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 10/17/04
Prosperity. Part 3. Hebrews 11:6
An important principle in God’s guidelines for prosperity is found in Hebrews 11:6“>HEB 11:6, “And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.”
The phrase “without faith” is the Greek prepositional phrase choris (without) pisteos (doctrine), which is a reference to “without what is believed,” or “without doctrine resident in the soul.”
“Impossible” is the accusative singular adjective adunaton, which means impossible or powerless. Therefore, we could translate Hebrews 11:6“>HEB 11:6, “And without doctrine resident in the soul, powerless to please Him.”
The phrase “to please Him” is the verb euarestesai, which means to please or to be approved of by God. This is a constantive aorist tense, which gathers up into one entirety the action of the verb, indicating that pleasing God takes consistent and persistent positive volition toward doctrine. This simply means taking advantage of every possible decision to take in doctrine, regardless of any distractions or traps in life. If you desire to please God, you must make daily decisions to take in doctrine. The deliberate aim of your life as a member of the Royal Family of God should be to please Him, COL 1:9-10, “For this reason also, since the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with metabolized doctrine [epignosis] of His will by means of all wisdom and spiritual understanding, in order that you might walk worthy of the Lord, pleasing God in all things, bearing fruit in every good work, constantly growing by means of metabolized [epignosis] doctrine from the source of God.”
Since you are your own priest, you are responsible for your own life before God, and therefore you have a direct responsibility to God. The first question you should ask yourself is, “Who are you trying to please in this life?” If you lie to yourself, there’s no way you’ll ever realize what is important in life. Are you trying to please others and please yourself, or are you trying to please God? (See GAL 1:10, COL 3:22, 1TH 2:4, ROM 15:1-3.)
As we advance in the predesigned plan of God, we will face the danger of inflexibility, which causes intolerance of others and violations of the Royal Family Honor Code. It turns us against friends, loved ones, and others. We become thoughtless and hypersensitive, and the Royal Family Honor Code demands sensitivity and thoughtfulness of others. Inevitably you have to come to the place, often through discipline, and often through many tragedies, heartaches, and difficulties, you have to come to the place where God is going to be pleased. You are a member of the Royal Family of God, and you have a home, not here, but in Heaven, where your true citizenship resides.
1TH 4:1 Finally then, brethren, we request and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that, as you received doctrine from us as to how you ought to walk and please God.
Pleasing God includes positive volition and facing certain tests and passing them. Pleasing God includes the assembling of yourselves together and recognizing the authority of the pastor-teacher. None of us can please God without doctrine in the soul, and none of us have ever received doctrine in the soul without submitting to academic discipline.
Hebrews 11:6“>HEB 11:6 continues, “And without doctrine resident in the soul it is impossible to please Him, for he who is occupied with the God must believe” The word “for” is the explanatory use of the particle gar, which indicates why there is only one way to please God in this life. “He who comes” is the noun proserchomenon, meaning to approach or to occupy oneself with. Many people get distracted for one reason or another, but the key is consistency. No matter where you go in life, you will face the issue of authority and discipline, therefore, this is actually a verb of obligation. There are two directions we must be aware of concerning obligations:
In PSA 116:12-14, David said, “What shall I render to the Lord For all His benefits toward me? I shall lift up the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord. I shall pay my vows to the Lord, oh in the presence of all His people.” In HEB 11:6, this verb of obligation, translated “must,” means compulsion of duty, or necessity growing out of a given situation.
“And without doctrine resident in the soul it is impossible to please Him, for he who is occupied with the God must believe” The word for “believe” is pisteusai, meaning to believe, to be convinced of something so much that you become dogmatic about it. It is in the constantive aorist tense, which gathers into one “ball of wax” the concept of the verb-the believer “must be convinced.” First of all, you expose yourself to a little doctrine and it becomes resident in your soul. Then, that residual doctrine must convince you of the importance of going on with doctrine. Then, the accumulation of doctrine in your frame of reference means that you are convinced that you must go on with doctrine, and then you receive even more doctrine, and then you get tests. Whatever it is that tests you, the frame of reference now says one thing (“Bible doctrine in your soul”), and the old sin nature says another (“doctrine is not important”).
“And without doctrine resident in the soul it is impossible to please Him, for he who is occupied with the God must be convinced by resident doctrine that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” The phrase “He is,” is the present active indicative form of the verb eimi, which means “He keeps on being,” which refers to essence of God, and the fact that God exists and He has a plan. The second “He is,” is actually the present middle indicative form of ginetai, which means to become.
“And without doctrine resident in the soul it is impossible to please Him, for he who is occupied with the God must be convinced by resident doctrine that He is, and that He becomes a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” The fact that God is a rewarder is a potential depending upon your attitude toward doctrine. Doctrine is the basis for divine blessing in your life. God becomes a rewarder, not of all believers, but of those who seek Him diligently through doctrine resident in the soul. If you have doctrine resident in the soul, it is because you have been making decisions to “seek Him.” This means that Bible doctrine becomes an “obsession” in life. It means to seek out, to search for, to continually habitually seek. Seeking Him is gutting it out, day in and day out, with doctrine. Our entire corrected translation of Hebrews 11:6“>HEB 11:6 now reads: “And without doctrine [resident in the soul] it is impossible to please Him, for he who is occupied with the God must be convinced by [resident doctrine] that He is, and that He becomes a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”
We win God’s approval by perception, metabolization, and application of Bible doctrine, by working hard at studying His Word so that we will not be ashamed, 2TI 2:15-16, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth.” Are you ashamed at the amount of time that you spend studying the instructions that God has given to us?
Can you fulfill 1PE 3:15, “But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you”? There are no shortcuts. None of us should expect God to prosper us unless we are willing to pay the price of working hard at studying His Word. Studying the Bible is not always a high-flying, supernatural experience; it is often laborious and tedious. The Bible will make us think like we have never thought before, and it carries with it great reward, if we are willing to pay the price to dig into it, PRO 8:21; PRO 9:11.
A warning concerning the rewards for the Church-age believer is given in 2JO 1:6-9, “And this is virtue-love, that we walk according to His commands [the mystery doctrine of the Church-age]. This is the command, just as you have heard from the beginning that you should walk in it [the predesigned plan of God]. For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh [in our human nature]. This is the mark of a deceiver and those against Christ. Watch yourselves, that you might not lose what we have accomplished [your momentum and your spiritual growth], but that you may receive a full reward [the imputation of your escrow blessings in time and in eternity]. Anyone who goes too far [who keeps advancing out of bounds] and does not abide [remain] in the teaching of Christ does not have fellowship with God. The one who abides in the teaching [the predesigned plan of God], he has fellowship with both the Father and the Son.”
Our Lord’s last words to His people in the Church-age are written in REV 22:12, “Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done.”
As a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, you are an heir of many wonderful blessings from God, yet if you do not know these things, you will never experience them. When it comes to God’s guidelines and instructions to prosper, there is great significance to meditation on His word. To see what it means to “meditate” on scripture, we will first go to JOS 1:8, “This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.” This is one of the most important scriptures in the entire Bible for anyone who wishes to prosper, in fact, it is the only verse containing the words “prosperous” and “success.”
This verse reveals three things that God instructs us to do if we intend to be prosperous and successful.
1. We must speak His Word constantly, which means His scriptures should constantly come out of our mouths.
2. We should constantly study His Word and meditate “day and night” on what it says. The word “meditate” is the Hebrew verb hagah, which means to ponder, meditate, study, and examine. When the Bible talks about meditation, it is not some obscure concept of “contemplating infinity”; it is a mental activity of studying and learning.
3. We should live our lives exactly as His Word tells us to live, and we should know His Word so well that we conduct our lives “according to all that is written in it.”
The second place in scripture that ties meditation and prosperity together is PSA 1:1-3, “How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. And he will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers.” God tells us that, if we want to prosper in everything we do, He will bless “the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked.” This includes the world’s counsel on prosperity and finances.
God does not want us looking at life the way worldly people do. ROM 12:2 says to not conform to the world’s way of living, but to transform our lives by following His laws. We do this by loving His Word so much that we delight in it and can’t get enough of it. We will be so hungry and thirsty spiritually, that we will meditate on and study His word day and night in order to discover everything we possibly can about God and His laws for governing our lives. We will be like a tree planted by a river, PSA 1:3, “And he will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers.” No matter what kind of droughts we face and how severe they may be, the leaves of such a tree will never wither and dry up, as they continually draw water from the river of the Word of God.
Even in a financial drought, believers can still prosper and bear fruit. We can still prosper in everything that we do if we have meditated day and night on God’s Word, so that our “roots” reach deep into God’s laws of prosperity. Many Christians will “wither” during a financial drought, because of lack of knowledge of God’s laws, HOS 4:6, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.”
PSA 112:1-3 Praise the Lord! How blessed is the man who fears the Lord, Who greatly delights in His commandments. 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.
God’s Word should be an absolute delight to us, because His Word tells us everything we will ever need to know in order to live fulfilled lives here on this earth. As you get to know Him better, He will give you, through His great power and limitless grace, everything you need for living a truly prosperous life. Once we truly understand what this means, we truly delight in God’s Word and God’s ways, and we will be compelled to meditate day and night in His Word. If we follow this lifestyle continually, we will prosper in every area of our lives, financially, spiritually, physically, mentally, and emotionally.
For a more detailed study, order tapes 0190-1225 to 0190-1228.