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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 07/01/07
What it means to be initiated into the secret of the mystery. Part 65.
The Doctrine of Supergrace. Part 6.
Phi 4:1 “Therefore, my beloved brethren [members of the Royal Family of God] whom I desire to see or be with, my source of happiness and wreath of glory, so stand firm [be advancing not retreating] in the Lord, my beloved. PHI 4:4-8, “Keep on having perfect happiness by means of the Lord at all times; Once more I repeat the command, keep on having perfect happiness. Let your supergrace mental attitude be known to all men. The Lord is near. 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. From now on, members of the Royal Family of God, whatever is true [doctrinal], whatever is honorable [noble or worthy of respect], whatever is just [fair or right], whatever is pure [of proper motivation],whatever personal loves exist, whatever is commendable, if there is any virtue [and there is for the mature believer says the first class condition] and if anything worthy of praise [also a first class condition], be concentrating on these things.” In PHI 4:10 “Now, I have received much inner happiness by means of the Lord greatly, that now at length you have revived your concern or thinking for me; indeed, you also were thinking about me, but you lacked the opportunity to express it.”PHI 4:13I have the endowed power [maximum doctrine resident in the soul], to attain all things [ultra-supergrace and dying grace], By means of the One, God the Holy Spirit who keeps on pouring the power, the doctrine into me.”
The apostle Paul is no man's land, between Supergrace and ultra-supergrace, and what makes him happy is positive volition, especially the positive volition of the Philippians. Anyone who grows and advances spiritually under the ministry of a pastor-teacher becomes a source of happiness for that pastor. When a pastor has gone to Supergrace and then on to ultra-Supergrace, nothing makes him happier than to have his congregation follow him by consistent intake of Bible doctrine. The true pastor-teacher has a different source of happiness than anyone else; his happiness must be related to believers who respond to his doctrinal teaching; all other forms of happiness must be totally secondary. Paul has continued in the PPOG and therefore has moved away from the majority who quit by coming up with all sorts of excuses why they do not continue with a dedication to the plan of God. Paul is on his way to the next objective; he has cracked the maturity barrier himself. He has regrouped in Supergrace, and now he's out crossing that no man's land to the next objective, ultra-Supergrace, and he is telling the Philippians to follow him. The congregation must do this by fulfilling the verb steko which means to stand firm, to be stabilized, to persevere, to persist, especially under pressure.
            Paul is commanding them to advance to ultra-Supergrace and not to retreat into reversionism. No man's land has a lot of dangers that could cause a person to move into reversionism. This is when you become apathetic concerning the plan of God. You become indifferent, uninterested, impassive, unconcerned, detached, dispassionate, concerning the plan of God. It is fair to say that the church of Jesus Christ in our country today has experienced a great amount of instability. From the leadership on down it tends to be an unstable because even its own leaders do not seem to be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. The Church tends to pursue stability in areas where it does not exist, such as loving the things of the world and the ways of the world. We can concede the assumption that the Church will be under attack. The Lord Jesus Christ said it in JOH 16:33 “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” This is a hostile world, and a hostile devil, and if you're a grace-oriented believer, you will be in conflict. The scriptures warn us that we must be watchful. There is the world, which we call the cosmic system, with all of its allurements that endeavor to entice the believer. We are always under assault. In our personal lives there will be times of persecution and even severe trials. Subtle persecution in our society sometimes is more difficult than that which is not so subtle. In a society where being a Christian costs you your life, or you a prisoner, or shuts you off from society all together, that's cut and dry. In some ways that might even be easier to maintain that testimony, than in our society where many want the world’s acceptance and somehow are afraid to make Christianity an issue. So, subtly we compromise because we are caught between being different and being a part of them, whereas in a society where you're definitely apart from the system, there's no subtlety. Our Lord said in MAT 13:18-22, “Hear then the parable of the sower. When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, the evil {one} comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is the one on whom seed was sown beside the road. And the one on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, this is the man who hears the word, and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no {firm} root in himself, but is {only} temporary, and when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he falls away. And the one on whom seed was sown among the thorns, this is the man who hears the word, and the worry of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.”
            Paul says to “stand firm in the Lord, my beloved,” because Paul does not want to see a division hit the church at Philippi. Don't be under any illusions about the Philippian church. The Philippians had a special bond with Paul, and they alone had supported him financially (Phi 4), in the midst of his need. But, that does not mean that the Philippian church was in all respects everything it ought to be, with no instability there. In fact, there are very clear hints that there was selfishness in that church (PHI 2:3-5). There was self-interest in that church; there were people who had stumbled and fallen from their spiritual stability into conceit and pride and were more concerned about the things of their own life than the things of others. Many of them did not have the mind of Christ. There were also some conflicts in that church of major proportions, PHI 4:2-3. Two women, who apparently may have been able to lead factions that could have split the church, had an intense disagreement and others were no doubt party to the quarrel. Two women who couldn't agree doesn't seem like a lot of problems, but these were two prominent women in the church, so it was significant enough for Paul to have identified them by name in PHI 4:2.
            The command to “stand firm in the Lord, my beloved,” and our main verse in PHI 4:13 are commands to advance beyond Supergrace to ultra-Supergrace. There is a no man's land between Supergrace and ultra-Supergrace which has certain occupational hazards and hindrances to the spiritual advance. 2TI 3:10-12, “But you followed my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love, perseverance, persecutions, and sufferings, such as happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium and at Lystra; what persecutions I endured, and out of them all the Lord delivered me! And indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” One of these hazards is personality conflict with members of the congregation. The believer cannot advance from Supergrace to ultra-Supergrace and at the same time become involved in pettiness or personality conflicts in the local church, or at home, or anywhere else. Pettiness is an occupational hazard that overtakes people who have never been petty, when they get into no man's land. Pettiness comes from a hypersensitivity involving mental attitude sins, starting with arrogance, and including jealousy, bitterness, vindictiveness, implacability. Two women in the Philippian congregation have reached Supergrace and started out into no man's land. They cracked the maturity barrier, they both continued with doctrine, but then they turned on each other. Not only is the personality of the pastor not to be an issue, but neither is anyone else's personality (2CO 5:16; 1CO 2:2). The only issue is Bible doctrine.
            PHI 4:13-23, “I have the endowed power [maximum doctrine resident in the soul], to attain all things [ultra-supergrace and dying grace], By means of the One, [God the Holy Spirit] who keeps on pouring the power, [the doctrine]into me. Nevertheless, you have done well to share with me in my affliction. And you yourselves also know, Philippians, that at the first preaching of the gospel, after I departed from Macedonia, no church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving but you alone; for even in Thessalonica you sent a gift more than once for my needs. Not that I seek the gift itself, but I seek for the profit which increases to your account. But I have received everything in full, and have an abundance; I am amply supplied, having received from Epaphroditus what you have sent, a fragrant aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well-pleasing to God. And my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Now to our God and Father be the glory forever and ever. Amen. Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren who are with me greet you. All the saints greet you, especially those of Caesar's household. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.”
            In PHI 4:14-23 the logistics for the advance are in view, and logistical grace comes in three categories: 1) Alpha grace is everything that God must do to keep you alive in the Devil's world after salvation and before reaching Supergrace. This grace includes food, shelter, clothing, transportation, providing you a right pastor, right congregation, right local church, providing for you the word of God, and preserving it for all of us. 2) Bravo grace is the logistical grace concept of PHI 4:14-23. Bravo grace is everything it takes to cross no man’s land. It is the intensification of your protection, cranking up your guardian angels. It is everything necessary to keep you alive in this intensive step of opposition. 3) Charlie grace is the alternative of Alpha and Bravo. This is divine discipline for the reversionist.
            In verse 14, we start out with a word; notwithstanding, which is the adverb plen used as a conjunction at the beginning of a sentence and this particular adverb should be translated however. The conjunction is used by Paul to indicate his previous comments in verses 11-13. This conjunction does not imply lack of appreciation for the Philippian gift sent through Epaphroditus. Apparently it was a large gift, and it isn't that he doesn't appreciate it, it's that he wants to use it now to teach a principle regarding supergrace living. Paul does appreciate the generous offering and the motivation of grace behind it, but that isn't the issue. This is not an expression of his appreciation so much as stating the principle of Supergrace living and logistics between Supergrace and ultra-Supergrace. The principle in giving is like farming: the more you sow, the greater the harvest. Paul is a wealthy man because of that Philippian offering. If the Philippians had not sowed the seed and then reaped a harvest, they would have missed out on great blessing. Now, as supergrace believers they are wealthy. Therefore, they scooped off their wealth and put together a package, thousands of dollars, they had Epaphroditus take it to Rome, and Paul is going to teach them some principles.
            This is going to be a short series on how you can prosper by following some basic principles which are laid out for us in God's word. Do you believe 2TI 3:16, “All Scripture is inspired by God” and ACT 10:34, “God is not one to show partiality”?This means that what God does for one, He will do for others. God wants every believer to prosper, according to the Bible. However, God has certain conditions and principles that He tells us we must follow in order to receive His highest and best in our lives. God has certain conditions and principles that we are to follow concerning money or finances. If we can't believe God's promises in the area of our finances, how can we believe His promises for eternal salvation and everything else we claim to believe? Have you ever asked yourself any of these questions? Does God really want me to be financially prosperous? Does the Bible teach us to get out of debt? How can I increase my giving to God if I can't even pay my debts with the money I'm earning now? Is it wrong for Christians to have substantial amounts of money in bank accounts and investments? All of these questions will be answered according to Biblical principles and God's laws of prosperity.
            First of all, we must begin this subject starting with the two extreme positions which Christians take today concerning the area of finances. One extreme concerns those people who hear that God wants them to prosper and follow Him simply for that reason. This approach, of course, is wrong. We can't bend God's laws to fit our selfish desires. Jam 4:3 “You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your lusts.” Then there's the opposite extreme, the belief that financial prosperity for Christians is wrong. Many Christians believe that poverty is godly. They believe that financial prosperity destroys humility and will draw us away from God. However, there is a way of prospering that is to be done by following God's principles of prosperity which are outlined in His word. If we follow these laws exactly, we'll prosper and there is absolutely nothing wrong with this kind of prosperity. When you do this, you will prosper financially, physically, mentally, and emotionally.
            God created all the wealth on this earth, HAG 2:8 “The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine, declares the Lord of hosts.” PSA 24:1 “The earth is the Lord's, and all it contains, The world, and those who dwell in it.” PSA 50:10 “For every beast of the forest is Mine, The cattle on a thousand hills.” So when God created all the wealth on this earth, did He create it for hard-hearted, sinful men and women who curse Him, deny Him, and disobey His word and could care less about Him? Does He really want to see them prosper and not His own children? Look how our Lord put it in MAT 7:7-11, “Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it shall be opened. Or what man is there among you, when his son shall ask him for a loaf, will give him a stone? Or if he shall ask for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!” Then our Lord makes a very interesting statement which has to do with God's laws for prosperity, MAT 7:12 “Therefore, however you want people to treat you, so treat them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”
            God is no different from any other father. He wants the best for His children. He wants the world to see prosperous, joyful, loving, happy Christians. If He was willing to give us His only Son, why would He hold anything else back from us? He has already given us His best, does it make any sense to believe that He would refuse to give us the rest? Paul put it like this, ROM 8:32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? PSA 84:11 “No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.” Many great men of God have prospered as a result of following God's laws of prosperity. For example, because of applying these laws, Abraham lived a very fruitful, prosperous life (GEN 13:2;24:1).
            The New Testament clearly teaches that because of the price paid by Jesus Christ, all Christians are heirs to these same blessings that Abraham received from God. GAL 3:6-9, “Even so Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness. Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, ‘All the nations shall be blessed in you.’ So then those who are of faith are blessed with Abraham, the believer.” GAL 3:13-14,“Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree’ in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.”
God's Word clearly tells us that we are heirs to Abraham. This means that the blessings God gave to Abraham are available to us. Our Father wants us to receive the same blessings that He gave to Abraham, and we can receive these blessings if we will follow His laws of prosperity. If someone says that God doesn't want us to prosper, how can they explain verses like DEU 8:18“But you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who is giving you power to make wealth,” 3JO 1:2 “Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers.”
            If it's wrong to be prosperous, why does God give the power to become wealthy? Many people are destroyed by their wealth simply because they didn't obtain it by following God's laws. PSA 112:1-3, “Praise the Lord! How blessed or happy is the one who respects the Lord, Who greatly delights in His commands. His descendants will be mighty on earth; The generation of the upright will be blessed. Wealth and riches are in his house, And his righteousness endures forever.” If prosperity is wrong, God certainly wouldn't have said that wealth and riches will be in our homes if we “respect” Him and follow His word.
If someone believes that it is wrong to be prosperous, how can he explain why many of the greatest men of God were prosperous? We have already seen that Abraham was very wealthy. Many of our Lord's disciples were wealthy (MAT 27:57;LUK 8:3). There is absolutely nothing wrong with financial prosperity unless this prosperity comes ahead of God. God wants us to have prosperity, wealth, and money, but He doesn't want them to have us!
            God gave us His precious promises so we can be like He is if we follow them. 2PE 1:4 “For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, in order that by them you might become partakers of the divine nature,” 
Prosperity and abundance are part of God's divine nature. He owns the whole world and everything that is in the world. He has given us more than three thousand promises in His Word so that by these promises we can partake of His divine nature. God is a prosperous God and the very first chapter of the Bible says, GEN 1:26 “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness;” If God is prosperous and if He created us to be just like He is, isn't it obvious that He wants us to prosper too? The more we study God's Word, the more evidence we see of God's plans for our abundance and prosperity.
God created great abundance when He created the earth. GEN 1:20-22, Then God said, “Let the waters teem with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth in the open expanse of the heavens.” And God created the great sea monsters, and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarmed after their kind, and every winged bird after its kind; and God saw that it was good. And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” The first chapter of Genesis tells us how God stocked the earth with fish, animals, and birds and how He provided plants and fruit trees. When God finished doing this, He then created a man who was meant to enjoy this abundance and to be master over the earth and everything on the earth. GEN 1:26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
            God provided Adam with great abundance; he had everything he could ever want. However, Adam gave his riches and his dominion over all the earth to Satan. Satan was able to steal it from him because of Adam's arrogance and pride. Adam also forfeited the abundance and prosperity that God intended for us, his children. Satan took it away from him and became the ruler of the world and still is. However, this brings us to the reason why God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to earth. What was the precise reason that Jesus Christ was sent to this earth? Our Lord was sent here for one purpose: To destroy Satan's work. 1JO 3:8 “The Son of God appeared for this purpose, that He might destroy the works of the devil.” Our Lord succeeded in His mission; this is why, just before ascending into heaven, He said in MAT 28:18 “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” God has certain laws and principles that He tells us we must follow in order to receive His highest and best in our lives which is what election is all about. Election is God willing His highest and best for every believer. 2CO 8:9 “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.” Some Christians believe that this verse does not refer to prosperity, but to deity becoming humanity. They say that God is only talking about spiritual riches here and that this does not apply to natural prosperity. I don't agree. Anyone who reads 2Co 8-9 can see that both of these chapters deal primarily with the subject of giving of finances. When verse 8 tells us that the Lord became poor so that we could be rich, I agree that this applies to spiritual riches, but it also refers to financial riches and wealth and prosperity. We know that when you give of your finances, it should be done under the filling of the Spirit, but don't lie to yourself and say, “I have nothing to give.” Look at 2CO 9:10-11 “Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food, will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness; you will be enriched in everything for all liberality, which through us is producing thanksgiving to God.” Some Christians also believe that our Lord was poor during His earthly ministry. They say that His life was a model for our lives and, because He was poor, we were not meant to prosper. That is incorrect! Many may be surprised to see that Jesus was not poor when He walked on this earth. In fact, when MAT 11:19 says “The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, 'Behold, a gluttonous man and a drunkard,” the Greek reveals He ate fine food and drank good wine; He wasn't poor! He knew God's principles of prosperity! So 2CO 8:9 “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor,” is not telling us that Jesus was financially poor during His earthly ministry. Our Lord became poor when He made the supreme sacrifice of becoming human. However, He also gave up everything at the cross, even His clothing. In spite of many pictures to the contrary, Jesus was completely naked when He died on the cross. While He hung on the cross, Roman soldiers gambled for the clothing that He had worn because it was an expensive garment (MAR 15:24). When He died, He didn't own one thing in this world. He couldn't have been any more poor than when He gave up all on the Cross.
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