Grace Bible Church
Robert R. McLaughlin Bible Ministries
The TREE OF LIFE is a weekly teaching summary.
The Tree of Life for week ending 05/26/02.
The many categories of blessings for the believer who reaches supergrace.
GEN 17:15-17 Then God said to Abraham, "As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. And I will bless her, and indeed I will give you a son by her. Then I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of peoples shall come from her." Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed, and said in his heart, "Will a child be born to a man one hundred years old? And will Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?"
As we continue to study the background to the Israeli-Arab conflict, we have changed subjects temporarily from circumcision to the principle of blessing by association. In verse 15, Sarah, the wife of Abraham, has not quite kept up with him spiritually, but she has reached spiritual maturity. She is about to blessed here, not just because of her own spiritual advance, but because of her relationship with Abraham.
In these verses we can see what happened to Sarah during the 13 silent years between chapters 16 and 17. For a long time Sarah had overt beauty but no inner beauty. She was full of arrogance, jealousy, hatred, bitterness, and most of all revenge, as in her treatment of Hagar, the Egyptian slave girl. However, through perception, metabolization, and application of Bible doctrine, she acquired both spiritual maturity and inner beauty. Having cracked the maturity barrier, she is no longer contentious (Sarai); she is now a princess (Sarah). In spite of all her husband's past failures, she grew up spiritually by responding to the Lord Jesus Christ. This is a great lesson for those who are married to someone who is negative toward doctrine, or for those who are still single, that all they need is to follow their future bridegroom, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Another principle we can learn from Abraham and Sarah is that people cannot change people. Only Bible doctrine in one's soul can change him. This is taught in ROM 14:1-5, "Now accept the one who is weak in doctrine, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions. One man has faith that he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables only. Let not him who eats regard with contempt him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats, for God has accepted him. Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and stand he will, for the Lord is able to make him stand. One believer regards one day above another, another believer regards every day alike. Let each believer be fully convinced in his own mind."
The foods that we eat are not important when it comes to spiritual matters, and we are not force our own opinions on others. The Apostle Paul continues in ROM 14:6-8, "He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord, and he who eats, does so for the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who eats not, for the Lord he does not eat, and gives thanks to God. For not one of us lives for himself, and not one of us dies for himself; for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die we belong to the Lord."
In other words, our life and death are in the hands of the Lord. It is His business no one else's; we are responsible to the Lord. An individual can only be changed in his soul, whether it be by Bible doctrine or the influence of evil. People cannot be changed by bullying, pushing, or forcing some pattern of dress or demeanor or some type of personality on them.
Sarah has the capacity for blessing from her own spiritual maturity, and blessing by association with an ultra-supergrace believer, her husband Abraham, is something even greater, beyond any blessing she already has. Blessing by association extends to one's mate, to parents, to children, to friends, to business associates, and to all who are in the periphery of the mature believer.
GEN 17:16 "And I will bless her, and indeed I will give you a son by her. Then I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of peoples shall come from her."
This is the piel perfect form of the Hebrew verb "barak," which means she will be blessed intensively. This is a positive declaration that the new race will be perpetuated through Sarah and through no one else. This is Sarah's blessing by association-she will have ultra-supergrace sexual prosperity in her relationship with Abraham. God revives them both instantly, and shortly, within a few months, Sarah will become pregnant.
There are distinct categories of blessings for the believer who reaches supergrace in time.
1. Spiritual blessings. These include sharing the perfect happiness of God and occupation with Christ as maximum category one love (toward God), which is greatly intensified in supergrace and ultra-supergrace. Many blessings accompany the believer's maximum love for the Lord Jesus Christ. The supergrace believer has great capacity for life, love, happiness, and blessing, and total appreciation for grace. He also receives the tremendous ability to face undeserved suffering in life with no complaining. For the supergrace believer, the intensification of spiritual blessings comes when he wears the shroud of maximum, unremitting, undeserved suffering to glorify God in the angelic conflict, and this suffering will not terminate until he departs this life. In the midst of it all, he still has perfect happiness, the "peace which surpasses all comprehension," PHI 4:7. The supergrace believer also has the ability to correctly interpret contemporary history, to evaluate current events in the light of the Word of God. He is free from slavery to the circumstances of life, and he adaptable to changing circumstances. The mature believer shines in time of historical disaster. He has grace orientation, freedom orientation, authority orientation, common sense, and a total sense of security, whether in prosperity or disaster.
2. Temporal blessings. These include material wealth, either received or acquired, as well as physical health. The supergrace believer can have professional prosperity, including a great influence on others, leadership dynamics, success, promotion, and recognition in one's sphere of life. Abraham had the privilege of receiving one of the greatest titles in the Bible, "friend of God." Moses was a successful ruler. Paul was the greatest communicator of all time. Jeremiah was the greatest prophet of all time. In supergrace, the believer will have the ability to assume responsibility and authority without emotional inspiration or false motivation. The supergrace believer can also have great social prosperity and great friends, as well as sexual prosperity with one's right man or right woman. In mental prosperity, the ability to think and concentrate increases. This gives the believer a greater capacity for life and a great deal of interest toward what is happening in everyday life. Every day will be meaningful. God will also grant cultural prosperity, which is maximum enjoyment of drama, art, literature, music, history, etc. Establishment prosperity includes enjoyment of freedom, privacy, and protection of life and property from criminals and reprisal.
3. Blessings by association. Those around a mature believer are blessed by their association or relationship with that person. There are two categories of blessings here. They are blessed either directly by God or indirectly from the supergrace believer as a result of the overflow of his supergrace blessings. These peripheral areas of blessing by association include loved ones, business life, social life, and the local church. There are also geographical blessings to the supergrace believer's city, state, and nation.
4. Historical blessings. The mature believer carries his generation, 2TI 1:5. He stabilizes his generation and even future historical generations. The ebb and flow of history does not disturb the tranquility or impact of the mature believer. He is the MAT 5:13-14 believer, "the salt of the earth" and "the light of the world." The supergrace believer is on the winning side of history, whereas the reversionist is caught up in the disasters of history and swept along with them, EPH 4:14, "As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming." The supergrace believer rides the crest of the wave of blessing. He rises above historical disaster.
5. Undeserved suffering. Only in time do we have the opportunity to glorify God under pressure, disaster, and undeserved suffering to prove to Satan and the fallen angels that Bible doctrine can handle any situation. God gives us the ability to handle suffering and turn suffering into blessing, ROM 8:28, Deu 23:5. A mature believer knows when he is under divine discipline or undeserved suffering. The former is unbearable; the latter is bearable. The supergrace believer's ability to handle undeserved suffering glorifies God and becomes evidence against Satan in his appeal trial. Undeserved suffering is also used by God to keep our eyes on Him and our focus on eternity, REV 2:10,2CO 12:9-10. Undeserved suffering also teaches us the value of Bible doctrine, Psa 119:67-71. We read in PSA 119:67, "Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep Thy word." Here, the psalmist is living in disastrous conditions and still says, "I keep Your word." God in wisdom deals with us as perfectly as only He can. He allows suffering, heartache, and disaster in our lives to draw us closer to Him.
6. Dying blessings (dying grace). Every believer has a choice in time between staying positive to Bible doctrine and receiving dying grace, or turning negative to doctrine and dying the sin unto death. For the supergrace believer, the curse of death with its pain and fear is removed, HEB 2:15. It is the greatest experience in life. The perfect happiness of the supergrace believer in time is exceeded only by his happiness in dying grace, 2TI 4:6-8. The mature believer has the best of life, greater blessing in dying, and better than the best for all eternity. As PSA 116:15declares, "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His godly ones."
7. Surpassing grace blessings at the Judgment Seat of Christ. Surpassing grace is the optimum in spiritual achievement. It is the point of maximum blessing and reward, and the ultimate in glorifying Jesus Christ. "Surpassing" connotes something beyond supergrace and beyond time. Surpassing grace is the status of special blessings and rewards in eternity for the believer who has broken the maturity barrier in time.
GEN 17:16b "...Then I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of peoples shall come from her."
Here the Lord is referring to the many blessings that accompany supergrace. The plural form of "nations" anticipates the dividing of the nation of Israel into Ephraim and Judah, and then later the Roman Province of Judea, the revival of the Israel in the 20th century, and finally the Israel of the Tribulation. This foreshadows the fact that Israel as a client nation to God comes and goes in history, and every time it departs through the fifth cycle of discipline, it is later revived under God's blessing. Sarah is the mother of many kings in history, including the entire Davidic Dynasty and of course the Lord Jesus Christ.
The blessing by association indicates not only the status of Abraham as an ultra-supergrace believer, but also that instead of receiving just her own personal supergrace blessings at this time, Sarah is receiving great blessing because of the man to whom she is married. Abraham is about to become the "friend of God," a statement found only three times in the Scripture, 2Ch 20:7, ISA 41:8, JAM 2:23. This means that Abraham, as an ultra-supergrace believer, has a genuine occupation with the Lord Jesus Christ, the Giver. The gift, Isaac, will never again be as important as the Giver to him. This will be tested in Gen 22, as we have studied. When the Giver is more important than the gift, the believer has true capacity for life. The ability to love God comes from maximum doctrine resident soul, the doctrine by which one becomes a mature believer.
You cannot love God unless you know God. You cannot know God unless you have the means of knowing God in your soul, Bible doctrine. Abraham, from this time on, will always love the Lord Jesus Christ more than anything else in life, and the Lord will shower him with gifts. He will always have his eyes on the giver, and therefore not only enjoy the gift, but have the security of loving the Giver.
In GEN 17:17, Abraham responds in what seems like a rather strange way: "Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed, and said in his heart, 'Will a child be born to a man one hundred years old? And will Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?'"
The word "laughed" is very interesting. Abraham regarded the promise of sexual prosperity being so real and the blessing being so great (in spite of having been sexually dead for 13 years, and Sarah having never been pregnant in all her 90 years), that it immediately aroused a relaxed response. We read of Abraham's attitude regarding this promise in ROM 4:17-21. Abraham is expressing his joy and confidence in the promise of God.
Sarah is going to be blessed because she is associated with an ultra-supergrace believer, Abraham, and she is about to have her womb opened and receive sexual prosperity. All the effects of menopause are reversed instantly. The instant revival of their sexual ability is the beginning of their sexual prosperity, and Sarah will soon be pregnant with a child named "Yitschaaq" (Isaac), which in Hebrew means "laughter."
For a more detailed study, order last week's tapes, IA11-153 to IA11-156.