Lesson 1 - God's Game Plan

Lesson 1 - God's Game Plan

Lesson for January 1, 2012

CHRISTIAN INTEGRITY

(This series is based on the book Christian Integrity by R. B. Thieme, Jr.)

God’s Game Plan

The System That Sustained Christ

Sometime in eternity past, God the Father designed a plan that would sustain His Son Jesus Christ during His earthly ministry.  This same plan is available to all believers in Jesus Christ to sustain them during their lives on earth.  It is imperative therefore for every believer to learn this plan and execute it by means of the same power source that sustained and guided the Lord Jesus Christ.  That power source is the third Person of the Godhead, the Holy Spirit.   A privilege that has been afforded to all believers living during the Church Age is to be permanently indwelt by God the Holy Spirit and have His power available to them 24/7.  Just as Christ came to glorify God the Father, we too have the opportunity to do the same.  Repeatedly, Jesus stated that He was sent by the Father, that He revealed the Father, and that He obeyed the Father’s Will. (Matthew 11:27; Luke 22:42; John 14:10)

A burden far heavier than we will ever bear was experienced by Jesus Christ as He paid the penalty for the sin of the entire human race on the Cross.  And yet He was always able to say that His burden was light.  How could this have been?  Only by the power of God the Holy Spirit was the humanity of Jesus Christ able to bear the burden of becoming sin on our behalf.  Living as a man for 33 years, Jesus Christ shared the happiness of God and never failed in His responsibility to God the Father.  Christ was able to do this by living within a system that God the Father designed for Him.  It is the same divine system that is available to you and me as believers in Jesus Christ.  (Matthew 11:29-30; Hebrews 2:7-9, 12:2; John 15:9-10)

With Christ as our role model we simply follow His pattern of successful living within God’s divine power system.  Learning and using the same information that Christ had, and thinking the same thoughts that He thought will enable any believer to be successful in the execution of God’s plan, purpose and will.  If we use our volition to develop a spiritual life by the consistent study and application of Bible doctrine, the character of Jesus Christ will eventually become formed in us.  His virtues will become our virtues, His capacity for life will become our capacity for life and His integrity will become our integrity. (I Corinthians 2:16; Philippians 2:5; Hebrew 12:3)

Why did God develop a system for Christian living?  The best way to adhere to God’s mandates for our lives as believers is to function within a system.  Outside of the divine system is distortion because the Word of God is being used improperly in building doctrine based on isolated passages of Scripture.  God’s desire for every believer is to grow up spiritually within His system.  By learning Bible doctrine and growing spiritually by the application of what we learn, we can live a life full of grace and truth like Jesus Christ.  Apart from application of accurate Bible doctrine there is no spiritual growth and no glorification of God. (Romans 12:1-2; Ephesians 4:11-16; II Peter 3:18)

Since no two believers are alike, the divine system that God designed established a protocol for the body of Christ to follow for successful lives as His royal ambassadors.  The divine system is a coordinated plan that unifies and directs the efforts within the body of Christ to maximize results for the glory of God.  Every successful system has a purpose, a policy and a structure of authority.  Following this system transforms many kinds of unique individuals into a group of spiritually mature winners who take responsibility for their own spiritual lives and not a bunch of spiritually immature “babies” who take no responsibility for their own spiritual lives. (Hebrews 5:11-14)

As you study the Word of God, you will see numerous commands, principles and mandates that you are to follow.  All of these are related to one another and they do not contradict each other.  In other words, these diverse commands, principles and mandates combine to form the perfect divine system ready for every believer to live within while residing in Satan’s corrupt cosmic system.  The Apostle Paul illustrated the successful Christian life by using an analogy based on the uniform of a Roman soldier.  We are commanded to wear the full armor of God.  Failure to wear all of the armor provided by God for the Christian warrior means he/she will succumb to satanic attacks, which come in many forms – people testing, system testing and disaster testing.  (Ephesians 6:13-17)

Paul wrote Ephesians 6:13-17 while he was under house arrest in Rome.  He had a Praetorian Guard with him at all times.  Paul could look up and observe the various articles of equipment that the Roman soldier wore.  This was where he got the military metaphors.  Remember, we are in a spiritual warfare as Christians!

Ephesians 13-17

Verse 13

Our combat in this dispensation of the intensified stage of the Angelic Conflict is not against human beings but against the entire demon organization under the command of Satan.  Since we fight against an unseen enemy, the demons and fallen angels, we need to use special equipment to secure the tactical victory that God has provided in grace.

The full equipment is in view here and the Roman soldier was trained to put it on very rapidly.  This implies that we must have Bible doctrine resident in the soul ready for use.  Picking up the full armor of God is analogous to your daily intake of the Word.  The Greek word for able is “dunamai” from which we get the word dynamite.  This is a very important word because it says we have the ability to fight these demons, we have the ability to be successful in the Angelic Conflict.  So the result of maximum doctrine in the soul is the ability to enter into this tremendous conflict.  The royal priest as a member of the royal family in this age is able to oppose demons and gain the tactical objective by a power greater than his/her self (God the Holy Spirit).

The “evil day” refers to the time when you are attacked. Sooner or later believers will be under demon attack and when that time comes they will be able to do battle only if they have put on the full armor.  Demons are not only invisible but they are much more powerful than human beings.  Believers must possess the inner resources of Bible doctrine in their souls to resist the attacks of the unseen forces.  Standing firm against satanic forces can be accomplished only by a believer who has developed a personal relationship with God through the consistent intake and application of accurate Bible doctrine.

Verse 14

A believer can stand fast or resist an attack only when he/she utilizes the grace equipment from God.  Having girded your loins with truth means to be doctrinally

oriented, which is one of the problem-solving devices.  The first priority therefore for a believer in this dispensation is to learn, believe and apply accurate Bible doctrine.

The breastplate of righteousness means righteousness in the sense of fulfilling divine standards.  The breastplate is held in place by the belt and it becomes obvious that this righteousness is totally dependent upon Bible doctrine in the soul.  This type of righteousness is inner virtue.  It refers to the integrity and inner virtue of the individual believer with maximum doctrine resident in his soul.

Verse 15

Having shod your feet with the preparation of the Gospel of peace is a reference to the responsibility of believers to share their faith with others as Royal Ambassadors for Jesus Christ.  Sharing your faith (witnessing) is communicating the Gospel to unbelievers on a personal basis by providing good news, not bad news.  You must deal in terms of solution and you must do so without intruding upon the privacy of the individual.  He needs information, he doesn’t have to be told what he is and isn’t. What a person needs to know is what Jesus Christ did for them on the Cross and how they can have eternal life as a result.  Witnessing is not salesmanship or pressure to make some kind of decision.

The Holy Spirit is the sovereign executive in witnessing.  The unbeliever is minus his human spirit, he has no frame of reference for the Gospel; the Gospel is spiritual phenomena.  Therefore, only God the Holy Spirit can bridge the gap.  When we are born into this world, we are born minus the human spirit, which is the frame of reference for spiritual information.  Because we are all born with a sin nature, we are all born spiritually dead.  The spiritually dead person cannot comprehend spiritual phenomena.  This means that he/she cannot comprehend the Gospel and that the only possibility for comprehension is for God the Holy Spirit to act as the human spirit in order that Gospel information might be understood.  The good news that we have to tell unbelievers is not the fact that they are sinners but that their sins were judged on the Cross.

Verse 16

Taking up the shield of faith means that the Christian soldier prepares for action by picking up his own shield.  How do you pick up the shield of faith and carry it?  The answer is found under the principle of the filling of the Spirit which produces faith.  Faith comes by hearing and hearing comes by the Word of God. The picking up the shield of faith would be the function of faith-rest in the various circumstances of life.  (Hebrews 4:1-3; 1 Peter 1:7-8; Hebrews 12:2)  

When the demon armies start throwing there fiery darts at you, you have accumulated doctrine in the soul, you have put on the full armor of God, and the result is that you are able to meet all of the attacks of Satan’s cosmic system.

Verse 17

The helmet of salvation is actually the first piece of equipment that a person puts on when he/she believes in Christ for salvation.  Salvation keeps Satan from dealing a fatal blow to a person.  It doesn’t matter what Satan and his demon army does to you, he cannot take away your salvation.

The combination of the sword of the Spirit (the Word of God) and the faith that we have in our souls becomes the basis for protecting us against Satan’s weapons. The great overall principle of these verses is there is no power which belongs to Satan which is great enough to destroy any believer who is equipped with the full armor of God.

Before going to war, it is necessary to assess the enemy.  What are his strategies, where is the battlefield, what is the size of his force, etc?  You must also assess your capability.  What kind of weapons do you have, should you be on the defensive or offensive, is your force superior to the enemy, etc?  Our assessment is that God is the one who fights this spiritual warfare for us.  We are unable in our own power and strength to wage war with Satan and his demon army.  Being equipped with God’s armor is the only possible way of gaining victory in this battle.  God’s battle plan is perfect.  We just need to learn how to execute it!