Grace Bible Church
Robert R. McLaughlin Bible Ministries
The TREE OF LIFE is a weekly teaching summary.
The Tree of Life for week ending 06/03/01.
"Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!"
In our study of Phi 4 we are now on verse 4 which reads "Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!"
This word "rejoice" may be misunderstood today but it actually means to be happy, to have happiness, be filled with joy. It is the Greek word "Chairete," and here it is a command to share the happiness of God. The supergrace or ultra supergrace believer shares God's happiness as a part of their blessings in time.
Two special categories of blessings, designed in eternity past, exist for the believer, blessing in time and blessing in eternity.
Neither of these can be received without spiritual growth from the consistent function of perception, metabolization and application of Bible doctrine. That leads the believer to break the maturity barrier then to reach supergrace and then onto ultra supergrace and eventually dying grace. No matter what we go through, even though we may not like it, there can be a happiness called contentment, because we trust God for the results.
So far we can translate PHI 4:4 "Keep on having perfect happiness in the Lord always" The phrase "in the Lord"represents or calls attention to the high quality and perfect essence of our Lord, who has designed a plan in which we can share His happiness in time. The next word "always" is an Greek adverb "pantote" and means at all times. Not only can we share the happiness of God, but it isn't meant to be a fleeting thing, it's a continual thing. No matter what it is that we are going through, there is the principle of PHI 4:7 "And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
The same principle is found in JOH 14:27 "Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful."
The same is found JOH 16:33 "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world."
So in PHI 4:4 "Keep on having perfect happiness by means of the Lord at all times; again I will say, rejoice!"
This is a command given, in this context, to those who are following Paul from supergrace, which is where he has arrived just before his Roman imprisonment, and where he is now moving on to the next objective which is ultra supergrace. He has moved out into another area of spiritual growth and those who follow him must understand, that even though they have a form of God's happiness now, it intensify when they reach the highest objective that any believer can possess in time.
The word again is the Greek adverb "palin" introduces a repetition of the command because of its importance and it is used for repeating a command. It should be translated: "one more time," or "once more."
PHI 4:4 "Keep on having perfect happiness by means of the Lord at all times; once more I will say rejoice,"
"I will say" is the Greek verb "ero" and it means to communicate a very important message of doctrine. Then once more the verb "chairete" is used, translated rejoice meaning sharing the happiness of God. This time it denotes what has begun in the past and continues into the present. So the corrected translation of the entire verse PHI 4:4"Keep on having perfect happiness by means of the Lord at all times; Once more I repeat the command, keep on having perfect happiness."
The phrase "perfect happiness" is interesting because there are several kinds of happiness found in the Bible. Once God really begins to touch someone who seeks Him, He gives that believer a desire to seek Him more perfectly and part of that desire is experiencing God's happiness.
HEB 11:6 "And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he ho comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him."
JER 29:13 "And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart."
Or PSA 37:4 "Delight yourself in the Lord; And He will give you the desires of your heart."
There is something within the believer that causes him to know that he has not been created for the world, but has an end that is centered in the Lord.
The following principles will help to understand the true happiness that God gives:
1. Perfect happiness or the happiness from God is not having what you want, but rather accepting what you have, or as we have seen before, it is being at a place of contentment. Paul will say this to us in PHI 4:11-13 "Not that I speak from want; for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I 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. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me."
2. The happiness of God depends upon the quality of your thoughts: therefore, you should guard the type of thoughts that you allow into your soul. Be careful not to entertain any thoughts unsuitable to virtue and impersonal love. Paul said this to the Philippians in PHI 4:8 "Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any virtue and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind well on these things."
3. All of us attain the greatest success and happiness possible in this life whenever we use our capacities to their greatest extent. It's our capacity that allows us to experience happiness.
4. There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worrying about things that are beyond the power of our will. An unhappy person is someone involved with egotism, selfishness, evil--or else an absolute ignorance.
5. You'll never realize how much of God's happiness you have in your life until you go through certain problems and find out that your happiness has not been taken away. 1Pe 1:3-8.
6. Happiness is not a reward for doing something, but rather it is a consequence.
In the biblical realm, it is the consequence of taking in doctrine.
PRO 3:13 "Happiness belongs to the person who finds wisdom, even to the person who gains understanding."
7. True happiness doesn't come as a result of getting something we don't have, but rather a result of recognizing and appreciating what we do have, this is where capacity comes in.
8. Happiness is not dictated by the place or the condition, but it is the mind alone that can make anyone happy or miserable.
PRO 23:7 "For as he thinks within himself, so he is."
PRO 17:22 "A happy heart is good medicine, But a broken spirit dries up the bones."
9. Happiness is "not following" the crowd and accepting their approach toward life. A happy person is one who makes up his own mind, has his own convictions and doesn't allow himself to be manipulated. EXO 23:2 "You shall not follow a multitude in doing evil, nor shall you testify in a dispute so as to turn aside after a multitude in order to pervert justice;"
10. Happiness is not allowing yourself to indulge in the usual manipulation that goes on in life. A happy person is not afraid to live and is not afraid to fail.
11. A person is happy because they are growing daily and not knowing where their limit lies. Every day there can be a new revelation or a new discovery about life and about God and about ourselves. The happy person lives one day at a time and enjoys himself.
12. Happiness is also being able to treasure the memory of the past misfortunes. Happiness isn't something you just experience; it's something you remember.
13. The happiest people are those who think the most interesting thoughts. Those who decide to use leisure as a means of mental development, who love good music, books, company, conversation, these are the happiest people and they share their happiness with others.
14. It is not how much we have, but how much we enjoy, that makes happiness. The key to true happiness is a change in our mental attitude. It is not the entrenched notion that some set of circumstances, things, or people can"make" one happy. Never confuse happiness, as taught in the Word of God, with the various stimuli of life which are enjoyable for the moment, but have no ability to sustain in day-by-day living.
Pseudo or false happiness.
Pseudo happiness is Satan's attempt to counterfeit the happiness, contentment and blessing which God has provided for every Church Age believer. This pseudo happiness is a deception which Satan promotes by providing stimulation, ambition, and self-indulgence to either counterfeit or cancel out the true happiness God provides for us. This is why the apostle John said in 1JO 2:15-17 "Do not love the world, nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. And the world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God abides forever."
Satan himself does not personally administer pseudo happiness, but provides the system for it, the kosmos or the cosmic system.
The cosmic system provided by Satan is filled with illusions, delusion, fallacies and misconceptions of happiness. Satan's myth of arrogance is that both people and pleasant circumstances in life can make a person happy, of course this is not true. The propaganda of Satan is that money, success, pleasure, social life, sexual life, approbation, material things, and pleasant circumstances in life can make a person happy. These things may please a person for a while it doesn't last.
But what God has provided for us in perfect happiness is a permanent factor and a problem-solving device. Remember this principle; anything that is worthwhile is worthwhile in adversity as well as in prosperity.
Another form of Pseudo or false happiness exists when a person is dependent on any other person or set of circumstances for happiness. To the extent that one is dependent on people, circumstances, or prosperity for happiness, they are weak. But if, as a believer in Jesus Christ, one has been faithful in the reception, retention, and recall of Bible doctrine and have advanced to spiritual self-esteem, spiritual autonomy, or spiritual maturity; they are not only strong, but have that great inner happiness wherever they go. God's happiness isn't dependent on environment, prosperity or adversity; it simply a part of God's grace policy to believers in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Satan's administration of pseudo happiness to any believer or unbeliever can only exist when that person is involved in the cosmic system; primarily in cosmic one, where through arrogance, any capacity for happiness is destroyed. Arrogance includes jealousy; self-pity, guilt, implacability, hatred, all the mental attitude sins which add up to motivational arrogance, these guarantee the exclusion of any happiness.
The arrogance complex is very deceptive because it deludes and distracts mankind into false notions about what constitutes happiness. That's why in REV 12:9 we are told "And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world;"
Pseudo happiness can be stimulation, fun, entertainment, or something that is enjoyable, but it isn't permanent; it is momentary. It depends upon a set of circumstances and an environment pleasant to us. The great deceiver of this world has trapped many individuals by causing them to fall for pseudo happiness.
People are not carried by good times.
In contrast, perfect happiness is a magnificent problem solving device because it is there all the time, it is a basis for capacity for life. You must have capacity for happiness to really be happy, and then you can be happy in whatever life has to offer you in a given moment. Capacity for happiness must precede the experience or function of happiness.
The divine standards of the Word of God will produce two kinds of happiness:
1. The unbeliever who functions under morality without arrogance will have establishment happiness from the laws of divine establishment.
2. The believer who functions under consistent perception, metabolization and application of Bible doctrine will receive perfect happiness, which is a day-by-day, moment-by-moment happiness that carries them in the darkest of nights and the most difficult of times.
Life itself is divided into two parts: living and dying. Happiness is the simple harmony between a person and the life they lead. The difference between living and dying is that, in living, we have the full use of our volition toward doctrine, in dying, our volition is no longer an issue because God's sovereignty selects the time, place, and manner of our death.
Another area in which one can have either pseudo-happiness or God's perfect happiness is in your single or marital status. If one has pseudo happiness when they are single, they wish to be married and when they are married they wish to be single. But if one has perfect happiness, it doesn't make any difference whether they are single or married. A person with perfect happiness and impersonal love can resolve marital problems, as far as they are concerned. That doesn't mean that the marriage is going to work out, in many cases it does not. But, it does mean that there doesn't have to be any bitterness, jealousy, anger, vindictiveness, revenge motivation, involved like so many have when their marriage doesn't work out.
Remember that the four divine institutions are for believers and unbelievers alike, Volition, Marriage, Family, Nationalism.
These four divine institutions are the structure of society, the basis for the perpetuation of human life and freedom, the basis for order in society and are designed so that each person can fulfill their own destiny.
Marriage is one of the first two divine institutions which existed before the fall when mankind was in a state of perfection on the earth. There was freedom of volition (divine institution number one) and marriage (divine institution number two). There was no family (divine institution number three) and no nation (divine institution number four). The problem in the marriage of Adam and the woman was noted by Adam's original sin and the woman's sin. As they left the garden, God gave each one a mandate, God said "Husband, work! Wife, bear children!" God did not tell them to, "Go forth and be happy." In fact, throughout the Scripture, there are no mandates to be happy in marriage, because marriage is not a state of happiness.
A successful marriage is when two people get married, and through the Pre-Designed Plan of God (PPOG) for their lives or the laws of divine establishment, they attain happiness and live together in a state of contentment. They do not demand more from each other!
But, with regard to believers, it is impossible for believers to have a happy marriage apart from spiritual growth, execution of the PPOG, and each one possessing perfect happiness. The best potential for a great marriage belongs to believers who are positive toward doctrine.
An unsuccessful marriage is when any combination of a happy person and an unhappy person get married, and the unhappy person causes the happy person to revert to the cosmic system. Marriage itself will not give anyone true happiness.
There are those who are single who are waiting for their right man or right woman, this includes those who haven't been married and those who have been married (those divorced with a legal right to remarry under conditions in DEU 24:1-4).
However, if you are single and looking for happiness, do not look for it in someone of the opposite sex because you won't find it. People are no better in marriage than they are as people. Marriage is a problem-manufacturing device which demands the best from every believer. Being married or single is not an issue in having the happiness of God.
In either status, a believer living inside of that Pre-Designed Plan for their life can have God's perfect happiness.