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 10/19/08
We are studying The Doctrine of the Joints and Ligaments.
We have seen Points 1-3 in detail, here is a quick review.
Point 1. The Joint Analogy to the Pastor-teacher.
In the physical realm, joints provide motion, coordination, strength, and body action. In the spiritual realm, the pastor-teacher is to provide the spiritual information or the ligaments that the body of Christ needs for provide motion, coordination, strength, and body action. The purpose of the pastor-teacher is covered from two viewpoints in the N.T. First, the objective mandate related to the three-fold purpose of the pastor-teacher which is given in EPH 4:12. That threefold purpose is 1) To equip and train the royal family for combat. 2) For the vocation of the ministry, that is the training of future pastors and evangelists. 3) For the edification of the body, that is to teach, study, discipline (public), reprimand (private), and encourage by steadfastness and doctrine. Secondly, the subjective mandate related to the communication of the mystery doctrine for the Church-age. The subjective mandate for the spiritual joints in the body (the pastor-teacher) related to the communication of the mystery doctrine for the Church-age. "Be diligent [study] to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the Word of God" (2TI 2:15). The pastor must be prepared and ready to analyze the Scriptures from the original languages. Pastors without this training in the original languages are dependent upon other pastors who are so trained. The pastor must also avoid being involved in Christian activism, or being distracted by involving himself in Theological controversy.
Point 2. Joints Are the Basis for Exercise and Building Strength in the Body.
Without joints the human body would degenerate and deteriorate. Likewise, without the faithful function of pastor-teachers, the body of Christ, or royal family of God, would lack spiritual growth, and retrogress from lack of spiritual food and power. Also, muscle is constructed from consistent exercise, which involves the use of the joints. In the physical realm, repetitious and beneficial exercise involves the consistent and constant function of the joints. The constant use of the joints in exercise is analogous to faithful and consistent teaching of Bible doctrine by your right pastor-teacher to give you the doctrine to build spiritual muscle or strength.
But have nothing to do with worldly fables fit only for old women. On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness or living the spiritual life; for bodily discipline or exercise is only of little profit (for a short time), but living the spiritual life is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.
The most important thing in your life is your consistency in the spiritual realm. All of your blessings from God depend upon living the spiritual life, and having the spiritual mechanics parlayed into spiritual dynamics. The one thing that you have in this life as a believer which will be profitable for you forever is spiritual living. The principle of exercising and training in the spiritual realm definitely has its place in the function of the joints. If you want to have a capacity for life and enjoy life, it is good discipline or spiritual exercise which makes you great. God will promote the spiritual believer in His timing, and therefore it will be a divine promotion and not man’s promotion. This is because you have learned to wait on the timing of God (PSA 27:14; PSA 37:7-9;PSA 37:34; PRO 24:13-15).
The key word in 1TI 4:7 is the Greek word gumnazo translated discipline which means to exercise. Gumnazo is used because it requires great self-discipline and training to be consistent, and no believer will ever be protected from apostasy and backsliding without self-discipline. The word also means to exercise naked which the Greeks would do. This implies that when the believer disciplines himself for the purpose of living the spiritual life, he realizes that he is naked before God. Therefore, he does not try to cover his sin or his guilt (PRO 28:13). Also when a Greek exercised in the gym, he exercised naked, but before he went back on the street he put his robe on and people did not see the development in his body. Instead they saw the results, his life, health, and ability to handle problems. The analogy is that in the local assembly you are trained by the joints and the ligaments, out of the local assembly you reveal the results or the fruit of that training. The point is that you can have no capacity to enjoy life without doctrine and you can’t have doctrine without discipline. So no one is ever going to reach the ultimate spiritual life without a system of discipline. We are all to be under a spiritual trainer, the joints and the ligaments (pastor-teacher) who teaches doctrine.
Point 3.Joints Provide Body Action.
By analogy, every function and action in life must be motivated by thought, the divine viewpoint printed on the neurons of the brain in the form of metabolized doctrine. Joints provide body action, which refers to the believers who grow spiritually, produce, function, glorify God, and become winners. Winners are believers who live in the PPOG, learn doctrine, pass momentum tests, advance to maturity, fulfill the plan of God, and glorify Jesus Christ through the spiritual mechanics being parlayed into spiritual dynamics. On the other hand, carnal believers who live in the cosmic system, are servants of Satan, are constantly under the control of their old sin nature. They are involved in religion, rituals, program spirituality, obsession with knowledge of doctrine, and cannot be distinguished from unbelievers. Winners are described in Rev 2-3.
Point 4. Joints Provide Body Coordination.
Without the function of the joints, there would be neither body action nor body coordination. If the joints are stiff, you have rigid body action (analogous to the legalistic joints in the spiritual realm). If the joints are free and loose, you have freedom and liberty (analogous to the pastor-teachers who teach you about the grace of God). Without the faithful teaching of the pastor, there would be no fulfillment of the PPOG, and no spiritual mechanics parlayed into spiritual dynamics, and therefore no invisible heroes. Invisible heroes have maximum invisible impact. a). Personal impact. b) Historical impact. c). International impact.
d) Angelic impact. e) Heritage impact.
Karl von Clausewitz wrote the book “On War.” He wrote Every specific calling in life requires special qualities of intellect and temperament. Our special calling is the fact that we were elected into the royal family of God at the moment of our salvation. Now our life has meaning, purpose, and definition.
When these are of a high order and manifest themselves by extraordinary achievements, the mind to which they belong is termed genius. Genius is a superior mental capacity for certain activities. By having the spiritual mechanics parlayed into spiritual dynamics and attaining spiritual maturity, you should become a spiritual genius.
The essence of military genius is to bring under consideration all of the tendencies of mind and soul in combination toward the business of war. This refers to our concentration on the message under the filling of the Spirit.
We say in combination, for military genius is not just one single quality bearing on war, as for instance courage, but it is a harmonious combination of powers in which one or the other may predominate, but none must be in opposition. When we have different parts of the body of Christ in opposition and causing division, we are seeing believers living the fragmented spiritual life in the cosmic system. They will be double-minded, unstable in all ways, and so the book of James tells them to Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, (1JO 1:9); and purify your hearts (PMA), you double-minded (JAM 1:8).
- Acknowledgment of personal, post salvation sins (2SA 12:13; PSA 51:4; 15:18,21; PRO 28:13; 1JO 1:9; JER 3:13)
- Appeal to the finished work of Christ as Basis for rebound (instantaneous recovery), HEB 9:14; 1JO 2:1-2.
For us to be in unity, (I’m talking about all of you who consider me to be your joint or pastor-teacher) you must be rightly related to the joint of the body that God has assigned you to (1PE 5:3). You must learn, and use the spiritual mechanics to strengthen your spiritual skills and have them parlayed into spiritual dynamics. Four
Spiritual Mechanics that you need to learn:
1. Filling of the Holy Spirit,
2. Metabolized Bible doctrine circulating in the soul,
3. Ten problem solving devices,
4. The execution of the PPOG.
Then, the Three Spiritual Skills. You must master these three spiritual skills.
1. The filling of the Holy Spirit is the first spiritual skill in the spiritual life. Without the filling of the Spirit you do not have the power to live the Christian way of life. The filling of the Spirit converts human I.Q. into spiritual I.Q., so that we have equality to learn spiritual phenomena.
2. The second spiritual skill is the word of God circulating in your soul.
3. The third spiritual skill is the problem solving devices deployed on the FLOT line of the soul.
1TI 4:8 has the phrase it holds promise for this life, the word life is the Greek word zoe which refers to a life which is energetic and enthusiastic. Here is the expanded translation of PHI 3:1-15 taken from the original language.
But whatever quality of things were gains to me, those things [gains] I have concluded as an expert as loss for the sake of Christ. Not only this but more than this, I conclude as an expert all things [Paul's pre-salvation human celebrityship and achievement] to be loss [singular] because of the surpassing greatness of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have forfeited all things, also, I keep on concluding as an expert them to be piles of dung in order that I may win for Christ, and that I may be found in Him, not having my own righteousness derived from the source of the Law, but that [righteousness] which is acquired by means of faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from the source of the God at the point of faith, that I may come to know Him [and that has been the purpose of this entire study of having the spiritual mechanics parlayed into spiritual dynamics], and the power of [behind] His resurrection and the participation of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; (PHI 3:7-10)
The ultimate goal is found in PHI 3:10 that I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; This is your life, this is the true meaning of life on this earth, “knowing Him.” Once we begin to know Him, we can begin to know ourselves. Once we begin to know Him, we can begin to know Our Father, and our Mentor.
"If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him." Philip said to Him, "Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us." Jesus said to him, "Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, 'Show us the Father'? Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; otherwise believe because of the works themselves. Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father. Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it. If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. After a little while the world will no longer see Me, but you will see Me; because I live, you will live also. In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him." Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, "Lord, what then has happened that You are going to disclose Yourself to us and not to the world?" Jesus answered and said to him, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father's who sent Me. These things I have spoken to you while abiding with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you. (JOH 14:7-26)
Nowhere do the spiritual mechanics parlayed into spiritual dynamics mean more than here. We cannot trust anyone further than we know them. So, we must not only learn the doctrines involved but even more importantly we must come to know Him more intimately as the One who presents and upholds those doctrines, for Bible doctrine is His mind. No one can experience eternal life without knowing God the Father and God the Son. You can have eternal life without knowing God the Father and God the Son but you will not experience that eternal life until you come to know them. Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the[epignosis] knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to our natural life and godliness our spiritual life, through the true knowledge [full epignosis knowledge] of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. 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, (2PE 1:1-4)
The partakers of the divine nature are those who partake of their new position in Christ experientially and they can only do so through the spiritual mechanics being parlayed into spiritual dynamics. As soon as God touches a believer who has been seeking for Him, He gives that believer an instinct to continue to so and to return to Him more perfectly and be united with Him. Something within the seeking believer aspires him to keep on seeking to a place deep within, to a place of rest. Some receive it in a larger portion, according to God's design, others to a smaller degree, by God's design. Knowing Him all begins with one very simplistic but valuable word. It is something that is very precious to all of us: Time. Time is something that we cherish especially if we love life. Time is very interesting when you think about the fact that the future can influence the present just like the past can influence the present. We learn from the past, and we have hopes regarding the future. Most believers don't know what to do with their time, in this short life, and yet they want a life which is eternal.
Sanctified time is time set apart to learn of Him, and then the ability to wait on the timing of God as He works within us. Most of God's people have difficulty in realizing and facing up to the fact that God is not on a timetable, and He is not in a hurry in His development of their Christian life (PHI 1:6). Many feel they are not making any spiritual progress unless they are swiftly and constantly forging ahead. It is true that the new believer often begins, and continues growing for some time at a very fast rate. But this will not continue if there is to be a healthy spiritual growth and ultimate spiritual maturity. God Himself will modify and control the pace. Don't worry God is in control.
The writer of the book of Hebrews put it like this: Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord, equip you in every good thing to do His will, which means to strengthen, complete and perfect you and make you what you ought to be and equip you with everything good that you may carry out His will; [while He Himself] works in us and accomplishes that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ; to Whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen (HEB 13:20-21).
No one can experience eternal life without knowing God the Father and God the Son. You can have eternal life without knowing God the Father and God the Son, but you will not experience that eternal life until you come to know Them. Knowing Him, however, all begins with that one very simplistic word: Time. We have a tendency not to enjoy when He is working within us accomplishing that which is pleasing in His sight. We would rather have that which is pleasing in our sight. It is a matter of God at work in us in His timing and His ways.
Peter warns us about this in 2PE 3:14 when he says, Therefore, beloved, since you are expecting these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless, Since you are expecting what things? In 2PE 3:10 the day of the Lord coming like a thief in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up. Then in 2PE 3:12, looking forward to 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!Therefore beginning in 2PE 3:14 beloved, since you are expecting these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless, and regard the patience of our Lord to be salvation or in some cases deliverance for the believer; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom or the spiritual insight given him, wrote to you, 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. 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, 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. (2PE 3:14-18).
The spiritual life matures and becomes productive by the principle of growth. There are no shortcuts to living the spiritual life, no shortcuts to spiritual reality.