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Grace Bible Church
Robert McLaughlin Bible Ministries

Tree of Life (a weekly review)
Week ending Sunday, May 01, 2011
Every individual is precious to God; believer and unbeliever, He died for us ALL!

In ROM 9:22, Paul is still dealing with the principle of vessels as they are related to the New Testament passages. In ROM 9:21, he tells us about one the vessel of honor and the vessel of dishonor. In 2TI 2:20, vessels of wood and of earthenware, and some to honor and some to dishonor.

However, in ROM 9:22, the apostle Paul tells us about the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction and in verse 23 the vessels of mercy which He prepared beforehand for glory. In other words, God is using one type of vessel designed to show his angry displeasure, while another type to reveal His glory and graciousness.

PRO 16:4, The Lord has made everything for its own purpose, Even the wicked for the day of evil.

God has made everything with a place and purpose; even the wicked are included.

ISA 43:7, Everyone who is called by My name, And whom I have created for My glory, Whom I have formed, even whom I have made

JOB 21:30, “For the wicked is reserved for the day of calamity; They will be led forth at the day of fury.

Satan may even use carnal negative believers to distract positive believers from the PPOG. In fact, the only reason God sustains the lives of some negative believers is to use them to train others. I didn’t call them an echthrós toú Theoú - enemy of God, the Holy Spirit did! God the Holy Spirit so supernaturally directed this half brother of Jesus Christ, who was not a believer until after the resurrection, to record in perfect accuracy in the original languages of Scripture, the very words of God. This without tampering with his human intelligence, or individuality, or personal feelings or any other human factor.

God inspired James to put into writing God’s complete and distinct message to man recorded in perfect accuracy that there were in the early Church “enemies of God.” This is called verbal plenary inspiration of the Scripture. These "enemies of God", JAM 4:4, are still members of the royal family around today and the only role they can play in the glorification of Christ is to be a test for positive believers.

Because of their own failures to execute the PPOG, they become merely a means of building strength in someone else. Obviously, this is not a Christian's highest calling. These subtle self-righteous Christians are sometimes very sweet, sincere, and highly legalistic individuals who have distorted Christianity into a religion of human good works. They may be moral degenerates rather than immoral degenerates. Jesus called them “ravenous wolves in sheep's clothing,” MAT 7:15. Paul said they were slaves to their own lusts,
(ROM 16:17-18).

Satan’s servants who disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, 2CO 11:13-15.

False brethren secretly brought in, who had sneaked in to spy out our liberty, GAL 2:4.

Hypocrites and liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron, 1TI 4:2.

Evil men and impostors, 2TI 3:13.

Again, all falling under the principle that in ROM 9:22-23, God is using one type of vessel designed to show His angry displeasure, while another type to reveal His glory and graciousness. Our subject is the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction or the vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory.

God paid a great price for all unbelievers. We noted this under the principle of the phrase found in ROM 9:22 and ROM 9:23. InROM 9:22-23, What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath And He did so in order that He might make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, In both cases we dealt with the noun translated vessels which is the nominative plural of the Greek nounskeuos used for containers in the ancient world and here it is without the definite article “the” placed in front of it.

In the Greek language, the linguistic rule is that the absence of the definite article emphasizes the high quality or price that God sets on that which is mentioned, here it refers to all unbelievers. In other words; God placed a great value upon and paid a great price for all unbelievers. There are two important doctrines that reveal how precious every individual is to God. You might wonder why? The answer to that question is simple. It is that God sees potential. God sees the possible.

ROM 3:10, There is none righteous, not even one;

ROM 3:23, For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.

God sees the potential. God sees the possible.

MAT 19:23-26, And Jesus said to His disciples, “Truly I say to you, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” And when the disciples heard {this,} they were very astonished and said, “Then who can be saved?” And looking upon {them} Jesus said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

Let us consider, in context, what our Lord was showing by His illustration. His context has to do with entering the kingdom of GOD. In the previous chapter He had warned that in MAT 18:9, “And if your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out, and throw it from you. It is better for you to enter life with one eye, than having two eyes, to be cast into the fiery hell.”

In MAT 19:13-14, Then {some} children were brought to Him so that He might lay His hands on them and pray; and the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, “Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

We all know the eagerness and excitement children have for learning. Children nevre seem to tire of asking, “how come?” or “Why”? If we are to discover that hidden kingdom of GOD, we also must not only remove from us anything that may offend, but also we must with childlike meekness ask to receive answers and knock so as to have doors opened unto us.

In Mark’s gospel, concerning this very same passage, we come to one verse in question. A wealthy man had come to the Lord Jesus Christ seeking what he must do to “inherit eternal life”.

After hearing the Lord’s response, Mark wrote in MAR 10:22, But at these words his face fell, and he went away grieved, for he was one who owned much property.

He was sad, and he was grieved because the Lord’s response was not the answer he had hoped for. He didn’t realize that greater wealth then he had ever dreamed of could be his if he accepted the Lord’s answer. This man was as the seed sown amongst thorns. He was acquainted with accumulating “great possessions” but he was not acquainted with laying up “treasure in heaven.”

“And others are the ones on whom seed was sown among the thorns; these are the ones who have heard the word, and the worries of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.” (MAR 4:18-19)

And as He was setting out on a journey, a man ran up to Him and knelt before Him, and {began} asking Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments, ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.’” And he said to Him, “Teacher, I have kept all these things from my youth up.” And looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him, and said to him, “One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess, and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But at these words his face fell, and he went away grieved, for he was one who owned much property. (MAR 10:17-22)

He may have known “the commandments” but he didn’t know the Word of GOD. It is interesting that before the Lord gave him his answer, the Scripture says that the Lord “loved him”. The Lord didn’t desire to deprive this rich man of his wealth. He was simply showing him the way into the kingdom of GOD.  The Lord was offering him treasures much more superior to any that moth and rust could corrupt. The desire for riches is not to be underestimated in its ability to deceive and divert one from the narrow way that leads unto life. Many people living in the Bible lands at the time when the Gospels were written erroneously believed that all wealth was a blessing from GOD. If one was poor, then the people believed that he must surely be cursed by GOD, but if one was rich he must surely be blessed by GOD.  This is why the disciples then “were astonished out of measure, saying among themselves, Who then can be saved?” (see MAR 10:26)

They thought that if the rich found it difficult to enter the kingdom of GOD, what chance did the rest of them have? Much of the Lord’s teaching endeavored to correct the false assumption that wealth is always a blessing from God. The truth is more the other way. Usually the pursuit of wealth separates us from the workings of God in our lives.

But those who desire to get rich fall into temptation and a trap also into many stupid and harmful desires or lusts which drown those individuals into ruin and destruction. For you see the love of money keeps on being a root of all sorts of evil through which [love for money] certain ones by intensively desiring it [money] have gone astray from the doctrine and pierced themselves with many types of pain. (1TI 6:9-10)\

It can choke the word sown in our hearts and rob us of eternal treasures God desires for us to obtain. Many stumble at this and are sad and go away grieved, having found no answer that pleases them. A few however are willing to set aside secondary pursuits and seek with all their heart to know Him who knew them “before the foundation of the world” (EPH 1:4).

"For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel's shall save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?”

So, there are two important doctrines that reveal how precious every individual is to God.

(MAR 8:35-36)

The doctrine of the tree of life.

The tree of life is associated with perfect life and environment in the Garden, as well as the perpetuation of right relationship with God in the Garden,

And out of the ground the Lord God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. (GEN 2:9)

Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, lest he stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever.” (GEN 3:22)

Then man sinned and was driven out of the Garden, he was cut off from the tree of life, (GEN 3:24).

So He drove the man out; and at the east of the garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim, and the flaming sword which turned every direction, to guard the way to the tree of life. (GEN 3:24)

The tree of life is not seen again by man until the Eternal state.

“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the Paradise of God.” (REV 2:7)

In the middle of its street. And on either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. (REV 22:2)

Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city. (REV 22:14)

The tree of life is related to doctrine.

How blessed is the man who finds wisdom, And the man who gains understanding. For its profit is better than the profit of silver, And its gain than fine gold. She is more precious than jewels; And nothing you desire compares with her. Long life is in her right hand; In her left hand are riches and honor. Her ways are pleasant ways, And all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her, And happy are all who hold her fast. (PRO 3:13-18)

Positive volition is related to the tree of life in PRO 13:12, Hope deferred makes the heart sick, But desire fulfilled is a tree of life.

The tree of life will be located forever in the New Jerusalem.

In the middle of its street. And on either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. (REV 22:2)

Eternal happiness is associated with the tree of life, REV 22:14, Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city.

The doctrine of the Unlimited Atonement defined as the saving work of Christ on the cross.

Atonement is the reconciliation between God and man, accomplished by the efficacious sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross. Hence, unlimited atonement and propitiation remove the barrier between God and man, so that every person in the human race can have eternal salvation.

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