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Robert R. McLaughlin Bible Ministries
The Tree of Life is a weekly teaching summary.
From the week ending 01/09/05
What it means to be initiated into the secret of the mystery.
PHI 4:12; JOH 13:1; EPH 3:1-6; ROM 16:25-26; JOH 17:17-26

In Phi 4:11-12, we have been noting the result of living the spiritual life and being filled with true inner happiness and contentment. This is what the apostle Paul had and why he could say in PHI 4:11-12, Not that I speak from want; for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. In fact, I have come to know how to be humbled [that is as we have noted by situations], and also I have come to know how to live in prosperity [being blessed by God because of PVTD];

The phrase I have learned the secret is the perfect passive indicative from the verb mueo and it means to be initiated into a secret, to learn a secret namely, the secret to life which is to understand the spiritual life and your personal sense of destiny and the reason why you have been created.
Musterion, in the New Testament, means a system of doctrine to which you are to be initiated into if you are going to advance in the spiritual life. So, this verb means to be initiated by understanding something, in this case doctrine. That is, understanding the Lord's policies and that you're in a Royal Family. You were born again into the Royal Family of God and you are to live as aristocracy in the midst of the devil's world. Consequently there are very strong and stringent policies that must be understood.

So again PHI 4:12, In fact, I have come to know how to be humbled, and also I have come to know how to live in prosperity; in any place and every circumstance I have been initiated into the secret or the mystery,

The perfect tense of the verb mueo is a consummative perfect tense emphasizing the process which has been completed. Paul has already experienced this secret or mystery and he will continue to do so. The passive voice means that once reversionistic but now in supergrace, the apostle Paul has received initiation into the mysteries, the doctrines that led to his reversion recovery and supergrace status. The indicative mood is declarative for the historical fact that Paul's Jerusalem reversionism is over. He has been initiated into the secrets of reversionistic discipline; he has been initiated into the blessing of reversion recovery.

So, this is what it say's literally; In fact, I have come to know, [I have come to experience] how to be degraded[reversionism], also I have come to know or experience what it is to live in the prosperity of supergrace. In any place and in all circumstances I have been initiated into the mystery.

This is the most important mystery we need to be initiated into, the mystery doctrine that gives you real meaning and purpose in life. It all begins with the principle that the Church-age, which we are all a part of, and its doctrine, was never mentioned in Old Testament prophecy but instead was fully developed in the New Testament Epistles. Paul states in ROM 16:25 26, COL 1:25 26 and EPH 3:3 6 that this mystery is now revealed.

ROM 16:25-26, Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which has been kept secret for long ages past, but now is manifested, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the eternal God, has been made known to all the nations, leading to obedience of faith;

It is this body of doctrine known as mystery doctrine which sets the Church-age apart from other dispensations. The mystery doctrine of the Church unveils the characteristics unique to the Christian way of life and the mystery pertains to the Church alone. This doctrine tells the believer what he must do now that he is a Christian. This means that where there is ignorance concerning mystery doctrine there is also ignorance concerning how to live the Christian life. Most believers today are living in one of the following false systems of spirituality that they have substituted for mystery doctrine:

1. The false system of spirituality by personality. This is when you encounter someone sweet and you think they are really humble and great Christians. MAT 7:15, Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. Personality has nothing whatsoever to do with spirituality; the Holy Spirit controls the soul of many types of personalities!

2. The false system of content of speech. This is the use of cliché's or stereo-typed holy language like calling the Lord Thee or Thou.

3. The false system of mannerisms. This is just another part of the concept of spirituality by imitation. Believers must learn to distinguish between personality and spirituality. The apostle was concerned about this in the early church because he knew that the kingdom of darkness would bring in these counterfeit systems, 2Co 11:3-4, But I am afraid, lest as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds should be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ. For if one comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you bear this beautifully.

4. The false system of yielding. This is when one assumes that he is spiritual because he has made some overt ceremonious dedication. The rededication services, the vows and promises to yield.

5. The false system of self-crucifixion. This system confuses positional truth with Christian experience. Rather than relying on the ministry of God the Holy Spirit to do the changing they set out to wipe their own slate clean, spirituality by asceticism. Of course, the believer is dead with Christ through the baptism of the Spirit not through crucifying self,ROM 6:1-6, What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace might increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified.
Notice that this already happened, crucified is the aor-pass-ind of the verb sustauroo which means has already been crucified.

6. The false system of spirituality by prohibitions or traditions. Certain societies forbid while others allow certain things. Regardless, cultural tradition or social usage of certain things cannot determine spirituality since the unbeliever can observe such traditions as well. Many of these prohibitions are simply the results of legalism when people try and super-impose their prejudices on others as if it was a commandment from God. They try to super-impose their tastes and their culture on others in the name of Christianity and these all reject the importance of the ministry of God the Holy Spirit and the perception of Bible doctrine. Remember the principle that anything the unbeliever can do is not a part of the spiritual life. When someone sets up these false standards of spirituality they become the enemy of the enabling power of the Holy Spirit. The result of this legalistic pressure is two-fold:
First, converts who respond to legalism become hypocrites and self-righteous.
Secondly, those who react to and reject these prohibitions often end up rejecting God's plan for their life.
What you wear, how you wear your hair is personal taste and nothing more, just like food is personal taste. In fact, today we even have spirituality by eating healthy food, nothing wrong with that physically, but it will not cause you to be spiritual.

7. The false system of spirituality by relativity. This is the false reasoning that one is spiritual because their sins are more respectable than others. This is the pride in the self-justification crowd. 2CO 10:12, For we are not bold to class or compare ourselves with some of those who commend themselves; but when they measure themselves by themselves, and compare themselves with themselves, they are without understanding.
The cosmic Christian thinks that subtle sins are justified and shocking sins must be persecuted. This false concept fails to recognize that carnality and spirituality are absolutes. One category of sin makes you just as carnal as the other. JAM 2:10, For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.

8. The false system of spirituality by ritual. This is the failure on the part of believers to understand that doctrine and reality has replaced ritual. Some believe they are spiritual because they were baptized in immersion, or it's good luck to take communion or observe holy days. COL 2:16-17, Therefore let no one act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ.

9. The false system of program spirituality. This is where one believes they are spiritual by conforming to the programs of the church. People think that they are spiritual because they attend church, give, participate in prayer meetings, bring visitors or hustle around the church. We must learn to distinguish between spirituality and service. Christian service is the result of a believer properly motivated by God the Holy Spirit and Bible doctrine. The problem in many churches is that overt activity is substituted for the enabling power of the Holy Spirit. This program Christianity creates an ignorance which results in frustration and permanent carnality. This activity caters to the approbation lust and power lust of the human race, people just love to be recognized for what they are doing.

10. The false system of spirituality through emotion. The whole key to understanding the work of the Holy Spirit is not to equate emotions with the work. A lot of people are ignorant concerning the work of God the Holy Spirit because they are controlled by feelings and emotions rather than truth. Remember, the emotions respond in two ways:
First, our emotions respond to what is inside of our soul, thoughts or lack of thoughts.
Second, our emotions also respond to the physiological part of the body.
Many times the emotions are effected by the organic effects of the body and emotions can function independently from thinking. Never associate your feelings and your emotions with spirituality! Emotion can be good and it can even respond to spiritual things but emotion has nothing to do with the spiritual life or the Christian way of life. You are not saved because you feel saved and you are not spiritual because you feel spiritual. The enabling power of the Holy Spirit is infinitely greater than the function of your emotional system.

Mystery doctrine reveals the divine assets that God has given to each Church-age believer and His directions for using those assets. God has magnificently provided everything for us and has thoroughly instructed us so that asEPH 4:1 says we can, Walk in a manner worthy of our calling.
At the time this word mystery was written, there were numerous mystery cults which flourished throughout the ancient world, and there were certain rituals and rites that these cults would operate under and so they called these musterions or mysteries.

EPH 3:1-6, For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles if indeed you have heard of the dispensation of God's grace which was given to me for you; that by revelation there was made known to me the mystery doctrine, as I wrote before in brief. And by referring to this, when you read you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit; to be specific, that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel,

It is this body of doctrine known as mystery doctrine which sets the Church-age apart from other dispensations. It is this mystery doctrine that you can be initiated into that will cause you to be content in whatever circumstances you face in life.
The mystery doctrine of the Church unveils the characteristics unique to the Christian way of life and it is important to note that the mystery pertains to the Church alone.
In the ancient world, the word mystery did not mean what it means today, that is something incomprehensible or puzzling, but in the ancient world a mystery was well-known, although only to the initiated. If you are a believer you are initiated, therefore, Church-age doctrine should be thoroughly familiar to each Church-age believer

In the upper room discourse, on the night before His crucifixion, TLJC prophesied the coming of the Church-age,JOH 14:12-20, 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. And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; {that is} the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not behold Him or know Him, {but} you know Him because He abides with you, and will be "IN" you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. After a little while the world will behold Me no more; but you {will} behold Me; because I live, you shall live also. In that day you shall know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.

Notice the doctrines mentioned in this passage;
JOH 14:14, the intimate union with TLJC, If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do {it.}
JOH 14:16-17, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, He abides with you, and will be "IN" you.

Notice in JOH 16:12-16, I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear {them} now. But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. He shall glorify Me; for He shall take of Mine, and shall disclose {it} to you. All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said, that He takes of Mine, and will disclose {it} to you. A little while, and you will no longer behold Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me.

Then in JOH 17:17-26, Sanctify them in the truth; Thy word is truth. As Thou didst send Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth. I do not ask in behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as Thou, Father, {art} in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be in Us; that the world may believe that Thou didst send Me. And the glory which Thou hast given Me I have given to them; that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, that the world may know that Thou didst send Me, and didst love them, even as Thou didst love Me. Father, I desire that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am, in order that they may behold My glory, which Thou hast given Me; for Thou didst love Me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, although the world has not known Thee, yet I have known Thee; and these have known that Thou didst send Me; and I have made Thy name known to them, and will make it known; that the love wherewith Thou didst love Me may be in them, and I in them.

God the Father gave TLJC the honor of first revealing Church-age doctrine for several reasons;

1. The Church exists to glorify TLJC to the maximum. JOH 16:14, He shall glorify Me; for He shall take of Mine, and shall disclose {it} to you. EPH 1:22-23, And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fulness of Him who fills all in all.

Therefore, TLJC would be the first to reveal the coming of the Church-age and its mystery doctrine.

2. Israel was to be given every opportunity to accept TLJC as Messiah. TLJC revealed the Church "after" Israel had officially rejected Him. This meant that the Jewish kingdom of God on earth had been postponed until the Millennium and a new set of options for believers on earth now became manifest.

3. After prophesying about the coming church, TLJC would win the victory on the cross and therefore it was only fitting that the VICTOR be the one to announce the dramatic change. His victory on the cross was the reason that the greatest dispensation ever known to man and the greatest opportunities, were about to begin. In fact, His victory on the cross followed by the fulfillment of the Church age was one of the most stunning moments in the entire angelic conflict. This announcement was a brilliant, unexpected revelation of the grace of God revealed not only to man but also to Satan and his fallen angels who despise the Church age.

4. Mystery doctrine is based upon the life of Christ. The mystery doctrine of the Church-age is based upon the fact that Jesus Christ was personally passing along the dynamics of His own life to every believer. Through His example, as an individual totally relying on the omnipotence of God the Father and God the Holy Spirit, every Church-age believer is given a prototype. Jesus Christ was personally passing along the dynamics of His own life to be the Christian way of life for the Church. JOH 13:34, A new commandment I give to you, that you agape-love one another [this is impersonal unconditional love developed by the available divine power of God within], even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this [this fantastic impersonal love from the omnipotence of God] all men will know that you are My disciples [students], if you have love for one another.

Through-out His incarnation, our Lord utilized the system and the divine assets that God the Father made available to support His humanity.

So, Church-age doctrine was concealed until the Christian way of life went into effect, first through our Lord Jesus Christ. The prophecy of the mystery doctrine of Church-age which all believers should be initiated into given by our Lord Jesus Christ which would be the last prophecy before the Rapture. It all began in JOH 13:1, the night before our Lord's death. This is the end of the public ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ the beginning of his personal ministry to the disciples, a ministry to believers only which will announce the Church age and the coming of mysteries.

JOH 13:1, Now before the Feast of the Passover, Jesus knowing that His hour had come that He should depart out of this world to the Father,

This is the night before He is to die on the cross, and Jesus now begins a discourse which is designed to orient the disciples to the cross, the Church age, and the intensification of the angelic conflict. The upper room discourse is the first announcement of the Church age. Jesus is His humanity, He knew this in His deity billions of years ago but in His humanity he knew it because he was up on doctrine because doctrine orients you to life. His hour is a reference to the cross and really His hour of victory in the angelic conflict, JOH 12:23; JOH 17:1, MAR 14:41.

The word for depart is the Greek verb metabaino which means to go from one place to another. It's a reference from Christ departing from this earth and going to another place, His body went into the grave, Luk 23:53, His soul went to paradise, LUK 23:43, His spirit went into the presence of the Father, LUK 23:46.

The trichotomous humanity of Christ went in three different directions and he went out from this world, body into the grave, Luk 23:53, soul into Paradise, LUK 23:43, and His spirit to the presence of the Father, LUK 23:46.

The phrase out of this world means that the departure of Christ includes the ascension, His resurrection and ascension. He knows that he must die on the cross, that there will be physical death following his spiritual death, and then he will receive a resurrection body and then He will ascend into the presence of the Father who will say, Sit down at My right hand, until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet. 

So we have the principle of Jesus Christ recognizing the whole plan of the Father. He has learned it from the standpoint of His humanity, Jesus knew these things. Once Jesus departs from the world, the angelic conflict is going to intensify and that means that these disciples who are left behind, are going to become Satanic targets.

So this phrase out of the world is the prepositional phrase ek tou kosmou which refers to the fact that His body went into the grave, Luk 23:53, His soul went to Paradise in Hades, ACT 2:27, His spirit went to the Father, LUK 23:46.

Out of the trichotomus separation of Christ at His physical death, it is the soul and the spirit which are emphasized and definitely not the body. The body was buried on the earth and the body is emphasized in resurrection not in the death of Christ because Christ died spiritually for us not physically.

Then we have the phrase unto the Father is literally face to face with the Father, (pros + the accusative noun patera = Father), which has to do definitely with His ascension.

That last phrase He loved them to the end reveals that the Lord Jesus Christ was perfect and therefore in His impeccability, He was always stable even while under pressure. He was about to enter into the most pressurized situation in all of human history, the cross where He would suffer physically and suffer spiritually for the sins of the entire world and then, worst than that, be forsaken by God the Father.

Because He loved His own who were in the world and He loved them to the end, He was able to endure their sarcasm in MAT 26:68, Prophesy to us, You Christ; who is the one who hit You?

Religion and self-righteousness makes people vicious, evil, cruel, corrupt, divisive, spiteful, malicious, and violent.

Apparently none of the artists who have painted Jesus Christ on the Cross have understood what the Bible describes of His cruel treatment. They have portrayed a skinny figure with ribs sticking out, scrawny shoulders and bony frame, looking like a weak, half-starved person. However, in reality, Jesus Christ was a very powerful Man. To receive those severe blows and still survive, the humanity of Christ had to be very strong. 

You and I will never be able to comprehend the terrible punishment Jesus took. And probably the greatest thing of all was that He did not fight back. He could had ten thousand legions of angels at his side who would have cleaned up the court in a hurry. However, His restraint was very significant, for if He had lost His temper, there would be NO SALVATION! He took all the punching, all the spitting and slapping, and He stayed alive. He faced His ultimate form of suffering, being forsaken by God the Father and yet He still loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.

So we have in JOH 13:1, Now before the Feast of the Passover, Jesus knowing that His hour had come that He should depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.

The phrase He loved is an aor-act-part, aga-pesas, which of course refers to His impersonal unconditional love. The amazing thing about this love is that it indicates His mental attitude toward His disciples even though in the next 16 hours, not only did they not hear His discourse but as soon as they left this upper room, they all blew it, with the exception of John.

The phrase his own is a reference to His disciples, the word for His own is an accusative masculine plural, idios, and it describes His disciples. While our Lord was going to the cross and while our Lord was on the cross His attitude never changed toward the disciples and that is grace. This is a reference to the love of the humanity of Jesus Christ toward others even while under pressure. His love was perfect, His love for God the Father was manifested when He said Mat 26:39, My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as Thou will. That is virtue-love directed toward God.
Then toward the disciples, we have the same principle, he loved them at this time when the heat was off and He will also love them under pressure. He knows from his deity that these disciples are all going to fall apart and run away. Peter wasn't the only one that ran away, they all ran away, MAT 26:56, Then all the disciples left Him and fled. Our Lord shows His love and His love doesn't change, even when adversity comes. The deity of Christ loved them in eternity past, He was willing to become a member of the human race and Phi 2:7, deprive Himself of the proper function of deity when He had received the form of a servant and was born in the likeness of men.

He loved them in time, therefore He was willing to go to the cross, PHI 2:8, In fact, although having being discovered in outward appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of spiritual death, that is the death of the cross.

He loved them on the cross, He is therefore willing to be judged for their sins, LUK 23:34, But Jesus was saying, Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.

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