GRACE BIBLE CHURCH
Robert R. McLaughlin Bible Ministries
The Tree of Life is a weekly teaching summary.
From the week ending 12/05/04
The Zoe Life
The Peace that Surpasses All Comprehension
Philippians 4:7-12, John 14:6
Philippians 4:11-12 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.
The verbs in this passage translated “have learned” (manthano) and “know” (oida) introduce our first subject-the importance of doctrine. The question is often asked, “Is doctrine a scriptural word?” The answer is Yes, very much so. The Greek noun pistis has several translations, including “doctrine,” “truth,” and “word.” The most important question of all is the one that Pontius Pilate asked in JOH 18:38, “What is truth?”
In John 14:6“>JOH 14:6, the Lord Jesus Christ said, “I am the way [entrance], and the truth [doctrine], and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.” The “way” refers to the entrance into the plan of God; the noun hodos is used for entrance into a systematic course of planning and action. The “truth” refers to what we learn after we enter the plan of God, and the “life” is the function of truth and doctrine. Everyone enters into the plan of God at exactly the same place, which means everyone has the same opportunity to glorify God. Everyone is born equal in salvation.
Many believers have some truth but not the accurate truth of the mystery doctrine of the Church-age, ACT 18:24-26,“Now a certain Jew named Apollos, an Alexandrian by birth, an eloquent man, came to Ephesus; and he was mighty in the Scriptures. This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he was speaking and teaching accurately the things concerning Jesus, being acquainted only with the baptism of John; and he began to speak out boldly in the synagogue. But when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately.”
Hodos, the way, is used for entrance into the plan of God, a plan in which everything is provided and characterized by one word-grace. Everything depends upon who and what God is. The second principle the Lord mentions is what follows your entrance into the plan of God, and that is the truth, the Greek word aletheia. Aletheia refers doctrine taught categorically. The object of salvation and its ultimate end is to bring us to a knowledge of the truth, 1TI 2:3-4. Our thinking must be based only on truth; too often we think in terms of feeling or experience, JOH 1:17, JOH 18:33-37. The Lord came into the world to bring us to a knowledge of the truth that He alone saves us, and saves us forever.
The whole purpose of truth is not to give us certain experiences and feelings, but to bring us to the knowledge of who God is! Experiences come and go, but if we do not have truth, experiences and feelings are false and misguiding. Experiences can be real, but can come from the kingdom of darkness. To know God and come to the knowledge of the truth is the key to the fantastic life that is waiting for us in God’s plan.
1. In the Old Testament, the usual Hebrew word for “truth” is emeth, which means stability, certainty, trust, and that which is faithful, stable, and secure. The most commonly used Greek word for “truth” is aletheia, which means integrity of character, and that which is faithful and certain.
2. Truth has a price upon it, PRO 23:23, “Buy truth, and do not sell it, get wisdom and instruction and understanding.” The price of truth is humility, commitment, dedication, and consistency.
7. Truth protects us and keeps us from deception, not simply Jesus Himself, but truth, which is the mind of Christ,1CO 2:16, PHI 2:5, JOH 14:26. Truth preserves and protects us, PSA 61:7, and the Apostle Paul warns us that in the last days “truth” will be rejected and deception accepted, 2TH 2:7-12; 2TI 3:5-8; 2TI 4:1-4.
8. Truth is that which God desires in our life, PSA 51:6. Truth is what will judge the believer at the Judgment Seat of Christ, 1CO 4:5, and the unbeliever at the Great White Throne Judgment, JOH 12:48.
9. In His love, God always reveals grace and mercy with His truth, 2PE 3:18, PSA 85:10-11. None of us could ever face truth if it were not accompanied by grace. God’s righteousness is completely satisfied when He sees His truth in operation in man. Lovingkindness and truth always go together, PSA 40:10-11, JOH 1:14.
12. Truth always prevails over the kingdom of darkness, Joh 8:42-45. Those who continually live in sin or are passive, lazy, and slothful despise the truth.
The most important thing after you enter the plan of God is Bible doctrine. God’s Word is to be glorified. This truth leads to a lifestyle, John 14:6“>JOH 14:6, “I am the way [entrance], and the truth [doctrine], and the life.” The word “life” is the Greek noun zoe.
The Zoe Life
“Zoe” means the function of life, and the zoe life is a life filled with inner happiness and contentment, Philippians 4:11-12“>PHI 4:11-12, “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.”
The “truth” of John 14:6“>JOH 14:6 leads to the Christian lifestyle, and the objective of doctrine is to take the believer to the supergrace life. The zoe life is God’s fantastic grace provision, which is far beyond your desires and even your most fervent prayers. You have never prayed for anything that even comes close to the zoe life, the life that God has devised for you. Zoe is God’s fantastic grace provisions, which are far beyond anything for which you have ever asked God or others, EPH 3:20, “Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us.”
The Lord Jesus Christ said in JOH 10:10, “The thief comes only to steal, and kill, and destroy; I came that they might have [zoe] life, and might have it abundantly.” No matter how wild and seemingly impossible your dreams may be, God has provided something far greater than any imagination or dream you have ever had. The zoe life is the direct result of fulfilling the “life beyond gnosis (knowledge)”; it is one thing to know something, it is another to experience it. The life beyond gnosis of EPH 3:19 is the means of entering the zoe life of EPH 3:20. We read in EPH 3:14-21, “For this reason, I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man; so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge [knowledge], that you may be filled up to all the fulness of God. Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.”
The life beyond gnosis is the means of executing the predesigned plan of God, and the zoe life is the result of executing the predesigned plan of God. In the zoe life, God does infinitely more than all we ask, whether the asking is toward God in prayer, or toward man by request. He does infinitely more than all we think or imagine, which is our personal desires, our expectations, and our thoughts associated with symbols of happiness. Dreams can represent what we want to be, what we want to have, with whom we desire to associate, to what we want to be promoted, where we desire approval, and whom we desire to marry. Dreams carry us to the farthest extent of our imagination. For the Church-age believer, there is a zoe life that goes beyond anything for which we can ask. For every member of the body of Christ, there is a life beyond our dreams.
This is the life of COL 3:3, “For you have died, and your [zoe] life has been hidden together with the Christ by means of the God.” This is the greatest life that has ever existed, and it is what God expects every believer to have. For this goal, God has made complete and total provision in the four spiritual skills-the filling of the Holy Spirit, metabolized doctrine circulating in the soul, the ten problem-solving devices, and the execution of the predesigned plan of God.
Dreams are often merely an escape from reality, but there is a reality of indescribable blessing in the zoe life. We do not even have the imagination to dream or the power to ask for the things which God has prepared for us in the zoe life, 1CO 2:9, “However, as it stands written, no eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him.” The ways of God are way beyond our understanding, ISA 55:8-9. It is only in the zoe life that we begin to comprehend God’s ways, and our worship and gratitude toward Him take on an entirely new meaning.
In the life beyond gnosis, the Church glorifies God through the attainment of spiritual maturity. In the zoe life, the Church glorifies God through receiving escrow blessings for time and eternity. A dangerous trap for all of us is to get discouraged in difficult times. We are given a peace and contentment that goes beyond understanding, 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”; PHI 4:7, “In fact, that spiritual peace and prosperity from the source of the God, which surpasses or rises above and beyond all comprehension, shall garrison your hearts, also your motivation and minds in Christ Jesus.” We do not always understand the will of God, but to trust His sovereignty completely leads us into the zoe life with its inner peace. As we stay dedicated and devoted to the Way, the Truth, and the Life, our outward problems caused by persecution, injustice, and even what we think is the unfairness of God, are no longer perceived as something negative that we should react to. The issue is, “His life or yours?”
“Zoe” is a life of contentment and inner peace as well as fantastic inner happiness, PHI 4:4, “Keep on having perfect happiness by means of the Lord at all times.” It will free us from worry and give us inner peace, PHI 4:6-7. It will create in us a fantastic positive attitude toward life, PHI 4:8, “From now on, members of the Royal Family of God, whatever is true [doctrinal], whatever is honorable [noble or worthy of respect], whatever is just [fair or right], whatever is pure [of proper motivation], whatever personal loves exist, whatever is commendable, if there is any virtue [and there is], and if anything worthy of praise [and there is], be concentrating on these things.”
1. This life is only found in Christ and gives us guidance and direction in this life, JOH 1:4, “In Him was life, and the [zoe] life was the light of men.” Light gives us guidance, direction, and clarity. There is no confusion or boredom in the zoe life.
2. This life is made available to anyone who believes in the Lord Jesus Christ, JOH 3:15, “That whoever believes may in Him have eternal [zoe] life.” This is life more abundant.
3. This life fulfills the desires found in every one of us, Joh 4:14, “But whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life”; Psa 37:4, “Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart.”
4. This life is made available to us in time, not beginning in eternity, JOH 5:24, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life [the zoe life from God], and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.”
5. This life is given to us through the intake of doctrine, Joh 6:27, “Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life [zoe life], which the Son of man shall give to you, for on him the Father, even God, has set his seal”;
JOH 6:63, “It is the Spirit who gives [zoe] life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.”
6. This life is given in measure depending upon the believer’s desire for it, JOH 10:10, “The thief comes only to steal, and kill, and destroy; I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly.”
7. This life can never be taken away, JOH 10:28-30, “And I give eternal life to them, and they shall never perish; and no one shall snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”
8. This life is described in JOH 17:3 as knowing God and His Son: “And this is eternal life, that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent.”
9. It is through the written communication of Bible doctrine that this life is offered to every member of the human race, JOH 20:31, “But these have been written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the son of God; and that believing you may have [zoe] life in His name.”
This life will allow us to be totally content in any and every circumstance of life, PHI 4:11-13. It will give us phenomenal confidence that no matter what the odds, God will supply all our needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus, PHI 4:19. “Zoe life” refers to an extraordinary peace that God desires for us to experience in this life, to be delivered from the bondage of the world and the stronghold of the cosmic system. There is a place we can reach in our soul where we enjoy this indescribable life. To leave God’s will, after coming to this zoe life, would be the most miserable experience possible. The believer knows deep down inside that he will never derive any pleasure from exterior sources of the cosmic system. Everything else is meaningless and empty in comparison to a relationship with God and the experience of this zoe life.
This zoe life is a state in which the Christian who is resting in God does not need to be rescued from external problems and difficulties in order to remain happy and content. When you are faced with difficulties, remember this zoe life, a life filled with inner happiness and contentment, where we leave behind the old self-life for the new life in Christ. This is a life that is full of the fruit that God produces in our life, GAL 5:22-23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control; against such things there is no law.”
To live in Him who is our life is to live by the power of God, and includes these blessings that money cannot buy. This zoe life means that we are free from worry, anxiety, and frustration, and we have learned to remain confident. This zoe life, a life of complete inner happiness and contentment, is a state of mind in which there is total peace that cannot be taken away.
For a more detailed study, order tapes 0190-1248 to 0190-1251.