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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 from the week ending 09/20/09
In relationship to our main study of ROM 9:19, we have been noting the will of God that most individuals choose to resist. We are now ready to look at why God allows system testing. Paul gave us this principle in: 2CO 12:10, Therefore I am well content with weaknesses [preventative suffering], with insults [slander and people testing], with distresses [pressure and thought testing], with persecutions [system testing].
By now you’re aware that the world is filled with organizations. Everywhere that you turn in life it is inevitable that you become a part of a system or an organization. When you become a part of any organization, one of the first things that you discover is that every organization has a command structure, a chain of command, and you will experience the feet of clay syndrome and see the organization’s flaws. Some systems are good and some are bad, however, the issue is whether or not you enter into the system or an organization with the power of God. It all has to do with the power we operate under (2CO 4:7; 2CO 10:4).
Without the power of God, system testing is very difficult to handle. However, if you enter into a system with the power of God, you will not only be good for the organization but you will do well in representing the Lord as an ambassador. You may be the low person on the totem pole, but with the power of God you will advance in the spiritual life and prosper. It was said of Hezekiah in 2CH 31:21, And every work which he began in the service of the house of God in doctrine and in command, seeking his God, he did with all his heart and prospered.
The characteristics of a system are three-fold:
(1)  Authority.
(2)  Policy.
(3)  Objective.
The personnel under the authority can face system testing. The policy of management and the objective of the organization can cause system testing as well.
There are at least seven general categories of different systems:
(1) Business organizations, large or small.
(2) Military services.
(3) Professional organizations, such as medical organizations, law firms, engineering companies, law enforcement.
(4) Ecclesiastical organizations, such as local churches, denominations, cults, theological seminaries, Christian service organizations.
(5) Athletic organizations, such as professional, college, high school teams.
(6) Divine institutions, like marriage and family.
(7) Government: National, state, or local.
There are good and bad organizations, systems, leadership, policies, and objectives. Your system testing may be from either category, good or bad. Because no one is perfect and everyone has an old sin nature, personality, policy, and purpose conflicts will inevitably exist.
Generally, there are three areas of system testing:
(1) The authority may give unfair and unjust treatment, as from management, the boss, supervisor, senior officer, coach, professor, government bureaucrat, husband, parents, etc. Favoritism on the part of management can inevitably lead to personality conflict in an office.
(2) The policy may be unreasonable, or may conflict with normal living or with your own personal norms and standards, or it may be a stupid though still enforceable policy.
(3) The objectives may be unreasonable or even impossible because of lack of ability in the personnel trying to fulfill them.
The greatest enemy to any organization is arrogance in its personnel. Arrogance is the great enemy wherever there are people. A second enemy is incapability; a third is laziness and procrastination. Other enemies include distraction from having the wrong priorities and ignorance.
So, there are three areas of system testing:
(1)  Personality conflict in the organization. Someone may not like your personality and therefore you become a victim of unjust treatment!
(2) Policy pressure upon the individual believer. However, this does not mean that if you read your Bible on company time and get rebuked for it that you're going through system testing. When you are working for a company, they have the right to dictate to you certain rules including one that prohibits reading your Bible on company time.
(3) The objective or purpose of the organization. If you disagree with the system you're under then leave the system. However, leave it with no judging, criticism, murmuring or complaining. The motivation for the believer who has the divine power of God is always his personal love for God, occupation with Christ and his impersonal love for all mankind. Therefore we do not do our job to please men, but we do our job as unto the Lord.
Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right. (1PE 2:13-14)
This passage is literally saying, For the sake of the Lord submit yourselves to every human authority: For God wants you to silence the ignorant talk of foolish people by the good things you do.
Servants or labor, be submissive to your masters or employers with all respect, not only to those who are good and gentle, but also to those who are unreasonable. For this finds favor, if for the sake of conscience toward God a man bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly [and that is people testing and system testing.]
(2PE 2:18-19).
Your are to exercise your freedom by serving God, not by breaking the rules. You are to treat everyone you meet with dignity. You are to love your spiritual family, revere God, and respect the government. What counts is that you put up with it for God's sake when you're treated badly for no good reason (1PE 2:20). There's no particular virtue in accepting punishment that you well deserve.
The Lord never did one thing wrong and not once said anything improper. They called him every name in the book and he said nothing back. He suffered in silence, content to let God set things right. A person who uses the problem solving devices functioning under the power of God with the attitude of doing his job as unto the Lord, will do a good job regardless of any unfair treatment or injustice in the system. With the motivation which comes from the power of God, the believer can do his job under an unfair policy regarding his hours or work, under unjust treatment from management, and under unfair bullying regarding the objectives.
When a believer operates under the divine power of God, he always does the best possible job regardless of unfair treatment, unjust criticism, or even any form of job discrimination. When a believer operates under the divine power of God, he does not complain or become involved in organizational conspiracy. When a believer operates under the divine power of God, he can be a victim of unfair leadership or unjust management or a rotten system, and he deals with all the personality conflicts from his impersonal love. We must always remember, regardless of our stage of spiritual growth, that while God is always fair, it is inevitable that man will be unfair. It is true that sometimes we become shocked at the way certain people have treated us, however, we should never ever be shocked at the wickedness of man.
We are ready to continue our study by looking at why God allows disasters to take place in the believer's life, or why disaster testing. Many of us need a disaster or tragedy to wake us. Before the believer reaches maturity, there will be some major disasters in the life. How the believer handles these determines whether he accelerates his spiritual growth or retreats and goes backward.
“Be gracious to me, O God, be gracious to me, For my soul takes refuge in Thee; And in the shadow of Thy wings I will take refuge, Until destruction passes by.” (PSA 57:1)
There are two categories of disaster testing:
(1) Personal disaster testing is designed as suffering for blessing for acceleration of momentum, or warning of cosmic involvement, in which case divine discipline becomes involved.
(2) Historical disaster, collective disaster, or national disaster testing is related to the bad decisions of others in which you are involved by association. For example, a lot of people may suffer unfairly when the President decides to go to war or the congress passes laws that take away freedom.
There are at least six characteristics of disaster testing:
(a) Pain, e.g., physical or mental pain and anguish.
(b) Crime, where you are the victim
(c) Persecution (not paranoia).
(d) Privation, meaning hunger, thirst, exposure, fatigue.
(e) Loss of loved ones, property, success, money, etc.
(f) Disease and handicaps.
There are four characteristics of national disaster.
(1)Violence, crime, terrorism, dope, murder.
(2) Warfare.
(3) Weather disaster includes heat, cold, storm, blizzards, hurricanes, tornadoes.
(4) Cycles of discipline.
Disaster testing always tests our emotions. For example, in emotionalism you may seek to sue someone who is negligent, which is only revenge, and you become a loser, so you can actually lose by gaining, and gain by losing. The only wealth worth having is the wealth that God provides in escrow blessing. There is always the disaster that will make you prosperous if you rely on the power of God to pull you through.
Historical downtrend happens when a maximum number of people in a given area are living in the cosmic system. There must be maximum faith, maximum spiritual self-esteem, maximum spiritual maturity if you are going to have your escrow blessing and pass the disaster test.
As Jeremiah said, O Lord, the hope of Israel, All who forsake Thee will be put to shame. Those who turn away on earth will be written down, Because they have forsaken the fountain of living water, even the Lord (JER 17:13).
All who leave God end up as fools. Deserters or believers who go AWOL end up with nothing to show for their lives, and wind up in disaster and even dead! In disaster testing, it can be very difficult to trust in the Lord and not fight back or seek revenge and self survival and that's why PSA 4:5 says to offer the sacrifices of righteousness, And trust in the Lord. Trust in the Lord is called a sacrifice of righteousness because in time of disaster the tendency is to trust in yourself.
Disaster testing is the most obvious of all the tests. People testing, thought testing, and system testing may exert an insidious pressure on the believer. He must be alert to recognize these challenges to his advance. When he has identified the nature of the test, he then can apply the appropriate problem-solving devices and pass the test. Disaster testing, however, is anything but subtle. The problem is not to identify the threat but to endure the shock and to maintain poise for decision making under extreme duress.
The proper attitude in times of disaster is described by Peter.
In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, (1PE 1:6-8)
In disaster testing, the spiritually adult believer uses the greatest of all problem-solving devices, the happiness of God, which is described here as “inexpressible and full of glory.” The believer inculcated with the thinking of God is happy or content in whatever circumstances he finds himself and can therefore cope with any pressure in life.
Knowledge of Bible doctrine gives the believer a sense for historical trends so that he is alert to pending disasters. God protects the growing believer in disaster testing. In this divine test, the believer has the privilege of understanding these doctrines and of appreciating the One who protects and delivers him. He understands and believes JOB 5:20, In economic depression He [God] will ransom you from death, and in battle from the power of the sword. He understands and believes ROM 8:35-39, Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or akedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written, “For Thy sake we are being put to death all day long; We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
When a believer suffers disaster testing, he is closing in on the objective of the Christian way of life. Spiritual maturity is the next step. In people testing, thought testing, system testing, or disaster testing, the Christian's mental attitude can be characterized by eager anticipation and stimulation despite the pain he suffers. Metabolized Bible doctrine enables him to see how close he is to achieving maturity.
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