Grace Bible Church
Robert R. McLaughlin
Tree of Life
Three Persons are involved in John 15: Vinedresser is God the Father, the vine is our Lord Jesus Christ, and believers are the branches.
PSA 51:5, Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me.
This refers to the fact that we were all conceived “in sin” and then we were all brought forth “in sin. This is also another reason why David says PSA 58:3, The wicked are estranged from the womb; These who speak lies go astray from birth. The point is that all of us were conceived “in sin” and “brought forth” from the womb.
So, we were all conceived in sin, we were born in sin. And we were brought forth in sin or in the sin nature. Notice, we use to walk according to the course of this cosmic system. And we also lived according to the demonic viewpoint that is now controlling the sons and daughters of disobedience.
Our first problem is the fact that we were all born physically alive but spiritually dead and we need to be saved from eternal damnation, and therefore the LORD provided salvation for all; EPH 2:8-9. These gifts are mentioned in EPH 2:8, the three spiritual gifts are grace, salvation, and faith.
Our second problem is the fact that we all need to metabolize the Word of God so that after salvation, we are given a plan to walk in as we fulfill the Pre-designed Plan of God (PPOG); EPH 2:10.
Problem #1 is solved because the need that we have for salvation is solved by three unique spiritual actions by God the Father, GOD the Son, and GOD the Holy Spirit.
JOH 15:19, “If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.
Now, this is when the principle of doctrine that we call Theantric Action is accomplished by means of the work of GOD the Holy Spirit which leads us to Theandric Action.
Theandric action refers to the Divine union of God or Deity dwelling inside of humanity, with emphasis upon the divine nature. We are told that the divine nature and the human nature can co-exist between deity and humanity; ROM 1:20, For since the creation of the world HIS invisible attributes.
HIS eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. Both deity and humanity can be intimate with each other if a believer desires so; 2PE 1:2, Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord;
Now, that describes Theantric Action with emphasis on the deity of our LORD working both the divine and the human natures actions by one Theandric (Godly) operation - that is God, in man.
Theandric Action which emphasizes our humanity at work with the Trinity inside of the believer manifesting all 3 members of the Trinity work together to conform believers into the image of GOD’s uniquely born Son; ROM 8:29. One way or another there is an action that must take place between God and man or between true humanity and deity.
- Theantric Action = Action from God with emphasis on the deity of our LORD.
- Theandric Action = Action from man with emphasis on the humanity of our Lord working together with man.
This is why the apostle Paul knew the principle of Theantric Action and revealed it to his disciples; PHI 1:6, For I am confident of this very thing, that He [God the Father] who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.
In PHI 2:13, concerning the work of God the Holy Spirit with Theantric Action as a motivator; Paul says in PHI 2:13, for it is God [Holy Spirit] who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.
Theantric action is one of the ultimate manifestations of the glory of God revealed in the souls of man. Also, remember our Main Goal once again = the challenge to produce divine good and not human good or legitimate Christian service which is acceptable to GOD as it is found in the vine and the branch metaphor of JOH 15:1-8. One of the main principles that our LORD is emphasizing is the importance of relationships and intimacy. One of the things that promotes relationships with intimacy is to know that Christ indwells us and that because He does we should treat one another as we treat others; MAT 25:40, “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.'
As far as the indwelling of Christ is concerned, we have passages like COL 1:27, to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. A metaphor is a figure of speech in which one thing is likened to another for the sake of understanding what is said in a simplistic way. Here we have the vine and the branches used as a metaphor to represent the unity between the LORD Jesus Christ and the Church-age believer. The vinedresser metaphor refers to GOD the Father as the author of the emphasis on the PPOG. The vine metaphor refers to the humanity of Jesus during the dispensation of the Hypostatic Union. This metaphor will focus in on the servant-hood of our LORD.
Now, as a branch, the branch metaphor is the basis for the production of divine good or fruit-bearing. The vine metaphor also emphasizes the fact that all precedence and all production of divine good in the Church-age comes from the vine - our Lord Jesus. There are two categories of branches found in this passage: “dead branches” representing dead works on the part of the believer or the production skills minus Spiritual skills. When we see this phrase, production skills minus spiritual skills, it means that we know what we should be doing as far as our production skills are concerned, but the average believer lacks the spiritual skills needed to fulfill the production skills.
Here is where we begin to lay down our foundation before we go on in our passage of JOH 15. I need to make sure that all of us understand three basic principles that we need to learn, to metabolize, or to apply. There are three principles of doctrine that I need to make sure that all of us understand as the basic principles of doctrine that we need to learn, to metabolize, or to apply.
- Two Power Options.
2. Three Spiritual Skills.
3. Four Spiritual Mechanics.
The Two Power Options are being filled with the Spirit and the power of the word of GOD; EPH 5:18; HEB 4:12. The filling of the Holy Spirit is the first power option and the first spiritual skill in the spiritual life. And, without the filling of the Spirit we do not have the power to live the Christian way of life.
2CO 3:17-18, Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.
The filling of the Spirit converts human I.Q. into spiritual I.Q., so that we have equality to learn spiritual phenomena.
1CO 2:9-16, but just as it is written, “Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, And which have not entered the heart of man, All that God has prepared for those who love Him.” For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. 1CO 2:11 For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man, which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things freely given to us by God, :13 which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words. But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no man. For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he should instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ.
The third spiritual skill is the problem-solving devices deployed on the FLOT line of the soul also known as the Forward line of troops which is a military acronym. There are also the Four Spiritual Mechanics. This refers to the filling of the Holy Spirit (PSD#1 & 2), metabolized Bible doctrine (MD) circulating in the soul (10 PSD), the execution of the PPOG.
Again, in JOH 15:2, “Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it, that it may bear more fruit.”
So, the “dead branches” represent dead works on the part of the believer or the production skills minus spiritual skills which means that we produce human good with human power. On the other hand, the branches that are called “live branches” represent the ability of the believer who knows that divine good only results from living by using the spiritual skills.
The spiritual skills refer to what the branch “in Me” that does not bear fruit refers to the believer who does not produce divine good. So, what we really have here are two categories of branches referred to as “dead” branches” or “alive branches” or better yet, loser believers and winner believers. And the sad thing is that I know Pastor’s and students of doctrine who teach and are being taught that there is no such thing as winner or loser believers are that believers do not even need to rebound and recover.
The Shame of the Loser Believer in Time is taught to us in the following passages;
Drifting off course from grace, GAL 5:4.
Coming short of the grace of God, HEB 12:15.
Lukewarm, REV 3:15-16.
Shipwrecked, 1TI 1:19.
Psycho or double-minded, JAM 1:8.
Those who fail to metabolize doctrine, JAM 1:22-24.
Enemies of the Cross, PHI 3:18-19.
Hysteria – fear, worry, anxiety, panic, confusion, irrationality, and garbage in the soul result from being a loser.
DEU 31:6-8, “Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the Lord your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.” Then Moses called to Joshua and said to him in the sight of all Israel, “Be strong and courageous, for you shall go with this people into the land which the Lord has sworn to their fathers to give them, and you shall give it to them as an inheritance. And the Lord is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”
ISA 41:10-14, “Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. Behold, all those who are angered at you will be shamed and dishonored; Those who contend with you will be as nothing and will perish. You will seek those who quarrel with you, but will not find them, those who war with you will be as nothing, and non‑existent. For I am the Lord your God, who upholds your right hand, Who says to you, 'Do not fear, I will help you. Do not fear, you worm Jacob, you men of Israel; I will help you,” declares the Lord,” and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel.”
Fear is a road block preventing metabolization of doctrine from circulating in the soul and eventually choking it out through scar tissue of the soul. 2TI 1:7, “God has not given to us a lifestyle of fear, but of power and of virtue-love and of sound mind.” Hatred – anger, hatred, bitter jealousy, loathing, animosity, vulnerability to imagined insults or injury, implacability, malice, tantrums, irrational violence, and even murder. Self-centered category- self-justification, self-deception, self-absorption. Reaction category – jealousy, bitterness, vindictiveness, hatred, vilification, malice, revenge motivation and operation, inordinate ambition and inordinate competition.
Now, back to Joh 15. And dead works is not fruit-bearing and is punishable or subject to divine discipline. Therefore, in verse 2, GOD the Father removes and takes away all dead wood, dead branches, branches which produce dead works. GOD the Father takes away or removes the dead works through disciplinary suffering in two categories:
- The law of volitional responsibility which produces a tremendous amount of self-induced misery;
2. Divine Discipline.
MAT 7:17-19 has a true analogy, “Every healthy tree produces good fruit. And every diseased tree produces worthless [degenerate, or evil] fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a rotten tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”
So, God the Father takes away or removes the dead works through disciplinary suffering in two categories:
- The law of volitional responsibility which produces a tremendous amount of self-induced misery and divine discipline.
- Secondly, we also have the principle of pruning which is necessary to redistribute where the energy for divine production should go.
The branch that does bear fruit has to be pruned occasionally so that the spiritual skills will increase and maximize. However, this is suffering for blessing. Just as God provides divine discipline and punitive action for the non-fruit bearer, so God provides suffering for blessing for the fruit-bearer. In verses 3-4 of JOH 15, we are the cleansing of the branches for production. Verse three is salvation cleansing of the branches.
Joh 15:3, “you are already clean [saved] because of the word or the doctrine], referring to the gospel, which I have spoken to you.”
This means that nothing in your life, including what you thought, what you said and what you do, can ever hinder your spiritual life = including your past. There are two passages that the prophet Isaiah used to set believers free from their past.
ISA 43:25, “I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake; And I will not remember your sins.”
ISA 44:22, “I have wiped out your transgressions like a thick cloud, And your sins like a heavy mist. Return to Me, for I have redeemed you.”
This means that nothing that ever happened to you before salvation should be a hindrance to your worship of the Lord and the production of divine good.
Back now to JOH 15:4, where verse four refers to post-salvation cleansing of the branches, which is in 1JO 1:9. Post-salvation refers to the cleansing of the branches from personal sins which took place after your salvation and that is which is found in 1JO 1:9 for us as it was found in PSA 32 for the Old Testament believers.
PSA 32:1-7, (A Psalm of David. A Maskil.) How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven; whose sin is covered! How blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit! When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away Through my groaning all day long. For day and night Thy hand was heavy upon me; My vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer. Selah. I acknowledged my sin to Thee, and my iniquity I did not hide; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord”; And Thou didst forgive the guilt of my sin. Selah. Therefore, let everyone who is godly pray to Thee in a time when Thou mayest be found; Surely in a flood of great waters they shall not reach him. Thou art my hiding place; Thou dost preserve me from trouble; Thou dost surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah.
Also look at PSA 38:1-20, (A Psalm of David, for a memorial.) “O Lord rebuke me not in Thy wrath; And chasten me not in Thy burning anger. For Thine arrows have sunk deep into me, And Thy hand has pressed down on me. There is no soundness in my flesh because of Thine indignation; There is no health in my bones because of my sin. For my iniquities are gone over my head; As a heavy burden they weigh too much for me. My wounds grow foul and fester. Because of my folly, I am bent over and greatly bowed down; I go mourning all day long. For my loins are filled with burning; And there is no soundness in my flesh. I am benumbed and badly crushed; I groan because of the agitation of my heart. Lord, all my desire is before Thee; And my sighing is not hidden from Thee. My heart throbs, my strength fails me; And the light of my eyes, even that has gone from me. My loved ones and my friends stand aloof from my plague; And my kinsmen stand afar off. Those who seek my life lay snares for me; And those who seek to injure me have threatened destruction, and they devise treachery all day long. But I, like a deaf man, do not hear; And I am like a dumb man who does not open his mouth. Yes, I am like a man who does not hear, and in whose mouth are no arguments. For I hope in Thee, O Lord; Thou wilt answer, O Lord my God. For I said, ‘May they not rejoice over me, Who, when my foot slips, would magnify themselves against me. For I am ready to fall, and my sorrow is continually before me. For I confess my iniquity; I am full of anxiety because of my sin. But my enemies are vigorous and strong; And many are those who hate me wrongfully. And those who repay evil for good, they oppose me, because I follow what is good.’”