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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 06/17/07
What it means to be initiated into the secret of the mystery. Part 64.
The Doctrine of Supergrace. Part 5.
Once God begins to touch those who seek Him, He gives them an instinct to be united with Him as never before. This is a part ofPHI 4:5 which says, “Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near.” The phrase The Lord is near is actually a phrase of intimacy and refers to the fact that the Word of God is not just meant to be known; it’s meant to be applied to daily living. For example in ISA 55:1 “Ho! Every one who thirsts, come to the waters; And you who have no money come, buy and eat. Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.” Symbolically, this is about making the volitional decision to present ourselves to the real source of life. PHI 4:13 tells us how we do that, “I have the endowed power to attain all things, by means of the One [God the Holy Spirit], who keeps on pouring the power [the doctrine], into me.”
ISA 55:1 tells us we “buy wine and milk without money and without cost.” In the ancient world wine was used to clean wounds and help the healing process, whereas milk represented food and strength that is necessary for our physical bodies. So then, water, wine, and milk represent spiritual blessings which can only come from the Lord. ISA 55:2 “Why do you spend money for what is not bread, And your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, And delight yourself in abundance.” This actually deals with priorities. There are many couples who work, save, rarely spend or give, and take their annual vacations. When they return to work they continue their same cycle of life. They may like the life, but what’s the point? Their labor profits absolutely nothing as it relates to a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. Remember the parable of the rich man in LUK 12:16-22? Here, a certain rich man, a farmer, had a terrific crop. He had to build bigger barns to hold the abundant harvest. Then, proud of his supposed accomplishments, he said to himself, “well done” and he retired to enjoy the life of leisure he thought he had earned. But just then God showed up and said, “Fool! Tonight you die.” The farmer’s many barns full of goods were left for whomever. That's what happens when you fill your barns with self and not with God.
            ISA 55:3 “Incline your ear and come to Me. Listen, that you may live; And I will make an everlasting covenant with you, {According to} the faithful mercies shown to David.” We are to have positive volition, taking in the Word of God, and as a result of volitional action our souls shall live.The Lord is calling people to meet Him, to commune with Him, and their souls shall live! We are to meet God in the place of intimacy. So where is this place of intimacy? God shows up in the most interesting circumstances. He shows up at a time of brokenness, helplessness, hopelessness, and loneliness. God shows up in circumstances that human power cannot control. God shows up in circumstances where we have no power to change our condition. We learn God's intimacy in the midst of life's brutalities! In those brutal times, God reveals His policy towards people as in JER 31:3 “I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness.”
Intimacy is a close relationship, in a secret place, where silent, internal communication takes place. This is a grace benefit that the Lord provides; He provides the place of Intimacy. We need this place of Intimacy for the following reasons: 1) The place of intimacy is the only way we can commune with God and receive from the Holy Spirit (ROM 5:5). 2) Demons are assigned to us. Did you ever wonder why it seems that the attacks against us, as disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, are accurate and seemingly so effective? Remember that Satan was watching the Lord restore the earth and watching Him create us. Satan and his demons have observed us ever since. They know more about us than we know about ourselves. Furthermore, as the god of this age, Satan controls the world systems, and influences the people serving him in those systems. Always remember that whoever can influence us also has the ability to predict what we will do. Therefore, when demonic attacks occur, they are generally accurate, having some measure of success, even if only for a little while (MAT 4:1-11, 2CO 12:2-9, EPH 6:10-13, 1TH 2:18and 2TI 3:12). However, our meetings with God are conducted in the place of intimacy, in the privacy of our souls.
Intimacy is a personal, private relationship based on someone’s thorough knowledge of us, who loves us in spite of our faults and failures. This relationship brings rest in us, it brings strength and help for us, and it brings security. God's Intimacy is accomplished in a quiet way. It's God's Intimacy, not ours. He shares Himself with us, without cross examination or judgment. The only intimate place provided for us by God is in our own souls. Here's the practical application that God reveals to us by this picture of intimacy: HOS 2:14 “Therefore, behold, I will allure her and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably to her.” God, by inner power, draws a person who is the wretched of the earth; here it is a woman who knows only prostitution (slavery of her soul), and God says in effect, “Hosea, you can't change her condition; I must do this by drawing her with My power of love; I will bring her to a condition where I will have her full attention, and then I'll speak tenderly to her.” That's God; that's God’s policy and that's intimacy. The Wilderness is actually a circumstance, a condition that only God can remedy. The wilderness is a location with no life support, a place where only God can sustain life; that’s God’s intimacy. Note the intimacy revealed in 2KI 20:1-6. This is about one of God's most faithful Kings; the only faithful King in about 100 years. At the age of 38, this faithful servant of God was met by major shock: In Verse 1 “set your house in order; for you shall die, and not live.” Now note the intimacy provided for him by the Lord. Verse 2 “Then he (Hezekiah) turned his face to the wall, and prayed to the Lord.” This is the height of intimacy with the Lord. The Hebrew word for wall is Keer and it means a fortress, a secret room in the soul, a place of intimacy. That’s where the Lord met King Hezekiah, and that’s where the Lord meets us as believers. The only place of intimacy that God has provided for the believer is in our souls, and that's why Satan and his team cannot know what we think, what we are trusting God for, and what God is doing in us, because the action is in the soul, that place of intimacy. Every battle that a believer fights is fought in the soul. God's strategy is released in the soul of His people, the Place of intimacy. The Word of God is not only meant to be known, but it’s meant to be applied to the details of life, the pressures and persecutions of the enemy. In the ancient world, before the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, the Lord met His people in the temple, the Tent of Meeting; it was a location. In the Church-age we meet our Lord in our Temple, our souls.
So, in Hosea’s time, Israel had turned from Yahweh to worship Baal, the Canaanite god of fertility, fruitfulness, prosperity, and sex. The Lord told Hosea to marry a woman who would prove to be unfaithful to him so he could appreciate and communicate how the Lord felt about His wife's (Israel's) unfaithfulness to Him. Hosea also pointed out other sins that the Israelites needed to forsake: Violent crimes (4:2; 6:9; 12:1), political revolt (7:3-7), foreign alliances (7:11; 8:9), spiritual ingratitude (7:15), social injustice (12:7), and selfish arrogance (13:6). Hosea called for repentance, but he was not hopeful of a positive response because most of the people did not want to change. They did not want intimacy with their Savior. God's judgment would, therefore, descend in the form of infertility, military invasion, and exile. Hosea stressed the fact that God was perfectly just in sending judgment upon the Israelites. God would do it by making their punishments match their crimes. The prophet assured the Israelites that God would not abandon them completely, for after the judgment there would come salvation. Eventually the people would return to Yahweh.
            When God is intimate with His people, God suffers when His people are unfaithful to Him; this is an anthropopathism. God cannot condone sin, but God will never cease to love His own and, consequently, He seeks to win back those who have forsaken Him. So, the broken marriage covenant of Hosea and Gomer illustrated Israel's sin. In spite of Israel's unfaithfulness God remained faithful to her. The Israelites could expect severe punishment for breaking the covenant, but Israel would again enjoy gracious benefits from God including future restoration.
            HOS 2:1-7, “Say to your brothers, ‘Ammi,’ and to your sisters, ‘Ruhamah.’ Contend with your mother, contend, For she is not my wife, and I am not her husband; And let her put away her harlotry from her face, And her adultery from between her breasts, Lest I strip her naked And expose her as on the day when she was born. I will also make her like a wilderness, Make her like desert land, And slay her with thirst. Also, I will have no compassion on her children, Because they are children of harlotry. For their mother has played the harlot; She who conceived them has acted shamefully. For she said, ‘I will go after my lovers, Who give {me} my bread and my water, My wool and my flax, my oil and my drink.’ Therefore, behold, I will hedge up her way with thorns, And I will build a wall against her so that she cannot find her paths. And she will pursue her lovers, but she will not overtake them; And she will seek them, but will not find {them.} Then she will say, ‘I will go back to my first husband, For it was better for me then than now!’ For she does not know that it was I who gave her the grain, the new wine, and the oil, And lavished on her silver and gold, {Which} they used for Baal.”
So, God reveals to us His picture of Intimacy in Hosea 2:14, when he says “Therefore, behold, I will allure her and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably to her.” We have immediate access to God; we can and must pour out our joys, fears, needs, thanksgiving and our cries for help to God in our souls; that’s intimacy. Note what the Lord commanded Hosea to do in HOS 14:2 “Take with you words and turn to the Lord.” The Hebrew word for word is dhavar, and here it means, “Come to Me with a case, make a case for yourself.” God advises us to come to Him with words. This is praying with purpose, to appeal to the Supreme Court of Heaven. In the place of intimacy, our souls, we are heard by God. He is there with us, not in judgment, but in intimacy. That's why we read HEB 4:14-16, “Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need.” Intimacy with God is a powerful asset.
            As we continue in the plan of God and with the life of God, we will discover that there is something within us that causes us to realize that we have not been created for the amusement or the meaningless vanities of this world. A common problem believers face after they have tasted the grace and the love of God for a period of time is losing their intimacy with God and become dry; they lose their first love. Remember, REV 2:2-4, “I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot endure evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false; and you have perseverance and have endured for My name's sake, and have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have left your first love.”
            There are two ways that we respond, or react, to dryness or lack of spiritual intimacy. One is to lose heart and go back to the ways of the world, 2PE 2:22 It has happened to them according to the true proverb, “A dog returns to its own vomit, and, A sow, after washing, returns to wallowing in the mire.” The other way is to instinctively know that the dryness is from the Lord and therefore, continue to follow after Him, even in those dry places. You see, the near grace, or the greater grace, which the Lord gives is given in order to draw us after Him. This type of believer has his source from the Lord. Nothing stops him; he runs with a boldness. He fulfills PHI 4:5 “Let your supergrace mental attitude be known to all men. The Lord is near.” The types of individuals described in this verse have an extraordinary relationship with divine providence. The events that come into their life may be extreme and violent at times, but it doesn't matter because they have learned to become immune to those events. They do not let anyone or anything take away their happiness that they have with God. 1CO 2:14-15, “But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no man.” The only one that really knows you is God! In fact, you don't even know yourself as well as you think that you do. This is why David said PSA 19:12Who can understand his errors? Acquit me of hidden faults.” Paul said in 1CO 4:4 “For I am conscious of nothing against myself, yet I am not by this acquitted; but the one who examines me is the Lord.”
Often this seeking Christian desiring intimacy with the Lord will discover on his own, in astonishment, surprise and delight, that he has within his own self the very treasure he was seeking. This is when the believer discovers that prayer does not have to be a costly and boring thing, and he rejoices in his newfound liberty. He goes deep within himself and there he finds the Lord. He finds an indescribable delight that carries him forward in the spiritual life. PHI 4:6-7, Stop worrying about anything, but in every circumstance through prayer and through supplication for personal needs after thanksgivings let your requests or petitions be revealed to the God. In fact, that spiritual peace and prosperity from the source of the God, which surpasses or rises above and beyond all comprehension, shall garrison your hearts [right lobes] also your motivation minds in Christ Jesus.” This is just the beginning of a deeper teaching on the spiritual life. In fact, even as enjoyable as this state would appear, the believer is dealing with something with which he is not well-acquainted. He is filled with more spiritual enthusiasm and love. At times, he feels that he is in some type of paradise. He has found within him something greater than all the pleasures of the earth, and his love increases from day to day. Everything that burdened him now is meaningless. However, even in this stage there will be periods of dryness, but this does not cause him to fall backward, but to move forward in the spiritual life. He is content and is enjoying his relationship with the Lord and is enjoying those things he believes to be from the Lord. There will be level spots ahead where things will see to get mundane. However, if you continue to go forward in the PPOG, be sure, there are tests up ahead. Don't mistake times of rest as being unprofitable times. When God gives you times of rest, it's wise to build (2CH 14:7).
So, Ultra-Supergrace is the most advanced stage of spiritual maturity related to time, history, and the angelic conflict. Once the believer breaks the maturity barrier through the daily metabolization of doctrine, he moves into three different spheres of maturity. 1) Supergrace A is a period of rest and relaxation, receiving the basic elements of blessings for reaching spiritual maturity. 2) Supergrace B is the period of crossing no man's land, where the believer receives the greatest attacks by reversionistic believers. 3) Ultra-Supergrace is the quintessence of maturity. In ultra-Supergrace, the believer receives maximum opposition from the Satanic forces of evil, which only intensifies his Supergrace blessings. Once God begins to touch those who seek Him, He gives that believer an instinct to be united with Him as never before.
            In ultra-Supergrace, the believer receives maximum opposition from the Satanic forces of evil, which only intensifies his Supergrace blessings. This opposition is the highest decoration the believer can receive from God. And these decorations indicate great future blessings in eternity. The mature believer in ultra-Supergrace must get use to the idea that blessing doesn't always mean lack of pressure (1PE 3:12-14; 1PE 4:12-14).
The Eternal Decorations of the ultra-Supergrace Believer: 1) The crown or wreath of life (JAM 1:12; REV 2:10). 2) The crown of righteousness (2TI 4:7-8). 3) The crown of glory (1TH 2:19-20; 1PE 5:4; PHI 4:1).
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