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Grace Bible Church
The Tree of Life
A Weekly Review
Week ending 030313
B
eing a soldier for the Word of God. Part 3.

There are Nine Similarities of being a soldier and the Art of War:

  1. The principle of objective = plan.
    2. The principle of offensive = victory.
    3. The principle of mass = power.
    4. The principle of economy of force = execution.
    5. The principle of movement = momentum.
    6. The principle of surprise = attack.
    7. The principle of security = support.
    8. The principle of simplicity = accuracy.
    9. The principle of cooperation = teamwork.

 

 

We have been noting some of the similarities of being a soldier as far as what the Word of God teaches. One of the principles that we need to note is that there are many believers who will sit through Bible class but will not metabolize the lesson, or if they do, they will fail to apply it at the appropriate time. It’s interesting that a soldier is known by his discipline, his armor, and his weapons so the Christian soldier must be disciplined; have his armor on and know how to use his weapons (EPH 6:10-17).

 

Satan can transform himself into an angel of light, he puts out false colors which comes with an overt banner or standard of truth. He and the false ministers that he promotes can make use of scripture especially for the purpose of deception.

 

Paul said in 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.

 

This is the so-called love crowd who say put aside your doctrinal differences and let’s love each other.

 

2CO 11:13-15, For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their deeds.

In Eph 6, among all the armor, that Christians should take upon themselves, we read of no back-piece; so if they turn their back, they are unprotected.

Here’s another interesting principle that a lot of people think is wrong which is not: A soldier is greatly encouraged in all his encounters and sharp conflicts with the enemy by considering the reward and honor he shall receive if he holds out and gets the victory. So, the Christian soldier is motivated with much intensity and encouraged by the consideration of the eternal rewards he shall receive in the end. This was one of the things that made Moses despise the glory of Egypt, and refuse to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He saw Him who was invisible, and had an eye toward the reward.

 

In the military sense, strategy is defined as the science and art of military command to meet the enemy in combat under advantageous conditions. In other words, in any war, there must be a plan and method designed to defeat the enemy. God’s strategy is found in the divine power and divine assets which he has prepared for us in eternity past. This includes His plan, which we call the PPOG, and His method which is to use His power which we call divine omnipotence.

 

Paul told the Corinthians in 2CO 6:7 that one of the signs that he was a servant of God was the fact that he operated In the word of truth, in the power of God; by the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and the left. So the strategy of God for our spiritual warfare is found in the PPOG and His method is operating in divine power.

 

Then there is what we call tactics. Tactics refers to a device for accomplishing an end or a method of employing forces in combat. We could call tactics the ability to put strategy into operation. So be sure you understand this vocabulary before we go on. Strategy refers to His method and His plan. Tactics refers to putting into operation that method and plan. And God’s strategy is found in the PPOG. God’s tactics are in the mechanics of the divine power which He has made available to every Church-age believer.

 

Our Lord Jesus Christ won the strategic victory over Satan in the angelic conflict during His first advent and His saving work on the Cross. The tactical victory for this conflict is now assigned to each Church-age believer. As royal family of God, you are assigned the responsibility of tactical victory. You are to put into operation the method and the plan that the Lord Jesus Christ has made available to you for victory in spiritual warfare.

 

Our Lord made a very important statement in JOH 16:32, “Behold, an hour is coming, and has {already} come, for you to be scattered, each to his own {home,} and to leave Me alone; and {yet} I am not alone, because the Father is with Me.”

 

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, for the believer the art of war being the art of life is not a bad statement. Actually the art of war is a bibliography of the works of Sun Tzu. Sun Tzu is a Chinese general who lived approximately around 500 B.C.

A collection of essays on the art of war is attributed to Sun Tzu. And the most fundamental of Sun Tzu’s principles for the conduct of war is that all warfare is based on deception. That’s why the Bible prepares us for deception in many passages. In fact, the opposite of deception is actually loyalty, something that is very hard to find.

As Paul said in 2TI 1:15, You are aware of the fact that all who are in Asia turned away from me,

What God provides in grace must not compromise His perfect essence. Love is the motivation of grace, but justice is the function of grace. Love isn’t a mechanic of grace. Therefore, God’s justice must be free to give blessing to sinful man without violating divine integrity. Whatever you receive in blessing, divine justice must OK it first. Justice must approve everything that comes from God to man. God’s motivation is love; His decision is sovereignty, but neither love nor sovereignty can go any further than justice will take them. In other words, justice has the final say in whether you will be blessed or cursed in this life.

 

So, how can God avoid compromising His perfect righteousness and still have a relationship with us? The missing link is our adjustment to the justice of God. You cannot adjust to any of the other characteristics of God. You can only adjust to the justice of God. Once you adjust to the justice of God, everything else in your life will fall into place. Now, remember that after salvation the object of faith changes.

 

Before salvation the object of faith is the Living Word, the Lord Jesus Christ. After salvation the object of faith is the written Word, Bible doctrine. In both cases the justice of God gives the stamp of approval because the object of faith is perfectly righteous! Before salvation, the object of faith is the Lord Jesus Christ, and He is perfectly righteous. After salvation, the object of faith becomes the mind of Christ or Bible doctrine, which is also perfectly right or perfect righteousness.

 

Therefore, in both cases the justice of God approves and the essence of God comes through for the believer without compromising the integrity of God. Now, one of the most important illustrations of the justice of God approving the perfect righteousness of God in action for the believer is 1JO 1:9 which tells us how to be filled with the Spirit.

 

1JO 1:9, If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

 

For an individual to be forgiven and filled with Spirit simply by naming and citing their sin is a total act of God and has nothing to do with mankind. Now, the satanic deception behind this principle is incredible. Let me tell you why.

First of all, 1JO 4:4b, Because greater is He [God the Holy Spirit] who is in you than he [Satan] who is in the world. You actually have within your body the availability of a greater power than Satan. Therefore, he wants to blind you from this power. Satan knows that if Church-age believers discover this power, he has no chance to defeat them. This is why our Lord said inMAT 16:18, Upon this rock I will build My Church; and the gates of Hell shall not overpower it. 

Here’s where the deception comes in. Whenever a believer adds to confession of sin or to homologeo, he is adding to the perfect righteous Word of God or the perfect righteousness of God. God has only one way of forgiving sins...His way! His way is simply to name and cite it! Not feel sorry for them, not weeping at the altar, not making vows, not doing penance, but name it and cite it! Why just name it and cite it? Because the justice of God will not approve or accept any human activity at all.

 

In fact, justice cannot approve of man’s works or actions because they must be perfect, and that is impossible for man. This is why the Bible says in ROM 7:21, I find then a principle of doctrine that evil is present in me, the one who wishes or desires to do good.

 

I can’t do good, therefore, before I can be brought back into fellowship with God, I must satisfy His justice! His justice can only be satisfied by the perfect work of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, not by any effort we make. Therefore, restoration to fellowship is based upon the believer being rightly related to the justice of God by directing his faith toward the work of Christ on the Cross.

 

So, when a believer confesses a sin, the justice of God is free to forgive that sin because the justice of God was propitiated at the Cross. Only justice and no other part of God’s essence can forgive sin. Remember that faith is the only performance that the justice of God will accept. The justice of God will only accept faith because faith depends totally on the merit of the object. The object of faith at salvation is the Lord Jesus Christ and His work. So the justice of God sees your faith trusting in the one who is perfectly righteous and the justice of God is completely satisfied.

 

Faith is the only system of perception that justice will approve of because faith depends on the merit of the object. For the justice of God to approve the action of faith then the object of faith must be perfectly righteous. The object of faith at salvation is the work accomplished by the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross or what the Bible calls believing in Christ. The object of faith after salvation is the Word of God or the doctrines of the Christian faith.

 

Before salvation, the object of faith is the Lord Jesus Christ and He is perfectly righteous. After salvation, the object of faith becomes the mind of Christ or Bible doctrine which is also perfectly right or perfect righteousness. Now, rebound is simply technical nomenclature for the believer's restoration to fellowship and recovery of the filling of the Holy Spirit. This technique is necessary because the believer continues to have an old sin nature after salvation.

 

1JO 1:9 says that this adjustment to the justice of God occurs through our naming, citing, or confessing our sins. Because the believer’s sin was judged on the Cross, this adjustment to the justice of God is also instantaneous. It is possible by simply naming your sins. Please note once again that human works and emotion are excluded from this technique.

 

How you feel makes no difference because judgment already has been accomplished, the justice of God has already judged the sin and the righteousness of God is already satisfied. In the Church-age, like other dispensations, confessing of sin is needed for forgiveness and restoration to fellowship! David set the pattern in PSA 32:5.

 

PSA 32:5, “I acknowledge my sin to You, and my iniquity I did not hide. I said, ‘I will confess my transgression to the Lord.’ And You forgave the iniquity of my sin.”

 

PRO 1:23, “Turn to my reproof, behold, I will pour out my Spirit on you; I will make my words known to you.”

 

JER 3:13, “Only acknowledge your iniquity, that you have transgressed against the Lord your God and you have not obeyed My voice, declares the Lord.”

 

There are also descriptions found in the New Testament for being restored into fellowship. For example;

Self-judgment. 1CO 11:30-31, For this reason many among you are weak [warning discipline] and sick [intensive discipline], and a number sleep [dying discipline]. But if we judge ourselves correctly, we should not be judged.

 

HEB 12:1, “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.”

 

Lift up the hands that hang down, HEB 12:12, Therefore, strengthen the hands that hang down and the knees that are feeble.

 

The restoring of your strength is the filling of the Holy Spirit. Be subject to the Father of your human spirits, HEB 12:9, “Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live?”

 

Make straight paths, HEB 12:13, this relates rebound to using the other problem-solving devices as well. HEB 12:13, And make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint [divine discipline], but rather be healed.

 

Legalistic individuals want you to feel sorry for your sin or to change your ways! They always want you to change. They want to super-impose their ideas on you. Legalism ignores that the fact that under the principal of grace, God does all the work and there is no work accomplished by man. God the Father judged our sins at the Cross while Christ was bearing them. Therefore, feeling sorry or developing an attitude toward repentance is not necessary since our attitude and emotions are not the issue in confession. It all depends on your volition choosing to do things God’s way instead of your own way. The important thing in confession of sin is following instructions.

 

Remember this principle, following instructions is very difficult when it's a non-meritorious act. To have to follow instructions where your merit and your ability is not being challenged is very difficult. There is also the possession of localities or cites which will attain the national or spiritual objective. This is what the children of Israel did in the promise land. This is analogous to using rebound to reenter the Pre-designed Plan of God (PPOG) which is the only place where divine omnipotence is available. The locality which you must possess to be victorious in the spiritual battles of life is the location of the PPOG. You must be in the PPOG for victory in spiritual warfare. In the PPOG, divine omnipotence is delegated under three categories:

1) The omnipotence of God the Father is reflected in the unique assets of every Church-age believer. And there are many which we have noted in the past.
2) The omnipotence of God the Son is reflected in the original divine plan. And just as God the Father had a predesigned plan for His Son so does God the Father have a predesigned plan for you.
3) The omnipotence of God the Holy Spirit is delegated to every believer to live in the PPOG in this Church-age.

 

 

So, the power of God is only delegated or made available inside the PPOG. And outside of the divine plan or the PPOG, we are either operating under the power of Satan, under the human power of someone else, or under our own human abilities. So in the Christian way of life the principle of the objective is the fulfillment of the PPOG through the attainment of spiritual growth inside the PPOG. That is the ground which we must stand upon and the place of delegated divine power. And just like in war, it is very difficult at times to accomplish certain localities and places, it is also difficult for the believer to stay in the PPOG at certain times.

 

Solomon says in ECC 10:5-7, There is an evil I have seen under the sun, like an error which goes forth from the ruler--folly is set in many exalted places while rich men sit in humble places. I have seen slaves {riding} on horses and princes walking like slaves on the land.

 

This is a picture of someone in authority who is incompetent who places others in authority who are equally incompetent. And the incompetence of those in authority lord it over those who ought to be really in charge. Here’s the point that Solomon is making, and it’s unfortunate as we stay with our context, fools are not limited to places of low esteem. Sometimes they become mayors and governors and congressman and senators and presidents! Sometimes they even become pastors! Solomon says this is life, get use to it!

 

In ECC 10:8 Solomon says, He who digs a pit may fall into it, and a serpent may bite him who breaks through a wall.Most commentators say that this is the most difficult section to understand in the book of Ecclesiastes! I don't believe that it is and I've worked very hard to try to come up with some principles that will correlate with our passage as well as be applicable to our lives! These are called proverbs or we would call ancient sayings! The first of these maxims is found in the first half of verse 8, He who digs a pit may fall into it, This proverb or maxim has to do with someone setting traps for others and becoming a victim to their own deceitful schemes! Then Solomon says and a serpent may bite him who breaks through a wall. ­In the ancient world snakes lived in the crannies or the cracks of old walls and so you would have to very careful if you broke through a wall! And staying with the context, if a person set about to dethrone a fool who is in a position of authority, it’s like pulling down a wall and getting bit by a serpent as you try to destroy the one in authority! We have no right to attack authority even if authority is wrong!

 

Then we have a third maxim or proverb in verse 9, He who quarries stones may be hurt by them, In pulling out the stones of an old wall, you might let one of them fall on your foot. Solomon is saying that the person with wisdom understands the quarrying of stones! On the other hand, fools dig up things about others for the purpose of hurting them and meanwhile they are the ones who inevitably get hurt!

 

The fourth maxim or proverb] and he who splits logs may be endangered by them. In spitting the logs, you might cut yourself! This verse teaches that the removal of stones from a building may fall upon our head as well as the splitting of wood may be a work of personal danger.

 

Now, here is the main verse which commentators and scholars say is the most difficult in the book!

 

ECC 10:10, If the axe is dull and he does not sharpen {its} edge, then he must exert more strength. Wisdom has the advantage of giving success.

 

The phrase "if the axe is dull" refers to the tools that someone uses who must exert more strength because his tools are dull. Wisdom teaches the individual to keep his tools sharp! It is no good to work with tools that are dull!

The principle is the fact that with a little labor you can sharpen your spiritual tools so that you do not have to exert so much human strength in solving your problems! In the spiritual application, the fool on the throne is the god of this world, Satan, who has a throne on this earth according to REV 2:13, which at the time was situated in modern Turkey. Your strength is nothing compared to the assets of the tyrant.

 

This is why we are told in EPH 6:11, Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. Don’t try to resist the devil unless you put on the armor of God! So, if your spiritual tools are dull, you will have to exert a lot of human strength and you will not be strong enough to resist the enemy!

 

If the axe is dull and he does not sharpen {its} edge, then he must exert more strength.

 

And when it says Wisdom has the advantage of giving success it means that wisdom or doctrine will give an individual the tools to handle the attacks of the tyrant on the throne! The point is that whatever the goal of the individual is, he cannot work effectively with dull and unsharpened tools. We may put a lot of effort into something but without the right tools it's like a dull axe fighting with knotty wood. For the believer, the dull tool may be his prayer life! The dull tool may be his understanding of doctrine! The dull tool may be his lack of the filling of the Spirit! Most believers have been ignoring the spiritual exercise needed for the sharpness of their spiritual tools of prayer, perception, metabolization and application of Bible doctrine, and the filling of the Spirit!

 

Here’s another principle concerning wisdom, wisdom thinks ahead before the fact. The illustration that Solomon uses is a serpent biting before being charmed! If the serpent bites before being charmed, there’s no profit for the charmer. That’s not too difficult to figure out, in the Eastern world there were those snake charmers. You can imagine a snake charmer getting ready to play his flute for the snake and while he is talking to this would be customer, whose about to shell out a few shekels to watch it happen, the snake crawls out of the basket and bites him on the leg.

 

It’s very doubtful that he’s going to pay his money to watch the charmer bring the snake back out of the basket once he’s been bitten by the snake! That’s another of saying...think ahead, the damage is already done and charming won’t work! Or wisdom says Don’t think about seeking counsel after you’re in the ditch, seek counsel before you fall! There’s a way to defuse a snake! Snakes need not bite us. We may need the wisdom of a friend or an associate to help us to know how to handle the would-be venom of the snake! The Bible teaches that we all must deal with serpents, not literal serpents but figurative serpents referring to people in our lives who are just as devious as serpents.

 

David even warned us about this in Psa 58.

PSA 58:3-6, The wicked are estranged [or go astray] from the womb; These who speak lies go astray from birth. They have venom like the venom of a serpent; Like a deaf cobra that stops up its ear, So that it does not hear the voice of charmers, {Or} a skillful caster of spells. O God, shatter their teeth in their mouth; Break out the fangs of the young lions, O Lord.

 

Solomon says if the serpent bites be­cause it is not charmed, there is no advantage to the charmer! In this passage, the foolish ruler can be represented by the serpent and the wise charmer is to extract the venom of his foolishness and anger. So, the serpent stands for fools who are wicked rulers because the wicked spiritual rulers are also called serpents by our Lord in MAT 23:33.

 

In MAT 23:33, our Lord said to the religious leaders of His day, You serpents, you generation of vipers, how shall you escape the sentence of hell? What a perfect description of false religious teachers and those under the influence of their false religious teaching! What does wisdom teach as an advantage for rendering ineffective the serpent's sting? Apparently it is prayer to ­God for His protection against the dangerous venom of the vindictive beast. In fact, the very word translated charmed (lachash) is used for  prayer in ISA 26:16, O Lord, they sought Thee in distress; They could only whisper a prayer[lachash].

 

This is not only prayer in a general way that we are to use but  prayer as a safeguard against the wicked devices of evil people while they are trying to sting us.

 

ECC 10:11, If the serpent bites before being charmed, there is no profit for the charmer.

 

The serpent biting represents the babbler saying things that they shouldn't say! He is all tongue. This is why the tongue is described as a restless evil, full deadly poison in JAM 3:8, But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison.

 

One of the signs of apostasy in a nation is the presence and the acceptance of the sins of the tongue, like gossip, maligning, judging, the breaking of confidences etc! In fact, in Micah chapter seven the prophet tells us why!

 

MIC 7:2-6, The godly person [the spiritual person] has perished from the land, And there is no upright person among men. All of them lie in wait for bloodshed [they kill each other even with their tongue]; Each of them hunts the other with a net. Concerning evil, both hands do it well. The prince asks, also the judge, for a bribe, And a great man [those in positions of leadership and authority] speaks the desire of his soul; So they weave it together. The best of them is like a briar, The most upright like a thorn hedge. The day when you post a watchman, Your punishment will come. Then their confusion will occur. Do not trust in a neighbor; Do not have confidence in a friend. From her who lies in your bosom Guard your lips. For son treats father contemptuously, Daughter rises up against her mother, Daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; A man's enemies are the men of his own household.

 

That’s a very sad state to be in but that’s what the serpent biting is all about! Its influence is so painful that it is hardly safe to trust in a friend or to put confidence in someone who is close to you! And this passage says that sometimes it’s wise to even guard your lips from the one you embrace in verse 5. To entrust a secret with someone and then to have them violate that trust by repeating it to someone else is like being bitten by a serpent. We are told in the Bible that itching ears are bad! And if itching ears are bad (2TI 4:3), itching lips are worse and even more hurtful to the individual that is being slandered. We should all learn to prize the friend who can keep a secret as a precious jewel.

You walk in integrity, you will not stumble! You decide that you are going to live honestly and that you will conduct honest business, you will not stumble into dishonesty. He will shield you! He will protect you! And your business might even become limited! There are some folks who won’t do business with you because you’re like that, and that’s fine, they lose! You win! You gain because you're living in the realm of honesty and they’re not!

 

PRO 2:7-10, He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; {He is} a shield to those who walk in integrity, Guarding the paths of justice, And He preserves the way of His godly ones. Then you will discern righteousness and justice And equity {and} every good course. For wisdom will enter your heart, And knowledge will be pleasant to your soul;

 

This is what happens when you move toward the pursuit of diligence, God honors that kind of determination.

Some people have the idea that all they have to do is ask God and He will give them wisdom! But it’s more than just asking! Wisdom is something that you have to work for! Digging for silver is hard work! You have to find wisdom. PRO 3:13, How blessed is the man who finds wisdom, And the man who gains understanding. Then once you find it, you’ve got to keep it, look at PRO 3:21, My son, let them not depart from your sight; Keep sound wisdom and discretion. Wisdom is something you must acquire and then once you do, you must not forsake it!

 

PRO 4:5-9, Acquire wisdom! Acquire understanding! Do not forget, nor turn away from the words of my mouth. Do not forsake her, and she will guard you; Love her, and she will watch over you. The beginning of wisdom {is:} Acquire wisdom; And with all your acquiring, get understanding. Prize her, and she will exalt you; She will honor you if you embrace her. She will place on your head a garland of grace; She will present you with a crown of beauty.

 

You need to buy it as PRO 23:23 says, Buy truth, and do not sell it, Get wisdom and instruction and understanding.

 

PRO 24:14, Know {that} wisdom is thus for your soul; If you find {it,} then there will be a future, And your hope will not be cut off.

 

Searching for wisdom is like digging for silver and digging for silver is hard work! Messing around trying to find hidden treasure is labor!

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