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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 for week ending 06/24/01.

PHI 4:5 Discovering the intimacy and nearness of the Lord. 

So far our corrected translation of PHI 4:1-4 "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.  I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to be having the same viewpoint or to think objectively by means of the Lord.  Indeed, I request also you, true Syzygus [genuine one who is a real man], to help or to assist these women of such quality who have fought by my side in the cause of the gospel, together with Clement also, and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.  Keep on having perfect happiness by means of the Lord at all times; Once more I repeat the command, keep on having perfect happiness."

We are now on verse 5 where we see the motivation for the believer to advance from supergrace to ultra supergrace or continuing to advance in spiritual adulthood.  PHI 4:5 "Let your forbearing spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near."  This word "forbearing" is the Greek word "epieikes" which literally means "over-reasonableness."  This becomes the technical word for the mental attitude of the supergrace or the mature believer.  The word also means what is fitting, what is right, equitable, appropriate, mild, gentle, patient, seemly, fair or gentle.  It refers to a person who is totally oriented to reality and it comes mean to mean in the Greek, "total orientation to reality and grace at the same time." 

In this passage it has a technical meaning connoting a supergrace mental attitude, and is translated "the reasonable mental attitude of the adult spiritual believer."  This this reasonable or supergrace attitude belongs to those who have reached spiritual adulthood and are getting ready to go forward into no man's land between supergrace and ultra supergrace.  This verse refers to those who have reached supergrace status or spiritual maturity and are not thinking like the world thinks.
PHI 4:5 "Let your supergrace mental attitude be known to all men."  This implies that the supergrace believer is oriented in two directions.  Oriented toward God, that means grace toward self and oriented toward man and history, and grace toward others and orientation to reality. In the next phrase, "The Lord is near" is "ho kurios" refers to Jesus Christ, and is correctly translated "The Lord." 

The Greek word for "near" is the adverb "engus", which means near concerning place or time, it means at hand, to have access to God, or nearest.  It actually refers to the personal relationship that the believer with a supergrace mental attitude has with The Lord Jesus Christ.  This near grace makes it possible for the supergrace believer also to advance to ultra supergrace.  So this "near grace" is what the Greek adverb "engus" actually refers to.  That personal relationship that the believer with a supergrace mental attitude has with the Lord Jesus Christ.

There are important principles in view here that have to do with the intimacy and the nearness of the Lord in the life of the believer who perseveres and picks up their cross.

1.  The Lord is "near" from the standpoint of the omnipresence of His essence, which means that He sees and hears everything we do as in ISA 41:10 and HEB 4:13ISA 41:10 "Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand."
HEB 4:13 "And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do."

2.  The Lord is also near in the enlargement and the amplification of living grace which makes it possible for the believer to reach supergrace and understand fully the reality of the grace provision given by God.  This is a reference to God's total provision for the believer who recognizes his dependency on God and who has continued toward spiritual maturity.  This is the fulfillment of such passages as MAT 6:33 "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you."
Or JOH 6:27 "Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man shall give to you, for on Him the Father, {even} God, has set His seal."

3.  The intimacy and the nearness of the Lord or near grace makes it possible for the supergrace believer also to advance to ultra-supergrace.  This is the believer who will continue their advance and go forward in the spiritual life in spite of the obstacles, hindrances and restraints that are placed in their path.
Once there is confidence in passages such as 2Co 13:8 "For we can do nothing against the truth, but only for the truth."
Or ISA 54:17 "No weapon that is formed against you shall prosper; And every tongue that accuses you in judgment you will condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, And their vindication is from Me, declares the Lord."
Then there is a relaxed mental attitude toward everything in life.

4.  In PHI 4:5 Paul is saying that you went from saving grace to supergrace, by way of living grace and now because you have grown spiritually you will experience, near grace, or greater grace, or simply more grace. 
Living grace was all the provision necessary to get you to crack that maturity barrier which you did because you perceived, metabolized and applied Bible doctrine daily and had all the provisions necessary to do so.  These provisions included food, shelter, clothing, transportation, the preservation of divine thought in a sacred book, the Canon of scripture, a pastor-teacher was provided.  These are part of the grace provisions which take a believer from salvation to supergrace and will also carry them from supergrace to ultra
supergrace.  Once a believer is on this road they begin to experience something very unique which cannot be described by human words, an intimacy and a nearness to the Lord and then they realize that there are no excuses.
That is the meaning of the "nearness" of the Lord in this particular phrase. 

This principle of living grace is what keeps the believer alive in the devil's world.  Living grace provides every need and every blessing for the advance in the realm of spiritual maturity, going from supergrace to ultra supergrace and receiving the greater grace, JAM 4:6 "But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, "God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble."

This near grace is a supercharger, performing the same function as living grace except that the provision is intensified in the advance.  God provides grace to the believer through this advance, saving grace, when you believe in Jesus Christ.  Then God provides living grace that takes you all the way through the maturity barrier to supergrace.  Now, we have near grace or greater grace which takes you from supergrace to the next objective ultra-supergrace leading all the way to dying grace and then surpassing grace.  This surpassing grace is the ultimate goal and it is taught in EPH 2:4-7 "But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus, in order that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus."

Principles concerning the phrase in PHI 4:5, The Lord is near. 

1.  Near grace is a supercharger which performs the same function in no man's land that living grace performed in the advance to spiritual maturity.  It keeps you going forward under the most extreme and intensified forms of adversities, trials, difficulties, hardships, afflictions, problems, disasters, and sufferings.

2.  Near grace recognizes the tremendous opposition which develops in the life of any believer advancing through no man's land between supergrace and ultra-supergrace.  You will have tribulation, 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."

3.  The increased opposition from the satanic forces of evil calls for the intensified provision of grace, therefore another category of grace is "near grace" simply meaning the Lord is near implying that the Lord Jesus Christ is at home in your hearts (way of thinking) and there is an intimacy and nearness of the Lord to the believer.  When the believer has grown up spiritually The Lord Jesus Christ is at home or is comfortable with the way that they think. EPH 3:17 "So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith [doctrine]; and that you, being rooted and grounded in virtue-love."
The word "faith" is the Greek noun "pisteos" which means through the means of doctrine.  Through learning and applying doctrine, being rooted and grounded in impersonal unconditional agape love, then Christ will dweel in your hearts, then Christ will be in your way of thinking. 
This is a love that motivates the believer to stay with doctrine, JOH 14:15 "If you love Me, you will keep My commands." 
In 1CO 13:4, it is the type of love that is patient, gracious, not jealous; does not brag and is not arrogant.
In 1CO 13:5, it is the type of love that does not act improper, is never selfish, is not resentful, does not think evil.
In 1CO 13:6, it is the type of love that does not gloat over other men's sins, but rejoices with doctrine.
In 1CO 13:7, it is the type of love that overlooks faults, believes the best, hopes all things, endures all things.
In 1PE 4:8, it is the type of love that covers a multitude of sins.
In 1JO 2:5, it is the type of love that can only be developed from the intake of doctrine, "But whoever keeps His doctrine, in that believer the love of God has truly been matured."
In 1JO 4:20, it is the type of love that has respect for the Royal family of God,  "If someone says, I love God, and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen." 
In 1JO 5:2, it is the type of love that motivates love for doctrine, "By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and observe His doctrines."
All of these principles are related to the type of love that we must be rooted and grounded in for The Lord Jesus Christ to be at home in our hearts and to have that intimacy and the nearness of the Lord.

4. In near grace, the Lord makes special provision for the supergrace believer advancing to the next objective where the going gets tough and the Lord's provision is greater than the stiffness of the opposition.  1JO 4:4 "You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world."

5.  When it says in PHI 4:5 "Let your supergrace mental attitude be known to all men," this attitude is to be revealed before all men, the saved, as well as the unsaved.  See JAM 3:13-17.

6.  A supergrace mental attitude manifested by a forbearing spirit or a gentleness which is a part of the fruit of the Holy Spirit runs contrary to the normal attitude of the "flesh".  Whenever a believer becomes to critical, harsh, or demanding, they will drive a wedge between themselves and those around them.  This is especially true in regards to their work in the area of evangelism.  TIT 3:1-2 "Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed, to malign no one, to be uncontentious, gentle, showing every consideration for all men."

7.  A supergrace mental attitude is manifested by a mild disposition, mental strength under control, and obedience to the Word of God.  It springs from the very nature of Christ.

8.  The main verb in PHI 4:5, "epieikes" translated forbearing spirit also means mildness, patience, gentleness, moderation, unwillingness to litigate or contend.  It means meekness under provocation, readiness to forgive injuries and judging the characters and actions of others.

So our entire verse says PHI 4:5 "Let your supergrace mental attitude be known to all men. The Lord is near."

There are many promises in the word of God given to the believer who is truly willing to seek God.
JER 29:13 "And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart."
HEB 11:6 "And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him."
PRO 28:5  "Evil men do not understand justice, But those who seek the Lord understand all things."

Once God begins to touch those who seek Him, He gives that believer an instinct to be united with Him as never before.  This is a part of PHI 4:5 "The Lord is near."

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.  Something within the positive believer causes him to aspire to a place deep within, a place of rest.  This all begins with humility and the ability to receive correction and reproof.
2TI 3:16 says "All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;"

A common problem that believers face after they have tasted the grace and the love of God for a period of time is that they become dry and lose their first love.  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."
We either respond or react to this dryness.  
We can 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." 
Or we can instinctively know that the dryness is from the Lord and therefore, continue to follow after Him, even in the 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 that challenges the boldest Christian, he fulfills our main verse in PHI 4:5 "Let your supergrace mental attitude be known to all men. The Lord is near."
This is a believer who has 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 the "games" of life.  They "do not" and "will not" let anyone or anything take away their happiness that they have with God.  They have an extraordinary relationship with divine providence.
They live a life of surprise and irregularity.  In other words, you can never ever scrutinize, figure out, and appraise and judge a spiritual believer.  And that spiritual believer is busy appraising all the things of God in his heart.  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 19:12 " Who 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."
You may surrender a little of your thoughts, your thinking, your deepest secrets in a friendship, or in romance, or a marital relationship, that's your prerogative......However, nobody really knows your heart!

So, this type of believer who has an intimacy and the nearness of the Lord has capacity without limitations.
Often this type of seeking Christian will discover on their own that they have within themselves the very treasure they are seeking.  They discover that prayer does not have to be a costly and boring thing, and they rejoice in this newfound liberty.  They find an indescribable delight that carries them forward in the spiritual life.  They are filled with more spiritual enthusiasm and love.  At times, they feel that they are in some type of paradise.  They have found within, somehing greater than all the pleasures of the earth, their love increases from day to day.  Everything that once burdened them now is meaningless. 
However, even in this stage there will be periods of dryness but this does not cause them to fall backward but only to move forward in the spiritual life.  They are content and is enjoy the relationship with the Lord and enjoy those things from the Lord.  There will be level spots ahead and things will seem to get mundane.
However, if you continue to go forward in the Pre-Designed Plan of God there is a test 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.

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