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Grace Bible Church
Robert R. McLaughlin Bible Ministries
The Tree of Life is a weekly teaching summary.
The Tree of Life from the week ending 11/23/08
I am communicating doctrine, I am not lying, my conscious bearing joint testimony with me in the Holy Spirit, but I have a great sorrow and constant pain in my right lobe, so I could wish that I myself would be accursed.  Consequently, separated from Christ, but it cannot be, for the sake of, or on behalf of my brethren, the racial Jews.  My fellow countrymen, national Jews. According to earthly descent, Who are Israelites, to whom is the adoption and as sons and the glory [that is the shekinah glory], and the covenants [or as wee will sees the unconditional covenants] and the gift of the law, and the worship of the true God, and the promises, which is of course, the manifestation of the integrity of God. Who are Israelites, to whom is the adoption, and the shekinah glory, and the covenants [and by now you know what those covenants are in some detail] and the deposit of the law, and the temple service [which means the service of God in the temples] and the promises, From whom [the Jews or Israelites] are the fathers, [the regenerate ancestors, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob], in fact, from whom is The Christ, the One who came in the flesh, the One who is God, ruler over all, extolled, praised, eulogized forever, Amen. However, this [the rejection of the Jews concerning their spiritual heritage] this [rejection] is not to imply as though the word of God has failed. For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel; neither are they all children because they are Abraham's descendants, but: "through Isaac your descendants will be named." That is, it is not the children of the flesh who are children of God, but the children of the promise are regarded as descendants. For this is a word of promise: "At this time I will come, and Sarah shall have a son." And not only this, but there was Rebekah also, when she had conceived twins by one man, our father Isaac; 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. (ROM 9:1-16).
This may seem to some people that God is unfair, and that He violates free will. Nothing could be further from the truth. Before we can go on in Romans 9, we need to understand the doctrine of the Theology of God's Perfect Plan. This doctrine explains why we were created, and why we are left here on earth after we have personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. It explains the real meaning of life.
Point one. Definition and Description.
The word theology comes from two Greek words, theo and logia, which meansthe study of God. Christian theology is simply an attempt to understand God as He is revealed in the Bible. No theology will ever fully explain God and His ways because God is infinitely and eternally higher than we are. Therefore, any attempt to describe Him will fall short.
Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! (ROM 11:33)
Have you ever seen anything like the extravagant generosity and riches of God? His wisdom, and the mystery of His will, His ways are way over our heads. We’ll never figure it out. Is there anyone around who can really explain God? Is there anyone smart enough to tell Him what to do? Everything comes from Him, everything happens through Him.
I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect or the mature status quo. For through the grace given to me I say to every man among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith. (ROM 12:1-3)
Stop thinking of self in terms of arrogance beyond what you ought to think, but think in terms of sanity for the purpose of being rational, and without illusions about yourself. To be conformed to this world refers to thought conformation, which is thinking human viewpoint. It has nothing to do with how you conduct your social life, how you dress or look. Transformation starts with what you think, and your renovation of thought, changing from human viewpoint to divine viewpoint. When we think of ourselves in terms of arrogance we only hurt ourselves. Everyone has some form of rationality, but it is usually related to an illusion of unrealistic expectations. The standard of thinking that we all need comes from doctrine. You have to learn doctrine in order to think divine viewpoint. Bible doctrine in the soul causes the believer to think in terms of common sense. This gives you rational divine viewpoint into your daily life, and you avoid living, and thinking, in the cosmic system. Doctrine in the soul replaces human viewpoint with divine viewpoint. As this happens, a new mental attitude is formed in the mind. Mental attitude is everything, it is the capacity for life.
Knowing about God is the most important knowledge to have. The study of theology is digging into God's Word to discover what He has revealed about Himself, His plans and His desires for us. When we do this, we come to know Him as Creator, Sustainer, and Judge of all things; The Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. To study theology is to get to know God, in order that we may glorify Him through our love, honor and respect, revealed by our obedience to Him and His plan for our lives. For we know that the Lord Jesus Christ not only controls human history, but the entire universe.
Point 2. The Essence of God Is Necessary to Understand the Theology of God’s Perfect Plan.
God is perfectly motivated, He has perfect rational, and God has never performed any deed of any kind that was not absolutely, totally and completely perfect in keeping with His perfect mentality, as well as His perfect motivation. That includes you and your life. No matter how things may appear in this life, no matter what you are going through personally, He has everything under control.
God exists in three persons, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and each person has identical attributes and qualities. Each member of the Godhead has the same amount of Sovereignty, Eternal life, Holiness, Integrity, Omniscience, Omnipotence, Omnipresence, and Immutability. They are co-equal and co-eternal. When they are regarded from the standpoint of their essence, God is said to be One. They are One in essence because each One has identical essence, and there was never a time in eternity past when this status quo did not exist.
The members of the Godhead perform certain functions. The first person of the Trinity is called the Father because He is the author of the divine plan for the human race. He is the One who is said to be sending the Son, and sending the Spirit. The second person is called the Son, because He is obedient to the Father, in the function of the divine plan, whether it is functioning as the Shekinah Glory in the presence of Israel in the Old Testament, or in Hypostatic-union in the New Testament. The third person of the Trinity is called God the Holy Spirit because He is never visible, never seen. His purpose is to reveal and glorify the Son in the dispensation of the Church-age. He performs certain dynamics and certain functions through indwelling, through the baptism of the Spirit, and through the sealing of the Spirit. Other various functions are assigned to God the Holy Spirit throughout the Word of God.
Do you see how awesome our God is? How can we ever be concerned about what mere man can do to us? "Behold, Thou hast made my days {as} handbreadths, And my lifetime as nothing in Thy sight, Surely every man at his best is a mere breath. Selah [rest on that]. Surely every man walks about as a phantom; Surely they make an uproar for nothing; He amasses {riches}, and does not know who will gather them (PSA 39:5b-6). Yet, people still don't have time to learn, and get to know the God Who is sovereign and above all.
In God, whose word I praise, In God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid. What can {mere} man do to me? (PSA 56:4)
It's important to understand that there are passages in the word of God which definitely refer to, and teach, the Trinity. "Listen to Me, O Jacob, even Israel whom I called; I am He, I am the first, I am also the last. Surely My hand founded the earth, And My right hand spread out the heavens; When I call to them, they stand together. Assemble, all of you, and listen! Who among them has declared these things? The Lord loves him; he shall carry out His good pleasure on Babylon, And His arm {shall be against} the Chaldeans. I, even I, have spoken; indeed I have called him, I have brought him, and He will make his ways successful. Come near to Me, listen to this: From the first I have not spoken in secret, From the time it took place, I was there. And now the Lord God has sent Me, and His Spirit" (ISA 48:12-16)
Does Isaiah 48:16 relate to the Trinity? Well, the first thing we want to do is find out who it is speaking back in verse 12."Listen to Me, O Jacob, even Israel whom I called; I am He, I am the first, I am also the last." Who is the first and the last, or the Alpha and Omega of Revelation? And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as a dead man. And He laid His right hand upon me, saying, "Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last" (REV 1:17). So we know who the speaker is; Jesus Christ, the Creator.
"Come near to Me, listen to this: From the first I have not spoken in secret, From the time it took place, I was there. And now the Lord God has sent Me, and His Spirit." (Isaiah 48:16">ISA 48:16)
There you have the whole Trinity. The Lord God, Yahweh, and the Holy Spirit. It's very important for us to uphold the doctrine of the Trinity. To deny the existence of the Trinity is a very serious doctrinal error in theology. There are many that deny the trinity, for example: Mormonism, Latter-day Saints, believe that God was once a man, but became God, and that men have the potential to become gods as well. The Jehovah's Witnesses believe that God is one person, Jehovah, and that Jesus was His first creation. They believe He is higher than the angels, but inferior to God. Christian Science believes that God is life, truth and love, and that Jesus, though not God, is the Son of God. Unification Church adherents believe that His mission on earth was not completed, and will be fulfilled through Sun yung Moon. To deny the Trinity means that you are either denying the existence of God the Father, the unique existence of the Son, or the unique existence of the Holy Spirit. To deny any of those is the ultimate in heresy.
Other passages you need to note: And after being baptized, Jesus went up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove, {and} coming upon Him, and behold, a voice out of the heavens, saying, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased" (MAT 3:16-17). All of them are there, present at the same time at the same scene.
However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. (ROM 8:9)
Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. And there are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. (1CO 12:4-6)
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all. (2CO 13:14)
There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all. (EPH 4:4-6)
According to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, that you may obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in fullest measure. (1PE 1:2)
In the language of the New Testament we have theos, used generally for the Father; pneuma, generally used for God the Holy Spirit; and Iesous Christos, used for the Son, and with that we also have Kurios as His title of royalty, battlefield royalty, His third title of royalty. None of the uses of the name of God, whether in the Old or the New Testament, in any way conflict with the concept of the unity and equality of the Godhead, or the oneness of God, nor the distinction of persons in the Godhead, the Father, the Son and the Spirit. The Bible does not seek to prove the existence of God; it simply assumes it to be true. In fact, the Bible teaches that only the fool denies the existence of God. The fool has said in his heart, There is no God.” (PSA 14:1).The Bible does clearly reveal that there are three to whom all the attributes of divine essence apply. Therefore, to deny the existence of the three members of the Trinity is to deny the credibility of scripture itself.
We must first of all recognize that man has certain limitations in dealing with the subject of God. There are only three ways that we learn things; three systems of perception: 1) Rationalism. 2) Empiricism. 3) Faith. Everything that you have learned in life has been through one of these systems of perception. Rationalism simply means that the mind and the IQ are the criterion for reality. This is perception through reason. Empiricism brings the sensory system into the picture, or perception through observation and experimentation. This is the scientific method. Reality in empiricism is what you smell, see, hear, taste, or feel. Faith is the means of perception which accepts an established truth as the basis of reality. To operate in faith there must be confidence or belief in the authority and truth of another. This doctrine of the Theology of God’s Perfect Plan by either rationalism or empiricism would inevitably result in rejection.
Who would you like to have plan your life? You say, you want to plan your own life, but you can’t really do that, because we don’t know what the future holds, and there’s no way we can plan for all the contingencies that may come our way. In some cultures, the parents plan out their children’s lives, in other cultures the government plans a person’s life. However, what if the all-good, all-loving, all-wise, wonderful God offered to plan your life for you. Well, God has!
How can you love someone unless you know them? Obviously you can’t. Therefore, knowing the characteristics of God will increase your love for Him. His sovereignty, eternal life, holiness, integrity, omniscience, omnipotence, omnipresence, and immutability. So, God is sovereign, God is supreme in rule, and He has authority over all things. There is no higher authority in the universe than God.
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 (1SA 2:6-8).
God is king of heaven and earth, eternal, infinite, and self-determining.
“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.’” (ISA 46:10)
The sovereign will of God for mankind is expressed entirely in one verse in the Bible, He desires all men to be saved and to come unto the epignosis knowledge of the truth (1TI 2:4). The very fact that all men are not saved, and that all believers do not come unto the epignosis knowledge of the truth reveals that although God is sovereign He will not violate or coerce human volition. This is a vital principle in recognizing Romans 9-11.
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