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 03/15/09
For this is a word of promise: “At this time I will come, and Sarah shall have a son.” (ROM 9:6-9)
We have been noting the many problems and difficulties that Sarah had to overcome to receive the promise from God at the proper time in her life. The barrenness of Sarah mentioned in GEN 11:30, and 15:2, and continues to this chapter in Gen 16 to see if Abraham and Sarah will claim the promises of God, apply the appropriate doctrine and wait upon the Lord. The barrenness of Sarah was actually a test for Sarah. Secondly, specific promises have already been given to Abraham that he will have an heir (GEN 13:14-17; GEN 15:4-5), therefore, Abraham needs to trust in the character and nature of God and wait for God’s timing. Thirdly, we noted that no matter how impossible the situation becomes, Abraham and Sarah can enjoy each day by believing the promises of God regarding the heir, applying doctrine and not worrying about the future. Waiting on the Lord is faith plus patience. Faith is believing at the moment that promises are received, or the moment that the doctrine is perceived that patience is needed before the promises will be fulfilled.
“Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they shall be granted you.” (MAT 11:24)
The real character of our faith is determined by our patience. A patient person will wait upon the Lord. A patient person will be slow to anger. Patience gives us the power and the gracious system of thinking to have great understanding and sensitivity toward others. He who is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who is quick-tempered exalts foolishness (PRO 14:29). Patience with others will also help us resolve and reconcile differences, “A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but the slow to anger pacifies contention” (PRO 15:18). Patience also gives the believer fantastic strength under pressure, “He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit, than he who captures a city” (PRO 16:32).Patience will allow us to be discrete and overlook the sins of others, “A man’s discretion makes him slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook a transgression” (PRO 19:11)
When you’re patient with people, you do not hold them accountable for the wrongs they have done against you. Patience allows you to rest in the Lord, and let the supreme court judge handle any unfair or unjust treatment, “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” (PSA 37:7). If someone is carrying out wicked schemes against you, be patient, and relax, the Lord has everything under control. Give it over to the supreme court of heaven. Many of you are going to find yourself in a very confusing situation like Sarah did as you go forward in the spiritual life.
These things [doctrinal principles] also you have learned and received [accepted through metabolization of doctrine] and having heard [under discipline] and have understood by means of me [Paul’s teaching ministry]. Be putting these into action and the God of prosperity shall be with you, all of you [supergrace believers]. Not because I am speaking with reference to poverty or lack; for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I have come to know how to be humbled and I have come to know how to live in prosperity. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret [or as we have noted I have been initiated into the mystery] of how to be filled, how to be hungry, how to be prosperous, and how to suffer need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. (PHI 4:9-13)
The level of contentment that Paul is describing is the exclusive province of believers who have reached the stage of spiritual maturity. Paul identifies that fact when he instructs the believers in Philippi to let their supergrace mental attitude be known to all men. These are the type of believers who can do all things through Him who strengthens them, and that’s what Sarah did. Believers who have reached supergrace or the advanced spiritual believer, like Sarah, have a phenomenal gracious mental attitude. They know the secret of remaining content in all circumstances. They burst with confidence that the Lord will provide that which is needed to be victorious in all situations. They can take their minds off their own problems and focus on the needs of others, and they give graciously and sacrificially. There is fruit in the life of the supergrace, or the advanced spiritual believer like Sarah. Supergrace believers, like Sarah, get out of the way and let God work all things together for good. The supergrace spiritual believer doesn’t brag about how advanced they are in the Christian way of life, nor do they lecture others about where they fall short. One thing a supergrace believer does have is graciousness.
Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth. (JAM 3:13-14)
This is the life of the supergrace believer. Grace pours into their laps, and flows out to others. Remember that one of the most difficult tests of the spiritual life on earth is supergrace or the advanced spiritual life like Sarah had to go through. This is the stage of the greatest tests for the individual believer, because this is the ultimate goal that can be attained by the intake of doctrine. It reveals the beginning of living in no man’s land between supergrace and ultra-supergrace. This is where we finally experience what living in the minority is all about.
But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble. (JAM 4:6)
Moses and Paul are two illustrations of ultra-supergrace. Both of them were geniuses and reached ultra-supergrace where their lives were enshrouded with continual pressure and suffering.
And just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men [the reversionistic believers and unbelievers at the time Paul wrote this] also oppose the truth [Bible doctrine], men of depraved mind [corrupted mentality], rejected as regards the faith. But they will not make further progress; for their folly [their own lack of sense, which is their madness from reversionism] will be obvious to all, as also that of those two came to be. But you followed my teaching [doctrine], conduct [my self-discipline], purpose [his teaching and building up the body of Christ], faith [faithfulness], patience [which is his steadfastness], love, perseverance or endurance, persecutions, and sufferings [there is the shroud that wraps itself around the ultra-supergrace believer], such as happened to me at Antioch [pressure from legalism], at Iconium [there was a conspiracy to stone him] and at Lystra [legalism and he was actually stone to death and God brought him back from the dead]; what persecutions I endured, and out of them all the Lord delivered me! (2TI 3:8-11)
This is the highest honor that God can give to a believer in time. It is the highest dignity ever bestowed on a member of the human race. It was bestowed upon Moses and Paul; as the demons said, And the evil spirit answered and said to them, “I recognize Jesus, and I know about Paul, but who are you?” (ACT 19:15).
The highest dignity ever bestowed upon any born again believer is the shroud of pressure and suffering which belongs to the ultra-supergrace believer. It is an intensification of their blessing while they are under intense pressure from Satan. It is the demonstration of the power of doctrine, and the exploitation of the power of doctrine to the maximum. And indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus [live the spiritual life] will be persecuted (2TI 3:12).
Ultra-supergrace provides everything found in the blessings of supergrace plus the intensification of these blessings completely enshrouded in maximum pressure and persecution from the satanic forces of evil. We know that David was a supergrace believer because God’s testimony concerning David is found in ACT 13:22 “I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My heart, who will do all My will.” When he reached supergrace, the first thing that God gave him was wealth, he was one of the greatest millionaires of all time, and he never left supergrace. This doesn’t mean he was perfect, supergrace and ultra-supergrace believers sin too (1JO 1:8-10). However there’s a great deal of difference between carnality and reversionism. David made his mistakes and tells us of the resulting discipline while in operation Bathsheba (Psa 38 and Psa 51). However there was instant recovery when he rebounded. The discipline on a supergrace believer when he’s carnal is obviously there, and it can be strong. When a person is in reversionism his life is an intensified compound of misery piled upon misery until he dies the sin unto death. There’s no way to get around it. David was a supergrace believer before and after operation Bathsheba. Paul describes supergrace very beautifully in EPH 1:6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. The blessings of each, supergrace and ultra-supergrace, are beyond human imagination.
Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly or infinitely more beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works [effectively] within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen. (EPH 3:20-21)
Supergrace is maximum glorification of Jesus Christ complementing His strategic victory of the angelic conflict with the believer’s tactical victory, and going through undeserved suffering. Supergrace is the status of spiritual maturity while ultra-supergrace is maximum growth and blessing attended by maximum suffering, which only intensifies the blessing. The corrected translation ofPHI 1:29 “Because to you it has been graciously given with reference concerning Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer on behalf of Him,” This is for the supergrace believer and the ultra-supergrace believer.
Under spiritual blessings, 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 has freedom from slavery to the circumstances in life and adaptability to changing circumstances. The mature believer is the greatest innovator in time of historical disaster because he has grace orientation, freedom orientation, authority orientation, common sense; a total sense of security, whether in prosperity or disaster.
You will also have great social prosperity, great friends, and you will also have sexual prosperity with your right one of the opposite sex. That’s what happened to Moses once he received his right woman, the second time around, and she was both the source of social and sexual prosperity.
There’s also technical prosperity, or mental prosperity, which is the ability to think and concentrate. This will give you a greater capacity for life, and you will have a great deal of interest toward life. Every day will be meaningful. You will have cultural prosperity which is maximum enjoyment of drama, art, literature, music, history. Establishment prosperity includes enjoyment of freedom, privacy, protection of life and property from criminals and reprisal. There is also prosperity in the area of health.
Those around a mature believer are blessed by their association with that person. They are blessed either directly by God, or indirectly from the supergrace believer as a result of the overflow of his supergrace blessings. The supergrace believer shares his blessings with others, he is very gracious. There are peripheral areas of blessing by association such as loved ones, in business life, in social life, and to those in a local church. There are also geographical blessings to the supergrace believer’s city, state and nation.
There is the doctrinal principle that the mature believer carries his generation. They stabilize their generation, and become a stabilizer for future historical generations. The ebb and flow of history does not disturb the tranquility of the mature believer. They are the salt of the earth, and the light of the world. The supergrace believer is on the right side of history, while the reversionist is on the wrong side of history. The reversionist is caught up in the disasters of history and swept along with them.
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; (EPH 4:14)
The supergrace believer rides on the crest of the wave of blessing. He rises above historical disaster and is not tossed here and there by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming.
Only in time does God have the opportunity to give us 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 suffering, 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 help you keep your eyes on God and your focus on eternity (REV 2:10; 2CO 12:9-10). Undeserved suffering also teaches us the value of Bible doctrine (PSA 119:67-710. God in His wisdom deals with us as perfectly as He can. He allows those who live in their flesh to afflict us to bring us back to Him.
God commands people, and circumstances, to handle you roughly in certain situations. God says to the storm, shipwreck them, to the fire, burn them, to the friends, forsake them, to the riches, melt away, to the wind, toss them. These are all God’s servants and must obey His will. Thou hast dealt well with Thy servant, O Lord, according to Thy word (PSA 119:65).
If we knew what was best for us we should realize that it’s just what God is doing for us. Every believer has a mysterious relationship with God, but very few utilize that relationship according to His word. Minus doctrine is to be minus appreciation of the relationship. As believers we have a perfect relationship with God, but only those believers who know the word can appreciate that perfect relationship. Many times our trials and afflictions act like thorns and a hedge to keep us in the right path. Many times prosperity is an open door through which we go astray.