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Chapter 15 Outline: What to Do with God’s Provisions.
- 1-8, Suffering for Blessing and Divine Good Production, Pt 24
- 6, Warning to the Unproductive Believer, Pt 24
- 9-10, Abiding in the Love of God, Pt 25
- 11, Divine Good Produces Inner Happiness, Pt 26
- 12-13, Impersonal Love Motivates Divine Good Production, Pt 27
- 14-15, Faith Application Results in Intimacy with Christ, Pt 28
- 16-17, Predestined to Glorify God, Pt 29
- 18-21, Obstructions to Divine Good Production, Pt 30
- 22-25, The Reason for the World’s Rejection, Pt 31
- 26-27, The Spirit Leads Us in Triumph, Pt 32
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We now turn to Chapter 15 of John’s Gospel. Here Jesus gets into the meat of this discourse as He discusses Divine Good production of the believer. So, we could have as a heading for this chapter, “What to do with God’s Provisions.”
Charles Ryrie notes in his Study Bible, as a summary of Chapter 15 and 16: “Chapters 15 and 16 contain the second Farewell Discourse. In Chapter 15 are the themes of fruit-bearing and the hatred of the world for Christ’s disciples. The theme of persecution is continued in Chapter 16 along with teaching concerning the ministry of the Holy Spirit.”
As we noted in the conclusion of Chapter 14, this discourse was given while on the road to the Garden of Gethsemane. Warren Weirsbe notes, “John 14 closes with, “Arise, let us go hence!” which suggests that the next two chapters may have been spoken on the way to the Garden.”
The first part of Chapter 15 is a parable using a vineyard, vine, vinedresser, and branches in its analogy. We will define each of these as we delve into them.
Many Biblical commentators suppose that during their walk from Jerusalem to Gethsemane that they passed by the Temple which has vine decorations on its entrance doors, and / or they passed by the vineyard in the Kidron valley which led our Lord to utilize its analogies.
Weirsbe notes, “It is probable that Christ and His disciples were passing some vineyards, or perhaps the temple with its golden vine decorations, when He gave the analogy of the vine and branches.”
An outline of Chapter 15 breaks it down in two sections:
- The parable of the vine, vinedresser, and branches in Verses 1-11, with its commentary in Verses 12-17.
- A warning regarding the hatred of the world towards the believer in Verses 18-27.
In reading all of John Chapter 15, we see that Jesus continues His last-night teaching as He compares His future relationship with the Church Age believer to that of a vine to its branches.
Jesus is saying that He is the source of spiritual vitality and fruitfulness. When a believer remains “in Him,” he is intimately connected to the Lord, not just positionally but experientially, by positive volition (responsive obedience) to Jesus’ mandates, vs. 15:1-17.
Then He tells us that those who are lost and without salvation residing inside Satan’s Cosmic System will hate Christ’s disciples even as the KOSMOS – κόσμος (kos’-mos) hated Jesus.
Nevertheless, the Spirit, resident in the believer, will testify about The Christ to the world, even as the disciples themselves must testify, vs. 18-27.
This chapter ultimately tells us that without Jesus, positionally and experientially, we can do nothing, yet with Him, we can do all things.
As we explore this chapter, we will see that there are three relationships that are part of every believer’s experience:
- Relationship with God, 1-11, 26-27,
- Relationship with other believers, 12-17, and
- Relationship with the indifferent and hostile world of nonbelievers, 18-27.
Some of the highlighted themes of this chapter that we will explore include:
Experiencing Our Union with Christ.
The image of the Vine and branches focuses on the experiential aspect of a theological reality. We are united with Jesus, Rom 6:1-14, and to produce spiritual fruit, we must “abide in” the relationship that faith has established. These passages are not dealing with salvation but with Divine good production of the believer.
In the Old Testament and other gospel parables, the vine and vineyard are metaphors for Israel and “fruit” is a metaphor for “righteous living.” Here Jesus supersedes the metaphor to reveal Himself; He is the True Vine that provides nourishment, not Israel, compare with Psa 80:8-19. Likewise, in the New Testament, the fruit metaphor continues to suggest righteousness as Divine Good Production via the Holy Spirit, Gal 5:22-25.
Identifying the Father as the “Vinedresser”, [GEORGOS – γεωργός (gheh-ore-gos’) – “tiller of the soil, farmer”], speaks of the Father’s role in our spiritual walk as a loving parent to keep us experientially in His righteousness. Who could have greater skill in nurturing our spiritual growth?
Removal and Pruning, vs. 2 & 6.
As you know, dead wood on a tree might spread disease and decay to the rest of the branches. Therefore, the removal of dead wood maintains the health of the entire tree. In the spiritual realm, “removal” speaks of Divine discipline in order to remove the ultra reversionistic believer from among the healthy believers.
Pruning of a vine involves a gentle cutting back of live wood so that the branch’s fruitfulness is improved; we call this underserved suffering, which brings about spiritual growth in the positive believer’s life.
Pruning then speaks of suffering for blessing and removal of Divine disciple, yet neither threatens the salvation of any believer.
Prayer, vs. 7.
Once again, our Lord emphasizes the importance of the prayer life of the believer. As Verse 10 states, “we abide in Jesus’ love” experientially by responding obediently to Him, which begins with 1 John 1:9, the confession of our sins, and then continues as we offer petitions and thanksgiving in prayer. When we do, we are attuned to His leading and praying in His will. As we have noted in both this discourse and 1 John 5:14-15, such prayers God answers!
Glorifying God vs. 8.
We glorify God by doing His will, which brings Him praise. As noted here, this means bearing fruit, Divine good production. This glorifies God, because we cannot do it without an intimate, dependent relationship with Jesus, vs. 4, and the enabling power of God the Holy Spirit.
Love Each Other, vs. 12-17.
The key to an abiding relationship with Christ is “obedience.” When we were obedient to the call of the Gospel, we were positionally placed in Union with Christ. When we are obedient to the call of the mandates found in His Word, we are experientially in fellowship with Christ, and therefore can have a great relationship with other believers, cf. 1 John 2:3-11.
Likewise, AGAPE – ἀγάπη (ag-ah’-pay) love is the key to relationship with the world in “bearing witness / testify” of Christ, vs. 27.
Chosen, vs. 16.
The believer is the elect of God. The initiative in salvation always belongs to God. He loved us before we knew Him. He sent Christ to redeem us while we were in our sins. He reached out with the Good News, and His Spirit called us before we expressed any inclination to respond to Him.
The World’s Hatred Towards the Believer, vs. 18-27.
The “world” [KOSMOS – κόσμος (kos’-mos)] is the whole of Satan’s realm here on earth as it exists without God, that is, Satan’s Cosmic System. This KOSMOS was hostile toward Jesus, and we can expect it will be hostile to us too.
This hostility is rooted in the world’s failure to know God, v. 21, but more specifically in a fierce anger that flared when Jesus revealed God to them, v. 24.
How are we to respond? As Jesus did, by testifying about God, v. 26. Don’t get caught up in others’ hate towards you or God. Remember God is still choosing believers out of the world wherever the Gospel message is heard!
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Upper Room / Gethsemane Discourse, Pt 24
Vs. 1-8, Suffering for Blessing and Divine Good Production
Vs. 6, Warning to the Unproductive Believer
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John 15:1, “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.”
The Greek is:
“Ἐγώ εἰμι ἡ ἄμπελος ἡ ἀληθινή, καὶ ὁ Πατήρ μου ὁ γεωργός ἐστιν.”
The Greek Transliteration is:
“EGO EIMI HE AMPELOS HE ALETHINE, KAI HO PATER MOU HO GEORGOS ESTIN.”
EGO – ἐγώ (eg-o’) is the First Person, Singular, Pronoun, in the Nominative case that means, “I”. Jesus is referring to Himself as the subject of the verse.
EIMI – εἰμί (i-mee’) is a verb in the Present, Active, Indicative, First Person, Singular that means, “To be or exist.” Here with EGO it means, “am” in “I am.” This is stating the case of who Jesus is at the present time, as a statement of fact, in the Indicative Mood. In other words, even though He is in the form of a man, He is (and continues to be) God. He is saying, “I keep on being, always was, and always will be.”
This is one of the great “I AM” statements made by our Lord Jesus Christ as quoted by John in His Gospel. The importance of this statement is that He was identifying Himself as the one and true God of Israel and all people. This was the great insignia that God gave to Himself as a memorial name for all generations according to Ex 3:13-15.
Exodus 3:13, “Then Moses said to God, “Behold, I am going to the sons of Israel, and I will say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you.’ Now they may say to me, ‘What is His name?’ What shall I say to them?” 14God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM”; and He said, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” 15God (ELOHIM), furthermore, said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘The LORD [YHWH – יְהֹוָה (yeh-ho-vaw’)], the God [ELOHIM – אֱלֹהִים (el-o-heem’)] of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is My name forever, and this is My memorial-name to all generations.”
When God answered Moses’ query, “what is Your name?” the response is not simply “Yahweh,” but rather a definition of the name is given, a further disclosure of the God behind the name.
“I AM” is the Hebrew verb HAYAH – הָיָה (haw-yaw) that means, “to be, to exist,” It is related to the name of God, YHWH, rendered LORD, which is derived from the verb HAYAH, which is similar to the Greek EIMI. In fact, the Septuagint uses, EGO EIMI for this translation.
“I AM WHO I AM” can literally say, “I was, I am, I always will be!” The words express absoluteness, and therefore the unchanging and eternal Being that is God. If God is “I AM,” then He is always the same, and His purposes will be fulfilled.
These words are intended to point out the eternity and self-existence of God. By Jesus using the “I AM” statement, followed by further definition, He was telling them that He was God Himself.
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“I AM” Statements in John’s Gospel
Most commentators state that there are seven great “I AM” statements found in the Gospel of John. These include Verses 6:35; 8:12; 10:9; 10:11; 11:25; 14:6; and 15:1-5. These will be signified with an “*” below.
But I believe there are four more that must be added to this list, 8:18; 8:58; 18:5 and 18:37.
Let’s do a quick survey of the “I AM” statements found in the Gospel of John.
“*” John 6:35, “Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.”” (See also Verses 41, 48, 51).
This passage speaks of our eternal life found in Christ.
“*” John 8:12, “Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”” (See John 9:5)
This passage speaks of our righteousness that is founded in Christ.
John 8:18, “I am He who testifies about Myself, and the Father who sent Me testifies about Me.”
He is the great witness of God’s plan of salvation.
John 8:58, “Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.”
Here He is noting His eternal existence as God. The man Jesus was not before Abraham, yet His Deity was; He has always existed.
“*” John 10:9, “I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.”
Jesus is the only means of our salvation. The only entrance into eternal life is through Christ Jesus.
“*” John 10:11, “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.” (See also 10:7-14)
Jesus as God is our guardian and provider beginning with His provisions for our eternal life.
“*” John 11:25-26, “Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, 26and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?””
He is the provider of our Resurrection body, the First Fruits of those to be resurrected paving the way and making it possible for the believer to be resurrected.
“*” John 14:6, “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”
Our entrance into relation with the Father is through Jesus Christ alone. He has made possible our reconciliation.
“*” John 15:1, “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. (See also Verse 5)
Jesus Christ is the sustenance for the believers Divine Good Production.
John 18:4-5, “So Jesus, knowing all the things that were coming upon Him, went forth and said to them, “Whom do you seek?” 5They answered Him, “Jesus the Nazarene.” He said to them, “I am He.”” (Read also: Verses 6-8)
Notice what happened next, all of the Jewish soldiers fell to the ground. This was a powerful shock to their systems as they realized He was saying I AM your God; the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as identified by God through Moses.
John 18:37, “Therefore Pilate said to Him, “So You are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.””
Here the last of the “I AM” statements, Jesus is prophesizing of His yet future kingdom. Although He, at that time, was qualified as the rightful King, it was not yet time to take the throne. He will upon His Second Advent.
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Now back in John 15:1, next we have, “the true vine,” which is:
The Greek is:
“ἡ ἄμπελος ἡ ἀληθινή,”
“HE AMPELOS HE ALETHINE,”
HE is the article “the” in the Nominative, Feminine, Singular.
AMPELOS is a noun also in the Nominative Case, Feminine, Singular that means, “grapevine” or simple a “vine.”
HE ALETHINE is the article “the” plus the Predicate Adjective which is also in the Nominative, Feminine, Singular of ALETHINOS – ἀληθινός (al-ay-thee-nos’) that means, “real, genuine, true, or sometimes dependable.” Here in the predicate position it tells us what is predicated of or asserted about the vine; it is true, real, genuine, etc. So instead of saying, “the vine the true,” we say, “the true vine.”
The use of ALETHINE tells us that Jesus is the original and only vine from which the branches (believers) grow. He is the origin and source of the believer’s life, and the believer’s ability to produce anything of lasting value and glory to God.
Christ began His life as prophesized in (Isa 53:2) as “a root out of parched ground.” Read Isa 53:1-12. Yet, that same root became the vine from which branches (believers) grow because of His completed work on the Cross and the Word which He left for us. He is the believer’s spiritual sustenance.
“In the O.T. the vineyard is used as an illustration of the nation Israel (Psa 80:8; Isa 5:1-7; Jer 2:21). Isaiah complains of Israel’s turning into a wild vineyard, Jeremiah complains that the vine has turned into a degenerate plant, and Hosea cries about Israel’s being an empty vine. To His disciples who are acquainted with those situations, Jesus offers Himself as the contrasting true and genuine (alethinos, Gk.) vine.” (Believer’s Study Bible)
Compare with Psa 8-19.
Then we have: “and My Father is the vinedresser,” which is:
The Greek is:
“καὶ ὁ Πατήρ μου ὁ γεωργός ἐστιν.”
Transliterated it is:
“KAI HO PATER MOU HO GEORGOS ESTIN.”
KAI is the conjunction for “and.”
HO to the Nominative, Masculine, Singular article “the” which is not translated here.
PATER is the Nominative, Singular for “Father,” referencing God the Father. Remember, Jesus did not have a human father.
MOU is the Genitive, First Person, Personal, Pronoun of EGO that means, “of me,” or we would say, “My.” This is a Genitive of relationship, where Jesus is talking about His Father.
HO is again the article “the,” this time translated.
GEORGOS is in the Nominative, Masculine, Singular and means, “farmer, tenant farmer, vinedresser.” It means, “the farmer, cultivator of the soil, the one who does the planning and the planting and the cultivating and the harvesting.” The KJV uses, “husbandman” that means the same. It is used here to represent God the Father.
This word is used in three other ways in the New Testament.
- In an earlier Parable by our Lord, where it represented Israel as rejecting God’s prophets, culminating in their rejection of His Son. Mat 21:33-46; Mark 12:1-12; Luke 20:9-19.
- Also in 2 Tim 2:6 in regard to the believer who produces Divine good, especially the Pastor-Teacher; he will be rewarded, “The hard-working farmer ought to be the first to receive his share of the crops.”
- Also in James 5:7-8 the believer is to wait patiently for the Rapture of the Church.
James 5:7-8, “Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it, until it gets the early and late rains. 8You too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near.”
ESTIN is the Present, Active, Indicative, Third Person, Singular of EIMI that means “to be, exist, is, etc.” This tells us one of the roles that the Father performs.
The Gnomic Present Tense is for a timeless general fact. The Father has been, is, and will always be the Vinedresser.
The Active Voice says that the Father is the landowner-farmer, who cares for His branches of His vineyard (Church Age believers).
The Indicative Mood is for fact of reality. This is who the Father is. He owns the vineyard and tends it; He is vitally interested about it and cares for it.
Our complete translation of John 15:1 is: “I AM the True Vine and My Father (has been), is (and will always be) the Vinedresser.”
This leads us to understand how our Father cares and provides for us.
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The Doctrine of Logistical Grace
The basis for logistical grace is Divine integrity. Logistical grace is then imputed through God’s grace pipeline. Phil 4:19
Phil 4:19, “My God shall supply all your needs (logistical grace support) according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”
God will never run out of riches to support you. “Riches” refer to God’s integrity and virtue.
Logistical grace includes three factors:
Life Support is provided for every Church Age believer. This explains how and why we are alive every moment. The only reason we are alive is because of logistical grace. We do not earn or deserve it; there’s no work we can accomplish to keep ourselves alive.
Blessing, the things necessary to sustain us (food, clothing, shelter). They are provided for every Church Age believer, both winners and loser. This dramatizes the justice of God, in that the justice of God sends life support and blessing to the indwelling righteousness of God in both winners and losers. This emphasizes grace. You are alive only because of the grace of God, not because of anything you do. Winners utilize logistical grace, losers coast on it, but never truly utilize it.
Divine Provision for every Church Age believer to execute the Plan of God. All doctrine comes from the prepared Pastor-Teacher. If you have persistent positive volition, you will find doctrine and your right Pastor-Teacher who will feed you the spiritual food necessary for your growth and production.
The Biblical definition of logistical grace is found in 2 Cor 9:8.
2 Cor 9:8, “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, that always having a sufficiency in everything (logistical grace support), you may have an abundance for every good deed (good of intrinsic value production).” Read 2 Cor 9:6-11.
The Biblical rationale for Logistical Grace is found in Mat 6:25‑34.
Logistical grace includes six categories of support:
Life-sustaining support is provided by God. God sustains the life of every believer on earth. No believer can depart from life apart from God’s will. Therefore, all the forces of hell cannot remove one believer apart from God’s permission. God also provides all that it takes to support life.
Psa 48:14, “This God is our God forever and ever; He will be our guide even unto death.” See also: Lam 3:20-25.
Temporal needs such as food, shelter, clothing, transportation, environment, time, a job, etc. are provided by God, Mat 6:25-33; Phil 4:19.
Security provision is taught in the doctrine of Eternal Security. Your security is from God. This includes the assignment of guardian angels, and the provision of the Laws of Divine Establishment for freedom to advance to maturity. If positive to Bible doctrine, God provides the security for you to make that advance, as in the wall of fire (Zech 2:5).
1 Peter 1:5, “We are kept by the power of God.”
Spiritual riches are provided by God, such as our Portfolio of Invisible Assets, the Ten Problem Solving Devices, and the unique factors of the Church Age. It also includes the provision of doctrinal teaching from your right Pastor, privacy, and security necessary to maintain positive volition, the Royal Family Honor Code, and discernment to see distractions and set them aside. Spiritual provision of an Evangelist, a Pastor, the privacy of your priesthood, the canon, and a local church are all provided for you.
Eph 1:3, “Who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing.”
Blessings are given to every believer, both winners and losers. These are not to be confused with escrow blessings which are far greater.
God preserves us from death. Heb 2:14; Psa 33:18; 56:13; 116:8
Psa 33:18, “Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear (respect) Him, on those who wait for His lovingkindness (grace) to deliver their soul from death, and to keep alive in famine (depression).”
Psa 56:13, “For you have delivered my soul from death, indeed my feet from stumbling, that I may walk with God in the light of life.”
To walk with God in the light of life means you know about logistical grace so that you appreciate it, and therefore utilize it.
Psa 116:8, “You have rescued my soul from death.”
Logistical Grace is designed to not only sustain the believer but to allow you to advance in the spiritual life.
2 Peter 3:18, “But grow by means of (logistical) grace even the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
God’s grace includes Divine discipline when in Reversionism and suffering for blessing when in spiritual adulthood, John 5:26-29; 2 Cor 12:9; Lam 3:20-25.
2 Cor 12:9, “Then He assured me, ‘My grace (logistical grace) has been and still is sufficient for you. For the power is achieved with weakness.’ Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses in order that the power of Christ may reside in me.”
So, we understand God’s logistical grace and His purpose for it. This is noted further in John 15:2, where we see the inter-workings of the Father to bring about the best possible production from every believer. In Verse 2, we understand the work of God, and in Verses 5b & 6, we understand why God works differently in each believer’s life.
John 15:2, “Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.”
John 15:5b, “he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. 6If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned.”
Warren Weirsbe notes regarding this parable, “It is important to remember that not everything in a parable must mean something. A parable teaches one main truth, and to try to make a parable “stand on all four legs” is often the first step toward misinterpretation. The main truth Christ is teaching in this parable is the importance of abiding in Him in order to bear fruit. The word “fruit” is used six times, and “abide” at least fifteen times (but it is not always translated “abide”). The main point of the teaching here is fellowship, not sonship.”
Even though logistical grace is given to all believers, for those who utilize His grace in positive volition and Divine good production, He continues to shape and mold them into more effective and efficient vessels. Yet, for those who possess negative volition, He ultimately removes so that the strong healthy branches (those with positive volition) can better grow.
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Let’s look closer at:
John 15:2, “Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it, that it may bear more fruit.”
In the Greek, it reads:
“πᾶν κλῆμα ἐν ἐμοὶ μὴ φέρον καρπὸν, αἴρει αὐτό, καὶ πᾶν τὸ καρπὸν φέρον, καθαίρει αὐτὸ ἵνα καρπὸν πλείονα φέρῃ.”
Transliterated it is:
“PAN KLEMA EN EMOI ME PHERON KARPON AIREI AUTO KAN PAN TO KARPON PHERON KATHAIREI AUTO HINA KARPON PLEIONA PHERE.”
PAN is an Adjective in the Accusative case, Neuter, Singular of PAS – πᾶς (pas) that means, “all or every.” This tells us that there is no partiality with God. He treats all negative believers the same, and He treats all positive believers the same. His treatment is not based on your personality or good looks; it is based on the Justice and Righteousness of God and His Grace Pipeline either for discipline or blessings.
KLEMA is a Noun in the Accusative, Neuter, Singular that means, “a tender and flexible branch, the shoot or branch of a vine, a vine sprout, or branch.”
This is an allegory for the Church Age believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. We know that He is talking about believers because of the following phrase “in Me.” The unbeliever is not “in Christ,” only the believer is. Therefore, we know that this verse is only addressing believers. Therefore, salvation and the Lake of Fire are not in view, as also signified by Verse 3, “You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.”
All of the participants in the Upper Room were “clean,” (i.e. believers), except for one, as noted in:
John 13:10, “Jesus said to him, ‘He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you (i.e. Judas Iscariot who was an unbeliever).’”
“Branch” connotes a number of things.
Relationship with the Vine. When we believe in Jesus Christ, we have relationship with Him; we are in union with Him, just as the branch is in union with the vine.
Productivity. The productivity for the Church Age must come from the believer who is on the earth. The Vine is in heaven, the Lord Jesus Christ. The believers are the conductors of productivity.
EN is the Dative Preposition that means, “in.”
EMOI is the First Person, Singular, Pronoun in the Dative case that means, “I or Me.” Jesus is referring to Himself (the True Vine), and the union that every believer has with Him regardless of whether the believer is positive or negative towards their relationship with Christ.
Therefore, every branch is in the Vine, and this is our basic relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. However, the branches in the Vine are of two types. We are all in union with Christ, but we fall into different categories spiritually.
Here we have the first category of believers; those who are negative towards Christ post salvation, the believer “that does not bear fruit.”
ME is the Greek negative “not” used with non-indicative verbs. We will say, “that does not” indicating action not performed.
PHERON is a Participle Verb in the Present, Active, Accusative, Neuter, Singular of PHERO – φέρω (fer’-o) that means, “to bear, carry, or bring forth.”
The Customary Present Tense is for action that regularly occurs or an ongoing state. So, this is not just a one time “non-production.” It is ongoing non-production. The regular life style of the Cosmic believer.
The Active Voice tells us the reversionistic cosmic believer does not produce Divine good.
The Participle reinforces the Customary Present as a state of being in reversionism.
KARPON is a Noun also in the Accusative case, but in the Masculine, Singular of KARPOS – καρπός (kar-pos’) that means, “fruit.” It can also mean, “grain; harvest; result, outcome; deed, action; return, gain, advantage; tribute, praise (of the lips); offspring (Luke 1:42), or descendant (Acts 2:30).
In the Accusative, it is referring back to the object of the sentence, the branch / believer, and in this case, the believer who does not bear or bring forth fruit – Divine good production.
Bearing fruit / Divine good production means thinking Bible doctrine and applying it, not just hustling around performing works without faith / doctrine in the soul.
This first clause is representing the reversionistic believer; he is a non-producer. A producer is one who applies Bible doctrine in their lives to daily experience. The greatest productivity in life comes as a result of thinking Bible doctrine (i.e. faith) that results in works, versus the one who just enters into works without faith / Bible doctrine cycling through their soul, James 2:14-26.
In Verse 24, when James says, “You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.” He is not nullifying the faith alone in Christ alone doctrine, as the means of salvation, as noted throughout the New Testament, Eph 2:8-9; Rom 3:28; 9:32; Gal 2:16; 3:2.
Rom 3:28, “For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law.”
Gal 2:16, “Nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified.”
James is emphasizing the fact that works are a necessary part of the Christian way of life, and there must be faith motivating those works. Notice how Paul used the phrase, “works of the law” in contrast to faith, where James simply says, “works.”
James 2:22, “You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith (Bible doctrine) was perfected (in the soul).”
Production starts in the soul and works outward. Yet, in John 15:2a, this is “the one not bearing fruit,” referring to a reversionistic believer who is not taking in or applying Bible doctrine; therefore, there is no Divine good production. The born-again believer should not be thinking with anything but Bible doctrine, and the reversionistic believer is negative toward doctrine; therefore, he lacks food for thought. The reversionist never uses his soul, he never has food for thought, and therefore he is full of human viewpoint, full of Divine discipline, full of misery. In other words, he never amounts to anything.
Then in John 15:2, we have the result of non-production:
AIREI is the Present, Active, Indicative, Third Person, Singular of AIRO – αἴρω (ah’-ee-ro) that means, “to raise, take up, or lift – away.”
The Gnomic Present Tense states a timeless general fact. It’s a general maxim of God’s grace.
The Active Voice with the Third Person Singular refers to God the Father, the Farmer / Vinedresser. He performs the action of removing the reversionistic believer.
The Indicative Mood is for the reality that God the Father cuts out and removes the branch which has not produced fruit. So, we say “He (God the Father) takes away.”
AUTO is the Third Person, Singular, Pronoun, in the Accusative, Neuter, of AUTOS – αὐτός (ow-tos’) that means, “it,” referring to the object that is “taken away,” (i.e., non-producing reversionistic cosmic believer).
So, we have “Every branch, (Church Age believer), in Me, (Jesus Christ the Vine), that does not bear fruit, (no Divine good production), He, (God the Father), takes it, (Church Age believer), away, (Divine discipline).”
This is ultimately a reference to the Sin Unto Death, the third stage of Divine discipline. The reversionistic believer winds up under the Sin Unto Death.
When you stop thinking with Bible doctrine, God eventually pulls you out, because you are a spiritual zombie, a dead branch. He doesn’t pull you out right away, you have three chances: a) The warning / knocking type discipline; b) The intensified / pounding on the door type discipline; c) The dying / final stage discipline. See: 1 Cor 11:30.
In our recently completed study of 1 John 5:16-17, we noted the doctrine of the Sin Unto Death, so here we will just summarize with a few principles.
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The Sin Unto Death
The Sin Unto Death is for believers only, Psa 119:75; Prov 3:12; Heb 12:6; Rev 3:19.
Heb 12:6, “For you see, ‘those whom the Lord loves He disciplines and He scourges with a whip every son whom He receives.’”
Rev 3:19, “Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent.”
It is maximum punitive discipline for the reversionistic believer, Psa 118:17-18; 1 John 5:16.
The Sin Unto Death does not mean loss of salvation, 2 Tim 2:12-13, with 1 Cor 3:12-15.
Reversionism is the cause for the Sin Unto Death, Jer 9:16; 44:12; Phil 3:18-19; Rev 3:16-19.
There are four causes of the death of any believer:
- Our work on earth is finished, 2 Tim 4:7.
- To glorify God in an unusual way, Phil 1:20-21.
- Maximum discipline for reversionism or the Sin Unto Death, 1 Chron 10:13; 1 John 5:16.
1 Chron 10:13-14, “So Saul died for his trespass which he committed against the LORD, because of the word of the LORD which he did not keep; and also because he asked counsel of a medium, making inquiry of it, 14and did not inquire of the LORD. Therefore He killed him and turned the kingdom to David the son of Jesse.”
- Suicide, the reversionist superimposing his own will over Divine will.
Case histories of the Sin Unto Death:
- Approbation reversionism, Annanias and Saphira, Acts 5:1-10.
- Phallic reversionism, 1 Cor 5:1-5.
- Ritual reversionism, 1 Cor 11:30-31.
- Mental attitude reversionism, 1 Chron 10:13-14; 1 Sam 13:9-14. This is rejection of Bible doctrine.
- Foreign policy reversionism or anti-establishment reversionism, Isa 30:1-3; 31:1-3 compare with Isa 38.
- Verbal reversionism, Hymenaeus and Alexander, 1 Tim 1:19-20.
Reversion recovery eliminates the discipline and removes all sins, 2 Cor 2:5-10; James 5:15, 20. The cancellation of the Sin Unto Death. The first category can be recovered from by rebound, but the second and third categories demand repentance, a change of mental attitude.
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Having noted the negative consequence of not producing Divine Good / the fruit of the Spirit, we now turn to the believer who is producing Divine Good and how the Father works in that believer’s life.
The NASB says, “And every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.”
The Greek is:
“καὶ πᾶν τὸ καρπὸν φέρον, καθαίρει αὐτὸ ἵνα καρπὸν πλείονα φέρῃ. “
Transliterated it is:
“KAI PAN TO KARPON PHERON KATHAIREI AUTO HINA KARPON PLEIONA PHERE.”
KAI is the conjunction for “and, even, also, but, etc.” It is a contrastive conjunction denoting the difference between the inter-workings of God the Father in the life of the non-producer and producer. So, we translate this as, “but.”
PAN is an Adjective in the Accusative, Neuter, Singular meaning, “all or every.” Since we already declared KLEMA EN EMOI, “branch in Me (Christ),” above, to be an allegory for the believer, KLEMA EN EMOI is not needed here, yet it is in view, because of the Contrastive Conjunction, KAI, differentiating the previously mentioned – “branch in Me that does not bear fruit” above, with the “branch in Me that does bear fruit” here. So, PAN will act as a pronoun here meaning, “everyone,” in reference to “the branches in Christ that bear fruit.”
TO is the Accusative, Neuter, Singular Article for “the.” It is not translated here.
KARPON is the Accusative, Masculine, Singular of KARPOS – καρπός (kar-pos’) hat means “fruit.”
PHERON is a Participle Verb in the Present, Active, Accusative, Neuter, Singular of PHERO – φέρω (fer’-o) that means “bear, carry, or bring forth”.
The Customary Present Tense is for action that regularly occurs or an ongoing state. This is ongoing production of the positive believer. This is the regular life style of the positive believer.
The Active Voice tells us the positive believer produces Divine good on a consistent basis.
The Participle reinforces the Customary Present as an ongoing state of bearing fruit. The believer who “bears fruit” is the mature believer. Again, this is thinking in terms of Bible doctrine; doctrine that is on the launching pad of your soul. To convey the Customary Present Participle, we will say, “bearing” for linear aktionsart, ongoing action.
Next, we see how God the Father works in the life of the positive believer.
KATHAIREI (kath-ah’ ee-ray) is the Present, Active, Indicative, Third Person, Singular of KATHAIRO καθαίρω (kath-ah’ ee-ro) that means, “to cleanse,” or specifically, “to prune.” Figuratively, it means, “to expiate” that is “purge.” Its root word KATHAROS – καθαρός (kath-ar-os’) also means, “clean,” and is used in Verse 3, regarding the believer’s positional sanctification.
Thayer defines its use in Scripture as, “to cleanse, of filth impurity, etc., to prune trees and vines from useless shoots, and metaphorically, from guilt, to expiate.”
Liddell and Scott define it from Greek literature as:
- Of the person or thing purified, to make pure or clean, cleanse, clean, or purge. To purge, clear a land of monsters and robbers, Sophocles. In religious sense, to cleanse, purify, to prune a tree, i.e. clear it of superfluous wood, New Testament.
- Of the thing removed by purification, to purge away, wash off or away.
- Cleanse of blood, wash the blood off him, Iliad.
BDAG defines it first as, “to cause something to become clean; that is make clean.” Then in relation to John 15:2, “to remove superfluous growth from a plant, that is clear or prune.”
So, it comes to mean here in John 15:2, “to keep it clean by pruning it so that it will produce more fruit.”
The Gnomic Present is a timeless general fact of God’s working in the positive believer’s life to continue to refine and mature him.
The Active Voice; the Vinedresser, God the Father produces the action of pruning.
The Indicative Mood is a statement of fact as to God working in the life of the positive believer.
The Third Person, Singular points to the Vinedresser, God the Father.
Therefore, pruning is the mature believer getting occasional adversity, suffering, trial, etc. in order that he might be blessed even more. The mature believer has capacity for suffering, and he has capacity for blessing in suffering. Therefore, pruning only makes the branch stronger and more productive. We will translate this as, “He prunes.”
This is a Hapax Legomenon, a word used only once in Scripture, although there is debate over the phrase “having been cleansed” in Heb 10:2. Some believe KATHAIRO is the root word, while others believer KATHARIZO, “to make clean, purify” is the root word. Nevertheless, Hebrews 10 initially speaks to our positional sanctification through the completed work of Jesus Christ on the Cross, but it also sheds light on our discussion of experiential sanctification and Divine good production in John 15:2, specifically, in Heb 10:18-25 and 32-36, in regard to the pruning process of Suffering for Blessing.
AUTO is a Pronoun in the Accusative, Neuter, Third Person, Singular, which here means “it,” speaking of the branch (Church Age believer) that is pruned by the vinedresser (God the Father).
So, we have “But everyone bearing fruit He (God the Father) prunes (undeserved suffering) it.” This will lead us to the doctrine of Underserved Suffering (i.e., Suffering for Blessing).
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The Doctrine of Suffering for Blessing
Read John 15:1-8
Introduction: Suffering Acts as a Guardian or Parent in Life, 2 Peter 1:1-11.
2 Peter 1:1-11, “Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ: 2Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; 3seeing that His Divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. 4For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the Divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. 5Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, 6and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, 7and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. 8For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins. 10Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble; 11for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you.”
Suffering plays an important role in the life of adult. What your parents did for you in childhood, suffering does for you as adults. God has given you suffering as a form of parenting for the rest of your life. The disciplines and restraints of childhood imposed by your parents are now replaced by the disciplines and restraints of suffering, replacing the role of parents in your life.
Suffering is a warning that you are doing it wrong, or when underserved, it is a means of greater blessing. Parents don’t always spank; they also give us things. They both discipline and give blessing. So also, God has provided for the believer the parenting of suffering after we leave home. Therefore, suffering is a guardian, a referee that always makes good calls. Suffering is not a blind umpire! Suffering is an authority designed to challenge the believer to grow in grace by the proper utilization of his portfolio of invisible assets in the fulfillment of the Plan of God.
While suffering is a restrainer in life, as in punitive preventative suffering (i.e. Divine discipline), it also plays a major role in accelerating the positive believer’s momentum to spiritual adulthood, as in providential preventative suffering, Rom 5:1-5.
Rom 5:1-5, “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. 3And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; 4and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; 5and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”
Suffering for blessing is another guarantee from God that the believer can and does fulfill the Plan of God by advancing to spiritual maturity.
Suffering for blessing becomes a major system for Divine good blessing and for the glorification of God, John 15:2b-5, 7-8.
As a guardian in our life, suffering is designed by God for our good, because it does two things:
- It restrains us from sin, human good, and evil, just as our parents restrained us.
- It challenges us to advance in the Plan of God, just as our parents challenged us to grow up.
No suffering for blessing is beyond what we are able to handle or endure through the utilization of God’s Word and the Filling of the Holy Spirit, 1 Cor 10:13.
1 Cor 10:13, “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.”
Suffering is Used as a Measurement of Life:
Suffering never leaves the Christian as it found him. As a result of suffering, we are either the better or the worse for it. When you suffer, you will never be the same again.
No one stands still under pressure. You either move forward or regress.
If, during suffering, the believer reacts through arrogance, bitterness, vindictiveness, self‑pity, or implacability, he becomes a loser and starts to go backward. He is set back in his Spiritual life and in his life in general. In other words, you cannot afford to react to suffering. Respond, don’t react! This requires Bible doctrine ready for application in your soul.
If, during suffering, the believer responds through the application of metabolized doctrine and Occupation with the Person of Christ, he eventually advances to the point of becoming a winner. We forget what is behind (our failures) and convert our sufferings into blessings through rebound, the three stages of the faith‑rest drill, hope 2 and hope 3, and spiritual self‑esteem. Then we will be the better for it and will advance to maturity. We’ll be oriented to reality. The greatest converter of suffering into blessing is Spiritual Self-Esteem.
Suffering for Blessing Rationale:
For the believer who is living inside God’s Power System (GPS), (i.e., being under the enabling power of the Holy Spirit and with momentum from metabolized Bible doctrine in your soul), all suffering is designed for blessing. When you are in fellowship with God, any suffering that comes to you is designed for your blessing in terms of enhancing your wisdom and common sense in regard to the correct application of God’s Word to situations and life in general, Rom 8:28; James 1:2-4.
Rom 8:28, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”
James 1:2-4, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, 3knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
When you are out of fellowship with God, outside GPS, all suffering is punitive in nature and designed for blessing on a limited scale; (i.e., to bring you back to reality, to bring you to the point of rebound and regained fellowship with God, to bring you to the point of recovery, and to show you that your scale of values is wrong, and you must change your priorities). Therefore, whatever suffering comes into your life, it is designed for blessing, Job 5:17; Prov 12:1; 15:32; Heb 12:5-11.
Job 5:17, “Behold, how happy is the man whom God reproves, so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty.”
Punitive suffering is resolved by the confession of your sins (the rebound technique), and remaining inside GPS. Then all punitive suffering left over, (the results of your bad decisions), is converted to preventative suffering for blessing. In addition, the suffering may be cut down since what you brought on yourself was more than you could handle. Therefore, God reduces the suffering, so you can handle it, for God never puts on you more suffering than you can bear, 1 Cor 10:13. Likewise, sometimes the suffering may be eliminated altogether.
- When your suffering is more than you can bear, the origin is your own volition, never the Sovereignty of God.
- God never gives us more suffering than we can handle. So, what God does not remove, he intends for us to bear, to endure, to handle, and to solve with doctrine.
There are two doctrinal applications from Punitive Suffering. These are the two major motivations for blessing in either avoiding or recovering from sin under the principle that all suffering is designed for blessing.
- The resistance of future temptations.
- The application of 1 John 1:9, rebound, when a sin occurs.
All suffering for blessing is designed by God for the believer’s advance to spiritual maturity and the glorification of God. Suffering for blessing is always designed to advance you by putting muscle on your spiritual life, Prov 3:11-12, read Verses 1-26.
There is no suffering too great for the Plan of God to resolve. Therefore, all problems of suffering are resolved in the mechanics of the Plan of God with its 11 Problem Solving Devices (PSDs), and its solutions accumulated from Bible doctrine, 2 Cor 12:9-10.
2 Cor 12:9-10, “And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 10Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.”
God’s provisions of your Portfolio of Invisible and the 11 PSDs are far greater than any suffering, pressure, or disaster in life.
There are Five Categories of Suffering in the Spiritual Life:
Punitive suffering, designed for the reversionistic believer that has two categories:
- The Law of Volitional Responsibility.
- Divine discipline.
Suffering for blessing, designed for spiritual adulthood falls into three categories to match the three stages of spiritual adulthood:
- Providential Preventative Suffering – for the believer in Spiritual Self-Esteem.
- Momentum Testing – for the believer in Spiritual Autonomy.
- Evidence Testing – for the believer in Spiritual Maturity.
Definition of the Three Stages of Spiritual Adulthood and Accompanying Suffering for Blessing:
Spiritual Self-Esteem (SSE) and Providential Preventative Suffering (PPS):
- SSE is the assertion of Bible doctrine resident in your soul; it is living by one’s own thinking from that Bible doctrine and is making application of metabolized doctrine under all circumstances including suffering for blessing, James 1:22-25.
- SSE is characterized by and is the inevitable result of personal love for God.
- The believer’s self-confidence is not derived from self but from the confidence that he has a unique relationship with the God of all creation.
- The Christian who gains SSE has crossed the dividing line between spiritual childhood and spiritual adulthood, between spiritual dependence and spiritual independence, between punitive suffering and suffering for blessing.
- SSE is the giant step in the believer’s life as the first stage of spiritual adulthood, Rom 12:10-21; Col 1:9-12; 2:6-7.
Spiritual Autonomy (SA) and Momentum Testing (MT).
- SA is a continuation of mental contentment or +H (Sharing the Happiness of God) as a major Problem-Solving Device achieved at SSE. In SA, there is a stronger and increased contentment, capacity for life, and capacity for happiness as a result of combining SSE with PPS.
- This contentment is based on Impersonal Love for all because others’ imperfections and mistakes will not be a source of unhappiness to you, Phil 4:11‑13; Heb 13:5; 1 Tim 6:6‑8.
- SA is having doctrinal and grace orientation with the absence of arrogance in your soul, resulting in mental toughness and self‑confidence. It is having orientation to reality, authority, and freedom, while at the same time, rejecting those things that destroy the spiritual life such as fear, worry, and anxiety.
- In SA, you have a tremendous amount of Divine viewpoint that is used in pressure situations, as well as normal situations. Therefore, it is characterized by mental stability due to maximum utilization of Bible doctrine in the soul. Prov 19:8, “He who gets wisdom (metabolized doctrine) loves his own soul (SSE). He who cherishes understanding (SA) prospers.”
- Spiritual autonomy also characterized by having a personal sense of destiny. It understands God’s plan, will, and purpose in the concept of the invisible impact of the Church Age.
- Momentum Testing begins when the believer reaches SA.
Spiritual Maturity (SM) and Evidence Testing (ET).
- SM is the maximum expression of the grace of God utilized by the spiritually mature believer inside the Plan of God.
- SM is characterized by cognitive independence, which is maximum perception, metabolization, and accurate application of Bible doctrine to life. He is independent of any form of advice, counseling or human encouragement, but not independent of expository Bible teaching from his right Pastor-Teacher.
- The SM believer is classified as an invisible hero because of his impact on human history. He brings maximum glory to God as an invisible hero living the supergrace life, Phil 1:20‑21.
- The SM believer can meet and face every problem in life with a maximum amount of inner happiness. There is no tragedy, disaster, difficulty, or heartache that can overcome the tremendous entrenchment of cognitive self‑confidence and its +H.
- Evidence Testing begins when the believer reaches SM, the book of Job
- SSE is characterized by epistemological rehabilitation (renewing of your mind, Rom 12:1-2), the accumulation of all the doctrine you learn between salvation and the point of SSE, all the doctrine it takes to advance you to SSE.
- SA is characterized by cognitive self-confidence, which is the result of additional metabolized Bible doctrine plus passing Providential Preventative Suffering.
- SM is characterized by cognitive independence, which results from additional metabolization of doctrine plus passing momentum testing (people, system, thought, and disaster testing).
- Spiritual Self-Esteem plus Providential Preventative Suffering equals Spiritual Autonomy plus Momentum Testing equals Spiritual Maturity plus Evidence Testing equals glorification of God.
Suffering and Spiritual Adulthood:
The Spiritual Life can be categorized by 2 phases:
- Spiritual Childhood which includes two stages: Infancy and Adolescence.
- Spiritual Adulthood which includes three stages: Spiritual Self-Esteem (SSE), Spiritual Autonomy (SA), Spiritual Maturity (SM).
God’s pruning process of Suffering for Blessing really kicks in when the believer reaches the first stage of spiritual adulthood, Spiritual Self-Esteem.
Spiritual Self-Esteem is the assertion of metabolized Bible doctrine in the heart (right lobe) of your soul and the application of that doctrine on a consistent basis. You cannot reach the point of consistent pruning (Suffering for Blessing) until you reach the point where you live by the doctrine that is metabolized in your soul. Otherwise, you are constantly under God’s Punitive Suffering; the law of volitional responsibility and Divine discipline which can be resolve by utilizing the Rebound technique, 1 John 1:9.
With the exception of suffering left over after rebound, there is no Suffering for Blessing until the believer attains SSE through residence, function, and momentum inside God’s Power System. There is a limited Suffering for Blessing in whatever is left over for you to bear after Rebound. But this is of short duration and has no great significance. Therefore, SSE is the dividing line between Punitive Suffering and Suffering for Blessing.
Suffering for Blessing does not occur on a regular basis until the believer has attained SSE. At SSE, you are making consistent application of God’s Word, and His pruning process (Suffering for Blessing) begins in your spiritual life.
There are three categories of God’s pruning that match up with the three stages of Spiritual Adulthood:
- Providential Preventative Suffering (PPS), when you reach SSE,
- Momentum Testing (MT), when you reach SA, and
- Evidence Testing (ET), when you reach SM.
These also match up with our Lord’s discussion of the Father’s pruning process in John 15:2-8. Notice that there are three stages of fruit production:
- John 15:2b, “bears fruit.”
- John 15:2b, “bears more fruit.”
- John 15:5 and 8, “bears much fruit.”
Notice also Verse 8, “By this is My Father glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be My disciples.” This is classified as Evidence Testing, as a result of Spiritual Maturity; the third stage. At SM and ET, we will “bear much fruit” and “prove to be disciples” as witnesses for the prosecution (God) in the rebuttal phase of Satan’s appeal trial of the Angelic Conflict, just as Job was. This should be the goal of every believer.
Nevertheless, all three stages are an extension of the Angelic Conflict in history, and every category of Suffering for Blessing means an advance in your spiritual life. It means you are one step nearer to fulfilling the Plan of God for the Church Age.
Each category of Suffering for Blessing is provided by the Sovereignty of God, under His grace policy, so that the Church Age believer, as Royal Family, can fulfill the Plan of God.
2 Cor 12:9-10, “And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 10Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.”
Phil 4:11‑13, “Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. 12I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. 13I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”
Principle: You should never pray for the removal of any Suffering for Blessing which is the means of fulfilling the Plan of God. Instead, pray for God’s guidance and provision as you endure the suffering to the glory of God.
Providential Preventative Suffering:
Spiritual Self-Esteem is the prerequisite to handling Providential Preventative Suffering, just as Spiritual Autonomy is the prerequisite to handling Momentum Testing and Spiritual Maturity for handling Evidence Testing. God will never give you more than you can bear. So, let’s begin with Providential Preventative Suffering.
Providential Preventative Suffering is the first category of Suffering for Blessing. From the context of John 15:2-8, it can be called “pruning for fruit bearing” or from the context of 2 Cor 12:7‑8, it can be called “thorn testing for humility.”
Providential Preventative Suffering Performs Numerous Functions:
- It insulates against the arrogance complex. This means you begin to eliminate jealous, self‑pity, bitterness, vindictiveness, hatred, inordinate ambition, inordinate competition, and all the other mental attitude sins in the arrogance complex.
- It is preliminary testing or warm‑up testing before entering Momentum Testing under SA. 2 Cor 12:10 lists four tests which match the four Momentum Tests. So, there is a warm up for people testing, for thought testing, for system testing, and for disaster testing.
In 2 Cor 12:10, Paul is content with his own inability to handle these testing from his flesh, which he relates to as “his weaknesses.” So, it breeds contentment in your soul as you apply the faith rest technique. Weaknesses is the Greek noun ASTHENEIA – ἀσθένεια (as-then’-i-ah) and means, “weakness or frailty.” It is also sometimes used for “sicknesses, illnesses, or aliments.” But the context here is simply the inability of the human flesh to solve the problems of Suffering for Blessing, see Verse 9.
People Testing is seen in the Greek noun for “insults” which is HUBRIS – ὕβρις (hoo’-bris) that means, “insolence, mental injury, injury inflicted by the violence of a tempest, shame, insult, or mistreatment.” In Attic Greek law, HUBRIS comprehended, “all the more serious injuries done to the person,” that is grievous assaults. Compare with Acts 27:10 (damage).
Thought Testing is seen in the Greek noun for “distresses” which is ANAGKE – ἀνάγκη (an-ang-kay) that means, “compulsion, constraint, distress, force, or necessity imposed either by the circumstances or by law of duty regarding to one’s advantage, custom, or argument.
BDAG defines it as, “a state of distress or trouble, distress, calamity, or pressure.” It was used to mean, “of necessity as a result of calamity, distress, or persecutions.”
So, it is speaking about the mental anguish that is brought on by outward troubles. Compare with 2 Cor 6:4-5 (hardships); 1 Thes 3:7 (distresses); Philemon 1:14 (compulsion).
System Testing is seen in the Greek noun DIOGMOS – διωγμός (dee-ogue-mos’) that simply means, “persecutions.” It comes from the verb DIOKO – διώκω (dee-o’-ko) that means, “to put to flight, pursue, and by implication, to persecute.”
BDAG defines DIOGMOS as, “a program or process designed to harass and oppress someone, persecution.”
Our English definition of persecution means, “the subjecting of a race or group of people to cruel or unfair treatment, e.g. because of their ethnic origin or religious beliefs.” So, we see that it takes a “system” or group of people to bring about this type of suffering. Compare with 2 Thes 1:4; 2 Tim 3:10-11.
Disaster Testing is seen in the Greek noun for “difficulties” which is STENOCHORIA – στενοχωρία (sten-okh-o-ree’-ah). Literally, it means, “narrowness of space,” and figuratively, it means, “difficulties or distresses, dire calamity, or extreme affliction.”
BDAG defines it as, “a set of stressful circumstances, anguish, or trouble.” Compare with Rom 8:35-39; 2 Cor 6:4-5.
Rom 8:35 & 37, “Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?… 37But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.”
So, PPS not only insulates you against arrogance, but it prepares you for Momentum Testing. For Momentum Testing is the major hurdle in reaching Spiritual Maturity.
PPS is the provision of the Sovereignty of God in compatibility with His grace policy to provide the power for Spiritual Self-Esteem in order to advance you to Spiritual Maturity; i.e., the power to advance through the valley of Momentum Testing.
SSE combines with PPS to propel you to SA which is SSE with muscle minus arrogance. SSE cannot function apart from humility; therefore, PPS provides both muscle and humility.
SSE can only function on humility and orientation to authority. To the extent that you reject any authority in life, to that extent, your SSE is parlayed into a system of arrogance.
SSE is vulnerable to arrogance without PPS which God graciously provides. The most vulnerable point in the believer’s advance is when he reaches SSE, because he is extremely vulnerable to the temptations related to the arrogance complex.
PPS prevents, restrains, intercepts, and insulates against sin and evil in life while challenging your SSE to suffer for blessing and profit.
When SSE combines with PPS, it forms SA. There are five results or signs of SA:
- Impersonal love for all mankind.
- Authority orientation or enforced humility.
- Genuine humility that insulates against arrogance.
- Obedience to the Word of God.
Prov 19:8, “He who gets wisdom (metabolized doctrine) loves his own soul (SSE). He who cherishes understanding (SA) prospers.”
1 Peter 1:6‑8, “In this (your eternal inheritance) you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials (PPS), 7so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire (PPS), may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 8and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory.”
“Tested by fire” is analogous to the pruning process of John 15. It is used because when you put gold in fire, it changes the gold. The gold melts and the impurities are burned off. Fire purifies the gold; makes it better and of more value. So also, PPS changes the nature of the believer, refining you in the spiritual life so that you are of more value in regard to Divine good production in the future. So, the little bit of PPS you have today may result in praise, honor, and glory at the Judgment Seat of Christ.
Phil 1:29, “For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake.”
This is important. You don’t suffer for His sake when you make your own problems, reaping what you have sown from your own bad decisions and bad judgment. Suffering for His sake is when you finally reach SSE.
James 1:2-4, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials (PPS), 3knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance (advance from SSE to SA). 4And let endurance (SA) have its perfect result (SA + MT = SM), so that you may be perfect [TELEIOS – τέλειος (tel’-i-os) = mature = SM] and complete [HOLOKLEROS – ὁλόκληρος (hol’-ok’-lay-ros) SM + ET], lacking in nothing (no eternal rewards lost).”
Once again, “complete” in this passage is HOLOKLEROS an Adjective that is a compound word from HOLOS – ὅλος (hol’-os) that means, “whole or complete,” and KLEROS – κλῆρος (klay’-ros) that means, “allotted to your charge or inheritance.” So, it is referencing your eternal rewards and blessing allotted to you at the BEMA Seat of Jesus Christ, 1 Cor 3:10-15.
This passage describes PPS as the category that prevents sin and challenges SSE to suffer for blessing in the midst of trials.
PPS is the means of establishing right priorities in the spiritual life of the believer.
Read: 2 Cor 12:1-10
The most vulnerable point in the believer’s advance is when he reaches SSE. SSE is vulnerable to arrogance without PPS, (which God graciously provides). Here he is extremely vulnerable to the temptations related to the arrogance complex. SSE can only function on humility and orientation to authority. To the extent that you reject any authority in life, to that extent your Spiritual Self-Esteem is parlayed into a system of arrogance. PPS prevents, restrains, intercepts, and insulates against sin and evil in life, while challenging your SSE to suffer for blessing and profit. When SSE combines with PPS, it forms Spiritual Autonomy (SA).
There are Five Results or Signs of SA:
- Impersonal love for all mankind is the first sign of spiritual autonomy.
- Authority orientation or enforced humility.
- Genuine humility, which insulates against arrogance during momentum testing.
- Obedience to the Word of God.
Why We Should Not Pray for the Removal of Suffering for Blessing? 2 Cor 12:7‑10.
Verse 8, “Concerning this (thorn in the flesh), I appealed [PARAKALEO – παρακαλέω (par-ak-al-eh’-o)] to the Lord three times (three wrong petitionary prayers), that it (thorn / demon) might depart from me.”
PPS, like all suffering for blessing, is not designed to be removed by prayer. It is administered by God, and what God does not remove, He intends for us to bear. You do not pray for the removal of any suffering, whether for blessing or punitive. Such a prayer is blasphemous, for without pruning / suffering, the believer cannot fulfill the Plan of God.
Prayer is Antithetical to the Purpose for Suffering for Blessing:
- You do not pray for the removal of the very means of advancing you to Spiritual Maturity.
- You do not pray for the removal of Suffering for Blessing by which the Plan of God is fulfilled. What God does not remove by way of suffering, He intends for you to bear.
- You do not pray for the removal of the mechanics of power by which SSE is parlayed into SA.
Prayer is not a Problem-Solving Device in your life. You can pray for others under suffering, and you should. You don’t judge why they are suffering, but you do pray for those who suffer. This is a privilege of the Royal Priesthood. Prayer is a weapon of power in the hands of the Royal Priest. But you never pray for the removal of suffering from yourself or from others. All suffering is a decision from the Sovereignty of God. Ignorant and negative believers use prayer for everything, having no doctrine in their soul, no application of doctrine, and no spiritual growth.
God never puts on you more than you can bear, 1 Cor 10:13. Yet, you can do that under the Law of Volitional Responsibility. Before God gives suffering for blessing, He always provides the means of handling it. So, strength in suffering comes from the application of metabolized Bible doctrine. Therefore, believers should not even pray for strength in time of suffering, because strength in suffering comes in other ways mechanically; application of God’s Word through the filling of the Holy Spirit as you endure suffering for blessing and advance. Yet, you can ask for God’s guidance in the utilization of His strength to overcome the situation you are facing under PPS.
Verse 9, “And He has said to me (God’s counsel by means of previously learned Bible doctrine), “My grace is sufficient for you, for power (three stages of Spiritual Adulthood) is perfected in weakness (pruning / Suffering for Blessing).” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.”
Everything necessary to fulfill the Plan of God was provided in eternity past by way of assets in the Portfolio of Invisible Assets. Then God provides Bible doctrine and suffering in time. What a marvelous combination!
Suffering does not bear its meaning in itself, but becomes a spotlight focusing on God’s power and our concurrent weakness; weakness brought about by Suffering for Blessing. Suffering for Blessing focuses on God’s grace and turns boasting away from self‑glorification into worship, love, and appreciation for God.
Paul is boasting because this is not Punitive Preventative Suffering but Suffering for Blessing through which God is glorified. Therefore, this is boasting in a good sense, which looks away from self and looks toward the grace provision of God. It is not boasting to glorify self, but the dynamic mental attitude of SSE facing PPS.
Whenever we face Suffering for Blessing, human solutions cannot solve or help; only Divine solutions can. Therefore, suffering for blessing causes the believer to be weak so that he has to depend on Divine provisions for problem-solving. Consequently, each stage of Spiritual Adulthood is designed to be faced and passed as a Suffering for Blessing test. As a result, you achieve further spiritual growth.
Momentum Testing (MT). 1 Peter 1:6-8; 2:11-20; 3:1-7, 13-17, 20; 4:1-3, 12-16, 19; 5:1-11
Rom 8:18, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”
James 1:2-4, 12; “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, 3knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing… 12Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.”
Principles of Momentum Testing:
MT is designed with two things in mind:
- The opportunity for the application of Bible doctrine where you apply different Doctrines to different situations.
- To accelerate your momentum.
No believer attains maturity apart from MT. Spiritual growth results from advanced perception, metabolization, and application of Bible doctrine to the categories of testing. All categories of testing are designed for blessing. Therefore, whether adversity or prosperity, it is designed for your good.
Human volition plays an important part in testing. For the believer must make the right decision based on his application of Bible doctrine and his residence inside God’s Power System (GPS).
There are five general categories of testing; the four which are a part of PPS yet intensified, (Disaster, People, Thought, and System Testing), plus Prosperity Testing. They are all designed for the purpose of application of Bible doctrine and the acceleration of your spiritual growth.
Before the believer reaches maturity, there are one or two major disasters in the life. How the believer handles these, determines whether he accelerates his spiritual growth or retreats and goes backward.
There are Two Categories of Disaster Testing:
- Personal Disaster Testing which is designed as Suffering for Blessing for acceleration of momentum or for warning of cosmic involvement, in which case Divine discipline becomes involved.
- Historical Disaster; collective disaster or national disaster testing related to the bad decisions of others, in which you are involved by association.
There are at Least Six Characteristics of Disaster Testing:
- Physical pain or mental pain and anguish.
- Crime where you are the victim.
- Persecution (not paranoia).
- Privation, meaning hunger, thirst, exposure, fatigue, etc.
- Loss of loved ones, property, success, your job, money, etc.
- Disease and handicaps.
There are Four Characteristics of National Disaster: These historical downtrends indicate that a maximum number of people in a given area are living in the Cosmic System.
- Violence, crime, terrorism, murder, rampant drug and alcohol addiction.
- Weather, including; heat, cold, storms, blizzards, hurricanes, tornadoes.
- Cycles of discipline, Lev 26.
Disaster Testing always tests our emotions. For example, in emotionalism, you may seek to sue someone who is negligent. This is nothing but revenge motivation when done because of emotionalism. In such cases, you become a loser. The principle is that you can lose by gaining and gain by losing.
In this MT, there is always the temptation to take the easy route of money, security, fame, and lose forever the conveyance of escrow blessing. There is always the disaster that will make you prosperous. This is a test. You could lose the chance of receiving your escrow blessing. The only wealth worth having is the wealth that God provides in escrow blessing, Rev 3:18.
Rev 3:18, “I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see.”
There must be maximum faith and maximum SSE and maximum SA if you are going to have your escrow blessings and pass Disaster Testing.
SA is the prerequisite for solving all problems of human relationship, (i.e., of People Testing), which is also accompanied by System and Thought Testing. This combination only exists in the three stages of Spiritual Adulthood.
People Testing Comes in Two Categories:
- In personal love or admiration, where the object of your love often controls your life or provides for your unhappiness, unless you have attained SSE, SA, or SM. In wanting to please the object of your personal love, you find yourself being a different person and not following your normal function.
- In personal hatred or animosity, the object of your antagonism or irritation has control of your life or happiness, unless you have advanced to spiritual adulthood.
God designed His Plan so that your happiness will always reside in you, so that you do not depend on people or things for your happiness.
Psa 5:11, “But let all who take refuge in You be glad, Let them ever sing for joy; and may You shelter them, that those who love Your name may exult in You.”
Psa 16:11, “You will make known to me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; in Your right hand there are pleasures forever.”
As a function of your Royal Priesthood, love and happiness comes from within. You are supposed to have control of your life through the application of God’s Word, a Personal Sense of Destiny, and Self‑Confidence from metabolized doctrine. Therefore, you have poise and command of self. As a result, you bring your happiness to others, but you do not lean on others or circumstances for your happiness.
Gal 5:22-23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”
1 Thes 1:6-8, “You also became imitators of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much tribulation with the joy of the Holy Spirit, 7so that you became an example to all the believers… 8For the word of the Lord has sounded forth from you, … in every place your faith toward God has gone forth …”
Under the Predesigned Protocol Plan of God, God has designed His Plan so that your happiness will always reside in you, and therefore you do not depend on other people or things for your happiness. Not until you reach Spiritual Adulthood, do you become aware that you are a person with a relationship with God. In adulthood, you finally realize that God intends for you to be blessed and strong in every situation in life. As a function of your Royal Priesthood, it all comes from within when you have His Word and Spirit consistently operating within your soul. You are supposed to have personal control of your life, a Personal Sense of Destiny, self‑confidence from metabolized Bible doctrine, and therefore poise and command of self. Therefore, you bring your happiness to others, but do not lean on others or circumstances for your happiness. People are a distraction from the Plan of God.
Gal 5:13-15, “For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 15But if you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another.”
Believers can be easily led away from the Plan of God and Bible doctrine by their friendships, loved one, and even those who are antagonistic towards them, unless they attain spiritual adulthood. Every time you fall in love, acquire a new friend, or develop a new enemy, there is a potential for the object of your affection or hatred to control your life and your happiness. Therefore, without impersonal and unconditional love from SA, you will become a slave to people.
When you fall in love, look how you act, how you change your mode of operation, and how you begin to think in different terms relating everything you do to that person. Likewise, look how you act every time you are around an antagonist, and how the mentality of your soul is occupied with them either in defensive or attack mode.
Without impersonal love, when you make a new friend, fall in love, or develop a new enemy, you will inevitably become jealous, possessive, or even hate those who have it over you. In those cases, you have immediately become a slave and have manufactured for yourself many problems that are not the fault of the object of your love.
When you become jealous, angry, bitter, vindictive, or implacable; when you are dissatisfied, antagonistic toward someone else, friend or stranger, lover or enemy, you surrender the control of your life and happiness to that person. At that point, you have become a slave to the object of your love or antagonism. At the same time, you have no control over your life, canceling all the characteristics of SSE and SA.
There are very few people who actually have control of their own lives. Yet, having control over your own life is the norm in the Christian way of life. Those who do not are controlled by the objects of their affection. Therefore, there are very few believers who are spiritually self‑sustaining because few have achieved SA.
Jer 17:5‑8 teaches the importance of personal love for God and SA in people testing.
“5Cursed is the man who puts his trust in mankind; and makes flesh his strength; and whose heart turns away from the Lord… 7Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD and whose trust is the LORD.”
When someone else has control of your life through love or hatred, you enter into the law of volitional responsibility with its self‑induced misery. That is, you make your own decisions in your choice of friends, loved ones, and sometimes your enemies. But thereafter, they begin to make all the decisions for you unless you have the function of impersonal love.
Since happiness is the monopoly of God and His plan, you cannot depend upon people or circumstances for your happiness. So, if you surrender your happiness to someone else, you will blame that person for everything that goes wrong in your life. In personal love or hatred, the object controls your life.
- When you become upset with someone, you surrender the custody of your happiness to that person.
- When you blame them for your unhappiness, which is produced by your own volition, you have intensified punitive suffering in your life under the law of volitional responsibility.
At that point, grace disappears and you try to mold the life of those around you, or you mold your life around them. When that happens, you can no longer deal with your problems from the strength of your own priesthood. Likewise, the reaction factor in personality conflict becomes a source of great irritation and misery. The reaction in personality conflict is generally expressed through the arrogance complex as hatred, bitterness, maligning, judging, revenge motivation and function. All are a source of terrible unhappiness.
Prov 15:17-18, “Better is a dish of vegetables where love is than a fattened ox served with hatred. 18A hot tempered man stirs up strife, but the slow to anger calms a dispute.”
Prov 17:9, “He who conceals a transgression seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates intimate friends.”
When you react to people in some form of antagonism, they immediately have control over your life, so that you resort to either mental or verbal hostility or even violence. To recover control, you must have impersonal love. Most believers never get this far. If you do not recover control of your soul, you then begin to destroy the person who has control over your life, and at the same time, you destroy your own happiness when you are frustrated and react from any phase of the arrogance complex.
To avoid reaction in personality conflict, you must reside in your very own palace, God’s Power System, under the enabling power of the Holy Spirit, with momentum from metabolized Bible doctrine. This will bring you to spiritual adulthood, where you have great happiness even while Suffering for Blessing. This means you derive your happiness from God and from His plan. When that happens, then all the pieces of the puzzle fall in place, and your relationships in life become wonderful.
As the believer grows spiritually inside GPS, he becomes aware of the “reaction pattern,” he rebounds quickly and turns personal love into Impersonal love; whereby, any suffering left over is turned into blessing, and he moves on.
The solution to People Testing is found in “Virtue-love,” which is the combination of Personal Love for God and Impersonal and Unconditional (I/U) Love for all mankind. 1 John 3:1-5:3; Rom 12:9-21; 13:8-10; 1 Cor 13:1-7; Col 3:14-17
I/U love is the sum total of the believer’s honor, integrity, and objectivity derived from the Word resident within your soul first acquired in attainment of SSE, but becomes strong in SA. The function of SA is the use of virtue-love.
Virtue-love, as a Problem-Solving Device (PSD), belongs primarily to the spiritual adult. Without it, you are constantly surrendering the control of your life to others.
Virtue-love as a PSD is the secret of your relationship with God, mankind, and in human personal love relationships. That is, real solutions are related to virtue-love as a PSD, which is applied in spiritual adulthood only. Believers in spiritual childhood do not have Personal Love for God or I/U Love for all mankind. With the attainment of Spiritual Autonomy through Spiritual Self-Esteem plus Providential Preventative Suffering, you begin to peak out in the use of virtue-love as a PSD.
- There is no built‑in virtue in personal love, which only requires that another person meet your standards of beauty, attractiveness, and rapport. Therefore, to make a personal love relationship work, the believer must use a virtue‑base totally outside himself. Otherwise, people will make him miserable all his life, as a result of iconoclastic arrogance, Prov 10:12, “Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all transgressions.”
- Personal love is only a virtue when directed toward God. I/U love is only a virtue when directed toward all mankind. This means that through impersonal love, the believer has control of his own life, and he maintains control of his own happiness.
Therefore, the principle of misery derived from getting your eyes on people, (iconoclastic arrogance), that results in disappointment, disillusion, frustration, and dissatisfaction with others, cannot mar your happiness. Furthermore, once you attain Spiritual Adulthood, you begin to function under the three categories of Suffering for Blessing, where God is the source of your happiness. But if human relationships become more important to you than God and Bible doctrine, people will become a distraction to the fulfillment of His Plan for your life.
Summary / Conclusion:
- False priorities exist when people in family life, social life, business life, or sexual life take precedence over your residence, function, and momentum inside GPS.
- When personal ambition is stronger than Bible doctrine, then the believer has lost his scale of values, his priorities.
- So, whether it’s love or hatred, attraction or animosity, romance or disenchantment, friendship or disillusion, these can distract you from the fulfillment of the Plan of God and the glorification of our Lord Jesus Christ; unless you apply virtue-love to all relationship situations and pass Momentum Testing.
- Therefore, People Testing as a category of MT is a fantastic blessing from God, as Suffering for Blessing. It is the only way to bring tranquility (+H) into your life and make your relationships wonderful and worthwhile, while remaining in your personal relationship with God without distraction and continuing to grow spiritually.
1 Cor 16:13-14, “Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. 14Let all that you do be done in love.”
System Testing. Eph 5:22-6:9; Col 3:18-4:1; 1 Peter 2:12-3:7; Rom 13:1-7
A system is an organization composed of people under the command of other people, functioning under a policy which is designed to fulfill a specific objective. Therefore, there are three characteristics of a system: 1) Authority, 2) Policy, and 3) Objective. As such, the personnel under the authority, policy, and objective of an organization can face System Testing.
There are Seven General Categories of Different Systems:
- Business organization, large or small.
- Military services.
- Professional organizations, such as medical organizations, law firms, engineering companies, law enforcement.
- Ecclesiastical organizations, such as local churches, denominations, cults, theological seminaries, Christian service organizations.
- Athletic organizations, such as professional, college, high school, and youth teams.
- Divine institutions, volition, marriage, family, and …
- Government, including federal, state and local, Rom 13:1-7; 1 Tim 2:1-8; Titus 3:1; Prov 24:21; Eccl 8:2.
Charles Ryrie notes, “Christians are to be law-abiding citizens. If the law of one’s government violates the revealed will of God, then, of course, the believer must obey God, (Acts 5:27-32) though he may have to suffer the penalties of that government’s laws. Though Christians are a “special” people elected by God, redeemed from the world, and no longer dependent upon it, they are not above the necessity of getting along with the civil authorities who govern them. When Paul wrote this, Nero had become an evil ruler.” (Brackets mine)
R.B. Thieme Jr, “There is one exception to this (submitting to governing authorities). Christian responsibility to a national entity ceases when that national entity lines up with satanic concepts; when there is a conflict between responsibility toward God as in Acts 4:17-21. This is why Christians have a right to oppose any form of communism, and why we should be clear on the evils of socialism.” (Brackets mine)
Warren Wiersbe notes in regard to 1 Peter 2:11-17, “As aliens and strangers, we might not think we have any responsibilities toward human government, but Peter tells us we have an even greater obligation to obey the laws. The unsaved world watches the Christian; therefore, we must abstain from sins by the power of the Spirit. Our behavior, vs. 12, must be honest and suitable for this is the only way to silence their evil talk. Verse 12 teaches that our good works can help lead the lost to Christ, and they will praise God on the day that He visits and saves them. Though we may not respect the men and women who hold office, we must respect the offices and obey the laws. Yes, the Christian is free, but his freedom is not license, Gal 5:13.”
There are good and bad organizations, systems, leadership, policies, and objectives. Your System Testing may be from either category, good or bad. Therefore, there are many areas of System Testing related to the people, policy, and purpose of any organization.
Because no one is perfect, and because everyone has an Old Sin Nature, personality, policy, and purpose conflicts are inevitable.
Generally, the three characteristics of a system provide three areas of System Testing.
- In the field of authority, where unfair and unjust treatment from management, the boss, supervisor, senior officer, coach, professor, government bureaucrat, husband, parents, etc., exists. Also, favoritism on the part of management can inevitably lead to personality conflict in an office.
- Likewise, the policy may be unreasonable, or it may conflict with normal living, or with your own personal norms and standards, or it may be a stupid though still an enforceable policy.
- Finally, the objectives may also be unreasonable or even impossible because of lack of ability in the personnel trying to fulfill them, or there may be a conflict between your personal life and the objectives.
The greatest enemy to any organization is arrogance in its personnel both at the top and bottom of the organization. Arrogance is the great enemy wherever there are people. A second enemy is incapability; a third is laziness. Other enemies include distraction from wrong priorities and ignorance.
The believer is to “submit” to every authority in regard to System Testing, with the exception of submission that results in disobedience to God and His Word. The Aorist, Passive Imperative, Second Person, Plural of “submit” in 1 Peter 2:13 is HUPOTASSO – ὑποτάσσω (hoop-ot-as’-so). HUPOTASSO is used for a woman submitting to her right man; it is used for submitting to the functions of law, to the state; it is used in military in response to those in authority. In other words, it is used in a lot of ways in the New Testament.
When we are under one of the various types of systems, we must show submission and reverence to various authorities, even if they are unreasonable and hard to get along with. Those in authority often try to “lord it over” Christians or persecute them in different ways. The easiest thing to do is to fight back, but this is the wrong approach.
Peter explains that anybody, saved or lost, can and should bear it if he is being punished for his faults. Only a Christian can do good and “take it,” if he suffers wrongfully. Note that important word “wrongfully,” for Peter is not telling us to look for excuses to suffer. He is talking about suffering for the name of Christ, see Mat 5:9-12, suffering when we have done no wrong but have let our lights shine.
The Greek word for “favor” in 1 Peter 2:19-20 is actually the same one used for “grace,” CHARIS – χάρις (khar’-ece). What grace is shown if we endure suffering for our faults? It takes real grace to endure when you do good but are treated badly anyway. See also Luke 6:32-36.
The exhortation of Christian behavior in regard to System Testing, even in a Pagan Society, is as follows, 1 Peter 2-3.
|Christians are to be:||Because:|
|1) Good citizens, 2:13-14.||1) Foolish men will be silenced, 2:15.|
|2) Obedient workers, 2:18.||2) Christ is our example, 2:21.|
|3) Submissive wives, 3:1.||3) Some unbelieving husbands will be won, 3:1-2.|
|4) Considerate husbands, 3:7.||4) Their prayers will be heard, 3:7.|
|5) Compassionate brothers and sisters, 3:8.||5) They will inherit a blessing, 3:9.|
In addition, Peter’s exhortations regarding submission are given a Christological foundation. The sufferings of Christ provide spiritual healing by His accomplished substitutionary work on the Cross. Therefore, the sufferings of Christ are exemplary. As Christ suffered at the hands of unjust people of His day for being faithful to the will of God, so believers may receive the same opportunity to follow in His steps.
Jesus will praise those who pass System Testing, Mat 8:5-13.
Thought Testing is the most challenging aspect of Suffering for Blessing. It occurs at all stages of Christian experience including SSE with PPS and SM with Evidence Testing, and it is a significant hurdle for advancement inside of Momentum Testing (MT) at SA.
One reason why it is so challenging is because it is a part of the other four categories of Momentum Testing; Disaster, People, System, and Prosperity. No matter what type of testing you may be under, your ability to think under pressure and apply God’s Word to the situation is challenged.
The difficulty of Thought Testing is that it attacks the command post of your soul, the heart / right lobe / mentality of your soul where you apply God’s Word to all situations in life.
To pass Thought Testing at any stage of the Christian life, the believer must have the following:
- Pertinent metabolized Bible doctrine to meet whatever comes in Thought Testing at any given stage of Christian growth.
Rom 12:2, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good (SSE) and acceptable (SA) and perfect (complete – SM).”
- The Filling of the Spirit, at the time of the Thought Testing, to make the correct application of metabolized Bible doctrine.
Eph 5:18, “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit.”
Passing Thought Testing means you have the ability to not be distracted by false issues or be misled by wrong priorities, which are a continual distraction in the Christian life, which would otherwise build up a tremendous amount of self-induced misery under the law of volitional responsibility.
Before reaching spiritual adulthood, thought distraction is primarily a result of cosmic involvement. But in spiritual adulthood, you’ve advance beyond cosmic involvement. The testing now is to distract you from your faith rest and relationship with God by means of various difficult situations or temptations of life. They are designed to cause you to rely upon human solutions rather than Biblical solutions.
Mental attitude in the Christian life is the combination of the function of your thinking in terms of God’s Word resident in your soul and the pressure of thought conflict in your soul. As a result, you will have questions regarding the situations or details of life. Yet, when you calm your thoughts by cycling God’s Word in your soul and apply patience, you will receive the answers. That, in and of itself, is Thought Testing; waiting on the timing of God to provide real answers with real solutions to real problems of life, from His Word, by means of the filling of God the Holy Spirit. Therefore, impatience is a sign that you are failing Thought Testing. Eccl 7:8-14; Gal 5:22; Eph 4:1-3; Col 1:9-11; 3:12; 2 Tim 3:10-11; James 5:10; 1 Peter 2:20.
Gal 5:22, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”
Eph 4:1-2, “Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, 2with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, 3being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
Col 1:9-11, “For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience.”
Eccl 7:8-14, “The end of a matter is better than its beginning; patience of spirit is better than haughtiness of spirit. 9Do not be eager in your heart to be angry, for anger resides in the bosom of fools. 10Do not say, “Why is it that the former days were better than these?” For it is not from wisdom that you ask about this. 11Wisdom along with an inheritance is good and an advantage to those who see the sun. 12For wisdom is protection just as money is protection, but the advantage of knowledge is that wisdom preserves the lives of its possessors. 13Consider the work of God, for who is able to straighten what He has bent? 14In the day of prosperity be happy, but in the day of adversity consider—God has made the one as well as the other so that man will not discover anything that will be after him.”
What you really are at any given time is what you think. All of us are constantly changing in our thinking. This can mean instability in life. You are not always what you appear to be on the surface, for mankind can hide his thoughts and become adept at the practice of hypocrisy. Therefore, the real you is the thought content of your soul, Prov 23:7.
Prov 23:7, “For as he thinks within himself, so he is. He says to you, “Eat and drink!” But his heart is not with you.”
This verse uses hypocrisy as an illustration of the fact that we are what we think, not what we say, and not necessarily what we do.
A thought can make or break you, depending on the nature of the thought. It’s either thinking derived from metabolized Bible doctrine in your heart (right lobe) or thinking derived from the propaganda of Satan coupled with your Old Sin Nature. One will improve you; one will break you apart.
2 Corinthians 10 deals with the subject of thinking. It could be rightly entitled “the power of a thought.” It is speaking about the dynamics of having Divine Viewpoint in your soul. As we previously noted, in the Christian life, a thought can make you or break you, Prov 23:7 and Isa 55:7-9.
Isa 55:7-9, “Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to the LORD, and He will have compassion on him, and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon. 8“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD. 9“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.”
Therefore, mental attitude is one of the most vital principles in life whether a person is a believer or an unbeliever.
2 Cor 10:3-7a, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, 4for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but Divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. 5We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, 6and we are ready to punish, (defense against Satanic attack), all disobedience, (a deviation from authority or obedience – God’s Word), whenever your obedience is complete (filled up with God’s Word). 7You are looking at things as they are outwardly.”
Mental attitude is the function of thought in your own soul, not what someone else thinks. You can’t borrow the thoughts of others; you have to do your own thinking, make your own decisions, and handle your own problems. Many people lose the ability to do their own thinking, because they have succumbed to the thinking of someone else rather than making their own decisions from a position of strength with the Word of God in their soul.
The most subtle and difficult test is thought distraction in the form of preoccupation with self to the exclusion of Bible doctrine. Here you are so occupied with what is or is not happening to you that you lose focus of your relationship with God and others, and ultimately the reality of life and life’s situations.
Thought distraction is also the result of one’s prejudice, inflexibility, unteachability, and inability to take objective criticism from others, especially from the teaching of God’s Word.
The usage of the term prejudice here is much broader than what you typically identify as prejudice, that is, simple racism. Prejudice is defined as:
- A preformed opinion, usually an unfavorable one, based on insufficient knowledge, irrational feelings, or inaccurate stereotypes. (Encarta Dictionary)
- An adverse judgment or opinion formed beforehand or without knowledge or examination of the facts. (American Heritage Dictionary)
- An irrational suspicion or unfounded hatred, fear or mistrust of a person or group, especially one of a particular religion, ethnicity, nationality, or social status. (combination of the above references)
The more prejudice we have, the less Spiritual Self-Esteem we have; therefore, the easier to be distracted by prejudicial thoughts.
1 Tim 5:21, “I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of His chosen angels, to maintain these principles without bias, doing nothing in a spirit of partiality.”
Too often, doubts in Thought Testing result from neglect of the systematic teaching of Bible doctrine, setting up wrong priorities in your life, and lack of consistent living in God’s Plan.
Too often, the believer tries to reconcile his favorite academic subject or personal opinions with the content of doctrine, e.g., philosophy, psychology, sociology, geology, anthropology, etc. If the Word doesn’t line up with one’s favorite academic subject or opinions, he rejects the doctrine. Therefore, thought distraction occurs when the believer is not interested in the variety of subjects found in the Word as they are taught by his or her Pastor-Teacher. They are only motivated to listen and concentrate when the subject interests them, (usually eschatology / End Times lessons).
The Bible is not your servant but your master. All portions and subjects from the Bible are important to the believer. You need to abide in it constantly and consistently, which is abiding in the mind of our Lord Jesus Christ. And sometimes you must wait for the answers to be revealed; this is your Thought Testing, testing your faith, and your Relaxed Mental Attitude.
1 Tim 4:6-8, “In pointing out these things to the brethren, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, constantly nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound doctrine which you have been following. 7But have nothing to do with worldly fables fit only for old women. On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness; 8for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.”
Your ability to cope with life, your happiness in life and your attractiveness in life is based upon what you think.
- Inner beauty is a mental attitude, 1 Tim 2:9-10, 15b. While the woman has an exterior beauty from her dress, makeup, jewelry, and good taste, her real and greatest beauty is inner beauty from metabolized Bible doctrine and its application.
- Inner beauty is a mental attitude that increases with each stage of spiritual growth. The real quality that makes a woman a lady is the inner beauty that comes from perception, metabolization, and application of God’s Word.
- Overt grooming does not mean that you have inner beauty. But it does complement inner beauty of the Christian lady who has attained spiritual adulthood.
- It is never spiritual to neglect grooming. It’s not a sign of sacrifice to God, but merely sloppy thinking from legalism.
- So, Christianity emphasizes the inner beauty of the woman, but does not neglect her overt grooming. See also: 1 Peter 3:2-6.
- Overt beauty without inner beauty of Bible doctrine is an empty dark house: Beautiful on the outside but haunted on the inside.
- The one who attains inner beauty, Spiritual Self-Esteem, Spiritual Autonomy, or Spiritual Maturity has the complete admiration and respect of all. She is the jewel of society, great in every area of life.
2 Cor 6:4-10, “But in everything commending ourselves as servants of God, in much endurance, in afflictions, in hardships, in distresses, 5in beatings, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in hunger, 6in purity, in knowledge, in patience, in kindness, in the Holy Spirit, in genuine love, 7in the word of truth, in the power of God; by the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and the left, 8by glory and dishonor, by evil report and good report; regarded as deceivers and yet true; 9as unknown yet well-known, as dying yet behold, we live; as punished yet not put to death, 10as sorrowful yet always rejoicing, as poor yet making many rich, as having nothing yet possessing all things.”
The most important question in life has to do with thinking: “What do you think about the Christ?” As found in Mat 22:42 and 26:66. Since thinking is such a crucial issue, there are mandates throughout the Bible with regard to Thought Testing.
Rom 12:2, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good (SSE) and acceptable (SA) and perfect (complete – SM).”
To be able to think, you must not only develop a vocabulary for life, but you must come to understand the technical vocabulary of the Word of God for the “renovation of your thought.” You can never “prove” to yourself what the “will of God” for your life is without renovation of thought.
Rom 12:3, “For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think (arrogance); but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure [METRON – μέτρον (met’-ron), an instrument for measuring, a standard] of faith.”
The phrase “to have sound judgment,” SOPHRONEO – σωφρονέω (so-fron-eh’-o) is translated by R.B Thieme Jr. as, “but think for the purpose of being rational without illusion.” Paul reiterated having sound judgment in Phil 2:5, “Keep on having this mental attitude which was in Christ Jesus.” Therefore, God’s Word resident within the soul causes the believer to think in terms of common sense, rational, and sane Divine Viewpoint, which inserts doctrine into the daily life and avoids living influenced by Satan’s Cosmic System.
You cannot think in your soul with things that are outside of your soul. You cannot use the information in a textbook until it has been transferred into your soul where it is useable. You have to have information in your soul in order to be able to use it. So, “keep on having this mental attitude,” (i.e., keep on thinking this) means that you cannot think what is in the Bible, you can only think that portion of Bible doctrine which has been transferred to your soul. If it isn’t transferred to your soul, you cannot think it.
Isa 55:6‑9, “Seek the LORD while He may be found; call upon Him while He is near. 7Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to the LORD, and He will have compassion on him, and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon. 8’For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,’ declares the LORD. 9For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.”
The exhortation has always been to have the mind of Christ resident within our souls so that we think in term of Bible doctrine, (Divine Viewpoint) and not be overrun in the command post of our souls.
The conflict of thought in the soul is brought out here. Isaiah’s reference to the evil believer refers to those in both moral and immoral degeneracy. To forsake either evil way means you must learn Divine Viewpoint and doctrinal thinking.
We all develop a certain habit of thinking which makes the tracks of our life. Yet, you cannot forsake your way until you change your thinking: “Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts.”
The last half of Verse 7 means not only rebound (1 John 1:9), but the addition of Doctrinal teaching resident in your soul. So, the whole issue is to learn the thoughts of God through Bible doctrine, the thoughts that are higher and greater, the thoughts that solve the problems of life.
Psa 26:2 says, “Examine me, O Lord, and put me to the test; refine my emotions and my heart.”
In other words, see that my emotions are subordinate to my intellect and to Bible doctrine. The heart must be tested for its content of doctrine and its control of emotions. Suffering for Blessing accomplishes this.
Fear is a Thought Test of emotions in the area of a mental attitude that has worry, anxiety, apprehension, trepidation, and despondency. Fear is an emotion that comes from a lack of thinking under pressure. If you don’t think under normal circumstances and in prosperity, you will be filled with fear during abnormal circumstances too.
- Inevitably, fear leads to arrogance, the narcissistic syndrome, and even to psychosis.
- Arrogance, fear, worry, anxiety, anger, and other emotionalisms are all irrational. Irrationality is a total contradiction to the Plan of God which manufactures invisible heroes. Fear manufactures losers.
- Fear cannot coexist with the function of the Plan of God in your life. Fear is being overcome by the problem or becoming enmeshed in the disaster. As a result, the disaster destroys the spiritual life rather than advancing you in the spiritual life as designed by God under Momentum Testing.
- Believers in all stages of spiritual growth can find themselves suddenly in the fear-panic ploy of the Cosmic System from some sudden disaster. Every believer must be prepared for this.
- The solution to fear is found in the Faith-Rest Drill which includes having a Personal Sense of Destiny, by which the believer claims a promise to stabilize the mind. You cannot function under the Faith-Rest Drill unless you have spiritual strength.
Psa 56:3, “When I am afraid, I will trust in you.”
1 Cor 2:5, “So that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men (human viewpoint), but on the power of God (Divine Viewpoint).”
2 Cor 5:7, “For we walk by faith, not by sight.”
Faith always selects something (a promise from God, a doctrine) that is stronger than the pressure that comes from stress brought on by fear.
Psa 56:3-4, “A day (each time) I am afraid, I will put my trust in You. In God, whose word I praise, In God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid. What can mere man do to me?”
2 Tim 1:7, “For God has not given us a spirit of timidity (fear), but of power and of love and sound judgment.”
1 John 4:18, “Fear does not exist in virtue-love, but virtue-love drives out fear; for fear causes punishment. In fact, the person who is afraid has not been matured by virtue-love.”
There are pseudo‑solutions to life’s problems based on human viewpoint. Five are prominent today.
Rationalization is a pseudo‑system for problem-solving in thinking. It’s the function of the mentality of the soul in self-justification. This false solution blames everyone else for your failures and your sufferings.
Anger Solution is the direct attack to the problems and frustrations of life. This is solving problems by temper tantrums and being in a total state of irresponsibility by refusing to take the responsibility for your own bad decisions. Anger direct attack has three objectives.
- The satisfaction of approbation lust by focusing attention on self.
- The satisfaction of power lust by controlling the people in your vicinity.
- The gratification of inferior feelings by getting even under revenge modus operandi.
Defense Mechanism is a system of mental attitude designed to divorce the believer from reality and protect the mind against pressures that are too great for him to bear. This is the basis for sociopathic function, drug addiction, lasciviousness, etc.
Denial; it’s not just a river in Egypt, lol, it is the human viewpoint thinking of ignoring the problem in hopes that it will go away. This is the pseudo‑miracle syndrome.
Sublimation is the human viewpoint of finding a new outlet, a hobby, a new system of entertainment, which ultimately is a new drive for frustration. This is for the bored believer who seeks his happiness only in social life, sexual life, and pleasure. This believer has no capacity for life, love, or happiness, and therefore he sublimates by becoming a slave to some detail or details in life. These include such things as money, success, pleasure, social life, marriage; things not necessarily wrong, but distracting. Distracting things become wrong things when they take precedence over Bible doctrine. This category can also include the system of trying to build your happiness on the envy of others; having and wanting things so that others will envy you. While most of the areas of sublimation are normal and moral in themselves, it is the mental attitude and priorities which cause the distraction to the Plan of God.
The Biblical answer to pseudo‑solutions related to thinking is found in 2 Cor 10:4‑6.
2 Cor 10:4‑6, “For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but Divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses (Cosmic Viewpoint). 5We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, 6and we are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete. 7You are looking at things as they are outwardly. If anyone is confident in himself that he is Christ’s, let him consider this again within himself, that just as he is Christ’s, so also are we.”
You can only capture erroneous thinking and supersede it with correct thinking by metabolizing Bible doctrine in your soul. This means that each stage of Spiritual Adulthood has the ability to destroy certain mental attitude deviations. The advance to Spiritual Maturity through residence, function, and momentum inside God’s Power System provides an instant response force, Divine Viewpoint, for the search and destroy missions in our spiritual warfare.
To the extent that we have human viewpoint, we have a permanent source of unhappiness! This is why believers so often oscillate between happiness and unhappiness, because there are too many areas of thinking that are strictly human viewpoint. When human viewpoint comes into conflict with Divine Viewpoint, instead of pushing aside Divine Viewpoint, there must be the search and destroy missions from your metabolized doctrine to eliminate human viewpoint from your life.
Each stage of the advance in Spiritual Adulthood destroys a battalion of human viewpoint which has infiltrated the mind, often since early childhood.
The Delight of Sacrifice, by Oswald Chambers.
“I will very gladly spend and be spent for your souls …” (2 Corinthians 12:15)
“Once “the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit,” we deliberately begin to identify ourselves with Jesus Christ’s interests and purposes in others’ lives (Romans 5:5). And Jesus has an interest in every individual person. We have no right in Christian service to be guided by our own interests and desires. In fact, this is one of the greatest tests of our relationship with Jesus Christ. The delight of sacrifice is that I lay down my life for my Friend, Jesus (see John 15:13). I don’t throw my life away, but I willingly and deliberately lay it down for Him and His interests in other people. And I do this for no cause or purpose of my own. Paul spent his life for only one purpose—that he might win people to Jesus Christ. Paul always attracted people to his Lord, but never to himself. He said, “I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some” (1 Corinthians 9:22).
When someone thinks that to develop a holy life he must always be alone with God, he is no longer of any use to others. This is like putting himself on a pedestal and isolating himself from the rest of society. Paul was a holy person, but wherever he went, Jesus Christ was always allowed to help Himself to his life. Many of us are interested only in our own goals, and Jesus cannot help Himself to our lives. But if we are totally surrendered to Him, we have no goals of our own to serve. Paul said that he knew how to be a “doormat” without resenting it, because the motivation of his life was devotion to Jesus, Rom 9:3.”
As Chambers stated, “One of the greatest tests of our relationship with Jesus Christ is the delight of sacrifice; laying down our lives for our friends, John 15:13, especially our most important friend of all, the Lord Jesus Christ.”
But laying down our lives sacrificially does not come naturally. Therefore, God the Father has designed a plan that strips away the negative influences of Satan’s Cosmic System so that His Word can flourish within your souls; thereby, renewing your way of thinking, Rom 12:2-3, so that you will understand what it means to lay down your life for your friends and operate in that way, having Divine Viewpoint with the result of producing “much fruit,” John 15:1-8.
So, with this understanding, we have been noting the various categories of Suffering for Blessing that come with Spiritual Adulthood, which is God’s pruning process, designed for one purpose; that you produce “much fruit.”
As I have stated, in order to produce “much fruit,” we need to have Divine Viewpoint with self-sacrificial love, “laying down our lives.” In order to obtain self-sacrificial love, we must pass Momentum Testing to fortify our souls against human viewpoint and Cosmic thinking. Therefore, God has provided a pruning process, (Momentum Testing), to come into our lives in order to strip away the negative influences of Cosmic and human viewpoint; thereby, allowing Divine Viewpoint to flourish within our souls leading to Divine good production, “much fruit.”
We have already noted the four categories of Momentum Testing, (Disaster, People, System, and Thought testing). So, we are now going to note the final form called Prosperity Testing.
Heb 13:5-7, “Let your way of life be free from the love of money. Be content with what you have; for He Himself has said, `I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,’ so that we confidently say, `The Lord is my helper. I will not be afraid. What shall man do to me?’ Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith.”
Prosperity Testing (P.T.).
Prosperity is the most subtle distraction to life inside GPS. This is a unique test in the realm of your steadfastness to the Plan and will of God. It tests to see if you will remain in your daily walk with Christ or will you allow the things of this world to occupy your soul.
Believers sharing in prosperity can easily become distracted from God’s Word and Divine good production in the spiritual life. They can be lured away from the Plan of God for their life because of overemphasis on materialistic things.
1 John 2:15, “Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. 17The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.”
Prosperity Testing is also a test of the true origin of your inner peace and happiness. Is your peace and happiness based on materialistic things of this world or is it based on your relationship with God. Therefore, Prosperity Testing demonstrates that true peace and happiness are found in God, because worldly prosperity cannot bring happiness apart from the believer’s residence, function, and momentum inside GPS.
Psa 35:27, “Let them shout for joy and rejoice, who favor my vindication; and let them say continually, “The LORD be magnified, who delights in the prosperity of His servant.””
When you have the same happiness in adversity, as well as prosperity, it means you have passed the test.
Eccl 7:14, “In the day of prosperity be happy, but in the day of adversity consider-God has made the one as well as the other.”
Phil 4:10-13, “But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at last you have revived your concern for me; indeed, you were concerned before, but you lacked opportunity. 11Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. 12I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. 13I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”
If you are unhappy in the midst of prosperity, it means that you have flunked one of the prosperity tests due to a lack of doctrine in your soul or the application thereof.
There are Two Categories of Prosperity Testing:
Individual Prosperity Testing in which some form of success challenges the top priority of Occupation with Christ. This can include:
- Wealth given by God when you have capacity from doctrine in your soul to truly handle and appreciate it.
- A shower for those not able to bath regularly.
- Food after starving for days.
- An abundance of friends, unity of the body of Christ, family members, etc. (People).
- Success on the job when you line up with the Authority, Policy, and Goals (System).
- Inner stability, the result of grace that comes from appropriation and utilization of God’s grace, having peace of mind (Thought).
- Tranquility of mind after a long hard day at work or home with the children
- Peace of mind during adversity or conflict (Disaster), etc.
- Being blessed inside one or more Divine Institutions, (volition, marriage, family, or nationalism), as a result of honoring those Divine Institutions.
Collective Prosperity Testing in which a city, state, nation, or group becomes very prosperous. Collective Prosperity Testing often results from combining the three categories of manifest destiny: Landed aristocracy, industrial complex, and the undeveloped frontier. When these three have been fulfilled, the entire society usually becomes very hedonistic, making pleasure the chief function in life. Hedonism is self‑indulgence; the pursuit of pleasure to the exclusion of truth and Bible doctrine. It contends that moral duty is fulfilled in the gratification of pleasure‑seeking. The pursuit of pleasure excludes the priorities of integrity both in establishment and in the Christian life. Collective Prosperity Testing challenges the entire society to choose between truth and hedonism.
Our capacity to enjoy prosperity so that it does not become a distraction to our relationship with God must always precede the attainment of the prosperity itself. Rom 13:14; Psa 112:1-9
Rom 13:14, “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.”
In order to achieve Spiritual Maturity, every believer must pass the Prosperity Test, and the only protection you have to pass this test is Spiritual Self-Esteem, where your happiness is based on God’s Word resident within your soul.
Psa 30:6, “Now as for me, I said in my prosperity, “I will never be moved.””
The Cosmic System can offer you success, sex, fame, wealth, promotion, social and professional prosperity, but all of these without capacity will not bring you happiness, and in fact will make you miserable.
Prov 20:19, “As in water face reflects face, so the heart of man reflects man. 20Sheol (hell) and Abaddon (Satan) are never satisfied, nor are the eyes of man ever satisfied.”
The Prosperity Test is vitally necessary before reaching Spiritual Maturity, because passing this test consolidates the believer’s scale of values, making them consistent with the Plan of God, resulting in stabilizing the right priorities of life and giving capacity to enjoy prosperity.
1 John 3:16, “We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 17But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? 18Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.”
Passing this test means that the mature believer receives God’s greatest prosperity, the greater blessings of time and eternity. Prov 13:21; 1 Tim 6:17-19
Prov 13:21, “Adversity pursues sinners, but the righteous will be rewarded with prosperity.”
1 Tim 6:17-19, “Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy. 18Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, 19storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed.
Definition: Evidence Testing (ET) is Satan’s cross‑examination of every witness presented by God in the historical appeal trial of Satan and all fallen angels. In human history, man’s thoughts, motives, decisions, and actions are entered as evidence, exhibits, precedents, and arguments in Satan’s appeal trial. Every believer who attains maturity is an argument or witness for the prosecution (God) against Satan and the Fallen Angels. Evidence Testing, then, is Satan’s cross-examination of every witness presented by God.
Definition of Angelic Conflict:
Lucifer, the son of the morning, (a.k.a., Satan), learned in eternity past that he could not attack the Sovereignty of God, (Isa 14:13-14), which is incorruptible, so he attacked the volition of other creatures. He came up with a plan to attack God through his creatures, since he could not attack God. The first assault was on angelic creation, where Satan led a rebellion of independence against God, Rev 12:4. When all angels had made their decisions for God or for Satan, a trial was convened in heaven. This was the first of two trials of Satan and all fallen angels. As a result of the first trial, Satan and all angels, who stayed in rebellion, were sentenced to the Eternal Lake of Fire, Mat 25:41. Satan then appealed the sentencing, and therefore a second or “appeal” trial was convened, and mankind was created in history to resolve the prehistoric Angelic Conflict. As a result, human history is an extension of the prehistoric Angelic Conflict. In human history / time, Satan continues to attack at the weak point, the volition of mankind just as he did with angelic creature in eternity past.
The Appeal Trial. Between the passing of the sentence in eternity past and the execution of that sentence at the end of the Millennium and the Gog revolution, Rev 20:1-3, 7-10, an appeal trial is occurring in human history. Therefore, it is concluded that human history is not only coterminous with the appeal trial of Satan and his fallen angels, but human history is the actual function of that trial and mankind was created to resolve that trial.
Six parts to the Appeal Trial:
- Formal Appeal which took place during Old Testament history. The Garden represented heaven before the fall, and Old Testament history represents angelic rebellion.
- Rebuttal Phase of the Prosecution which took place during our Lord’s First Advent and continues throughout the Church Age. Our Lord and the invisible heroes of the Church Age are the witnesses for the prosecution. When any Church Age believer utilizes the omnipotence of God the Father and God the Holy Spirit to advance to SM, there is a tactical victory in the Angelic Conflict.
- Rebuttal Phase of Satan will take place during the Tribulation. All of Satan’s rebuttal arguments come in the form of violence and anti-Semitism.
- The closing arguments and summary of the Prosecution includes the Second Advent and the Millennial rule of Christ. This duplicates the conditions before the fall of Satan and the fall of man in the garden.
- Satan’s closing argument is the Gog revolution at the end of the Millennium.
- Final sentencing occurs just after the God revolution.
Why an appeal trial? To demonstrate the perfection of Divine justice and the fairness of God’s sentence to all fallen angels. God invented and created man and simultaneously the principle of human history, the new creature demonstration. This new lower creature, homo sapiens, with like kind volition as angels, would demonstrate in a system called history the fairness of God, the perfection of His integrity, the righteousness of His judgment on fallen angels in prehistoric times.
The prehistoric trial was based on the fact that from their own free will, angels rejected whatever Divine salvation was available, not only once, but they continued to reject it for an unknown duration. As a result, God has duplicated in human history everything that Satan and the fallen angels used as objections in the original trial, and apparently a part of that is suffering. For, as presented in eternity past, it is Satan’s theory that mankind, like angels, will not be able to handle suffering, especially if they think it is unjust and that the only reason anyone ever stays with God is because he blesses them. But the prosecution demonstrates that this isn’t true, as in the life of Job.
Job proved that his love and loyalty to the Lord was because of Bible doctrine resident within his soul, not because of blessing. It demonstrated the power of Bible doctrine, and the fantastic ability from God’s Word to have great happiness under every circumstance of life. So, we see that man was created to resolve the Angelic Conflict and to simultaneously glorify God. Although man was created inferior to angelic creatures, he still has volition like angels, and some choose for God in positive volition. Those who choose for God become witnesses for the Prosecution, especially those honored to be placed under Evidence Testing.
The pattern of Evidence Testing is found in Job 1:6‑12, 2:1‑7; and Zech 3:1‑2.
In Zech 3:1‑2, Joshua, the high priest, had attained maturity and was entered as a witness for the prosecution to be cross-examined by Satan. “Then he showed me Joshua, the high priest, standing before the angel of the Lord (Jesus Christ), and Satan, standing at his right hand to accuse him (Compare with Rev 12:10b). And the LORD (Jesus Christ) said to Satan, “The LORD, (God the Father), rebuke you, Satan! Indeed, the LORD who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?’”
Rev 12:10b, “…for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night.”
Eph 6:10-12, tells us where Evidence Testing emanates from. “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. 11Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.”
Evidence Testing can be on an individual basis, as noted in Job and Zechariah, or on a group basis, (i.e. the local assembly can be entered into Evidence Testing). Rev 2:8-11
A believer or group does not qualify as a witness for Evidence Testing until they have attained Spiritual Maturity, having passed both Providential Preventative Suffering (PPS) and Momentum Testing (MT). Therefore, the three stages of Spiritual Adulthood (Spiritual Self Esteem, SSE; Spiritual Autonomy, SA; and Spiritual Maturity, SM) are the prerequisites for facing and passing the three categories of Suffering for Blessing, PPS, MT, and ET. Evidence Testing is then equivalent to the fulfillment of the Predesigned Protocol Plan of God for that believer’s life. No believer ever receives Evidence Testing (ET) until he has attained SM.
Every believer who attains Spiritual Maturity is a witness for the prosecution, either in the formal trial of Old Testament history, or in the rebuttal phase of Prosecution (God) during the First Advent and Church Age, or in Satan’s rebuttal of the Tribulation, or in the closing argument and summary phase of the Second Advent and the Millennium.
Evidence Testing is Satan’s attempt, through his cross-examination of suffering, to discredit those believers who attain Spiritual Maturity. It appears that Satan always administers Evidence Testing, but under restrictions imposed by God before the ET begins. For example, Satan was not permitted to kill Job, Job 1:12; 2:6.
There are two categories of ET.
- The relationship to the Plan of God test is illustrated by our Lord Jesus Christ in Mat 4:1‑11.
- The relationship to life test is illustrated by
Apparently, the Spiritual Mature believer does not take both tests, and which one he receives is a matter of the Sovereignty of God.
The pattern of the relationship with God test is found in the three unique temptations to our Lord Jesus Christ, which were temptations to His humanity only; as God He cannot be tempted.
The three parts are:
- Relationship with the Holy Spirit, Mat 4:1‑4.
- Relationship with the Word of God, Mat 4:5‑7.
- Relationship with the Plan of God, Mat 4:8‑10.
The unique lesson about our Lord’s ET was that instead of performing miracles under His own power, He used the greatest power ever known in the history of the human race. He used Bible doctrine in all three parts of His Evidence Testing.
When God performs a miracle, it requires only His Sovereignty. But when a believer uses Bible doctrine and makes correct application and advances in the Plan of God, that is the greatest power the world has ever known and the highest function that any member of the human race can attain.
Because the first part of relationship with God test involves one’s relationship with the Holy Spirit, and since Satan is locked away during the Millennium, this category of ET obviously belongs only to the rebuttal phase of the Angelic Conflict trial. There is no relationship with the Holy Spirit on the part of all believers except in the Church Age, the precedence of which was established by our Lord during His First Advent and incarnation. Therefore, this category of ET applies only to our Lord and the Royal Family of God in the Church Age.
Job took the relationship to life test. After receiving his escrow blessings, it was all swept away in the first part of Job’s relationship to life test.
The three parts of his test are:
- Loss of prosperity including children, Job 1.
- Loss of health, social life, and attractiveness, Job 2:1‑10.
- Loss of friends and being maligned, Job 2:11 ‑ the end of Job.
Job passed the first two parts, failed the third, recovered, and received his blessings back Job 42:10-17; doubled in all three categories after he passed ET.
While ET comes quickly, without any notice or warning, and always occurs at a time when least expected, since the believer has reached a peak in his spiritual life, it is completely and totally undeserved suffering. It is very, very severe. However, it never puts on the believer more suffering than he can bear. Only the negative believer functioning under the punitive law of volitional responsibility piles on himself more than he can bear.
Evidence Testing is the third and highest category of Suffering for Blessing. When passed by the mature believer, it results in a great phenomenon that occurs perhaps only once or twice in every generation: A doubling of escrow blessings! God isn’t quite saying “double or nothing,” but it seems like that at the time the ET is administered.
History is a very short time compared to all eternity. Your time on earth is a drop in the bucket compared to eternity. All of you who place other things in life above God’s Word, in your false scale of values, are losing all the equal privilege and opportunity God has provided for you in time to advance spiritually. All those “other things” will become so very meaningless to you in eternity, at most, adding up to your regret at the BEMA Seat of Jesus Christ.
In eternity, you will realize that the things you considered important were not important at all. Although you cannot lose your salvation, you are a loser of rewards. A part of the agony of the sin unto death is to realize that you had an opportunity to make your life count in a fantastic way. Instead, you chose to follow the plan of Satan for human life on this earth.
This study sheds light on the importance of mature Church Age believers glorifying God by tactical victories. The suffering the mature believer endures under ET is a major factor in breaking the back of Satan. Two things break the back of Satan: 1) The strategic victory of our Lord on the Cross, 2) The tactical victory of those who advance to maturity.
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Previously, we have translated Verse 2 up to, “But everyone bearing fruit He (God the Father) prunes (undeserved suffering) it.” That led us to the Doctrine of Underserved Suffering (i.e., Suffering for Blessing). There we noted that adversity is designed by God to intensify the blessing and happiness of the mature believer, while at the same time narrowing his focus so that he produces more Divine good production. When the believer reaches spiritual adulthood, he is beginning to produce fruit on a regular basis, and God is going to come in with testing in his life with certain types of adversity that are tailor made to the personality, to the strength and weaknesses of that believer’s sin nature, to his background and everything he is. He is going to bring these tests into that believer’s life so that he is forced to make decisions related to priority.
The problem with the plant is that it just grows a lot of stems and leaves, and therefore its energy is diverted in all kinds of directions other than the fruit production. What needs to be done is prune these leaves and stems off so that all of the energy of the plant is forced into fruit production. So once the believer reaches spiritual adulthood, God brings this momentum/pruning testing to bear so that he is forced to decide that although there are a lot of good things in life that he likes to do, he is not going to do them anymore because they distract from doctrine and fruit production. So, the whole process is designed to speed up and intensify growth.
The other aspect of fruit production was noted in the Vine and branch analogy. There we noted that being a branch in the Vine means that the believer is eternally united to Christ and shares His life. It also tells us that all of our spiritual nutrition comes from Christ, and we must “abide” in Him in order to receive that nutrition and produce fruit. As we abide in Him, His Word and Spirit flow through us, and we produce fruit.
It is possible for the carnal Christian to produce “works,” but only the spiritual Christian can bear lasting fruit. So, the fruitful branches are “pruned”, (KATHAIREI – καθαιρει, same word as “clean” in vs. 3), so that they will bear more fruit. That means that God cleanses us through His Word and pruning to make us more fruitful, which helps to explain why a dedicated Christian often has to go through suffering.
As believers move from producing “fruit” to “more fruit,” to “much fruit,” in Verse 8, they glorify the Father and the Son, Phil 1:29.
Phil 1:29, “For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake.”
So, the pruning process is the mature believer getting occasional adversity, suffering, trial, etc. in order that he might be blessed even more. The mature believer has capacity for suffering, and he has capacity for blessing in suffering. Adversity is designed by God to intensify the blessing and happiness of the mature believer. Therefore, pruning only makes the branch stronger and more productive while at the same time producing inner peace and happiness.
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We now pick up the final clause of Verse 2, John 5:2, “….so that it may bear more fruit”,
The Greek is:
“ἵνα καρπὸν πλείονα φέρῃ.”
Transliterated it is:
“HINA KARPON PLEIONA PHERE.”
HINA introduces a dependent clause, and because this is speaking of the will of God or His Divine intention, it is categorized as a Purpose-Result clause. This indicates both the intention and its sure accomplishment. So, we can say that the purpose for and the result of pruning is more Divine good production as noted in the next two words. We will translate HINA as, “in order that.”
KARPON is a Greek Noun in the Accusative, Masculine, Singular of KARPOS – καρπός (kar-pos’) that means, “fruit.” It is used as an analogy for Divine good production which Gal 5:22 calls, “the Fruit of the Spirit.”
PLEIONA is from PLEION – πλείων (pleh’-on), which is the comparative use of the Adjective POLUS – πολύς (pol-oos’) in the Accusative, Masculine, Singular. POLUS means, “much or many,” yet in the Comparative, it means, “more or larger” both of number and size. It is used in this way several times in Scripture including the message to Thyatira in Rev 2:19, “I know your deeds, and your love and faith and service and perseverance, and that your deeds of late are greater than at first.” So, we see that we are speaking in terms of quantity and quality. As a result of God’s pruning process, we will have “more” in the number of Divine works we perform and “larger” in the size, quality, or impact our Divine Good works will have.
PHERE is a Verb in the Present, Active, Subjunctive, Third Person, Singular of PHERO – φέρω (fer’-o) that means, “to bear, carry, or bring forth.” Remember this is referring to the branch that is already bearing fruit, which is reiterate in the Third Person, Singular; telling us it is on a branch by branch basis, i.e. an individual by individual basis as to pruning and subsequent fruit bearing.
The Present Tense is a Futuristic Present indicating future action subsequent to the pruning process. Once the branch has been pruned, and not until then, will it produce more fruit in quantity and quality.
The Active Voice; the branch producing fruit (mature believer) will produce even more fruit, as a result of Suffering for Blessing and passing Momentum Testing.
The Subjunctive Mood is for potential. Coupled with HINA above in this purpose-result clause, it carries some sense of an Indicative Mood of reality, where probability of occurrence is likely. In other words, it is the intention of God the Father that, as a result of pruning, the mature believer would bear more fruit. But this is not a slam dunk or automatic reality as would be indicated by an Indicative Mood. The Subjunctive is for potential based on whether the spiritual adult believer will continue to be positive towards the Word and Plan of God or not. So, we say, “It should bear.”
Our complete translation of John 15:2 is: “Every branch, (Church Age believer), in Me, (in union with Jesus Christ the Vine), that does not bear fruit, (no Divine good production), He, (God the Father), takes it, (non-fruit bearing Church Age believer), away, (Divine discipline); But everyone bearing fruit (mature believers) He (God the Father) prunes it (Undeserved Suffering) in order that it should bear more fruit (Divine good production).”
- It does not matter what stage of spiritual growth you are in; you must continue to have positive volition if you are going to continue to advance in the Plan of God.
- It does not matter what stage of spiritual growth you are in; if you have negative volition toward the Will and Plan of God, you will not advance further.
- The potential always exists; will you learn from Momentum Testing and continue to advance in the spiritual life, or will you fail Momentum Testing and not advance in the spiritual life.
- Achieving Spiritual Self Esteem does not guarantee passing Providential Preventative Suffering.
- Achieving Spiritual Autonomy does not guarantee passing Momentum Testing.
- Achieving Spiritual Maturity does not guarantee passing Evidence Testing.
- Since our souls are the battle ground for the Appeal Trial of the Angelic Conflict and we have free will volition, there is always the potential for failure, as well as potential for success.
- Certainly, the desired intention of the Vinedresser (God the Father) and the Vine (Jesus Christ) is that we do produce “more fruit” and then “much fruit.”
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That leads us to the Doctrine of Divine Good Production.
Doctrine of Divine Good
John 15:2-8; James 1:19-25
Divine Good is the works performed by a believer in exhale of Bible doctrine from their soul when filled with the Holy Spirit. The production of Divine Good in the human race is impossible. Therefore, God has provided the means of producing Divine Good. The only way this can be accomplished is for a person to be born again into the family of God and to utilize the grace provisions. Once the believer utilizes grace provisions, he helps to resolve the Angelic Conflict. So, the Angelic Conflict is resolved by the production of Divine Good in the human race, Rom 12:21.
Divine Good is primarily the production of the mature believer, but it can also be the production of the growing believer. It is the maximum and most effective production a believer can have in his life. The production of Divine Good comes from the source of God directly, that is, all three members of the Trinity, (the Vinedresser, Vine, and Fruit of the Spirit), 1 Cor 15:10.
1 Cor 15:10, “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me.”
Mechanically, Divine Good is produced by the branch (mature believer) when abiding in the spiritual nutrition of the vine and the enabling power of God the Holy Spirit. That is what we call the Balance of Residency: Maximum Bible doctrine (the mind of Christ) in the Soul, Ready for Application, plus the Filling of God the Holy Spirit, (M.B.S.R.4.A. + F.G.H.S.).
Divine Good is both verbal and mental, 2 Thes 2:16‑17:
2 Thes 2:16‑17, “Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace, 17comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good work and word.”
- The production of Divine Good coexists with stability of soul in phase two.
- Every good word and production is in your right lobe.
- Your right lobe is strengthened every time you produce Divine Good, whether verbally or mentally.
There are three sources of Divine Good:
- From the Holy Spirit – The Filling of the Holy Spirit enables the believer to learn and apply God’s Word, Eph 5:18.
- From the Human Spirit – Exhale of Bible doctrine from the human spirit to the right lobe of your soul in order to be applied.
a) Bible doctrine in the soul is through the persistent function of the Grace Apparatus for Perception (GAP) which increases production.
b) GAP is the means for the production of Divine Good in the grace perspective, 2 Cor 9:8; Col 1:9-12; 2 Tim 2:21; Titus 2:7.
2 Cor 9:8, “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed.”
Titus 2:7-8, “In all things show yourself to be an example of Divine Good production by means of soundness of doctrine, dignified, 8sound in speech which is beyond reproach, so that the opponent will be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us.”
2 Tim 2:21, “Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work.”
Col 1:9-12, “For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously 12giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light.”
- From the Soul – Production of the Edification Complex of the Soul (ECS) resulting in the supergrace life, 2 Tim 3:16-17.
a) In Spiritual Maturity, the mature believer filled with the Holy Spirit can only produce Divine Good.
b) In ultra supergrace status, the mature believer produces Divine Good under maximum pressure and Undeserved Suffering.
2 Tim 3:16‑17, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”
There are four keys to the production of Divine Good:
Status quo. This means being in the directive Will of God, which means we are walking in the light of Christ, filled with the Holy Spirit, resident inside God’s Power System (GPS), under the enabling power of God the Holy Spirit. Whatever counts for good in our lives must be related to the filling of the Spirit. There is no effective function of good in our lives or effective Christian service apart from the filling of the Holy Spirit, Gal 5:22f; Eph 5:18f.
Momentum. This means that Bible doctrine is important in everything. Momentum is understanding and applying Bible doctrine.
Attainment. This is advance to spiritual maturity through the execution of the Plan of God. Bible doctrine must be learned before Divine Good can be produced.
Impact. This is the function of the mature believer as an invisible hero in the Church Age. It is possible for any of us to get sucked into a system that appears to be good. We think we are doing something for God, when in reality, we are fighting against God’s Plan. This is often true of Christian activism. We have to understand how good relates to our impact. Are we here to be visible heroes? Are we here to have a visible glorification of God? No. We are to have invisible impact. Because we are witnesses in the appeal trial of the Angelic Conflict, our greatest impact is with angels, not necessarily with people.
Rom 12:21, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with Divine Good production.”
John 15:2, “Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes it away; But everyone bearing fruit He prunes it in order that it should bear more fruit (more Divine Good production).”
Titus 2:7-8, “In all things show yourself to be an example of Divine Good production by means of, 1) soundness of doctrine, 2) dignified, 3) 8sound in speech which is beyond reproach, so that the opponent will be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us.”
Divine Good is the work performed by a believer, (mental, overt, and verbal), in exhale of Bible doctrine resident in the soul, as a result of the spiritual sustenance of Jesus Christ (The Vine) and the Predesigned Plan of God the Father (The Vinedresser), through the enabling power of the filling of God the Holy Spirit.
2 Thes 2:16‑17, “Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace, 171) comfort and strengthen your hearts 2) in every good work and 3) word.”
Gal 5:16-26, “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. 17For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. 18But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. 19Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20idolatry, sorcery (the use of drugs), enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, 21envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. 26Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another.”
There are three types of good in history:
Divine Good. The production of the growing or mature believer. Righteousness is the thinking of God, and Divine Good is the application of that thinking.
Human Good. The production of evil by an unbeliever or reversionistic believer.
- Human good began in the Garden of Eden right after the fall with operation fig leaves, Gen 3:7-11 cf. Verse 21.
- Evil is the thinking of Satan, while human good is the application of that thinking.
- Human Good includes a works for salvation, morality for salvation, or a keeping of the law for salvation mentality, (any form of legalism), Rom 3:27-32; 9:32; Gal 2:16; 3:2-5; 2 Tim 1:9; Titus 3:5.
Moral Good. The observance of God’s Laws of Divine Establishment. This can be produced by both believers and unbelievers.
- If produced by either group, they will be blessed in time in that category of Divine Establishment they are honoring.
- If produced by a believer under the enabling power of the Holy Spirit, it is also rewardable in eternity as a category of Divine Good.
What we think is good is not always Divine Good.
Many times, wrong motivation parlays good into what is classified as human good, which is actually evil in God’s eyes. Good may be human good that is dead works, which is the function of good deeds done by means of the flesh / Sin Nature, or it may be Christian service done by means of the Word and Spirit functioning in your soul which is Divine Good. Yet, Christian service can also be fulfilled in the power of your ability, your human energy and, your personality rather than the power of God, which renders that service to nothing more than human good. Anything done with wrong motivation or not under the Filling of God the Holy Spirit is human good.
What you do under the control of the Holy Spirit is Divine Good, in contrast to what you do in the energy of the flesh which is human good. Everything depends on the relationship of that good to the “three sources of good” and “the first three keys to Divine Good” noted above.
The contrast to Divine Good is human good, which comes from the Old Sin Nature:
- Human good is dead works, Heb 6:1, (dead to God and His Plan).
- Human good is not acceptable to God, Isa 64:6, or His Divine viewpoint.
- Human good has no place in the Plan of God, 2 Tim 1:9, or operation grace.
- Human good will not save mankind, Titus 3:5.
- Human good of the believer will be destroyed at the Bema Seat of Jesus Christ, 1 Cor 3:11-16.
- Human good of the unbeliever is judged at the Great White Throne Judgment Seat of Jesus Christ and is the basis for indictment of all unbelievers, Gal 2:16; Rev 20:12-15. Unbelievers can do nothing humanly worthy to enter into God’s heaven, but they do not go to hell because of human good but for their constant rejection of Christ’s redeeming work upon the Cross.
There must be spiritual growth before there can be production of Divine Good.
Remember that Divine Good is the production of the growing or mature believer. We produce Divine Good when we apply the righteousness of God to life. Righteousness is the thinking of God (His Word) and Divine Good is the application of that thinking. All production must come from within the boundary of Bible doctrine. 2 Tim 3:16-17.
2 Tim 3:16-17, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”
It is the will of God that you learn His Word before you produce Divine Good. You don’t put baby believers to work doing anything; you need to teach them first, cf. 1 Tim 3:6. When the baby grows up, it will work and produce naturally, as a result of all the training it received.
The right mental attitude plus the filling of the Holy Spirit results in being in the Will of God and the production of Divine Good, Eph 5:18; Titus 2:7-8; Heb 10:23-25; 1 Peter 1:13-17; 4:7-11; 5:6-11; James 3:13.
Titus 2:7-8, “In all things show yourself to be an example of Divine Good production, with purity in doctrine, dignified, 8sound in speech which is beyond reproach, …”
Heb 10:23-25, “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; And let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, 25not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.”
James 3:13, “Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom.”
The believer is only a fruit bearer under the following conditions.
- You must have consistent post-salvation renewing of your mind by God’s Word, Rom 12:2.
- You must have resultant spiritual growth.
- You must have the correct mental attitude.
Producing Divine Good demands having right priorities. Right priorities are consistent Divine viewpoint of life, which originates from perception, metabolization, and application of Bible doctrine.
The believer is designed to produce Divine Good:
Divine Good is the production of the Royal Priesthood, Heb 13:16.
Heb 13:16, “And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.”
It is part of God’s Plan for you to produce Divine Good. The believer in phase two is the recipient of grace and designed for the production of Divine Good, Eph 2:10.
Eph 2:10, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”
In eternity past, God knew how much Bible doctrine you would have at any moment, so he prefabricated all the Divine Good you would produce and entered this information into a His Divine decrees with your name on them. The only production which counts as Divine Good is production based on something in your soul (God’s Word), which is there as a result of grace (GAP). The filling of the Holy Spirit and Bible doctrine exist in your soul as a result of grace.
Obedience to the “Heavenly Vision” (Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest) “I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision” (Acts 26:19).
“If we lose “the heavenly vision” God has given us, we alone are responsible—not God. We lose the vision because of our own lack of spiritual growth. If we do not apply our beliefs about God to the issues of everyday life, the vision God has given us will never be fulfilled. The only way to be obedient to “the heavenly vision” is to give our utmost for His highest—our best for His glory. This can be accomplished only when we make a determination to continually remember God’s vision. But the acid test is obedience to the vision in the details of our everyday life—sixty seconds out of every minute, and sixty minutes out of every hour, not just during times of personal prayer or public meetings.
“Though it tarries, wait for it …” (Habakkuk 2:3). We cannot bring the vision to fulfillment through our own efforts, but must live under its inspiration until it fulfills itself. We try to be so practical that we forget the vision. At the very beginning, we saw the vision but did not wait for it. We rushed off to do our practical work, and once the vision was fulfilled, we could no longer even see it. Waiting for a vision that “tarries” is the true test of our faithfulness to God. It is at the risk of our own soul’s welfare that we get caught up in practical busy-work, only to miss the fulfillment of the vision.
Watch for the storms of God. The only way God plants His saints is through the whirlwind of His storms. Will you be proven to be an empty pod with no seed inside? That will depend on whether or not you are actually living in the light of the vision you have seen. Let God send you out through His storm, and don’t go until He does. If you select your own spot to be planted, you will prove yourself to be an unproductive, empty pod. However, if you allow God to plant you, you will “bear much fruit” (John 15:8).
It is essential that we live and “walk in the light” of God’s vision for us (1 John 1:7).”
The Production of Divine Good is Related to God’s Logistical Grace Blessings, 2 Cor 9:6-10, 14-15.
Logistical Grace includes three factors of Divine provision:
Life Support is provided for every Church Age believer. This explains how and why we are alive every moment. The only reason we are alive is because of logistical grace. We do not earn or deserve it; there’s no work we can accomplish to keep ourselves alive.
Blessing is provided for every Church Age believer, both winners and loser. This dramatizes the justice of God, in that the justice of God sends life support and blessing to the indwelling righteousness of God in both winners and losers. This emphasizes grace. God sends blessing through the grace pipeline in order to sustain life. You are alive only because of the grace of God, not because of anything you do. Winners utilize logistical grace, losers coast on it, but never utilize it.
Divine Provision for every Church Age believer to execute the Plan of God. All doctrine comes from the prepared Pastor-Teacher. If you have persistent positive volition, you will find doctrine and your right Pastor-Teacher. This provides for you the right mental capacity in order to serve God as a vessel of honor (2 Tim 2:21), maximizing your Divine Good production.
2 Tim 2:15, 20-21, “15Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth… 20Now in a large house there are not only gold and silver vessels, but also vessels of wood and of earthenware, and some to honor and some to dishonor. 21Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these things (comic viewpoint), he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work.” (The production of Divine Good is related to the believer’s honor which means glorification in time and eternity).
In 2 Cor 9:6-15, we have an object lesson in regard to your mental attitude in grace offerings. These offerings are given in order to support the local assembly and ministry of God’s Word. This example is a category of Divine Good production based on Logistical Grace Blessings. At the same time, this example is an object lesson for all Divine Good production based on the overall context of these passages. The principles found therein are principles applicable in all areas of fruit bearing. The first principle we see under Logistical Grace blessings is the provision of capacity in fruit bearing. Through the grace provision of God’s Word, the Filling of the Holy Spirit, and the Grace Apparatus for Perception, we are provided with the right mental attitude to produce Divine Good.
In 2 Corinthians 9:7, “Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver (Divine Good producer).”
“Heart” is KARDIA – καρδία (kar-dee’-ah) that means the Right Lobe of our soul where we store and retain Bible doctrine, the righteous thinking of God. So, we see the application of God’s righteousness, His Word.
“Purposed” is an HAPAXLEGOMENON, a Greek word used only once in Scripture, which is the verb PROAIREO – προαιρέω (pro-ahee-reh’-om-ahee) from PRO – πρό (pro) that means, “before or ahead,” and HAIREO – αἱρέω or HAIREOMAI – αἱρήομαι (hahee-reh’-om-ahee) that means to, “choose, prefer, or decide.”
In extra Biblical Greek literature, PROAIREO was used to mean, “to bring forward, bring forth from one’s stores, to bring forth for one’s self, to choose for one’s self before another, and to prefer. In Scripture, PROAIREO has come to mean, “decided or purposed.” It is used here in the Perfect Tense
The Perfect Tense speaks of completed past action. The positive believer has made a decision in the past regarding the works he will perform now and in the future.
The Middle Voice says that the believer is acting upon himself. He has made the decision for himself. He has decided the direction he is going to take, and the actions he is going to perform.
The Indicative Mood stands for the reality of the situation. He has made up his mind. It is a done deal, not to be changed.
“Not grudgingly” is “ME EK LUPE”
ME – μή (may) is the Greek negative, “not.”
EK – ἐκ (ek) means, “from, out from, or out of.”
LUPE – λύπη (loo’-pay) is a Noun, here in the Genitive Case that means, “Pain of body or mind, grief, sorrow, annoyance, or affliction.” It is typically used that way throughout the New Testament.
In 1 Peter 2:19, LUPE is used in regard to God’s pruning process; Underserved Suffering, “For this finds favor, if for the sake of conscience toward God a person bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly.”
Literally, we would say of 2 Cor 9:7, “Not out of grief,” but here it comes to mean, “reluctantly or with regret.”
“Under compulsion” is made up of EK that again means, “from, out from, or out of,” and ANAGKE – ἀνάγκη (an-ang-kay’), also in the Genitive Case, that means, “compulsion or of necessity imposed either by the circumstances, or by law of duty regarding to one’s advantage, custom, or argument.” Sometimes it refers to compulsion in regard to calamity, distress, or dire straits.
So, we translate this portion of 2 Cor 9:7 as, “Each one in as much as he has previously decided to do in his heart (right lobe of the soul), not out of reluctance (reluctantly) or out of compulsion imposed by law of duty, for God loves a cheerful giver.”
Therefore, we see that our fruit production must be done with the correct mental attitude based on the Logistical Grace Blessings of Bible doctrine resident within our souls.
- Whatever you have made up your mind to do, do it. If it is a little or lot, just do it as God’s Word and the Spirit have placed on your heart, and you have determined for yourself to do.
- Do not take side steps or short cuts, as a result of outside influences distracting you.
- Unless truly influenced by God, do not add to what you had originally determined to do. Adding can lead to approbation lust.
- Do what you set out to accomplish in the way you determined to accomplish it.
- Never worry about what other people think or will say about your work, good or bad.
- Be at peace and be confident with whatever it is you have decided to do or have done.
- Do not enter into any fruit bearing reluctantly / begrudgingly. It’s better to not do the work and remain in fellowship than to do the work and be sinning.
- Do not use the previous point as a cop-out; an excuse for not producing Divine Good. Get the correct mental attitude, adjust to the righteousness of God, (via Rebound, Filling of the Spirit, and God’s Word) and do the work.
- Do not feel compelled or pressured or that you have to do it because someone told you to or because of what others may think, (peer pressure).
- Absolutely do not enter into any deeds with anger, bitterness, resentment, or approbation lust.
- Do every good deed with +H; the joy and happiness of God emanating through your soul.
In Verse 8, “all sufficiency” refers to God providing everything necessary to keep you alive and to take in doctrine (Logistical Grace Blessing), “so that you can have an abundance of every Divine Good production.”
Verse 10, “He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food,” is once again speaking of God’s Logistical Grace provisions so that you may produce even more Divine Good, “increase the harvest of your righteousness (application of God’s thinking – Divine Good production).”
Remembering the principle from our last lesson, “Righteousness is the thinking of God (His Word), and the application of God’s righteousness is Divine Good production.” Therefore, “increasing the harvest of your righteousness” speaks to increasing your fruit production to more and much fruit.
The production of Divine Good results in Surpassing Grace blessings for the eternal sate, 1 Cor 3:10-15; 2 Cor 5:10; Rev 2-3.
Maturing and mature believers produce Divine Good which is rewardable in eternity. If you acquire maximum Bible doctrine in the soul and apply it, you will produce the Fruit of the Spirit in time that will be rewardable in eternity, 1 Cor 3:10-15, Rev 2-3.
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Doctrine of Rewards for Divine Good Production
Rewards for those who produce Divine Good in time are described in some detail in Rev 2‑3, specifically in Rev 2:7, 10-11, 17, 26-28; 3:4-5, 12, 21 and 21:7.
The fact is, all believers will stand before the Judgment Seat of Jesus Christ, called the BEMA in Rom 14:10-12; 2 Cor 5:10.
2 Cor 5:10, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.”
“Good” is the Greek word AGATHOS – ἀγαθός (ag-ath-os’) representing Divine Good production, which is good of intrinsic value, while “bad” is the word PHAULOS – φαῦλος (fow’-los) that means, “worthless or bad.”
This judgment will be for the deeds or works performed here on earth; whereas, our sins are not mentioned, because they have already been judged at the Cross. Deeds done through the filling of the Spirit and the Word resident in your soul will be rewarded. Deeds performed from the flesh or Old Sin Nature will be discarded, 1 Cor 3:10-16.
1 Cor 3:12, “Now if any man builds upon this foundation.”
Between laying the foundation and rewardable deeds, there must be knowledge and application of God’s Word coupled with spiritual growth. “If” is a first-class condition that recognizes the reality of some kind of production in the life of the believer, good or bad, (if and he does).
The word “builds” is in the Iterative Present Tense that means we keep on building from time to time as long as we live. We either express works of the flesh, which is human good from the Old Sin Nature, or we express Divine Good production through the filling of the Spirit and the Word.
There are 2 general categories noted here:
Category #1 – “Gold, Silver, Precious Stones.” These are permanent type things out of which to build something and indicate everlasting rewards. When passed through fire (an analogy for judgment), they are either unharmed or purified, made even better. These are classified as Divine Good production “Rewards.”
- Gold generally in Scripture is used to represent Deity. So, gold would represent anything that glorifies God, and God is glorified by the Spirit-filled life, John 16:12-14.
- Silver speaks of redemption wherever found in Scripture. Therefore, it is connected with witnessing in the power of the Spirit.
- Precious stones are identification with the family of God via the High Priest, and therefore represent production of the believer priest through the Word and Spirit, (i.e. the fruit of the Spirit, love, joy, peace, etc.), as effecting the Royal Family of God.
Category # 2 – “Wood, Hay, Straw.” These are temporary things and indicate loss as each is burned up and nothing remains when passed through fire. These are classified as Human Good production, “Loss of Rewards.”
- Wood speaks of man and of good deeds performed from the flesh, (i.e. approbation lust).
- Hay is a great energy source for horses, mules, etc., working animals. There are a lot of believers who are only full of human energy (i.e. works they constantly perform from there human energy and efforts that originate from the area of strength in the Sin Nature).
- Straw or stubble refers to leftover and useless by-products; therefore, this would be works that people do out of spite, envy, or hostility. In addition, they are works done reluctantly or from some form of compulsion and are worthless works according to 2 Cor 9:7. These all add up to production from the Old Sin Nature.
So, the first category describes in a general way the eternal rewards for Divine Good production, and as we noted, Revelation 2 and 3 tells us more specifically about these rewards.
Rewards are associated with brightness and shining in many passages of Scripture, (the reflective glory of Jesus Christ), Dan 12:3; Mat 13:43; 1 Cor 15:40-41, 49. Therefore, it appears that rewards given to the believer are some form of capacity to manifest the glory of Christ throughout eternity.
Dan 12:3, “Those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.”
1 Cor 15:41 & 49, “There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory…. 49Just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image of the heavenly.”
Rev 2:7 – The Overcomer is a member of the Paradise club forever. This includes:
- Access to the Paradise of God (the heavenly eternal “Garden of Eden” in the New Jerusalem).
- Eating from the Tree of Life (eternal spiritual sustenance from the Word of God, Rev 22:1-2).
- This is also known as the “Gazebo in the Garden,” where you will have access to this fantastic gathering place in heaven.
Rev 2:10 – The Crown of Life. This is one of two major awards. The other being the Order of the Morning Star, Rev 2:28. The Crown of Life is given for living the spiritual life inside GPS, bringing maximum glorification to God. It is awarded to invisible heroes for maximum production of Divine Good, through the execution of the Plan of God with emphasis on invisible impact while persevering under trial. Also in James 1:12.
James 1:12, “Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.”
This is one of four Crowns the believer can be awarded at the BEMA of Jesus Christ. Each is an indestructible crown that will last forever, is fire tested, as we have noted, and linked with living for the gospel of Christ, 1 Cor 9:23-26.
1 Cor 9:24-26, “I do all things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may become a fellow partaker of it. Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim…”
The other crowns include:
- The Crown of Rejoicing for the soul winners, 1 Thes 2:19.
- The Crown of Righteousness is given to the one who has “loved His appearing,” which means it is a decoration for the attainment, activity, and perpetuation of spiritual maturity. This crown is presented to those believers who advance through the three stages of spiritual adulthood, 2 Tim 4:8.
2 Tim 4:8, “In the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.”
- The Crown of Glory for being willing to feed the flock of God, 1 Peter 5:1-4, cf. Prov 16:31.
Rev 2:11 – A general reward for all believers, being spared the second death. The second death is the Eternal Lake of Fire reserved for Satan and all unbelievers, Rev 20:6, 14; 21:8.
Rev 2:17 – Three components:
- Hidden Manna – eternal spiritual sustenance.
- The White Stone – an eternal credit card providing special accesses in heaven.
- The New Title on the stone is a new order of knighthood with rank and privilege.
Rev 2:26-28 – The Order of the Morning Star is the highest decoration for living the Christian life. This is awarded for the ultimate in impact through the application of Bible doctrine. The name is derived from the title of our Lord. In His strategic victory, He is called, “The Morning Star.”
Num 24:17, “A star shall come from Jacob (First Advent).”
2 Peter 1:19, “So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns (Second Advent) and the morning star arises in your hearts.”
Those who are granted this reward will be given authority to rule in the Millennium, Rev 2:26-27, 20:4.
Rev 3:4-5 – The Overcomer will also receive:
- The Uniform of Glory, Rev 3:4-5, and 18. The uniform of glory was worn by Jesus Christ as the Morning Star and exhibited at the Mount of Transfiguration. This uniform of glory is the translucent robe of light that Christ wears over His resurrection body. The uniform of glory was modeled by Christ for Peter, James, and John, Mat 16:28‑17:2, “His face shone like the sun and His clothes became white, like light.” This uniform is now constantly worn by the humanity of Christ and will be worn by the Overcomer too.
Rev 3:12 – A special pillar in the temple written in gold, which tells the story of the Divine Good producer. This is the historical record section of heaven. This is a record of the great Divine Good deeds of the Overcomer. His name remains in the temple of God as a permanent history record of those who truly had an impact in human history. He will also receive a coat of arms (name of My God, the new city, and My new name), which allows him to enter the New Jerusalem.
Rev 3:21 – He will be seated with Christ on His Throne sharing in eternal authority.
Rev 21:7 – He will inherit the New Heavens and New Earth.
None of this would be possible without the Strategic Victory of the Lamb of God (Jesus Christ). Jesus said in Rev 3:21b, “…as I also overcame (Aorist, Active, Indicative) and sat down with My Father on His throne.”
I asked God for strength that I might achieve
I was made weak that I might learn humbly to obey.
I asked God for health that I might do greater things.
I was given infirmity that I might do better things.
I asked for riches that I might be happy.
I was given poverty that I might be wise.
I asked for power that I might have the praise of men.
I was given weakness that I might feel the need of God.
I asked for all things that I might enjoy life.
I was given life that I might endure all things.
I got nothing I asked for
But everything I had hoped for…
Almost despite myself my unspoken prayers were answered.
I am among all men most richly blessed.
-Unknown Confederate Soldier
In conclusion to the Doctrine of Divine Good Production, we continue in John 15, where we will see more about the process of producing Divine Good. But simply stated, when we take in the righteousness of God, manifested in His Word, and apply it to our lives through the filling of God the Holy Spirit, we will produce Divine Good. This is what Verses 3-8 entail. In comparison, Phil 1:9 tells us the same thing.
Phil 1:9, “And this I pray (Paul’s petition for the believer), that your love (Fruit of the Spirit) may abound still more and more in real knowledge (Bible doctrine resident in your soul) and all discernment (application of that doctrine), 10so that you may approve the things that are excellent (DIAPHERO, where PHERO is the word used for “fruit bearing” in John 15), in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ; 11having been filled with the fruit (KARPOS) of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.
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Now in John 15:3 it reads, “You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.”
The Greek is:
“ἤδη ὑμεῖς καθαροί ἐστε διὰ τὸν λόγον ὃν λελάληκα ὑμῖν·”
The transliterated is:
“EDE HUMEIS KATHAROI ESTE DIA TON LOGON HON LELALEKA HUMIN.”
EDE is an Adverb that means, “now or already.”
HUMEIS is the Second Person, Personal, Pronoun of SU – σύ (soo), in the Subject, Nominative, Plural that means, “you all.” Remember Jesus is speaking to the disciples in the Upper Room and Judas Iscariot is no longer with them. Therefore, Jesus is addressing believers only. This is not being addressed to unbelievers, as we have been noting in regards to Divine Good production. This helps shape the context of this passage on our interpretation.
KATHAROI (kath-ar-oy’) is an Adjective in the Nominative, Masculine, Plural of KATHAROS – καθαρός (kath-ar-os’). KATHAROS means, “pure, clean or innocent.”
ESTE is from the Verb EIMI – εἰμί (i-mee’) that means, “to be or is.” It is in the Present Tense, Active Voice, Indicative Mood, Second Person, Plural. In the Second Person, Plural, it is the verb linked with the subject HUMEIS, so combined we have, “you all are.”
So far, we have, “You all (believers only) are already clean.”
Here we have one of those “play-on-words” I have mentioned previously. Back in Verse 2, in regard to the pruning process of the Vinedresser (God the Father), the word for pruning was KATHAIRO (kath-i’-ro) which is a cognate of KATHAROS. At the same time, this word was previously used by our Lord in regard to washing the feet of the disciples in John 13:10, “He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean…” In fact, the entire clause “HUMEIS KATHAROI ESTE,” – “you are clean” was used there too. In that passage, Jesus was making the distinction between taking an overall body bath versus only needing to wash the feet. This showed us the example of once you are saved through faith in Jesus Christ, you have been bathed, yet post salvation, you only need to “wash your feet,” which is a picture of the Rebound Technique found in 1 John 1:9. When Jesus used this clause in John 13:10, it was followed by “but not all of you,” clearly distinguishing the difference between believers and unbelievers with Judas Iscariot, who was in the room at that time, as the example of the unbeliever who has not yet received the bathing that comes with salvation.
So, we have our object lesson. The believer who is saved is saved forever, not needing to receive salvation (a bath) over and over again, because they might have lost their salvation for some reason. The believer is eternally secure. Yet, the one who gave them eternal salvation, God the Father, is also the one who continually works in the positive believer’s life, pruning them through the process of Suffering for Blessing, so that they will produce even more Divine Good. So, we see that there is one cleansing process that occurs at salvation, and there is another that occurs throughout the believer’s life. Next, we will see what God uses to clean us, both for salvation (bathing) and Suffering for Blessing (pruning).
DIA begins a Prepositional phrase, as the Direct Object in the Accusative case. It means, “because of, on account of, for the sake of, or through.” This tells us why they are clean.
TON is the Accusative, Masculine, Singular article for “the.”
LOGON is a noun in the Accusative, Masculine, Singular from LOGOS – λόγος (log’-os) that means, “Something said (e.g. word or saying, message, teaching, talk, or conversation).” It can mean, “Word” as a pronoun for the Lord Jesus Christ in Johannine Christology, John 1:1. But here it means the “things Jesus has taught,” which is Bible doctrine, the Word of God. Here, it is specifically the Gospel of Jesus Christ as to what has brought them to salvation (being bathed). It is because of the “Bible doctrine (specifically the Gospel message) that they are clean.” So, we will say, “word (gospel of Jesus Christ).”
HON is the Pronominal Relative Adjective, in the Accusative, Masculine, Singular of HOS that means, “who, which, what, or that.” As a pronominal, it can act like a noun / pronoun. It identifies the “thing” making them clean. As a Relative Adjective, it is used to connect a substantive (noun) with a clause that in some way qualifies its meaning. This tells us that LOGOS is the teaching of Jesus Christ that makes them clean.
LELALEKA is a Verb in the Perfect, Active, Indicative, First Person, Singular of LALEO – λαλέω (lal-eh’-o) that means, “to talk, speak, say, etc.”
The Perfect Tense tells us it is completed past action with results continuing to the present, that is, Jesus has previously spoken to them about the vital information necessary for their salvation (bath).
The Active Voice: Jesus is the one who has previously spoken to them about the gospel message.
The Indicative Mood is for reality. Jesus absolutely gave them this information previously which led to their salvation. So, we will say, “I have spoken.”
HUMIN is the Second Person, Plural, Personal Pronoun of SU – σύ (soo) in the Dative Case that means, “to you all,” once again speaking about the disciples in the Upper Room. Jesus has previously spoken the gospel message to the disciples.
Our complete translation of John 15:3 is: “You all (believers only) are already clean because of the Word (Gospel of Jesus Christ) that I (Jesus) have spoken to you all.”
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Doctrine of Eternal Security
Eph 2:8-10, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”
Eternal security is defined as an unbreakable relationship between the believer in the Lord Jesus Christ and God, based on His integrity.
Man’s failure does not abrogate the integrity of God. Man’s weakness does not cancel God’s strength. Therefore, lack of integrity in the believer cannot cancel the integrity of God. Likewise, failure to execute the Plan of God for your life does not cancel your eternal salvation. Yet, man is more impressed with his failures than with the integrity of God, and that is the problem. We need to be more impressed with the integrity of God and less impressed with our failures. This is why many believers don’t believe in eternal security.
Our security is not based on or dependent on ourselves, our works, or even our positive volition, but solely on the integrity of God. Eternal Security is an unbreakable relationship, because God will not break the relationship regardless of what we do or fail to do.
Neither God nor man nor angel can cancel or destroy this unbreakable relationship with God. The moment we believe in Jesus Christ, God gives us forty things including Eternal Security. Demons cannot cancel those forty things nor can we cancel them by renouncing God or our faith. You have to be arrogant to think that you can commit a sin or make a renunciation of God that can cancel the work of God! There is nothing the believer can do to cancel the one-second decision of believing in Christ. You do not have the power or ability to cancel it, no matter how evil you are, John 10:27-30. In other words, God is greater than you. Yet, people are so arrogant that they think they are greater than God. The dumbest people are those who think they can reject eternal security, who attempt to cancel the grace of God by teaching a works for salvation or Lordship salvation message.
Knowing the doctrine of Eternal Security should not cause you to go out and raise hell. Rather, it motivates you to want to know this wonderful God who has provided such fantastic things for you because of one non-meritorious decision you made in a few seconds. To think you can help or assist God is arrogance. God does not need our help; we need His help! That is the grace policy of the Plan of God.
Approaches to Understanding Eternal Security:
Positional Approach: Rom 8:1; Eph 1:3-6; Jude 1. Every believer is in union with Christ, noted in the phrases “in Christ” or “in Him,” etc. Rom 8:38-39.
Rom 8:1, “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
Logical Approach: Rom 5:9-10, 15, 17, 20; 8:32. God did the “most” for us when we were His enemies and will do “much more” for us as His sons.
Romans 8:32, “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?”
The Hand Approach: John 10:28; Psa 37:23-24. The believer is held by God’s hand, and He will never let go.
Experiential Approach: 2 Tim 2:12-13. Though a believer may say he no longer believes, God remains faithful, because He is immutable. The Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit indwells the believer, and He cannot deny Himself.
- 2 Tim 2:12 speaks of rewards. “Deny us” (believer’s) rewards. When a believer denies Christ, he is out of fellowship, and therefore not producing Divine Good with the result of loss of reward, but not loss of salvation, 2 Cor 3:15.
- 2 Tim 2:13, “faithless” = stops believing. A believer denouncing Jesus Christ, yet He remains faithful, He cannot deny the unconditional quality of our salvation.
Family Approach: Gal 3:26; John 1:12. We are born into God’s family; we cannot be unborn.
Inheritance Approach: 1 Peter 1:4-5, based on God’s omnipotence, we are heirs of God.
Body Approach: 1 Cor 12:13, 20. Christ, the head of the body will never say to any member of the body (a believer) that He does not need him, nor should we.
The Sovereignty of God Approach: 2 Peter 3:9; Jude 24.
Greek Tense Approach:
- Aorist Tense: (once and for all) Acts 16:31.
- Perfect Tense: (saved in the past with the result that you keep on being saved forever), Eph 2:8-9; Col 2:6-7.
Sealing Ministry of the Holy Spirit Approach: Guarantee for protection at, and safe delivery to, your final destination (heaven), 2 Cor 1:22; Eph 1:13-14; 4:30; 2 Tim 2:19.
Title Deed Approach: Jude 24-25; 1 Peter 1:5, God will keep any promise made.
God’s Essence Approach: God never goes back on His character. Rom 8:35, (love); 8:38-39; 14:4.
Marriage Approach: Rev 19:1-10 (Eternal Relationship).
God’s Faithfulness Approach: 2 Tim 2:11-13; 1 Cor 3:4-5; Rev 19:11.
Jesus Christ’s Work on the Cross Approach: John 19:30; Heb 10:14. To denying eternal security is to deny the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ and reduces the sacrifice of Jesus Christ to the level of offering bulls and goats. The sacrifice of Christ stands forever, John 5:24.
John 5:24, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.”
Fact of New Creation Approach: 2 Cor 5:17; Gal 6:15; Eph 2:5-6; Col 2:10, “And in Him you have been made complete.”
Assignment Approach: Assigned eternal life, Acts 13:48 [“appointed” = TASSO – τάσσω (tas’-so) in the Greek that can mean, “to put in order, arrange, appoint, assign, etc.,” which speaks to our Election and Predestination.]
How a Believer is Described Approach: Col 3:12; elect, holy, beloved.
The Verse Approach: “Passage upon passage, verse upon verse” screams Eternal Security. Psa 37:24, 28; Prov 24:12; John 5:24; Rom 14:4; 1 Cor 3:11; Col 2:6, 13-14.
The Father Undertakes for the Believer Approach:
- The Unconditional Covenants: Abrahamic, Palestinian, Davidic & New.
- Infinite power of the Father to set free, save, keep: John 10:29; Rom 4:21; 8:31, 38-39; Eph 1:19-21; 3:20; 2 Tim 1:12; Jude 24.
- Infinite love of God: Rom 5:7-10; Eph 1:4.
- Influence on the Father of the prayer of the Son of God, John 17:19-20.
The Holy Spirit Undertakes for the Believer Approach:
- Regeneration: Entrance into that which cannot be removed. John 3:4-6; Titus 3:5-7; 1 Peter 1:23; 2 Peter 1:4; 1 John 3:9.
- Indwelling: Holy Spirit is given, Rom 8:15; 1 Cor 2:12; 3:16; 6:19; 1 John 2:27.
- Baptism: by the Spirit, not water; believer is joined to Christ eternally in a new creation, 1 Cor 12:13; Gal 3:27.
- Sealing. Eph 1:13-14; 4:30.
God the Father Cares Approach: John 3:16
God the Son Cares Approach: John 10, 11, 15, 17.
God the Holy Spirit Cares Approach: John 14:17-18, 26; John 16:7-14.
Unbeliever’s Care Approach: Luke 16:26-31. Even the “rich man” in hell had a care for his unbelieving brothers.
Angel’s Care Approach: Luke 15:7, 10.
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Turn to John 15:4. Thus far in John 15, our Lord’s parable of Fruit Bearing, a.k.a., Divine Good Production, we have been given:
The Establishment for fruit production in Verse 1: The Vine – Jesus Christ and farm owner/worker, Vinedresser – God the Father.
The Encouragement for fruit production, growth, in Verse 2: Divine Discipline and Undeserved Suffering inside the Plan of God the Father.
The Environment for fruit production in Verse 3: Eternal Security – Positional Sanctification.
Now, we are given the Empowerment for fruit production in Verse 4: Abiding in Christ.
Our Lord states John 15:4, “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.”
The Greek reads:
“μείνατε ἐν ἐμοί, κἀγὼ ἐν ὑμῖν. καθὼς τὸ κλῆμα οὐ δύναται καρπὸν φέρειν ἀφ’ ἑαυτοῦ ἐὰν μὴ μένῃ ἐν τῇ ἀμπέλῳ, οὕ ως οὐδὲ ὑμεῖς ἐὰν μὴ ἐν ἐμοὶ μένητε.”
Transliterated into English:
“MEINATE EN EMOI KAGO EN HUMIN. KATHOS TO KLEMA OU DUNATAI KARPON PHEREIN APH HEAUTOU EAN ME MENE EN TE AMPELO, HOUTOS OUDE HUMEIS EAN ME EN EMOI MENETE.”
MEINATE is a verb in Aorist, Active, Imperative, Second Person, Plural of MENO – μένω (men’-o) translated, “abide.” The English word means, “to put up with, tolerate, to wait patiently for something, to be in store for something, to wait for something, or to withstand.” Here, it is used intransitively and means, “to remain in place, to continue, to affirm, to dwell, to sojourn.” The Greek word has basically the same range of meaning, “remain, stay, abide; live, dwell; last, endure, or continue.”
The Aorist Tense is a Constative Aorist that views the action as a whole, describing it in summary fashion without focusing on the beginning or end of the action specifically. It stresses the occurrence of abiding, “fellowship with Christ,” not its nature. It’s a command to action that has been going on.
The Active Voice: Jesus Christ is commanding that the believer produce the action of the verb, “abide” in Him.
The Imperative Mood is for a command in regards to the action as a whole, a general precept with the force of urgency and priority. So, the Aorist, Imperative emphasis is on the solemnity and urgency of the action, thus “I solemnly charge you to act and do it now!” It’s as if Jesus is saying, “Make this your top priority.” The top priority is to “remain” in Christ. The Second Person, Plural says, “You all abide.”
However, there is a possibility this Imperative could be a “Conditional Imperative,” given the additional phrase, “and I in You.” The Conditional Imperative can still be a command but has the added emphasis of potential to support, “and I in you.” Even though the word structure of this sentence does not fit the classical mold for a conditional imperative, *(imperative + KAI + future indicative), the context of the sentence does (Abide + KAGO + in you). So, this could read, “If you all abide in Me, and I want you to, then I will abide in you.” This shows us that our top priority is to have fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ which is accomplished when we have positive volition and seek Him out, beginning with the utilization of 1 John 1:9. Remember, positionally we are always “in Christ,” but experientially we do not always “remain in Christ,” 1 John 1:5-7. So, the conditional command of priority is given to us by our Lord.
* See Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics, pages 489-492, for a discussion on classic sentence structures and disputable ones of the Conditional Imperative.
EN is a Preposition in the Dative of Sphere case that means, “in the sphere of.” So, we are commanded to reside in the sphere of Jesus Christ; that is, we are to have fellowship with Him.
EMOI is a Pronoun also in the Dative, First Person, Singular meaning, “I or me,” similar to EGO. Here Jesus is referring to Himself, the Vine, our spiritual sustenance needed to produce Divine Good.
KAGO is a compound from KAI, a coordinating conjunction meaning, “and, even, also,” and the Pronoun EGO meaning, “I, me.” It is in the Subject Nominative, First Person, Singular. We translate it, “and I.” Jesus is referring to Himself once again, but this also opens the door for the reciprocal nature of our fellowship with Him. When we have positive volition, we will take in God’s Word and build our Edification Complex of the Soul that will lead us in the application of Bible doctrine to life.
EN is once again a Preposition in the Dative Case for, “in.”
HUMIN is a Pronoun in the Dative, Second Person, Plural of SU for, “you all,” speaking of the disciples in the Upper Room and by extension all believers.
So, here we see the emphasis of Experiential Sanctification, where in Verses 2 & 3, we saw the emphasis of Positional Sanctification. In Verse 2, the plan “in Me” and in Verse 3, “you are already clean,” spoke of our position in Christ, our Union with Him which gives us the “Environment” for producing Divine Good. However, in Verse 4, we have Experiential Sanctification which “Empowers” us for producing Divine Good. As we have stated previously, Jesus Christ, the Vine is our spiritual sustenance needed to produce the Fruit of the Spirit. Without Him, we cannot produce anything, as we will see later in this chapter. He is our “Empowerment” for fruit production.
So, we have “You all abide in the sphere of Me, as I want you to, and when you do I will abide in you.”
Remember, this is not positional sanctification. You have positional sanctification from the moment of salvation, Eph 2:8-9. Instead, this is a command for experiential sanctification in order to move to maturity and produce “more fruit.”
The phrase “abide(s) in me” is used four times in this passage, John 15:4, 5, 6, 7, and only once elsewhere, 6:56.
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So, let’s take a closer look at John 6:56, “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in Me, and I in him.”
“Abides in Me, and I in him” is: “ἐν ἐμοὶ μένει κἀγὼ ἐν αὐτῷ.”
Transliterated into English: EN EMOI MENEI KAGO EN AUTO, (Dative, 3rd P.S.).
Literally it is, “in Me abide and I in him.”
In the passage of John 6:53-58, Jesus is not speaking literally, this is allegory. Jesus uses the eating and drinking metaphor because everyone does that. Everyone can eat and drink, and it is a non-meritorious activity. Eating and drinking are a means to an end and are used to signify something specifically, which is faith.
When eating and drinking, you need to accept something. We accept something into our body, our system, so eating and drinking need to appropriate something. In the initial act of salvation, it refers to the initial act of eating and drinking, (receiving), the Word of God, specifically, the gospel of Jesus Christ. See: Verse 53-54.
In Verse 56, Jesus changes the discussion from eternal life to “abiding” in Him. Eating and drinking are still being used, because they refer to faith, “receiving.”
When comparing the usage of Greek verbs between Verse 53 & 56, we see the difference between “receiving” for salvation and “receiving” for abiding.
In Verse 53, Jesus uses the Aorist, Active, Subjunctive of ESTHIO – ἐσθίω (es-thee’-o) for “eat,” and PINO – πίνω (pee’-no) for, “drink.”
The Aorist Tense summarizes everything as one event, a specific decision.
The Subjunctive Mood is potential.
So, in Verse 53, it is saying “It depends upon your volition whether or not you will eat or drink.” The eating and drinking refer to that point in time when you trust Christ as your Savior.
In Verse 56, eating and drinking are no longer in the Aorist, Subjunctive, there they become Present, Participles, indicating continuous action. In addition, the word for eating is changed from ESTHINO to TROGO – τρώγω (tro’-go) that means, “to gnaw or crunch.”
Further, eating and drinking are Present, Active, Participles in Verse 56; whereas, the verb MENO – μένω (men’-o) in Verse 56, “to abide,” is a Present, Active, Indicative, also indicating continuous action with the results of a dogmatic fact of reality.
So, Verse 53 focuses on Positional Sanctification, that initial nourishment at the point of trust in Christ as Savior that gives eternal life and eternal security, while Verse 56 is talking about Experiential Sanctification; a continual gnawing on Christ which is necessary for “abiding” in Christ which results in spiritual growth and Divine Good Production.
Now, in relation to “abiding” in John 15, even though someone believes in Christ (positional sanctification) and currently maintains a close relationship with Him, (experiential sanctification), the indication is that the potential remains to discontinue that fellowship.
Why? Because, if true belief prevented breaking fellowship with Christ, there would be no need to command them to abide. People are commanded to abide only if the potential is there to break fellowship and stop abiding. In Experiential Sanctification, the potential is there, but in Positional Sanctification there is no potential to lose salvation, which we learned in the Doctrine of Eternal Security, so there is no need for a command.
How do we “abide” in Christ? John 15:7, 9-10, 12, “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 9“Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. 10“If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. 12“This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you.”
Therefore, to “abide in Christ” is not related to maintaining your salvation, but is having God’s Word resident within your soul and applying it through brotherly love on a consistent basis. It is the intake and application of Bible doctrine that results in “bearing much fruit,” Divine Good Production. And none of that is possible without the filling of God the Holy Spirit, John 14:26; 15:26.
As noted above, the only usage of “abide in Me” are in the gospel of John 6:56 and 15:4-7. In each case, Jesus was speaking. John, learning from our Lord, used similar phrases extensively in His Epistle writings, which we will see below, but one instance is in 2 John 1:9. There he clearly equates “abiding” with having the Word of God resident within your soul.
2 John 1:9-11, “Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son.”
As was used in John 6:56, “abiding” is also used here in the Present, Active, Participle. In both instances, that means ongoing action, whether in the negative or positive application. So, we understand that “abiding in Him/Christ” is a post salvation edict and is not used as a means for salvation.
It is the post salvation renewing of your mind with the Word of God by means of the Grace Apparatus for Perception (GAP) followed by consistent application from the Edification Complex (ECS) and heart of your soul. This is the lifestyle of walking with Christ on a consistent basis.
Then in 2 John 1:10-11, we have an interesting principle:
2 John 1:10, “If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting; 11for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds.”
Here we are told to separate ourselves from those who bring false teachings into our midst, which includes everything from false teachings from the Word of God, such as works for salvation, to worldly fables like evolution, and the acceptance of the homosexual agenda. We are not to host or even greet such individuals. Likewise, we are not to support them in anyway.
Remember that this passage was written in a time when technology was not present, but our Lord knowing all things had today in mind as well. So, hosting and greeting for today includes what you bring into your home via TV, internet, video, radio, etc. With technology, you bring far more evil into your home than was ever possible before.
For those who want to call this legalistic, just remember the last part of your favorite verse that you use to live life in sin, “All things are lawful,” 1 Cor 6:12; 10:23. But don’t forget the parts that also say, “but not all things are profitable,” and “but I will not be mastered by anything,” and “but not all things edify.”
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Now back to John 15:4. Our next phrase is: “As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.”
“KATHOS TO KLEMA OU DUNATAI KARPON PHEREIN APH HEAUTOU EAN ME MENE EN TE AMPELO, HOUTOS OUDE HUMEIS EAN ME EN EMOI MENETE.”
“καθὼς τὸ κλῆμα οὐ δύναται καρπὸν φέρειν ἀφ’ ἑαυτοῦ ἐὰν μὴ μένῃ ἐν τῇ ἀμπέλῳ, οὕτως οὐδὲ ὑμεῖς ἐὰν μὴ ἐν ἐμοὶ μένητ”
So, we begin with the first section, “As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself.”
KATHOS is a Subordinating Conjunction Adverb meaning, “as, just as, etc.” This is subordinate to the previous discussion regarding “bearing more fruit,” and sets up the reasoning for “abiding” in Christ.
TO is an article in the Neuter, Nominative Case for, “the.”
KLEMA is our word for, “branch” in the Neuter, Subject Nominative Case. This is allegory for believers in the Lord Jesus Christ.
OU or OUK is the Greek Negative Particle for, “not.”
DUNATAI is a verb in the Present, Middle Deponent, Indicative, Third Person, Singular of DUNAMAI – δύναμαι (doo’-nam-ahee) that means, “to be able or to have power.” Linked with the negative OUK, it means “not able, cannot, powerless, etc.”
The Customary Present Tense stands for what regularly occurs when the believer is not taking in and applying God’s Word; there is no Divine Good production.
The Middle Deponent Voice says the believer is acting upon himself. In this case, as a result of not taking in and applying God’s Word, the effect back to the individual is that they are not able to produce Divine Good. This is further emphasized in the following words APH HEAUTOU. Likewise, the branch is the believer, and it cannot bear fruit from the source of itself. It must come from the source of God.
The Declarative Indicative Mood is for the reality that you cannot produce Divine Good without abiding in Christ. This negates human works and efforts
KARPON is the Accusative, Masculine, Singular, of KARPOS – καρπός (kar-pos’) meaning, “fruit,” which is allegory for Divine Good Production.
PHEREIN is the Present, Active, Infinitive, of PHERO – φέρω (fer’-o) that means to, “bring, bring along, carry, endure, bear, yield, produce (fruit), etc.”
The Present Tense is also Customary as to what regularly occurs when the believer is not taking in and applying God’s Word.
The Active Voice; the believer produces the action of not being able to produce Divine Good.
The Infinitive of Result tells us the outcome produced by not abiding in Christ in the past. That is, we will not be able to produce Divine Good presently and into the future, as a result of negative past action.
APH is a Preposition with the Genitive of Source Case that means, “from, away from, by means of, of, because of, as a result of, since, ever since, about, for, with, etc.”
HEAUTOU is the Genitive of Source, Neuter, Pronoun, in the Third Person Singular meaning, “itself,” referring back the branch in gender neutral as the one who is not able to produce.
The branch that does not abide in Christ is the source of non-production.
It is not God’s or Christ’s fault that you do not produce; it is your own because of:
- Your lack of fellowship with Christ.
- The lack of your intake and application of God’s Word.
- The lack of being filled with the Holy Spirit.
So, we have, “As the branch (believer) is not able to produce fruit (Divine Good) by means of itself.”
The believer is not able to produce Divine Good from himself, that is, by his own human works or effort. No believer in the Christian life can produce on the basis of his or her own ability. We can only produce by the power of God operating within our souls. Divine Good has to start in the soul, and it has to be the thinking of Divine Viewpoint, as we will see in the remaining portion of this verse and Verse 5.
Next, we have, “unless it abides in the vine,”
Which is “EAN ME MENE EN TE AMPELO,”
“ἐὰν μὴ μένῃ ἐν τῇ ἀμπέλῳ,”
EAN is a Conjunction that is typically used for conditional clauses using “if, even if, though, or when.” When linked with the following negative ME, as in EAN ME, ἐὰν μὴ, it means, “unless.” It is also linked with the following MENO, so this becomes our condition for Divine Good production. Unless we do the following, we are powerless to produce Divine Good.
So, this is a conditional clause in reverse order. Here we have the Protasis coming second, where the Apodosis was previously given in, “As the branch is not able to produce fruit by means of itself.”
MENE is our Verb of importance in this study. It is the Present, Active, Subjunctive, Third Person, Singular of MENO that once again means, “to stay, abide, remain, etc.” With the Third Person Singular and continuing the Neuter Gender usage we say, “it abides.”
The Gnomic Present Tense stands for a timeless general fact. It’s a proverbial statement as to what is necessary for Divine Good Production; we must abide in Christ. It doesn’t say something is happening, but that something does happen.
The Active Voice; the believer produces the action of abiding in Christ.
The Subjunctive Mood, is a fifth-class conditional clause. It represents the volitional responsibility of the believer in a dogmatic maxim. The fifth class simply says, “if A, then B.” Our Lord is simply saying, “Unless you abide in Me “A”, then you cannot bear fruit “B”.”
A brief rundown of the classes of conditional clauses:
First Class – If and if is true
Second Class – If and it is not true
Third Class – If and maybe it is and maybe it is not true.
Fourth Class – If and I wish it were true, maybe it is or maybe it is not
Fifth Class – If A, then B.
EN is a Preposition in the Dative Case for “in.”
TE is the Definite Article in the Dative Case for “the”
AMPELO is a Noun in the Dative of Sphere, Feminine, Singular that means “grapevine or vine.” This is allegory for The Lord Jesus Christ.
Now you may ask, “If this is speaking of our Lord, why is it in the Feminine and not the Masculine?” The answer is: The allegory uses a thing, just as a ship is a thing, and we refer to ships as “she.” Secondly, this gives us emphasis in regard to Jesus Christ as the Word of God or what we call Bible doctrine, which is referred to in the feminine in Proverbs 4. So, we have the added emphasis of the Vine being the Word, Bible doctrine, which is the standard by which we produce Divine Good.
So, we have the Protasis, “Unless it (the branch / believer) abides in the sphere of the Vine (Bible doctrine).”
Now we have our last clause, “so neither can you unless you abide in Me.”
“HOUTOS OUDE HUMEIS EAN ME EN EMOI MENETE.”
“οὕτως οὐδὲ ὑμεῖς ἐὰν μὴ ἐν ἐμοὶ μένητ.”
HOUTOS is a Conjunction Adverb that can mean, “in this way, thus, so, even so, in the same way, like this.” It introduces a correlative clause and conclusion. It is correlating the analogy with the real, i.e., “branch and vine” with “us and Jesus.”
OUDE is also a Conjunction Adverb from OUK – “not” and DE – “and,” so it comes to mean, “and not, neither, nor, etc.” As the conclusion, it is telling us what we cannot do, (produce Divine Good), without Bible doctrine resident in the soul.
Because of the correlation to the previous clause, we can add “DUNAMAI” or “are able to / can” to complete the thought.
HUMEIS is a Pronoun in Nominative, Second Person, Plural of SU for, “you all.”
EAN ME, once again we have the combination of the Coordinating Conjunction and Negative Particle for “unless,” stating a condition.
EN is the Dative of Sphere Preposition for “in.”
EMOI is a Pronoun in the Dative of Sphere, First Person, Singular of EGO for, “I or Me;” Jesus referring to Himself.
MENETE is the Present, Active, Subjunctive, Second Person, Plural of MENO that means, “abide.” Here we have the Second Person plural which is addressing the disciples in the Upper Room and by extension all believers, so we say “you all abide.” The same force of Tense, Voice, and Mood applies here as noted in the previous clause.
Our translation of the final clause is, “So neither are you all able to (produce Divine Good), unless you abide in the sphere of Me.”
The three “abide(s)” in the verse are all used differently:
- The first is in the Aorist, Active, Imperative, Second Person, Plural – The Command to believers.
- The second in the Present, Active, Subjunctive, Third Person, Singular – The Principle from Christ.
- The third is in the Present, Active, Subjunctive, Second Person, Plural – The Conclusion for the believers.
Our complete translation of John 15:4 is: “You all abide in the sphere of Me, as I want you to, and when you do I will abide in you. As the branch (believer) is not able to produce fruit (Divine Good) by means of itself, unless it (the branch / believer) abides in the sphere of the Vine (Bible doctrine), so neither are you all able to (produce Divine Good), unless you all abide in the sphere of Me.”
This is speaking of the “Empowerment” we received from Christ, and only from Christ, while standing confidently in the “Environment” of our eternal security, having been “Encouraged” through pruning from the source of “Establishment” to produce Divine Good works.
In Verse 3, the context was “the Word that Jesus spoke to them, which is the gospel.” There He reminded them of the environment for fruit production, standing confidently in their eternal security.
Now in Verse 4, He moves from salvation doctrine to spiritual life doctrine. They are already saved; now the issue changes. The issue now is “Abide in me.” He is talking about what is necessary to experience spiritual growth with the result of Divine Good Production, which only comes through Occupation with the Lord Jesus Christ, as a result of consistent intake and application of Bible doctrine through the filling of God the Holy Spirit.
Verse 4 is talking about the fact that fruit bearing is a consequence of being in fellowship / occupied with the Lord Jesus Christ. If the believer is not drawing his nourishment from Christ on a day to day basis, there is no growth, no advance, no fruit bearing even though the environment and encouragement for fruit bearing has been established.
Verse 4 has to do with relational fellowship between the believer and his Lord. The point is, no matter how much activity you are engaged in, no matter how moral your life might be, no matter what religious activity you might participate in, it is not fruit unless you are abiding in / in fellowship / occupied with the Lord Jesus Christ. Unless you are abiding in Him, all you are doing is producing human good which is wood, hay, and straw.
So, when we look at this, we see that the substance of John 15 is how the believer is to have a life of fellowship, and the importance of that life of fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ.
What then are the conditions for fellowship with Christ? First of all, one has to enter into union with Christ which occurs at the moment of salvation, (faith alone in Christ alone). At salvation, we begin our spiritual life in fellowship with the Lord. But we can break that fellowship through sin. Our sins do not break our union with Christ, only our fellowship with Christ. Our Positional Sanctification is not broken, only our experiential Sanctification.
Sin grieves and quenches the Holy Spirit, Eph 4:30; 1 Thes 5:19; this also means a break in our experiential sanctification, a break in our fellowship with Christ.
Yet, in grace, God has provided for our restoration, thereby regaining fellowship with Christ through 1 John 1:9. When we confess our sins to God the Father, we regain our experiential sanctification, our walk and fellowship with Christ.
Characteristics of Abiding / Fellowship with the Lord:
(Note that each usage of “abide(s) in” is for application post salvation.)
- Abiding in Christ begins at the moment of our salvation, 1 John 4:15.
1 John 4:15, “Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.”
- Abiding in Christ is characterized by being filled with and walking in dependence of God the Holy Spirit. This follows the precedent set by the humanity of the Lord Jesus Christ, 1 John 1:7; 2:6, 27; 3:24b; 4:13; Eph 5:8-10.
1 John 1:7, “But if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.
1 John 2:6, “The one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.”
1 John 2:27, “As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him.”
1 John 3:24b, “We know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.”
Eph 5:8-10, “For you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light 9(for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), 10trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.”
- Likewise, the rejection of sin temptation keeps you abiding in Christ, 1 John 3:6, 9.
1 John 3:6, “No one who abides in Him sins.”
1 John 3:9, “No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him”
- Abiding in Christ demands a continual relationship with the Word of God, having our minds saturated with the thinking of Jesus Christ, 1 John 2:14; 3:24a; Psa 15:1-2. That is the key.
1 John 2:14 “I have written to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the Word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one.”
1 John 3:24a, “The one who keeps His commandments (His Word) abides in Him, and He in him.”
Psa 15:1-2, “O Lord, who may abide in Your tent? Who may dwell on Your holy hill? 2He who walks with integrity, and works righteousness, and speaks truth in his heart.”
- The one who abides in Christ does not depart from the true gospel of Jesus Christ, 1 John 2:24.
1 John 2:24, “As for you, let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father.”
- The abiding Word of God is eternal and everlasting, 2 John 1:2.
2 John 1:2, “For the sake of the truth which abides in us and will be with us forever.”
- Abiding in Christ includes the application of Faith Rest, Psa 91:1.
Psa 91:1, “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.”
- Abiding demands the continuous application of the New Commandment; “love one another.” Therefore, abiding in Christ is related to the application of impersonal / unconditional love for all mankind, 1 John 2:10; 4:12, 16.
1 John 2:10, “The one who loves his brother abides in the Light and there is no cause for stumbling in him.”
1 John 4:12, “If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us.”
1 John 4:16, “We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.”
- Giving is a demonstration of your love and abiding in Christ, 1 John 3:17.
1 John 3:17, “But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?”
- The rejection of false doctrine and those who teach it is a demonstration of abiding in Christ, 2 John 1:9-11.
2 John 1:9, “Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son. 10If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting; 11for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds.”
- Abiding in Christ gives you confidence for the BEMA Seat Judgment of your works performed on earth, 1 Cor 3:10-15, cf. 1 John 2:28; 4:17.
1 John 2:28, “Now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming.”
And as our Lord states in John 15:10, “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.”
Finally, a quote from Oswald Chambers states, “It is a joy to Jesus when a disciple takes time to step more intimately with Him. Fruit-bearing is always mentioned as the manifestation of an intimate union with Jesus Christ (John 15:1–4).”
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Summary, John 15:1-5:
In Verse 1, we are given the Establishment Principle for fruit production; the “True Vine” – Jesus Christ our spiritual sustenance, and the “Vinedresser” (Gentleman Farm) – God the Father the designer of the Predesigned Protocol Plan of God (PPPG) for our lives.
In Verse 2, we are given the Encouragement Principle for fruit production: “Removal and Pruning of branches,” which are Divine Discipline and Suffering for blessing, respectfully, inside the Plan of God.
In Verse 3, we are given the Environment Principle for fruit production: “You are already clean,” our Eternal Security / Positional Sanctification, designed for confidence in execution of God’s Plan for our lives.
In Verse 4, we are given the Empowerment Principle for fruit production: “Abiding in Christ,” which is our Experiential Sanctification / Walk with Christ / Being in fellowship with Christ / Occupation with the Lord Jesus Christ.
In Verse 5, we are given the Acceleration Principle for fruit production: “Brings forth much fruit,” which is the result of the Supergrace life when you have had maximum occupation with the Lord Jesus Christ.
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Occupation with The Lord Jesus Christ
Occupation with The Lord Jesus Christ is the 11th of the 11 Problem Solving Devices.
- Filling of the Holy Spirit
- Faith Rest Drill
- Grace Orientation
- Doctrinal Orientation
- Authority Orientation
- Personal Sense of Destiny
- Personal Love for God the Father
- Impersonal / Unconditional Love for Mankind
- Sharing the Happiness of God
- Occupation with the Lord Jesus Christ
Occupation with Christ is also defined as fellowship with the Son. 1 Cor 1:9
1 Cor 1:9, “God is faithful, through Whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.”
The call of God occurs between common and efficacious grace. It is God the Father inviting the unbeliever to change his mind about Jesus Christ and believe in His Son for salvation.
There are two Divine mandates with regard to Occupation with Christ.
Heb 12:2, “Fixing our eyes (be concentrating) on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the Cross and disregarding the shame (imputation of our sins), and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
1 Peter 3:15, “But sanctify (set apart as more important than anything else – be occupied with) the Lord Christ in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.”
Fellowship with the Holy Spirit is necessary for the execution of these mandates, 2 Cor 13:14; Phil 2:1-2, 5. The fellowship of the Holy Spirit is another way of describing the filling of the Holy Spirit, which is required for Occupation with Christ.
2 Cor 13:14, “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the love for God (the Father) and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.”
Phil 2:1-2, 5, “Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ (and there is), if there is any consolation of love (and there is), if there is any fellowship of the Spirit (and there is), if any affection and compassion (and there is), 2make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose… have this thinking in you which was also in Christ Jesus.”
Occupation with Christ is personal love for our Lord Jesus Christ, 1 Peter 1:8, through maximum metabolized doctrine circulating in the stream of consciousness of the heart (right lobe of the soul) by means of the filling of the Holy Spirit. The result is maximum metabolized doctrine in the right lobe of the soul and freedom from garbage in the subconscious, by post-salvation renewing of your mind, Rom 12:2, which manifests the fact that the Mystery Doctrine of the Church Age has been and continues to be the number one priority in your life.
1 Peter 1:8, “And even though you have not seen Him, you love Him (occupation with Christ); and though you do not see Him now but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with inexpressible happiness (+H) and full of glory.”
The basis for Occupation with Christ is having the mind of Christ, 1 Cor 2:16, by the intake of Bible doctrine through the Grace Apparatus for Perception, (G.A.P.), Jer 9:24; Eph 3:17-19; 4:20.
With Bible doctrine as the working object of faith, the believer has a maximum love response toward God, causing us to be “A friend of God,” which is a title for Occupation with Christ. 2 Chr 20:7; Isa 41:8; James 2:23.
Occupation with Christ is based on the fact that Christ has been glorified in His humanity, Col 3:1-4:6. Verses 3 – 4:6 tell us what it means to be Occupied with Him.
The attainment of Occupation with Christ is gradual, where the Lord becomes your role model. It starts by the commands in:
Eph 3:19, “And to come to know the love for Christ which goes beyond gnosis that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”
1 Cor 2:16, “For who has known the thinking of the Lord that we should instruct Him; we have the thinking of Christ.”
- The fullness of God is EPIGNOSIS doctrine circulating in the stream of consciousness. We have to get to the place where we understand that we need help. We have to come to the point of helplessness to learn. You have to know that you know nothing before you can know something. We often do not know how helpless we are until we get into a jam. Therefore, Occupation with Christ is attained through perception, metabolization, and utilization of doctrine.
Occupation with Christ is the standard operating procedure for the mature believer and continues to develop in the three stages of spiritual adulthood. Heb 12:1-2
- In Spiritual Self-Esteem, the characteristic is “Christ formed in you,” Gal 4:19. The result is “the love for Christ motivates us,” 2 Cor 5:14.
- In Spiritual Autonomy, the characteristic is “Christ at home in your heart (right lobes),” Eph 3:17. The result is “sanctifying the Lord Christ in your right lobes,” 1 Pet 3:15.
- In Spiritual Maturity, the characteristic is “Christ exalted in my body, whether by life or by death,” Phil 1:20. The result is “for me, living is Christ and dying is profit,” Phil 1:21.
Occupation with Christ is illustrated by the Doctrine of Right Man / Right Woman. She is to be occupied with her right man, as we are to be occupied with Christ. 1 Cor 11:5-9; Eph 5:22-33; Col 3:18
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In John 15:5 we have, “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.”
The Greek reads:
“ἐγώ εἰμι ἡ ἄμπελος, ὑμεῖς τὰ κλήματα. ὁ μένων ἐν ἐμοὶ κἀγὼ ἐνn αὐτῷ, οὗτος φέρει καρπὸν πολύν, ὅτι χωρὶς ἐμοῦ οὐ δύνασθε ποιεῖν οὐδέν.”
“EGO EIMI HE AMPELOS, HUMEIS TA KLEMATA. HO MENON EN EMOI KAGO EN AUTO HOUTOS PHEREI KARPON POLUN, HOTI CHORIS EMOU OU DUNASTHE POIEIN OUDEN.”
Jesus now makes it crystal clear as to who is who in the parable. He begins by repeating what He said about Himself in Verse 1, “I am the true Vine.” Here He simply states, “I am the Vine,” which is EGO EIMI HE AMPELOS.
EGO is a Pronoun in the Nominative case, First Person, Singular that means, “I or me.”
EIMI is the Verb “to be or is,” in the Gnomic Present, Active, Indicative, First Person, Singular that also means, “I exist, I am.” The Greek word GINOMAI means, “to come into existence,” but EIMI simple means, “to exist,” speaking of the eternal nature of the Lord Jesus Christ.
HE is the Nominative, Feminine, Singular Article for “the.”
AMPELOS is the Noun for “vine,” also in the Nominative, Feminine, Singular referring to the subject of the Parable, Jesus Christ as to conduit of our spiritual sustenance – His Word.
A “conduit” is defined as:
- A channel or pipe that carries liquid to or from a place. This tells us of the Vine that in grace supplies all the spiritual sustenance we need to produce Divine Good.
- A protective covering for other materials inside. This tells us of God’s grace in providing His armour, the Mind of Jesus Christ for our protection in spiritual warfare so that we can produce Divine Good, Eph 6:10-20; Col 2:2-3.
Col 2:2, “That their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love, and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ Himself, 3in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”
Somebody or something that conveys information, especially in secret. This tells us of God’s grace in giving us the Mystery doctrine for the Church Age, Rom 16:25-26; 1 Cor 2:7; Eph 3:3-9; Col 1:26-27.
Rom 16:25-26, “Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which has been kept secret for long ages past, 26but now is manifested, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the eternal God, has been made known to all the nations, leading to obedience of faith.”
1 Cor 2:7, “But we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God predestined before the ages to our glory.”
As noted in Verse 1, this is also one of the great “I AM” statements found in John’s gospel.
- John 6:35, “I am the bread of life.”
- John 8:12, “I am the Light of the world.”
- John 8:18, “I am He who testifies about Myself.”
- John 8:58, “Before Abraham was born, I am.”
- John 10:9, “I am the door.”
- John 10:11, “I am the good shepherd.”
- John 11:25-26, “I am the resurrection and the life.”
- John 14:6, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.”
- John 15:1, 5, “I am the True Vine.”
- John 18:4-5, “I am He.”
- John 18:37, “I am a King.”
Continuing in Verse 5, we now have the Greek word;
HUMEIS in the Nominative, Second Person, Plural, Pronoun of SU – σύ (soo)for “you.”
TA is the article in Nominative, Neuter, Plural of HO – ὁ (ho)that means, “the.”
KLEMATA is a Noun in the Nominative, Neuter, Plural of KLEMA – κλῆμα (kaly’-mah) that means, “branches,” referring to believers. This is followed by a period which concludes the first sentence in this passage. There is no verb here, so we can add EIMI as “are” for our understanding.
So, we have, “I am the Vine, you are the branches.”
HO is an Article in the Nominative, Masculine, Singular typically use for “the,” but here it is used as a personal pronoun for “he,” because of its link to the participle below. So, it is referring to the believer who has positive volition towards God and His Word.
MENON is our familiar word for “abide,” MENO – μένω (men’-o), but this time it is a Present, Active, Participle in the Nominative, Masculine, Singular. It is a verbal adjective. So, we have both the actionable verb of abiding in Christ and the status of being in fellowship with Christ.
This is an Independent Substantival Participle linked with the article above, so we can say, “the one who abides.”
The Gnomic Present Participle is a timeless general fact in contemporaneous time. It is not stating anything about the brevity or length of time, just the fact of abiding in Christ at the time of fruit production. Therefore, we understand this to be when we are in fellowship with Christ, which is synonymous with when we are resident and functioning inside of God’s Power System (GPS).
This is our fourth usage of “abide(s).” The first three we noted in Verse 4.
- The first is in the Aorist, Active, Imperative, Second Person, Plural – The Command to believers.
- The second in the Present, Active, Subjunctive, Third Person, Singular – The Principle from Christ.
- The third is in the Present, Active, Subjunctive, Second Person, Plural – The Conclusion for the believers.
- The fourth is in the Gnomic Present, Active, Participle in the Nominative, Masculine, Singular – The Application – our residence and function inside God’s Power System.
EN EMOI once again is the Dative of Sphere Preposition that means, “in the sphere of,” plus the Dative Pronoun of EGO in the First Person, Singular, meaning, “I or me.”
KAGO is again a Coordinating Conjunction and Pronoun in the Nominative, First Person, Singular that means, “and I.” Here our Lord once again tells us of the reciprocal nature of “abiding in the Vine.”
EN AUTO is the Dative Preposition for “in the sphere of,” plus the Dative Pronoun, in the Masculine, Third Person, Singular of AUTOS – αὐτός (ow-tos’) that means, “self or of oneself.” In the 3rd Person Singular, it means, “him.”
HOUTOS is the Demonstrative Pronominal Adjective in the Nominative, Masculine, Singular that means, “This, this one; he, she, or it.” The Demonstrative specifies or singles out the person or thing referred to. It is pointing out the ones who produce fruit. When you reside inside of God’s Power System (GPS), you will produce Divine Good.
PHEREI is a Verb in the Present, Active, Indicative, Third Person, Singular of PHEROS – φέρως (fer’-os) that means, “bears, carries, brings forth, etc.”
The Customary Present Tense is Stative for ongoing action. That is, when we are abiding in Christ inside GPS, we are producing Divine Good.
The Active Voice tells us the believer who is walking in Christ produces the action of Divine Good Production.
The Indicative Mood is declarative for the fact of reality. When you abide in Christ, you will produce Divine Good.
KARPON is a Noun in the Accusative, Masculine, Singular of KARPOS – καρπός (kar-pos’) that means, “fruit,” which is analogous for Divine Good Production.
The Accusative Case indicates the direct object; what is produced by the positive believer, “Divine Good.”
POLUN, is an Adjective in the Accusative, Masculine, Singular of POLUS – πολύς (pol-oos’) that means, “much.”
KARPOS POLUS makes up an anarthrous (no article) noun-adjective construction in the fourth attributive position. Here POLUS is modifying KARPOS, “fruit,” to say, “much fruit.”
In Verse 2, we had the comparative use of POLUS in regard to God the Father’s pruning, which produces more fruit than when the believer is not pruned.
Here it is not comparing pruned and unpruned branches. Here it is the “elative” use, which describes an intensification of the positive notion of bearing fruit. For those who reside inside GPS, they will produce “much fruit.”
So far, we have, “I am the Vine, you the branches. He who abides in the sphere of Me and I in the sphere of him, this one brings forth much fruit.”
The last part of Verse 5 says, “for apart from Me you can do nothing.”
Which in the Greek Transliteration is:
“HOTI CHORIS EMOU OU DUNASTHE POIEIN OUDEN.”
“ὅτι χωρὶς ἐμοῦ οὐ δύνασθε ποιεῖν οὐδέν.”
HOTI is a Subordinating Conjunction which typically means, “that, because, for since.” Here again, we have the introduction of a conclusion. Our Lord concluded in Verse 4, “As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine” in parable, and then said plainly, “So neither can you unless you abide in Me.” So, once again, He states the conclusion. Therefore, we will translate this “for since.”
CHORIS is an Adverb that means, “separately, separate from, apart from, etc.” Here it is used as a Genitive Preposition, showing that we cannot produce Divine good apart from abiding in Christ.
EMOU is a Pronoun in the Genitive, First Person, Singular of EGO – ἐγώ (eg-o’) that means, “I or Me.”
OU is the Greek Negative Particle of OUK – οὐκ (oo-k) that means, “not.”
DUNASTHE is a Verb in the Present, Middle Deponent, Indicative, Second Person, Plural of DUNAMAI – δύναμαι (doo’-nam-ahee) that means, “To be able or to have power.” With the Negative it means, “not able or without power.” In the Second Person Plural we add, “you all are,” referring to the disciples and by extension believers of the Church Age.
POIEIN is also a Verb in the Present, Active, Infinitive of POIEO – ποιέω (poy-eh’-o) that means, “To make or to do.”
OUDEN is Pronominal Cardinal Adjective in the Accusative, Neuter, Singular of OUDEIS – οὐδέν (oo-deh’-n) that means, “no one, nothing; no.” OUDEN typically means, “not at all or in no respect.”
Our complete translation of John 15:5 is: “I am the Vine, you the branches. He who abides in the sphere of Me and I in the sphere of him, this one brings forth much fruit. For since apart from me you are not able to do, (produce Divine good), in any respect.”
It is one or the other. Either the believer is walking under the control of the sin nature and producing human good, or he is filled with the Holy Spirit and in fellowship with Christ producing Divine good. Unless you are in fellowship with Christ, you cannot produce anything of eternal value.
This is the principle of grace. Apart from what God has provided in Bible doctrine, you can do nothing that is of Divine nature. The reversionistic believer can do nothing; he cannot produce, in any possible way, without the power of the Word of God in his life.
Compare Verse 5 with the parable of seed sowing in Luke 8:4-15 and the production each category of believers has as a result of the Word of God in their lives. Note that the first group never comes to salvation, but the last three groups receive salvation and then have different result of Divine Good production. Also in Mat 13:1-23 and Mark 4:1-20.
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As we noted previously, Divine Good production is a direct result of “abiding in Christ,” a.k.a. being Occupied with Christ. So, now we will note several more principles regarding Occupation with Christ in relation to Divine Good Production.
Occupation with the Lord Jesus Christ is the greatest motivator in life for Divine Good Production.
The sealing of the Holy Spirit guarantees an eternal love relationship between Christ and believers, giving you the environment for Divine Good Production. 2 Cor 1:21-22; Eph 1:11-14; 4:30
Occupation with Christ demands a total dependence on God’s grace provision in order to produce Divine Good. Psa 37:3-7a.
Psa 37:3-7, “Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and feed on faithfulness. 4Delight yourself in the LORD; and He will give you the desires of your heart. 5Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and He will do it. 6He will bring forth your righteousness as the light and your judgment as the noonday. 7Rest in the LORD and wait longingly for Him.”
Occupation with Christ is the basis for blessing in suffering, “the scorching sun.” Occupation with Christ sustains you through times of suffering so that you are able to produce Divine Good, Psa 77:1-20.
Occupation with Christ is related to both stability and inner happiness, Psa 16:8-9.
Psa 16:8-9, “I have set the LORD continually before me; because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. 9Therefore my heart is glad and my glory rejoices; my flesh also will dwell securely.”
Occupation with Christ, which begins in spiritual adulthood, means your motivation in life changes.
- At first, your motivation is in the faith-rest drill, in learning the basic Doctrines, and in understanding and using the basic Problem-Solving Devices.
- As you begin to grow spiritually, you not only have a stronger motivation in relationship to the Lord, but you change very subtly from dependence on people to dependence on the Lord.
- This principle does not exclude the necessary dependence we all have on other people in life, such as co-workers, parents, Pastors, team members, fellow soldiers, etc.
- Yet, in the application of the spiritual life, we don’t need to depend on anyone else but God. God does the blocking, opens the holes, and provides the solutions to our problems.
- Therefore, in your relationships in life, you must allow God to “run interference,” because you cannot change people. While we say you can only change yourself, in effect it is God who changes you when you are positive toward Bible doctrine. God causes you to grow up.
- You are never fully grown until you reach the point of maximum use of Occupation with Christ. Then you handle life magnificently, produce much fruit, and glorify God.
False motivation leads to false doctrine, wrong priorities, produces garbage in the subconscious which produces false experience.
Occupation with Christ is the true motivator in life and is structured completely from metabolized Bible doctrine.
2 Cor 5:14-17, “For the love for Christ keeps on motivating us, and we have reached the conclusion that One (Jesus Christ) died as a substitute for all; therefore, all (members of the human race) have died (real spiritual death at birth). Furthermore, He (Jesus Christ) died a substitute for all (unlimited atonement), in order that those who live (believer in the Plan of God) should no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and was resurrected. Therefore, in the future, we regard no one from the flesh (human viewpoint) even though we have known Christ from the flesh (human viewpoint), yet now we know Him in this way no longer. Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”
- Occupation with Christ eliminates the human viewpoint of life. Human viewpoint makes you miserable and makes you argue with others about everything in life. Human viewpoint holds an opinion about everything in life and is intolerant of anyone else’s opinion. You cannot hold opinions to the point of agitation and execute God’s plan for your life. The other side of the coin is to complain about everything. Occupation with Christ eliminates all human viewpoint.
- Occupation with Christ is the ultimate motivator in life. Now we are motivated by the highest motivation we can have in this life. The higher the motivation in your life, the greater your happiness, and the greater your enthusiasm, your awareness, and your spiritual life. The greater your motivation, the greater your perspective of reality, and the greater your Divine viewpoint. The greater your motivation in life, the greater your capacity for life, love, and happiness, and therefore the greater you are as a person, Prov 29:18b.
- Occupation with Christ results in God emphasis taking precedence over people emphasis. God emphasis must take priority over people emphasis in the function and execution of the Plan of God for the Church Age.
- Fellowship with God is infinitely more important than fellowship with people. But you will never discover this until you learn some doctrine. Fellowship with God is part of God’s Plan, but fellowship with people at best is a mere result; at worst, a disaster. True Christian fellowship is fellowship with God the Father, the filling of the Holy Spirit and Occupation with Christ. Therefore, the importance of our motivation from personal love for Jesus Christ. Christ was not loved the way He wanted to be loved or treated the way He wanted to be treated, yet He did not have any unrealistic expectations toward people around Him. You cannot grow up spiritually or execute the Plan of God through Christian fellowship or interaction with people; this is implied in the phrase “we regard no one from the flesh (human viewpoint).” Fellowship with God is mandated; fellowship with other Christians is optional. You do not have to have fellowship with other Christians.
- You cannot grow spiritually or execute the Plan of God through social intercourse, the function of cliques, or any other thing that is construed as Christian fellowship.
- The key to the Plan of God is that you no longer live for yourselves but for Christ; for God does all the work. The only way you can ever have a marvelous life is to no longer live for yourself. Once you have Occupation with Christ, you are living for Christ, and you are happier than you ever were when you lived for yourself. In providing eternal life, God also provided for us a way to change ourselves, but not to change others. If you try to change others, you will only become bitter and hardened.
- Wrong experience with God, (i.e., apathy, indifference, rejection, ignorance of the Mystery Doctrine of the Church Age), inevitably results in wrong experience with people. That means that wrong fellowship with God results in wrong relationship with people and no fruit production. Right fellowship with God results in right relationship with people and much Divine Good production. Note that God comes first.
By giving Bible doctrine number one priority in your life, two things occur.
- You come to have personal love for God the Father, and therefore fellowship with the Father.
- You have Occupation with Christ, and therefore fellowship with God the Son.
2 Cor 5:17 tells us, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new spiritual species. Old things have lost their power; behold, new things have come.”
- A new spiritual species is qualified to have fellowship with God.
- The new spiritual species must give priority to Bible doctrine so that personal love for God the Father and Occupation with Christ results.
- The new spiritual species is capable of using the omnipotence of God for the execution of His Plan for their lives demonstrated through fruit production. Mat 7:20, “So then, you will know them by their fruits.”
- What are the old things that have lost their power once we reach Spiritual Self-Esteem? People priority and various lusts that lead you away from your relationship with God.
- The new things that have come are the Ten Unique Features of the Church Age, the Problem-Solving Devices, the distribution of Escrow Blessings for time, and the anticipation of the distribution of Escrow Blessings for the eternal state.
You can’t be motivated by people and advance in the Christian life; your motivation must come as the result of Bible doctrine resident within your soul.
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John 15:6, “If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned.”
The Greek is:
“ἐὰν μή τις μένῃ ἐν ἐμοί, ἐβλήθη ἔξω ὡς τὸ κλῆμα καὶ ἐξηράνθη, καὶ συνάγουσιν αὐτὰ καὶ εἰς τὸ πῦρ βάλλουσιν, καὶ καίεται.”
“EAN ME TIS MENE EN EMOI, EBLETHE EXO HOS TO KLEMA KAI EXERANTHE KAI SUNAGOUSIN AUTA KAI EIS TO PUR BALLOUSIN KAI KAIETAI.”
EAN is a third class if statement, “if and maybe you will and maybe you will not.”
ME is the Greek negative, “does not.”
TIS is a Pronominal, Indefinite, Adjective in the Subject Nominative, Masculine, Singular used as a personal pronoun that means, “man.” It uses the Masculine, but based on our context of being address to believers only, it refers to the believer. The Indefinite shows a lack of precise limits and is sometimes translated in English as “any or some.” So, here we have, “any believer.”
MENE is our Verb for “abide” or being “Occupied with Jesus Christ.” It is in the Present, Active, Subjunctive, Third Person, Singular.
The Gnomic Present Tense is for a timeless general rule.
The Active Voice says that the believer produces the action of being occupied or not with the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Subjunctive Mood completes our third class if statement, “maybe you will and maybe you will not.”
EN is the Dative of Sphere Preposition “in.”
EMOI is the Dative of Sphere, First Person, Singular, Personal Pronoun of EGO – ἐγώ (eg-o’) for “Me.” Jesus is referring to Himself.
So, we have, “If any believer does not abide in Me (is not Occupied with Me).”
With our next phrase, “he is thrown away as a branch” – BALLO EXO HOS TO KLEMA – ἐβλήθη ἔξω ὡς τὸ κλῆμα, we are brought back into the parable, as our Lord continues the object lesson of non-fruit bearing branches. Just as in a vineyard, non-fruit bearing branches are: 1) cut off and left to dry, 2) are gathered and thrown into a fire, and 3) burnt up.
Therefore, we have the three-phase analogy of God’s Divine Discipline as also noted in 1 Cor 11:30, “For this reason many among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep.” See also: Prov 3:12; Heb 12:5-14; Rev 3:19.
Prov 3:12, “For whom the LORD loves He reproves, even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights.”
Rev 3:19, “Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent.”
The use of the Conjunction KAI, especially in its “superordinating” use is prominent in understanding the three phrases.
Because of Verse 2 we already know that the object lesson is that of Divine discipline in, “He takes away,” which used the word AIRO that means, “to raise, take up, lift away, pick, or take away.” That was the cutting away of the branch, which by analogy spoke of the entire process of God’s Divine Discipline.
In Verse 6, we then see the three stages, “dries up,” “cast into the fire,” and “is burned.”
Stage One of Divine Discipline –
“he is thrown away as a branch and dries up”
“BALLO EXO HOS TO KLEMA KAI EXERANTHE”
“ἐβλήθη ἔξω ὡς τὸ κλῆμα καὶ ἐξηράνθη”
EBLETHE is a Verb in the Aorist, Passive, Indicative, Third Person, Singular of BALLO – βάλλω (bal’-lo) that means, “to throw or cast.”
The Gnomic Aorist Tense is again a timeless maxim looking at the entirety of the action, which is God’s Divine Discipline as noted in the following text.
This could also be a Futuristic Aorist Tense to stress the certainty of the event of Divine Discipline coming to the reversionistic believer.
The Passive Voice tells us that the reversionistic believer receives the action of the verb. They receive Divine Discipline.
The Indicative Mood is declarative for the conclusion of a third-class condition. So, we translate this as “he (the reversionistic believer) is thrown.”
EXO is an Adverb that can mean, “out, outside, or away.”
HOS is a Particle of Comparison such as, “as or like.” This sets up the analogy of the believer as a branch on the Vine.
TO is the Subject Nominative, Neuter, Singular, Article meaning, “a”.
KLEMA is the Subject Nominative, Neuter, Singular, Noun for “branch.”
KAI is the Superordinating Conjunction for, “and.”
Superordinating is a type of conjunction that introduces a clause that is more prominent than the one to which it relates. Therefore, this defines our analogy of Divine Discipline telling what happens in Stage One.
EXERANTHE is a Verb in the Aorist, Passive, Indicative, Third Person, Singular of XERAINO – ξηραίνω (xay-rah’-ee-no). It comes from XEROS – ξηρός (xay-ros’) that means, “to dry, shrivel, waste, or pine away, or wither.” So, EXERANTHE means, “He withers away.”
The Gnomic Aorist is another timeless maxim similar to that used in James 1:11 of grass.
James 1:11, “For the sun rises with a scorching wind and withers the grass; and its flower falls off and the beauty of its appearance is destroyed; so too the rich man in the midst of his pursuits will fade away.”
Once again, the Passive Voice tells us the reversionistic believer receives the action of God’s discipline, “withers away or dries up,” which correlates to being “weak” in that he cannot produce fruit when in reversionism.
So, we have as the Stage One analogy of Divine Discipline, “He (the reversionistic believer) is thrown away as a branch and he withers away.”
Stage Two of Divine Discipline –
“and they gather them, and cast them into the fire,”
“KAI SUNAGOUSIN AUTA KAI EIS TO PUR BALLOUSIN,”
“καὶ συνάγουσιν αὐτὰ καὶ εἰς τὸ πῦρ βάλλουσιν,”
KAI is our next Superordinating Conjunction for, “and.” So, right away we have the analogy definition of Stage Two Divine Discipline.
SUNAGOUSIN is a Verb in the Present, Active, Indicative, Third Person, Plural of SUNAGO – συνάγω (soon-ag’-o) that means, “to lead together, i.e. bring together, hence come together.” Here the passage changes from Third Person Singular to Third Person Plural. In the Third Person Plural we say, “They gather.” Though the subject “they” is not overtly expressed, in continuing the parable analogy, this would mean the servants of the Vinedresser.
AUTA is a Pronoun in the Accusative, Neuter, Third Person, Plural of AUTOS – αὐτός (ow-tos’) that means, “them,” referring to all reversionistic believers who are under Stage Two of Divine Discipline. This tells us that this principle is not just for one individual but for all believers who fall into reversionism.
So, the servants of the Vinedresser (God the Father) gather up the cut off branches. This tells us that God can and does use agents to bring about Divine Discipline for reversionistic believers. The servants can be either elect or fallen angels, Rev 7:1 and the Book of Revelation in general.
KAI – “and” is this time a Coordinating Conjunction which ties what comes next with what we just noted in KAI SUNAGO AUTA, which completes the thought regarding Stage Two Divine Discipline.
EIS is an Accusative Preposition meaning, “into.”
TO is the Accusative, Neuter, Singular Article for “the.”
PUR is the Direct Object Accusative, Neuter, Singular, Noun meaning, “fire.”
BALLOUSIN is our Verb for “throw or cast,” this time in the Present, Active, Indicative, Third Person, Plural of BALLO – βάλλω (bal’-lo) for “They throw.”
The Third Person Plural identifies the servants of the Vinedresser as performing the action of the verb.
The Gnomic Present Tense continues the general timeless maxim.
The Active Voice tells us the “servants” of the Vinedresser are used in bringing about the second stage of Divine Discipline.
The Indicative Mood is for reality of the servants’ actions; they will throw reversionistic believers into the intensified stage of Divine Discipline.
So, this is the analogy for the reversionistic believer as they are “thrown into the fire” by the Vinedresser’s servants, which means being entered into the intensified stage of Divine Discipline – Stage Two, which is analogous to being “sick.”
We translate this as “And they, (servants of the Vinedresser – Angels), gather them, (reversionistic believers), and they throw them into the fire.”
Stage Three of Divine Discipline –
“and they are burned.”
KAI meaning “and,” is our third and final Superordinating Conjunction telling us of the Third Stage of Divine Discipline that is analogous to “sleep” in 1 Cor 11:30, which means – The Sin Unto Death.
KAIETAI is a Verb in the Present, Passive, Indicative, Third Person, Singular of KAIO – καίω (kah’-yo) that means, “to set on fire, that is, kindle, or by implication, consume, that is – burn.”
Notice that we go back to the Third Person Singular which takes us back to the KLEMA, branch, (believer), in the singular. This is the branch (reversionistic believer) who is revealed in the singular.
Also, we have the Passive Voice once again, which speaks of the one who receives the action of the verb. The reversionistic believer is consumed. They are taken out under the Third Stage of Divine Discipline, the “Sin Unto Death,” or “sleep” analogy of 1 Cor 11:30. With no verb we add “are” for understand and say, “they are consumed.”
So, we have “and they are consumed.”
The complete translation of John 15:6 is: “If any believer does not abide in Me, (is not Occupied with Me), He (the reversionistic believer) is thrown away as a branch and he withers away; and they, (servants of the Vinedresser – Angels), gather them, (reversionistic believers), and they throw them into the fire; and they, (reversionistic believers), are consumed.”
Here the apostles are vividly warned against reversionism. Jesus, as the Vine, will fulfill His part of the relationship, (providing spiritual sustenance), as long as the branch keeps abiding in Him, that is, being “Occupied” with Him. But if the branch is not abiding in Him, Divine Discipline will come in.
Many read this and jump to the conclusion that this is talking about the fires of Hell. Just because the Scripture mentions fire does not mean that it is talking about eternal judgment in the Lake of Fire. 1 Cor 3:9-12 very clearly speaks of fire and the subject is the BEMA Judgment Seat of Jesus Christ, where every believer is evaluated according to his spiritual production while on the earth. There the fire will test the quality of each believer’s works. There, as is here, fire is not the Lake of Fire / eternal condemnation.
To use Verse 6 to teach that a Christian loses his salvation and is burned in Hell, if he fails to bear fruit, is to twist the meaning of the parable.
- In the first place, such a teaching contradicts the plain teaching of other verses, John 6:37; 10:27-29; etc.
John 6:37, “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.”
- Furthermore, note that the branch Christ speaks of “withers” after it is thrown away. If this branch pictures a reversionistic Christian who loses his salvation, would it first “wither,” and then “be thrown into a fir,.” and then “be burnt up.” If it were a picture of loss of salvation the reversionistic believer would just be “Cast Out.” Mat 8:12; 18:8-9; 22:13; 25:30; John 6:37; 12:31.
So, Verse 6 is not a reference to eternal judgment, but a reference to Divine Discipline for the believer. It is talking about Divine Discipline for the believer, not loss of salvation.
This is an analogy just as “weak, sick, and sleep” are in 1 Cor 11:30. This is not what literally happens to the individual. Believers are not burned, branches are burned.
Now, as for Divine Discipline, when you burn the branch, it is no longer in the vineyard. When a believer is removed by the Sin Unto Death, he is no longer on planet earth. It’s that simple.
The emphasis is on the metaphor, not the believer. The branch of the grapevine has no use but bearing fruit. The stringy wood cannot be carved or used in building. It can only be thrown out and burned.
Jesus is saying that the person who does not abide in Him is as useless as the branch that is thrown away and burnt up.
We are called to bear fruit, and God disciplines or prunes believers so that they will.
The Christian who fails to abide in Christ becomes like a useless branch, like the salt that loses its taste and is good for nothing, Mat 5:13.
Mat 5:13, “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.”
The Christian who fails to use the gifts and opportunities God gives him will lose them, Luke 8:18 and 2 John 8, as well as escrow rewards, 1 Cor 3:15.
1 Cor 3:15, “If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.”
To “abide in Christ” does not mean to keep ourselves saved. It means that His Word is resident within your soul as displayed in prayer, Verse 7, where you have a sense of the Savior’s love, Verse 9, as you obey His commandments, Verse 10, and have the Happiness of God (joy), Verse 11.
John 15:16, “You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain.”
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John 15:7 then states, “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”
The Greek reads:
“ἐὰν μείνητε ἐν ἐμοὶ καὶ τὰ ῥήματά μου ἐν ὑμῖν μείνῃ, ὃ ἐὰν θέλητε αἰτήσασθε καὶ γενήσεται ὑμῖν.”
“EAN MEINETE EN EMOI KAI TA RHEMATA MOU EN HUMIN MEINE, HO EAN THELETE AITESASTHE, KAI GENESETAI HUMIN.”
EAN is the Conjunction used once again as a Third Class “If, (maybe you are and maybe you are not),” because it is linked with the Subjunctive Mood of MENO below.
MEINETE our Verb for “abide” in the Aorist, Active, Subjunctive, Second Person, Plural or MENO – μένω (men’-o).
Remember that the Aorist Tense is a verb tense used to express a past action in an unqualified way, without specifying whether that action was repeated, continuing, or completed, or how long it lasted. It is a snapshot in time of an action performed.
The Constative Aorist places stress on the fact of occurrence, not its nature.
The Active Voice tells us the believer produces the action of abiding or not abiding in Christ, that is, being Occupied with Christ or not.
The Subjunctive Mood linked with EAN above tells us of the volitional responsibility of the believer. It is a choice we must make. In the Second Person Plural we say, “If and maybe you are and maybe you are not Occupied.”
EN EMOI are both in the Dative of Sphere. We first have the Preposition for “in” and then the First Person Singular Pronoun of EGO – ἐγώ (eg-o’) for “Me,” which once again gives us “in the sphere of Me.” This is the object of our occupation.
Combined we say, “If and maybe you are and maybe you are not Occupied with Me.”
KAI is a Coordinating Conjunction meaning, “and, even, or also.” Here it continues the “if” statement to the following phrase. This tells us there are two parts to the Protasis, “if” statement. The first part is our Occupation with the Person of Christ, and the second is our Occupation with the Word of Christ. Our Lord is telling us they are one and the same.
TA is the Nominative Neuter Plural Article for “the.”
RHEMATA is the Nominative Neuter Plural of RHEMA – ῥῆμα (hray’-mah) that means, “What is said, word, or saying.” It can also be a subject matter of speech, thing spoken of, an event, or happening. Here it means, “words,” Jesus has spoken and noted in the next word MOU, which are His teachings, and therefore we would say, “Bible doctrine.”
RHEMA is also used in: John 3:34; 6:63-64; 8:47; 12:47-48; 14:10; 17:7-8.
John 3:34, “For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God; for He gives the Spirit without measure.”
John 6:63-64, “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words (RHEMA) that I have spoken (LALEO) to you are spirit and are life. But there are some of you who do not believe.”
John 6:68, “Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life.”
John 8:47, “He who is of God hears the words of God; for this reason you do not hear them, because you are not of God.”
John 12:47-48, “If anyone hears My sayings (RHEMA) and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. 48“He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings (RHEMA), has one who judges him; the word (LOGOS) I spoke (LALEO) is what will judge him at the last day.
MOU is a Pronoun in the Genitive of Possession, First Person, Singular of EGO for “of Me or My.” It is Christ’s Word that must be in us. This tells us the object of our occupation, the mind or words of Jesus Christ which is Bible doctrine. Therefore, being “Occupied with Christ” means being “Occupied with Bible doctrine.” So, it tells us we need to Grace Apparatus for Perception (GAP) it daily and apply His Word daily as the basis of Occupation with Christ. Our occupation with Bible doctrine is also noted in the next two Greek words.
EN is again the Preposition in the Dative of Sphere Case for “in.”
HUMIN is the Dative of Sphere, Second Person, Plural, Pronoun of SU that means, “you all.”
MEINE is the Aorist, Active, Subjunctive, Third Person, Singular of MENO, for “abide.”
The Constative Aorist again stresses the fact of occurrence of being Occupied with Christ via His Word resident within your soul. Our “abiding” is not defined as a time requirement or number of works we perform. It is simply stressing the occurrence of the event.
The Active Voice; the believer makes the decision to be Occupied with Christ or not.
The Subjunctive Mood completes the second portion of the Protasis, “if” statement, as a volitional choice of the believer.
So, we have the Protasis, “If and maybe you are and maybe you are not Occupied with Me, and maybe you are and maybe you are not Occupied with My words.”
HO is an Indefinite Relative Pronominal Adjective in the Accusative, Neuter, Singular of HOS – ὅς (hos) that means, “who, which, what, or that.” As a Relative Pronoun, it is used to connect a substantive (noun) with a clause that in some way qualifies its meaning. So, this is the “then” or Apodosis statement that accompanies the above “if” statement.
EAN, is a Conditional Particle “if,” and when combined with HOS, as in HOS EAN, it means, “whoever or whatever.”
THELETE is a Verb in the Present, Active, Subjunctive, Second Person, Plural of THELO – θέλω (eth-el’-o) that means, “to will, desire, want, or wish.”
The Gnomic Present Tense is again a maxim or promise from our Lord Jesus Christ in regard to our prayer life.
The Active Voice, that believer is the one with the desire or petition offered in prayer.
The Subjunctive Mood in this Indefinite Relative Clause is used like a third class if, “maybe,” where the contingency is of the person making the decision to pray and what to pray for.
This is translated like an Indicative having reality associated with it. In other words, the mature / supergrace believer who abides in Christ will pray, but what they are praying for is not a command but left to the believer to determine. In the Second Person Plural we will say, “you all desire.”
AITESASTHE is a Verb in the Aorist, Middle, Imperative, Second Person, Plural of AITEO – αἰτέω (ahee-teh’-o) that means, “to ask, request.”
This is an Ingressive Aorist that stresses the beginning of an action or entrance into a state. So, the believer “begins to ask,” that is “you begin to pray.”
The Middle Voice tells us the believer is acting upon himself, which means you pray to God with the result that you are benefited by praying.
The Imperative Mood is for a command to pray. So, we are commanded to pray, but we are not commanded what to pray for; that is left up to us.
In the Second Person Plural, we say, “you all begin to ask.”
KAI is a Subordinating Conjunction for “and.”
A Subordinating Conjunction introduces a dependent clause. A dependent clause depends or relies upon a main clause. So, when we ask we “will receive,” as noted below.
GENESETAI is also a Verb in the Future, Middle Deponent, Indicative, Third Person, Singular of GINOMAI that means, “become, be, happen, take place, arise, come into being, be born or created, or be done.”
The Gnomic Future Tense tells us of the principle; what will occur subsequent to our prayers.
The Middle Deponent Voice stresses the benefit back to the believer. Therefore, as a result of praying, our prayers will be answered and answered prayers have a benefit to the believer.
The Indicative Mood is for the dogmatic reality and promise from God that our prayers will be answered.
In the Third Person Singular it comes to mean, “it (our prayer petitions) will come to be.”
HUMIN is the Dative Pronoun in the Second Person, Plural of SU meaning, “to you all.” That is — your prayers will be answered back to you.
Our complete translation of John 15:7 is: “If (and maybe,) you are occupied with Me, and (maybe) you are occupied with My words (Bible doctrine), begin to ask whatever you all desire, and it (your prayer petitions) will come to pass (be answered).”
This astounding command and promise is not without conditions and limitations. It involves such intimate union and harmony with Christ that nothing will be asked out of accord with the mind of Christ and so of the Father. Compare with John 14:13; 16:23.
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If you can think straight, you can pray right. In Spiritual Maturity, all prayer is effective, because the believer has capacity. He has everything necessary to be a great prayer warrior.
The “if” (Protasis) is having a personal relationship with the person of Jesus Christ by listening to the Word of God and obeying His commandments. That is, you have a relationship with Bible doctrine, you are submissive to doctrine, and are applying it in your life.
The “then” (Apodosis) is receiving answers to your prayers.
Not just anybody can get their prayers answered. You must be abiding in Christ, which means in fellowship and applying God’s Word to the situation, including the protocol for prayer.
This promise is standard in every dispensation. The Psalmist said in 66:18, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.”
We have to align to God’s protocol for effective prayer. We have to be in fellowship, and we have to be growing and advancing in the spiritual life. This is abiding, remaining, walking in fellowship with the Lord.
The prayer promise of this verse is not anything you wish, because if you are abiding with Him, your thinking is being transformed by His Word, so that you know what to pray for that is in His will, 1 John 5:14-15.
1 John 5:14-15. “This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.”
Our prayers are answered under one of the following ways in regard to both the petition and desire.
- Negative – Negative – typically the reversionistic believer’s answer.
- Negative – Positive – typically the growing believer’s answer.
- Positive – Negative – typically the growing believer’s answer.
- Positive – Positive – typically the mature believer’s answer.
Prayer is a function of your Royal Priesthood; whereby, you have access and privilege to present two categories of requests to God the Father.
- Petitions – prayers for yourself.
- Intercessory prayers – prayers for others.
- Prayer is communication with God for the expression of personal needs in petition and the function of intercession for others.
The approach to prayer is a part of the protocol of the Royal Family of God and has a precisely correct procedure. We are to pray only to God the Father. Prayers to Jesus Christ or the Holy Spirit, are not authorized, or to any object of worship such as to an angel, saint, idol, cow, etc.
- All prayer is offered to God the Father, not to Jesus Christ or to the Holy Spirit. Any prayer offered to Christ is automatically cancelled, since it fails to follow God’s protocol for prayer. This is illustrated by the model prayer for the disciples, Mat 6:9; Eph 1:16-19a; 3:14; 1 Peter 1:17.
- Prayer is addressed in the name of or through the channel of the Son, John 14:13‑14; Heb 7:25.
- All prayer is made through the enabling power (filling) of God the Holy Spirit, Eph 6:18.
Heb 7:25, “Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.”
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.”
God the Father, the recipient of prayer, receives prayer from three sources in the Church Age.
- From God the Son, Heb 7:25.
- From God the Holy Spirit, Rom 8:26‑27. God the Holy Spirit prays for you when you need help and don’t know you need help. He also prays for people who cannot pray for themselves, i.e., for the hopeless, the helpless, the useless, e.g., believers on drugs. This is probably unique to the Church Age and related to the function of the omnipotence of the Holy Spirit on our behalf.
- From Church Age believers as Royal Priests. Heb 4:16, “Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
Prayer is related to the omniscience of God. God hears the prayer twice; in eternity past, and at the time of the prayer. Prayers and their answers were entered into the Divine decrees, so that answers, rejections, petitions, interjections, and desires are all results of the decrees in the foreknowledge of God. God knew and answered all your prayers in eternity past.
Isa 65:24, “Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking, I will hear.”
The more you grow in grace, the greater your spiritual growth, the greater your effectiveness in your prayer life. Effectiveness is not measured in terms of your eloquence when praying in public, but on the basis of your spiritual growth when praying in private.
- The power of prayer increases as the believer advances in the Plan of God for the Church Age.
- Accurate and effective prayer is associated with the three stages of spiritual adulthood, (Spiritual Self‑Esteem, Spiritual Autonomy, and Spiritual Maturity), in conjunction with the three stages of Divine Good Production, (bear fruit, bear more fruit, bear much fruit), John 15:2-8.
How to Pray Effectively with Powerful Results
(Paraphrased from a Message by Charles Spurgeon)
James 5:16, “Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.”
James 4:6-10, “But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” 7Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts (Rebound – 1 JOHN 1:9), you double-minded. 9Be miserable (Suffer hardship) and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom. 10Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.”
Do you often lament that your prayers aren’t answered?
Have you given up going to God with your every concern, because you aren’t seeing results of your prayer time?
Do you think God may be ignoring you?
If so, then include these attitudes in your prayer life, (which are part of the Faith Rest Drill):
- Pray confidently, (application of Bible doctrine), because if you begin by doubting, your prayer will falter. God tells us:
Heb 4:16, “Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
1 John 5:14-15, “This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.”
Mat 9:27-30a, “As Jesus went on from there, two blind men followed Him, crying out, “Have mercy on us, Son of David!” 28When He entered the house, the blind men came up to Him, and Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They said to Him, “Yes, Lord.” 29Then He touched their eyes, saying, “It shall be done to you according to your faith.” 30And their eyes were opened.”
- When you are in a time of trouble, ask God for help, believing that He is able to give it, (a right thing done in a right way). Ask, expecting that He will give it, John 14:13-14; 15:7; 16:23b-24.
John 16:23b-24, “Truly, truly, I say to you, if you ask the Father for anything in My name, He will give it to you. 24“Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full.”
- Remember God’s Faithfulness, (grabbing a promise from God). Seek out God, appealing to His promises and remembering what He has done for you.
Psa 77:10-14, “Then I said, “It is my grief, that the right hand of the Most High has changed. 11I shall remember the deeds of the LORD; surely I will remember Your wonders of old. 12I will meditate on all Your work and muse on Your deeds. 13Your way, O God, is holy; what god is great like our God? 14You are the God who works wonders; You have made known Your strength among the peoples.”
- Then remember the constancy of Jesus Christ, (mixing it with faith).
Heb 13:8, “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever.”
- Remember the Majestic Nature of Jesus Christ, (Essence of God Rationale).
Heb 1:8-12, “But of the Son He says, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, And the righteous scepter is the scepter of His kingdom. 9You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; therefore God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness above Your companions.” 10And, “You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the works of Your hands; 11They will perish, but You remain; and they all will become old like a garment, 12And like a mantle You will roll them up; like a garment they will also be changed. But You are the same, and Your years will not come to an end.”
- Rely on His Promises (Doctrinal Conclusion). First, read Scriptures so that you know what those promises are, then grasp the mighty faithfulness of God with a grip of determination.
Deut 26:17-19, “You have today declared the LORD to be your God, and that you would walk in His ways and keep His statutes, His commandments and His ordinances, and listen to His voice. 18The LORD has today declared you to be His people, a treasured possession, as He promised you, and that you should keep all His commandments; 19and that He will set you high above all nations which He has made, for praise, fame, and honor; and that you shall be a consecrated people to the LORD your God, as He has spoken.”
2 Sam 7:28-29, “Now, O Lord GOD, You are God, and Your words are truth, and You have promised this good thing to Your servant. 29Now therefore, may it please You to bless the house of Your servant, that it may continue forever before You. For You, O Lord GOD, have spoken; and with Your blessing may the house of Your servant be blessed forever.”
- Admit your Weaknesses to the Lord, (Humility of Soul). Set your case before God, laying bare all your sorrow and all your needs, then say, “Lord, there it is.” Share your soul with Him. He is not moved by eloquence of words or oratory of tongue, but is swift to answer the true oratory, the true eloquence of real distress, and is as able to detect false misery as to relieve real sorrow. He loves for us to state the difficulty we are in. Then, when He gets us out of it, we may remember the sorry condition we were in, with gratitude and rejoicing.
Psa 6:2-9, “Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am pining away; heal me, O LORD, for my bones are dismayed. 3And my soul is greatly dismayed; but You, O LORD—how long? 4Return, O LORD, rescue my soul; save me because of Your lovingkindness. 5For there is no mention of You in death; in Sheol who will give You thanks? 6 I am weary with my sighing; every night I make my bed swim, I dissolve my couch with my tears. 7My eye has wasted away with grief; it has become old because of all my adversaries. 8Depart from me, all you who do iniquity, for the LORD has heard the voice of my weeping. 9The LORD has heard my supplication, the LORD receives my prayer.”
- Declare your trust, (Faith Rest). Express your confidence in God. Look to Him for your rescue, knowing that it will come. Your eyes may be filled with tears, but keep looking toward Him. As you look, your eyes will get stronger, and you will become enlightened with His wisdom and direction.
Psa 123:1-2, “To You I lift up my eyes, O You who are enthroned in the heavens! 2Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the LORD our God, until He is gracious to us.”
- Bible Verses About Prayer to Contemplate.
1 Thes 5:16-19, “See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another and for all people. 16Rejoice always; 17pray without ceasing; 18in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 19Do not quench the Spirit.” Compare with John 15:7, “abiding in Christ”.
Psa 86:1-17, “Incline Your ear, O LORD, and answer me; for I am afflicted and needy. 2Preserve my soul, for I am a godly man; O You my God, save Your servant who trusts in You. 3Be gracious to me, O Lord, for to You I cry all day long. 4Make glad the soul of Your servant, for to You, O Lord, I lift up my soul. 5For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive, and abundant in lovingkindness to all who call upon You. 6Give ear, O LORD, to my prayer; and give heed to the voice of my supplications! 7In the day of my trouble I shall call upon You, for You will answer me. 8There is no one like You among the gods, O Lord, nor are there any works like Yours. 9All nations whom You have made shall come and worship before You, O Lord, and they shall glorify Your name. 10For You are great and do wondrous deeds; You alone are God. 11Teach me Your way, O LORD; I will walk in Your truth; unite my heart to fear Your name. 12I will give thanks to You, O Lord my God, with all my heart, and will glorify Your name forever. 13For Your lovingkindness toward me is great, and You have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol. 14O God, arrogant men have risen up against me, and a band of violent men have sought my life, and they have not set You before them. 15But You, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness and truth. 16Turn to me, and be gracious to me; Oh grant Your strength to Your servant, and save the son of Your handmaid. 17Show me a sign for good, that those who hate me may see it and be ashamed, because You, O LORD, have helped me and comforted me.”
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Principles on Prayer
Adapted from H.W. Hastings III, Notes on Prayer
- The Lord Jesus Christ commands us to pray for those who persecute and plot against us, for those who mistreat us or abuse their authority. The Christian is to pray for his enemies and those who mistreat him.
Matthew 6:5-9; Luke 5:16
- Be mindful to whom we are praying — God our Father.
- Prayer is a part of the privacy of our believer priesthood (1 Peter 2:5, 9).
- Distractions should be removed prior to prayer. Prayer should be conducted in a place that allows one to concentrate
- Prayer is to be organized, lucid, and to the point.
- Prayer should not be used to gain the approbation of fellow believers or bring attention to oneself in public. Prayer should not be used to impress others, or to call attention to self by excessive rhetoric.
- Therefore, Christians need to avoid “Spotlight Christianity.”
- A Spotlight Christian is one who calls attention to what they are doing for the Lord in order to gain the approval of fellow Christians or make them look more “spiritual” than other Christians.
- Praise and thanksgiving should be incorporated into prayer.
- Prayer should be conducted with Biblical confidence (1 John 5:14-15).
- The squeaky wheel gets the grease in accordance with the will of God.
- When God answers our prayers, He will answer in a just way in His perfect timing.
- Do not lose heart in prayer and be patient for the Lord’s answers.
- Prayer should be conducted from a position of genuine humility that requires grace orientation.
- Arrogance and other unconfessed sin negate the effectiveness of prayer.
- Prayer should include our legitimate desires in accordance with the will of God.
- We should be submissive to God’s will for our life when praying.
- Distractions should be limited prior to praying.
- We don’t pray as well as we should, as a result the Holy Spirit prays on our behalf.
- We should express thanks to God for the Holy Spirit’s intercessory prayers.
Ephesians 1:18-19; It is legitimate to pray:
- For fellow believers.
- For the Holy Spirit to guide and enlighten fellow believers so that they will know God’s plan and purpose for their life.
- That a fellow believer be enlightened to the truth in God’s Word.
- That a fellow believer knows the will of God for his life.
- On behalf of believers that they would be enlightened to the fact that they have an eternal inheritance and the composition of the inheritance.
- On behalf of believers, that they would know what the surpassing greatness of the Lord’s power is for them.
- That a fellow Christian has a confidence in relation to God’s purpose for his life.
- We should always pray in fellowship, which is produced by the filling of the Spirit.
- We should be vigilant and intently watch for things to pray.
- We should persevere in prayer regardless of the situation.
- It is legitimate to pray the following things for believers communicating the Word of God:
1) To have clear and confident speech.
2) To be sensitive to the Spirit’s ministry in their life and study.
3) To have concentration necessary for accurate communication.
Colossians 1:9a, 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18, “Pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
- Never stop praying for people.
- One’s prayer life should be consistent.
- Prayers can be frequent & spontaneous, but these prayers are not a substitute for regular prayer times.
- Always be on the alert as to what to pray.
- Pray that fellow believers fully understand and confidently know God’s will for their life by means of spiritual wisdom through learning Bible doctrine.
- Pray that a fellow believer’s comprehension of spiritual wisdom would result in accomplishing God’s will for his life.
- Pray that a believer’s comprehension of spiritual wisdom would result in living a lifestyle pleasing to the Lord and manifesting fruit of the Spirit.
- It is protocol to give thanks directly to God the Father.
- Pray that a believer’s spiritual growth might result in steadfastness, patience, joy, and tranquility.
- It’s legitimate to pray that the believer be filled with the full knowledge of God’s will, by means of all spiritual wisdom and understanding, resulting in a lifestyle honoring the Lord in all respects.
1 Thessalonians 5:25
- One must be a Christian to effectively pray.
- Christians are commanded to pray on behalf of fellow Christians.
- Pray for Pastor-Teachers, Evangelists, and others in Church leadership.
2 Thessalonians 1:11-12
- Pray that fellow believers will glorify Jesus Christ by reaching spiritual maturity.
- Pray that a fellow Christian might accomplish God’s Plan for his life and receive his full rewards package at the Judgment Seat of Christ (BEMA).
- Pray for believers to function effectively in their spiritual gift to the glory of God.
2 Thessalonians 3:1
- Pray for unbelievers to hear the Gospel that leads to salvation.
- Pray for Pastors to communicate the Word of God effectively.
- Pray that the Word of God will produce fruit in the lives of the hearers.
- Pray for the communication of the Word of God to be unhindered and honored by the recipients.
2 Thessalonians 3:2
- Pray that those communicating the Word of God be protected and delivered from those who are negative toward Bible doctrine.
1 Timothy 2:8
- Christians are to pray in the unity of the faith/
- Pray that fellow believers might positively influence other believers in the execution of the spiritual life.
- Pray that the fellowship (KOINONIA – sharing) of a fellow believer’s faith might become effective by means of metabolized doctrine.
3 John 2
- Pray that fellow believers might be in good health and things will go well with them.
Isaiah 1:15, Psalm 66:18
- Although we pray fervently, if we are out of fellowship, the Lord will not listen to our prayers.
- Faith is a prerequisite to answered prayer.
- The Lord is free to answer prayer in accordance with His will.
- It is important to pray effectively prior to making important decisions that have to do with the will of God.
- Distractions should be removed prior to prayer.
- The right mental attitude with respect to Divine viewpoint is more important than a full night’s sleep.
- Prayer is an effective tool that helps one concentrate on Divine solutions when faced with temptation.
- When you suddenly wake up in the middle of the night, you should be sensitive to the Lord’s desire that there may be something He wants you to address in prayer.
- Consistency in prayer that results from the execution of the spiritual life glorifies God.
- Our prayers ascend as a memorial before Him.
- We should pray for God’s traveling mercies.
- It’s OK to request things of the Lord, be consistent and always make requests in accordance with His will.
Romans 10:1 (Prayer = DEESIS – a need, entreaty, petition)
- It is legitimate to pray for the salvation of unbelievers.
1 Corinthians 7:5
- Devoting ourselves to prayer is acceptable when having difficulties with one’s spouse or in relationships in general.
- Husbands and wives should not abstain from sex unless they are in mutual agreement in order to devote their time to effective prayer.
- Prayer is extremely important for a good marriage or relationship.
2 Corinthians 1:11
- We should express thanksgiving to God in prayer for our fellow Christians who pray for us.
- Prayer is not only an individual endeavor, but also a team effort that forms a bond between like-minded believers in a local church.
- The prayers offered on behalf of fellow believers have visible and invisible impact, whether we are aware of it or not.
- The prayer of a team comprised of like-minded believers is a powerful weapon in the Plan of God.
- We can thank God that He will answer intercessory prayer according to His Plan, Will, and Purpose, prior to its fulfillment.
Philippians 1:3-4 (DEESIS)
- Prayers should be offered with sincere joy and thanksgiving (EUCHARISTEO) from the heart.
- We are to express thanksgiving to God for those He uses to provide for our needs.
- We are to express thanks to the Lord for His transforming work in our lives.
- We are to express thanks to the Lord for what He wrought in us at salvation.
- We are to express thanks to the Lord for those whom we fellowship with together in the Word.
Philippians 4:6 (Prayer and Supplication = PROSEUCHE and DEESIS)
- Prayer is to be accompanied with thanksgiving, requests, and entreaties.
- Prayer is designed for every aspect of life.
- We are commanded to faithfully engage in prayer.
- We are to remain alert in our prayer life.
- We are to approach God in prayer with an attitude of thanksgiving.
- We are to pray for the Lord to provide opportunities for us to communicate His Word and the Gospel.
- We are to pray for those teaching Bible doctrine to be clear and lucid in their speech.
- It should be our habit to pray on a scheduled basis.
- We should keep a record of answered prayers for thanksgiving.
1 Timothy 4:4-5
- We should ask God to sanctify and bless all legitimate things.
- Food once forbidden in the Mosaic Law can be enjoyed when received with prayer and gratitude.
- We are to ask God to sanctify the food we eat.
1 Peter 3:12
- Christians are to be confident in their prayer life, because God hears the prayers of those who possess His imputed righteousness and are in fellowship.
- The Lord does not listen to the prayers of the believer out of fellowship or the unbeliever except in the following circumstances:
1) The believer-priest who is out of fellowship and represents himself to God regarding matters of personal sin by 1 John 1:9.
2) The unbeliever who trusts in the finished work of Jesus Christ for eternal life at salvation.
1 Peter 4:7
- Prayer is to be tempered with sound judgment and clear thought, being in fellowship with the Holy Spirit (compare with Eph 5:18).
Prayer and Eternal Fruit: Fruit (Divine Good Production) is a work that the Lord produces through His branches (believers). It is a work that remains forever, bringing Him glory, and for which He promises reward.
So, the questions arise, “How do we live this life of faithful fruit-bearing?” or “How can we please the Lord and hope to receive a reward when we stand before Him at the BEMA seat?”
Now, if we are truly honest with ourselves and look inside, what we typically see is spiritual cowardice. We look around at the world, and we see only the storm; a raging sea of reasons to worry with turbulent waves of uncertainty, financial whirlpools, political upheaval, winds of trouble, dark clouds of sickness, and lightning bolts of death striking close.
In the world, there is worry where danger roars and thunders, but there is another soothing sound we need to listen for, and that is “the Voice of Truth.”
John 16:33, “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”
Likewise, our Lord proclaims in John 15:7, “abide in Me and abide in My Words,” there He is imploring us to hear “the Voice of Truth.”
Remember that John 15:5 tells us that, “we can do nothing apart from Him.”
As we have also noted, “to abide in Him,” is to remain in, stay close to, make our home with, dwell within, focus on, or be occupied with the Lord Jesus Christ. This requires time with Him, which can only be done in the Word, not the world.
Matthew 14:22-31 gives us an illustration. The disciples were on the Sea of Galilee, exactly where Jesus told them to be. Most were fishermen, who could depend on their own skills and abilities to steer their boat, so they thought… “But when the boat was many stadia from the land, it became battered by the waves; for the wind was contrary.” Fear and panic overtook their faith.
Jesus sees what is going on. He has authority over the storm, but He does not stop the squall, instead He comes to them in the middle of the turbulence, walking on the water. Through the wind He calls, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”
The Lord of Glory manifested His power over nature! Will that invoke courage and faith from His disciples? For Peter it did, briefly. For a few glorious moments Peter focused only on Christ. He gave up the security of the boat to walk with Jesus on top of the water. The Omnipotent One made each step sure. What astonishment and wonder must have shook Peter’s heart!
But then Peter did the human thing, he took his eyes off Jesus. Peter glanced down at the swirling water instead of looking up to the Rock of Ages. (Analogous to turning on the TV news instead of reading the Bible). Peter, now disconnected from Christ and sunk fast.
Our Lord reached out to save him, but also rebuked him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
Like the disciples, we have a choice: Stay in the boat relying on our own strength or take the walk of faith, trusting all to Jesus.
What thrills await you when faith takes you water-walking with the Lord!
As we saw briefly with Peter, a life focused on Christ exacts a reward even now, as He makes each step an exciting adventure! His power alone will produce the rewards both in time and for eternity.
So, moment by moment we must decide, “where will I abide,” in the world or in the Lord? Focused on the storms or on Jesus? Where will I invest my time, talent, treasure, and truth…in my own flimsy little boat or on the work of God for His glory?
When you abide in the Work of God, “whatever you ask it shall be done for you,” whether it be moving mountains (Mat 17:20; 21:21; 1 Cor 13:2) or walking on water.
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Turning to John 15:8 we have, “By this is My Father glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.”
The Greek reads:
“ἐν τούτῳ ἐδοξάσθη ὁ Πατήρ μου, ἵνα καρπὸν πολὺν φέρητε καὶ γένησθε* ἐμοὶ μαθηταί.”
The transliteration is:
“EN TOUTO EDOXASTHE HO PATER MOU, HINA KARPON POLUS PHERETE KAI GENESTHE EMOI MATHETAI.”
EN is a Preposition that means, “In”.
TOUTO is the Demonstrative Pronominal Adjective of HOUTOS – οὗτος (hoo’-tos), referring to a near object, so we say, “this.” It is in the Dative, Neuter, Singular.
The Demonstrative specifies or singles out the person or thing referred to, in this case taking the place of “bears much fruit.”
As a Pronominal, it is an Adjective sub-class that resembles a pronoun by specifying a person, place, or thing, acting as a noun or a substantive. Therefore, “this” is not a Dative of Means / Instrument, which if it were, would be translated, “by means of this.”
Instead, as a Pronoun in the Dative of Sphere, it refers to the realm in which God the Father is glorified, not the instrument. That is, in the realm of Divine Good production, God the Father is glorified.
As A.T. Robertson notes, “this tells of the vital union the believer has with the vine and the much fruit bearing. It points here backwards and forwards.” (Bold mine).
We will translate these two words as “In the realm of this (i.e., Divine Good Production).”
Next, we have: EDOXASTHE HO PATER MOU.
EDOXASTHE is the Verb in the Aorist, Passive, Indicative, Third Person, Singular of DOXAZO – δοξάζω (dox-ad’-zo) that means, “To render or esteem glorious.”
The Gnomic Aorist Tense views the entirety of the action as a whole used to present a timeless general fact. It does not refer to what did happen but to Fruit bearing which glorifies the Father that does happen. So, it is translated like a Simple Present Tense where we add the verb “is” for context.
The Passive Voice says that the Father receives glory when we produce Divine Good.
The Indicative Mood declares the reality of the situation. The Father “is glorified” when His children operate in Divine Good.
HO is the Nominative Article for “the.”
PATER is the Nominative, Masculine, Singular, that means, “Father” representing God the Father, the first member of the Trinity.
MOU is the First Person Singular Pronoun from EGO – ἐγώ (eg-o’) in the Genitive that means, “of Me or My,” representing Jesus the second member of the Trinity as talking about His Father.
Literally, it says, “is glorified the Father of Me,” but we would say, “My Father is glorified.”
As noted in the past, the simple fact that Jesus refers to God the Father as “My Father” represents His humility to honor and operate inside the Plan of God. Even though Jesus is co-equal with the Father and the Holy Spirit, in humility and speaking from His humanity, He recognizes the authority of the first member of the Trinity.
Our next phrase is, “that you bear much fruit,” HINA KARPON POLUS PHERETE.
HINA is a Relative Adverb which means “that.” A Relative refers to or qualifies an antecedent (a preceding word, phrase, or clause). Linked with the subjunctive mood for PHERETE, “bear,” it introduces a Purpose Clause that focuses on the intention of the action of the main verb, EDOXASTHE.
KARPON is our noun for “fruit,” in the Direct Object Accusative, Masculine, Singular, speaking of Divine Good Production.
POLUN is an Adjective in the Accusative, Masculine, Singular of POLUS – πολύς (pol-oos’) that means, “Much or many.” We saw this same usage in Verse 5. There it spoke of our Occupation with Christ that results in tremendous Divine Good Production; here it is telling us what glorifies God the Father.
PHERETE is a Verb from PHERO – φέρω (fer’-o) that means, “to bear, carry, or bring forth,” in the Present, Active, Subjunctive, Second Person, Plural.
The Customary Present Tense is “stative,” and describes ongoing action, that is, to “keep on bearing much fruit.”
The Active Voice tells us the believer who is Occupied with Christ produces much Divine Good.
The Subjunctive Mood with HINA above establishes this Purpose Clause. The purpose of the supergrace life that is occupied with Christ is to bear much fruit, which glorifies God the Father. The Subjunctive Mood also reveals the believer’s volitional responsibility to bear fruit. We will translate this, “you all keep on bearing.”
So, we have, “that you all keep on bearing much fruit.”
Next, we have KAI, which is a Coordinating Conjunction for “and,” which ties in the following clause, “Prove to be My disciples” – GENESTHE EMOI MATHETAI.
GENESTHE is a Verb in the Aorist, Middle Deponent, Subjunctive, Second Person, Plural of GINOMAI – γίνομαι (ghin’-om-ahee). GINOMAI means, “to come into being, to happen, or to become.”
In previous discussions, we compared GINOMAI to EIMI, where EIMI means, “to be or exist,” and GINOMAI means, “to become something that you were not before.” That is the context here. By being Occupied with Christ, you produce Divine Good with the further result of becoming a disciple of Jesus Christ; all of which has the purpose of glorifying God the Father.
The Aorist Tense views the entirety of the action; whereby, the believer becomes a disciple of Christ.
The Middle Deponent Voice tells us the believer is acting upon himself. That is, Occupation with Christ, resulting in fruit bearing, has the added benefit of being a disciple of Christ. The Deponent strengthens the active sense of the believer’s discipleship.
The Subjunctive Mood again supports the Purpose Clause for glorifying the Father by fruit production and now discipleship, having emphasis on volitional responsibility. We will translate this, “you all become.”
EMOI is the First Person, Singular, Reflexive Pronoun in the Dative Case from EMOS – ἐμός (em-os’) which is in the attributive position. It is a Possessive Adjective that means, “My or Mine.”
MATHETAI is a Noun in the Nominative, Masculine, Plural of MATHETES – μαθητής (math-ay-tes’) that means, “disciple, a learner, or pupil.” So, it means a student, and here a student of the Lord Jesus Christ, which means a student of His Word, which means a student of Bible doctrine. And remember that students learn in order to apply what they have learned, and that’s what a disciple is. A disciple of Christ’s is one who has learned Bible doctrine and is applying it to his life, which means he is producing fruit / Divine Good. This means “learners” in the fullest sense of rich fruit-bearing according to the text. So, we say, “disciples” to ensure the emphasis on application of what is learned.
So, we have, “and you all become My disciples.”
Our complete translation of John 15:8 is: “In the realm of this, (Divine Good Production), My Father is glorified that you all keep on bearing much fruit and you all become My disciples.”
There were and are many disciples that did not and do not follow Jesus. They are believers, but they do not follow Him.
In Verse 8, Jesus is talking about the essence of true discipleship as Spiritual Maturity. He is using the word “disciple” in the sense of a true follower who goes all the way with His teaching.
Disciple is not a synonym for believer. A disciple is one who is committed to spiritual growth and Spiritual Maturity.
Glorification of God comes through Spiritual Maturity through fruit production. That is the goal in the spiritual life.
The purpose for our salvation is to glorify God to the maximum, and that doesn’t happen until Spiritual Maturity, because consistent fruit bearing doesn’t happen until Spiritual Adulthood.
“My Father is glorified” is the function of the supergrace believer’s life, whether he is thinking, saying, or doing.
Prayer is a perfect illustration, because in prayer, you both “think” and “do” as you offer your prayers to God.
The issue for the believer in prayer is thinking in terms of Bible doctrine.
The Father is glorified, because it is His Plan that you are thinking about when offering your prayers.
Likewise, it is the grace Plan of the Father in both your ability to offer prayers and His Sovereignty to answer your prayers.
God is glorified is the Aorist, Passive, Indicative of DOXAZO.
- The Gnomic Aorist tells us it is an absolute principle.
- The Passive Voice tells us the Father receives the glory from His own Plan.
- The Indicative Mood is the reality of the fact that God the Father is glorified by the thinking of the supergrace believer in prayer and in producing Divine Good.
Divine Good is only possible when we are Occupied with the Person / Word of Jesus Christ, and our prayers are the reflection of that Occupation, as we invoke God to lead us in Divine Good Production, with the purpose that the Father is glorified.
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How the Believer Glorifies God
God is glorified at the moment of our salvation through adoption into the Family of God.
Eph 1:5‑6, “Having predesigned us to adoption (the appointment of adult) sons (for Himself) through Jesus Christ, according to the kind intention (benevolent purpose) of His will, to the praise of glory (from the source) of His grace, which He freely bestowed on (has pursued) us in the Beloved.”
God is glorified through His Plan for the indwelling of Christ in the Church Age believer.
Col 1:27, “To whom the God decreed to make known what is the riches (wealth) of the glory of the mystery among the gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope (confidence) of glory.”
God is glorified by means of the church, Eph 3:21, when believers attain spiritual adulthood and move to spiritual maturity, where those believers are said to be “filled with all the fullness of God,” Eph 3:19. There are three categories of spiritual adulthood:
- Spiritual Self-Esteem as cognitive self-confidence.
- Spiritual Autonomy as cognitive independence.
- Spiritual Maturity as cognitive invincibility, when you are manufactured into an invisible hero.
The believer glorifies God when he parlays the Life Beyond Gnosis, Eph 3:19, into the Life Beyond Dreams, Eph 3:20.
- The Life Beyond Gnosis is EPIGNOSIS doctrine in the Right Lobe of your soul, which is achieved by the consistent function of post-salvation renewing of your mind, Rom 12:2.
- This means cognition of the Mystery doctrine for the Church Age through perception, metabolization, and application, by means of the filling of the Holy Spirit. Learning Bible doctrine in the Old Testament won’t advance you in the Life Beyond Gnosis. You must understand the Mystery doctrine of the Church Age, which is found in the New Testament epistles. It contains all the mechanics for the Plan of God in this Dispensation.
- The result is the attainment of spiritual adulthood. Then you begin to gather fantastic and dynamic momentum.
- With spiritual momentum, Spiritual Maturity parlays the Life Beyond Gnosis into the Life Beyond Dreams, which becomes the basis for maximum glorification of God.
The pattern for glorifying God includes suffering for blessing, 1 Peter 1:6-9, not Divine discipline or self-induced misery under the law of volitional responsibility. As John 15:2 states, “He prunes it that it may bear more fruit.” There are three categories of suffering for blessing:
- Providential Preventative Suffering.
- Momentum Testing.
- Evidence Testing.
God is then glorified by our Divine Good Production as disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, John 15:8. There are three categories of Divine Good Production:
- Bearing fruit, John 15:2
- Bearing more fruit, John 15:2
- Bearing much fruit, John 15:5, 8
Glorification of God through Divine Good Production includes:
- God is glorified through the confession of our sins. Joshua 7:19-20, “Then Joshua said to Achan, ‘My son, I implore you, give glory to the LORD, the God of Israel, and give praise to Him; and tell me now what you have done. Do not hide it from me’.”
- God is glorified through our priestly service, 1 Chron 16:4; 23:5, 30; 2 Chron 7:6; 8:14; Ezra 3:10; Neh 9:5.
- God is glorified by submitting to governing authorities, Rom 13:1-7; 1 Peter 2:13-15.
- God is glorified through our prayers, 1 Chron 29:10-20.
- God is glorified through our thanksgiving, Eph 1:3-14; Heb 13:5.
- God is glorified through our hymns, songs, and psalms. Ex 15:1-20; Judges 5:3; 2 Chron 5:13: Psa 7:17; 21:13; 22:22 ff; 66:1 ff; Acts 16:25
Ex 15:1, “Then Moses and the sons of Israel sang this song to the LORD, and said, “I will sing to the LORD, for He is highly exalted; The horse and its rider He has hurled into the sea. 2The LORD is my strength and song, and He has become my salvation; This is my God, and I will praise Him; My father’s God, and I will extol Him. 3The LORD is a warrior; The LORD is His name.”
Glorification of God is also related to the distribution of your escrow blessings for time and eternity based on your Divine Good Production in time, 1 Cor 3:10-15; Rev 2-3.
- When God is able to reward you, He is glorified because your rewards are based on His Word, His Spirit, His Plan, His Provisions, and your non-meritorious faith in Him.
John 12:25-26, “He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal. If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him.”
2 Tim 4:7-8, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; 8in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.”
God is glorified and receives glory forever in the function of ultimate sanctification and the deliverance of the ultra supergrace believer (i.e., God brings you home through death or the Rapture), 2 Tim 4:18.
We will glorify God in the eternal state, Isa 45:23; Rom 14:11; Phil 2:10-11; Rev 5:11-13; 19:1-6.
- The resurrection body is described in terms of glory, 1 Cor 15:43. Our resurrection body is raised in glory, because we are in the status quo of everlasting life. We will live forever in a state of glory.
2 Thes 2:14, “The attainment of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” This refers to having a resurrection body exactly like our Lord’s and being in union with Him.
So, that brings up the question, “Do you have one single goal in life that consumes you, something that has become the primary force that stimulates and motivates you daily in everything that you do?”
Or do you feel like someone in a canoe whose objective seems to change with the various hazards he finds around every bend in the raging river as he is being propelled along trying to navigate white water, logs, and rocks.
Life can be like that. If we are not careful, our goals and objectives are set for us by the demands of the everyday forces of life. Goals and objectives are tremendously important, because they are dynamic and determinative of what we do with the life God has given us.
It has been said, “Aim at nothing and you will hit it every time,” and “People don’t plan to fail, they just fail to plan.”
Without defining goals and then the objectives needed to accomplish those goals, most people accomplish very little. Of course, we all have goals, even if we have not clearly defined them, and these goals determine a great deal of what we do.
Again, let me ask the question, “If you could reduce your life to one primary goal, what would it be?” On a day-to-day basis, what are you actually focused on and seeking to accomplish?
Don’t answer this question with what you think the answer should be, like, “My chief aim in life is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever!” Or, “My goal in life is to please the Lord in everything I do!” Be honest. Think about what was on your mind every morning this week when you woke up or as you faced the varied circumstances of the week.
Were your thoughts on:
- How you might change your spouse who doesn’t treat you the way you want to be treated?
- Or how you might handle your boss who is a bully and unfair?
- Perhaps your focus was on your car which keeps breaking down or on some home appliance that would make life easier.
- Perhaps your objective is to get through school with a 3.5 grade point average.
- Or maybe your goal is simply to keep your head above water in your job.
The world has a way of intruding like a thief into our lives to steal from us what should be our focus or the major objectives of life. These intrusions have a way of disturbing us, even though we may not realize the source, because in losing sight of God’s purpose or goal, we fail to see the problems of life in accord with God’s overall purpose and consequent objectives.
Isaiah declares: Isa 26:3, “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast (being sustained), because he trusts (continues to depend on) in You. (NIV)
God doesn’t expect us to be oblivious to the problems and needs of life, but when our goals are God’s goals, we are better able to look through our problems to the Lord and His supply. When our focus is the Lord, something wonderful begins to happen in us: God begins to change us and make us like His Son, Heb 12:2
Heb 12:2, “Who for the joy set before Him (all-consuming goal) endured the cross, despising the shame, …”
When we are transformed in our thinking by His Word and have the all-consuming goal of glorifying God in our lives each day, we are truly operating as His children, living the Supergrace life which brings maximum glory to God the Father.
John 15:8, “In the realm of this, (Divine Good Production), My Father is glorified that you all keep on bearing much fruit and you all become My disciples.”