June 7, 2000 • Pastor Robert R. McLaughlin

FROM: Waiting on the Timing of God to Fulfill Your Personal Sense of Destiny TO: Doctrine of Enemyship


February 1, 2002 • Pastor Robert R. McLaughlin

FROM: The Omnipotence and Authority of the Lord Jesus Christ TO: The Israeli-Arab Conflict


February 1, 2003 • Pastor Robert R. McLaughlin



February 1, 2004 • Pastor Robert R. McLaughlin



June 7, 2005 • Pastor Robert R. McLaughlin



June 7, 2006 • Pastor Robert R. McLaughlin



June 7, 2007 • Pastor Robert R. McLaughlin



June 7, 2008 • Pastor Robert R. McLaughlin



June 7, 2009 • Pastor Robert R. McLaughlin



June 7, 2010 • Pastor Robert R. McLaughlin



June 7, 2011 • Pastor Robert R. McLaughlin



August 29, 2021 • Pastor Robert R. McLaughlin, Colin Crawford, Deacon Jason Kauranen

Grace Bible Church Pastor Robert R. McLaughlin Tree Of Life Weeks 8-20 – 8-29 2021 “Understanding The Substitutionary Spiritual Death Of Christ” In this synopsis we will examine the following: - Difference between real and substitutionary spiritual death - Condemnation must precede salvation - Look at the BIG picture - 3 systems or means of perception - Believe, then see – faith is the means of spiritual perception - Faith is the only non-meritorious system - Mechanics of the SSD (Point 4: the HOW) - God’s attributes are inviolable and harmonious - Free will and judicial imputation - Christ gave His life willingly - We all fail but the righteous man gets up! Before we begin our study: Let us prepare ourselves to make the most of the most important thing we do as believers – perceiving, metabolizing, and applying the word of God. We know that unless we are filled with the Holy spirit we can not metabolize, or assimilate into our soul, God’s word, and that whenever we sin we lose the filling of the Spirit by grieving (Eph 4:30) or quenching (1Ths 5:19) and we must recover by naming and citing our known sins to God, at which time He is faithful and righteous to forgive them and cleanse us of unknown or forgotten sins (1Jo 1:9). In this way we ensure we are filled with the Spirit and prepared to have Him teach our spirit (Joh 4:24, 14:26). Now with that taken care of, we are ready to resume our study of the Doctrine of Substitutionary Spiritual Death (SSD) of our Lord who was our substitute and took judgment for our sins upon Himself in His very body. Previously we covered the first two points: Point 1: categories of spiritual death – substitutionary and real. Point 2: definition of substitutionary spiritual death; word study of Greek ‘huper’ We will continue to examine huper today as we look at our 3rd point: Point 3: The Difference between real and substitutionary spiritual death. The simplified difference is that Real Spiritual Death, or RSD going forward, and Substitutionary Spiritual Death, or SSD, is that RSD refers to the spiritual death of one who has sin and is therefore condemned based on their own condition, whereas SSD is the spiritual death of one who is innocent and not condemned on behalf of another (huper). ONLY THE LORD JESUS CHRIST WILL EVER EXPERIENCE THE SSD! He is the unique person of the universe, Adonai echad – One – Unique! Uniquely begotten of the Father – monogenes – one gene – unique nature, no other like it. He is the only Person who could be our substitute, hence Joh 14:6 “I am the way and the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me” Even though we had never yet committed a sin at the moment of birth, we are born in sin because we carry the genetically formed sin nature in every cell. We are born in a condition of sin. Jesus Christ was born of a virgin so that He would not receive the sin nature which is passed on through the male chromosome, owing to the fact that the man (Adam) sinned willfully and knowingly, while the woman (Eve) was deceived. Our Lord Jesus is also the ONLY human being who was or will ever be born without one, and that includes the virgin Mary! Certain religions deify Mary but this is blasphemy! She is not the mother of God, she is the mother of the humanity of Christ, the deity of Christ has no mother: Joh 1:1-5 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. Joh 1:14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. If Mary was without sin, then she could have been our substitute! There is only one Lamb without spot or blemish. Let us be crystal clear on this point! Now, because we all inherit Adam’s sin nature through our genes, we are in sin, as in a state of sin, that is our condition. We are born condemned. So we experience RSD, because sin is in us, and condemnation by it. It seems unfair to the human mind and according to human standards of justice, but human viewpoint only looks at part of the picture – the temporal part. We only see a small part of even that! But the entire universe is nothing more than a terrarium for created beings – a temporal and finite reality. But God is infinite and eternal, and the temporal and finite reality is subordinate to the eternal, and the visible to the invisible. If we want to try to understand God’s plan, we need to understand God and His essence, and we need to understand the temporal in the context of the eternal, not the other way around! You can’t fit infinity into a jar. You must look at the jar as it fits into infinity. So to simplfy: look at the BIG PICTURE. Condemnation must precede Salvation. Would you say it is better to be born free and end up a slave, or to be born a slave and end up free? I think the answer ought to be pretty unanimous. The person who is born free doesn’t really understand or appreciate freedom the way one does who has been a slave and has been set free. Just look at our perfect free-born ancestors – Adam and Eve! How did they fare? So God allowed the fall to happen because He already had a solution prepared in eternity past. *Please check out Pastor McLaughlin’s studies on John which deals with the Doctrine of the Divine Decrees in great detail – which refers to the order in which these things happen for us experientially in time, and will give you a clearer understanding of the BIG PICTURE than we can give you here. But the point is: If you want to understand God’s plan in this moment, you must understand God’s plan for eternity. So, sin came before salvation, because God had a plan. We can rest in that and relax. God provided a solution to the problem caused by man’s free will and his abuse of it by way of negative volition – he chose to disobey God and to obey his body and his self-interest. Which let’s face it, we all do! Even if we weren’t born condemned, we have chosen to sin over and over and the sin nature only provides temptation, it does not force us to sin. We CHOOSE, with our volition, to listen to it – just like grandaddy Adam did! This is why we are under RSD – REAL spiritual death. Jesus Christ’s SSD on the cross generated potential for salvation. This means that we have an option. But God does not violate or coerce our volition. The big picture is that all creation will see when the movie ends that nobody goes to the lake of fire but by their own negative volition – not just one choice, but many many choices to go against God’s desires for all to be reconciled and defiantly insist on emancipation. The lake of fire represents total independence from God – since every good thing comes from God! Hell is the total absence of grace – which includes comfort, relief, providence, etc. God gives us chance after chance, but if we don’t want it, He gives us hawt we want in the end. He is a gentleman. There are three ways in which human beings perceive reality: 1. faith - “I believe it without seeing based on trust in the source” (antithetical to empiricism) 2. empiricism - “I’ll believe it when I see it; if I can’t see it, it’s not real” (antithetical to faith) 3. rationalism - “I think therefore I am; I trust my mind/thought foremost” (synthesis of the prior) Faith is the first method of perception in life. A baby can not reason or rationalize. Whatever the parents tell them they must believe, because they have no means or basis for confirming or denying what they are told, and no reason to disbelieve. You tell them there is a nation called Japan and Japanese people live there, they believe you. Remember that Jesus tells the disciples that they must become “like little children”? (Mt 18:3) Empiricism and rationalism are the backbone of the world system. Empiricism means sensory input: what we see, hear, taste, touch, smell. Science is based on observation of empirically sensed phenomena and rational attempts to explain them, followed by experiments designed to prove whether the explanation is legit or not. Science relies on both nut excludes faith. The cosmic system essentially says to mankind: “are you going to believe in stories of the invisible and unprovable or what is right in front of you, what you can see and touch and smell and hear? Will you trust in rules imposed by unseen beings or trust in what your body says? We listen to the body! The body and the brain and emotions rule! The world system is based on the material reality. But as believers we rely on faith as a means of perceiving what can not be perceived by empiricism or rationalism, to the bafflement of the godless (1Co 2:14) and according to Heb 1:11 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen The late great Col Thieme Jr used the analogy of algebra, where we solve for the unknown ‘X’ by what is known, as in 2x =10. Since we know that 2 x 5 = 10, then we can identify the unknown by its relationship to the known. I also like the analogy of a black hole: black holes are invisible, because light can not escape their gravity, and we see not the object but the light that bounces off of it, so if no light bounces off, we can’t see it! But we can still perceive and identify the black hole by the effect it has on the visible matter circling around it and the other rays that are produced by the cataclysm in its core. God can be perceived in this way. We all see His hand in our lives and those of others. We see the effects. Jesus says in Joh 3:8 (for the less nerdy believers lol) The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” You can’t see the wind but you can feel it and see the leaves it carries through the air! But what is the point of all this? The point is that of the three means of perception, only one is what we call “non-meritorious”. This word means that we don’t get any credit, we don’t do anything that has any merit on our part or requires any effort. Anyone at any time in any place and any condition, moral, immoral, amoral, old, young, abled, disabled, healthy, sick, strong, weak, etc., can believe. Nobody can believe better than another. You believe (I agree with God) or you don’t believe (I disagree with God). Faith is non-meritorious – God does the work! In the case of empiricism and rationalism, man takes credit. Those depend on sensory perception, so one person who can’t smell is excluded, or someone who has a low IQ is excluded, and the person does the work and takes credit. So those are excluded from God’s plan. So the bible says, before salvation we have faith in the living Word, the Person - THE LORD JESUS CHRIST. After salvation our faith is in this book right here called the “written” word – the Word of God. Without faith we have no system of perception that meets the standards of God. So you see, in substitutionary spiritual death, Christ had to be forsaken by God the Father, (because He was our substitute and God says “I can have no fellowship with sin --- and He couldn’t make an exception because of His justice, because perfect justice means NO EXCEPTIONS and no partiality) but He (God the Son – JESUS CHRIST) also had to remain perfect. Again: sin cannot atone for sin! This is why in the OT the animals which were sacrificed had to be perfect in appearance, because this was symbolic or a type of the Messiah. One who has sin can not take the sins of the world onto themselves and be judged, because they have their own sin! Who will be judged for those? No, only TLJC, the sinless Man, the Lamb without spot or blemish (sin), could do this work. I hope it is clear! Rom 5:12-13 Therefore, just as through one man (Adam) sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned— for until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Rom 5:15 But the free gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many. Rom 5:21 "that, just as the sin nature ruled in the sphere of spiritual death [real spiritual death],\ Why?? – Because where sin abounds – what abounds more? --- Grace abounds much more… Do you see the difference between the SSD of JESUS CHRIST and all the blessing that are attached to that and then we see the RSD of adam and the condemnation that we are no longer in bondage to thanks to the willingness of our Lord and Savior to “lay down His life for His friends” and He said that we were His friends, with a caveat, in Joh 15:15 No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you. And He said right before that Joh 15:13-14 Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends if you do what I command you. We are His friends if we honor Him and we honor Him by honoring His word and His commands, laying down our own lives for our friends – our Royal Family. Right now, if you are studying this, you are following one command – the command to not conform to the world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind (Rom 12:2) so that we can know what is God’s will. You can’t do God’s will if you don’t know what it is! Now, we move on to point 4: Point 4. The Mechanics of the Substitutionary Spiritual Death. What are the Mechanics, or the “how” part of the Substitutionary Spiritual Death of the Lord Jesus Christ? For example, and this is a question that we have been asked and answered in one of our Q&A sessions: Why did it take just three hours for billions of sins to be judged on the humanity of the Lord Jesus Christ? This is a good question to highlight what would fall under the “mechanics” category. The easy and simple answer is: God is omnipotent! But it wouldn’t be much of a study if we copped out and left it at that. What we will examine is God’s divine attributes and how they relate to and how they facilitated the unique – as in one time only for all eternity – SSD of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on the cross at Calvary. So we begin with the fact that the omnipotence of God the Father judicially imputed all the sins in human history to the impeccable (sinless) humanity of Christ. God the Father is acting as judge here, as in a legal court case or a trial. There is a judicial backdrop to the entirety of history since the fall of Satan and the resulting conflict which we call “The Angelic Conflict.” This conflict is the basis or raison d’etre of the existence of mankind and human history. We were created to resolve – once and for all – this prehistoric conflict between God and His elect angels and Satan and his fallen angels. God will bring about a resolution which will show that the entirety of history proves beyond any doubt or debate that God was and is righteous, just, fair, and loving, and that all His judgments are perfectly just and true. Sometimes the best way to show that someone is wrong is to let them do it their way and fail, and then they have the opportunity to learn and move forward willingly and without reservations or resentments. But this judicial context is why the Bible is so full of legal terms like “witness” and “judge” and even “Satan” which derives from ‘ha satan’ which was a term for an accuser or one who brings charges against another, as a prosecuting attorney. We know that Satan “accuses the brethren (believers) day and night (Rv 12:10). So we see that Jesus is offered up as proof eternal of God’s love for us and His desire for all to come to repentance (change of mind/attitude, i.e. God was right and I was wrong, I accept His offer of grace) and be saved, as well as His willingness to sacrifice of Himself in order to provide a way for that to take place. But He also demonstrates His matchless grace in giving us the choice, and this is the answer to the question, “If it’s God’s desire for all to be saved, then why aren’t we all saved?” We see that if God forces everyone to do what He wants, it doesn’t resolve the Angelic Conflict, because the whole point is that Satan and his followers (and all human unbelievers alike) CHOSE with their own independent agency to disobey God and refused to reconcile. Choice and agency are the issue because with agency comes responsibility and accountability. If Satan says he didn’t have a choice and everything was God’s fault as the creator, which human beings are also fond of saying, God says FALSE – I gave you a free and independent will, and thereby made you the author of your own destiny - that makes your choices fully your own responsibility. This incidentally is one of the quintessential irreconcilable differences between Western aka Judeo-Christian or “conservative” thinking and post-modern/leftist/progressive thinking. The latter all deny free will and responsibility and create boogeymen to blame their problems on, just like Satan. But I digress. God doesn’t want automatons who can’t choose, or else He would have made us that way! Freedom is God’s policy, and that is why it must be man’s policy. You can not force love, it must be a choice, or else it is phony and false. God does not desire false shows or false love! You can see now if you look at the world system aka the cosmic system and its humanistic evangelists how they ceaselessly and tirelessly endeavor to deny free will by any means necessary – this is not a coincidence and it does without a doubt have spiritual importance in the Angelic Conflict! It is a denial of God’s veracity and authority and His decrees and His judgment of Satan and mankind, and it is, whether anyone realizes it or not, a contract of alliance with Satan. Since we understand “baptism” correctly as “identification with someone or something”, we can even say that to deny free will and personal responsibility IS a baptism of Satan and the KOD (kingdom of darkness). Satan’s legal defense rests on the “it’s all God’s fault/God are a fraud or liar” rationale (right from Genesis 1 we see this!). But understand, when you disagree with God, you agree with Satan and are knowingly or unknowingly unified with him against God. Serious stuff! God is love – but He is not only love; He is also justice, righteousness, veracity, holiness. These attributes are not ranked and they do not overrule one another but rather work together in perfect harmony. God’s love does not mean he can ignore justice, and God’s justice does not mean he can ignore love – either of those would represent a violation of His own perfect character. We like to focus on power but it is God’s character and integrity which make Him GOD and allow Him to rule perfectly. Power without perfect character and integrity are the devil, and this is why the devil could never rule effectively, and why no human can either, unless He lets God rule Him and acts according to His perfect will. This is important to understand and the vast majority of believers today do not understand these things and much confusion and doubt results from it, especially regarding the SSD and the cross, which is the centerpiece of our entire faith! So, God the Father was acting as a judge, and as a judge He used His power – His omnipotence – and He imputed every single sin in human history to the “impeccable humanity” of Christ. This is part of why we need to learn to look at things from the divine viewpoint rather than the human viewpoint. Our viewpoint is based in the limited, finite, temporal reality, with restrictions and laws and barriers. When we look at the Bible from that perspective, we have to say, “how can these things be?” We don’t believe that they could be possible. But how foolish to judge what God does based on the rules of the universe (the terrarium) that HE MADE, as if He is bound by them? He is not! If you believe that God is real and that He is the creator of all that exists, then you must believe also that He is able to do all things! Remember what we said earlier about faith – we believe without seeing based on what? Based on the belief that God is real and that the Bible is His revelation of Himself and His truth to us. We believe the Bible because we believe God, and so we base our thinking on that point of view instead of our own worldly/fleshly one. That is faith in action. Judicial imputation of sins means Jesus was judged for sins which He did not commit by God the Father acting as a judge in a criminal prosecution. I said before that God’s love doesn’t negate or overrule His justice. So God’s love can’t say to justice, “let’s let this sin slide.” If God ever let even one sin slide, His perfect – meaning absolutely 100% uncompromised – justice would be violated, and He would no longer be perfect God. He would become fallen! This is the one thing God can’t do: He can’t deny Himself, He can’t violate Himself, He cannot fail to be faithful, He can not change, He can not lie – He can not violate His character! So God’s justice says “these sins must be judged.” But sin can’t pay for sin. You can’t clean a dirty dish with a dirty cloth. This is why the animals in the OT had to be “without spot or blemish” which symbolizes sin, and so Jesus was the Lamb without spot or blemish – without sin – which the Levitical offerings pointed to. Jesus Christ willingly sacrificed His humanity on the altar so that our sins could be wiped away and would never again be a barrier between man and God. This is also signified in the veil which separated the Holy of Holies where Jesus Christ as the Shekinah Glory dwelled in the tabernacle during the OT, being split at the time of Jesus’ death. The veil of sin was removed once and for all! How awesome is that?! So, God’s love wants us to be saved, but God’s justice needs sin to be judged. They can not override one another. God has a problem. Impersonal love, or virtue-love, is the problem-solving device. He loves His enemies (us) – impersonally. based on His own virtue – and is able to overcome this problem and solve it through the SSD of Jesus Christ! And Jesus – in His humanity – did all this by operating inside the PPOG and utilizing the 8 PSD’s which are applicable for Him, and relying on the enabling power of God the Holy Spirit, as our prototype. In other words, He used the same system which God has made available to every believer in the Church Age, so that no physical, mental/intellectual, genetic, financial, class, or any other inequality are no longer a hindrance as they might be in the worldly realm. Heb 12:2 Fixing our eyes on Jesus (PSD #10 – Occupation with Christ), the founder and perfecter of our doctrine (pistis – what is believed), who because of the joy set before Him (+H, PSD #9 – sharing the happiness of God), endured the cross, disregarding the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the Father.” The Lord Jesus Christ made a decision – with His own free will and independent agency, remember the court case - to stand in the gap for all humanity and receive the judgment that God the Father was pouring out on the sins of the entire human race. Every day, every time we choose to operate in God’s plan, we stand in the gap. Every time we operate in negative volition, we say “I don’t care, I want to do my own thing.” Better thank God and Jesus Christ that He didn’t think that! No, He willingly gave up His desires and interests and plans and His very life itself. He “died daily” to Himself. Joh 10:17 For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again. No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father.” “I lay down My life” is reference to the cross, and “so that I may take it again” is a reference to resurrection. “No one” means just that: not Pontius Pilate, nor the Emperor himself, not the Pharisees and Saducees, nor Satan, nor any force in creation; No one took Christ’s life, but He gave it willingly. This is what those who mocked Him, saying “If you’re the Son of God, come down off that cross!” could not comprehend. Self-sacrifice of this magnitude is so totally foreign to the sin nature that it is literally incomprehensible to the natural mind! As I said before, Jesus in His humanity was able to do this unbelievable thing through the same modus operandi which God has provided to all of us – the PPOG, including the enabling power of the Holy Spirit. We only fail because we fail to use what God gave us! This is why something like fear can be a sin: God gave us a way to overcome sin! So when we do not overcome it, it is only because we have failed to keep His commands and “grow in grace and the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2Pe 3:18) or to “consider it all joy when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (Jm 1:2-4). But the unfortunate truth is that most believers never even learn about the unique spiritual opportunities of the Church Age, or anything about the Angelic Conflict, or the Predesigned Plan of God, or PPOG. They live their entire lives outside of God’s plan, assuming and guessing and stumbling and fumbling, groping in the dark, indistinguishable from unbelievers. What a shame! But even worse, many of those who do learn about these things fail to stay with it, getting tired, getting demoralized, getting distracted by the endless attractions and pleasures and preoccupations and worries of the cosmic system. They get waylaid. They quit or give up for so many reasons. Some get too caught up in their failures or their failure to quit failing (!!!) and go AWOL. But the worst failure of all is the failure to get back up and never give up. Pro 24:16 For a righteous person falls seven times and rises again, But the wicked stumble in time of disaster. This is why the first problem solving device is rebound and recover! God knows what we need AND when we need it. He knows the formula for reaching spiritual maturity and autonomy. The first PSD is the one we will lean on the most in our immaturity and that is why it is first! It exists so that we can exercise our volition to choose to keep going. Sin costs us the filling ministry of the HS. If not for PSD #1 we would not be able to move forward. If we use it as a license to sin, we will fail and be loser believers forever, and losers who knew better! Here is the full list just for repetition’s sake: 1) Rebound and Recovery. 2) The filling of the Holy Spirit. 3) The Faith Rest Life. 4) Grace Orientation. 5) Doctrinal Orientation. 6) A Personal Sense of Destiny. 7) Personal Love for God the Father. 8) Impersonal, Unconditional Love for all Mankind. 9) Contentment and Perfect Happiness. 10) Occupation with Christ. They are in the perfect sequence according to the need and capacity of the growing believer. That’s why we have to reach forth to the things that are ahead and forget the things that lie behind us (Php 3:13). Forget about your past, your mistakes, your failures. You must not only rebound but you must isolate the sins, and how do you do that? You forget them. God has blotted them out, but that isn’t good enough for some of us! Our sin nature may have a trend toward guilt and self-reproach or self-pity and we think we need to make some big show (of self) before God, we think we must feel guilty and flagellate (scourge) ourselves, we must make penance...certain religions actually promote this kind of blasphemous emotional nonsense. This only causes chain-sinning because the more we focus on our failure and see ourselves as failures the more we resign to it and whatever is foremost in our stream of consciousness is what we are going to be attracted to and what we are going to manifest. So if all we think about is sin, we are going to sin! When we rebound, we MUST forget what lies behind – no, really actually do forget it! - and look forward toward the goal. This is essential. Think about the fact that you can pinch yourself right now – go ahead and pinch yourself right now – CAN YOU FEEL THAT? That means you are still alive, and if you’re still alive, you’re still in God’s plan. He hasn’t given up on you yet. Your life still has value to Him. So other people think you’re useless or vain or whatever it may be (or you just think they do because you are paranoid and self-absorbed)? Other people do not matter! They don’t control history and they don’t sustain your life (contrary to what they may think lol), God does. God matters. And your life ALWAYS has value to God, that never changes no matter how much you fail because God doesn’t see you in your condition but in your position – IN CHRIST. So, buck up, buckaroo! Pastor likes to say “Winners never quit and quitters never win!” And it is a trustworthy statement, worthy of full acceptance! Next time we will look at point 5 Point 5. The Old Testament Analogy to the Efficacious Substitutionary Spiritual Death of Christ on the Cross.


August 15, 2021 • Pastor Robert R. McLaughlin, Colin Crawford, Deacon Jason Kauranen

Grace Bible Church Pastor Robert R. McLaughlin Tree Of Life Week Ending 8-15-2021 “Jesus Left Us An Example To Follow – We Must Understand It First!” In this week’s synopsis we will examine the following: - Jesus is our prototype - Nehemiah – restoration and repair - Power of prayer – why and how - Importance of unity in the body - Dig deeper – the tale of 3 prepositions - We know what Jesus did, but HOW did He do it? - Be dilgent – study and teach! This week we are going to start off looking at Deacon Jason’s lessons in which he returned to Nehemiah to further excavate some of the important spiritual principles and applications found in the first 6 chapters, and then continue with the Substitutionary spiritual Death of Christ at the end. Thanks for bearing with us during these times of challenge in our ministry, and please add a prayer of thanks to Deacon Jason, Deacon John, Cliff Spier, and Samantha for stepping up and filling in to keep sound doctrinal bible teaching available to us needy sheep! Also thanks to all the other Deacons, family and friends behind the scenes who help to make all this possible. Now a personal message from Deacon Jason: “Hello again, and I am glad to be back from a short vacation-camping trip up north, I am recharged a little bit and still moving forward as most of you are as well. SO, when I left I had asked you to do your home-work , by reading through the book of Nehemiah. (I said: “It’s only 13 Chapters but read at least the first 6 for our study”). I want you to be familiar with the book so we can get into some deeper principles and re-visit the http://gates.our focus last time was on unity, and we continue that today by looking at the prototype.” Who is our prototype? The Lord Jesus Christ! His entire life and ministry, particularly in His humanity, was a demonstration of what we call “The Great Power Experiment” of the Church Age. Everything Jesus did during His time on the earth was done not through relying on His divine power, but by using the unique spiritual system designed for the church age believer, what we call the PPOG, or the Pre-designed Plan Of God. Jesus relied on the filling of the Holy Spirit, which provides the supernatural enabling power to carry out the PPOG through the PMA (Perception, Metabolization, and Application) of Bible doctrine, and 8 of the 10 problem-solving devices which are extrapolated from doctrine. Why 8? Because He never needed to rebound for sin, since He had none, and because HE was not occupied with Himself, but with all of humanity. **You can find out all about the 10 Problem-Solving Devices from the book by the same name by our Pastor Robert R. McLaughlin, available at no charge through this website, under “publications.” What is a prototype? Definition: Prototype = a first, typical or preliminary model of something, from which other forms are developed or copied. Jesus taught us and modeled for us, In His humanity, the correct way to live by the power of the Spirit through all the temptations and trials of life. He is our example, not only in what He did, as most believers know, but how, which sadly most believers today do not understand, because it is not understood by most in the ministry. He also was our prototype so that He could make intercession for us as our high priest, having demonstrated to us that He knows what it is to be tempted in the flesh, and having proven that it can be overcome through the 10 PSD’s of the PPOG. Hb 2:17-18 Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to help those who are being tempted. Now if you read through the book on your own (if you didn’t I recommend reading the first 6 chapters now if you have the time), you saw Nehemiah’s leadership, the Jewish people working together in Unity, which gives us a picture of the Spiritual life we need to live In Christ. This time we are going to look at restoration and reparation. Principle: Restoration is what God does for man; whereas Reparation is what man does for man. Webster’s says: Restoration = a bringing back to a former position or condition; an unimpaired or improved condition; a representation or reconstruction of the original form, as of a building. Reparation = a repairing or keeping in repair; the act of making amends, offering expiation, or giving satisfaction for a wrong or injury; the payment of damages. The Jewish people of Nehemiah’s time, are under the curse of suffering, deserved and undeserved, through the many trials they have encountered. From the destruction and captivity to persecutions by their enemies, but God never forgets His people and because of Restoration and Reparation they will have the opportunity to re-build, turning the curse into a blessing. We all must re-build at times and be inside that PPOG, which is represented here in Nehemiah as the walls-gates of the city. Prayer is a big factor in this area of the spiritual life, and we are going to follow that subject in this lesson. Let’s look at James 5: Jm 5:10-11 As an example, brethren, of suffering and patience, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. We count those blessed who endured. You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome of the Lord’s dealings, that the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful. Jm 5:13-14 Is anyone among you afflicted? Then he must pray. Is anyone cheerful? He is to sing praises. (KJV) Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; We saw the word ‘afflicted’ in verse 13, is the Greek word: kakopatheō = (kak-op-ath-eh'-o) 1. to suffer (endure) evils (hardship, troubles); 2. to undergo hardship: - be afflicted, endure afflictions (hardness), suffer trouble. And the word ‘sick’ in verse 14 is ‘astheneō’ = (as-then-eh'-o) From a negative participle meaning “to be feeble” (in any sense), (be) sick, (be made) weak. The Christian way of life is a supernatural way of life, which requires supernatural means to be accomplished. Overcoming the problems of life requires we use all the tools that God designed for us, such as the 10 PSD’s and the main function of our priesthood – prayer – so that we can repair those weak spots in life to steady the course and keep advancing to maturity. Your prayer life must become effectual, and increase. Jesus Christ was and is our prototype, and we see throughout the gospels the examples of His use of prayer when facing His greatest challenges, e.g. MAT 26:36, MAR 1:35, LUK 5:16, etc. We also see the power of prayer in the lives of all the prophets of the OT, as well as the Apostles of the NT. Prayer is said to be one of the most effectual weapons in the Spiritual realm. Eph 6:18; Jm 5:16 Eph 6:18 With all prayer and petition, pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints Our God is not a God of confusion, and since He does not want us to be confused, but to be in unity, and also by way of omniscience, in that He knows what is the most effective way to do things, there is always one way that is given for us to do things. In God’s plan, a right thing must be done in a wrong way. How then should we pray? We should always address our prayers to God the Father only. God the Father is the one who answers prayers. There is a chain of command, which is part of the protocol. We pray to God the Father, in the name of our High Priest, TLJC, by the power of the Holy Spirit. Your prayers should follow this guideline: 1. Address your prayer to God the Father, Mt 6:9, Joh 16:23 2. Rebound (confession if necessary), 1JO 1:9; EPH 5:18; Joh 4:24; Ps 66:18,19. 3. “In all things give thanks...” (both the good and bad), 1Th 5:18; Col 4:2; 1Ti 4:4-5. 4. Intercession = Pray for Others (others – Believers, Unbelievers, and Enemies), Eph 6:18; Lk 6:28, Mt 5:44 5. Petition = Pray for yourself (personal need and request), Hb 4:16a, Joh 14:13-14, Joh 15:7 6. Closing of Honor- In Jesus’ Name (by the Power of the Holy Spirit), Joh 16:23, Php 2:9-11. SO, By Nehemiah’s leadership, through his prayer and petition, he was looking out for God’s people. God blessed him and then rewarded him by placing him a leadership position during and after the completion of the re-building of Jerusalem’s walls and gates. One of the learned principles of the growing Believer, as Nehemiah shows us, is we can pray for ourselves as well as others, just like He did. And under the pressures of adversity, we can endure affliction and be a beacon of light to others along the way. We see in the book of Nehemiah that he was a prayer warrior and a spiritual champion. This is available to every believer in Jesus Christ – that includes you! Paul urges us to pray, one example of many (always highlighting thanksgiving and those in authority, then others, including himself) 1Ti 2:1-7 First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at the proper time. For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying) as a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth. Then Paul concludes by giving a command to all the saints 1Ti 2:8 Therefore I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and dissension. Col 3:17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father. YOU must be prepared to live the spiritual life inside the PPOG, because you will find when you are starting to advance, that the forces of darkness immediately revolt against you. Yes we do have an enemy, and the battle intensifies (the heat is turned up) both within yourself (compliments of the sin nature and arrogance complex of the soul) and outside yourself (pressure and pleasures of the cosmos), which resists God's work in your life with every influence that can be used against you. The enemy is cunning and sly but also very intense, intentionally, and forceful … these enemy forces will stop at nothing to distract and deceive you, taking you away from PPOG. Staying in the PPOG = Daily intake of Bible Doctrine, Filling of the Holy Spirit and Utilization of the PSD becomes the only way you will survive. Eph 5:16 brethren make “the most of your time, because the days are evil.” Royal Family, we can see in the pages of Scripture throughout Nehemiah that the people came together in unity … and Nehemiah prayed and petitioned to God for the people to do so … I had you turn to John 17 correct, now This talks of the Spiritual life and Jesus commands us to be in Union ----- Let’s read John 17:20-26, and remember these are Our Lord’s Words recorded for us, this is how He thinks of the subject of Unity. Mind of Christ: Jesus is praying for the Church in these verses and The Church will complete the work of God’s plan for this dispensation. Joh 17:20-26 “I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me. The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me. Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. “O righteous Father, although the world has not known You, yet I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me; and I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.” Verse 21 and 23 – the petition for the accomplishment of the goal is repeated. So that world may know or believe that You (Father) sent ME. “I in them, and You in me” – a reference to the fact that Jesus Christ indwells us, and that the Father is one with Christ. In verse 23, that we just read the phrase, “that they may be perfected in unity”, Our Lord is praying to the Father for us. The in Greek, the word for “made perfect” = teleioō (tel-i-o'-o) to complete or accomplish. To be - consecrate, finish, fulfill, (make) perfect. This is the same word used in John 17:4, Joh 17:4 I have glorified You on the earth: I have finished the work which You gave me to complete. There is the present active subjunctive of e)imi which is the first verb. This means to keep on being in this status. Then there is also a perfect passive subjunctive of teleioo. Which we just saw, Teleioo is in the passive voice means this completion is received. The subjunctive mood goes with the purpose clause and therefore it just simply means that this is a part of God’s purpose: that we might be completed. Literally, “that they may have received completion [or, have completeness].” True unity is spiritual. When we abide in Christ, we abide in each other. Man does not even recognize it, but the spiritual unity exists already. What I mean is, if we are one with our Lord, we must be one with all who are members of His body, that is part of the mystery doctrine of the CA dispensation. And the unity we see portrayed in Nehemiah’s Jerusalem, mostly in chapter 3-6 until they finished the walls, (the passages I asked you to read - review) is the same unity we need in our spiritual life by comparison, and We have 5 different ways Unity is shown to us, in the study of Nehemiah’s walls-gates and we will see how it applies to our Spiritual life. 1. Unity is the status of being combined with others to form a greater whole. The Jews became victorious and go back to following the plan of God and even to the point of work with people they didn’t like; (they show an act of unconditional love) to rebuild the walls for the whole city’s protection. 2Co 12:14 For the body is not one member, but many. 2Co 12:21 And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; or again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 2Co 12:25-26 so that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. 2. Unity is the status of being harmonious with other members of the Royal Family of God. ECC 4:12; Phi 2:2. The bond that unity forms can protect us against the schemes of the adversary. But with other members of the RF of God, we can achieve much more. 3. Unity in the state of being complete, oneness, which means a maximum number of believers execute the protocol plan of God and become invisible heroes in the angelic conflict. A maximum number of invisible heroes in the pivot not only changes the nation, (how the pivot goes, so goes the nation – we need to keep building up the body of Christ to be mature believers) but unity will also provide a tremendous amount of tolerance among believers through maximum impersonal love toward all mankind. It helps to move self out of the way. 4. Unity results in complete accord among believers regarding divine viewpoint, in the mystery doctrine of the Church Age. Eph 4:16 from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love. 5. Unity is complete Oneness of Sharing the Happiness of God – Occupation with the Lord Jesus Christ. It becomes very important that we continue to learn what this Super-natural Spiritual life is all about, How to super-naturally operate within that PPOG, protect and guard it, learn utilization the tools that He provided us(PSD) and build-up unity within the body of Christ, to fulfill our calling. As we saw on Friday when Samantha mentioned this verse, which keeps coming up in our study - Heb 12:2-3 - n the context of Sharing the +H, that our Lord displayed as an example for us. (huper- instead of, in place of and on behalf of ). We will get into this and two other prepositions a little later. Hb 12:2-3 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. These principles will continue to build in our souls a house full of doctrine, so that the Holy Spirit has them to make them effective in your life. Those are the 2 power options we have and need to use every day, along with prayer. Bible Doctrine and the Filling of The Holy Spirit! Jesus Christ, in His humanity, was able to carry out God’s plan perfectly by using the PSD’s and the power of God the Holy Spirit, in order to demonstrate the new unique PPOG and the Great Power Experiment for us, so that we have a pattern to follow. 1Pe 2:21 For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, Part of that pattern is the agape, or impersonal, unconditional love of God toward sinful mankind. Parents do not stop loving their children when they are misbehaving or when they lie or betray the trust, etc. They do not revoke love. They switch to what is sometimes called ‘impersonal’ love, which means they love the child based on their own virtue and based on the child’s position as their son or daughter, rather than based on the child’s merits or virtue or their condition as meeting expectations or not meeting them. This is part of understanding the Substitutionary Spiritual Death of our Lord on the cross. When Jesus prayed for His mockers and tormenters as He hung there in physical and emotional pain, asking God to forgive them because they did not truly understand what they were doing, that is a spectacular example of impersonal love. This is the love that is in view when Jesus says to love your enemies in Matt 5:44 or Luke 6:27-28. Love them as He loved us when we were in darkness and alienation from God, dead in our sins. These points are going to actually prepare us for the doctrines that we will be studying in the next few coming months where we have some more advanced doctrines to look forward to. The key word here for our subject is “substitutionary” – Him taking our place and dying for us as a substitute. We’ve already noted Point 1 of our doctrine which deals with the categories of the Spiritual Death, and we noted that there are basically 2 categories – Point 1 dealt with the Categories of Spiritual Death. 1. Real Spiritual Death (dies spiritually as a result of sin) 2. Substitutionary Spiritual Death (died spiritually without sin, impeccable, as substitute) Now, this time we are going to dig in a little deeper, so that we can deepen our understanding and appreciate the depth and breadth as well as the height and width of God’s word. As the late great Col Thieme used to say, it is our hope not just that you CAN remember, but that you CAN NOT forget! This is why repetition is so important. I personally can attest that whenever I have gotten familiar and glossed over repetition I have later realized it did not stick! Like it or not, we all need it. But also it is important to know not just what, but how and why, so that when others question us we do not come up short. It will be clear that we really know our stuff. This does not come without some work. In digging in deeper I mean we are going to look at the original Greek and examine three very important Greek prepositions which provide the crystal clear doctrine of the SSD. This is the “how”. How do we know that Jesus died as our substitute? We examine the original language. The three prepositions are ‘peri’ (perry), ‘pros’ (prahs), and ‘huper’ (hoop-er or hoop-air). (**From Strong’s Concordance) 1. Peri Definition: about, concerning, around (denotes place, cause or subject) Usage: (a) gen: about, concerning, (b) acc: around. 2. Pros Definition: advantageous for, at (denotes local proximity), toward (denotes motion toward a place) Usage: to, towards, with. 3. Huper Definition: over, beyond, on behalf of, for the sake of, concerning Usage: gen: in behalf of; acc: above. The apostles took what was known in the original language as the preposition plus the genitive of advantage of the pronoun in the sentence to (actually) express substitution.\ --- which means He died “for” – there’s the preposition – “us” there’s again your pronoun… it is to our advantage that He died for us. Even though you may not be familiar with these terms don’t let it intimidate you. The genitive of advantage in the Greek indicates that it is to your benefit, to the benefit of the person for whom, of whom, or on behalf of whom, something is done. For example, ROM 5:6 For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died(preposition – huper) for the ungodly. "For" is the preposition, “huper” and “ungodly” is the genitive of advantage of the personal pronoun “asebes” which is translated “the ungodly”, therefore it could be translated For while we were still helpless, at the right time (perfect timing of God) Christ died [in place of, instead of, on behalf of, as a substitute] for the ungodly. Put your name in there where it says “ungodly” because it is to our advantage being “the ungodly”, since being ungodly means that we need a Savior, if we were godly we wouldn’t need a savior. Remember in Luke 5:31 Jesus said to the self-proclaimed godly Pharisees that He did not come for the healthy but as a physician for the sick. They didn’t think they needed a Savior. They were wrong! In Romans 5:8, and I know we saw some of this on Sunday but as was said eariler, repetition repetition repetition... ROM 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us,(how?) in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died (huper) for us. In 1Pe 3:18, we have the preposition “huper” again plus a pronoun used as a genitive of advantage. Pastor McLaughlin said he loves this doctrine btw, because he can see things and understand them so much more not just with these passages but throughout the bible, and then he can communicate them to us, and this is why it is so important to have a pastor teacher who communicates accurately the word of truth. That’s also why there is such an attack on communicating the original language. In 1PE 3:18 we have again the preposition “huper” plus a personal pronoun used as a genitive of advantage… it says 1PE 3:18 For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just (TLJC – no sin - SSD) for (huper) the unjust, in order that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit; Now, when it says the just FOR the unjust, the word “just” is the nominative singular adjective ‘dikaios’ (deek-ah-yoss) which is translated "righteous." (**From Strong’s Concordance:) Definition: correct, righteous, by implication innocent Usage: just; especially, just in the eyes of God; righteous; the elect (a Jewish idea). It refers to perfect righteousness, and describes our Lord Jesus Christ, the perfect "lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world." As I said earlier, Jesus Christ, in His humanity, was able to remain perfect – without sin or blemish – by remaining inside the PPOG throughout His entire earthly life. It’s one thing for us to live in the plan of God when things are going great in life, its easy, but how about when all hell breaks loose? How about when you lose a loved one unexpectedly, or more than one (think Job!)? Or how about when the bank account goes negative with mortgage and credit cards and payments overdue? How about when things are as low as they can be and any unbeliever or casual believer in our place would be giving up all hope….can you say “it’s great to be a believer (with bible doctrine)?” TLJC did that as He was functioning under the filling of the Holy Spirit and relying on doctrine in His soul. He left us an example to follow, remember? He handled it the same way we are to handle being mistreated by an individual at your job, the same way we are to handle being mistreated by a member of your own family, the same way we are to handle other believers who mistreat and lie and deceive us…by operating in that impersonal love we looked at earlier. It is impossible to fulfill the PPOG for your life and receive the escrow blessings for time and eternity without impersonal love for mankind, which interlocks with personal love for God the Father. These things come from maximum metabolized doctrine and maximum application for spiritual momentum, which by passing momentum testing and ultimately evidence testing, brings us to spiritual adulthood. We will be studying all that in great detail in the coming months, so you can set that aside for now if it is unfamiliar. This is categorical doctrine, a system which is built slowly, precept upon precept, line upon line, brick by brick, we are building a fortress of doctrine in our souls. There is not a tragedy, a heartache, a difficulty or anything that we could go through that He does not give us the power to handle – if we take it in and apply it! But if we don’t apply it when the minor tests are upon us, we won’t do it when things really get rough either. We will revert to our default setting – emotion, self-absorption, panic palace. There are two reasons why our Lord remained perfect as "the righteous one." 1. He was sustained by the omnipotence of God the Holy Spirit in the PPOG, HEB 9:14 He was sustained by God’s power – that’s how He could handle being judged and mistreated and having His beard plucked out, and having a crown of painful thorns forced upon His head, which was about 7 sizes too small – bleeding all over the place – not even looking human but He was sustained by the omnipotence of God the Holy Spirit. Secondly 2. He utilized the problem solving devices, especially +H, concentrating on and sharing the happiness of God, HEB 12:2-3. When we start to take the time to understand what the bible says from the original languages and we see something like this little word “for” or “huper”, and what God actually means by it – that is you making Jesus Lord of your life by magnifying His word over His very own name. It may start out small, with a little word like huper, but that little word is powerful when you dig into it “with digging ears”. Imagine what the rest of this book actually has to tell us??? It’s mind blowing and this is why we should never ever- ever take for granted having a pastor who teaches or divides rightly the word of TRUTH!!! So - What did keep Him there upon that cross… Hebrews 12:2 gives us the answer to that question. HEB 12:2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him (you were that joy – so was I) endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. So - friends, beloved members of the royal family - HEB 12:3 For consider Him (take the focus off yourself for a moment!) who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, (we just saw with all of the prophesies we studied that they were so hostile toward Him when He was completely innocent) so that you may not grow weary and lose heart. Do this when you feel discouraged…make it a habit, make it a reflex! In closing, I hope you can see clearly why it IS important to dig into the word of God and see for yourself all the layers and depth of knowledge that is in it! It is a little bit like archaeology, discovering truth in the word of God which others who only take a superficial glance will never understand, and that is why they don’t take the word seriously and why it doesn’t benefit them when they are separated from comfort and security. The more you learn and experience how amazing the bible really is, the more reverence you have for it and the more trust you can put in it. Faith doesn’t grow by magic or an at of will, it grows by application and experience and passing tests. This is the real spiritual life in the church age. The mature believer is a rock to those around them and a source of blessing by association, they are “a light unto the world”. We are extremely fortunate to have such a dedicated PT here who has set aside his own desires in order to be a bondservant of Christ and spend countless hours studying and teaching, in season and out of season, in sickness and in health. Paul says to Timothy, a Pastor under Paul’s tutelage, in 2 Timothy 2TI 2:15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman( a pastor teacher) who does not need to be ashamed, (because he is) handling accurately the word of truth. Notice that phrase “Be diligent”, because we’ve studied that before - it’s the Greek word ‘Spoudazo’ (spoo-dodd-zo). In the KJV it is rendered “study” as in “study to show thyself approved...” Notice neither say “go around being sweet and doing house calls and impressing everyone with your righteous deeds” but rather just “be diligent” or “study” or we could say, “be diligent in your studies”. Why? So that you can best do what your spiritual gift was created for – to study and teach, for the equipping of the saints for good works. In the Christian life, just like in regular life, these days everybody wants to be someone else or do someone else’s work. Instead of using our gift to serve the Lord, we use it to serve ourselves. Others don’t use them at all... Most individuals are too busy to obey that – that’s why most individuals have problems because they don’t give God the time that they need to give Him for Him to train them-- which is why TLJC told the apostle Paul to – study to show yourself approved and Paul told this to Timothy – he said I want you to study – that’s the PT job to show that your approved unto God – a workman doesn’t need to be “ashamed” the word also means embarrassed – and a lot of individuals behind the pulpit will be totally embarrassed because they don’t know what it means to rightly divide the word of truth. What is “rightly divide the word of truth”? It actually refers to dispensations – in the OT you would kill an animal because that was dividing the word of truth ---- in the NT (or the dispensation of the church age) you don’t have to kill an animal because JC died as a substitute for us. The pastor teacher and all Christian soldiers must learn to rightly divide the word of truth. The PT’s job is to study and teach, study and teach, not counsel and visit and tickle our ears and make us feel good and this is not referring to anyone in particular this is a principle that we have been taught over 20 years ago and it just happens to come along into this study… So God the Holy Spirit is communicating to us how to divide the word of truth but many individuals would rather judge and malign those who are doing what they should be doing. This is why our goal, for all individuals who are actually serious about their relationship with God, including you and I because we are in full time Christian service as well, not just the pastor teacher, is to make available all the information which God has provided and o rightly divide it and accurately handle it, so that you have the best possible opportunity to execute God’s plan for your life through growth and effective prayer and use of our spiritual gfts, and become invisible heroes in the angelic conflict. Thank you for your dedication to this cause….America and the world needs you! Thank you Father for our Pastor Teacher Robert McLaughlin, and for making available through him and through the deacons and Samantha and all your many other chosen teachers who keep the mandate of 2Tim 2:15! We see your immeasurable glory and greatness and grace all the more clearly as we study and more and more of your perfect plan is revealed to us. I pray that god the Holy Spirit will teach us and convict us with all we have learned, and that we may take this teaching out to the lost and dying world with boldness but with all humility and gentleness, for we ask it in Jesus’ name, amen.


August 8, 2021 • Pastor Robert R. McLaughlin, Colin Crawford, Deacon Jason Kauranen

Grace Bible Church Pastor Robert R. McLaughlin Tree Of Life Week Ending 8-8-2021 “There Is A Literal Hell – Do Not Take The Blue Pill !!!” In this week’s synopsis we will examine the following: - Hell is a literal place - Hell represents total, eternal separation from God AND His grace function/provisions - There is need and pain and agony but no relief – relief is grace - There are no second chances or bailouts! - The devil is not the ruler, when he is in hell he is just another inmate - There is no hierarchy or system of authority among the tormented - There is no hope of escape - Unbelievers will remember their lives and be consumed by regret and sorrow - All this is why Jesus was willing to be humiliated and slain – so we have a way out! - We can’t love God until we are born again spiritually We are still studying the Substitutionary Spiritual Death of our Lord in the gospel of John chapter 3. Last time we closed by noting how the Bible is very dogmatic about a literal hell, with over one hundred sixty-two texts in the New Testament alone are given, over seventy were uttered by the Lord. There IS a real hell and it’s underlying the whole chapter of John 3, because man is born spiritually dead and condemned to hell. Our Lord came to the earth in order to provide a solution to this problem, and he is giving Nicodemus the opportunity to accept it, graciously and with patience and gentleness answering his questions. But of course Nicodemus is a worldly-minded man, like we read about in 1Co 2:14, and so he is trying t iunderstand spiritual and supernatural things in the worldly/material context and with a rational/empirical system of perception. Hence, Nicodemus is confused…but the Lord knows that as of that moment, Nicodemus is condemned to hell in his sins, and until he is born again, he can not even see, let alone enter, the kingdom of heaven. This is the whole reason the true Messiah came! Joh 3:17 "For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, (many believers and unbelievers think that the Son came into the world to judge sin) but that the world should be saved through Him. "He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. NOTICE: He has not been judged for sins! He has been judged for refusing God’s offer of grace! When you reject Jesus Christ, you reject the pardon. God holds out His hand and says, “I want to save you from condemnation, take my hand!” But the unbeliever defiantly and proudly and bitterly spits back, “I don’t want your salvation or anything else from you, leave me alone!” Hell is just that – God leaving you alone, with all His grace, which you have failed to realize includes your body, everything that sustains it - gravity, sunlight, water, food, air, the laws that keep matter together, comfort/relief from discomfort, and basically every single thing that is good! So hell is where you are forced to learn this principle, having all those things revoked. You’ll finally be emancipated, and you’ll realize everything you thought came from you or from the world really came from God, in the hardest way imaginable. But make no mistake and deceive yourself not – this was your choice! God has done everything to make His offer available and all those who desire it are able to find it. Now, we did go through some of these (what we call-- ) “divine descriptions” of a literal Hell on Sunday morning rather quickly, so we will now look at them a little more in depth and detail, so that we can actually know and reveal this to individuals that we truly love and care about and make sure they know what the eternal state is truly all about and what awaits them should they choose to put their faith in men and the ways of the world. As we go over what the Bible says about hell, we will also dispel some of the false doctrines you encounter in religions, cults, and misinformed pop culture (TV, movies, video games, music, etc). Right off the top, Satan is not a red-skinned, horned, goat-legged, bat-winged monster with a pointy tail and a goatee, in case you didn’t know! This is nowhere in the word of God. He is an angel, still, when he fell he was not physically altered. He is just as beautiful and charming and charismatic and alluring and sophisticated and intelligent and clever and cunning and attractive generally as ever, which is why worldly people follow him like the pied piper! They don’t recognize him as who he truly is, and that is by design. The notion of the devil as some cartoon monster is a wooden duck designed to ensure that the ignorant do not recognize him or his doctrines, because they are nothing like what Hollywood or Walt Disney etc depict! IF anyone saw the devil, they would not think he was the devil, but they would think he was an angel or even God himself – which just so happens to be what Satan wants! He is the deceiver after all, and anyone who thinks they are too smart to be deceived by him has already been compromised! Satan is also not the “king of hell” as so many think – he is not even there yet! He is out on personal reconnaissance bond, free to come and go as he pleases – until the second advent when he will be removed from the earth until the end of the millennium. But when he is in hell, he is not the ruler, he is just another inmate! There will be no hierarchy or wardens who can be bribed or no prison dons who run the cell block and have the peons doing their dirty work. There will be NO WAY to escape the torment and suffering there, or even lessen it, sorry! So to all the rock stars and pop idols and movie stars (and wanna-be’s) who think they’re earning themselves a position of authority and freedom from torment in hell by serving Satan, or who think that hell is going to be a big licentious Las Vegas party where you can do whatever you want with no laws or rules, you are the most pitiful lot ever. There are no words to describe their shock and horror when they find out the truth. We must pray for them that they are stripped of their delusions! Now that that’s out of the way, lets look at a popular one among the RCC, or the Roman Catholic Church. Purgatory! Contrary to false teachings perpetrated in that church and based on apocryphal books in their version of the Bible, there is no second chance! It is appointed unto man once to die, and then after that comes the judgment according to Heb 9:27 There is no purgatory; it’s saved or not saved, no in-between! There is only a choice – a choice in time – and that choice in time is believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved, or do not believe and spend eternity with the others who refused God’s offer. Once you are dead, your decision becomes absolutely final. The Doctrine of Purgatory was established by Pope Gregory I in the year 593 and then as a dogma by the Council of Florence in 1439. A dogma in Catholicism is a dogmatic doctrine that must be believed in or you were sinning against God. No wonder the Catholics all believed it! You were actually commanded by the pope and by Roman Catholicism to believe that there was a place called purgatory, and that after you died you went to this metaphysical detention hall where you pray your rosary and maybe you could get let out on “good behavior”, which is complete nonsense and totally unbiblical. And then of course they come about with a lot of nonsense doctrines like the one we recently noted in Tobit 4:11, where the giving of money can get you out of hell – imagine the idea that God lets you buy your loved ones out of hell with earthly money! However it may sound, there are vast numbers of people who believe this to be true and spend loads of money in vain following it. Their compassion is commendable, but sadly, this is just not true. It’s just another incarnation of the satanic doctrine of works and legalism, good old Santa Clause mentality – good deeds buy heaven but bad deeds get you the lump of coal - which symbolizes hell! But you can’t buy the stairway to heaven (sorry, Robert Plant!) with all the money or good works in the universe, because Jesus Christ already bought it for you with His substitutionary spiritual death! All you have to do is say to God the Father - “I BELIEVE!!” But if you don’t want it, so be it! Now you know some things about hell that aren’t true, lets crack open the can of what IS true! 1. As a part of the divine descriptions of Hell there is what is known as Hell being a place of fire and brimstone, Rev 19:20. Everybody knows what “fire and brimstone” means. But when you are totally immersed in your immediate empirical experience of material reality and tied up with post-modern rationalism you just can’t take it seriously. This is fully exploited by the kingdom of darkness. “The matrix is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you to the truth” -Morpheus, The Matrix “In whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving, so that they can not see the light of the glory of the gospel of Christ, who is the image of God.” -2Co 4:4 Shocking similarity, no? But I digress! I think I see a red devil outside the window... Rv 19:20 And the beast was seized, and with him the false prophet who performed the signs in his presence, by which he deceived (think faith healers and the pope curing cancer by kissing babies...) those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image; these two were thrown alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone. Please notice the principle of fire and brimstone. Brimstone is the biblical word for sulfur which not only keeps the fire going but has a very disgusting smell which we are probably all familiar with – rotten eggs. It’s a very disgusting smell but that’s something we are going to see in our study – that hell is not just a place of fire and brimstone. According to the Bible: 2. Hell is a place of burning wind constantly, Ps 11:6. 3. Another divine description of hell is that it is a place outer darkness (where its completely dark and) where there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth (Mt 25:30) There’s weeping because there’s tears of regrets, and there’s also gnashing of teeth because of fear and pain. 4. In Mat 25:46 Jesus says, "And they will go away into Eternal Punishment (HELL)," 5. In Mk 9:43-48, it is called a place of UNQUENCHABLE FIRE, and a place where the MAGGOTS NEVER DIE and the FIRE NEVER GOES OUT." Maggots…….really, what do we need to say about that? 6. Luk 6:24-26, a place of SORROWS (it will be filled with sorrows because it is filled with regrets) and a time of AWFUL HUNGER which awaits you. Remember earlier what was said about God’s grace being removed? There is no light (outer darkness), the fire and maggots (torment, pain, discomfort) never end, there is hunger but no food, thirst but no water; there is no comfort and no relief….these paint a picture of life without grace! It is vital to impress on the unbeliever who thinks they aren’t getting anything from God because He doesn’t make them rich or remove their self-induced misery or uncomfortable circumstances etc. that their entire existence is provided and sustained by God, even as they reject and curse Him, BY GRACE, and just exactly what life without grace REALLY looks like. It looks like what we are describing here. It is the absolute absence of anything good! There’s a lot of individuals that laugh at us now, feeling strong and self-assured, even superior and http://sophisticated...they laugh at us being here in church on a Friday night instead of having a good time and enjoying the cosmic amusement park with all of its thrills and chills, but their laughing and mocking WILL be turned to MOURNING AND SORROW. Think about that word, sorrow. What is more sorrowful than realizing you had a chance for something amazing beyond your dreams but you didn’t recognize it and refused it, and now it was gone forever, you would never have another chance….I know I’ve experienced this “sinking” feeling, like a bottomless pit has opened up under your feet and there is nothing to grab onto. It is the worst! We have a good time in our defiance - sin beings pleasure for a season - but then the unthinkable happens: we get CAUGHT! And then comes the crying and begging and pleading and the “I’ll never do it again, I swear!” Imagine spending eternity stuck in that feeling of regret, bitterness, rage, hatred, starving, burning, being eaten by worms! Sometimes I ask unbelievers, “have you really ever seriously thought about hell? Like even just hypothetically? Really imagine it, visualize it…. What if you’re wrong? They don’t take it seriously. Lk 16:31 “But he said to him, ‘if they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead’” But let’s see God’s attitude: Pro 1:22-26 "How long, O naive ones, will you love simplicity? And scoffers delight themselves in scoffing, And fools hate knowledge? Turn to my reproof, (turn to my reproof when I’m trying to get your attention to correct yourself -- or even better – rebound and recover - Turn to my reproof ) Behold, (if you do) I will pour out my spirit on you; (in the old testament the Spirit would be upon us – in the NT the Spirit is alive with us) I will make my words known to you. Because I called, and you refused; I stretched out my hand, and no one paid attention; And you neglected all my counsel, And did not want my reproof (negative volition toward bible doctrine); I will even laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your dread comes, Please note that this is an example of what is called an anthropopathism… (which is when human traits or emotions are ascribed to God for the sake of impressing upon us in our own terms God’s stance or attitude toward something. In this case it really just means that God will not rescue us against our own will and volition, He will let us lie in the bed we made) Pro 1:27-29 When your dread comes like a storm, And your calamity comes on like a whirlwind, When distress {and} anguish come on you. Then they will call on me, but I will not answer; They will seek me diligently, but they shall not find me, because they hated knowledge, (doctrine) And did not choose the fear (or respect) of the Lord. 7. In Luke 16:19-31. Hell is said to be a place of TORMENT, (people will be tormented there) and a place where literal thirst is never quenched. Lk 16:24 "And he cried out and said, 'Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus (the poor man, the beggar to whom he wouldn’t even give the crumbs off his plate), that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue; for I am in agony in this flame.' Thirst, pain, hunger, sorrow, regret, agony, turmoil, and no relief – because relief is a provision of GRACE. We take it for granted, we go through life like a child living in their parents’ house, fully supported by them in every way, but totally ungrateful and unappreciative, really having no real concept of the truth that we are helpless and hopeless without that support. We like to think these things are provided because we are so wonderful, but they’re provided even when we are awful. It’s only when we’re out in the cold, alone, fending for ourselves, that we really can understand how much we took for granted! 8. Hell is a place where the Fiery Furnace is and again our Lord says there will be WEEPING AND GNASHING OF TEETH Mt 13:41-43 "That is the way it will be at the end of the world. The angels will come and separate the wicked people from the righteous, throwing the wicked into the FIERY FURNACE, where there will be (again) WEEPING AND GNASHING OF TEETH." Another important principle to remember is that just as there will be different Rewards in Heaven for Believers, there will be different degrees of punishment for unbelievers based on what they KNEW and on their DEEDS. (Lk 12:47) 9. 2Pe 2:17 These are springs without water, and mists driven by a storm, for whom the black darkness has been reserved. Jud 1:13 wild waves of the sea, casting up their own shame like foam; wandering stars, (they don’t have any idea where they are going) for whom the black darkness has been reserved forever. David wrote in Ps 41:6 He (God) rains down blazing coals on the wicked, punishing them with burning sulfur (Fire and Brimstone) and scorching winds. 10. Hell is also a place where there is no escape Ps 140:10 "Let burning coals fall down on their heads, or throw (cast) them into the fire, or into deep Pits from which they can't escape." Once again, NO SECOND CHANCES OR BAIL BONDSMEN! Earlier we saw the verse in Matthew which mentions the worms that will not die. Pastor has taught us that the worm represents the memories of life and of loved ones who are in heaven, and all the times they had the chance to make the choice to believe, and rejected, mocked, scoffed, feeling proud and http://strong...these are worms of regret and bitterness which will eat them alive for all eternity. But for believers, we will not remember those loved ones who are not with us anymore. Think about it, heaven couldn’t be heaven if we had to bear that pain and sorrow! Heaven is a place of no sorrows. Perhaps we remember but there is no pain associated with it, but I believe they are wiped away, per Rv 21:4 and He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; (this is the heavenly state) and there shall no longer be any death; there shall no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away." 11. Hell is also called a place of destruction Ps 55:23 "But You, O God, shall bring them down to the Pit of destruction; Bloodthirsty and deceitful men shall not live out half their days; But I will trust in You." Hell is a place where people will be destroyed continually. 12. Hell is also identified as a bottomless pit in Rv 9:1-2. Think about falling – but never hitting the ground… forever and ever and http://ever..and ever… in the eternal state… Let’s review: 1. Fire and brimstone, Rv 19:20. 2. Burning wind constantly, Ps 11:6. 3. Outer darkness & weeping & gnashing of teeth, Mt 25:30 4. Eternal Punishment, Mt 25:46 5. Maggots never die & the fire never goes out, Mk 9:43-48. 6. SORROWS & AWFUL HUNGER, Lk 6:24-26 7. Torment, & unquenchable thirst, Lk 16:19-31 8. Fiery Furnace & again weeping and gnashing of teeth, Mt 13:41-43 9. Blackness and darkness, 2Pe 2:17 10. No escape, Ps 140:10 11. Destruction, Ps 55:23 12. Bottomless pit, Rv 9:1-2. There are many many more verses we could give. Jesus spoke of hell far more often than heaven, so as you can see, it is not a figure of speech! It is a place, a very real place! Jesus is the one who has warned us about it. It is as though no one else could be depended upon to speak forth all of this terrible truth. That's why we read in 2Co 6:2 "Now is the time of acceptance; now is the day of salvation." Now is the moment to be prepared for eternity by personal faith in TLJC. Now is the time. Live your life in the light of eternity. Why does the Lord tell us so much about it? Because He does not want anyone to go there! But free will means personal responsibility and accountability. If you are exempted from the consequences of your choices, you are not really free! Freedom is not for babies, it is for grown-ups. This is true in the physical as much as in the spiritual realms. Gal 6:7 “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.” But He wants us to make the right choice, so He does everything He can without violating our free will to make sure we have the information and the opportunities. Yet the adversary does his best to thwart that through every kind of deception and subversion and obfuscation as well as by encouraging pride and arrogance so that we will have a million false gospels to obscure the one true gospel – the gospel of Jesus Christ and His substitutionary spiritual death! This is the importance of this teaching on hell for us as believers – we need to understand why God was willing to give His own Son, and why Jesus was willing to carry the cross for us! The stakes are very high!! Joh 3:16 "For God (so loved) so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish,(should not go to hell) but have eternal life. because: Joh 3:17 "For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him. World’ is ‘kosmos’ which refers not to the physical, material earth or universe, but to the organized world system of human beings, those under total sin nature control and spiritually dead, and to their humanistic, empirical/rational and secular system of thinking and (un)belief. This is the real life “Matrix” as mentioned above. The purpose of the cosmic system is to build an entire alternate reality of the mind which is engineered to deny God and Jesus Christ and promote every and any kind of human and/or angelic (aka FALSE) salvation. But God didn’t send His Son to judge it, or us, but rather to provide a way OUT, a way to leave the Matrix and its slavery to the senses for all eternity, not to mention, a way to avoid eternal separation from God, which is also called HELL. Awesome! Do you know that we don’t have the ability or the power to love Him? We are all born without the equipment to love God i.e., spiritually dead. Spiritual death means more than being separated from God, it means we do not even have the ability to love God. That’s what we started off with in this study. But He did something for us so that we could have the ability to love Him and His word. He provides everything for us but we aren’t able to see it because we are blinded by arrogance and pride. So, when Joh 3:16 says “For God so love the world that...” the word “that” is a preposition “henah” which means that the word “that” introduces a result clause, i.e. when God loves, His love always produces a http://result...an action. The action is He sent His only begotten (or uniquely born – monogenes in the Greek) Son”, this is the result of God’s impersonal love which He has even for those who choose to be His enemies and who reject and hate Him, because He knows we can’t love Him until we are born again, spiritually regenerate. Thank God – He so loved the world to take us away from the things of this world, the evil things like bitterness and jealousy and to get us ready for eternal life. 1Joh 3:14 – we knoooooow you’ve heard it before but do you live in it now? 1Joh 3:14 We know that we have passed out of death into life, (how do we know that?) because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death. He who does not have agape love for all believers is separated from God, out of fellowship, and therefore living as a spiritually dead person, hence, abiding in death. For we see in 1Joh 4:20 “If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates (does not love) his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen.” 1Joh 3:15 “Everyone who hates (does not love) his brother is a murderer; and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.” When we understand that “the sin issue” has been taken care of, and that God took care of it because He doesn’t want anyone of us to go to this incomprehensibly terrible place which we studied this evening, called hell, then we should be humbled by that principle and realize – THANK GOD – that He so loved us that He – the one true infinite, eternal, magnificent, all-powerful, absolutely perfect God – actually was willing to sacrifice of Himself for us – lowly, selfish, ignorant, violent, lustful man! We await the day when every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord! Thank you Royal family.


August 1, 2021

Grace Bible Church Pastor Robert R. McLaughlin Tree Of Life Week Ending 08-1-2021 “Repair The Gates, And, Watch Out For Snakes!” In this week’s synopsis we will examine the following: - Finishing up (for now) on our study of Nehemiah - Power of prayer – and it’s a mandate! - The importance of understanding typology in the Bible - Religion and the mystery of the water - Nicodemus revisited - The natural mind cannot accept the things of God (1Co 2:14) - The Son of man must be lifted up - There are serpents, and there are serpents… - The cosmic deception of “one-ism” - Bronze is beautiful! Before we begin our study of the word of God, the true infinite genius which God in His matchless grace condescends to share with us lowly fools for our benefit, let us take a moment to thank Him for providing everything pertaining to earthly life and eusebeia (spiritual life)(2Pe 1:3) and for the technology to allow the transmission of divine wisdom to every corner of the earth in mere moments, and acknowledge our sins to God the Father, agreeing with Him, so that we may have fellowship with the Holy Spirit, which is our teacher. You’ve been hearing it a lot: -- Don’t ever become familiar with the principles of the word of God, - consider the principle of rebound – when we put ourselves in a situation and become familiar with rebound and then we end up a mechanical robot –turning it into a ritual… and miss out on preparing my own self for the most important thing I will ever do being filled with the HS by means of grace and honoring God’s system that He has designed for us in the New Testament. ************************************************************************************************* This week at Grace Bible Church we finish up (for now, Jason will revisit it and reveal some more principles from the book when he returns from some well-earned time off) Deacon Jason’s phenomenal study of the book of Nehemiah and the analogy of the repairing of the gates to the spiritual life and continue with our Christian Soldier Prep series. A lot of (or most of) churches and pulpits tell you what to do, but they don’t tell you how to do it, or only in vague terms. This is why so many believers think that we are just supposed to “try” to be like Christ by using our own human power and sheer force of will to transform ourselves. “How else would we do it?” they may ask. But at Grace Bible Church we are so blessed to be taught systematic theology, which outlines the actual power options, invisible assets (per 2Pe 1:3), and the PPOG, the actual day-to-day, moment-to-moment HOW. Armed with this gnosis knowledge, we have to volitional choice to believe it, turning it into epignosis knowledge which is a part of our soul structure, and then apply it, resulting in spiritual growth. Let’s take a moment to clear away all filthiness (known sins) and what remains of wickedness (unknown or forgotten sins) by utilizing 1Jo 1:9 and give thanks and praise to our amazing heavenly Father for blessing us with such a fantastic church, Pastor-Teacher, and our hard working Deacons, and also Samantha for their service in providing for us all. The many repairs by the Jewish people of Jerusalem, to the walls and gates under Nehemiah’s leadership, show us how they worked in Unity to get the job done. They did this regardless of whether they liked each other or not, so as we saw on Sunday that it takes Virtue love in the individual ‘s soul (proper thinking) or operation of virtue love by the whole, to allow the unity of the people (or The Spiritual Church) to occur. They were able to accomplish the goal of the physical building and repairs needed that were carried out by putting their differences aside and focusing on the tasks at hand. Now just like in the spiritual realm, we need to focus on the task at hand, which is glorification of God, by means of advancement in the Spiritual way of life. Follow the PPOG set by God and performed by TLJC as an example. Jesus was our prototype in His earthly ministry. As we saw in chapter 4, the Jews’ enemies who had destroyed the city gates saw the unity that happened and the result of it, and became alarmed, fearing that they might become strong again and become a threat to them (insecurity is the companion of the lost!). They recognized the power of God in it because they thought it impossible or them to repair the gates so quickly without supernatural help. This distressed them all the more, but oddly, didn’t compel them to give up the unwinnable fight. They began to scheme a way they could disrupt this and keep the Jews from building up their defenses and prosperity to where it was before. The cosmic system will always attack individual believers or church organizations whenever we repair our gates and begin to build up our 10 battalions (10 PSD’s), when they see us growing spiritually and glorifying God. They will scheme and plot just like in the scripture and seek to exploit any weakness or opportunity to knock us down and discourage us from carrying on. We must expect this, but we have the opportunity to be prepared via maximum Bible doctrine resident in the soul. One of the main ways they, in the book, and our cosmic adversaries in our modern-day lives, will do this is to destroy the unity we have built and set us against one another. The cosmic system always uses the “divide and conquer” strategy, because it is always effective. The devil even used the Jewish leaders and bankers against them, charging interest on the loans the workers took out to cover the loss of wages as they volunteered their services in the rebuilding. This is what is referred to today as “loan-sharking.” Opportunism is as old as the devil! Fortunately for them, they had a good leader in Nehemiah, who went to the chief priests and took care of that problem as soon as he heard of it. So just like in our spiritual life, we also will go through the different types of suffering. Self-induced misery, unfair treatment, or consequences of our own negative choices, etc.… These sufferings can sometime make us sick through the afflictions and Pastor once said that the problem of the early Church was, they had lots of sickness (mental and physical). Prayer is a big factor in the spiritual life. Jm 5:13-15 Is anyone among you afflicted? Then he must pray. Is anyone cheerful? He is to sing praises. Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him. The word afflicted here in verse 13 is the Greek word: kakopatheō = (kak-op-ath-eh'-o) 1. to suffer (endure) evils (hardship, troubles); 2. to undergo hardship: - be afflicted, endure afflictions (hardness), suffer trouble. And the word in verse 14, sick is astheneō = (as-then-eh'-o) From a negative participle = to be feeble (in any sense), (be) sick, (be made) weak. This tells us you will or ask the question in James, are you suffering adversity? And of course, James gives us the solution, to pray. Just like Nehemiah prayed. It shows in the context f the scripture, that this is referring to a mature or super-grace believer. Overcoming the problems of life, which means you are using the tools that God designed for you to repair those weak spots in life in order to steady the course, not letting them take you down and keep advancing. This is a positive response from a mature believer. Do not let the people or things of this world take you away from the blessings that await you. As I’ve said before, do not let the petty things distract you, because if you do there will be a stall in your engine. Meaning your momentum will be taken away and you will need to start up the spiritual engine again, maybe even having to return to basic doctrine again. Scar tissue from reversionism, meaning prolonged time out of fellowship (not practicing 1Joh 1:9) and out of God’s plan, spiritually AWOL, which is seen in Heb 6:1. Instead, follow the instructions of the apostle Paul: 1Co 4:12 and we toil, working with our own hands; when we are reviled, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure; 2Ti 4:5 But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. God wants reparations to take place at this time: pray for one another, help each other edifying, keep your eyes on the goal or prize. Just like in repairing of the walls of Nehemiah, He wants to show that it can be done. And to the mature or super grace believer He shows him how to do it remaining happy through the sufferings or adversity, by fervent prayer. Remember that in the Church Age every believer is a priest, which is shown in that we have a high priest in TLJC. As priests, we have the privilege of praying directly to God the Father, as our high priest prays for us. In Prayer, you have that ability to take whatever you need, directly to the throne room of God (Rv 1:6, Eph 2:6). Prayer is the most effectual weapon in the spiritual realm. Paul describes it this way: Eph 6:18 With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints, Neh 1:6 let Your ear now be attentive and Your eyes open to hear the prayer of Your servant which I am praying before You now, day and night, on behalf of the sons of Israel Your servants, confessing the sins of the sons of Israel which we have sinned against You; I and my father’s house have sinned. Neh 2:4 I prayed to the God of Heaven. Neh 4:9 We prayed to our God Neh 1:4 praying before the God of Heaven Nehemiah’s area of strength was his prayer life and seen as a mature way to deal with the situation. Now, Sunday we did review a few principles of unity. We saw that unity was described as: - The state of being one; oneness - Oneness of mind, as among a number of persons; concord, harmony, or agreement - The state or fact of being united or combined into one, as of the parts of a whole; unification. And the unity we see in Nehemiah and in our spiritual life are compared, and we have 5 different ways this is shown to us in this study. 1. The status of being combined with others to form a greater whole. The Jews become victorious and go back to following the plan of God and even work with people they didn’t like; to rebuild the walls for the whole city’s protection. Unity among the people, they all benefited from the complete work. We the Church, as a whole, have been combined together to form a body of Believers through The Baptism of the Holy Spirit at the moment of Salvation, 1Co 12:13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. 2. The status of being harmonious with other members of the royal family of God. Ecc 4:12 And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart. 3. The state of being complete, which means a maximum number of believers execute the protocol plan of God and become invisible heroes in the angelic conflict. Eph 4:13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. 4. Complete accord among believers regarding divine viewpoint in the mystery doctrine of the Church Age. Eph 4:16 from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love. 5. Complete Oneness of Sharing the Happiness of God – Occupation with the Lord Jesus Christ. Pr 3:13 How blessed is the man who finds wisdom. And the man who gains understanding. Joh 17:23 I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me. This is maximizing Bible doctrine resident in the soul, operating with the filling of the Holy Spirit, and applying the use of MBD (Metabolized, i.e. believed and assimilated, Bible Doctrine), which ultimately give you personal love for Christ, an intimate relationship. ******************************************************************************************* Now we will return to the study of the substitutional spiritual death of our Lord Jesus Christ, and our look at John chapter 3, with it’s religious character study in Nicodemus, and how it relates to the doctrine. This is a part of the Christian Soldier Prep course. It is critical that we understand this doctrine before we continue, and you will see why as we go along, if you stick with this. Please refer to previous editions of the Tree Of Life for more info if you missed them, or check out the archived videos of the original live streamed lessons on our YouTube channel listed on this site. Last time, we studied the fact and it is a very important fact because many denominations are deceived today because they don’t understand the principle that water doesn't always refer to baptism. There are seven baptisms in the word of God, (that we noted last week) four which are dry and three which are wet. We explained in detail the different baptisms and the etymology of the Greek word from which we get “Baptism”, and it’s true meaning of “identification”. Water is only one way of identification. So we saw that water sometimes represents the Word of God, other times it represents identification - like what we saw with Moses and the baptism of Moses, so we have to understand which way the word is being used by examining the context, by looking at the original language and word usage, and by comparing scripture with scripture. We should never assume what something in the scripture means, especially when we are new to studying the Bible, or according to any presumptions or any non-biblical (worldly or humanistic or secular) contexts. The Bible should be interpreted according to the Bible, because if you try to understand it in the context of the world system, you’re going to distort and corrupt it. This is how we get some of the really out there cults that people say comes from the Bible, such as the JW’s or heaven’s gate, Branch Davidianism (remember WACO?), or the many strains of replacement theology. You can read the Bible and interpret it almost any way you want, you can make it say whatever you want if you’re crafty with words and imaginative. Many believers have no idea of the temptation that exist in ministry because of mis-interpretations of the Word of God. How do we avoid this? There must be a system, a regular, well-defined, scientific (in the sense of following a precise objective procedure) and repeatable method which is proven to be sound. Fortunately, there is! It’s called Hermaneutics, or textual criticism. It is used in other academic settings now, but it was originally developed as a way to study biblical texts, and it is aimed at trying to determine, with as much accuracy as possible, the intended meaning which the author meant to convey or communicate. Many believers have no idea of the temptation that exist in ministry because of misinterpretations of the Word of God. This is because most teachers and preachers do not use the principles of hermaneutics and do not know the original languages. They either interpret it for themselves from the English or other translations (in their native language), or they take it from various commentaries, according to what they already think or like, rather than digging into what is there and accepting it whether they like it or not. They don’t know the languages, so they can’t tell how or why a passage means what it means. When they read “love” or “forgiveness” they interpret that according to their pre-existing concept of what love is, which is either humanistic, or religious, and generally always emotional or sentimental. They don’t know that there are several different words in the Greek that all refer to different qualities or applications of love, and depending on the word – in the original – the meaning is different. See? Same for forgiveness. There are different kinds of forgiveness, and different words, i.e. ‘charizomai’ – or grace forgiveness (charis means grace), or ‘aphiemi’, which means to pardon or cancel, as in a debt that is owed for an offense. The latter is used for post-salvation sins, where the restitution or consequences are in view, and are being canceled (as in when we rebound – while the sins are judged and forgiven at the cross, there are consequences to them, such as scar tissue, and loss of the filling of the Spirit. These are canceled in aphiemi). It is shocking how many things are obscured or lost altogether in the translations, because there is either no way to convey them, or doing so would require so many more words, and the Bible be three times the size it is! If you’ve ever seen an amplified text, you see what I mean. These men are most often religious people who don’t take the time to learn accurate unadulterated bible doctrine. They may be well-meaning, but they don’t put in the work where it really counts – in “rightly dividing the word of truth”, often seeing it as unnecessary, while instead putting their time into elaborate works programs and emotional lures. Unfortunately, the only way to really understand why exegesis based on hermaneutical principles is so important, is to actually do it or learn from a PT who does long enough to see the difference. The point is, like Nicodemus, most communicators and teachers are blind concerning what God's word, in the original language, has to say. They may get the meaning wrong, or they may only get part of it, but miss the real meat of it, or miss the typology, etc., which really highlights the divine complexity and wonder of the Bible. It’s important that we don’t fall into this nonsense and it is the pastor teachers job to warn us – which he does an incredible job in training us with. So, some principles: Principle #1. Without some knowledge of Hebrew and Greek, and an understanding of hermaneutics (which your pastor teacher must have), you cannot accurately teach those who look to you for help as to the original language of scripture. Principle #2. Without some knowledge of Hebrew and Greek, you cannot appreciate the critical discussions relating to the books of the Old and New Testaments. We see this with the confusion over baptism, with many sects believing and teaching that without being dipped in water, there is no salvation, even though the Apostles weren’t and none of the OT saints were either. Abraham was never dipped in water! I guess he wasn’t saved then….sorry Abraham! No, this is a false teaching that directly results from superficial, amateur interpretation of scripture, which does not reveal the meaning of ‘baptizo’ aka baptism or the different uses of the word “water”. These people assume if it means baptism in one place, it must mean it everywhere. We also see this with the word “fire” - many people, any time they see the word in the entire Bible automatically read “hell” into it and make the passage be about loss of salvation. Principle #3. All Scripture was written for every believer (2TI 3:16) but not all Scripture was written ‘to’ every believer. The rejection or ignorance of dispensational teaching makes the Bible make no sense and contradict itself. Almost all the apparent contradictions of the Bible are eliminated with the application of dispensations, which allows us to understand which period of time and prophecy is being referenced in a particular passage. Some of the spectacular spiritual gifts which were given in the pre-canon period but are taken away during the church age (1Co 13:8), will return during the Millennium. This is all part of “rightly dividing the word of Truth.” Truth does no good, and can even be harmful, if it is not correctly understood. It can be like a grenade in the hands of a toddler. In case you need a refresh or you may not be familiar with the term: I.C.E. is an acronym that describes the way in which the word of God must be interpreted. It stands for Isagogics: To fully understand the word of God, the Bible must be interpreted within the framework of isagogics, which is the historical setting. Categorical: The Bible must be studied through the scrutiny of the particular doctrine as recorded throughout the Scripture, line upon line, verse upon verse, and category upon category. Hence, Scripture must be used to interpret Scripture. No scripture can stand alone. Exegesis: The Bible should be studied in the original languages (Hebrew, Aramaic, and Koine Greek), with full context of the selected verse or verses, paying strict attention to grammar, syntax, and the etymology of the words form the original languages. It sounds complicated but it really is just a matter of setting some sanctified time aside and when you let it sink in… you will have a much better understanding of what the Word of God is all about. Principle #4. Without some knowledge of Hebrew and Greek, (speaking of the PT especially here) you cannot be certain that you are presenting the correct teaching of that text. Principle #5. It is helpful for the student to learn some level of basics just so that they can understand how and why the Pastor-Teacher arrives at a particular interpretation. It is good for a Bible student to ask questions and make sure they are 100% clear on a teaching, and it is ok for a believer to ask the Pastor to explain and show why he interprets a verse or passage a certain way. There will be others who have different interpretations, and in the case of controversial doctrines, there will be attackers and mockers. It is better to know and be confident in what one believes when faced with such people. If all you can say is “well my PT says so and he is always right!” you aren’t going change any minds. But if on the other hand, one can convey with understanding the reason for the interpretation and the reason the other is incorrect, this gives you firm footing. This is not absolutely necessary, but as I said, it is very helpful in “being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you with gentleness and reverence” rather than frustration and emotional reactions! The first thing you should do after being born again and saved is not to serve, it’s not to get involved in the ministry, it’s not to sign up for some program and work and hustle around for the church… ---the first thing you should do is sit down, - relax – let others do the work and you just simply learn what the plan of God is all about. How can you serve God effectively if you aren’t crystal clear on what God wants or how He wants it to be done? There are vast numbers of energized believers, desperate to show God their enthusiasm, running around half-cocked and barking up the wrong trees, doing more harm than good. They are doing the right thing in the wrong way, or the wrong thing in the right way, or neither, but very rarely both! God demands the right thing be done in the right way. We also need spiritual growth in order to serve God effectively. You are an enlisted man or woman in God’s army, and you are preparing to enter combat. Do we recruit soldiers and send them right into the battlefield with no training? Absolutely not! This is the purpose of this study series: Christian Soldier Prep. Prep for what? For service – in warfare. We are like combat medics! We not only need to know how to help and represent Jesus Christ as ambassadors (2Co 5:20), we need to know how to serve as priests (1Pe 2:9), and how to defend ourselves against the many relentless cosmic attacks (Eph 6:16). People who run into combat without being properly prepared become casualties. Here is a point at which Satan very frequently misleads this particular type of person. What type of person? The type of person who has been brought up in a religious atmosphere. They are like a person who worships a stone or gold idol, and burns incense, performs oblations and rituals at certain fixed times, but there is no relationship with a divine being – because there is no divine being there – it’s just a statue. All those things they do are like religion, it’s all about man doing things to earn something from God, but ignoring God, knowing nothing about Him. They’re only focused on themselves and what they can get from God, never on what God wants from them. Even the things they purport to do “for God” are really for them, because they are expecting some reward, usually material or emotional, and when they don’t get it, they blame God. Religion is the devils ace trump – it’s the devils power – religion is more powerful to satan than immorality is. Immorality is actually an insult to satan because immorality destroys satan’s ability to try to counterfeit God’s heaven… God’s heaven is up in heaven but satan’s heaven is on this earth. The occultists have an axiom, it’s written on their satanic “baphomet” statue and in their temples, “as above, so below”. This is the devil’s true plan! To make the earth like heaven – by his own power and machinations, independent from God. This just also happens to be what the secular humanist wants and what the religions want. I’m sure there is no connection though…. And satan says I can be like God – but you look at this earth and does this earth look like anything to do with what heavens all about…?? Not at all…. We know what heaven is all about – heaven is a place of perfection, of love, of justice, --- this world is pure chaos… its filled with lies and deceit… Satan may like it when we believers sin, so he can accuse us before the Throne of Grace all day and night (Rv 12:10), so he can say “these are your righteous ones? They’re the worst of all!” But he wants his people to be moral and upright so he can say “look – we are better than your pathetic, chronically failing sheep!” Unfortunately this will never work, because human beings are ALL fallen and weak and pathetic, and he becomes increasingly frustrated with this, and will unleash his wrath on his own subjects during the last years of the Great Tribulation. One thing that my dad wants us to hammer down and drive home is this statement right here in John 3 where our Lord makes this all clear: Joh 3:6 "That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." Remember - the Christian life is not something we do but something which is done to us and through us by God (Joh 3:7-8). That’s why our Lord says in Joh 3:7 "Do not marvel (the Lord said to Nicodemus – because apparently Nicodemus was said to be marveling because he realizes that the Lord is saying something that’s really convicting him – almost like challenging him to the fact that he might not be saved – he may not be born again – that he might not see the kingdom of God let alone enter it) that I said to you, 'You must be born again.' And then notice how cool our Lord describes to us the born again life in verse 8: Joh 3:8 "The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit." Meaning that – we don’t know where the life has come from – we don’t know where the life is going – but we know this --- that we are born of Spirit and now God has a perfect plan for our lives. We are a new creation, we are new creatures in Christ - being born again, trichotomous, body, soul, and spirit. Being born again is like the wind in verse 8, - which blows so is everyone who is born of the Spirit. We don’t understand where the wind is coming from and we can’t see it, we can’t see the air molecules, but we see the effects of it, we see the leaves rustling and the dust swirling. I like to think about black holes (science nerd), which are invisible to the eye because no light escapes from them, but we can see them by the effect their massive gravity has on surrounding visible matter as it is drawn into it like water circling a drain. We can’t see God either, but we see His brushstrokes in creation, and we see the effects of His interventions in our daily lives, and the inner transformation that metabolized doctrine brings. Others can see that too! We all experience a desire to serve God, and most of us will experience some desire to “get out and do something”, sometimes a very strong urge, but if we don’t even know what we are doing, we will do more harm than good. Just as in the natural realm: you can't build a building without a foundation can you?—why not? Because it will collapse! The same is true in the spiritual realm. You can't grow until you are born, you can’t run until you can walk, and you can’t win a race if you run in the wrong direction, or on the wrong track! So God says, “before you can enter the race you have to grow, so that you can learn to walk and then to run, and you must learn the rules before you can be sure to follow them and not be disqualified from receiving a gold medal”. That’s what the Lord is saying to Nicodemus here, “you haven’t even seen the kingdom, and so you’re not really entering into the kingdom.” He is saying to Nicodemus. “relax – I’m going to tell you how to do that”, and He does in Joh 3:14-16. We need to understand and experience that we are new creatures and also that “that which is born of the flesh is flesh.” (Joh 3:6) It may be refined flesh, beautiful flesh, religious flesh, outwardly moral flesh, flesh that impresses people, but it is still flesh, and flesh does not impress God! (1Sa 16:7) Or another good one: Rom 8:7-8 because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and THOSE WHO ARE IN THE FLESH CANNOT PLEASE GOD (emphasis mine). This just simply means that every born again person has two natures within them: one which is carnal (of the flesh) and one which is spiritual (of the Spirit). There is no mixing! You are either 100% spiritual or 100% carnal! This is why you are a spiritual schizophrenic at times – we are all spiritual geminis in adolescence, we are “double-minded, unstable in all our ways” until we grow up. Paul described it so perfectly what we ALL face as born-again believers with two conflicting natures in Romans 7: Rom 7:14-25 For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin. For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good. So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin. We all have a battle going on and God knows that we have this battle going on and He has already won the victory over it and so have we— we just need to live like it, and that comes from living IN it – learning to identify more with Christ and the new being than the body, which is our natural default setting as fallen creatures. 2Co 5:6-8 Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord— for we walk by faith, not by sight—we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord. Our Lord's words in Joh 3:7, "Do not marvel", reveal the reaction of Nicodemus. And the Lord actually saw that, which is why He said this to Nicodemus. He was marveling (I can only imagine his facial expression) because he was religious and self-assured and he was blinded to the truth of the word of God by arrogance, by status, by position, by legalism. Religion had made him totally ignorant, he was totally baffled… And so Jesus continues in verse 8, Joh 3:8 "The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit." When you were born again you didn't see it. You may have seen and felt an emotional response, but that is solely your own reaction to thinking/awareness. Not everyone has an emotional reaction, and neither is right or wrong or better or worse. Like the wind, God the Holy Spirit can not be ween, but the effects of it can be seen – the leaf that flies reveals it. We can’t see a black hole but we can see the visible matter swirling like water in a drain as its invisible force draws it helplessly in. there are many examples of this! Nicodemus was like all natural people, he is consumed with the visible and the material and with superficial, relativistic, empirical, and rational judgments. He can’t think outside those boxes. He thinks of God in those terms too. But the Bible even says the things which are seen are temporal – the things which are not seen – they are the things which are eternal. So in Joh 3:9 Nicodemus answered and said to Him, "How can these things be?" He had not been taught this at his theological seminary and please notice our Lord uses a little sarcasm at the right time. Joh 3:10 Jesus answered and said to him, "Are you the teacher of Israel, (one of the greatest teacher of Israel) and do not understand these things? This was sanctified sarcasm. Sarcasm which is good because its based upon a true heart from God – right motivation and based on love. Jesus understands that education doesn’t necessarily mean understanding. Sometimes it is just memorization and regurgitation. And so He says Joh 3:11-12 "Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak that which we know,(those who have been born again) and bear witness of that which we have seen; and you do not receive our witness. If I told you earthly things and you do not believe, how shall you believe if I tell you heavenly things?" Sometimes in order to understand something we have to set aside our existing framework and listen without prejudice. The infinite divine can not be understood correctly based on the finite worldly, humanistic, or scientific preconceptions and presumptions. When we try to understand something new, we try to fit it into what we already have, like a puzzle piece. But sometimes the pieces are from a whole different puzzle, one not even of this dimension! God, and the spiritual reality, that is the reality beyond the material universe, which is essentially like a vast terrarium, are not bound by physical, spacial, or temporal rules or limitations. The rules of the terrarium do not apply outside of it. You have to throw that out and start all over again. But Nicodemus is thinking like a natural-minded scientist who believes in some sort of divine intelligence but has no spiritual apparatus for discernment (1Co 2:14). He just can’t make what Jesus is telling him fit. But he doesn’t even believe the earthly things! And then the Lord says in verse 13: Joh 3:13 "And no one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended from heaven,(only the LJC ascended into heaven by His own power, Enoch was transferred, like what happens to us when we die) {even} the Son of Man. Now He is going to give Nicodemus some teaching from the Old Testament so that he can learn how to apply what He is saying – you must be born again… Joh 3:14 "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up;" Now why is this important? “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness (back in Numbers 21), even so must the Son of Man be lifted up?” Nicodemus was familiar with Numbers 21, which gives us the story of the serpent. Jesus was trying to convey that true life could only come out of death. The true life that we have comes from death – we have to die to our old nature to enter into the new realm of the eternal state. In order to live in the new nature, the old one must be abandoned. We can’t live in both: Mat 6:24 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.” We cannot serve God and serve our body, pleasure, ambition, materialism, etc….this is a conflict of interest. It might take a while to get to the fork in the road, but it will come, and we will leave one or the other then. We need to understand this because if not – than you’re not going to understand what it means to be born a spiritual birth and have this new life that God promises each of us to have NOW – not when we die and go to heaven – but beginning at the moment of your salvation - right now- while we are living on this temporary earth… Paul the apostle knew all about it and he said it like this in Gal 2:20 "I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I (the old man – the old nature) who lives, but Christ lives in me (the new nature); and the life which I now live in the flesh (as I am still living in a physical body) I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me (there is the SSD)." He took my place – He was my substitute – He was your substitute or as we say He was “our” substitute. 1Co 5:7-8 Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed. Therefore let us celebrate the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. The Jews wanted their Messiah to be elevated to the throne of David (not on a cross) but before this, He must be lifted up upon the cross and put to shame. They didn’t want a Messiah who was going to die, they wanted a Messiah who was going to reign, and them with Him… they wanted the crown but not the cross. They wanted the glory without the humility. But the plan of God was that the Messiah must be lifted up upon the cross and put to shame… - in our place - as our substitute. They did not think they needed that, they thought they were already justified and sanctified by their works of the Law. They never understood, even right up to the present day, that the cross comes before the crown! So in Numbers 21 the Israelites were rejected Moses – God’s chosen leader for the time - and they were murmuring against him - therefore - they were murmuring against God (1Sa 8:6-7). Num 21:4 Then they set out from Mount Hor by the way of the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom; and the people became impatient because of the journey. They were like us – they wanted things done yesterday… we are no better today, maybe worse in the age of instant gratification! Num 21:5 And the people spoke against God (and of who?)and Moses, (they said) "Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we loathe this miserable food." You see the immaturity - they’d rather be slaves to the Egyptians than be free – they had the slave mentality. They were accustomed to having everything provided. A lot of immature believers have that today (and unbelievers too) - “give me bondage and take care of me but don’t make me have to be responsible for myself!” A child wants freedom until they realize it comes with having to do things yourself, then they run back home! We always want to have our cake and eat it too, but life doesn’t work that way. In verse 6 and 7, God sent some discipline in the form of “fiery serpents”, meaning venemous, which bit them and many died (sin unto death). Then they got guilty and finally rebounded (only because of the discipline) and asked Moses to pray. So God told Moses to make a bronze serpent and raise it on a standard, and if anyone was bitten (by sin) they only needed to look to it to be healed. Note the typology. Now - this is why it is so important for us to have a pastor-teacher – because we have two different words for serpents here… do you see that in the English? You don’t see that at all – you see the one word - “serpent” - but the English word serpent is the translated from two different words! There are so many cases of this, and so many errors springing forth from them. In verse 6, the word for serpent is the same word used for the serpent in the Garden of Eden in Gen 3: ‘nachash’ (naw-khawsh'); meaning “a snake which hisses” (secretly hisses –- it talks about the fact that the snake is a gossiper btw – whispering behind the scenes), or literally an image of a serpent, or a fleeing serpent (mythologically speaking). This is a different serpent than the One that were going to see put on the pole. One serpent is a literal serpent, while the second is a type, or a representation of sin. Another word we could use is “likeness.” Remember that one. Some traditions and demonic religions such as Buddhism or Taoism or other forms of mysticism or luciferianism (occult, hermeticism, theosophy, new age, satanism, neo-paganism) promote the notion that dualistic opposites like light and dark, hot and cold, good and evil, are mutually interdependent and even that they are two sides of the same coin, therefore both necessary and therefore good. This is a part of the father of modern psychology, Carl Jung’s system which we see permeating every area of post-modern culture and academic, scientific, philosophical and socio-political thought. The philosopher Hegel (he and Jung were major influences on Karl Marx, btw), termed it “thesis (truth), antithesis (anti-truth or opposite truth), and synthesis (both are seen to be the same thing and are merged). We see this in the current culture war – westernism (judeo-christian worldview and morality, aka divine establishment principles) is the thesis, while post-modernism i.e. collectivism/Marxism, utopianism/fabian socialism, social justice/egalitarianism, all of these things represent antithesis. Synthesis will replace them when the clash has run its determined course and they are merged into one, coterminous with religious ecumenism and political/economical globalism. So these traditions, from which the post-modernists derive their ideas, believe that good needs evil, or they need each other, and can’t exist without the other, because each is defined by its relationship to the other. This is what one theologian calls “one-ism”. Everything is really one thing manifesting as different aspects, but the duality is only an illusion. Why the heck is all that important? Because all this is a direct satanic attack, aimed at discrediting and ultimately banishing the word of God. And in the Christian world, these “woke” ideas have begun to infiltrate the denominational churches and cults. Some mixed up Christians actually teach or profess that Christ needed sin, or that sin is necessary, and they will use this passage as a basis, but they are totally missing the typology and the dual meanings of ‘nachash’. We want you to be prepared to defend the truth! We know it is possible for good to exist without evil because God proves it! But then you see why this “one-ism” is so insidious: if one believes it, then God as we know Him - absolute perfection, absolute holiness, no darkness is in Him – is impossible and must be denied for a more “inclusive” conceptualization (invention). Jesus Christ did not need sin to complete His mission! Now, in verse 7, notice that they confessed their sin, they had sinned and they cried out unto Moses for relief. And what did Moses do? – He did what any man of God would do – he went to God! Moses cried unto God and the Lord told him to make a serpent out of brass and place it on a pole. Notice that this serpent is made out of brass and it is different from the literal serpents that were real. The Jews who were bitten by the fiery serpents were told to forget about the fiery serpents in GEN 3 and to look at the brazen serpent "in faith" in Numbers 21 and they should be healed. This was all a foreshadowing of our Lord Jesus Christ. So - the serpent on the pole was different than the serpent on the ground. The serpent on the pole was brass, a “likeness” of sin – remember? Actually /It spoke of Christ being lifted up on the cross in order that He might save, through the look of faith, those who were dying from sin.\ again – all they had to do was look in faith… The serpent in GEN 3 spoke of sin. Not the brazen serpent – the brazen serpent spoke of something we are going to see in REV 1, the brazen serpent recalls of the feet of the bronze of our Lord Jesus Christ. It spoke of Him being lifted up and them actually looking at the feet of our Lord where He actually overcame His enemies because remember what God the Father said to God the Son- sit down at My right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for Your – FEET. And we need to understand this type, because remember - Jesus Christ was made in the “LIKENESS” of sin…right??? So the bronze serpent is in the likeness of the literal venemous serpent which bit everyone and made them die (“the wages of sin is death...”)... Is it clicking? I hope so! He wasn’t made in sin, He was made in the likeness of sin. And just like Jesus Christ was made in the likeness of sin and we look to Him so that you and I could have our forgiveness and our freedom – so was the same with the serpent in the OT with GEN 3 and NUM 21. Pretty cool! Now, the question arises, why didn't Moses use one of the actual serpents and spike a fiery serpent on the pole? Because it would have damaged the typology. It would have pictured God's judgment on the sinner (the actual fiery serpent - the sinner himself) himself and worse still, it would have misrepresented our sinless substitute, TLJC, who died in our place. So Jesus Christ is human - made in the likeness of the sinner – but He Himself knew no sin. Heb 7:26 For it was fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens. All they – or we - have to do is look to the bronze standard, in the likeness of sin but having no sin, who was sacrified for us, which is analagous non-meritorious faith, and we are healed - sanctified and justified in Him. Do you know that according to the word of God – bronze is stronger than gold and silver… In the scriptures brass symbolizes divine judgment! The brazen altar illustrates this truth for on it the sacrificial animals were slain. Upon the brazen altar (in the old testament in the ark of the covenant) descended the consuming fire (that came) from heaven. The brazen altar represents the sacrificial animals were slain; they were actually slain on one side of the altar. In fact if you look at Revelation chapter 1 – this is where Christ is seen as judge inspecting the seven churches, we are told that His feet were like fine brass. REV 1:15 and His feet were like burnished bronze, when it has been caused to glow in a furnace, Just like that brazen serpent in Numbers 21 – our Lord’s feet were like burnished bronze… isn’t that AWESOME! The furnace was the divine heat of divine judgement on a person of Christ… but our Lord had endured those bronze feet bc He had endured the divine judgement from God for us… So let’s begin to close by noting some of the things the Jews were NOT told to do. -- Notice I said Not told to do. 1). They were not told to manufacture some ointment as the means of healing their wounds. “Spiritual” lotions do not cure the sin disease - only the Lord Jesus Christ. Like the poor woman mentioned in Mk 5:26, many spend all that they have but are nothing better, rather worse. 2). They were also not told to minister to others who were wounded and help each other out. What use would it be for one to jump into deep water to rescue a drowning man if he could not swim himself. This speaks of making an idol out of men, even your PT, or trusting in medicine or science more than in God, which is also idolatry. How can one who is dying and unable to deliver himself, help others in a similar state? It's the blind leading the blind. 3). They were also not told to fight the serpents. What use would it be to fight the serpents for those who had already been bitten? They could all have killed a thousand serpents each but they would still have died. Fighting against the serpents or fighting against sin or the devil will not solve a thing. We cannot defeat them with human power! 4). They were not told to make an offering to the serpent on the pole. God did not ask any payment from them in return for their healing. Grace ceases to be grace if any price is paid for what it brings.\ And that is one of the reasons we consider Grace Bible Church/Robert McLaughlin Bible Minstries a grace ministry and we operate under these same principles of grace and we always will… 5). They were told not to look at Moses, the man of God They had been looking to Moses but God commanded them to look at the brazen serpent. Moses was the law giver and how many today are looking to him for salvation and spirituality. The Pastor-Teacher can not provide salvation, he is a servant of Christ just like all of us! We trust Him to help us understand the word of God, to put on the full armor of God, but he is only a communicator, not a replacement or substitute for God (sorry, Mr Pope!). 6). They were not told to look at their wounds. Some think they need to be more occupied with the work of examining their own wicked hearts. To be occupied with self is to be occupied with that which God has condemned. We must isolate our sin when we rebound by “forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward toward to objective” (Php 3:13) and we must not become preoccupied with our righteous deeds either – they are God’s work being perfected in us – by HIS POWER! The devil is very pleased when he gets an individual looking at good works, feelings, baptism, self, etc. as opposed to Christ. Let's look now at the positive side. First, 1). Moses was commanded by God to make a serpent of brass, it was something the Lord provided. 2). Moses was commanded to fix this brazen serpent upon a pole. Therefore, the divine remedy was publicly exhibited so that all Israel might look and be healed. 3). The Lord's promise in Num 21:8 was that "It shall come to pass that everyone that is bitten, when he looks upon it shall live." The point is that man was to look away from himself to the divinely appointed object of faith. The brazen serpent was lifted up so that those who were too weak to crawl up to the pole itself simply could look and be healed. No one had any excuse, all they had to do was look… Num 21:8 Then the Lord said to Moses, "Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a standard; and it shall come about, that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, he shall live." No matter how many times he may have been bitten, no matter how far the poison had advanced, if they looked they could be healed, anyone could look and anyone could be healed. It’s so simple that many many believers refuse to accept it, an they always have to add something to it! But what happens when you add 0.0000000000000000001 nanogram of impurity to a pure substance? It’s not pure anymore! There is no 99% pure in the spiritual life, 99% is rejected by God’s perfect standards. This is what the unbelievers will learn at the Great White Throne judgment when their dead works aka “filthy rags” are tabulated and shown to be insufficient! Matt 25:41 tells us hell was prepared for the devil and his angels. The reason is because God has more than one characteristic. God is love, but that doesn’t mean sentimental, emotional, subjective love like we mostly practice, but divine love – and it is because of love that we are given FREE WILL, and with it, responsibility (Gal 6:7). God is love, but He is also absolute righteousness and justice and holiness (Hab 1:13) The Bible is very dogmatic about a literal hell, over one hundred-sixty-two texts in the New Testament alone are given, Over seventy were uttered by the Lord (2Th 1:4, Lk 16:23, Isa 5:14, Mt 13:42,50; Rev 20:15, Mat 8:12), just to give a very few. However, God so loved the world that He did something so that no one would ever have to suffer in the eternal state. "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” All you have to do is see your venomous bite and look to the standard! We have an awesome God and His word never ceases to amaze! And guess what? – there is even more – After salvation the Christian life continues by looking. Joh 3:14-15 "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; that whoever believes may in Him have eternal life. And here’s that verse and I would like to dedicate this closing to anyone who has not yet accepted TLJC as your Savior – I’m here to tell you that all you have to do right now is look to Him – look to Jesus – the Son of God in faith – because: Joh 3:16 For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life."