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Robert R. McLaughlin Bible Ministries

 The Tree of Life is a weekly teaching summary.
The Tree of Life from the week ending 04/08/07
What it means to be initiated into the secret of the mystery. Part 55.
The mystery of invisible heroes. Part 2.

In our study of the doctrine of the invisible hero, our next Point is: The danger of using self-justification for not becoming an invisible hero. Self-justification is connected with the cosmic viewpoint of being in harmony with Satan's system of thinking.ROM 12:1 “I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.” Taking your everyday, ordinary life and placing it before God as an offering, and embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for Him. ROM 12:2 “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” Don't become so involved with the details of life that you forget the calling of God. Instead, fix your attention on God, and you'll be changed from the inside out. Recognize what He wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Many believers live under cosmic thinking or what JAM 3:14-15 calls bitter jealousy, selfish ambition, and arrogance in their heart, and so they lie against the truth. They judge others criticize, gossip, malign, excusing themselves of any wrong thinking. JAM 3:15 goes on to say that this wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic. If you have been a victim of this, and their own self-justification, remember ISA 54:17 “No weapon that is formed against you shall prosper; And every tongue that accuses you in judgment you will condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, And their vindication is from Me, declares the Lord.” 2CO 13:8 says “For we can do nothing against the truth, but only for the truth.” 

Self-justification includes the condemnation of others, even God in some way, either directly or indirectly by calling attention to environment, circumstances, or social injustice. JOB 40:8 “Will you really annul My judgment? Will you condemn Me that you may be justified? Do you presume to tell me what I'm doing wrong?” Most often the attempt to justify one's self includes the accusation that God is not really in control of His people. In ROM 3:3-4 “What then? If some did not believe, their unbelief will not nullify the faithfulness of God, will it? May it never be! Rather, let God be found true, though every man be found a liar, as it is written, ‘That Thou mightest be justified in Thy words, And mightest prevail when Thou art judged.’” Justification of one's actions, for example self-serving actions which may be hurtful to others, are often traceable to some early abuse or unfairness. But all these claims and excuses are, in reality, the condemnation of others, of God, or the accusation of His provisions. Many times, it's simply because they are listening to the wrong viewpoint. There's a warning given in ISA 59:1-2, “Behold, the Lord's hand is not so short That it cannot save; Neither is His ear so dull That it cannot hear. But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, And your sins have hidden {His} face from you, so that He does not hear.” There's nothing wrong with God; the wrong is with you, and for those who live in self-justification, remember MAT 7:3-4, “And why do you look at the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' and behold, the log is in your own eye?” ISA 59:3-5, “For your hands are defiled with blood, And your fingers with iniquity; Your lips have spoken falsehood, Your tongue mutters wickedness. No one sues righteously and no one pleads honestly. They trust in confusion, and speak lies; They conceive mischief, and bring forth iniquity. They hatch adders' eggs and weave the spider's web; He who eats of their eggs dies, And {from} that which is crushed a snake breaks forth.”

Self-justification is not an attitude or a practice which is isolated, but is always expressive of either passive or active hostility against people and God. MAT 25:40 “And the King will answer and say to them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, {even} the least {of them,} you did it to Me.’” Self-justification as a skill of arrogance is connected with the defense mechanism called rationalization which is the formulation of excuses for one's actions or decisions. LUK 14:18 But they all alike began to make excuses. The first one said to him, “I have bought a piece of land and I need to go out and look at it; please consider me excused.” This seems plausible to a person who shares their self-deception and to the rationalizer, but the Word of God rejects excuses as totally unacceptable. These clever rationalizers are not only self-deceived, but masterful in deceiving others. 2TI 3:13But evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.” EPH 4:14 says, “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 weakness of self-justification is that it continually seeks support from others, as with the interpreter of the Mosaic Law in LUK 10:29. LUK 10:25-29, And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and put Him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” And He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How does it read to you?” And he answered and said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” And He said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.” But wishing to justify himself, he said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” This man sought support from the wrong party, our Lord Jesus Christ, who proceeded to brilliantly demolish his clever bid for approval of his prejudices by the parable of the good Samaritan.

Self-justification is also related to man's frustrated attempt to establish his own righteousness, and is therefore in direct opposition to grace-orientation. JAM 2:13For judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment.” In JAM 4:11-12, “Do not speak against one another, brethren. He who speaks against a brother, or judges his brother, speaks against the law, and judges the law; but if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law, but a judge of it. There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is able to save and to destroy; but who are you who judge your neighbor?” Self-justification precludes rebound and is compatible with self-deception. This type of person forgets 1JO 1:8-9, “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.” Self-justification also is in agreement with self-absorption,ROM 7:19-24. They are all absorbed with themselves. This is why the apostle said in ROM 7:19-24, “For the good that I wish, I do not do; but I practice the very evil that I do not wish. But if I am doing the very thing I do not wish, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wishes to do good. For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind, and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?” The ones who usually point the finger make assertion and accusations without knowing whether they are true or false, which is not really the issue anyway. The individual who has to justify his own life is in eternal bondage to himself, but just as God cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance, as we become more like Him, neither can we. The Lord gives us a plan to follow, outlined in His doctrines, and all those doctrines are designed to build stability within us. We are not to excuse our failures and weaknesses; the Lord expects us to rise above our weakness, become strong, and pattern ourselves after Him.

One of the many benefits of living the spiritual life that God has provided just for you is to rid your soul of the garbage it has stored up throughout the years. This garbage causes doubt, fear, worry, and anxiety; it begins with no mental strength or a loss of mental strength which could be caused by stress or a traumatic experience such as child abuse! Believers who live in self-justification will end up in denial, a defense mechanism in which a person fails to acknowledge some aspect of external reality that is obvious and apparent to others. Denial is a false perception of reality. This false perception of reality is necessary for some people because they must be good, they must be self-righteous, they can never be wrong, they must always be right.

The Pattern for Invisible Heroship in the Church-age is the Apostle Paul. Beginning in EPH 3:8, Paul makes an interesting statement regarding the invisible hero, “To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ,” In other words, when it came to presenting the Message to people who had no background in God's way, the Gentiles, Paul says he was the least qualified to do so in his own eyes. This seems to be an occasional hazard among some spiritual leaders, for example, when the Lord asked Moses to see Pharaoh, Moses said EXO 3:11 “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the sons of Israel out of Egypt?” Then he said EXO 4:10 “Please, Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither recently nor in time past, nor since Thou hast spoken to Thy servant; for I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.”  Paul said in 1CO 2:1 “And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God.” 1CO 2:4 “And my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power,” 2CO 10:10For they say “His letters are weighty and strong, but his personal presence is unimpressive, and his speech contemptible.” However, never let your feelings of inadequacies keep you from the calling of God upon your life.

So, Paul says in EPH 3:8 “To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ,” God saw to it that Paul was equipped, and it had nothing to do with his natural abilities. So, Paul was preaching and writing about things that were even way over his head, called the inexhaustible riches and generosity of Christ. EPH 3:9 “and to bring to light what is the administration or dispensation of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God, who created all things;” Paul was to make plain what God, who created all this in the first place, has been doing behind the scenes. EPH 3:10in order that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places.” Think of it, through Christians like yourselves gathered in churches, who know the mystery dispensation of the Church-age, this extraordinary plan of God is becoming known and talked about even among the angels. EPH 3:11-12, “This was in accordance with the eternal purpose which He carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and confident access through faith in Him.” When we trust in him, we're free to say whatever needs to be said, bold to go wherever we need to go. EPH 3:13 “Therefore I ask you not to lose heart at my tribulations on your behalf, for they are your glory.” Paul received both momentum testing and evidence testing while in prison, just like many of us will in our prison situations. While incarcerated, or in some dungeon or prison situation, Paul was able to advance to spiritual autonomy and then to spiritual maturity. This system of suffering for blessing is unique to the Church-age, and it is designed to manufacture invisible heroes, and all of you have the equal privilege and equal opportunity to become one. So instead of being discouraged by his sufferings for blessing, the recipients of the prison epistles should benefit from perception and metabolization of the mystery doctrine of the Church-age.

God has provided prosperity and adversity for you to execute His plan and will for your life, and prosperity can be a real test. This is because in prosperity, our friends know us; however, in adversity, we know our friends. Prosperity is not without many fears and disasters; adversity is not without comforts and hopes. In fact, prosperity is the blessing of the O.T., whereas adversity is the blessing of the N.T. Great men and women of God are unchanged regardless of prosperity or adversity. This is why the apostle Paul said PHI 4:12I 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.” Real prosperity is living easily and happily in the real world, whether you have money or not. On the other hand there's adversity. Satan is ever trying to destroy our glory and remove our crown, and one of his most powerful tools is discouragement. We get very little wisdom from success, but much from adversity. You don't develop courage by being happy in your relationships everyday, but by surviving difficult times and adversity. Adversity is the state in which man becomes really acquainted with himself, being especially free of admirers. Every defeat, every heartbreak, every loss, contains its own lesson on how to improve your performance the next time. Adversity causes some men to break; others to break records.

So, the benefit of metabolization and application is what Paul calls in EPH 3:13 “which will be for your glory.” There are two stages of this glory or of glorifying God. The first is the advance to spiritual maturity through momentum testing and receiving the distribution of your escrow blessings for time. The second is spiritual maturity plus evidence testing equals the glorification of God to the maximum: the reason why invisible heroes are kept alive.

The Source of Invisible Heroes. We all have the opportunity after believing in Jesus Christ of becoming invisible heroes. This plan is not manmade, but was decided billions of years ago in eternity past. The source of this plan, of course, is God. The sovereignty of God is infinitely and eternally superior to the free will of man. Man from his own volition comes up with many plans, but the plan from the sovereignty of God is the only plan God recognizes in this Church-age. In eternity past, the sovereignty of God made policy decisions with regard to mankind. He decided to permit the free will of man to coexist with His sovereignty in human history. Therefore, man makes either good decisions from the position of strength or bad decisions from the position of weakness. Good decisions from a position of strength are non-meritorious, compatible with God's grace policy. Bad decisions from a position of weakness are related to human merit and ability and even human heroship, and so are incompatible with God's grace policy. Since during the course of human history, the sovereignty of God permits the coexistence of our human volition with His sovereignty, He has provided protection so that we can choose for something far greater than anything man can contrive: Truth. Truth or Bible doctrine is the design of God billions of years ago so that we can make good decisions from a position of strength. All of us in the flesh have weaknesses and are weak. We are dependent upon the grace of God for the manufacture of heroes; i.e., invisible heroes. Part of this system of truth is the Gospel, which gives us our first opportunity to make a good decision rather than a bad one. Our good decision: Personal faith in Jesus Christ. The bad decision: To reject Jesus Christ as Savior. “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life; but he that believeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him.”

Invisible heroes in the Church-age are a testimony to angels. The angelic conflict is divided into two categories: Visible and invisible warfare. In O.T. dispensations, the angelic conflict was a combination of both visible and invisible warfare, both in heaven and on earth. Sometimes the warfare was in heaven and therefore invisible. Sometimes it was on earth and therefore visible, as noted in Gen 6. The only exception to this is during the Church-age, when it is strictly invisible warfare. Therefore, the objective for the Church-age believer under the PPOG is to become an invisible hero. Whatever your function or station in life, as a believer in Jesus Christ you have only one objective which should be placed above everything else: to become an invisible hero. Invisible heroes are manufactured by the execution of the PPOG. During the Church-age, there are no visible angels, elect or fallen, yet angels are watching your every move. In the dispensation of the Church-age, angels observe members of the Royal Family of God in their failure or success to execute and fulfill the PPOG (1CO 4:9; EPH 3:10; 1TI 5:21; 1PE 1:12).

In 1CO 4:9, the apostle Paul said “For, I think, God has exhibited us apostles last of all, as men condemned to death; because we have become a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men.” The word spectacle is the Greek word theatron which is where we get the word theater from and it means a theater, a place for public shows. In EPH 3:10 we read “in order that the multi-faceted or many-sides of the wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places.” Angels observe the believers in the Church-age receiving commands from headquarters in 1TI 5:21I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of His chosen angels, to maintain these principles without bias, doing nothing in a spirit of partiality.” Angels also desire and long to look into the things that so many of God's people take for granted, 1PE 1:12 “It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves, but you, in these things which now have been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look.” The Greek word for long is epithumeo which means to have a desire for something, to long for, to set the heart upon. You are in an arena being watched by angels, since the Church-age is the center of the invisible angelic conflict. Not only that, but the Church-age is the focal point of the invisible angelic conflict (1CO 4:9; EPH 3:10; 1TI 5:21; 1PE 1:12). The life of every Church-age believer is related to a higher and greater invisible conflict. We have a tendency to be people-oriented because we see people every day. But what is most important is our testimony to angels. That is a part of our invisible conflict, and a part of your execution of the PPOG. When you execute the PPOG, you have a much higher testimony, and the reflection of that testimony is that God blesses your client nation. But when Christians fail to execute the PPOG in this dispensation, then cursing comes upon their client nation. Those who execute the PPOG are winners and invisible heroes. Those who fail to execute the PPOG are losers, described in EPH 4:17-32.

EPH 4:17 “This I say therefore, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, Don't go along with the crowd, the empty-headed, mindless crowd. EPH 4:18 being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; They've refused for so long to deal with God that they've lost touch not only with God but with reality itself. EPH 4:19 and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality, for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness. They can't think straight anymore; they let themselves go in sexual obsession, addicted to every sort of perversion. EPH 4:20 But you did not learn Christ in this way, That's no life for you because you've learned about Christ! EPH 4:21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, His assumption is that they have paid careful attention to him, been well instructed in the truth precisely as we have it in Jesus. EPH 4:22 that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, Everything connected with that old way of life has to go. It's rotten through and through, God wants you to get rid of it, and then take on an entirely new way of life, a God-fashioned life, EPH 4:23-25, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, or by the breathing of your soul. And put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth. Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth, each one of you, with his neighbor, for we are members of one another. What this adds up to, then, is this: no more lies, no more pretense. Tell your neighbor the truth. In Christ's body we're all connected to each other, after all, when you lie to others, you end up lying to yourself. EPH 4:26 Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, Go ahead and be angry at times but don't use your anger as fuel for revenge, and don't stay angry, don't go to bed angry. EPH 4:27-29, and do not give the devil an opportunity. A room in your soul. Let him who steals steal no longer; but rather let him labor, performing with his own hands what is good, in order that he may have something to share with him who has need. Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, that it may give grace to those who hear. Watch the way you talk, let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, make each word a gift. Remember PRO 18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue. EPH 4:30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Don't grieve God. His Holy Spirit, moving and breathing in you, is the most intimate part of your life, making you fit for himself. Don't take such a gift for granted.EPH 4:31-32, Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. Be gentle with one another, sensitive, forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you.

The winner or the invisible hero receives distribution of his escrow blessings for time. In EPH 1:3 billions of years ago in eternity past God the Father, as the grantor, deposited greater blessings into escrow for every believer, i.e., greater blessings for both time and the eternal state. Our Lord Jesus Christ as the escrow officer makes the distribution of escrow blessings in time and in eternity at the Judgment Seat of Christ.

Therefore, the winner has phenomenal impact and blessing in time as well as reward in eternity. The invisible hero has a dynamic impact on history; during the times of the Gentiles, the greatest historical impact is not recorded in man's history books, but is directly related to mature believers. Invisible heroes have a tremendous influence on every facet of our life. (1) They have an influence on the establishment principle of freedom through military victory. (2) They have an influence on law enforcement, from the judge on the bench to the police officer on patrol. (3) They have an influence on the economy. (4) They have an influence on the general life and culture. (5) They have an influence in Christianity, e.g., in evangelism, Bible teaching, and missionary activity

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