, winners and losers alike], knowing this beforehand be on your guard” The word “beloved” is agapetos, which indicates the tremendous privileges that belong to us as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. The verb proginosko means to know in advance. This refers to doctrines which you have previously learned and metabolized. You will never be on your guard and have a doctrinal warning system in your soul until you metabolize the necessary doctrine. What endures the destruction of the universe establishes the true eternal values of life and the highest priorities you should have as a member of the Royal Family. Metabolized doctrine will give you permanent values, with all other values subservient to or complaint with them. This is a command to be alert and have proper discernment concerning cosmic Christianity. This means to be alert with loved ones, friends, and others who influence you, people whom you admire. Before we can have fulfilling relationships with people, we must have a right relationship with God.
We must ignore public opinion and go against the herd, MAT 7:13. Following God’s plan is going to put you in the minority. REV 12:9 tells us all we need to know about the majority: “And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world.”
Metabolized doctrine produces objectivity in our friendships and relationships with others, 2PE 3:17, “You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard lest, being carried away by the error of unprincipled men, you fall from your own steadfastness.” The Greek verb sunapago means to be seduced, to be carried away in a friendly, congenial way, i.e., by someone you trust or admire. In Eph 4:14, they lie in wait to deceive, and they do not even know they are under deception. The word “error” is plané, which means deceit. It is very easy for us to be deceived by those whom we love. The word for “fall,” ekpipto, means to drift off course, therefore failing in your responsibility as a believer-priest. “Steadfastness” is sterignos, meaning a secure position or a firm hold-your support system. When you drift off course from your support system, the inevitable result is failure to overcome the enemy and execute God’s plan.
2PE 3:18 gives us the means of protecting ourselves from the influence of satanic evil, and the deadly trap of subjectivity: “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.” Verse 17 deals with the warning against cosmic Christianity, and verse 18 deals with the defense against cosmic Christianity-grow, increase, and progress in grace and knowledge. Your soul must be drawn toward God with stronger force than it is drawn toward people you love. And this is only possible through metabolized doctrine.