TRUTH: For He Himself is our Peace

October 20, 2017

As I sat here this morning, I was directed to a passage that I had read earlier in Ephesians. Now, I know why. Two days ago, I had a very dear cousin to die. She is survived by her mom, two brothers, her sisters and her son. It was thinking about her son that tore into my emotions. My heart ached at the thought of him not seeing her at his football games, at his prom, at his graduation, wedding, etc. I never questioned God despite fervent prayers of a righteous man not ending in the manner I had prayed. Separately, God told my wife and me that He not only knows what is best but does what is best. My inability to see it does not negate that truth about Him. When I acknowledge who God is, His character, and what God can do, His authority/power, I have not choice but to consider this as a Moment of Faith. He reminded me today of the TRUTH: For He Himself is our Peace.

If allowed, He will be the peace of my family in this death as well as any of us in any of our circumstances. Let’s look at how Jesus is the TRUTH: For He Himself is our Peace.

Ephesians 2

11 Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (which is done in the body by human hands)— 12 remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, 16 and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. 17 He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit

Paul is sharing God’s plan for redeeming the fallen world through the church as we see in Ephesians 3:10.  Through Jesus’ incarnation, crucifixion and ascension, salvation is possible and personal for every person (Ephesians 2:4–7). Furthermore, Paul speaks of sharing more wisdom about reconciling two groups, Jews and Gentiles. He does that by revealing His wisdom that both groups can be seen as not enemies or in opposition but as those unified in faith (Ephesians  2:13–18). In that passage, we are told “For he himself is our peace”. Jesus brought peace with God and peace with man. Not only so, but He also brought unity between former enemies characterizes and symbolizes how He unifies man with Himself as well as with one another. Unity is wisdom.  That unity is to demonstrate to  the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms as well as those of us on earth God’s plan  (Eph. 3:9–10). The church is supposed to work together to reveal God’s power – that power that is at work within us to enable us to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine” (Eph. 3:20).

in Ephesians 2, we clearly see the TRUTH: For He Himself is our Peace.

17 He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. 19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.

Because Jesus came and preached peace, we have access to the Father. We are no longer separated from God through Christ Jesus. Consequently, 

  1. We are no longer foreigners to God.
  2. We are no longer strangers to God.
  3. We are citizens of God’s kingdom.
  4. We are apart of God’s people.
  5. We are members of God’s household – His family.
  6. We have Jesus to serve as our foundation of our lives.
  7. We become a part of His church, the holy temple in the Lord.
  8. We become a dwelling place of God by the Holy Spirit living in us.

Here is the TRUTH: For He Himself is our Peace. If we know Jesus as Lord and Savior, no matter our circumstance even in the death of a loved one, God can give us peace because God is our peace in Christ Jesus.

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TRUTH: The Purpose and Posture of Prayer

October 18, 2017

As I saw highlights of a NBA player’s injury of his ankle, one of the players interviewed stated that when something like that happens all we can do is pray. When the storms hit Houston, St. Thomas, St. Croix, Puerto Rico and other places, people called for prayer. Now that the wild fires allowed the storms to have their day, people are calling for prayers for those who have died in those fires and for those who have lost homes and possession by the fires in northern California.

Almost all of us know what it means to pray. Prayer is engaging God, who is Almighty, about whatever is our circumstance or condition. While the most of us may know what is prayer, do we all know the God to whom we should pray? Do we know the TRUTH: The Purpose and Posture of Prayer. Our expectation in prayer is that God will respond, but God has expectations too.

Briefly, let me address who God is. In Isaiah 45, God, says, “I am the Lord, and there is no other, apart from me there is no God” The word for Lord is Jehovah. The word used for God is ‘elohiym which means the Supreme GodIn fact, God says there is no other god. Now that we know who God declares Himself to be and whom I believe, lets look at the TRUTH: The Purpose and Posture of Prayer.

Remember, we have been in Ephesians 3. This is what the text says

I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of his power. Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people,this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ,and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. 10 His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, 11 according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. 12 In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. 13 I ask you, therefore, not to be discouraged because of my sufferings for you, which are your glory. 14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name.

In verse 14, we see the TRUTH: The Purpose and Posture of Prayer. Paul provides us with insight into why we should pray and how we should pray. He said, “For this reason…” What reason? In this case as in all, we should know God’s purpose. Paul was praying for the Ephesians role in God’s plan of using the church to make the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms. The point of our faith and salvation is for us to glorify God. Our sole existence is to glorify God. If what we are thinking, saying or doing does not bring glory to God, we are not living on purpose. We are not truly living I would submit. To live is to have life. Life is not merely breathing, walking, talking or functioning. Jesus distinguished that when He said, ” I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10) The abundant life means that we are in relationship with God knowing, experiencing and sharing Him in our daily lives. The purpose of our prayer should not be to get what we want or need, but that God would be glorified and known as a result of our requests. If we or others alone are the end of our requests, then we fall short of the purpose of prayer. 

Paul also provides insight into how we should pray or the posture of prayer. He said, “For this reason I kneel before the Father” In kneeling, Paul assumed a position and posture of humility, of dependence, of recognition of God as the authority to whom he must submit. Remember Philippians 2:10, it says, “that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,” Who is it that we have access to the Father? Jesus! “For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.” It has been submitted that this position kneeling is of utmost humility was in contrast to the more normal posture of prayer in that culture which was to pray standing with hands raised up. Guzik provided a list of kneelers in prayer. Let’s look at others who knelt in prayer.

Solomon prayed on his knees (1 Kings 8:54).
Ezra prayed on his knees (Ezra 9:5).
The Psalmist called us to kneel (Psalm 95:6).
Daniel prayed on his knees (Daniel 6:10).
People came to Jesus kneeling (Matthew 17:14Matthew 20:20, and Mark 1:40).
Stephen prayed on his knees (Acts 7:60).
Peter prayed on his knees (Acts 9:40).
Paul prayed on his knees (Acts 20:36), and
other early Christians prayed on their knees (Acts 21:5).
Most importantly, Jesus prayed on His knees (Luke 22:41).

I am not saying that the only acceptable posture of prayer is kneeling, but Paul strikes the importance of it as we are all called to be humble and reverential before the Father. The posture of kneeling before God, the King of Kings, is a signal to humble ourselves before God. Remember in James 4:6, God says “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Again, I am nor is the Lord being dogmatic about kneeling in prayer, but we are called to bow before our God to show our recognition that we are humble, reverent and subject to Him.

Now, we see the TRUTH: The Purpose and Posture of Prayer. Let’s practice it today.

 

 

TRUTH: How Not to be Discourage in Your Suffering II

October 13, 2017

This post will be short. If you want to read what I wrote yesterday, click the link below. In the first post TRUTH: How Not to be Discourage in Your Suffering, points of emphasis of how not to be discouraged were shared; however, one and the last statement in verse 13 puts an exclamation mark on it. To me, that phrase shares the WHY we should not be discouraged. It is more in line with the how of Jesus endured the cross scorning its shame that is mentioned in the first post.

Ephesians 3

I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of his power. Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people,this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ,and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. 10 His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, 11 according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. 12 In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. 13 I ask you, therefore, not to be discouraged because of my sufferings for you, which are your glory.

In writing the Ephesians, Paul said that my sufferings “are your glory”. Likewise, our sufferings are other people’s glory. The Greek word for glory is doxa (do’-ksä). According to the Strong’s Expository Dictionary, doxa primarily signifies an opinion, estimate, and hence, the honor resulting from a good opinion. It is used here in the New Testament always a good opinion concerning one, resulting in praise, honour, and glory. It was not only for their glory but all who read the scriptures. While imprisoned, Paul, through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, wrote the books (letters) of Ephesians, Colossians, Philippians, and Philemon. God multiplied the glory of Paul’s suffering to impact not only those whom he wrote at the time but with all who will hear and be impacted by those who heard and acted out of what he wrote. I would be an example of the latter.

This is the TRUTH: How Not to be Discourage in Your Suffering II. Your sufferings will be of great benefit for others if you respond as Jesus and the greats in the faith have – by trusting God in and through it to produce His perfect will in you. TRUST Him and walk through the trial like Jesus and Paul did.

TRUTH: How Not to be Discourage in Your Suffering

October 12, 2017

In Christendom, there are some who say followers of Christ are not supposed to experience hardships, trials or suffering. That is a down right lie. The Holy Scriptures, from beginning to end, are replete with examples of godly people who experienced hardships, trials or sufferings. From Joseph, Daniel, Jesus to Paul, we see them experience those. If we are to follow Christ, Jesus must serve as an example. Furthermore, His disciples, of which Paul was, also serve as an example for us. As such, let’s look at the TRUTH: How Not to be Discourage in Your Suffering.

Ephesians 3

I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of his power. Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people,this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ,and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. 10 His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, 11 according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. 12 In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. 13 I ask you, therefore, not to be discouraged because of my sufferings for you, which are your glory.

In verse one, Paul said, “For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles—” Paul realized that he was a servant (v.7). Paul was telling the Ephesians that he was a prisoner of Christ for the purpose of the gospel. Similarly, in Philippians 2, Paul said that ” if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ…In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus… he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.” In Matthew 11:29, Jesus said, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” No one will argue that Paul had a difficult life, but he certainly found rest for his soul. That is how any of us can find rest for our souls. That is the entire point of the TRUTH: How Not to be Discourage in Your Suffering.

Esther, Stephen, Paul and Jesus all saw their actions as needed for the good of those whom God had called them to experience hardships, trials or sufferings. I must admit that my failure to remember that I am to love my wife as Christ loved the church causes me to falter repeatedly in meeting God’s command to give myself up for her. TRUTHfully, there are times when I resent having to do stuff for her when I fail to see myself as a servant for the gospel and for my wife. HEADLINE: Marriage is not solely for us. God’s purpose in marriage is to symbolize Christ’s love for the church. Again, here we are back at being a servant. For the believer, there is no way around that our lives are supposed to be one of service for and to Jesus. Jesus suffered relationally, emotionally, physically and any other “lly” that we can think of as we begin to become selfish. Jesus relinquished what was rightfully His, his glory and being worshipped, for the gospel. In fact, He did not only give up what was His, He took on what was not His. 2 Corinthians 5:21 tells us “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” Again, this is the TRUTH: How Not to be Discourage in Your Suffering.

To the end, Jesus maintained that servant’s mentality which enabled Him to gladly suffer on our behalf. Again, it was not only Jesus, but there are others who modeled the way for us. Listen to what Hebrews 12:1-3 tells us.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross,scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

The passage makes others and especially Jesus the central focus of our thinking not ourselves. In fact, the text tells us to “throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles” For most of us, that is thinking about ourselves. We get entangled and thrown off the purpose of the gospel when we look at ourselves. Pride surfaces because we are not getting treated well or like it is about us. The servant or the prisoner of Christ reflects on the fact that our lives are not our own. Once more in Galatians 2:19-20, Paul models the way for us when he wrote “19 “For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” This is truly the way to the TRUTH: How Not to be Discourage in Your Suffering. At every turn in his service, Paul recognized that his service to Christ was not about him but about Jesus. This is how we defeat discouragement. 

TRUTH: Christ is our Access and Confidence to Approach the Father.

October 9, 2017

It is a long accepted belief that men could not just walk into the presence of kings without a dire consequence. We see one example of that in the book of Esther when she responds to the call the to speak to the king on behalf of her people. Esther said,  “All the king’s officials and the people of the royal provinces know that for any man or woman who approaches the king in the inner court without being summoned the king has but one law: that they be put to death unless the king extends the gold scepter to them and spares their lives. But thirty days have passed since I was called to go to the king.” Undoubtedly, there was a consequence of approaching the king without his consent. TRUTH: Christ is our Access and Confidence to Approach the Father.

Similarly, God had expectations for how man, the High Priest, was to approach the Father. In Old Testament times, the High Priest was the only one who could approach God on behalf of the Jews and that only on one day of the year. Leviticus shares some insight into this point. ” The Lord spoke to Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron who died when they approached the Lord. The Lord said to Moses: “Tell your brother Aaron that he is not to come whenever he chooses into the Most Holy Place behind the curtain in front of the atonement cover on the ark, or else he will die. For I will appear in the cloud over the atonement cover. “This is how Aaron is to enter the Most Holy Place: He must first bring a young bull for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering.’” The High Priest was allowed to enter the Holy of Holies once a year on the Day of Atonement to make an animal sacrifice for the sins of the Jewish nation. He had to do this year after year because the blood of bulls and goats cannot take away a person’s sins forever (Hebrews 10:2-4). But Jesus, who is our great High Priest, made it possible for our sins to be taken away forever when He died on the cross. Consequently, man’s sins can be forgiven when we believe in HimTRUTH: Christ is our Access and Confidence to Approach the Father

In part, this is what Paul shares in Ephesians 3.

Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s grace, which was given me by the working of his power.To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God, who created all things, 10 so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. 11 This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, 12 in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him. 13 So I ask you not to lose heart over what I am suffering for you, which is your glory.

The reality is the TRUTH: Christ is our Access and Confidence to Approach the Father. It is only through Jesus that we have access to God the Father. This is a point of emphasis that the scriptures repeat several times.

  • John 14:6 – Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
  • Romans 5:2 – through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.
  • Ephesians 2:18 – For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.
  • Ephesians 3:12 –  In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.
  • 1 Corinthians 12:13 – For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.
  • Ephesians 4:4 – There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called;

Not only is Christ our access, He is our confidence in approaching God the Father.

  • 2 Corinthians 3:4 – Such confidence we have through Christ before God.
  • Hebrews 3:14 – We have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original conviction firmly to the very end.
  • Hebrews 4:14-16 – 14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven,Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
  • Hebrews 10:19-22 – 19 Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.
  • Hebrews 10:35 –  So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.
  • 1 John 2:28 – And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming.
  • 1 John 3:21 – Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God
  • 1 John 4:17 – This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus.

Without Christ, none of us should expect that we can enter into the presence of God. We should not expect that God will respond to our prayers. “13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. 14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.” 1 John 5:13-15. That is is the TRUTH: Christ is our Access and Confidence to Approach the Father. 

TRUTH: More about the Manifold Wisdom of God

October 4, 2017

Ephesians 3:10 tells us that God reveals or shares His wisdom with the purpose that “His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms.” The fact of the matter is that wants us to know the TRUTH: Christ is the Manifold Wisdom of God. He will use His church to reveal that to rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms. Along the way, we get the benefit of knowing God. This is why it is vitally important that one believe in the one true God, so the right character is revealed and shown to man as well as those in the heavenly realms. Our purpose as followers of Jesus is much bigger than we realize. Our purpose in living for Christ is of earthly and heavenly significance. We cannot fully comprehend the wisdom bound in Christ, but an effort to reveal TRUTH: More about the Manifold Wisdom of God, I submit the following to you.

Again, manifold speaks to a great variety of kind. Wisdom or sophia refers to the broad and full of intelligence; used of the knowledge of very diverse matters. Of wisdom, Vine’s Expository Dictionary conveys the following:

That was TRUTH: More about the Manifold Wisdom of God so is this.

Paul is sharing God’s plan for redeeming the fallen world through the church as we see in Ephesians 3:10.  Through Jesus’ incarnation, crucifixion and ascension, salvation is possible and personal for every person (Ephesians 2:4–7). Furthermore, Paul speaks of sharing more wisdom about reconciling two groups, Jews and Gentiles. He does that by revealing His wisdom that both groups can be seen as not enemies or in opposition but as those unified in faith (Ephesians  2:13–18). In that passage, we are told “For he himself is our peace”. Jesus brought peace with God and peace with man. Not only so, but He also brought unity between former enemies characterizes and symbolizes how He unifies man with Himself as well as with one another. Unity is wisdom.  That unity is to demonstrate to  the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms as well as those of us on earth God’s plan  (Eph. 3:9–10). The church is supposed to work together to reveal God’s power – that power that is at work within us to enable us to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine” (Eph. 3:20).  TRUTH: More about the Manifold Wisdom of God than I can explain. 

 

TRUTH: Christ is the Manifold Wisdom of God

September 29, 2017

In life, there are some things that you just have to get right in order for life not to be too problematic or to take a dramatic wrong turn. Who you believe God to be is one of those matters. In fact, I submit that one’s belief or lack thereof in who God is (His character) is the most important decision one will ever make. First, one has to decide if he believes that God exists. Next, one has to discern, out of all the claims of who is God, which God he believes. For me, I trust what the scriptures of the Holy Bible says. Furthermore, I trust in what Jesus, God incarnate, says in John 17 – ““Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you.For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. ” In the context of the scriptures, Jesus is referring to Jehovah, God the Father, the first person in the trinity. Now, that is the TRUTH: Christ is the Manifold Wisdom of God.

In John 14, Jesus says, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” In effect, Jesus is saying that I am the only way to God of which I AM. Since we know the TRUTH: Christ is the Manifold Wisdom of God, let us see more evidence of that in the scriptures from the Apostle Paul.

Ephesians 3

For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles—

Surely you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that was given to me for you, that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly. In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to people in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets. This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.

I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of his power. Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people,this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ,and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. 10 His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, 11 according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Paul, who had been convinced by Jesus Himself that Jesus was not only the Son of God, but also God, says that Christ Is and Reveals the Mystery because the He is the TRUTH: Christ is the Manifold Wisdom of God. 

Manifold is an old English word that in the Greek is polypoikilos which means much variegated, i.e. multifarious, i.e. of many kinds; numerous and varied. Polupoikilos has the ideas of intricacy, complexity, and great beauty often seen in fabrics and paintings. Wisdom in the Greek is the word sophia which means 

Regarding wisdom, Guzik wrote “One purpose in His (God’s) great plan of the ages is to reveal this wisdom. Understanding the character of God, we can say that this is not for a selfish or self-glorying motive, in the way we think of the proud man showing his brains and accomplishments to everyone. God does this for the glory of His creatures, because the glory of the creature is directly connected to the glory of the Creator

Smith wrote “You remember Peter writing of these things said, “Which things the angels even desire to look into.” (I Peter 1:12). You see, angels are not omniscient as is God. They do not know the full purposes or the plan of God. I am sure that they have interesting sessions and discussions as they see the purposes of God being unfolded. Now, the angels did have a better grasp of prophecy than did man. When God would reveal the things through the prophets, they did have a grasp of these things. But not a full understanding. It took the working out of the plan for them to come into a full understanding.

Peter in writing of these things said, “We have the more sure word of prophecy” (II Peter 1:19). “He showed Himself alive by many infallible proofs” (Acts 1:3), but we have the more sure word of prophecy and so forth, which things the angels desired to look into. Paul said, “That the principalities and powers, which are the angels, that they might know by what is happening in the church, the manifold wisdom of God.”

I would imagine that it is a very shocking and awesome thing to the angels that God decided to come and indwell man. That God would actually come and dwell within man. This is that glorious mystery that God actually will indwell you by His Spirit through Jesus Christ.”

The text tells us that God reveals or shares this wisdom with the intent that “the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms” The fact of the matter is that wants us to know the TRUTH: Christ is the Manifold Wisdom of God. He will use His church to reveal that to rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms. Along the way, we get the benefit of knowing God. This is why it is vitally important that one believe in the one true God, so the right character is revealed and shown to man as well as those in the heavenly realms. Our purpose as followers of Jesus is much bigger than we realize. Our purpose in living for Christ is of earthly and heavenly significance. We cannot fully comprehend the wisdom bound in Christ, but an effort to reveal some things will be made on my next post to share more about Christ is the Manifold Wisdom of God. 

TRUTH: Christ Is and Reveals the Mystery

September 25, 2017

Mystery is commonly understood to be anything that is kept secret or remains unexplained or unknown. As a child, my notion of a mystery was shaped by my mother’s love of a genre of books called Murder Mystery. Similarly, her interest in shows she watched were of that ilk. She watched Agatha Christie, Columbo, Cannon, Barnaby Jones, Kojak, Quincy ME, Hart to Hart, and Murder, She Wrote. Since we only had one television for a good portion of my childhood, my brother and I were stuck watching what my mom wanted to watch. The joy for her was trying to solve the mystery murder as the show presented various clues. TRUTH: Christ Is and Reveals the Mystery.

Likewise, the Apostle Paul expressed a joy of the mystery of all being revealed to him and the Gentiles. What was kept a secret or was unknown or unexplained to him and the Gentiles? Let’s look at Ephesians 3 to see. TRUTH: Christ Is and Reveals the Mystery.

For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles— Surely you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that was given to me for you, that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly. In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to people in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets. This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus. I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of his power. Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people,this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ,and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. 10 His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, 11 according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. 12 In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. 13 I ask you, therefore, not to be discouraged because of my sufferings for you, which are your glory.

In those verses, mystery was written four times. In the Greek, mystery is derived from the word mystērion (mü-stā’-rē-on) which means

  1. a hidden or secret thing, not obvious to the understanding

  2. a hidden purpose or counsel

    1. secret will

      1. of men

      2. of God: the secret counsels which govern God in dealing with the righteous, which are hidden from ungodly and wicked men but plain to the godly

John Stott stated that “Although still a ‘secret’, it is no longer closely guarded but open… More simply, mysterion is a truth hitherto hidden from human knowledge or understanding but now disclosed by the revelation of God.””

The Apostle Paul said the mystery was not initially known to him at first. It was not made known to him nor to those in previous generations. However, the mystery has been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets of which he was. Specifically, Paul says, “ This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus…His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, 11 according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. 12 In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. ” TRUTH: Christ Is and Reveals the Mystery.

The Word says in him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. As he said in Ephesians 2, Paul wants them to “12 remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” The mystery of how God would reconcile man to himself after man sinned is what is being presented. Furthermore, it describes how Jews and Gentiles may have a relationship with God – the text plainly says, “ In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.” Why? Verse 10 tells us that “His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms,” God wanted the mystery to be revealed. TRUTH: Christ Is and Reveals the Mystery.

If you don’t know Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, you cannot approach God with freedom and confidence. You don’t have a relationship with God through the means He provided which is Jesus. Consequently, you are still far away. You do know God. More importantly, you are not known by God as one who belongs to Him. That puts you at odds with God. Furthermore, your cannot participate in God’s work of making known his wisdom to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms. I want to be involved in work beyond this world. By knowing Jesus as Savior and Lord while sharing that knowledge with others, I become one who participates in God’s work of making known his wisdom to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms. TRUTH: Christ Is and Reveals the Mystery.

 

TRUTH: The Reason for Grace Given II

September 18, 2017

In the post TRUTH: The Reason for Grace Given, the premise presented was that God gave grace to Paul for the sake of the Gentiles. God purposed to use Paul to bring the Gospel to the Gentiles. In TRUTH: The Reason for Grace Given II, the purpose is for the Gentiles to see that too can be given grace just like Paul.

TRUTH: The Reason for Grace Given II. Despite the liability, we all compare ourselves to one another. In the right way, this can be helpful. When someone has overcome a struggle, hardship or tragedy, they serve as an example for someone else facing the same or similar situations. I believe this is what God intended for Paul when he wrote this:

Ephesians 3

For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles— Surely you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that was given to me for you, that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly. In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to people in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets. This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.

I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of his power. Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people,this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ,and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. 10 His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, 11 according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. 12 In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. 13 I ask you, therefore, not to be discouraged because of my sufferings for you, which are your glory.

I will not be able to scratch the surface of the depth of this because I do not know everything, but that which I do know is truly too deep for this one reading; however, I want to point out the focus of grace – unmerited favor. Grace in other words is God not giving us what we deserve (mercy) and giving us something we do not deserve. Let’s take Paul as the example as he presents it.

Paul, whose birth name was Saul, was a part of the group who looked on when Stephen was stoned to death. He looked on in approval as we see in Acts 8:1. Furthermore, the text tells us “On that day a great persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria. Godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him. But Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off both men and women and put them in prison.” Then in Acts 9, we see this report about Saul “ Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”  “Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked. “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”

In those brief excerpts from scripture, we see that Saul was an onlooker and a perpetrator of mistreating, imprisoning and killing Jews who followed Jesus. In Philippians 3, Paul said of himself “If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless.” He was giving more reasons as to his belief that he was doing the right thing according to Jewish beliefs to persecute those who followed Jesus. This is the reason for TRUTH: The Reason for Grace Given II.

Saul, who became Paul at God’s command, represents the depth of God’s forgiveness and the power to change their lives. Paul went from a persecutor of the church to a pillar of the church. He wrote a minimum of 8 books in the New Testament. There is debate that he wrote 13. The point is that God changed his life and used him in a mighty way as a means to represent the TRUTH: The Reason for Grace Given II.

if I can forgive, save and use Paul, God’s intent is for us to see that He can do the same for us. Do you think what you have done is unforgivable? Not true. Do you think that you are unworthy of God’s grace? True. God has decided that neither of those matter. You do. God wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:4). If you want to be saved from the consequence of your rebellion/sin, trust Jesus as Lord and Savior and you will be. That is the reason for TRUTH: The Reason for Grace Given II.

 

TRUTH: The Reason for Grace Given

September 14, 2017

According to Dictionary.com, Survivor’s Guilt is the feeling of guilt for having survived a catastrophe in which others died. It was first noticed among survivors of the Holocaust. Survivors often feel they did not do enough to save those who died or that they are unworthy relative to the perished. “Although survivor guilt can have a lasting and significant impact on mental and emotional well-being if unaddressed, it may also serve an adaptive function. Those who survive may transform their feelings of guilt into a sense of increased meaning and purpose. They may also use survivor guilt as a way to cope with the feelings of helplessness and powerlessness that can occur in traumatic situations.” People often wonder why they have been given this chance, blessing or experienced grace in those types of circumstances. Well, I want to generally share the TRUTH: The Reason for Grace Given.

As we continue in Ephesians 3, we see the forerunner to the Jews of the Holocaust. The Apostle Paul communicated the TRUTH: The Reason for Grace Given.

For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles— Surely you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that was given to me for you, that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly. In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to people in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets. This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.

I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of his power. Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people,this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ,and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. 10 His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, 11 according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. 12 In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. 13 I ask you, therefore, not to be discouraged because of my sufferings for you, which are your glory.

I don’t want to over simplify this matter, but Paul states it simply. He gives the reason for the TRUTH: The Reason for Grace Given. Paul says that it was for the sake of the Gentiles. He goes deeper in the verses following verse 1, but his message to the Gentiles, of which you and I are, is that we receive God’s grace, namely and specifically salvation, for the purpose of passing that on to others. We were saved, so God could use us to save others. Our entire purpose for being included in the family of God, for His Spirit for dwelling in us is to promulgate the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

I have to cut it short today, because I am running out of time; however, this is all we need to know. We are blessed to be a blessing. Not because we are worthy or did anything that was noteworthy. We have received this ministry of reconciliation in order to be used by God to reconcile people to Himself. Now, that is the TRUTH: The Reason for Grace Given.