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 09/07/08

 

From now on, start becoming strong [plural] by means of the Lord, and in the strength of His might. Pick up and put on the full armor from God, that you may be able to hold your ground against the schemes or the strategies of the devil. Because our struggle is not against blood [people’s souls] and flesh [their old sin nature], but against the rulers[these are the archons like Abaddon and Beelzebub], against the powers [demon officers who have phenomenal authority], against the world forces of this darkness [kosmokratoras meaning demons who specialize in possessing or influencing the cosmos or world rulers] against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places or against the spiritual forces of evil in the atmosphere around the earth, the stellar universe and in the presence of God. Because of this, pick up and put on the full armor from God, that you may be able to hold your ground in the day when evil attacks you, even after you have achieved or accomplished everything, hold your ground. Because of this, hold your ground, [after you]have buckled on your combat gear around your waist by means of doctrine, and [after you] have put on the breastplate of righteousness, (EPH 6:10-14, corrected translation).
The first piece of armor is the most important; it is the belt or the harness of truth. This is metabolized doctrine in the soul that is ready for application. The rest of the armor is anchored by the belt, so it is the foundation. Next we have the breastplate of righteousness. This is the attainment of divine integrity through consistent perception, metabolization and application of Bible doctrine. So the breastplate of righteousness or integrity is the virtue and the honor attained through the perception of Bible doctrine. There is a similar passage where again Paul uses the breastplate to refer to integrity and Spiritual Self Esteem:
But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation. (1TH 5:8)
This means we are to be self-controlled, well balanced and therefore to be in the state of Spiritual Self Esteem. This is a potential, and it is what God requires, but we may or may not achieve it, it all depends on our volition. Inasmuch as we are under God’s plan, God’s will and God’s purpose, this virtue, honor and integrity is required of us. It doesn’t start with some system of morality, or some system of doing something that you consider good. Bible doctrine makes it very clear that honor, and integrity are infinitely greater than morality. The Bible also makes it clear that we can only attain this by learning the truth, knowing the truth, and then thinking (applying) the truth. That is the entire integrity package.
The righteousness of God, belongs to God alone, it is a part of His perfect and eternal essence. However, God has provided the thinking, or the mind of Christ, which is Bible doctrine, as our means of attaining the honor, the virtue and the integrity of God. The integrity which God has made available for the believer is developed from living in His righteous word (Bible doctrine) which has to be resident in your soul. It is doctrine in your soul which gives you the integrity or the spiritual strength to handle any situation in life. To be strong spiritually is to operate in the integrity of God which comes from applying doctrine to your particular circumstances in life. This can only come from the consistent intake of Bible Doctrine, and the metabolization and application of it to life. When you live in the doctrine which the Lord tells you to live in, you are living in the righteousness or the integrity of God.
After salvation there is an experiential righteousness which is the breastplate of righteousness, and that is infinitely greater than any system of morality that has ever been designed by man (MAT 5:48; MAT 19:26). This experiential righteousness is called the breastplate of righteousness, but remember that the breastplate of righteousness is actually the integrity of God being provided for us. This brings us to a doctrine which will reveal to us what it means experientially to put on the breastplate of righteousness.
The Doctrine of the Royal Family Honor Code.
Point 1. Definition and Description.
a. The Royal Family honor code, or putting on the breastplate of righteousness, is a system of spiritual integrity mandated by God and revealed in the mystery doctrine of the Church-age. It is really based upon one simple principle, “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’” (MAT 25:40).
b. The Royal Family honor code, or putting on the breastplate of righteousness, relates to personal integrity on the part of believers in relationship with others. In fact, the honor code is a supplement to impersonal love for all believers. Again, that’s why the Bible says, But since we are of the day, let us attain spiritual self esteem, after we have put on the breastplate of doctrine, and virtue love, (1TH 5:8). The honor code is a extension of impersonal love for all believers, and it centers around two words, Integrity and Truth.
Integrity is defined as adherence to spiritual, moral, and ethical principles related to truth and honesty. We are taught to operate within the four laws of Christian behavior:
The Law of Christian Liberty: The law of liberty is directed toward self. Biblically, the believer has the right to engage in activities that are not sinful, and that will not tempt him to sin (1CO 8:4; 1CO 8:8-9).
The Law of Love: This law is the function of impersonal love directed toward all believers, including the arrogant, legalistic, and the lascivious ones. This is impersonal love directed specifically toward weaker believers. The law of love is especially important when dealing with new believers who are not educated in Bible doctrine, and with educated believers who are still offended by things that are actually legitimate. Under this principle, we are taught to avoid offending or putting a stumbling block in front of a weaker believer. The law of love works with the law of liberty to help us refrain from any activity that may lead another Christian astray, even though that activity may be perfectly legitimate. Under this law, the strong believer denies himself certain permissible activities, strictly for the benefit of weaker believers; however, he must never compromise or confuse this with legalism.
The Law of Expediency: This law is related to the believer as a witness for Jesus Christ. Every believer is an ambassador for Christ, and at times must refrain from certain forms of recreation, or deny himself things he desires. This is not because they are wrong, but because they may hinder an unbeliever from seeing the true issue of salvation (1CO 9:16-23).
The Law of Supreme Sacrifice: This law is directed toward God, and relates to personal love for God the Father and occupation with the Lord Jesus Christ. It generally applies to mature believers who forsake normal living, and legitimate functions in life in order to serve the Lord in a special way. This is the highest law of the Christian way of life; Paul functioned under this principle (1CO 9:1-16).
The honor code has its foundation in the function of spiritual principles as related to truth and integrity. Believers need to understand that at the moment of salvation they are born into the Royal Family with all the rights, privileges, and responsibilities of aristocracy, and that aristocracy has standards. The Royal Family honor code requires nothing less than the honor, integrity, and virtue that only come through the knowledge of doctrine by the power of the Holy Spirit, and the spiritual growth that results. There are 16 Standards that aristocracy does not condone:
1. Gossip, maligning, or slander.
2. The violation of privacy or interfering in the affairs of others.
3. Apathy or indifference toward the Lord Jesus Christ or the plan of God.
4. Acting independently of God and the Pre-designed Plan of God (PPOG).
5. Immorality, impurity, evil desires and thoughts or greed.
6. Distraction or withdrawal from doctrine (the religious idea of putting aside doctrine and “loving one another”).
7. Arrogance, jealously, implacability, or revenge motivation.
8. Sowing discord or strife among the brethren.
9. The rejection of doctrine from one’s pastor-teacher.
10. Dishonesty for monetary gain.
11. Fear, worry, anxiety, anger, or hatred.
12. Legalism and self-righteousness.
13. Morality as a substitute for spirituality.
14. Attaining blessing from God through human good, dead works, human achievement, or human self-sacrifice, or any other function apart from God’s grace.
15. Discrediting any pastor-teacher, especially those who communicate Bible doctrine.
16. Failure to love the brethren. How is love manifested? Supreme sacrifice.
Point 2. The Application of Bible Doctrine and the Royal Family Honor Code.
The honor code, or putting on the breastplate of righteousness, is simply an application of Bible doctrine. The application of doctrine under pressure, and in the angelic conflict, and spiritual warfare, requires at least the attainment and function of Spiritual Self Esteem. This is the basis for concluding everything related to integrity. This is also the basis of operations for our relationship with other people. With the attainment of Spiritual Self Esteem the believer learns enough Bible doctrine to make application to every experience in life. This is why Paul said,  For the whole law is fulfilled in one word [logo-subject], in the statement, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”  (GAL 5:14).
One of the great problems of believers is not having self-esteem, which even many unbelievers have. Because many believers lack human self-esteem, they lack the ability to apply any truth or Bible doctrine to their experience. This lack of human self-esteem puts them into a vacuum, and they suffer from many problems of dependency. You are to be dependent on God, but independent from problems. This does not mean you are free from having problems, but freedom from being controlled by those problems.
There can be no Royal Family honor code without this self-esteem. Lack of human self-esteem can only be resolved by the attainment of Spiritual Self Esteem, it is one of the keys to life. With no self-esteem, whether human or spiritual, you are disoriented to life. Without self-esteem you cannot entertain yourself or handle simple problems like loneliness, and problems related to social life. Lack of self-esteem in almost everything in life is disastrous. The greatest disaster is failure to learn, understand, and think in terms of the Royal Family honor code. Many people who accept Christ as their Savior have no self-esteem, and so the PPOG provides the opportunity for Spiritual Self Esteem. Once you enter Christianity without human self-esteem your only chance for having any self-esteem is the attainment of spiritual self-esteem which is far greater than human self-esteem. Human self-esteem can sometimes be frustrating, but spiritual self-esteem is never frustrating.
So many believers lack SSE. Either they have heard the doctrinal principles and rejected them, or else they have never taken the time to learn about who God has made them to be. Remember what the apostle Paul said in 1CO 15:10, But by the grace of God I am what I am. God does not make losers! God has made us brand new creatures, we are a brand new spiritual species. There is no place in the church of Jesus Christ for a low self image, and lack of confidence. If a believer is going to put on the Royal Family honor code and the breastplate of righteousness, he must realize that he is a member of the Royal Family of God. He is an aristocrat, and as we mentioned, aristocracy has standards and protocol. Therefore, the application of Bible doctrine and the Royal Family honor code becomes very important.
Principles concerning Spiritual Self Esteem:
1. Spiritual Self Esteem is that virtue and integrity developed from living in the PPOG whereby the believer’s confidence is based on Bible doctrine which he has learned through perception, metabolization and application. The believer’s respect for self is linked to grace-orientation.
2. The secret to spiritual self-esteem is respect for God.
3. Spiritual self-esteem is never a system of self-improvement based on advice, counseling, or dependence on others. The only dependence for the attainment of spiritual self-esteem is dependence on faithful Bible teaching from whomever is your right pastor-teacher.
4. Under spiritual self-esteem, you are free from legalistic bullying, people dependence distractions, flattery, counseling and dependence.
5. In fact, spiritual self-esteem is the declaration of independence of your Royal priesthood.
6. Spiritual self-esteem solves the problems of inadequacy, peer pressure, role model arrogance, all the subtleties of arrogance, and fear. SSE is the foundation or stability in the Christian way of life.
7. Spiritual self-esteem never feels threatened by just or unjust criticism.
8. Spiritual self-esteem avoids withdrawal and stuffing your problems and failures into your subconscious.
9. Spiritual self-esteem is the status of solving the unsolvable problems and pressures of this life. It always addresses the problems or failures by using the problem solving devices to make corrections and keeps moving with occupation with Christ.
“He who gets wisdom, loves his own soul; he who keeps understanding will prosper.” (PRO 19:8)
Wisdom is the end result of perception and metabolization of doctrine. Wisdom is the application of that doctrine to experience. The application goes toward God, toward self, and toward others. The first line of this verse defines Spiritual Self Esteem, He who gets wisdom, loves his own soul. The second line is doctrinal inculcation, he who keeps understanding will prosper.
Biblical documentation also includes:
However, you also, each one of you individually, let him love his wife as himself. (EPH 5:33)
The phrase “as himself” is Spiritual Self Esteem. (EPH 5:33).
And one of the scribes came and heard them arguing, and recognizing that He had answered them well, asked Him, “What commandment is the foremost of all? Jesus answered, “The foremost is, ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.” (MAR 12:28-31)
Loving your neighbor as yourself is Spiritual Self Esteem resulting in impersonal love for all mankind.
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