That I May Come to Know Him
Robert R. McLaughlin Bible Ministries
The TREE OF LIFE is a weekly teaching summary. The Tree of Life for the week ending 01-07-01
Getting to Know Him
PHI 3:10 is our main verse: "That I may come to know Him and the power of His resurrection." "That I may come to know Him" refers to occupation with Christ.
The purpose of a personal sense of destiny is to parlay it into an intimate occupation with Christ. This demands the understanding of the adult spiritual life. As a believer, you will always be disillusioned and disappointed in life unless you attain occupation with Christ. To know Christ is not to be skilled in theological knowledge; it is to know Him with such intimacy that we release that we are more united with him than we are with those whom we love on earth.
Occupation with Christ is personal love for our Lord Jesus Christ through metabolized doctrine in the soul by means of the filling of the Holy Spirit. It is the absence of garbage in the subconscious. It results from perception, metabolization, and application of Church-age mystery doctrine as the number one priority in your life.
1PE 1:8; "And even though you have not seen Him, you love Him [occupation with Christ]; and though you do not see Him now but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with inexpressible happiness and full of glory.
Those who truly love the Lord Jesus Christ have made Him a role model. These are the believers who are truly happy, and are spiritually self-sustained. The happiness from occupation with Christ and the utilization of the problem solving devices is something that belongs to the privacy of your own soul. The believer who is occupied with Christ is full of glory, invisible to man, but very visible to God and the angelic creatures. The mystery doctrine of the Church-age is described as the thinking or the mind of Christ.
1CO 2:16; "For who has known the thinking of the Lord that he should instruct Him? But we [Church-age believers] have the thinking of Christ."
You cannot love Jesus Christ until you know how He thinks. Having the thinking of Christ results in occupation with Christ in contrast to preoccupation with people.
There are two divine commands with regard to occupation with Christ. The first is HEB 12:2; "Be concentrating on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our doctrine, who because of the exhibited happiness, He endured the Cross and disregarded [by use of the problem solving devices] the shame [imputation of our sins], and He sat down at the right hand of God." The second is 1PE 3:15; "But sanctify [set apart as more important than anything else] the Lord Christ in your hearts." God makes a direct positive demand on our will and volition to be occupied with Christ, which is a mandate to be consistent in the metabolization of doctrine.
Occupation with Christ is also defined as fellowship with the Son.
1CO 1:9; "God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord."
The call of God occurs between common and efficacious grace when God the Father invites the unbeliever to change his mind about Jesus Christ and believe in Him for salvation.
Fellowship with the Holy Spirit is necessary for the execution of these mandates. Another way of describing the filling of the Spirit found in 2CO 13:14; "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the love for God [the Father] and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you."
PHI 2:1-2; "Since therefore there is encouragement in Christ, since there is comfort from virtue-love, since there is fellowship of the Spirit, since there is tendernesses and compassions, bring to completion my inner happiness by thinking the same things, maintaining the same virtue-love, united in soul, concen-trating on the same objective."
PHI 2:5; "Keep on thinking this [doctrine] within yourselves which was also resident in Christ Jesus."
These verses teach that our spiritual life depends upon encouragement in Christ and this is dependent on learning doctrine. As we grow spiritually, our dependence on people shifts to dependence on God. Occupation with Christ does not depend upon emotionalism or any human work. This occupation is actually structured entirely upon your perception of Bible doctrine. When we go through suffering, disaster, shock, and pressure, the problem-solving devices are the only solution. When we see how these problem-solving devices work, we will experience encouragement in Christ. Comfort comes from knowledge of the personal love that God the Father has for the believer and the believer's personal love for God the Father. This gives us comfort in times of adversity as well as times of prosperity. The "tendernesses and compasssions" of PHI 2:1 are based upon the function of impersonal love for all mankind and grace orientation as two of the problem solving devices. The "inner happiness"of PHI 2:2 results when you attain occupation with Christ. It is then that you attain +H or sharing the happiness of God, and that you are prepared to meet and face any circumstance. This is why occupation with Christ is often mentioned with sharing the happiness of God in Scripture.
We are to think the same as God thinks; thought is the basis for happiness, love, and virtue. Having the thinking of Christ is occupation with Christ rather than with people. "United in soul" (PHI 2:2) means we have reached the point of regarding the predesigned plan of God for our life in the same manner that our Lord did.
From PHI 2:1-2 we see that Occupation with Christ results in God emphasis taking precedence over people emphasis. We see that fellowship with God is infinitely more important than fellowship with people. We also see that God must come first in our life in order for us to execute God's plan. This can only be done by learning doctrine on a daily basis. You cannot grow spiritually and execute the predesigned plan of God unless you have epignosis knowledge (wisdom, rather than mere knowledge) circulating in the right lobe of the soul, called the "heart" in the Bible. However, the attainment of occupation with Christ is gradual. It starts with the command in EPH 3:19; "And to come to know the love for Christ which goes beyond gnosis that you may be filled with all the fullness of God."
We must reach the point where we understand that we need help. Occupation with Christ means getting to the point where the Lord Jesus Christ becomes our best friend. Therefore, occupation with Christ becomes the ultimate problem-solving device of life.
Occupation with Christ is one of three problem-solving devices related to virtue-love. The seventh problem-solving device is personal love for God the Father, the motivational virtue in life. The eighth is impersonal love for all mankind, the functional virtue in the Christian life. The tenth is occupation with Christ, the priority solution, and ultimately the answer to any adversity in life, as well as the basis for having capacity for happiness and prosperity. All three of these problem-solving devices function with maximum efficiency in the three stages of spiritual adulthood. They begin in spiritual self-esteem, continue in spiritual autonomy, and reach their peak in spiritual maturity. All three of these concepts of love are the subject of 1Co 13:13; "And now abides faith, hope, and virtue-love, these three; but the greatest of these is virtue-love."
Occupation with Christ is the greatest motivator in life. As we begin to grow spiritually, we have a stronger motivation in our relationship with the Lord, and we grow from dependence on people to dependence on the Lord. False motivation leads to false doctrine and wrong priorities, and produces garbage in the subconscious, which results in false experience. Occupation with Christ is structured completely upon metabolized doctrine, 2CO 5:14-15. The key is that we no longer live for ourselves but for Christ, for God does all the work. The only way we can ever have a marvelous life is to no longer live for ourselves. Once we have occupation with Christ, we live for Christ and we are happier than ever. In providing eternal life, God also provided for us a way to have ourselves changed, but not to change others. When we try to change others, we become bitter and hardened. Wrong fellowship with God results in wrong relationship with people. Right fellowship with God results in right relationship with people. God must come first.
When you give doctrine number one priority in your life, two things occur.
1. You come to have personal love for God the Father, and therefore fellowship with the Father.
2. You come to have occupation with Christ, and therefore fellowship with God the Son.
Occupation with Christ eliminates the human viewpoint of life. Human viewpoint makes you miserable and makes you argue with others about everything in life. The greater your motivation in life, the greater your capacity for life, love, and happiness, and the greater you are as a person. Occupation with Christ results in God emphasis taking precedence over people emphasis, because fellowship with God is infinitely more important than fellowship with people. As unbelievers, we were ignorant of Jesus Christ for we knew Him only from the human viewpoint. However, with cognitive self-confidence in spiritual self-esteem and cognitive independence in spiritual autonomy, we no longer regard Christ from the human viewpoint of ignorance. Only the new spiritual species is qualified to have fellowship with God. The new spiritual species is capable of using the omnipotence of God for the execution of His plan. The people priority and lust lose their power once we reach spiritual self-esteem. The power of another individual to hurt us is gone. We must always remember that we can't be motivated by people and advance in the Christian life.
Occupation with Christ is revealed by our dedication and devotion to Him and His plan. Only God can mature us, 1CO 3:1-8. In these verses we see the principle that God causes the growth, and each of us will receive his own reward according to his own labor. We are never fully grown until we reach the point of occupation with Christ. It is here that we handle life magnificently and glorify God. However, always remember that true spiritual growth involves pain as well as joy, suffering as well as happiness, failure as well as success, inactivity as well as service, and death as well as life. The temptation to try to take a shortcut is especially strong unless we see the value of the time element and believe that God is at work. We must rest in God's hands, and trust that He is at work within us and that He is responsible for our spiritual growth. We must realize that someone truly does care about us -- the Lord Jesus Christ.
As Christians, we need to see the necessity of going beyond the love motive to the life motive.
PHI 1:21; "For to me to live is Christ."
The presalvation assumption that if you are right in your relationship with people you are right in your relationship with God is wrong, as was demonstrated in the Garden of Eden. The priority of the new spiritual species is occupied with Christ. Even though the old things have lost their power, we are not impeccable; we continue to possess an old sin nature.
The "new things [that] have come" include the following:
1. The precedence for the Church Age, the great power experiment of the Hypostatic Union.
2. The baptism of the Spirit, which creates a new spiritual species.
3. The 100% availability of divine power to every believer in the Church-age.
4. A new divine plan for the glorification of God by the unique royal family of God, the predesigned plan of God, which leads us to our personal sense of destiny.
5. The indwelling of all three persons of the Trinity in the body of every Church-age believer.
6. The two royal commissions (the royal priesthood and the royal ambassadorship).
7. The dispensation of equality (equal privilege and equal opportunity under the principle of election).
8. The unique problem solving devices.
9. The unique portfolio of invisible assets.
10. The dispensation of invisible heroes.
There is only one true and adequate motivating power for living the Christian life, and that is the very life of the Lord Jesus Christ, ministered within by the Spirit of Life Himself. This is not a motivation of love, but the empowerment of life.
PHI 1:21; "For me, living is Christ, likewise dying is profit."
The truth is not "Only what is done for Christ will last," but rather, "Only what is done by Christ will last." This is the turning point, usually years in the making, where the growing Christian begins to be centered in Christ rather than in himself ("not I, but Christ," GAL 2:20).
(For more information, pick up last week's tapes, Philippians series, 0190-785 to 0190-789.)