TRUTH: We Are His Workmanship

August 25, 2017

The Jerusalem Bible translates workmanship as “work of art.” Poets seek to express themselves in beautiful terms. Similarly, I believe, God is seeking to express Himself through our lives. Consequently, our lives become God’s works of art for the world to see and marvel. Romans 8:29 says, “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.” God’s intention and plan for those who follow Christ is for them to be conformed (to act in accordance, to be similar) to the image of Jesus Christ. As we are conformed or look like Christ, we become that work of art or poem that God speaks or reveals Himself to those around us. TRUTH: We Are His Workmanship.

Ephesians 2:10 (NASB)

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them

Workmanship in the Greek is poiēma (poi’-ā-mä) that which has been made; a work i.e. of the works of God as creator. The workman is seen as highly skilled and as a genius in his craft or work. Dictionary.com defines it as the art or skill of a workman;  the quality or mode of execution, as of a thing made. Poiēma (poi’-ā-mä) the Greek word from which we get the English word for poem. As His creation, we are His work. We are God’s poem – one of beauty and grace. God desires for our lives to be a thing of beauty and a thing of grace for His glory alone. When we live a life of obedience allowing God to work in us, our lives become His poem through which He manifests beauty, grace, glory and whatever else He wills. TRUTH: We Are His Workmanship.

To reiterate, God’s intention and plan for those who follow Christ is for them to be conformed to the image or likeness of Jesus Christ. As we are conformed to Christ, we become that work of art or poem that God speaks or reveals Himself to those around us. God says He accomplishes that by us fulfilling the good works prepared in advanced in Christ Jesus. God has a specific plan for all of us. There are tasks and actions that God will use us to do to reveal, manifest His beauty, grace and glory to lead other men and women to see. From Abraham, David, Joseph, Gideon, Elisha, John, Peter and Paul, God has a plan for our lives. The plan involves showing Himself to the world through the works He has prepared for us before we were even born. These works are not for us to win His approval or for our salvation but for Him to be seen in His glory through His work in our lives. TRUTH: We Are His Workmanship.

TRUTH: We Are His Workmanship if we know Jesus as Savior and LordIf you do not know Jesus as Savior and Lord, you are an object of wrath not workmanship. What do you want to be? Do you want to be how God reveals Himself in beauty, grace, glory and whatever else He wills? Surrender your life to follow Jesus – to be conformed to the likeness of Christ; then, you will experience the TRUTH: We Are His Workmanship.

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TRUTH: Salvation is the Gift of God

August 24, 2017

I don’t know anyone who does not love or at least likes gifts. Gifts are typically given by someone who cares for and knows us.  For example, those who live in my house especially my wife have an intricate knowledge of what I like, need and want most. That being the case, our excitement, most often, grows exponentially with the depth of love and knowledge the individual has for us. Consequently, we need to know the TRUTH: Salvation is the Gift of God.

According to the Greek, the word used for gift in this text is dōron (dō’-ron  )  Normally, we will need an explanation of a Greek word, but not with gift. As dictionary.com provides, we all know that a gift a thing given willingly to someone without payment; a present. In the case of salvation, it is not a thing; it is a person – the person of Jesus Christ. Acts 4:12 tells us that salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”

Let’s revisit our text today to see what it says – Ephesians 2:8 (NIV)

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.

This isn’t the first time that we are told that salvation is “the” gift. In John 4:10 as He was speaking to the Samaritan woman He asked to draw Him water, Jesus said, ““If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”” Jesus was pointing to salvation and Himself since He is the greatest gift of God – God Himself gave Himself, in Christ Jesus, to save our souls from the wrath of God. TRUTH: Salvation is the Gift of God.

We cannot get lost in this verse. There is truly a great deal of truth in it. Scholars have argued whether “it” referred to faith of salvation in the verse. I am of the mind that it is salvation as we had no involvement or responsibility in God providing Christ as the means to redeem the souls of man. In faith, God holds us accountable in whether we believe, so while faith is a gift of God, it is not the gift of God. TRUTH: Salvation is the Gift of God.

In regards to gifts, let me reiterate that our excitement, most often, grows exponentially with the depth of love and knowledge the individual has for us. God, who designed, created and brought us to life, knows us more intricately than anyone ever will. Psalms 139 says,

You have searched me, Lord,
    and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
    you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
    you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
    you, Lord, know it completely.
13 For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.

Undoubtedly, before time and creation, God knew us. Since that is the case, why don’t we get so excited over “the” gift of salvation He offers? Perhaps, it is because we don’t believe correctly about God. Truly, we don’t know the value of that gift because we don’t truly know God. God is omniscient. He knows all every where at the same time. God has many gifts such as the Gifts of the Spirit found in Galatians 5, but there is the TRUTH: Salvation is the Gift of God.

TRUTH: It is by Grace You have been Saved

August 22, 2017

Yesterday, there was an eclipse. As I watched the excitement of students at school and people on a new broadcast, I was amazed at people’s excitement about a natural phenomenon. I understand that it could be awe inspiring. Some how, God, the Creator of it all, continues to get lost in the translation. I did not hear anyone attribute it to God. One person stated that this was the first time that he felt connected to the universe. God desires to be connected to us all, but He came to that which as his own, but his own did not receive him. (John 1:11)

Jesus, the Son, the true light that cannot be overshadowed, came into the world not to condemn the world but that the world might be saved through Him. Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection is the biggest phenomenon for man. For in that, salvation is brought to man.

Ephesians 2

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been savedFor it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.

How does one obtain salvation? The Apostle Paul is clear in his writing to the Ephesians. He tells them and us the TRUTH: It is by Grace You have been Saved. What does that really mean though? By looking at the structure of the sentence, it says that salvation is obtained through grace. What is grace?

The Greek word for grace is “charis” (khä’-rēs).  It is used in a variety of ways in the Word of God. Theologically, it is representative of the merciful kindness by which God, exerting his holy influence upon souls, turns them to Christ, keeps, strengthens, increases them in Christian faith, knowledge, affection, and kindles them to the exercise of the Christian virtues. Grace, in simplest terms, has been defined as unmerited favor. This means that we did not deserve salvation. In fact, we deserve the opposite according to Romans 6:23 which says “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Remember, TRUTH: Alive when Dead, grace says that God made it possible by His divine choice to awaken our soul, our mind, our heart to His call for us to follow Him.

Our responsibility in the transaction is to believe, but even our faith is a gift from God. This is why Paul says “no one can boast.” The TRUTH: It is by Grace You have been Saved

Early on in my Christian life, I thought I chose God. I said a friend shared with me about Jesus, and I chose to surrender my life to Christ as Lord and Savior. I was wrong. John 15:16 says, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.” It was by God’s grace and the faith that He gave me to believe that Jesus is the Son of God  who died on the cross and was raised to be seated at the right hand of God the Father. Romans 10:9-10 says, “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” In His resurrection and ascension, Jesus demonstrates that He has the authority to forgive sins and to give eternal life just as He said. I believed the TRUTH: It is by Grace You have been Saved.

Have you truly believed? Have you surrendered the control of your life to Christ?

TRUTH: Alive when Dead

August 21, 2017

There are many seemingly contradictory realities in our literature or in our lives. For example George Orwell wrote 1984, a political novel, as a means to address his concern how governments manipulate and control its citizenry. Orwell was truly concerned with how technology could be used to monitor and control the public. 1984 was intended to be a stern warning to Western readers of what could occur in as little as 35 years if they didn’t act immediately to prevent totalitarianism from taking hold in their own countries.

In 1984, doublethink surfaced as a theme of how governments achieved their deceptive aims. Doublethink is the ability to hold two contradictory opinions at the same time about the same question, remaining untroubled by the contradiction and expressing one opinion or the other as the convenience of the Party requires it. There are a myriad of examples that illustrate doublethink in 1984, but it has been submitted that perhaps the most obvious example of doublethink in 1984 can be found in the names of the Party’s four ministries. They include the Ministry of Plenty that oversees shortages of resources, the Ministry of Peace that declares and conducts war, the Ministry of Love that doles out cruel harsh punishments and torture, and the Ministry of Truth that spreads propaganda and revises historical facts.

I am sure that we can recall many contradictory examples in our daily lives too, but I do not want us to presuppose those same sentiments as we read scripture. I will admit that there are what appear to be a few contradictory statements in scripture, but they are not. God is omniscient. God is truthful. God does not lie, change His mind or break His promises. Consequently, we should not think God is contradicting Himself as we read the Word as doublethink is not the rule in the Word of God.

Despite that, we need to give pause and investigate deeply those theological principles that initially give rise to doublethink. TRUTH: Alive when Dead is one of those principles. In Ephesians 2, I did a double take at what was seemingly doublethink as I read the TRUTH: Alive when Dead.

Ephesians 2:3b-10

Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

How can someone be Alive when Dead? Perhaps, one passage that illustrates that truth is Romans 5:6-10

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! 10 For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!

The entire point of the passage in Ephesians 2 revolves around God’s love. It was because of God’s love that His mercy was granted to us. It was God’s love for Adam and all his descendants that caused God to put a plan of redemption in place. While the sacrificial system in the Old Testament pointed to Christ’s sacrifice, make no mistake, it is Jesus who most exemplifies the love of God. God loved us long before we loved Him. John said, “We love because he first loved us.” I John 4:19-21 When God made the commitment to re-establish relationship with man, all those who would be adopted as sons and daughters were made alive at that very moment though many had not even been born.

Again, the point of how can one be Alive when Dead is rooted in Christ. Jesus is God’s only  instrument to bring about salvation. Without Christ, no one will be saved from the wrath of God related to our rebellion (trespasses) and failures (sin). It is clear that we are spiritually dead without God regenerating us or giving us life through Jesus Christ, but the TRUTH: Alive when Dead solely refers to the time that God decided to provide Christ as a means for man to be reunited with God, so you see God is far from demonstrating doublethink. On the contrary, He is straight forward in His ways. The question is do you know if you are Alive or Dead. To be certain that you make the right determination, read TRUTH: How to Assess Your Spiritual Vitality

TRUTH: Are You Living Among Them or Above Them?

August 17, 2017

TRUTH: Are You Living Among Them or Above Them? Wow! What a powerful, poignant and pointed question especially in relation to all the protesting and political events that have transpired over the past week in these United States of America.

United or Untied? The difference is where you place the “i”. Seemingly, we are becoming untied in our country; however, that is not far from the TRUTH: Are You Living Among Them or Above Them? 

Ephesians 2

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

The Apostle Paul wrote a letter to the believers living in Ephesus. He wanted to provide some direction for their new lives as a result of trusting in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Consequently, he had to address some behaviors that were not reflective of the life of one following Christ as Lord and Savior. Similarly, there are some seminal moments for us to consider as we ponder the TRUTH: Are You Living Among Them or Above Them? 

Paul was told them that “All of us also lived among them at one time…” Who is them? Them are the people who have failed to surrender their lives to pursuing Christ and a life of holiness and godliness. They were committed to “…gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath

With all that is going on in these United States of America, the question of united and untied can be answered in where you place the “i” in terms of trusting “i”n self or “i”n Christ. It determines answer to the TRUTH: Are You Living Among Them or Above Them? As Paul proposes, we can look at our behavior to determine whether we are Living Among Them or Above Them. 

Clearly from the text, we are Living Among Them if we are following the ways of the world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, satan. If our behaviors are rooted in gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts, we are living among them. We are doing what they do rather than what Christ would have us to do in imitation of His character. The “i” is pursuing self rather than Christ. Conversely, we are Living Above Them if our behaviors are rooted in Christ as evidenced by the Fruits of the Spiritlove, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. 

Are the conversations that you are having about the protests in Charlottesville, VA reflective of those who are Living Among Them or Above Them? As you are sitting, eating, or riding with family and friends, what dominates your conversation? Are you with those who are following the ways of the world and of the rule of the kingdom of the air or are you with Jesus in how He would respond? The question is for self-assessment. For those professing Jesus as Lord and Savior, there is no room for deviating from the script i.e. the Holy Scriptures. Love one another as I have loved you which is forgiving and bearing the sins of the other, which is making you family even though you don’t truly or really belong to the family.

The world is watching us. More importantly, the Triune God is watching to see if you who profess to follow Jesus will demonstrate character that makes answer to the TRUTH: Are You Living Among Them or Above Them easily discerned.

Remember:

Matthew 15:18 says, “But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them.

John 5:28-30 says, “28 “Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice 29 and come out—those who have done what is good will rise to live, and those who have done what is evil will rise to be condemned. 30 By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.

Lastly, 2 Corinthians 6:16-18 says,
16 What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said:

“I will live with them
    and walk among them,
and I will be their God,
    and they will be my people.”

17 Therefore, Come out from them
    and be separate, says the Lord.
Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.

18 And, “I will be a Father to you,
    and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”

Come out from living Among Them and come to living Above Them.

TRUTH: How to Assess Your Spiritual Vitality

August 14, 2017

On a regular and daily basis, emergency or 911 calls are made for people who sustain some type of physical injury requiring help beyond basic first aid. Most of us can look at a person and determine whether someone needs physical assistance because his/her life is in danger. I wonder though how many of us can assess whether some one is in need of dire spiritual assistance because their spiritual life is in danger. I want to help us know the TRUTH: How to Assess Your Spiritual Vitality.

In the post TRUTH: You were Dead in your Trespasses and Sins, the beginning of how to make that assessment was outlined. Let’s pick back up in the text.

Ephesians 2

And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.

The text tells us that if you do not know Jesus as Lord and Savior, the TRUTH: You ARE Dead in your Trespasses and SinsYou are still under the control of satan and are separated from God. You are spiritually dead. It is clear from the text that the person has surpassed a 911 call for spiritual assistance. The person is already DOA. Let’s look examine the text to see the TRUTH: How to Assess Your Spiritual Vitality.

  1. One is separated from God in his/her trespasses and sins (Isaiah 59:2)
  2. One is deserves death because of his/her sins (Romans 6:23a)
  3. One is dead in his/her trespasses and sin. (Ephesians 2:1)
  4. One is dead spiritually if he/she walks according to the course of this world or follows the ways of the world which are according to the prince of the power of the air i.e. satan. (Ephesians 2:2)
  5. One is dead spiritually by being disobedient to God as he/she follows the the spirit (satan) of disobedience rather than the Holy Spirit who leads us to obedience (Ephesians 2:2)
  6. One is dead spiritually whose life consists primarily of living in the lust of his/her flesh (Ephesians 2:3) Galatians 5:19-21 tells us that “19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery;20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like.” Furthermore, we know that “For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world.” 1 John 2:16
  7. One who is dead is NOT a child of God but a child of wrath. Simply, John 3:36 says, “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.” Children of wrath are those who reject Jesus as the Son of God and the Savior of man from the consequences of sin particularly the eternal consequences of sin.

Now, you have a clear, specific and biblically-based means to the TRUTH: How to Assess Your Spiritual Vitality. You know whether you have surrendered your life to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. You know whether you follow your passions, desires or lusts rather than following God. By virtue of our nature, we have been placed in a round of spiritual hot potato. The wrath of God, the hot potato, will remain on you if you reject Jesus as the Son of God and Savior from sin. Furthermore, you remain a “child of wrath” without Christ’s sacrificial death serving as your payment for your sins. Assess your life truthfully not based off what you think or feel. If you need to make a spiritual 911 call, cry out to Jesus to ask for and receive the forgiveness of your sins (Romans 10:9-10). 

TRUTH: You were Dead in your Trespasses and Sins

August 11, 2017

TRUTH: You were Dead in your Trespasses and Sins. There are a number of universal concepts that really do not need explaining. The concept of being dead is real and understood by almost all mankind save those too young. Despite the universality of the meaning of death, I will spend a great deal of time on defining what is meant by the term dead. According to dictionary.com, dead is no longer living; deprived of life: According to the Greek, the word used for dead in Ephesians 2:1 is nekros which in a proper sense means to:

  1. one that has breathed his last, lifeless

  2. deceased, departed, one whose soul is in heaven or hell

  3. destitute of life, without life, inanimate

while metaphorically it means to:

 

  • spiritually dead

    1. destitute of a life that recognizes and is devoted to God, because given up to trespasses and sins

    2. inactive as respects doing right

  • destitute of force or power, inactive, inoperative

Ephesians 2:1-2 (NASB)

And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.

The Apostle Paul is the middle of thought in this verse. Having just explained the power and authority of Christ, Paul is telling the Ephesians of their condition prior to their belief in Christ as the Son of God and their Lord and Savior.

He says “you were dead in your trespasses (transgressions) and sins. Trespasses (paraptōmameaning “a false step, a blunder” (akin to parapipto, “to fall away,” Hebrews 6:6), lit., “a fall beside,” used ethically, denotes “a trespass,” a deviation, from uprightness and truth.

  1. to fall beside or near something

  2. a lapse or deviation from truth and uprightness

    1. a sin, misdeed

Isaiah 59:2 captures one’s spiritual death before belief in Christ Jesus. The verse says, “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.” To be separated from God is to be dead spiritually. When God has hidden His face from you and does not hear your prayers or cry, that is truly being separated and certainly dead. TRUTH: You were Dead in your Trespasses and Sins

Thank God that the TRUTH: You were Dead in your Trespasses and Sins is a past tense statement. It is because of one’s trust and faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God and the Lord and Savior that one can escape being dead in his/her trespasses and sins. Furthermore, one escapes being under the control of the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. With faith in Christ, people move from being sons of disobedience to become sons of light. 

If you do not know Jesus as Lord and Savior, the TRUTH: You ARE Dead in your Trespasses and Sins. You are still under the control of satan and are separated from God. You are spiritually dead. If you die physically, you will be separated from God for eternity. That is what the bible calls spending eternity in Hell. On the other hand, for those who have surrendered their lives to Jesus as Savior and Lord, you will spend eternity united and relating to God because through Christ’s sacrifice and your faith in Him, you have overcome that separation. God’s face is no longer hidden from hearing your prayers or pleas for help. TRUTH: You were Dead in your Trespasses and Sins is a true blessing and one of those that Paul mentions in Ephesians 1:3 where he says, God “has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.”

 

TRUTH: Jesus’ Power & Authority: ALL Things Under His Feet

August 4, 2017

Just look around at the various social structures, we live in a time where people crave power and cast aside authority. The bible is clear about both power and authority, but people do not desire to follow, so submitting to authority is jettisoned. Psalm 110:1 says, “The Lord says to my lord: “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feel.”  Now, let’s look at Daniel 7:13-14 – “13 “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. 14 He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.” In the Old Testament, it is only God who comes on the clouds (Ps. 104:3Is. 19:1). As such, the “Son of Man” originates in heaven and comes by divine initiative. The “son of man” is Christ, the Messiah. Jesus referred this passage to Himself, and doing so caused the religious leaders of His day to accuse Him of blasphemy (Matt. 26:6465Mark 14:62–64). Jesus is given God’s sovereignty (power and authority) and exercises the rule symbolized by the stone that fell in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream seen in chapter 2 of Daniel. Jesus refers to Himself as the Son of Man many times in the New Testament. Furthermore in Matthew 28:18, Jesus came to the disciples and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. TRUTH: Jesus’ Power & Authority: ALL Things Under His Feet

All this brings us back to Ephesians 1 where Paul was teaching them the TRUTH: Jesus’ Power & Authority: ALL Things Under His Feet.  Before we go any further, we need to be clear on what we mean by Power and Authority. Power is the ability to do or act in order to influence or outright accomplish a desired end. Authority is the right to exercise power to control, command, or determine. Again, the emphasis today in not us but Christ. This is about who Jesus is not us, or at least I should say it is about who Jesus is and the benefit that we reap for one being a child of God. 

Ephesians 1 (NIV)

18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church,23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.

No matter the creation, all of them are in subjection to Jesus Christ for the church, His body. Consequently, all creation must yield to Christ’s Power & Authority in the here and now, or they will experience the consequence of their disobedience which ultimately results in their condemnation and damnation. Jesus loves His body or church. In fact, they are the sole reason for His incarnation. Luke 19:10 says, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Earlier in Ephesians, Paul said, God chose believers in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. 

What does this mean? It means the Jesus came for those who were destined to be children of God. If you are a child of God, you will experience the TRUTH: Jesus’ Power & Authority: ALL Things Under His Feet. It means that throughout your life you can expect the triune God to act on your behalf to bring about His will in your life. WHAT IS GOD”S WILL FOR THE FOLLOWER OF CHRIST? Romans 8:29 says, “29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters”. Simply, you can count on Jesus to exercise His Power & Authority on behalf of you to accomplish God’s purpose for your life.

God gave Jesus to be head, ruler, Sovereign Lord over all things. We don’t determine but God does. When life is battering you, remember that Jesus is the Sovereign Lord who exercises Power & Authority on behalf of you to accomplish God’s purpose for your life. We must trust that He knows what is best and does what is best even when the circumstances are truly contrary to that TRUTH. Why? We live/walk by faith and not by sight.

For me today, I want to focus on the TRUTH: Jesus’ Power & Authority: ALL Things Under His Feet

 

 

TRUTH: Know God II

August 2, 2017

When an author really wants people to know something, they use more colorful and descriptive language that paints a more defined picture of the desired reality that the author wants the reader to have. Because this is a function of language and how the human brain works, we see literary elements used in a variety of writings. This is true of the Word of God too. Today, we look at the Apostle Paul uses of allusion, imagery, paired, adjectives, personification and foreshadowing. What was Paul’s purpose? He wanted the Ephesians, and God us, to see the TRUTH: Know God II.

The Apostle Paul was praying that for those believers in Ephesus. We see that in Ephesians 1.

15 For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, 16 I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. 17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms,

In verses 15-17, Paul is saying that we must grow in our knowledge by having wisdom that is knowing what is right and doing what is right. Paul also attributes that knowing to the Spirit. He prays that the Spirit may reveal or give a revelation of who God is.

Now in verses 18-20, Paul is telling the TRUTH: Know God II. This is the second dimension of knowing God. First, Paul asks God to give the Ephesians the Holy Spirit, so He could give them wisdom and revelation to Know God better. Like an onion, we must peel the layers back to Know God II. Paul is expressing to them that there is a spiritual dimension through which they must see life. Like Neo in the Matrix, we must see beyond the natural confines of our mind. We must operation in the spiritual. We do so by seeing which is why Paul prays for the Ephesians.

Let’s peer into what Paul prays for the Ephesians to grow in their knowledge of God.

  1. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you.
  2. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in or that you may know the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people.
  3. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in or that you may know his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms. 

In regards to hope, Paul uses a metaphor to ask God. He prays that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened. In this case along with others, metaphors are used to denote mental vision. To be enlightened means that more light is given to perceive. It is akin to when I woke up this morning. I had to use my cell phone to give me more light to find my way. Greater light is equated to greater understanding/knowledge. Regardless, the focus or the thing Paul wants them to Know God II is hope to which the believer has been called. Hope (  ) is defined as the expectation of good, hope; in the Christian sense it is the joyful and confident expectation of eternal salvation. Furthermore, it is the hope of God’s presence, promises and power in your life in the here and now. It is that hope in God’s presence, promises and power that would aid us in our hardships, sufferings or trials. Whether hope in the here and now or for salvation at the coming of Christ, Paul wants the Ephesians and us to grow in our knowledge of the hope to which we were called. If you were called to it, you have not only have an expectation of God but a right to it extended by God. This notion has a capstone in found in Romans 8:28-29 which says, “28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.”

What does Paul mean when he prays “that you may know the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people.” The calling refers to salvation and its benefits. One is the glorious inheritance. Riches refer to the abundance of something. Here it not just an inheritance; it is a glorious inheritance. That adjective assigns godly attributes to the inheritance believers receive. It is a direct link to what Paul says in verse 8 of the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. It is God’s grace that makes the inheritance of salvation available. Paul uses the notion of inheritance to capture the mind of the Ephesians. An inheritance is left for the benefit of an offspring, child or descendant. Paul wants them to know that they have a glorious inheritance in them first starting with being in the family of God proved by the indwelling Holy Spirit, then for them to remember that they have access to every spiritual blessing as stated in verse three of Ephesians 1. To reiterate, the presence, promise and power of God in the here and now is perhaps it. I tend to think though it is the Spirit Himself as Paul says “inheritance in his holy people.” Remember verse 14, the Holy Spirit is “is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.” TRUTH: Know God II

I don’t even feel right trying to address all of these blessings especially his incomparably great power for us who believe. Nevertheless, I will say this. Paul says God’s power is incomparable; yet, he draws a comparison to give us greater sight or understanding of the power that is available to us as God works His plan in our lives. The comparison is that it is the same power that raised Jesus from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms. I don’t even know what that means, BUT I know it is big because Jesus went from being a curse, accepting the penalty of our sin on the cross, to being in the place of honor and power – seated at the right hand of God. Again, there is too much. It is a power that we have seen but is incomparable. We see it but don’t understand it which is Paul’s point of the prayer – that they would understand the power available to them. TRUTH: Know God II.  Ponder those things. 

Paul’s pray for them to Know God reminds me of a song by Trip Lee title Know Me.

TRUTH: Know God

August 1, 2017

Guzik wrote ” A famous writer named Alexander Pope wrote, “Know then thyself, presume not God to scan; the proper study of mankind is man.” Charles Spurgeon responded to this famous statement: “It has been said by someone that ‘the proper study of mankind is man.’ I will not oppose the idea, but I believe it is equally true that the proper study of God’s elect is God; the proper study of a Christian is the Godhead. The highest science, the loftiest speculation, the mightiest philosophy which can ever engage the attention of a child of God, is the name, the nature, the person, the work, the doings, and the existence of the great God whom he calls his Father.” “For philosophy comes to man with the message, Know thyself; the Gospel meets him with the far more glorious and fruitful watchword, Know thy God.” (Alford)” TRUTH: Know God

I say that the biggest endeavor we have is to know Jehovah, the Only True God. When we know God, we know our purpose for existence. Everything we do is rooted in our concept of who God is. The clearer our vision of who God is, His character, and what God can do, His authority/power, our decisions become more aligned to the righteous life God desires for us. TRUTH: Know God

The Apostle Paul was praying that for those believers in Ephesus. We see that in Ephesians 1.

15 For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, 16 I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. 17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.

To know God better is to know God more than you did before. Notice, Paul assigns the acquisition of knowledge to God alone. He says, “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.” The words “the Spirit” is a direct reference to the Holy Spirit whom Jesus stated in John 14 that ” the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you” We already learned in Ephesians 1:13 that the Spirit of God is given as a deposit, living in, to all who trust Jesus as Lord and Savior. TRUTH: Know God

Paul is saying that we must grow in our knowledge by having wisdom that is knowing what is right and doing what is right. Paul also attributes that knowing to the Spirit. He prays that the Spirit may reveal or give a revelation of who God is. The idea of a revelation has nothing to do with a mystic like Mrs. Cleo, but that of the Spirit searching and knowing our deficits of knowledge of God to improve our understanding and applications of those truths about God. Through Christ, we know the Spirit can see what is in the hearts and minds of man. Therefore, we can be sure that the Holy Spirit does not need to seek knowledge of the Father that He otherwise lacks. The Spirit probes the depths of divine knowledge for our benefit. TRUTH: Know God

In John 14:6, ““I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Jesus said, “16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever,” Do you know God through Jesus Christ, the Lord and Savior? If not, you want to experience the TRUTH: Know God.