Robert R. McLaughlin Bible Ministries
The TREE OF LIFE weekly teaching summary from the week ending February, 15 1998
Tree of Life 02/15/98
Doctrine of Fear.
Tree of Life for 02-15-98
PHI 1:28 “Likewise in no way be intimidated by your enemies which, not being intimidated, to them is a manifestation of their destructive ways, but with reference to you, deliverance, in fact, this is from the source of God.”
This verse introduces the doctrine of fear. This verse is also directed toward spiritually mature believers or believers in spiritual adulthood only. Paul is not addressing all believers but only those who warrant attention from the kingdom of darkness, i.e., those positive believers who continually execute God’s plan for their lives. In the lives of such believers, the kingdom of darkness will try to cultivate fear since fear is the antithesis of living the spiritual life. Fear and the execution of God’s plan are antithetical and cannot coexist.
Fear is used in two ways in the Bible, in a positive way as in fear, respect, awe, or reverence toward God and in a negative way as in sinful fear categorized as mental attitude sinning. The sin of fear is characterized by panic when in a dangerous situation or under sudden pressure. When someone is intimidated they generally compromise their norms and standards. In such a state, principle no longer matters to the one who is panic stricken. Fear is a painful emotional distress aroused by impending pain, danger, disaster, evil, or by illusions regarding the same. Whether fear is spurred on by reality or imagination, it is still sinful. Fear is an indictment against God. It is in actuality you saying you do not trust in God coming through for you but rather, you expect God to fail you!
The only thing fear serves to do is torment and punish it’s victim. 1John 4:18 tells us that the believer who fears is not matured in impersonal, virtue love and has not grown up spiritually. Once you realize and trust in how much God loves you, you will not fear. This is not to say that fear is eradicated from the believer’s life. Fear will always try to enter in. Courage is not the absence of fear but the mastery over it. Fear causes the believer to hide or run away from problems rather than face them. Fear is a lack of thinking under pressure. Fear is based on emotion rather than thinking and therefore has no ability to solve problems. Fear only makes the problem worse. There is one thing the word of God tells us we should fear, Hebrews 4:1, fear not entering into God’s rest!
The sin of fear is made up of worry, anxiety, insecurity, incapability of doctrinal application, and therefore inability to utilize the ten problem solving devices. There are many problems which evolve from our erroneous thinking but fear goes one step further in that it evolves from a lack of thinking. Hebrews 2:15 informs us that fear has defeated more people than all other distractions because of fear of death. It is only when we are no longer afraid that we can enter into God’s rest and truly begin to live. Fear shackles those who could have done great things in life, it even keeps them from attempting great things. Fear chokes and kills dreams and creativity… all on the basis of the believer’s free will choices of course. Fear is a learned behavior and is therefore an option.
Adversity is inevitable and necessary in life but allowing it to enter into the soul and become stress in the soul is optional and is not necessary. What stands in between adversity without and stress within is the ten problems solving devices deployed on the flot line of the soul. Once panic takes over, fear overruns the soul, stress floods into the soul and fear masters it. Fear therefore nullifies the believer’s equal opportunity to glorify God. A great example of such panic and fear is the Exodus congregation/the children of Israel who focused their eyes on the approaching problem. They lived by sight rather than faith which is a direct violation of 2Corinthians 5:7; Hebrews 10:39; 2Corinthians 4:17. How can we say we love and trust in God when we let the problems and people in our lives dictate our behavior?! The believer who concentrates on the problems will completely forget about the power of God and will not possess the ability to apply doctrine under pressure.
God allows the problems in our life to test our concentration on Him. God will test your emotions, JER 17:10; Revelation 2:23, in order to find out if you will employ His power and trust in Him or not. When emotion overtakes you doctrine is erased. Emotion is completely devoid of thought and only sets the believer up for some form of emotional sin such as fear. When emotion is out of line it results in irrationality and only serves to complicate matters. Emotion must remain subordinate to the intellect, that is how God designed the soul. If you complain about any given area in our life you are concentrating on the wrong thing. When we concentrate on the circumstances of pressure rather than the principles of doctrine we are the ones who lose out. When you find yourself in a hopeless situation is when you need to resort to “thinking”, all the while remember that the battle is the Lord’s, 1Samuel 17:47; Romans 8:31. When you are afraid of something you allow it to gain power over your life. The more you surrender in fear to the more power it gains. Fear is therefore proof of having a degenerate mind! This is manifested in man’s fear of facing God as happened to Adam after his fall noted in GEN 3:10. The Lord will search your heart for doctrine and test your emotions to be sure you are not making emotion the criterion for the spiritual life! We need to realize that our acceptance with God never lies within ourselves nor our emotions, but in the beloved One, Jesus Christ, Ephesians 1:6. The spiritual life has everything to do with God’s plan and power and nothing to do with how we feel. God views us through our perfect union with His Son and it is arrogant on our part to think otherwise. We are nothing, we are objects of God’s grace and should gratefully and humbly accept that. Oh, but we want to help, we hate to receive without offering something! Grace… so easy, yet so difficult to live in. Outside of God’s grace lies arrogance and in arrogance exists fear.
God gave us emotion to enjoy the spiritual life not to rule us and lead us into a lifestyle of fear, 2Timothy 1:7“God has not given us a lifestyle of fear…”. Fear unlocks the doors in your soul and leads its victim down the corridors to a life of fragmentation. And, as the cancer of fear increases the individual becomes intimidated by life itself. Fear eliminates the believer’s personal sense of destiny and the ability to overcome problems. Hence the oncoming disaster which was allowed by God to strengthen the believer’s spiritual life now destroy the believer’s spiritual life. Job 5 tells us that what people fear in life the mature believer laughs at. So what is the solution to fear if it does exist in your life?
The solution to fear is God’s pre-designed plan, it is the sphere of power and advancement. Predestination is designed to remove all the cobwebs of fear in your soul and replace them with confidence in the word of God leading to confidence in the Lord. Outside of predestination there is no filling of the Spirit, no fellowship with God, and no employment of divine power. There is no spiritual life apart from the execution of God’s plan for your life! Fear points to a lack of sound judgment and a lack of application of doctrine. If you have learned and know the pertinent doctrine, strength, courage, and confidence are gained by every experience in which you stop and look fear in the face and advance beyond it. Suffering is designed to mature, strengthen, and establish the believer, 1PE 5:7-10. Courage therefore is simply resistance to fear, then mastery over fear. Again courage does not indicate an absence of fear. The brave are not those who feel no fear but those who master their fears and face problems head on. We all need the strength to endure the things which we cannot change. And, we also need the courage to change the things we should change. This of course requires training and discernment to know the difference.
Fear of adversity destroys capacity for prosperity and such fear is the great enemy of predestination. Fear causes the believer to be heard bound i.e., dependent on others in the spiritual realm. The fear of being wrong or making a mistake is the prime inhibitor of the creative process in man. The great tragedy in life is to NOT become all that God has made you to be! The greatest test of courage is to bear defeat without losing heart. This continued advance requires that the believer does not become emotional. When emotion takes over it renders the believer incapable of the proper doctrinal response. It never matters how we feel but what the word of God says! In the realm of emotion, fear becomes a mental attitude sin which is of the highest insult to God. The mental attitude sin of fear is an indictment against God and reveals your lack of trust in Him. Fear prohibits the grace plan of God from coming through in your life and is therefore a sign of reversionism, 1Samuel 18:12,29. It is possible to learn Bible doctrine and then to fall apart in face of disaster, especially sudden disaster.
Sudden disaster often places the believer under great pressure and paves the way to panic. Once the believer enters into the panic state he can no longer concentrate on the doctrine learned, i.e., no application. The difference between fear and courage is the ability to concentrate under great pressure. In fact, when under pressure even more concentration on our part is required. To operate in faith we need to select something that is stronger than the pressure which arises and the only thing stronger is what the word of God offers, be it the promises of God or doctrinal rationales.
Now, Philippians 1:28 is directed toward believers who are in spiritual adulthood only or at spiritual maturity. It is those believers who are advancing as they should be in God’s plan whom the enemy will try to distract. The majority of believers need no special distractions from the kingdom of darkness since they are floundering just fine by way of their own devices. Who exactly does the word enemies refer to in Philippians 1:28?
1. Satan and the fallen angels are the enemies of believers, 1Peter 5:8.
2. The reversionist is an enemy of both the advancing believer and of God, 1Samuel 18:25, 29.
3. Demons are enemies to God, 1Corinthians 15:25; Hebrews 10:13.
4. Unbelievers are enemies of God, Romans 5:10; Colossians 1:21.
5. Both categories of enemies of God will be judged by the lake of fire whether humans or angels, JOH 3:18; Matthew 25:41; Hebrews 10:27.
6. Everyone who is or becomes a carnal believer temporarily becomes an enemy to God by being out of fellowship, Romams 8:7-8.
7. God is the enemy of the reversionistic believer, 1Samuel 28:16.
8. The reversionistic believer is the enemy of God, James 4:4.
9. The reversionist is the enemy of the Cross, Philippians 3:18, by way of making an issue out of sin.
10. And, the Pastor-teacher who counteracts legalism with truth becomes the enemy to the legalists and the emotional believers, Galatians 4:16.
Those who are your real enemies are the subtle ones who cannot be immediately identified until their plan has taken effect. Do not worry, they will reap their own destruction. The pit they dig for others will be their own demise. Again, Paul is instructing the Philippian congregation, a congregation filled with mature believers who are hot on his heels. Not every believer is qualified to have such enemies. Hence, the believer under such pressure should consider it part of God’s grace that he is offered the privilege of undeserved suffering for the purpose of glorifying Christ! God can take any type of evil situation that your enemies dish out for the purpose of intimidating you and convert it into divine good, Genesis 50:20; 2Corintians 13:8. Whenever someone tries to curse or destroy another believer, the Lord will turn the curse into a blessing only when the believer operates in the faith-rest drill,DEU 23:5; Acts 9:1-4; Matthew 25:40. The believer does not have to fight and defend himself, Philippians 1:28; 2Thessolonians 1:6. The question is, will we let God handle the unjust and unfair situations that come upon us, Isaiah 35:4? We are instructed not to be intimidated or live in fear but to look forward with anticipation to God coming through for us. Therefore it is never appropriate on our part to take revenge, Romans 12:19, revenge is God’s alone! If you are being mistreated in any situation do not lift up your hand against another person, relax and trust in God and do not become bitter, 1Samuel 24:12. Even if you have been robbed by another believer do not take out your frustration and vengeance on him, give it over to the Lord, 1TH 4:6. Never repay evil with evil and give someone what you think they deserve, Proverbs 20:22. When someone has wronged you the best thing to do is let the Lord repay that person according to their deeds, 2Timothy 4:14. He will do a much better job of it.
Under this subject noted in Philippians 1:28 we briefly noted the Doctrine of the Ambush of Evil, which consists of nine points:
1- The ambush begins by discrediting the person who represents the truth or communicates doctrine, Romans 16:17-18. It is very difficult to discredit truth when it is backed up scripturally so the attack is directed toward the personality or the one teaching truth… a very subtle beginning!
2- The person who is under the evil attack must then be portrayed as evil, immoral, and conniving so that the ones who are making the attack can hide their own conspiracy and evil motives.
3. Having assassinated the personality of the one teaching truth, the ambushers then commence to attack the message.
4. Thereafter, the use of the debaters technique is employed, which is to say, the person is wrong therefore what he says is wrong.
5. Then the distortion of rationalization follows which further advances the attack on the message.
6. Then in comes a new authority on what is truth, introduced as a better person, this person is established along with his authority and his so called message.
7. The new teacher must be portrayed as sweet, kind, nice, wonderful, caring, and concerned about the people personally.
8. Because the personality of the new teacher is so nice, seemingly perfect and flawless the audience must therefore listen to his sublime message.
9. Having sold the new personality as being “right” now they all revert to the established fact that it is not the message that counts but the man.
Evil recognizes the important of public relations and therefore focuses on the man rather than the message of truth. When the message does not have true dynamics from God, evil must make its message click by way of a pleasing personality and/or a works program.
After closing this doctrine we exegeted the last two verses of Philippians chapter one, verse 29 and 30. For more information on this weeks lessons get tapes 0190-204 through 209.
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