Robert R. McLaughlin Bible Ministries
The TREE OF LIFE weekly teaching summary from the week ending February 08, 1998
Tree of Life 02/08/98
Tree of Life for 02-08-98
PHI 1:27 corrected translation "Only live in your heavenly privileges in a manner worthy of the good news doctrines of the Christ; in order that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I may hear of the things concerning you that you are standing firm in one and the same spirit and with one soul since you have joined in the conflict for the doctrines of the gospel."
The first part of verse 27 brings out the fact that all believers should be offensively minded. This is a command to press forward and at the same time attack your problems rather than let your problems remain and endure and drain you of strength. The only exception of offensive action is when dealing with Satan, at which time the believer is commanded to be on the defense, (1Peter 5:8). But the offensive action Paul refers to in the first half of verse 27 is given from a military point of view and can be compared with 2Timothy 2:1-4. This offensive action is the only way by which a decision is reached and a goal is accomplished.
To remain simply defensive against problems in life never solves the problems. A defensive position against problems merely serves to suppress the problems day by day never leaving them behind in order to move forward. Hence the offensive is the only way to reach spiritual maturity. Even in times of peace we should be on the offensive,(Hebrews 10:25). Offensive action brings victory in your life compatible with the objective while defensive action can only avoid defeat (rebound). The aim of offensive action is to disarm the enemy, to eradicate the problems which face us, not to hide them or ignore them. If the believer were to hide from or yield to pressures he would never accomplish his objective. The objective force then, renders the enemy powerless whereas the defensive position offers resistance of destruction. The object of defense is preservation and protection; the holding of ground rather than the taking of ground found in offensive action.
The defensive position is two sided, one being passive the other being active. The passive purpose of defense is preservation whereas the active defense is more positive and forceful and may even lead to conquest. Active defense can very well lead to the offensive which offers the opportunity to increase one's capacity. Against Satan it is only after our defensive resistance against his ploys do we gain the means to win a victory that will enable us to take the offensive after superiority has been gained. If we cannot first resist the distractions offered by the kingdom of darkness, we will never be able to move forward to attack our problems in life. Hence the defensive should not be overlooked or discredited as the lesser. Once the defender has resisted and gained an important advantage, defense as such has done its work. Offense increases one's own resources and decreases that of the enemy, elevates the morale, and generally depresses the adversary.
Our spiritual objective is to attack the problems of life offered by our enemies and move forward. We must not remian waiting for the blows given by the adversary (passive defense) but be constantly on the alert in active defense to improve all opportunities of offensive action. This plan of war may be called the defensive-offensive, combining the advantages of both systems; for one who awaits his adversary upon a prepared field with all his own resources in the soul, can take the initiative and is fully able to judge when and where to strike with offensive action. In other words be prepared! Offensive action includes being disciplined in the spiritual realm. Devotion to God's word is the power which offers the believer offenseive action in order to secure the victory. We cannot expect to be winners in heaven without first overcomimg here on earth our adversaries and suffferings! God offers us all the equipment needed to become winners in time, it is up to us to appropriate what God offers in His matchless grace.
The Christian offensive action is the utilization of the grace of God. Offensive action by way of utilization of our divine assets increases the effectiveness of one's forces, raises morale, permits concentration of effort and allows freedom of action. Now this deployment is not only personal but in military terms refers to a oneness in troops. This brings in the b part of verse 27, "that you are standing firm in one and the same spirit and with one soul,". This command is given to a group not an individual. A troop that deploys in confusion will secure no advantage. There must be unity and a oneness of mind. All soldiers involved must focus on the same objective with devotion and courage.
"Standing firm" is not a command for an individual but for the congregation at Philippi. This command is given to a congregation; a group of soldiers under pressure because of what they believe! "In one spirit" indicates action by means of one and the same Spirit, the guidance from God the Holy Spirit. As a group Paul commanded them to advance forward with one mind, Philippians 2:5; 1Corinthians 2:16, contending earnestly for the faith, Jude 1:3. Expecting all the while that what they believed of truth would be attacked! "Striving together" (since you have joined in the conflict) is used for a military team working together under fire or pressure. If you have joined in the [angelic] conflict for the [Christian] faith expect to be under fire! It is through many tribulations that we enter the kingdom of God and the peace of God, ACT 14:22 2Timothy 13:12. When pressures and difficulties come down upon us we are to embrace them with anticipation of victory and a new found strength. We often see things as they face us head on, or as it relates to time. But God does not look at us based upon time but upon what we are going to be, which is conformed to His glory. The soul is the real you and is where your true courage and power lies.
We were created in the image of God as Genesis 1:26 states. The Hebrew word used here for "image" is teslem which means a shadow image or a real essence yet invisible. It is this image which God sees whereas people often evaluate according to what their eyes see, 1Samuel 16:7. Provers 23:7 tells us it is how you think which is who you really are.
Who you really are is what you think in your soul. The real person is located in the soul, GEN 2:7. The body has nothing to do with your personhood. The body is merely your covering while on earth. Now, the essence of the soul is made up of five parts:
a) Self consciousness, Luke 1:46
b) Mentality, Song Of Solomon 3:3. The mentality, also known as one's mental attitude is the thinking part of man and is composed of two halves:
1- The mind or left lobe
2- The heart or right lobe
The heart consists of the frame of reference; the memory center, our standards, and the launching pad for application of doctrine to life.
All thought originates in the mentality, Proverbs 2:10; Romons 1:20-22; Proverbs 19:2. That is why the soul is the battle ground and what Satan is after, Matthew 10:28; Ephesians 4:17-19; Psalm 143.
c) Volition, Luke 12:19. This is the decision making area of the soul.
d) Emotion, Luke 12:19, also known as feelings or the reactor department.
e) Conscience, Acts 24:16, this is the evaluator of soul, acting on one's norms and standards. But without doctrine in the soul, the believer tends to run loose with the old sin nature's area of strength thereby linking into pride.
Without doctrine in the soul, the believer's thinking remains depraved, demented, and easily distracted. The soul therefore is the area of the worse type of sins... mental attitude sins, Proverbs 6:16-19; JOB 21:25. Matthew 15:11 teaches us that it's what proceeds out of the mouth that defiles a man because what comes out of the mouth originates in one's soul. So when you speak you reveal who you really are. Perhaps it would therefore be best for some to remain silent.
The soul is the area for all capacity be it good or bad. Inside the plan of God the mature believer has the capacity for life, love, and happiness, 1Samuel 18:1; 1Peter 1:22. Inside the cosmic system the reversionist has maximum capacity for sin, humand good, evil, and self-induced misery. The soul becomes the seat of misery due to scar tissue of the soul, Psalm 6:3; 106:15; 119:25, 28, 81. In physical death the soul departs from the body, JOB 27:8; Psalm 16:10; 2Corinthians 5:8. The soul can never be destroyed since it is the real you. The life God imputes to the soul at physical birth is His gift and can therefore never be rescinded, Romans 11:29. It must at this time be noted that there is a difference between the soul and the human spirit. Man was originally created trichotomous, Genesis 2:7, i.e., composed of three parts, body, soul, and spirit. It is the human spirit that is needed to commune with God. After the fall man was then born dichotomous, i.e., composed of two parts, body and soul. In order for dichotomous man to receive a human spirit he must be born again, John 3:3-8. The human spirit comes after salvation and allows the new believer to establish a relationship with God, 1TH 5:23. Only the soul not the body is saved at the point of regeneration, Psalm 19:17; 34:22; Mark 8:36-37; 1Peter 1:9; Hebrews 10:39. Hence, we glorify God not by what we do in our body but in our soul.
The believers who advance toward spiritual maturity are of the same mind (Philippians 2:5; 1Corinthians 2:16) the mind of Christ. The mind of Christ does not whine about the problems and sufferings of life nor become bitter with one's lot in life. The things that meet our soul have been appointed by God for us to go through. We may not at the time understand why certain things are happen, but God knows why and if God allows it then we need to trust that it is for our benefit! 1Peter 2:13-25 informs us that we are to accept and even be thankful for the sufferings we meet. Suffering and persecution in life affords the positive congregation the opportunity to apply that which is in their souls and advance their troops forward to the upward calling of the awesome objective of our perfect and eternal God! The winner congregation stands firm in the face of opposition even growing stronger in the faith! The winner congregation leaves it's mark in time and for all eternity, advancing the cause of Christ far beyond even what they can see. The church of Philippi marched forward creating a power and example that far reaches the years of their lives on earth. When they, at the Judgment Seat of Christ, realize what their congregational advance on earth served as for thousands of years they will be amazed (and Paul will be well pleased). We too are reaching lands and years far beyond our imagination as we advance together toward the high ground of spiritual maturity in God's great plan. Let us not be distracted but rather let us strive together in one mind for the conflict which we have joined by our faith in the gosepl of Jesus Christ!
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