Grace Bible Church
Robert R. McLaughlin Bible Ministries

Robert R. McLaughlin Bible Ministries
The Tree of Life is a weekly teaching summary.
From the week ending 01/02/05
I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. 
I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity;
Philippians 4:11; Psalm 73

PHI 4:10-12, Now, I have received much inner happiness by means of the Lord greatly, that now at length you have revived your concern or thinking for me; indeed, you also were thinking about me, but you lacked the opportunity to express it. Not because I am speaking with reference to poverty or lack; for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.

In verse 12, the first verb in the sentence which is translated I know, is the perfect active indicative of oida meaning I have come to know. We also have the emphatic use of the conjunction kai, which should be translated in fact.

So the corrected translation of PHI 4:11-12 is, Not because I am speaking with reference to poverty or lack; for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. In fact, I have come to know

Paul learned this in his rebound and recovery from his mistakes in Jerusalem. You can learn a lot from your mistakes if you have humility. Mistakes are inevitable but being arrogant and refusing to admit to them is optional. The greatest mistake some people make is living in constant fear that that they will make mistakes. Life will be victorious when you can capitalize on your mistakes and that is what’s involved in this verb oida = through knowledge.

PHI 4:12, In fact, I have come to know how to get along with humble means,

This is the present passive infinitive from the verb tapeinoo meaning to be humbled, to be humiliated by being assigned a lower place at the table, to be degraded. This is part of the purpose of God in conforming us to the image of His Son (ROM 8:29). It has, of course, the concept of humility in the sense of being helpless.
Remember the context here, Paul has been put in prison and humbled by God. Like David, Paul was a man who knew more about the grace of God than anyone else in his day and yet he ignored God’s grace by becoming sentimental and legalistic. Paul was humbled by God and placed in prison because of compromising God’s grace with legalism and at this time Paul was a supergrace believer.

So, when he says in PHI 4:12, I have come to know how to be humbled, he is referring to his Jerusalem reversionism. He was warned, by means of warning discipline, not to go to Jerusalem. He was warned several times, and he still disobeyed. He went through the warning discipline, then the intensive discipline, and he almost had dying discipline. This is all in view in the infinitive tapeinoo.

Next we have the adjunctive use of the conjunction kai translated also, so we translate, also I have come to know.The active voice means Paul is producing the action of the verb.

Notice that twice in this verse we have had the verb oida and each time the active voice refers to the same person, but with a different connotation. The first oida refers to reversionistic Paul and is speaking about what he learned from the mistakes of his Jerusalem fiasco. In the second oida, supergrace Paul is producing the action of the verb from what he learned in his victory. In other words, he has learned something in progression.  He has learned both from his mistakes and his success.

PHI 4:12, In fact, I have come to know how to be humbled, and I also know how to live in prosperity;

“Prosperity” is the present active infinitive of the verb perisseuo which is perisseuein, meaning to have more than enough and so it means to have prosperity. Paul has learned the secret of not becoming arrogant in his prosperity which has come as a result of his spiritual victories in supergrace.

This prosperity test is difficult for many people and there are two categories of prosperity testing:

1. Individual prosperity testing, in which some form of success challenges the top priority of doctrine.
2. Collective prosperity testing, in which a city, state, nation, or group becomes very prosperous. The believer sharing in this form of prosperity can become distracted from doctrine and lured away from the PPOG.

There are many believers today who cannot handle any form of prosperity because promotion and recognition can cause them to become arrogant and think more highly of themselves than what they ought to. This is true even in churches, where someone has a position that causes others to highly respect them. Every believer must pass the prosperity test before achieving spiritual maturity because prosperity cannot bring happiness apart from the believer’s residence function and momentum inside the PPOG. Prosperity is the most subtle distraction to life in the PPOG because capacity must always precede prosperity. The cosmic system can offer you success, sex, fame, wealth, promotion, social and professional prosperity, but possess all of these without true happiness and you will make your own misery.

Passing the prosperity test consolidates the believer’s scale of values, making them consistent with the PPOG, resulting in the stabilization of the right priorities for life, thus gaining the capacity to enjoy prosperity. Passing this test means that the mature believer is ready to receive God’s greatest prosperity, which are the greater blessings of both time and eternity. When you have the same happiness in adversity as well as prosperity, it means you have passed the test and you will therefore accelerate your spiritual growth. As a result, you concentrate on occupation with Christ as in HEB 12:2, so that He is the focus of your life, the priority solution, the motivation, and the basis for worship, as in communion. In spiritual autonomy, you have a very high degree of focus and motivation; here you concentrate on Jesus Christ through metabolized doctrine in your right lobe so that occupation with Christ continues as the motivation and focus of your life. Occupation with Christ becomes a major problem solving device in passing momentum testing and advancing to spiritual maturity. We will all face prosperity, death and adversity; therefore we need to learn how to adapt to all of them.

DEU 30:15, See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, and death and adversity;

ECC 7:14, In the day of prosperity be happy, but in the day of adversity consider  – God has made the one as well as the other.

JER 22:21, I spoke to you in your prosperity; but you said, I will not listen! this has been your practice from your youth, that you have not obeyed my voice.

The prosperity test usually comes when you least expect it. You may be given prosperity which changes your lifestyle or the test may be a removal of certain prosperity that you were enjoying. The prosperity test can also bring out the covetousness and jealousy that some believers still have within them. There is the prosperity of the wicked which sometimes causes envy in the righteous. Remember what David said in Psa 73, a Psalm that warns us about envy and jealousy, especially when you see individuals prospering who could care less about God.

PSA 73:1, (A Psalm of Asaph.) Surely God is good to Israel, To those who are pure in heart!

This type of thinking is very important especially when going through something where the outcome is unknown. Even if you don’t understand what you’re going through remember God is good to His people.

Then in verse 2 he describes for us how he almost slipped.

PSA 73:2-3, But as for me, my feet came close to stumbling; My steps had almost slipped. For I was envious or jealous of the arrogant, {As} I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

There are certain people who will prosper even though they are wicked; this is also a part of your prosperity test, handling the prosperity of others.

One of the reasons that God allows the wicked to prosper is because their life on this Earth is their Heaven and God loves them very much. Even though He sent His uniquely born son for them and they rejected Him, in His impersonal love, He still loves them. But once they die, for all of eternity they will suffer in the eternal lake of fire.

David saw their outward display of prosperity, but he did not see the discomfort and lack of contentment in their soul. They don’t have that peace that goes beyond understanding in PHI 4:6.

PSA 73:4, For there are no pains in their death; And their body is fat.

This means that their strength is from their riches. Fatness in the ancient world was considered to be prosperity. Remember, this is the thinking of the individual who almost slipped away from God. He said, There’s no pain from their death. But you have something in your soul that money cannot buy, it is a peace that allows you to go through tragedy, disaster and sickness, and still say, I have learned to be content in whatever state I am in.

PSA 73:5-11, They are not in trouble {as other} men; Nor are they plagued like mankind. The garment of violence covers them. Their eye bulges from fatness; The imaginations of {their} heart run riot. They mock, and wickedly speak of oppression; They speak from on high. They have set their mouth against the heavens, and their tongue parades through the earth. Therefore his people [a reference to the wicked who prosper] return to this place; And waters of abundance are drunk by them .And they say, How does God know? And is there knowledge with the Most High?

They deny the Omniscience of God and reject his Doctrines.

PSA 73:12, Behold, these are the wicked; And always at ease, they have increased {in} wealth.

In their carnal security, they become very powerful and mighty.

PSA 73:13, Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure, And washed my hands in innocence;

Have you ever thought that it is all vanity? You try to live your life before God, do the right thing but deceivers and liars get everything. 

PSA 73:14-16, For I have been stricken all day long, And chastened every morning. If I had said, I will speak thus, Behold, I should have betrayed the generation of Thy children. When I pondered to understand this, It was troublesome in my sight.

Now notice verse 17, Until I came into the Sanctuary of God; Then I perceived their end.

The sanctuary of God is a good place to go when you have a problem. Once he came back into the sanctuary or the place where God’s Word was taught, his eyes were opened again to the truth. A light came upon him and he withdrew from the ways of the world and drew toward the ways of God.

If everything’s going wrong in your life it is best to say, I better get to Bible class right now, things are not working out and I know God is on my side, I need some enlightenment. I need to hear what the Spirit says to the church.

This man was starting to say, the wicked are better than the Godly and then he saw the light of truth. When he was living in the ways of the world, the darkness came upon him, but when he came back to the ways of God, the light shined upon him and gave him direction. 

PSA 73:18, Surely Thou dost set them in slippery places; Thou dost cast them down to destruction.

They were standing on a smooth place (everything’s going smooth for them), but always remember something   smooth places can also be very slippery. They may be prospering right now, but slippery paths are going to follow.

PSA 73:19-20, How they are destroyed in a moment! They are utterly swept away by sudden terrors! Like a dream when one awakes, O Lord, when aroused, Thou wilt despise their form.

Their prosperity will be forgotten very quickly as well. Never forget that you have something in your soul that is far greater than any rich man could ever buy.

PSA 73:21-23, When my heart was embittered, And I was pierced within, Then I was senseless and ignorant; I was {like} a beast before Thee. Nevertheless I am continually with Thee; Thou hast taken hold of my right hand.

Even though he has failed he doesn’t let his failures keep him away from God. This is akin to Paul’s first oida in Phil 4:12 when he wrote, I have come to know how to be humbled.

PSA 73:24-28, With Thy counsel [doctrine] Thou wilt guide me, And afterward receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven {but Thee}? And besides Thee, I desire nothing on earth. My flesh and my heart may fail, But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. For, behold, those who are far from Thee will perish; Thou hast destroyed all those who are unfaithful to Thee. But as for me, the nearness of God [being near to God in fellowship with Him] is my good; I have made the Lord God my refuge, That I may tell of all Thy works.

As a believer in TLJC you have something that wealth cannot buy, something that is absolutely unique. So if you do not grow up spiritually and become a mature believer, it will only be your fault. You have all the privileges of heaven, privileges never before extended, even to the greatest believers of the Old Testament. Not even Moses had what you have. Never allow the prosperity of the wicked to take your mind off occupation with TLJC.

PSA 37:7, Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him; do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who carries out wicked schemes.

Ultimately God desires the believer to prosper but the believer must pass these different momentum tests if prosperity is to be given.

3JO 1:2, Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers.

So back in PHI 4:12, In fact, I have come to know how to be humbled [that is by situations], and also I have come to know how to live in prosperity [being blessed by God because of PVTD];

Paul is not talking about a variation of circumstances in his life but rather a status, and there is a difference. In the previous verse he talked about circumstances, some pleasant, some unpleasant. All supergrace believers live in prosperity, but the prosperity varies with the supergrace status of the individual. It depends upon the time in which he lives and many other principles that are related. Plus the degree to which that prosperity is visible to others varies. So that you can never look at another person and say, Well, he’s prosperous, he’s in super grace. However, the status of all supergrace believers in all eras is the same.

Paul goes on to enlarge this principle; PHI 4:12, In fact, I have come to know how to be humbled, and also I have come to know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance

Here is the prepositional phrase, en plus the locative of pas which is panti. Panti is an adjective which means all or every and in the locative singular it means in any place. We have the Greek word pas twice, first in the singular referring to a place, then in the plural, pasin referring to circumstances. 

The singular pas refers to several geographical locations where Paul learned, for instance Jerusalem, Caesarea, and now Rome. Most of you have learned different lessons in life in different places. The plural pas refers to all circumstances which contributed to the varying circumstances by which Paul was initiated into the blessings of supergrace.

Next we have the perfect passive indicative from the verb mueo which means to be initiated into a fraternity. Mueodoesn’t just mean to be instructed but rather to learn a secret, namely, the secret to life which is to understand the spiritual life. It means to understand your personal sense of destiny and the reason why you have been created. The fraternities of the ancient world were called the mysteries. The word mystery comes from this word mueo. The word musterion, in the New Testament, means a system of doctrine by which you are initiated into the supergrace life. The verb means to be initiated by understanding something, in this case doctrine. It means understanding the Lord’s policies, understanding that you’re in a Royal Family rather than a fraternity. You were born again into the Royal Family of God and you live as an aristocracy in the devil’s world. Consequently there are very, very strong and stringent policies that must be understood.

So we have PHI 4:12, In fact, I have come to know how to be humbled, and also I have come to know how to live in prosperity; in any place and every circumstance I have been initiated into the secret or the mystery of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.

The perfect tense of the verb mueo is what we call a consummative perfect tense emphasizing the process which has been completed. In other words, he has already experienced this secret or mystery and he will continue to do so.

The passive voice means that the once reversionistic, but now in supergrace apostle Paul has received initiation into the mysteries. The indicative mood is declarative for an historical fact that Paul’s Jerusalem reversionism is over. He has been initiated into the secrets of reversionistic discipline, and he has been initiated into the blessing of reversion recovery.

This is what Phil 4:12 say’s literally; In fact, I have come to know, [I have come to experience] how to be degraded[reversionism], also I have come to know [or experience] what it is to live in the prosperity of supergrace. In any place and in all circumstances I have been initiated into the mystery.

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