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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 10/22/06
What it means to be initiated into the secret of the mystery. Part 43.
The Portfolio of Invisible Assets. Part 3.

We are now noting Point 6 in the doctrine of the portfolio of invisible assets, and  the introduction to the four categories of invisible assets: 1) Primary assets. 2) Secondary assets. 3) Personnel assets: spiritual gifts. 4) Unique assets:  The indwelling of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. The first category is the primary assets which are election and predestination. All believers start out with equal privilege and equal opportunity because of election and predestination. Through utilization of the invisible assets, the believer understands his election and fulfills the pre-designed plan of God (PPOG). Under thesecondary assets, which are related to the believer's persistence inside the PPOG with positive volition toward doctrine, we have volitional assets, production assets, undeserved suffering assets, and invisible impact assets. These assets are found between the primary assets you receive at salvation and the escrow assets you receive at maturity. All secondary assets result from perception and utilization of our primary assets, both equal privilege and equal opportunity in election and predestination. From the primary assets, provided for you by the sovereignty of God the Father in eternity past, come the secondary assets. We noted these important points: 1) If we're going to take advantage of our primary assets, election and predestination, and multiply them into secondly assets, it begins by admitting that we are powerless and need divine power without which our lives become unmanageable. This power begins with understanding the cross. 1CO 1:18-31, For the word of the cross is to those who are perishing foolishness, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. For indeed Jews ask for signs, and Greeks search for wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block, and to Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised, God has chosen, the things that are not, that He might nullify the things that are, that no man should boast before God. But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, that, just as it is written, “Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord.” This is where our true power comes from. We don't like admitting complete defeat and that we are nothing without God that is our nature. But as TLJC said in JOH 15:5 “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing.” The apostle Paul said in Rom 7:18-19 “For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the wishing is present in me, but the doing of the good {is} not. For the good that I wish, I do not do; but I practice the very evil that I do not wish.”

            In 1TI 6:6-12 “But godliness {actually} is a means of great gain, when accompanied by contentment. For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. And if we have food and covering, with these we shall be content. But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith, and pierced themselves with many a pang. But flee from these things, you man of God; and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance {and} gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” So, it all begins by admitting that we are powerless and we need divine power without which our lives become unmanageable. 2) We have to come to believe that there is a power greater than ourselves that can restore us to spiritual reality. MAT 9:27-30 And as Jesus passed on from there, two blind men followed Him, crying out, and saying, “Have mercy on us, Son of David!” And after He had come into the house, the blind men came up to Him, and Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They said to Him, “Yes, Lord.” Then He touched their eyes, saying, “Be it done to you according to your faith.” And their eyes were opened. 3) We must make a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God. This is like the opening of a locked door, and willingness is the key. Dependence is the means to independence. We must learn to turn our will over to God, and fall back on what our Lord said, in LUK 22:42 “Yet not My will, but Thine be done.” 4) We must make a searching and fearless inventory of ourselves, this means no fear concerning what we find. 1CO 11:31 “But if we judged ourselves rightly, we should not be judged.” Or 2CO 13:5 “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you- unless indeed you fail the test?” 1JO 1:8-10, “If we say [assert] that we have no sin [nature], we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth [or doctrine] is not in us. If we acknowledge [name and cite] our sins, He is faithful and righteous, with the result that He forgives us our sins [known sins] and purifies us from all unrighteousness [unknown sins]. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word [Bible doctrine] does not reside in us.” 5) We must also admit to God, and to ourselves, the exact nature of our wrongs. Notice in all these steps that the self-life is being deflated, this is the beginning of true rapport with humanity and God. 6) We must be entirely ready to have God remove the defects in our lives that are hindering our relationship with Him. PSA 26:1-2 ({A Psalm} of David.) “Vindicate me, O Lord, for I have walked in my integrity; And I have trusted in the Lord without wavering. Examine me, O Lord, and try me; Test my mind and my heart.”This is necessary for spiritual growth. 7) We also must humbly ask God to remove our shortcomings. Humility is a necessary aid to survival, it is the value of deflating the self-life in all of us. There is strength from weakness. 2CO 12:9-10 “And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.” 8) We must make direct amends with some people wherever possible (ROM 12:16-21). You function in grace and don't retaliate while the Supreme Court of Heaven handles your case. 9) We must seek God through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God. Praying for knowledge of God's will for us and the power to carry that out.

So, there are four secondary assets related to the believer's persistence inside the PPOG with positive volition toward doctrine: Volitional assets, production assets, undeserved suffering assets, and invisible impact assets. Remember that Primary assets, election and predestination, originate from the sovereignty of God, and express God's will for our lives. Secondary assets originate from the volition of the believer, and they express our attitude toward doctrine and the grace of God, and are related to your positive volition toward doctrine and your priorities in life. There are certain blessings that God has ordained to take place in your life because His omniscience saw the positive volitional decisions you would make in time. The issue in the execution of God's will and plan for your life is advancing to spiritual maturity (1CO 14:20). In EPH 4:13, we are to “Attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fulness of Christ.” We are told how to do this in EPH 4:11-12 “And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ;” This is a matter of your consistent and numerous good decisions made daily from a position of strength, and this requires daily residence inside the PPOG designed by God for you in eternity past. The accumulated good decisions form positions of strength result in the believer glorifying God, becoming a winner, and being the recipient of many blessings for time and the eternal state. The believer's volition is the basis for establishing priorities in life and consolidating the divine viewpoint scale of values. In each stage of spiritual adulthood, your positive volition and your scale of values is tested. You've already used positive volition to reach the first stage of growth, spiritual self-esteem (SSE), therefore, at SSE you are tested or evaluated concerning your positive volition.

Daily positive volition regarding Bible doctrine is the major issue in the Christian way of life. This is NOT positive volition related to Christian service or some experience. To get to SSE takes a lot of good decisions. This is the beginning of spiritual adulthood and of the motivational virtue of personal love for God. In SSE your persistence in positive volition toward doctrine is tested by that category of suffering for blessing called providential preventative suffering. Providential preventative suffering insulates us against the arrogance complex. This means you begin to eliminate jealously, self-pity, bitterness, vindictiveness, hatred, inordinate ambition, and all the other mental attitude sins in the arrogance complex. Paul alluded to this fact in 2CO 12:7-10, “And because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to buffet me to keep me from exalting myself! Concerning this I entreated the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.” This is why the apostle Paul and any man who has the gift of evangelist or pastor-teacher will go through similar experiences as the Paul did, which he described for us in 2CO 11:21-33; where he was imprisoned, beaten, shipwrecked, and whipped. In all his missionary journeys he was constantly in danger from robbers and others and experienced hunger, thirst, and many sleepless nights. And on top of that he had the daily pressure of concern for all the churches. Peter said it in 1PE 1:3-8 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”

What a God we have! Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we've been given a brand new life, and have everything to live for. 1PE 1:4-6 to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this [inheritance] you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, that the proof of your faith [doctrine], being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire [such as preventative suffering], may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; Providential preventative suffering changes the nature of the believer. The little bit of providential preventative suffering you have today may result in the praise, honor and glory at the judgment seat of Christ. Notice the last phrase, [this suffering], may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; When TLJC wraps this all up, it's your faith, not your gold, that God will have on display as evidence of His victory. 1PE 1:8 “and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory.” Remember, the issue in the execution of God's will and plan for your life is advancing to spiritual adulthood. In each stage of spiritual adulthood, your positive volition and your scale of values is tested.

There are three categories of spiritual adulthood: Spiritual self-esteem (SSE), which is cognitive self-confidence and the beginning of the effective function of the ten problem solving devices of the PPOG for the Church. Secondly there is Spiritual autonomy (SA), which is cognitive independence and the continuation of the effective function of the ten problem solving devices of the PPOG. Thirdly there is Spiritual maturity (SM), which is cognitive invincibility and maximum effective function of the problem solving devices for the PPOG. The problem solving devices are designed by God so that you are dependent only on the Word of God metabolized in your soul. Your spiritual life was never designed to depend upon counseling or other people. As a member of the royal family of God, your perception, metabolization and application of Bible doctrine determines your ability to deal with every stress, problem, adversity, and every area of prosperity in life.

Self-esteem can be defined as respect for self, satisfaction with one's self, or a good opinion of one's self. Inordinate self-esteem is arrogance. SSE is that virtue of the PPOG whereby the believer's confidence is based on Bible doctrine; and the believer's respect for self is linked to grace-orientation, the foundation for the stability of the Christian life. Therefore, SSE is the believer's dependence on God's grace provision for stabilizing self and integrating self into the PPOG. The Biblical definition of SSE is found in such passages as PRO 19:8 He who gets wisdom loves his own soul; He who keeps understanding will find good [or prosper]. Develop a wise heart and you'll do yourself a favor; keep a clear head and you'll find a good life. Wisdom is the end result of perception and metabolization of doctrine, and the application of that doctrine to experience. Being alive as a Christian does not imply that you understand the PPOG or even know how to live the Christian way of life; this comes with SSE.  The N. T. definition of SSE is found in the last half of EPH 5:28 So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; SSE is mandated for the husband in marriage. There are three Greek words for confidence in the N. T. 1) elpis means confidence with regard to the future, never the present. This means absolute confidence that you will have eternal life if you believe in Christ; that you will have escrow blessings for time when you reach spiritual maturity; that you will receive escrow blessings for eternity when you stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ. 2)parresia means courage and confidence. 3) pepoithesis means self-confidence or spiritual self-esteem. In 2CO 1:13-15 we readFor we write nothing else to you than what you read and understand, and I hope you will understand until the end; just as you also partially did understand us, that we are your reason to be proud as you also are ours, in the day of our Lord Jesus. And in this confidence [pepoithesis, SSE] I intended at first to come to you, that you might twice receive a blessing; See also 2CO 3:1-3; EPH 3:12.

            Characteristics of Spiritual Self-Esteem: 1) Self-confidence, this is the inevitable result of consistent perception, metabolization and application of Bible doctrine. Confidence in doctrine is your self-confidence, not your ability or your personality. 2) Self-realization, this results from the attainment of wisdom; it is tantamount to the application of doctrine to experience. Self-realization is the process of learning, thinking, and solving. There is no self-realization apart from God, apart from being born-again. 3) Self-direction, this is spiritual momentum from residence and function in the PPOG under the enabling power of the Holy Spirit and momentum from metabolized doctrine. 4) Self-identity, this is grace-orientation combined with doctrinal orientation to produce a personal sense of destiny. There is no self-identity until there is self-confidence, self-realization, and self-direction. 5) Self-motivation, this combines personal love for God the Father and occupation with Christ, plus cognition and inculcation of the unique characteristics of the Church Age. 6) Self-vindication, this is tantamount to execution of the PPOG.  Self-vindication has at least four concepts: a) Becoming an invisible hero. b) Becoming a member of the pivot of the client nation. c) Distribution of escrow blessings for time. d) Glorifying God in the angelic conflict.

            Spiritual self-esteem is a part of marriage: Again in EPH 5:28, “So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies.  He who loves his wife loves himself.” The husband is mandated to love his wife with virtue-love, which is not effective without SSE. This virtue-love is described by the phrase as Christ loved the Church in Eph 5:25. Virtue-love is personal love based upon impersonal love. Virtue-love is necessary for the function of the husband's authority in marriage. This is why most Christian husbands fail in marriage. This verse is an analogy to responsibility. You must have a sense of responsibility regarding those over whom you have authority, just as Christ takes responsibility over the Church. The second half of this verse is a definition of SSE.

            The Evidences of Spiritual Self-Esteem: 1) Tranquility of soul. You begin to relax in your soul with an RMA. 2) Stability of mental attitude including never feeling threatened by others and avoiding inordinate ambition and competition. 3) Composure marked by self-assurance, which is the correct and accurate application of doctrine to life. 4) Grace-orientation to life. 5) Doctrinal-orientation to reality, which is based upon genuine humility, objectivity, teachability, spiritual common sense, and the avoidance of inordinate ambition and competition or inordinate self-esteem. 6) Good decisions from a position of strength, which includes motivation from personal love for God the Father plus divine viewpoint thinking. 7) Personal control of your life through doctrinal conceptualism, which is understanding the spiritual life even as a part of rationalism and empiricism. 8) A personal sense of destiny, which includes solving the problems related to God, self, others, and things. 9) Self-confidence from wisdom, which means the function of doctrinal conceptualism or the application of metabolized doctrine to experience. 10) Poise, this is the believer under spiritual self-command. You cannot communicate, relate to, or command others unless you have command of self.

We also noted these requirements for contented living: Health enough to make work a pleasure. Wealth enough to support your needs. Strength to battle with difficulties and overcome them. Grace enough to confess your sins and forsake them. Patience enough to labor until some good is accomplished. Compassion enough to see some good in your neighbor.Love enough to move you to be useful and helpful to others. Faith enough to make real the things of God. Hope enough to remove all anxious fears concerning the future. Be grateful for all your problems because after each one is  overcome, you become stronger and more able to meet those that are still to come. You can grow in all your difficulties. MAT 6:34 “Therefore do not be anxious for tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. {Each} day has enough trouble of its own.” God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes. What you achieve, or fail to achieve in your lifetime is directly related to what you do or fail to do. No one chooses his parents or childhood, but you can choose your own direction. Everyone has problems and obstacles to overcome, but that too is relative to each individual. You can change anything in your life if you want to badly enough. Those who take responsibility for their actions are the real winners in life. Winners meet life challenges head on, giving it all they've got and never think it's too late or too early to begin.

So, SSE is when we begin to have momentum in the spiritual life. That is the point when God provides suffering for blessing, by which we can advance spiritually. The advance through each stage of spiritual adulthood always includes suffering for blessing. A major part of each spiritual advance is overcoming obstacles under suffering and disaster. The fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. This why the apostle Paul said in PHI 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,” Each stage of spiritual advance has the capacity for greater suffering for blessing. SSE plus providential preventative suffering equals Spiritual autonomy (SA). Providential preventative suffering is defined as short-termed suffering from the sovereignty of God for the benefit of the believer. Providential preventative suffering is that suffering which prevents, restrains, or insulates sin and evil, while challenging SSE to suffer for blessing and profit. Providential preventative suffering is the first category of suffering for blessing related to spiritual adulthood. Character cannot be developed through ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved. So, providential preventative suffering is the first category of suffering for blessing. From the context of 2Co 12:7-8, it can be called thorn testing. 2CO 12:10 lists four tests which match the four momentum tests: “Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.” There is a warm up for people testing, for system testing, for thought testing, and for disaster testing. This is known as momentum testing which is the major hurdle in reaching spiritual maturity. When SSE combines with providential preventative suffering, it forms SA, which is SSE with muscle minus arrogance. SSE can only function on humility and orientation to authority. To the extent that you reject any authority in life, to that extent your SSE is parlayed into a system of arrogance. This is why the apostle Paul said in 1CO 8:1 “Now concerning things sacrificed to idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge makes arrogant, but love edifies.”  The teachers in Corinth were teaching the wrong things about idols and were using their knowledge of true doctrine to back up their false doctrine.

The danger in spiritual self-esteem is that you begin to think that you know all you need to know and you end up in arrogant presumption. SSE is vulnerable to arrogance without providential preventative suffering, which God graciously provides.JAM 1:2-4, “Consider it all happiness, my brethren [royal family], when you encounter various testings [of many kinds in providential preventative suffering], knowing that the testing of your doctrine [spiritual self-esteem applies metabolized doctrine to providential preventative suffering to attain spiritual autonomy] produces steadfastness [spiritual autonomy]. And let steadfastness [spiritual autonomy] have its perfect result lacking nothing [no escrow blessing lost from evidence testing] that you may be mature and complete.” SA plus momentum testing = Spiritual maturity (SM). Then SM plus evidence testing = glorification of God to the maximum in the angelic conflict. Everything necessary to fulfill the PPOG was provided in eternity past by way of assets in the Portfolio of Invisible Assets. Then God provides doctrine and suffering in time, what a marvelous combination!

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