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Grace Bible Church
Robert R. McLaughlin Bible Ministries

Robert R. McLaughlin Bible Ministries
The Tree of Life is a weekly teaching summary.
The Tree of Life from the week ending 07/31/05
What it means to be initiated into the secret of the mystery. Part 21.
The sixth part of the fruit of the Spirit is agathosune, meaning to be generous, and to produce divine good.

GAL 5:22, But the fruit or the production of the Spirit is love [a reference to virtue-love], joy [inner happiness],peace [inner peace and overt prosperity], patience [which refers to patience as well as longsuffering], kindness,[meaning graciousness, generosity, or sensitivity]

We have already seen the first five parts of the fruit of the Spirit; the sixth fruit that will be produced when the Vine is rightly related to the branches is the Greek noun agathosune, meaning to be generous, and to produce divine good.

If you are a branch rightly related to the Vine (TLJC), you will be a generous person who produces divine good. And why not, for if you have the mind of Christ (1CO 2:16), and you let His mind or thinking be in you, as you are commanded to do so in PHI 2:5, then the mind or the thinking of Christ says, ACT 20:35, It is more blessed to give than to receive. That is if you truly believe the Bible. Do you honestly believe 2TI 3:16 (which says, All Scripture is inspired by God)? Do you believe ACT 10:34 (which says that God is not one to show partiality, what God does for one, He will do for others)? God wants every believer to be generous and produce divine good and prosper, even in the financial realm. If we believe God's promises for eternal salvation and everything else we claim to believe, then why would we not believe Him and His promises in the area of our finances? Think about the importance of being generous and producing divine good, and see how much sense it all makes. Be open-minded about it, so that some new fresh thoughts can enter into your soul concerning this subject.

God created all the wealth on this earth, HAG 2:8, The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine, declares the Lord of hosts.
PSA 24:1 says, The earth is the Lord's, and all it contains, The world, and those who dwell in it.
PSA 50:10 says, For every beast of the forest is Mine, The cattle on a thousand hills.

God created all the wealth on this earth. Did He create it for unbelievers, for hard-hearted, sinful people who curse Him, deny Him, disobey His word, and could care less about Him? Does God really want to see them prosper and not His own children? Look how our Lord put it in MAT 7:7, "Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you."

Don't bargain with God, be direct and ask for what you need, Mat 7:8, "For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it shall be opened." In other words, this isn't a game we're involved in, so be direct. MAT 7:9-12, "Or what man is there among you, when his son shall ask him for a loaf, will give him a stone? Or if he shall ask for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him! Therefore, however you want people to treat you, so treat them, for this is the Law and the Prophets."

Ask yourself how you want people to treat you, then grab the initiative and treat them that way. God is no different from any other good father; He wants the best for His children. He wants the world to see prosperous, joyful, loving happy Christians. Think of it this way: if He was willing to give us His only Son, why would He hold anything else back from us? He has already given us His best. Paul put it like this, ROM 8:32, He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?
PSA 84:11 says, No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.

Being generous and producing divine good means that you are at a point in your spiritual life where you recognize where all your divine blessings actually come from, DEU 8:18, "But you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who is giving you power to make wealth,"
3JO 1:2, Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers.
Or 1CO 4:7, For who regards you as superior? And what do you have that you did not receive? But if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?

Many people are destroyed by their wealth because they don't obtain it by the fruit of the Spirit, by being generous and producing divine good. PSA 112:1-3, Praise the Lord! How blessed or happy is the one who respects the Lord, Who greatly delights in His commands. His descendants will be mighty on earth; The generation of the upright will be blessed. Wealth and riches are in his house, And his righteousness endures forever.

If wealth and riches were wrong, God certainly wouldn't have said that wealth and riches would be in our homes if we respect Him and follow His word. There is absolutely nothing wrong with financial prosperity unless that prosperity is made a priority ahead of God. God wants us to have prosperity, wealth, and money, but He doesn't want those things to have us.

Some Christians believe that our Lord was poor during His earthly ministry, and that His life, in that regard, was to be a model for our lives, and that is incorrect. As we examine the Scriptures carefully, you will be surprised to see that Jesus was not poor when He walked on this earth two thousand years ago. In fact, when Mat 11:19 says, The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, 'Behold, a gluttonous man and a drunkard.
The Greek brings out the fact that He ate fine food and drank good wine; He wasn't poor. He also knew how to be generous and produce divine good. 2CO 8:9 says, For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.
Our Lord became poor when He made the supreme sacrifice of becoming human, deity becoming true humanity. He also gave up everything at the cross, even His clothing. As we have seen, in spite of the many pictures to the contrary, Jesus was completely naked when He died on the cross. He couldn't have been any poorer than He was at that time; He didn't own one thing in this world. While He hung on the cross, Roman soldiers gambled for the clothing that He had worn because it was an expensive garment (MAR 15:24).

It seems apparent that Jesus was relatively poor while He was growing up as the son of a carpenter; perhaps He was poor while He Himself was working as a carpenter. However, we are concerned with His earthly ministry, the approximate three year period between the time He was baptized and filled with God's Holy Spirit in the Jordan River until the time He was crucified on the cross. Some believe that Jesus was poor because He said in LUK 9:58,The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air {have} nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.

Jesus didn't have a home where He slept every night because He was the first traveling evangelist; He was constantly on the move. He could have stayed in the home of the wealthy Joseph of Arimathea or in other nice homes where He would have been welcomed. In fact, Jesus could have produced the money to stay each night in an inn if He had really wanted to. He had twelve disciples and seventy other men traveling with Him. Look at LUK 10:1-8, Now after this the Lord appointed seventy others, and sent them two and two ahead of Him to every city and place where He Himself was going to come. And He was saying to them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest. Go your ways; behold, I send you out as lambs in the midst of wolves. Carry no purse, no bag, no shoes; and greet no one on the way. And whatever house you enter, first say, 'Peace {be} to this house.' And if a man of peace is there, your peace will rest upon him; but if not, it will return to you. And stay in that house, eating and drinking what they give you; for the laborer is worthy of his wages. Do not keep moving from house to house. And whatever city you enter, and they receive you, eat what is set before you;"

He was able to meet the needs of such a large group of people because Jesus was a complete master of how to be generous and produce divine good. He had absolutely no need for worldly, material assets because He knew that He could apply His faith, under the filling of the Spirit, and receive blessings from God because of being generous and producing divine good. For example, in MAR 8:13-20, And leaving them, He again embarked and went away to the other side. And they had forgotten to take bread; and did not have more than one loaf in the boat with them. And He was giving orders to them, saying, "Watch out! Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod." And they {began} to discuss with one another {the fact} that they had no bread. And Jesus, aware of this, said to them, "Why do you discuss {the fact} that you have no bread? Do you not yet see or understand? Do you have a hardened heart? Having eyes, do you not see? And having ears, do you not hear? And do you not remember, when I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces you picked up?" They said to Him, "Twelve." "And when {I broke} the seven for the four thousand, how many large baskets full of broken pieces did you pick up?" And they said to Him, "Seven." And He was saying to them, "Do you not yet understand?"

What poor man could provide for others like this?

When the tax collectors of Capernaum came to Peter and asked for money, Jesus was able to pay them; here is what He said to Peter, Mat 17:27, "Go down to the shore and throw in a line, and open the mouth of the first fish you catch. You will find a coin to cover the taxes for both of us; take it and pay them" Our Lord obviously was able to master God's laws of prosperity in order to pay His taxes and Peter's taxes.

Now, you may say well these were all miracles! Well, we are going to see that miraculous things happen to believers who have PVTD and  perception, metabolization, and especially application of Bible doctrine. Application of doctrine means you have the faith to stay rightly related to the Vine, and have the fruit of the Spirit produced within you. When Peter and the other disciples had fished all night and came up empty, Jesus was able to produce so many fish that the nets broke, LUK 5:1-11; a similar instance is reported in JOH 21:1-11. Some say that's a miracle, but was it? Or was the Lord so much in fellowship with His Father and God the Holy Spirit that He received divine guidance concerning where the fish were?

When Jesus needed a donkey to ride into Jerusalem on that first Palm Sunday, He didn't have to rent or buy a donkey. He simply told two of His disciples to go into the village of Bethphage, look for a donkey and its colt tied alongside the road. He then told them to take these animals and, if anyone asked what they were doing, to say that the Lord needed them (MAT 21:1-7).

When Jesus needed a room in which to serve the Passover meal, He didn't go to a hotel to rent one. Instead, He sent two of His disciples into Jerusalem and told them to contact a certain man who would lead them to another man. Then they should tell this man that they needed a large upper room and he would take care of everything. That is exactly what happened, MAR 14:12-16, And on the first day of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover {lamb} was being sacrificed, His disciples said to Him, Where do You want us to go and prepare for You to eat the Passover? And He sent two of His disciples, and said to them, "Go into the city, and a man will meet you carrying a pitcher of water; follow him; and wherever he enters, say to the owner of the house, 'The Teacher says, 'Where is My guest room in which I may eat the Passover with My disciples?'' And he himself will show you a large upper room furnished {and} ready; and prepare for us there." And the disciples went out, and came to the city, and found {it} just as He had told them; and they prepared the Passover.

You might wonder what the connection is between the miracles performed by TLJC and His financial prosperity. The connection was the fact that He was filled with the Spirit and was being generous, He produced divine good, and the promises of God were fulfilled. Promises like, LUK 6:38, "Give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, they will pour into your lap. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return."
PRO 3:9-10, Honor the Lord from your wealth, And from the first of all your produce; So your barns will be filled with plenty, And your vats will overflow with new wine.
PRO 19:17, He who is gracious to a poor man lends to the Lord, And He will repay him for his good deed.
2CO 9:6, Now this I say, he who sows sparingly shall also reap sparingly; and he who sows bountifully shall also reap bountifully.

Jesus Christ had the fruit of the Spirit and therefore being generous and producing divine good, He was always blessed by God. He had the purest faith that has ever been seen on this earth, and as a result, He was able to turn little into plenty. He had absolutely no need for worldly, material assets because He knew that being generous and producing divine good, God would take care of all of His needs and then some. This is why the apostle Paul said inPHI 4:15-19, And you yourselves also know, Philippians, that at the first preaching of the gospel, after I departed from Macedonia, no church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving but you alone; for even in Thessalonica you sent a gift more than once for my needs. Not that I seek the gift itself, but I seek for the profit which increases to your account. But I have received everything in full, and have an abundance; I am amply supplied, having received from Epaphroditus what you have sent, a fragrant aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God. And my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

JOH 14:12-15 tells us that we can enjoy this same total prosperity during our lives here on earth, "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater {works} than these shall he do; because I go to the Father. And whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do {it.} If you love Me, you will keep My commandments."

Jesus Christ followed God's commands and doctrines; He didn't rely in the least on His own ability. He relied totally upon God's Word and upon God's Holy Spirit living within Him. Because Jesus followed all of God's commands, He enjoyed total prosperity, not just financial prosperity, but total prosperity of the spirit, soul, and body, throughout His earthly ministry.

God wants His children to prosper instead of the evil sinners who now enjoy much of the world's prosperity. Look how Job put it, Job 27:16-17, The evil man may accumulate money like dust, with closets jammed full of clothing  yes, he may order them made by his tailor, but the innocent shall wear that clothing and shall divide his silver among them. (TLB)

If we follow God's commands, God will not withhold any good thing from us. PSA 84:11, No good thing will he withhold from them who walk along his paths. Each day we are told that He loads us down with benefits. PSA 68:19,Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits.

GAL 5:22, But the fruit or the production of the Spirit is love [virtue-love], joy [inner happiness], peace [inner peace and overt prosperity], patience [which refers to patience as well as longsuffering], kindness [meaning graciousness, generosity, or sensitivity].

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