GRACE BIBLE CHURCH
Robert R. McLaughlin Bible Ministries
The Tree of Life is a weekly teaching summary.
The Tree of Life for week ending 04/25/04.
The Right Motivation and the Power of True Love
Hebrews 4:12-13, Song of Solomon 6:7-8
In our study on the book of Philippians, we are noting PHI 4:8 which says so far in our corrected translation, "From now on, members of the Royal Family of God, whatever keeps on being true [according to doctrine], whatever is honorable [noble or worthy of respect], whatever is just [fair or right], whatever is pure"
The phrase "whatever is pure" is the Greek pronoun hosa and the Greek adjective hagna, referring to that which is proper, pure, clean, innocent, and modest. It an adjective describing proper motivation. Motivation is what really makes people tick, and it will be the basis for the evaluation of your life at the Judgment Seat of Christ in 1CO 3:13,2CO 5:10.
Motivation reveals what is inside the individual's heart and what is impelling or inciting his actions. Everything we do in life a certain motivation behind it. We can do things that we do not feel like doing, but we do it anyway because our mental attitude says we should, and this is good motivation. James put it like this in JAM 4:17, "Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do, and does not do it, to him it is sin."
Mental attitude is the key to motivation, not the feelings or emotions, and you need to guard your motivation. When the motivation is right, it will encourage, influence, and convince an individual to do what is right. The motivation behind the action is what counts, PRO 16:2, 1CO 4:5.
Motivation is something within that results in an action. Impulse, on the other hand, is an involuntary feeling prompting one to act; you should always check your motive with the word of God to receive divine guidance before you act. We see this in Peter, who had an impulse to stop the Lord from going to Jerusalem, MAT 16:21-23, "From that time Jesus Christ began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day. And Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, 'God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to You.' But He turned and said to Peter, 'Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God's interests, but man's.'" Peter had a sincere impulse but he was sincerely wrong. Motivation can be a mental state or an emotional force that induces an act of volition. The Lord will test our motivation, no matter where it comes from, PSA 7:9, "For the righteous God tests the hearts [right lobes] and the minds [emotions]."
Motivation is simply one's intention or purpose.
The motivation behind what we do, what we give, how we serve, and what we learn, will all be evaluated. In the Christian life, the believer is either motivated by Bible doctrine in the soul and the filling of the Holy Spirit, which produces personal love for God, or he is motivated by the lust pattern of the old sin nature and Satan's cosmic system. Your attitude toward doctrine and spiritual growth determines whether or not your motivation is proper. The Word of God is the critic of motivation, HEB 4:12. There are times that the doctrine being taught hits you right between the eyes. As JOH 6:63 says, "It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life."
In HEB 4:12, "The word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and the intentions of the heart."
The Word of God "pierces"; the Greek verb diikneomai means to cut through. Bible Doctrine cuts through the garbage, the confusion, the excuses, and the rationalization, to the innermost parts of man's being, the human soul and the human spirit. The Word of God also judges. The Greek verb kritikos (the origin of the English word "critic") is translated "judge." It means to critique, judge, discern, or evaluate. The Word of God will evaluate your intentions and motivations in life, as our Lord stated in JOH 12:47-48.
HEB 4:12 tells us what God's Word does, and then at verse 13 tells us the reason that it works. What is it about God's Word that, regardless of culture, age, sex, or circumstance, when it is learned and believed, always works? The Word of God universal in scope, Heb 4:13, "And there is no creature hidden from His sight all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do." He knows everything about us, including our innermost secrets and all the mistakes we have made and are going to make for the rest of our life. When God deals with any issue, everything exposed. God's Word is able to reveal to us the true meaning behind our thoughts, words, and actions, if we listen. The Lord said to Samuel in 1SA 16:7, "God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart."
Evil is the source of wrong motivation, as in PSA 21:11, 1Co 10:5-6. Our Lord dealt with evil motivation in MAR 7:14-23. False motivation hinders spiritual growth. Many of God's people do the right thing but in the wrong way. They may give, serve, pray, learn, and even apply what they learn, but they do it with false motivation.
You need authority to grow spiritually, and you must do it without pouting and argumentations that undermine authority, PHI 2:14. Job 17:11 describes reversionism: "My days are past, my motivations are torn apart, even the desires of my right lobe."
False motivation hinders spiritual growth, and a good deed may be promoted by a bad motive. Divine motivation is the grace of God as seen in His predetermined plan, ROM 8:28; ROM 9:11; EPH 1:11; EPH 3:11; 2Ti 1:9. This plan is described by the Greek word prothesis, meaning a spiritual purpose, the basis of correct motivation. All divine motivation is epitomized by the one word-grace. The great issue in spiritual giving is motivation, 2CO 9:7.
A good word to remember in our spiritual life is the word "anyway." People are unreasonable, illogical and self-centered-love them anyway. If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives-do good anyway. If you are successful, you find false friends and true enemies-succeed anyway. The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow-do good anyway. Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable-be honest and frank anyway. Give the world the best you have and you'll get kicked in the teeth-give the world the best you have anyway. The key is always your motivation, the reason why do you do the things you do.
The next phrase is in PHI 4:8, "whatever is lovely," is translated from the Greek pronoun hosa and the adjective prosphile in the plural. Prosphile is a compound adjective made up of the preposition pros and the noun phile, which connotes personal love; therefore it refers to the areas of our life where personal love exists. Love comes in four categories for members of the Royal Family of God:
1. Love toward God.
2. Love toward right man or right woman. This is a relationship between two members of the opposite sex designed for each other by God in eternity past; PRO 18:22; PRO 19:14; GEN 2:18,22; ECC 9:9; 1CO 7:17.
3. Love toward friends.
4. Impersonal, unconditional love toward members of the human race. This is virtue-love described by the Greek word agape.
Prosphiles means face-to-face love, or those that are closes to your heart. It represents every area of your life that requires capacity to love and it relates especially to three areas of love capacity. First, there is category one love, the believer's capacity to respond to God's love, based on Bible doctrine in the soul. The command for category one love is found in many passages such as DEU 6:4-5.
What does it mean to love God? It means that you "know" Him and that you have fellowship with Him through His mind, which is the Word of God. Apart from the daily function of perception, metabolization, and application of Bible doctrine, it is impossible to love God. You can say you love God, but if you do not fellowship with Him through the consistent intake of doctrine, you do not love Him. You cannot personally love someone you do not know, and you cannot know God unless you learn about Him from a prepared pastor-teacher.
There are three categories of pastors who cannot lead their congregation to spiritual maturity. The cosmic pastor is distracted by works, crusades, or social action, being very moral, arrogant, and self-righteous. He is ignorant of the plan of God, the Word of God, and has no spiritual common sense, and does not understand the predesigned plan of God. The immature pastor, who has never learned Bible doctrine and therefore spends most of his time in the cosmic system, does nothing more than evangelize his congregation and give them little moral lectures and preaching against taboos. He cannot lead his congregation to spiritual adulthood. The adolescent pastor teaches some truth, but is distracted by various forms of promotion and high profile. He is selling his own personality rather than teaching doctrine. He visits the sick, calls on his congregation, counsels, and conducts programs; therefore he does not have the time to study. What little truth he has, is buried in his arrogance of inordinate ambition and gimmicks designed to promote his ministry and fulfill his approbation lust.
The only pastor eligible to lead his congregation to spiritual maturity is the mature pastor who through his faithful Bible teaching, personal study, and avoidance of distractions, advances in the predesigned plan of God and leads his congregation with him. He is prepared academically, understands the major issues in theology, and recognizes that the issue is not his personality but his teaching. He recognizes the principle of JOH 3:30, "He increases, I decrease."Since God is invisible, but He is the object of our love, we must see and love Him through Bible doctrine, as in 1PE 1:8. After failing evidence testing six times and finally passing on the seventh time, Job said in JOB 42:5, "I have heard of Thee by the hearing of the ear; But now my eye sees Thee." Paul wrote in EPH 1:18, "I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints."
Your personal love for God is manifested by the way you treat members of the Royal Family, HEB 6:10, "For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name [How?], in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints."
This love requires consistency in the inhale and exhale of doctrine, and it frees the justice of God to bless you. Through your love for Him, you are set free from the bondage of materialism and lusts, and therefore you have a capacity to receive God's highest and best, 1CO 2:9. A great description of category one love is given in 1JO 4:15-19.
Category one love, your love toward God, will give you courage and confidence as you face spiritual warfare (JOS 23:10-11) and the conflicts of life designed by Satan to defeat you as a spiritual soldier of the Lord Jesus Christ. This love provides strength for adversity and pressure, HEB 11:27. Witnessing is motivated by our love for God, 2CO 5:14-21. And there is a special curse placed on believers who reject this love, 1CO 16:22.
Category two love takes place between right man and right woman. It is a relationship between two members of the opposite sex designed for each other by God in eternity past. This love refers to the body and soul relationship between a man and his right woman. We must begin by answering a question; if 1CO 7:29 says, concerning marriage,"But this I say, brethren, the time has been shortened, so that from now on those who have wives should be as though they had none", then why should the man and woman be concentrating upon their relationship as PHI 4:8teaches? The reason is given in 1CO 7:32-35, "But I want you to be free from concern. One who is unmarried is concerned about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife, and his interests are divided. And the woman who is unmarried, and the virgin, is concerned about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and spirit; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how she may please her husband. And this I say for your own benefit; not to put a restraint upon you, but to promote what is seemly, and to secure undistracted devotion to the Lord."
Marriage can be a source of distraction and therefore hinder your spiritual life which is why Peter said 1PE 3:7, "You husbands likewise, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with a weaker vessel, since she is a woman; and grant her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered." Category two love is a touching love, a coalescence and merging of soul and body. Therefore, sex is designed to express love in this relationship after marriage, but sex is not love.
This love will either strengthen you or destroy you; no one remains the same. The strength of right man-right woman love is found in Sol 8:6?7, where it is said to be stronger than death: "Put me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm. For love is as strong as death, jealousy is as severe as Sheol; its flashes are flashes of fire, the very flame of the Lord."
The soul is the place where the climax begins, and so the man must be in the soul of the woman and likewise the woman must be in the soul of the man. The right one for your life will fulfill the standards that you have in your soul. The man will give reality to the woman's dreams; the Shulamite woman said in Sol 1:13, "My beloved is to me a pouch of myrrh which lies all night between my breasts." The man will also provide her soul stimulation, and he must be in her soul before she surrenders her body to him, Sol 8:6, "Put me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm. For love is as strong as death." "Strong" is the Hebrew word azah, which means to protect and fortify. Once in her soul, the man for her life never leaves, and she is protected by her love and respect for her man, therefore she remains faithful. Their respect for each other motivates them both to be faithful.
Once a woman has the man that God has designed for her in her soul, he will always there (even though at times she'll wish she could get rid of him). She will never be satisfied with another man. If she is unfaithful, she will never be satisfied in that other relationship. The man's love for the woman and her response serve as a fortification and protection for the woman's soul and body. Each protects the other, and satisfies and fulfills the other.
Sol 8:6 continues, "Jealousy [the great enemy of love] is as severe as Sheol." Just as the grave robs you of a loved one, so jealousy robs you of your relationship with your loved one. "Its flashes [a reference to true love] are flashes of fire, the very flame of the Lord." "Flashes" represent the intense responses to each other. She is turned on by him, first in her soul, which carries over to her physical response. She sparks and glows around him because the right man for her life will affect even her countenance. And these flashes are from the Lord, not the flesh. This woman does not try to impress other men; she saves herself for her lover. She is not flirtatious or a tease; she was a woman of virtue.
In Sol 8:7, notice this love is a fire that cannot be put out: "Many waters cannot quench love [cannot take the heat and the passion away], nor will rivers overflow it. If a man were to give all the riches of his house for love, it would be utterly despised." "Many waters" refers to pressures, disasters, difficulties, and even the misunderstandings. "Quench" is the Hebrew verb kabah, which means to extinguish, or to take the heat away. The overflowing rivers refer to the most horrible disasters of life, which cannot destroy true love. And this love cannot be bought. True love cannot be found where it does not truly exist and it cannot be hidden where it truly does. You cannot buy what God has designed! You cannot buy salvation! You cannot buy Bible doctrine! And you cannot buy the one that God has designed for your life!
This love illustrates the Lord's relationship with Israel, Jer 2:2,33; EZE 16:8,23, and with the Church, EPH 5:23?33.The highest natural form of happiness and prosperity in this life is a man finding his woman. The principle of right man-right woman was designed by God in eternity past. Therefore, there is an "opposite number" somewhere for you, by divine design. The exceptions are the gift of celibacy and the law of supreme sacrifice, as demonstrated by Jeremiah and Paul, JER 16:2, 1CO 9:5.
Every believer under the grace plan of God will eventually meet the one that God has designed for them at the right time and in the right circumstances. Waiting on God is the providence of time. There is no benefit in meeting the one that God has designed for you unless you have waited on the Lord. This means refraining from fornication while waiting, and having a love affair with Bible doctrine. Excessive fornication destroys the capacity in the body, 1CO 6:18, "Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body." However, always remember that with God all things are possible, and there is healing process that can restore the body. It takes humility, discipline, and obedience, and depends on how much healing and recovery is necessary due to scar tissue, emotional revolt, or other handicaps. Never superimpose your own failures on the Word of God; let His Word clean the garbage out of your soul and restore you.
Fornication is accepting a cheap substitute in order to gratify an emotional or biological passion or urge. It is part of a frantic search for happiness. The solution to this temptation is found in Bible doctrine and spiritual growth. Fornication is also a part of the emotional revolt of the soul, and is disastrous to the right man-right woman relationship. Therefore, it is prohibited in strong terms in HEB 13:4, "Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge [discipline]." However, there is always hope, even if you have failed in this area, HEB 13:5-6, "Let your character be free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, 'I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,' so that we confidently say, 'The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What shall man do to me?'"
Maximum doctrine in the soul plus abstinence from premarital sex provide the basis for maximum pleasure in the sexual relationship in marriage. Daily faithfulness to Bible doctrine translates the principle of doctrine into the realities of pleasure and happiness in life. Blessing in category two love depends on maturity in the spiritual life. Under category two love, happiness is found in one person, PRO 5:15?23. It excludes the following violations of God's Word, which are promoted constantly by the kingdom of darkness: masturbation, homosexuality and lesbianism, promiscuity, and adultery, all of which violate the marriage vows.
Category two love rises above the circumstances of life and produces an exclusive happiness that sustains you and your partner, PRO 15:17, "Better is a dish of vegetables where love is, than a fattened ox and hatred with it." This love is protective while your partner is absent, Sol 1:13, 4:6 or present, Sol 2:4. Marriage can be an instant success, if all the factors are subject to God's will and God's timing. He gives us each an allotted time for this relationship, and you never run out of time in a right man-right woman relationship designed by God. It is only our own negative volition that can waste the allotted time.