#22 Control Issues

Ephesians 5:17
Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.

 
The word wise is sophos and unwise is simply "a" sophos, describing one that is without wisdom. For further clarification, we're told that instead of being like the unwise we need to know the will of God.
 
So what is the will of God? How can a man know the will of God? In the midst of this crazy world where much of the time nothing seems to be going right, how can I learn God's will or know God’s ways?!
 
Psalms 51:13
Then will I teach transgressors thy ways;and sinners shall be converted unto thee.
 

Unfortunately, there is often a long path that must be traveled before a person is really ready to be a recipient of God's wisdom, ways, or will.
 
Biblical wisdom is more than just book knowledge. Please don't misunderstand what I'm trying to say here. Without an understanding of this book-- the Bible lifted in the air, there can be no wisdom received from God, simply because this is how God has chosen to communicate His wisdom to man.
 
Nevertheless, the meaning of wisdom is more than just knowledge. There is a gift of a word of wisdom given by the Holy Spirit that can be given in a moment of time for a specific situation (1 Corinthians 12:8). Yet, still, this is not the wisdom spoken of in the Old Testament. The wisdom of God literally has the word skill connected to it.
 
A skill is something that must be developed over time. It humors me sometimes when new Christians walk around puffed up and thinking that they're walking in the wisdom of God. In reality, many times they don't even have knowledge, so they definitely can't have wisdom.
 
No, wisdom is something that requires time to develop, time where a mixture can take place. It's the mixing of godly knowledge and practice exercising that knowledge in specific circumstances. Through this process, godly wisdom is acquired, through this process a man or woman of God becomes skillful in their response to situations by applying the word of God in the midst of circumstances, which they've probably encountered before, where they previously applied their own understanding, failed, and now coming around and facing it again, there is another opportunity to apply the wisdom of God.
 
Actually, that's what the word "understanding" literally means in the Greek of the Ephesian passage "for it to come together". In other words, there is a union between knowledge and practice, which results in comprehension. In other words, "Oh, I get it!" or "Ah ha! I see now."
 
Take the Psalm that I just referenced. This Psalm is written after great trial and tribulation, after much heartache and pain. It's written by a man who thought that he knew God and thought that he knew what would make his self happy and satisfied, but the results of his choices left him in a state of brokenness and despair (2 Samuel 11:1-12:24).
 
But from the place of brokenness and despair, he was able to remember that what he was lacking was God. In this place one receives revelation that self isn't okay. And in this place, self can cry out to God for revelation.
 
Nobody likes Egypt (the slavery of sin: that place where sin goes from being fun to misery) when they're there. In other words, no one wants to be a slave of sin, but until a person is delivered out from Egyptian bondage and goes through the process of longing for what it once offered only to find it still results in the same heartache and pain, then and only then can a person gain the comprehension or wisdom necessary to understand that Egypt is slavery not freedom.
 
Ephesians 5:18
And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;

 
The idea that's being portrayed here is one of control. The word excess being used was used in the original language to describe being "soaked".
 
When a person is soaked with wine, they're controlled by it. The effects of the wine control the person through a variety of ways: the senses are dulled where what is heard and seen are not properly perceived, resulting in a clouded mind where understanding can't be achieved. The wine, beer, Vicodin, marijuana, Prozac, psychological counseling, the program....all these things cause a dulling of the spiritual perception, because we are being soaked in another way that's not God's way; therefore, it's just one more way to keep us disconnected from the truth and life that's in Christ.
 
And then someone from the crowd screams, "Hey, crazy preacher! The program, the counseling, and the Prozac are there to help me get my head sober not drunk, so how dare you say that!"
 
That's what you're told, but it's a sobriety void of the knowledge of God. And in essence these entities control us and move us in a direction opposite of God's prescription for victory. He has one way for true victory. His answer is the sending of His sinless Son to die in Matt's place and for Matt to trust his plan by faith and when faith is placed in God's plan the old Matt born like Adam dies and a new Matt born again in Christ is resurrected and if there are preachers that aren't telling the people that every time they get a chance, then they aren't preaching the gospel, and if it offends you that a pastor would say that then you need to find another one, and let me give you a news flash-- God's offended!
 
God's offended because He sent the darling of heaven to remedy our malady and the hireling stands behind the pulpit and he gives God's people an alternate version that never sets the captive free.
 
The scripture says, "but be filled with the Spirit."
 
This scripture describes control issues. In one scenario, the person is controlled by sin, and in the other, he's controlled by the Spirit of God.
 
Romans 6:6-23
Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness. For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

 
And that's what this long passage in Romans describes: how a person who was originally born a slave can experience transference of kingdoms where he's no longer a slave of sin, but he becomes a willing servant of God.
 
When we allow the Holy Spirit to fill us up with His presence and control our lives, we begin to be led by His presence in the right direction. You know that comment that your spouse made the other day that got you so mad you wanted to make a fool of yourself? When you're filled with the Spirit of God, it just doesn't seem like that big of a deal.
 
There are people who will lie about you and tell others things about you in a way where you look bad. But when you're filled with the Holy Spirit at that moment, it just seems kind of trivial and silly. It's a wonderful thing to no longer be controlled by your circumstances but instead be controlled by the Spirit of God.
 
How do I do that preacher? How do I get full of the Holy Spirit? First, you must be born again, and if you're born again, you need to ask Him to baptize you with His Holy Spirit with the initial physical evidence of speaking in other tongues, but it doesn't end there, because every day you need to be filled with the Spirit of God.
 
You need to let Him know you want more of Him, because you know that more of Him makes you have more of Jesus. And remember this child of God; Jesus paid a high price for you to be filled up with the Holy Spirit.
 
Ephesians 5:19
Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;

 
We did a study a while back on this verse, and we covered in detail these specific words. For tonight's study, I would just like to make a couple of brief points about these musical concepts:
 
(1) the word psalms literally is psallo and describes lyrics accompanied by music, even more specifically, in its original meaning, it denoted lyrics with the strumming of strings.
 
Furthermore, the connotation of this New Testament passage would obviously be giving reference to the Old Testament Psalms that were written by King David and his musicians. It has been well documented that the Jews sang the Psalms through the years of their history and utilized them as we would congregational hymns.
 
(2) hymns are not that different from a Psalm. In the early church, they were songs that were sang by the congregation as a whole in order to worship God, providing an opportunity to corporately worship God.
 
(3) spiritual songs are simply another way to describe music and singing that glorifies God. As a matter of fact the Greek scholar Kenneth Wuest makes the point that there shouldn't be too much work done attempting to find specific, distinctions between these words. When the whole thought is taken together, the idea is that these words describe music that's being offered to God in adoration and praise to Him.
 
Ultimately, what God has showed me about the church's music is that it must preach the gospel. Yes, we use music to usher in the presence of God, but let me say this, "I've been in music services where you could feel something in the air that was making you experience all types of emotion, while at the same time not one of the songs even mentioned the name of Jesus, the blood or the cross.
 
We must remember that Satan is also a spiritual being and he transforms himself as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14); furthermore, Paul warned us that Satan has a plan to offer another gospel containing another Jesus, which has another spirit (2 Corinthians 11:4), and spirits can move on the emotions of people.
 
When discussing music, we must consider the enemy of our souls because there are passages that explain to us in detail that he was created with music in his person (Isaiah 14:11; Ezekiel 28:13). Furthermore, we have biblical proof that he has used music in the midst of fallen society to teach man a way to soothe the pain of his soul through the playing of music and the singing of song (Genesis 4:16, 21). The point being made here is that Cain went out from the presence of God (Genesis 4:16), and he and his offspring began constructing a pre- flood society without the presence or will of God involved in their endeavors. Furthermore, it was Cain’s offspring who first created musical instruments on the earth (Genesis 4:21). Therefore, we must be reminded that there is music from another source that is being produced from another spirit.
 
It must be understood that music is a very powerful entity. And last week we were exhorted by the apostle to walk a certain way:
 

 

Ephesians 5:15, 16
See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

 
The word circumspect means with caution. The church is exhorted to walk with caution because the days are evil; furthermore, Paul speaks in multiple other places about the subtilty and deceptive devices of our enemy:
 
2 Corinthians 2:11
Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.
 
2 Corinthians 11:3
But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

 
With all this said, I want to point out some things about music that most pastors wouldn't address for various reasons:
 
(1) They would say it's not necessary because they've been called to focus on the truth; therefore, I don't have to worry about exposing everything else.
 
(2) They wouldn't do it out of fear that it would make people in the congregation mad.
 
(3) They wouldn't do it because they just wouldn't feel as though it’s that big of a deal.
 
Lyrics to those songs:

Take me to Church—warning contains un-godly material

There Must Have Been something in the Water—need to watch the video after reading the lyrics to get the full effect
 
The point in exposing all this is to reveal to you the deceptive practices of Satan. If he can get us to embrace a counterfeit, no matter how closely it resembles the truth, then he keeps us away from the truth. The first song is blatantly wrong; yet, countless Christian listen to secular music, and in my opinion Carrie Underwood’s song is more dangerous because it’s pretending to be something that its not.
 
Ultimately, the apostle tells us that the purpose of this music is that it would make a melody in our heart towards God. A melody has a specific sound. The melody of a song is arranged in such a way that the music and the lyrics work in unison. As the lyrics accompany the music in this way, there is a sound produced that is conducive for harmony, which is a synonym for (unity) rather than cacophony, which is a synonym for (disunity).
 
Ephesians 5:20
Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;

 
There are many times that things happen in the life of the Christian that just don't make sense. Trials and tribulations, failures and frustrations plague this world and the people in it. If we're not careful, we will have a tendency to think that all these nuisances are simply an attack of Satan, which requires an exhaustive rebuking in order to be released from his grip.
 
The reality is that God uses these occurrences in our lives for a bigger purpose than what our natural eyes are often willing to perceive.
 
The child of God must remember that while it is true that Satan has a plan to destroy our faith and walk with God, God's plan is that our faith fail not in the midst of the trial:
 
Luke 22:31-32
And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.

 
God used the wilderness in Israel's life to humble them:
 
Deuteronomy 8:2-3
And thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no. And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live.

 
God uses trials in the life of the believer to prove him, to let him see what is really in his heart, and ultimately to bring him to a place where he (man) can become a partaker of His (God's) holiness:
 
Hebrews 12:5-11
And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.

 

I want to close this section by pointing out that often when we're in the trial or in that process where we are finding ourselves remaining under the struggle of sin, we find ourselves in misery. When we dwell in Egypt as slaves, there is no joy in sin. When we wander in the wilderness, there is no joy in sin. There is only misery. But listen close Christian, there will come a day, if you will hold onto the Lord, that Egypt and the wilderness will have served their purposes.
 
What is that? You may ask. It's the process of convincing your free will that what you thought you wanted only left you broken, busted and disgusted. God will use Egypt and The wilderness to convince your free will that what you are really longing for is Him!
 
The main thing we're fighting in this process is self and self's perception of what is good. I know this to be true at least regarding my own life. I've been through a big portion of this process already-- the process where God convinces me that what I thought was cool was killing me, and what I thought was un-cool (biblical things) was my only hope. But my problem was that I was more concerned about what my old friends and the world thought was cool more than I was concerned about what God wanted for my life.
 
I'm convinced now on what is right. As a preacher, I pray that the Lord would help me to articulate these truths to people in such a way that their own journey from Egypt (world) to Canaan's rest (victory in Jesus) would be greatly shortened.
 
I started this discourse because I simply wanted to say that there will be times in your life when you will hate the season you are living in, but be encouraged: Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;
 
because... we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28).
 
Once God brings you through the trying times and you're finally convinced that sin will destroy you (no matter its flavor), you will be able to look back towards Egypt and say, "Lord, Egypt hurt; it caused a lot of pain, and there was a lot of bondage. Lord, the wilderness journey on my way to the Canaan rest was so difficult, but I thank you God! I thank you for Egypt, and I thank you for the wilderness, because without them, I could've never recognized the blessing of the Promised Land, also known as the Canaan rest."
 
Ephesians 5:21
Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

 

The word here for submit is hupo- Tasso.
 
Hupo= under
 
Tasso= describes military arrangement of submission, having the idea of willingly bringing one’s self under the submission of another. It must be understood that the whole premise of this thought is built upon the Spirit filled life, which will result in a meekness and humility, a lowering of self. This is the opposite of pride:
 
1 Corinthians 13:4
Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,

 
The word charity is actually agape in the Greek, which is the sacrificial love of God. This certainly speaks about the fruit of the Spirit of God being produced in the life of the believer.
 
Look at the adverbs used to describe this type of love: (1) it's long suffering. Long suffering means patience in relationships. What does that mean? It means that the first time I do something, the second time I do something, maybe even the third time I do something you don't like, you don't just quit on me; instead, you ask God for grace in dealing with me, and you pray for me if you think that I'm going the wrong way, but look at
 
(2) & (3) It doesn't envy. The word here is where we get our word zeal, and in this context, the meaning is that agape love doesn't allow a burning anger towards a brother or sister to remain. Many times envy begins with some form of jealousy, but before we realize, it can quickly result in bitterness and a zealous anger.
 
Lastly, true love doesn't vaunt or puff itself up. The Greek scholar Vincent describes these words like this: the word puffed up is bloated; therefore, it describes a person who is full of inner pride. Whereas, the word vaunteth describes the inner pride being manifest outward. Essentially, the person who walks this way is a braggart.
 
When discussing submission one to another, it must be understood that this process requires humility and a teachable spirit. Sadly, there are probably people who would want others to submit to them; yet, they're puffed up and full of pride. 
 
It has been my experience that these people think they know something about God and in reality their understanding of God's word is minimal at best; yet, they portray themselves as a spiritual giant.
 
As we close this teaching, I would like to point out that next week the text starts with wives submitting to their husbands. As Jesus is the head of the church and His bride submits to Him, God has established a certain order in the home. However, let us view verse 22 in light of verse 21. As brothers and sisters in the Lord, we’re to approach one another with humility and a willingness to submit to one another in the fear of God. Already, we see that the husband’s leadership position is to be one of humility, remembering to fear God, because his wife is also his sister in the Lord, and his sister in the Lord belongs to Jesus first…that’s sobering, at least for me it is. Now, help me to act right Lord : )  

 

#21 Wake Up Sleeper!

Last week, the study covered specific behaviors that born again Christians were no longer supposed to engage in. The text discussed concepts like fornication, which is translated from the Greek word porneia, and contains within it all manner of sexual sin, which would be considered in opposition against God's character and word. In reality, we learned several weeks ago when we covered the Nephilim and their influence on the land of Canaan that these behaviors aren’t only contrary to God, but they’re used by the forces of evil to cause man to rebel against God.
 
The un-redeemed heathen partake in all manner of uncleanness, but the believer is exhorted not to. As a matter of fact the word uncleanness was used in the text, and we pointed out that this word in the Greek literally means "a," which in the Greek means (without) and katharsis meaning a (purging); therefore, the heathen or un-redeemed, haven't been purged or cleansed because true purging and cleansing can only take place through our identification and association with the shed blood of Jesus. Now, we must remember that Paul is talking to the church. The letter is written to the church of Ephesus. In other words, he’s not warning the world about this; instead, he’s warning the church. Furthermore, we must consider the current state of the church and how the pews are filled with people who are engaging in porneia. I’m not speaking of people who are struggling with lust and asking God to deliver them. Instead, I’m speaking of people who are living under a diluted gospel, aren’t saved but think they are, and have no conviction about their transgression of God’s ways. Am I wrong or is that a dangerous gospel for people to sit under, where they can remain in sin, and not be convicted about their sin, and the whole while, they believe that they’re hearing the gospel? Is that the gospel? Can it be the gospel?
 
Once we're born again, then behaviors must change. Furthermore, Paul discussed not only our visible actions, but our audible talk. Previously, he told us to put away lying (Ephesians 4:25) and later for us not to let any corrupt communication come out of our mouths (Ephesians 4:29), and last week he told us not to engage in foolish talk, which was morologia-- from moron and logia/ speech. In others words, don't engage in dumb and fruitless talk.
 
Once again the thought is brought back to the conversation of the un- redeemed. Back in 4:17-19, we learned that the root cause of the heathen’s actions was that they weren't partakers of Christ; therefore, their hearts were darkened to the enlightenment, which God offers; therefore, please don't walk like them! Their eyes are closed, and they are blind, so why would we want to walk like them or talk like them?
 
We were supposed to end last week with verse 7, and we never got there:
 
Ephesians 5:7
Be not ye therefore partakers with them.

 
The exhortation is don't be a partaker with them. The thought of the word partaker is connectedness. You and I aren't supposed to be connected to the world in deed or speech. We shouldn't be lying, cheating, stealing, gossiping, smoking dope, getting drunk, fornicating.... And if we are engaging in these behaviors, while at the same time not being convicted about it, then something isn't right with our walk!
 
Ephesians 5:8
For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:

 

We were previously part of them, but we've been redeemed or purchased out from amongst them. The Christian, in his early walk, or sadly for some, throughout their walk, finds himself on dangerous ground because he so quickly forgets, you were sometimes darkness…. Somehow, he is convinced to believe, and this comes from the evil one, that he is more spiritual than those around him. Everything he does is of God, and no one else hears from God. This is the delusion of self- righteousness, resulting in an un-teachable spirit.
 
Many times, these people (I went through this myself) think they know better and are doing better than others, but in reality, they've been blinded by a spirit of religion, and they can't see. Sadly, many times, these people don't come back as quickly as the one who struggles with obvious sin, because obvious sin: fornication, drunkenness, lying....is usually depressing to the redeemed heart; whereas, the spirit of religion by its very nature is rooted in religious pride and lifts self up, feeding self into a lying frenzy, convincing the person that they are good and everyone is inferior. In addition, pride repels the heart of God; therefore, this is another spirit, a deceptive spirit that is driving this person’s actions and motives, and the sad thing is that the whole time they think they’re engaging in God’s work and the reality is that they’re being used as a tool of the enemy. Humility, on the other hand, by its very nature (at least for mortal man) is willing to admit that it doesn't know all; furthermore, it remembers that it …were sometimes darkness…. this is pleasing to God, because self is recognizing that its righteousness and victory is dependent upon God and not its own righteous actions no matter how righteous the may look. Even more encouraging is the truth that true humility is an attraction to God.
 
There is no better illustration that I can think of regarding these concepts than the parable of the Pharisee and tax collector who were praying in the temple (Luke 18:10), and the time when Jesus told the Pharisees that they were searching the scriptures looking for eternal life; however, the very scriptures they were searching were revealing Jesus, and the Pharisees were unwilling to come to Him (John 5:37-40).
 
Religious pride and an un-teachable spirit prevented them from seeing the truth. And in the parable previously mentioned, religious pride deceived the Pharisee into thinking that he was alright when in reality his heart was far away from God.
 
But verse 8 says that we are now children of light, so we should walk (order) our lives that way. The thought of this word children is teknon and its meaning in this sense is that the child is viewed in reference to the one that gave it birth. In other words, maybe in English the thought would be something like, “That’s your child right?” vs. “Look at that child over there.”
 
An earthly illustration would be when you meet someone who knew your parent from the past and they say, "You look just like your daddy."
 
In this sense your physical appearance connects you to your paternal father. In this verses' sense, your spiritual walk in the light connects you to Jesus of whom you were begotten. By the way, once again, the word for light here is "phos." If you will remember, we pointed out that "phos" is the same word used of Jesus when calling Him the light. Furthermore, there is a verse out of Colossians describing the translation from darkness to light, which specifically speaks of being born again from the dead:
13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:
 

He is the source of light

John 1:4
In him was life; and the life was the light of men.

 

When man comes to Jesus, Jesus’ light is given to man as a reflection of His light
 

Matthew 5:14-16
Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

 

Ephesians 5:9
(For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)

 
The result of walking as children born of light is that the fruit of the Spirit is manifest in the life.
 
Namely, these fruit in this verse are:

 

Goodness-  that which is upright and pure.
 
Righteousness- this word is the same word used of the Christian's justification. When a believer identifies and associates self as partaking in the death, burial, and resurrection in Christ, he is justified or declared righteous in Christ, resulting in access to grace, resulting in power to walk in righteous acts. Any other pathway will result in self- righteousness because he finds himself believing that it’s his work: fasting, praying, studying, going to church…that gives him access. When in reality, the opposite is true—a proper understanding of true righteousness, along with learning to rest in His righteousness, results in a spiritual desire for more: prayer, church, study, even fasting if it will result in a deeper intimacy with God.
 
Truth- is the way the Christian is to operate. When the Christian operates in truth, things can be done openly. There is no need to run around to this one or that one talking about this and talking about that. Lies are hidden and truth is up front. And we will see that further clarified when Paul explains that the right order of things is that they be made manifest or brought to the light.
 

Ephesians 5:10 Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.

 

The word for proving, dokizomai, was used to describe putting metals to the test. In the times of Jesus, there was a deceptive technique employed by thieves where they would "clip coins," meaning they would shave or clip pieces of the coin off and take for themselves a small portion of the weighted precious metal. Over time, they would have gathered for themselves enough to equal significant value.
 
So the concept of dokizomai was that the coin or metal was put to the test in order to make sure that it was what it said it was.
 
We better be proving ourselves! We better make sure that the motives of our hearts are right before the Lord, and that we aren't operating in some self- righteous spirit that's really causing damage to the kingdom. 
 
Paul used the same word in his second letter to Corinth regarding believers putting themselves to the test in order to prove whether they truly be in the faith:

2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?
 
Ephesians 5:11-12
And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.

 
The idea being portrayed here is that the world is walking in one direction and believers are supposed to be heading in the opposite direction. But there is even more. We aren't supposed to just be silent about things. In addition to not being in fellowship with the world and their practices, we are supposed to reprove their works.
 
On first glance at verse 12, it would almost appear that the thought is don't talk about what they do. But the reality is that when both verses are looked at together, and two different Greek scholars agree, the thought is that what they do is so bad, and because they do it in secret, it must be exposed, it must be revealed, it must be rebuked, so the Holy Spirit can minister His conviction and repentance and restoration with God can take place.
 
One of the biggest parts of the deception of the satanic agenda is the infiltration of his lying magic into the house of God. The spirit of antichrist is working upon and through the children of disobedience who present themselves as ministers of righteousness:
 
Ephesians 2:1-2
And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:

2 Corinthians 11:14-15 (KJV) 14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.

Ephesians 4:14-15
That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:

 

Reprove:

There are two concepts I would like to cover regarding this thought:
 
(1) when the Lord first instructed me to study and research the wiles of Satan and to write a book about it, my first response was, "Ok God-- whatever you say."
 
Then as a I had time to consider the task and the results and what unknowing people would think, fear tried to grip my heart, and I had to spend much time in prayer. I tossed and turned and prayed and prayed. And I can tell you that there are some things I may question whether I was supposed to do it or not, but that isn't one of them.
 
Furthermore, one of the things that really rang loudly in my spiritual ears was this-- I would pray specifically, "But Lord most people aren't ready for this information."
 
God's response to my spirit was, "This is what I've called you to do. The question is, are you going to obey what I ask, because I'm ready for my people to be prepared? They aren't prepared."
 
As time went on He would reveal to me that the deception clouding the eyes of His people was so thick that if things don't go the way the American church was taught it would-- the result would be countless souls being lost because they would defect from the faith. Now, let me make this clear. It’s quite obvious that my writing of this book wasn’t the tool that disseminated the information the church needed in order to be awakened; however, over 200 people have been exposed to it. Furthermore, since that time, I have realized that there are multiple people who have been aware of all this deception, and in actuality, I’m a late comer to these truths.
 
I can tell you that this wasn't easy for me. But God has called me to do this. Some people are going to be uneasy about this. I've already lost friends because of it, and there will be people who will leave this church because of it. But it's only fair that you know what God has called me to do. You can think that I'm not supposed to, but He spoke to me, and I will not be deterred or changed by the will or comments of man.
 
(2) much of this Satanic deception has been infiltrating the people of God since the inception of Israel's existence. From the Harlotry with Moabite women learned from Baalam (Numbers 22-25; Revelation 2:14) to Solomon's fall (1 Kings 11), the people of God have been deceived by the spirit of antichrist. And that spirit is working more heavily now in the church than ever before.

The apostasy is here Christian (2 Thessalonians 2:3): falling away is literally apostasia
 
The Lord says: reprove it, expose it, rebuke it, and let it be brought to the light.
 
Ephesians 5:13
But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.

 
The idea here is not that when evil is exposed it, itself becomes light. Where there is light, there is the ability to see. God wants His people to see the difference between evil and good. He wants His people to know what is well- pleasing to Him.
 
Ephesians 5:14
Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.—also see Romans 13:11, 12

 
As long as people are dead in their sin-- unsaved, they will never be able to see. This passage describes them as a sleeper or one that is dead and cannot see. However, if a person would only turn to God, they would be awakened from the dead, even awakened from their sleep.
 
Sadly, he is writing to Christians, and he's exhorting them that they shouldn't be walking like the world around them, since they've been born again from the dead.
 
God wants His people to walk in the light. Specifically, the context here surrounds specific behavior, but more specifically, it surrounds light revealing to people that which is evil vs. that which is well- pleasing to God.
 
Ephesians 5:15-16
See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

 

How dare you preacher, whoever you are, not preach Jesus and His cross for the way that God wrote His word! Jesus the precious one died and shed his blood His blood to set God’s people free, and now you contort the scriptures in order to increase your numbers? God help us!
 

Circumspectly: watchful and discreet; cautious; prudent: circumspect behavior.
well-considered: circumspect ambition._ English Dictionary
 
Unwise is asophos (a)= without (sophos)= wisdom
 
Poneros= the evil one
 
Ephesians 6:13
Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

 
1 John 3:12
Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother's righteous.

 
In this case the wicked (poneros) one specifically speaks of Satan.
 
So we close with the exhortation that God's people are supposed to walk with caution because the days are evil. We need to understand the times that we're in. Furthermore, our understanding of the severity of the times is supposed to make us sober- minded about our purposes on earth. We are to redeem the time, which means to buy back. This word for redeemed is that same Greek word that is used to describe our being redeemed from the world by Jesus' blood.
 
He purchased you out of this wicked world through the shedding of His precious blood. Now, He asks of you, and He asks of me, to redeem the time. It's time to wake up and make sure we're about our Father's business. We need to make sure that no opportunity to reach the lost is squandered.

#20 Where's the Purge?

Last week we covered Ephesians 5:1,2. The essence of that study was that the "new man" IN CHRIST was exhorted to be a follower of God and walk the way He walked. The way Jesus walked was in sacrificial love.
 
Furthermore, His sacrificial love produced a sweet smelling savor in the nostrils of God. We discussed various aspects of His love, the way He was treated, His response to the treatment, and even the results of His responding towards maltreatment with love; for example, one of the thieves that was crucified next to Him had a heart change somewhere throughout the day as he hung on the cross and observed the Lord's reaction to the world and religion both, as they ridiculed and mocked Him.
 
The sweet smelling savor aspect of Ephesians 5:2 brought us to the book of Leviticus where we discussed the five Levitical offerings. In those sacrifices, we delineated the fact that some of them were sweet savor sacrifices, and some of them weren't. From there, we discussed the fact that there were similarities to be noted to this truth when compared to Jesus' sacrifice on the cross.
 
In other words, there was an aspect to the cross that produced a sweet savor for God, and there was an aspect to the cross that reviled the Father. More specifically, it was Jesus' willingness as an obedient sin offering that produced that sweet smelling savor typified by those certain Levitical offerings, and it was man's disobedience for which Jesus had to die that reviled Him, causing Him to turn His face from the darling of heaven.
 
Matt's sin laid upon the Savior, caused the Father to turn His head, and Jesus felt separated and forsaken from the presence of the Father, because of something that He didn't do. He experienced that for me and for you. I can only imagine the anguish His humanity must have felt as the whole world's sin was laid upon His back, and now the one thing that He always was sure of, communion with the Father, was gone.
 
A while back I preached a message, "He was a man acquainted with grief and sorrows. In that message, I wanted all of us to be reminded never to say I'm all alone again, because the truth is that He was separated, so that we don't have to be.
 
From there, I missed the point to my conclusion. I was supposed to close by pointing out this passage in Corinthians in order to tie everything together:
 
2 Corinthians 2:15
For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish:

 
The context of what Paul is saying in this verse surrounds the idea that he and others are preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ and Him crucified. As this takes place, there is a twofold process:
 
(1) people's hearts are softened towards the truth, they open their heart towards God, and they are saved.
 
(2) People harden their heart towards the gospel, and they're moved further away from the presence of God.
 
No matter the result of the individuals: whether they are hardened or softened, the result of Paul's obedience is that it produces a sweet smelling savor for God. And the same goes for us Christian. When it comes to ministry, God isn’t grading us on how many are converted; He will grade us on whether or not we were faithful to do our part.
 
Now, let's tie that together. Jesus' love was sacrificial in nature, and when our mind becomes renewed to the fact that our new birth in Christ produces a new man who is connected to the vine and receiving power from the Holy Spirit, which is strengthening the inner man and producing the fruit of the Spirit in his life, which is manifest by love, then I as a living sacrifice become a sweet smelling savor unto God:
 
Romans 12:1-2
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
 
Ephesians 5:3
But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints;

 

Now, the text transitions from the place of Jesus' obedience to the world's Mardi Gras parade. I say it this way because essentially this is the idea being construed. The pagan world worshiped false gods through sexuality.
 
And the world still worships false gods today through sexuality. I don't want to spend an inordinate amount of time discussing this thought, but everywhere we look there's a Mardi Grad parade going on. There's sexuality on every TV show, in almost every movie, in all the music, the commercials....
 
God has within His word a proper order towards sexuality. It's the marriage bed that's not defiled in God's eyes. All other forms of sexual variance are being incited by the spiritual world in an attempt to get humanity to transgress the written word of God.
 
Studies have shown that when a person begins to get emotionally excited over someone of the other gender, there is a flood of neurotransmitters that cause a euphoric state or a feeling of well being. This can happen just talking to someone on the phone. "I'm excited about this person, maybe they will be the one, and maybe this will be happiness."
 
Then when it doesn't work out, there is a drop in Serotonin and Dopamine in the brain and depression ensues, driving someone like a drug addict towards their next fix. This is literally why you see women addicted to men, and men addicted to the sexuality of women even though these relationships are destroying them.
 
And Christians deal with these issues also, and the problem in this sense is that there was no real time to get to know the person in a spiritual sense. In other words, do they see the gospel the way I do? Are they hungry to see souls saved? Or are they of the Nimrodic order, "Come let us build a name for ourselves, let us build ourselves a city.... In other words, are they more about material possessions and worldly gain, or are they really sold out to God’s plan, which is Jesus?"
 
And because we make decisions about the other gender based mostly upon what we think they can do for us-- whether it be sexually, financially, or help for the kids..., rather than how all this fits into God's plan for my life, we end up in relationships that don't promote an advance towards kingdom work. Now, that doesn't mean that in some cases it doesn't help our personal situation. It doesn't mean that the building of your little "city" or "society" didn't resolve some of the pain you were feeling, but this the age old temptation. This is Cain's city, this is Nimrod's society. Let us figure out how we will make our lives more comfortable because of this fall we're experiencing, but it's a comfort produced with individual will rather than God's will as the mortar holding the bricks together.
 
The spiritual entities that are inciting all this know what they're doing. But ultimately their goal is to get man to transgress God's word. And so here we are living in the midst of a world system that is full of evil and sexuality, and we are being bombarded with these images from everywhere we turn.
 
And don't think your children are safe (common core comment).
 
And this is what Paul was talking about: you can't be part of this world's system, remember what he said previously:
 
Ephesians 2:2
Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:

 
The word fornication is literally porneia, where we get our word pornography. And the thought regards all manner of sexual impurity of which I'm not going to list, but just go back and review our teaching on the Nephilim, and their influence on Canaan (Leviticus 17-21) and you will have the idea, but then add to it all the thoughts and mindsets produced through all the bombardment of the world's message.
 
The next word in this verse that caught my eyes is the word uncleanness. We won't attempt to break down every word; nevertheless, let's take a few in an attempt to get a better thought of the overall text. The word uncleanness here is literally “a”, which in the Greek means-- without, and “katharsis,” which is where we get our word catharsis, meaning a purging, a cathartic induces vomiting and in the old days was used as a way to purge the body of something poisonous that was ingested.
 
Ultimately, the idea here is that the heathen/ pagan/ un-redeemed world has an unbridled lust towards things that are contrary to God's nature and word. I like the word "purging" and "catharsis,” because in the midst of true Christian grace, there is a cleansing that takes place. It should be noted that there is a counterfeit to true Christian grace. Because of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, the believer is convicted and made aware when there is behavior that isn't right. When there is something in the heart of the believer that isn't right, it's supposed to be brought to the Lord, where a purging or catharsis can take place.
 
One word in verse three that we can't afford to pass over is the word saints:
 
...let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints;
 
The word saints, once again, is hagios, meaning holy or separated. If you will remember, we have discussed this word on multiple occasions, and have pointed out that this word is also translated from the Greek as sanctified, meaning to make holy or separated out unto God.
 
But we must always remember that true holiness for the believer starts with the new position or standing before God. We are seen as separated, sanctified, holy, or righteous in the eyes of God because through faith, we connected ourselves to God's plan, which resulted in a spiritual miracle where we were translated from the kingdom of darkness (world) into the kingdom of His dear Son (Colossians 1:13). Furthermore, through this miracle, the "old man" born of Adam died, and a "new man" born of Jesus resurrected. Therefore, the "new man's" position or standing before God is in Christ, and in Christ, there is righteousness not guilt, and there is now access to grace, which isn't just forgiveness, but power from God to live right.
 
With all this on the forefront of the mind, let the reader be made aware, if you're born again, you're saints, hagios, sanctified, separated, from the world, and you belong to God; furthermore, you have access to grace:
 
Romans 5:1-3
herefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;

 

In other words, we are without excuse because God has provided a plan where we can be separated out from the world both in His eyes because of our new position in Christ, and in the world's eyes because of our access into grace, which empowers us to order our behavior as the children of God.
 
Ephesians 5:4
Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.

 
Filthiness= shamefulness or obscenity.
 
Foolish Foolish talking= morologia.
 
So before we get going good, we need to remind ourselves that there has been a clear distinction drawn between the world and the believer, and in the world, there is uncleanness, and now we have added the idea that there is going to be talk also in the world. Just with this information, we should be made aware that at the workplace, family functions, and anywhere else your path may cross with the world, there will be foolish talk taking place. Furthermore, it's important that you understand you can’t just stop going to everything because the instruction we’ve received from the Lord wasn’t to isolate; rather we’re to separate. We are pilgrims on a journey, and the purpose of our presence is to expose the lost to the light.
 
Let's focus a little on this statement "morologia," which is the Greek for foolish talking.
 
Most of us who have been in Christianity are familiar with the word Logos, it's one of the Greek words that we translate into "word" or "preaching". Examples would be:
 
In the beginning was the word (Logos)....,(John 1:1) or:
 
the preaching (logos) of the cross is foolishness to them who perish.... (1 Corinthians 1:18).

 
So the essence of the word logos is: words, speech, or thoughts that are communicated, so Jesus when called the word is the physical manifestation of God's communication.
 
Here, the idea of logos has the word moro attached to it, which is where we get our word moron and logia, which is speech or conversation. Essentially, the overall context is that there is a speech or conversation that takes place amongst those who are blinded by the truth of God, and we as those that are called out from the dead aren't supposed to be of the morologia persuasion.
 
So moro, meaning dull in intelligence or stupid and logia speech, in a Christian sense would describe a person caught up in worldly conversation that contradicts the things of God.
 
The word jesting is eutrapelia. It's a compound word made up of eu and trapelia.
 
Eu= easy
Trapelia= from tropo, which is to turn, meaning “easily turned.”
 
In English, the word jesting can also have the connotation of ridicule or making crude jokes to be funny at the expense of another person's feelings. If we run through the files in our minds, surely we can retrieve a mental image of the court jester, with his funny hat, providing entertainment for the king, through his witty words making fun of anyone available including the king, as a matter of fact, he was usually the only one who was allowed to make fun of the King.
 
But if you've ever been in a situation like that, if you could retrieve another mental image, like when you were a kid amongst a group of kids, and then all of the sudden someone gets the bright idea to single out something that they don't like about one of the people in the crowd: their nose, a birthmark on their face, the way they talk, and then suddenly, the entire crowd is turned towards and against this one individual. Hence, the idea of the word "easily turned."
 
In a similar fashion, Christians often find themselves in an environment where there is foolish talk about worldliness. Specifically, foolish talk about: fornication, uncleanness, or mammon, and when this takes place, it's almost as though the Christian, unaware, begins to be easily turned in their direction. "Christian" finds himself smiling, laughing, and even in some cases adding to the conversation and becoming a partaker with them in what they do.
 
Who are you talking about when you use the plural pronoun "them" preacher? I'm talking about the world. I'm talking about the un- redeemed.
 
Describe the situation of how kids are impressionable. Young Christians can also be impressionable, but the world can also be impressionable towards a believer who has their speech seasoned with salt: i.e. flavor (palatable) [Colossians 4:6] one who is wise as a serpent (have you ever watched a serpent hunt? He has stealth and a plan) and harmless as a dove (a dove is kind and sweet. In addition, it should be noted that the two main symbolisms I find in scripture re: the dove are: (1) peace between God and man—the dove brought an olive branch back to the Arc when the waters were subsiding, signaling Peace between God and man (2) the Holy Spirit whose job it is to convict the world of sin and move people to Jesus) [Matthew 10:16].
 
Here is some personal experiences about talking to people about things that would normally be difficult to discuss or just witnessing in general. One time the Lord spoke to my spirit and said, "What's the plan son? Are we reaching the lost and helping people get redirected on the path, or are you just showing everyone what you know and that you're right and they're wrong?"
 
Let me give you a couple examples, but I will be honest. In order to witness this way, you will have to have patience and be willing to learn from each occurrence. By the way, we should always pray and ask the Lord to show us after we witness to people if things could have been done different.
 
Santa Clause:
 
I explained a while back that Danielle and I never taught our kids about Santa Clause. We both agreed that we would focus our efforts on the fact that God was the giver of all that was good. Now, we didn't know then what we know now; nevertheless, we felt like it was most important for us to instruct our children and point them to Jesus.
 
We took a lot of heat from different people for that, but to be honest, we really didn't have much of a way to explain why we were doing it, part of it was that others had taken that stand, and it felt right to us, so we did also.
 
Then we had the episode where she was teaching children's church and she was teaching on the birth of Jesus, and then some kid said, "Yeah, and Santa."
 
I can see Danielle trying to keep her composure, and the children feeding off the first comment, are catapulted into a frenzied state, and the names of various entities are blurted out in a simultaneous cacophony, "Yeah, Santa!" Another one screams.
 
"And the Easter Bunny," says little Sally.
 
"What about Barney?" Seth screamed.
 
Then the whole class erupted into pandemonium, and like frenzied little natives they started circling her and screaming, "Barney! Barney! Barney!"
 
And in a state of disequilibrium and confusion, she blurts out, "Jesus can beat up Barney!"
 
Immediately, the mob is silenced and Seth's upper lip begins to quiver, and his right eye begins to fill up with a tear, and he causes a change of emotion to sweep over the congregation, where the previous chants of Barney are replaced by sobs and crying and suddenly the door swings open, church is over and the parents are ready to pick up their crying, wounded kids.
 
Now, I will be honest and say that I embellished the story a little bit. But a lot of it was true. The point I wanted to make is that as we learn more information about things that we have always believed were right but begin to realize that many of these things stand in the way of Jesus, we will want to take a stand. And I think we should, but let's think about this for a second:
 
(1) the person we're talking to doesn't have a clue of what we mean. We have to learn how to be wise as a serpent and harmless as a dove in these situations in order to get the proper response.
 
(2) we have to be able to properly explain ourselves. You can't just make a comment about your opinion and expect to get the right results if you can't properly explain your position.
 
(3) but then again, what's your purpose to begin with. Do you really want to help people or do you just want them to do what you want?
 
If we want to help, then maybe we need to try a different approach.
 
Example: I have developed a technique over the years where I use the conjunction "if." Some of you may say, "I would never use the word "if" when talking about God. Well, I usually explain myself, I say, "I use the conjunction "if" on purpose, because even though I'm convinced God is real, because He transformed my life, I realize that others I talk to aren't convinced."
 
I have also many times formulated a question after I know they believe God is real. For instance, "Well, I know you think God is real, and I'm talking about the one who sent his Son Jesus to die on the cross for our sins."
 
Stopping for a second, I give them the opportunity to respond, which they usually do with a head nod in the affirmative.
 
"So," I continue "If God is real, wouldn't you agree that there is also the opposite of God?"
 
They’re nodding the head again.
 
"Ok, then wouldn't you agree that if there is a real devil, and his whole purpose is to deceive people away from Jesus who paid for their sin, that one way to do that would be to come up with multiple religions in hopes that people would pick something other than Jesus who paid for man's sin?"
 
And this concept can be used for any discussion regarding the enemy pulling people away from Jesus:
 
Discussing the Santa issue or Christmas the way it is now is very easy during the holidays because people often ask me, with a big smile on their face, "Are you ready for the holidays?"
 
And my response is usually something like this, "Do you mind if we talk about that for just a second because I'm confused? I thought that Christmas was supposed to be about the birth of Jesus, and how God gave a gift of life to humanity by freeing us from our sin problem, but what I see is people focused on Santa not Jesus, statistics show that more people get drunk during this time and are depressed more than any other time of the year, so to answer your question: yes, I'm ready for the holidays. I'm ready to remember the fact that unto us a gift was given. His name is Jesus. The prophet said he would be called Emmanuel which means "God with us." I'm so glad God gave me that gift, and I want to thank him on that day just like every day. And I want on that day to teach my children that Jesus gave us the gift of life."
 
Or:
 
"Do you think the commercialization of Christmas brings glory to Jesus? Because I'm confused, I thought the whole thing was to celebrate what the Angels spoke of when they brought good tidings about the fact that the Christ had come into the world!"
 
"And for that matter how does this whole Santa issue help the cause of exalting Jesus?"
 
Lastly, I will remind you about the conversation I had with the guy on the street when I went to hand him a tract and ask him if he thought that God was real, and his response was, "No man. I used to believe in God, but it's like the Easter Bunny and Santa Clause, when I grew up, I learned they weren't real."
 
Paul is speaking to Christians and he has already explained that Christians aren't to walk as other Gentiles do.
 
The text is clear-- these people aren't partakers, they don't have an inheritance in God's Kingdom.
 
We must come to the proper conclusion that a true conversion will result in a true change in the walk.
 
Now, we must also be careful not to forget the process part of Christianity.
 
In other words, it takes time for a new Christian to have a renewed mind that begins to operate properly within the realm of victory where Jesus is the source of victory, the Holy Spirit is the force of victory, and the cross is the means or the access point, which allows the powerful grace given by the Holy Spirit to flow into the person. Why? Because, now the person's standing is righteous in the eyes of God. And he has access to grace and grace is more powerful than sin:
 
Romans 5:20
Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound
:
 
And Romans 8:2
 
And so in this context, the believer is given access to grace, which strengthens towards victory.
 

Ephesians 5:5
For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.
E
 
We must all understand that there is a difference between someone who is a Christian that is in the process, struggling with sin, but unhappy about it, and a person who calls themselves a Christian, is living in sin, and isn't convicted at all about what they're doing. It’s unlikely that a person who is comfortable living in sin is really saved.

 

Regarding some of the wording of this verse, let's focus on the covetous idolator. Covetousness describes an insatiable desire for more, especially, when you desire something that belongs to someone else.
 
Mammon was a name given to money in order to personify the wickedness that was associated with it. In other words, Mammon was given life and seen as the god behind the money that people were worshipping; therefore, the covetous idolator has chosen to worship Mammon. His God is money and what money can provide for him. This god stands between him and God, taking the place, even the heart's desire away from God. Because more of it can bring fleshly pleasures, it's sought for diligently and the heart is deceived into thinking that what it needs is more because it brings pleasure.
 
Mark 4:18-19
And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word, And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.
 
Ephesians 5:6
Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.

 
We've discussed this word vain on several occasions in this study on Ephesians. The word simply means empty. In this context, the vain words are directly connected to all the previous behavior discussed regarding the walk of the unredeemed: fornication, uncleanness...
 
Therefore, vain words would be any communication that would allow a believer to continue living a life of sin without conviction.
 
Just briefly I would like to mention a couple scenarios:
 
(1) the world system has always had within it this that Paul warned against:
 
Colossians 2:8
Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

 

In other words, mankind has created its own wisdom on how to live life without God’s help.
And the word deceive here literally means to cheat. There are men who will cheat you out of the truth and deceive you through empty and vain words.
 
The context here is specifically referring to Christians being deceived by vain words. It should be noted that vain words can come from a multiplicity of sources. These empty words, which represent empty thoughts, can come from family, friends, and the world system: music Hollywood, or even from preachers.
 
When coming from preachers, these words can take on further variations. They can be empty in the sense that they give you meaningless information towards victory for your life. For instance, I can remember being in one service where we were asked to write our sins that we struggle with on paper. We were supposed to let someone read it and then we were supposed to put it on the ground and stomp on it, which was supposedly going to give me victory over the sin that was written.
 
Well, I have a few problems with that. Number one, you can't just trust anyone with everything that's going on in your head. If you need an accountability partner, let it be Jesus. That doesn't mean that there are never times that we need people to talk to about things we're going through, but I don't need to confess my sin to you to get free; instead, I need to confess my sin to Jesus. There is one mediator between God and men:
 
1 Timothy 2:5
For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;

 
But there is also the problem with preachers telling people that there isn't a problem with sin at all, as though sin weren't the problem between man and God.
 
I can give you two examples:
 
1. I personally know a young lady who was struggling in her walk. She went to her youth pastor in an attempt to tell him that things weren't right in her life, and his response was, "No you're alright." No she wasn't alright preacher. She's in sin and she's hurting and she needs you to help direct her in the right direction, which is to bring it to the cross.
 
2. There is a prominent preacher on TV now who is preaching heavily on grace, but his grace message is wrong, because it's taken to the extreme that you don't have to confess your sins to God because you've already been forgiven. Furthermore, this preacher whose name is Joseph Prince comes from the word of faith camp, which states that if you think about your sin, you become sin conscious and stay bound by sin. Therefore, you should think as little as possible about your sin and not confess it because that will be a negative confession and make you remember that you have a sin problem, which you were already forgiven of.
 
Well, it's certainly true that you were already forgiven when Jesus died on the cross. It's a done deal. But God requires that we confess our sins.
 
1 John 1:9
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

 
The word confess here has the same root as a word we spoke of earlier, logia, this word is homo= meaning same and logia= meaning say. When we confess our sins, we are saying the same thing about our sin that God says. We are acknowledging that something isn't right, and we need His intervention.
 
This is the way that true grace works:
 
Ezekiel 36:25-27—grace changes the heart and spirit of a man
Jeremiah 31:31—in the covenant of grace, man knows when he sins because the Law of God is written on is heart, because the Holy Spirit lives in him now.
John 2—the wedding of Cana miracle shows us that the New Testament causes an internal transformation. Grace changes the inside of the vessel.
John 14—Jesus promised in this chapter that the Holy Spirit would live in our hearts. That’s the difference between Law and grace. In the Law God’s requirements were written on stone. In the New Testament His presence and plan is in our heart.
Ephesians 1—when we get saved we’re sealed with the Spirit
Titus 3:5—when we get saved we’re renewed by the Spirit.

 

It’s also imperative that we understand that grace is nearly synonymous with the Holy Spirit. In other words, the Holy Spirit is the one that pours grace into our lives and our every day circumstances.
 
What these passages have in common is the transformation miracle of the human heart and its connection or union with the heart of God, now that the Holy Spirit has come to live within it. This is the first work of grace, a regeneration miracle has taken place allowing the Holy Spirit to live within the heart and reveal to the heart of man the error that is in him.
 
Next, true grace operates through dependence upon God, because He is the one that changes the heart of man.
 
Grace- a divine influence on the heart and its reflection in the life_Strong’s Greek Dictionary
(paraphrased)

In order for true grace to operate, the focal point of faith must be the finished work of Jesus on the cross; for it is His work alone that allows the regeneration to take place. It's His work alone that allows righteousness to clothe a guilty sinner. It's His work alone that split the veil in the temple signifying that access into the presence of God was now made available.
 
Fasting isn't the miracle that changes or gives access to the presence of God. Prayer, quoting scripture, nor going to church...none of this is what allows the heart to be changed. It's Jesus and His cross alone that allows the sin in the heart to die and resurrection power to take its place.
 
But let me say this about prayer, fasting, and the word of God: if you want your heart softened by God, or you want more of Him, or you want freedom, as you fast and pray denying yourself, so He can be magnified, He will show you what needs to confessed, and He will point you back to the cross, because that's what the Holy Spirit does:
 
John 16:13-15
Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.

 

Ephesians 5:6
....: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.

 

It's because of vain [empty] words that the wrath of God is poured upon the children of disobedience. We should remember the passage we covered previously in conjunction with this thought:
 
Ephesians 2:2
Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:

 
We already covered this thought in great detail, but let us visit this place again. A suppression of the truth regarding God's word, whether it be suppressed purposefully or accidentally, will result in bondage rather than freedom. Persistent failure, or bondage, or repeated sin, whatever you would choose to call it, will result in a form of God's wrath being poured out. It will cause a slow, insidious decay of morality, and can eventually, with time lead to the erosion of faith, and I don't care what any preacher tells you, if your faith is eroded by sin, and you apostasize, or turn your back on the faith, then you are no longer in covenant with God. And people who aren't in covenant with God are the children of disobedience upon which His wrath will be poured out.
 
Ephesians 5:7
Be not ye therefore partakers with them.

 
Partaker= symmetochos, means to be connected to. Ultimately, the idea is that there isn't supposed to be a connectedness between us and the world, because we are saints i.e. hagios or holy one's, separated out, you guessed it in Christ.

#19 A Sweet Savor for God

Ephesians 5:1-2
e ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savor.

 
Jesus' love was sacrificial. Sacrificial love concerns itself with what is important for the other person's life. In other words, Jesus laid His life down, so we could have life and that is the manifestation of God's love:
 
John 15:8-10
Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love....

 
John 15:13-15
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.

 
 Friends- One of the bridegrooms friends who, on behalf of the bridegroom, asked for the bride's hand in marriage and helped in various ways with the nuptials and closing of the ceremony_ Strong's
 
The first part of the verse I wanted to discuss was the fact that Jesus' love is sacrificial in nature. He loved us when we were against Him. Within this John 15 passage, Jesus is explaining that our union to Him provides us the opportunity to abide with Him, which means we can stay connected to Him through faith, and in turn, we will receive grace to be strengthened to produce fruit.
 
He said people will know we are His disciples by seeing our love. He said that His commandments were:
 
Matthew 22:36-40
Master, which is the great commandment in the law? -- Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

 
When a person is changed by God to the point where their inner man begins to hunger and thirst for the things of God, a place where pleasing Him supersedes the wishes of one's own self; now, the heart, the soul, and the mind are becoming connected to God in the deepest sense. At this point, the mind of man is becoming renewed, and the man's will is becoming swallowed up in his Master's will.
 
”But I don't want to love sacrificially towards this person. They hurt me deeply God. They betrayed me don't I have any rights?”

 

I wonder if Jesus’ response would be,  “How many times does an individual betray me? How many times did you betray me? How many times do you propose I forgive them and you? Should I have not lived sacrificially through the cross because of humanity's betrayal, or is this the purpose for why I came?”
 
Matthew 27:27-31
Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common hall, and gathered unto him the whole band of soldiers. And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe. And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews! And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head. And after that they had mocked him, they took the robe off from him, and put his own raiment on him, and led him away to crucify him.

 
Hebrews 10:1-10
For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins. But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God. Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law; Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

 
The main point I want to expose from these two long passages of scripture is the heart of Jesus and the concept that we have been made to be partakers of His love. Earlier He said that all the commandments hang on these two: Love God with all you are and love your neighbor as yourself.
 
When we begin to review the love of Jesus, it should melt our hearts towards people that have offended us. It should soften us towards them, because what we learn from these passages is that Jesus suffered cruel punishment from the very creation that He came to redeem; furthermore, while none of us have ever physically spit in His face, with some of our decisions and behaviors, we have taken lightly the sacrifice of our Lord.
 
He said in the Hebrews passage, "I have come to do your will O God."
 
As I was studying these various passages, I became focused on this one in John:
 
John 15:13-15
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.

 
The idea of the word friends oftentimes referred to the closest companions of the bridegroom who would have the distinct honor of asking the bride to marry the bridegroom.
 
As noted above the idea of the friend was one who helped the bridegroom by giving the offer of marriage to the bride on behalf of the bridegroom. This is the plan of God. He's asking us to make a proposal to those out there on whether or not they are willing to marry the Son. And in order for them to get a glimpse of the Son to see whether or not they want to spend eternity with Him, they will first have to look at us, and the question is: do we love as He loved? Are we making Him desirable to others?
 
I can only imagine what it must seem like if we are allowing anger and bitterness to stay rooted in our lives towards people, and at the same time trying to give them an invitation to marry Jesus.
 
"You've wronged me. You disgust me. I don't really like you or want to be around you, but I know someone who does, so I was just wondering, would you like to marry my Jesus?"

Regarding the second part of Ephesians 5:2, we deal with the thought of Jesus’ sacrifice being a sweetsmelling savor unto God
 
The Levitical sacrifices, which are described in the first five chapters of the book of Leviticus describe various aspects of the sacrifice of our Lord. Once again, these are Old Testament types and shadows, which paint a portrait for us of Jesus' eternal sacrifice on the cross. We won't discuss all the aspects of these sacrifices now; instead, I want to quickly focus on the sweet savor vs. non sweet savor sacrifices and how they relate to the cross.
 
But before we do that, let's just take a moment to discuss what the terminology Levitical sacrifices means. First, they are called the Levitical sacrifices because they are described in the book of Leviticus. The book of Leviticus is one of the first five books in the Bible, which was known by the Jewish people as the Law or Torah, and was called later by the Greek speaking Jews after the conquests of Alexander the Great as the Penteteuch, where pente means five i.e. five books.
 
The book of Leviticus goes into great detail regarding the ministry of the Levitical priests. It discusses their responsibility in the ministry of the tabernacle, the offering of the sacrifices, and the purification of the people of God.
 
The name Leviticus is derived from Levi. Levi was the third son of Leah and Jacob (Genesis 29:34). Four hundred years later Moses and Aaron descended from the tribe of Levi, and God took the tribe of Levi as a tithe for Himself from amongst the children of Israel. Their sole purpose was to minister to God for the people through the offerings and tabernacle/ temple work.
 
The priests that came from the tribe of Levi were able to perform various tasks, but only the descendants of Aaron functioned as the high priests.
 
Now, we return back to these sweet savor vs. non sweet savor sacrifices. It should be noted that Jesus’ life and sacrifice is typified in these sacrifices
 
In the first five chapters of the book of Leviticus, there are five Levitical offerings discussed:
 
 (1) whole burnt offering:
the specifics regarding this offering is that the whole animal was offered other than the skin, which was given to the priest. The animal was flayed open, inspected for defect, and its inward parts were washed. Then the entire animal, including the fat was offered as a sacrifice unto God.
 
This sacrifice shows that God offered everything (whole) He had when He gave us Jesus; furthermore, it shows that Jesus, in His obedience to the Father offered His whole self in our place.
 
This sacrifice was known as a sweet savor sacrifice unto the Lord, which means as the smoke began to rise into the heavens towards God, there was an aroma of reconciliation that filled the nostrils of God. 1400 years before Jesus, this sacrifice painted a portrait that He would offer His whole self in our stead.
 
(2) the meat or meal offering:
 
This can be somewhat confusing because the word meat in old English really described food in a general way, and in reality, this sacrifice had nothing to do with meat in any fashion; rather, this sacrifice was made of fine flour, which was unleavened. There are two quick concepts to note regarding this thought: first, grain isn't fine on its own. In order for flour to be fine, it must be ground into fine flour. When the grain is ground and all chaff removed, there is the purity of fine flour that remains. Jesus was pure.

Second, the concept of leaven is synonymous with yeast and from a scriptural standpoint, speaks of sin. Throughout both the Old and New Testaments, the concept of leaven speaks of fermentation and corruption, which sin has done to the human race, but Jesus was without sin, and the meal (meat) offering, which was always offered with the whole burnt offering had no leaven, and in this sense, it represented the sinless life of Jesus being offered in our place.
 
And once again, the meal offering was known as a sweet savor sacrifice unto the Lord, as the smell of unleavened flour rose into His nostrils, He was constantly reminded that the plan was moving forward and that one day the obedient one would come and offer His sinless life in order to make things right.
 
(3) the peace offering:
 
The essence of the peace offering is that it represented reconciliation between God and the sinner. Out of all the offerings, the peace offering was the only one that the offerer "sinner" was allowed to partake of (Lev 19:5-8).
 
Within this offering, there is explicit detail as to how the visceral fat is to be removed from inside the animal and offered on the fire to God (Lev 3:3-5), and the burning fat, once again, produced a sweet smelling savor unto God (Lev 3:5). Lastly, regarding this offering, there was a portion for God (Lev 7:31), a portion for the priest (Lev 7:31), and a portion for the believer (Lev 19:5-8).
 
(4) sin offering:
 
In a general sense, the purpose of the sin offering was to cover sins committed against God in ignorance.
 
Furthermore, there is much to be considered in reference to the gospel and redemption.
 
First, this offering is explained in three distinct circumstances. In the first scenario, there was always a priest designated to offer sacrifice for the people. Many of the priestly duties were assigned according to a rotation [see Zechariah's turn to burn incense (Luke 1:5,9)]. In this first scenario, the priest would offer sacrifice for the people's sins of ignorance as an overall blanket sacrifice, but it didn't mean that the individual necessarily understood or was aware that they had sinned against God.
 
This is a similar scenario to the fact that Jesus died for the sins of the whole world:
 
Romans 3:23
For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

 
But unless the gospel is preached and the soul of man made aware there is a problem and a solution, that soul remains ignorant:
 
Romans 10:11-15
For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

 
In this sacrifice, the fat is offered as in the other sweet smelling sacrifices, but it's not called a sweet savor unto the Lord.
 
Second, there is a offering for the leaders of Israel, and once again, the fat is offered to God on the altar, but it's not called a sweet smelling sacrifice, because God sent His Son ultimately to die for individuals.
 
Lastly, there is a sin offering for the common man who gains revelation that he had committed a sin ignorantly, but now it's been brought to his attention, an a sin offering is offered up. Once again, the fat is separated and offered unto God and this time, the sacrifice is known as a sweet smelling savor unto the Lord. The reason why is because this is the gospel.
 
Romans 5:8
But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

 
God sent Jesus to die for sinners. And this is a personal invitation. His sacrifice isn't just for a person's mom or dad or a whole nation. This is an individual decision, and when the gospel is preached, and the heart of man goes from ignorant to aware, and that heart responds to the gospel by faith, that is the plan of God, resulting in a sweet savor unto the Lord, because this is the way He intended it to be.
 
(5) trespass offering:
 
 The trespass offering (ch 5 & 6) deal mostly with the people committing sins against one another. There is no mention of fat for the Lord, and there is no mention of this offering being a sweet savor unto God.
 
Thus far, we've noted that there are four distinct sweet savor offerings:
 
Sweet savor
 
(1) whole burnt offering
(2) meat or meal offering
(3) peace offering
(4) sin offering, when offered for the common man who becomes aware of his guilt.
 
Un-sweet savor
 
(1) sin offering offered by priest for the congregation that's in ignorance or one offered for leadership in general
(2) trespass offering
 
It should be noted that in all the sweet savor offerings which are animal sacrifices, there is a direct correlation between the sweet savor and the fat being burned unto God; furthermore, in regards to the meal offering, there is the interesting thought of the flour being unleavened.
 
In addition, it should be noted that God specifically states that there are two parts to the animal that are never to be eaten:
 
Leviticus 7:25-26
For whosoever eateth the fat of the beast, of which men offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord, even the soul that eateth it shall be cut off from his people. Moreover ye shall eat no manner of blood, whether it be of fowl or of beast, in any of your dwellings.

 

The truth I believe to be found here has to do with these things: the fat and the blood representing Jesus and His sacrifice. In addition, the leaven represents His sinless humanity.
 
We need not spend an inordinate amount of time convincing most people that the blood represents the sacrifice of Jesus that would come; for the word of God makes that very clear:
 
Leviticus 17:10-11
And whatsoever man there be of the house of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among you, that eateth any manner of blood; I will even set my face against that soul that eateth blood, and will cut him off from among his people. For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.

 
But regarding the fat it should be noted that this fat was to be separated out from the rest of the carcass, and after studying more deeply the concepts behind this fat, it was noted that this type of fat was visceral, meaning it was that fat which was connected to the inward parts of this animal. As previously spoken in bible studies before, these animals were closely inspected both inwardly and outwardly, making sure there was no blemish, resulting in rejection.
 
The purpose of this inspection is that in God's omniscient mind these sacrifices typify the sinless sacrifice of our Lord, and as the fat, our Lord was pure throughout, even in the deepest recesses of His heart. Besides the fact that it was noted as specifically belonging to the Lord, what stood out to me most was how this fat was intricately separated out from the rest of the carcass.
 
This type of fat wasn't just the kind that was intermingled with the flesh as in a ribeye steak; rather, this fat was connected to the internal organs and had to be intricately cut away and then offered upon the altar to God, as His portion, resulting in a sweet savor unto Him.
 
There is little doubt in my mind that this fat, which produced a sweet savor offering is represented of our Lord Jesus in the offering of Himself as a sacrifice for our sin. Simply stated, we have a New Testament precedent in this Ephesians text stating that Jesus' giving of Himself as an offering and sacrifice to God was a sweet smelling savor; furthermore, we are told that the Lord's portion of the fat was a sweet smelling savor.
 
One last thing to note is thought of the separating out of the fat and the fat's connection to our Lord.
 
Hebrews 2:9-18, specifically:
 

Hebrews 2:14
Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;

 

He became us

Hebrews 7:23-27
And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death: But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's: for this he did once, when he offered up himself.

 

But He is separate from us
 
The first passage says that He became a partaker of flesh and blood, so He could offer Himself through death in order to free us from the tyranny of death; furthermore, He is such a high priest that He remains forever. Like the fat, He is the Lord's portion. He comes from heaven, and He is:
 
holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens
 

Let’s go back to the thought about the sweet vs. un-sweet savor sacrifices. There is a part to the cross that is sweet in the eyes of God, and there is a part to the cross that reviles Him. 

The aspect of the cross that brings pleasure to God is the willing obedience of Jesus offering Himself in our place, resulting in the reconciliation of sinners back to God. 

The aspect of the cross that reviles God is the offensive presence of our sin that had to be laid upon the back of the sinless one. 

Hence, we have these two opposing scriptures referring to the same cross:

Ephesians 5:2 And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.

Matthew 27:46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

It should be understood that it wasn't the obedience of Jesus that resulted in His experiencing separation from the Father; rather, it was my sin, it was your sin that caused our Savior to experience the feeling of being forsaken from the Father's presence. He experienced the separation of our sin for us so that we wouldn't have to. I hope that we can get a glimpse of the magnitude of this. I hope that for just a moment in time, we can imagine the eternal pain a lost soul will feel separated from the presence of the Father. 

Let me say it again as the fat was separated from the carcass, Jesus was separated from sinners. While He became a partaker of flesh and blood, becoming us as human, He was altogether separate from the human race in that He was sinless. And it was His sinless life offered in our stead that procured for us a righteous standing before God. Lift up your head faithful pilgrim. God has provided a plan of reconciliation where you soul can restored unto God. 

Let's close by connecting the first part of the verse, which spoke of us emulating the love of Jesus by walking in His love, which was sacrificial in nature. We used that passage out of John, which spoke of our love towards God, resulting in Jesus calling us friends. We discussed the fact that a main context of the friend in those days was connected to the bride and bridegroom. Specifically, the friend was given the distinct offer of inviting the bride to marry the bridegroom. 

Now, we have the concept of Jesus who has offered Himself as a sacrifice for us so that reconciliation can be provided between sinful man and holy God. His sacrifice is a sweet smelling savor to God, because His obedience has secured the eternal covenant, and the covenant’s purpose was to connect wayward man back to God, but there remains one problem: people remain ignorant of the plan of God. 

Just as in the first context of the sin offering, much of humanity, like Israel, is engaging in a sinful lifestyle outside of God's will simply because they don't know, simply because no one has told them. 

 2 Corinthians 2:15-16

For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things?

The whole point to this passage of scripture is that Paul is referring to the preaching of the gospel. He refers to "we" becoming a sweet savor of Christ. Jesus' sacrifice was a sweet savor unto God, and our living our lives in such a way that we bring Him glory results in us functioning according to God's will. As we let others know of our Lord and the plan of God to save sinners, we become friends of the bridegroom as we invite others to become His bride. And then and only then do we function according to the purpose we were created for. 

 

 

 


#18 A Renewed Mind Produces Right Behavior

Ephesians 4:22-24
That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

 

So last week we covered the concept that when we are born again in Christ, the old man is put off, and the new man is put on; furthermore, the believer who has a revelation of this truth allows a process to ensue where the mind is renewed. When the believer becomes more and more aware of how God is creating a new creation in Christ and how the plan of God works through the operation of grace working in the heart of man, he learns to rest in the finished work of Christ, allowing an inner change to take place, allowing a new thought pattern to emerge, a renewed mind:
 
Now, Paul begins to exhort the Ephesians this way...Ephesians 4:21
If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus
:
 
If you've really been taught the doctrines of Christ, and you're beginning to operate with a renewed mind, then some new behaviors will begin to emerge, because bondages will be broken in your life, because Jesus defeated the forces of evil at the cross.
 
Ephesians 4:25
Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.

 
John 8:33-52
They answered him, We be Abraham's seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free? Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. I know that ye are Abraham's seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you. I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father. They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham's children, ye would do the works of Abraham. But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham. Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God. Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me. Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not. Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me? He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God. Then answered the Jews, and said unto him, Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil? Jesus answered, I have not a devil; but I honour my Father, and ye do dishonour me. And I seek not mine own glory: there is one that seeketh and judgeth. Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death. Then said the Jews unto him, Now we know that thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and thou sayest, If a man keep my saying, he shall never taste of death.
 
Psalms 51:6-7
Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts:and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean:wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

 

In the John passage, we're given a glimpse on why God hates lying so much; simply stated, lying finds its genesis in the father of lies; furthermore, it's a tool Satan used to deceive the first family and throw God's creation into disarray. God hates a lie because it keeps everything concealed and shrouded in darkness. God wants His people to tell the truth.
 
The Psalmist found this out the hard way. Through his disobedience with Bathsheba, Uriah the Hittite, a mighty warrior has been murdered in battle. The illegitimate offspring of their unholy union is also dead, and David has fasted and repented in sack cloth and ashes. Now, he has picked himself up from the floor and with time for reflection, he sees himself. He sees his own ways, his failures, his schemes, his lies. He sees how his methods have grieved the heart of God, and with all this, he puts stylus to papyrus and writes: God desires truth on the inward parts and in the hidden part you shall make me to know wisdom.
 
Let me say this child of God, "If you want God to make you to know wisdom in the hidden part, in the deep recesses of your Christian spirit, you better quit living a lie with Him. You don't have to come clean with the preacher, and I'm sorry if this makes you feel uncomfortable, but God wants truth. You don't have to come clean with me, but you better come clean with Him.
 
...for we are members one of another.
 

In reality, the whole underlying context of this passage we are studying is discussing how people should live amongst their brothers and sisters, remembering that we are all members of one body. But before we move forward notice how the Apostle points out the fact that we definitely shouldn't be lying or operating in deception with one another. We're all members of one another. All this time the Holy Spirit has been painting a picture of the eternal family of God i.e. the body of Christ, and the thought is why would we want to lie to and deceive our own body? We're in this together. We're all on the same team, and we're all supposed to be about the Father's business operating for the same purpose, so why would we operate like the enemy of our soul and lie about and to one another?
 
Ephesians 4:26
Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:

 
The emotion of anger is attributed to God in the Old Testament and to Jesus in the New Testament. With this in mind, it's important for us to understand that there is such a thing as righteous anger. Righteous anger will have at its source a stand against something that's in opposition to God. The Greek scholar Vincent makes the point that righteous anger isn’t only condoned in the New Testament but it’s expected.
 
As an example, let's use one of the passages we discussed last week. We used Hebrews three to describe God's people not operating with a renewed mind towards God because of an inability to perceive His ways, and being influenced by the world (Egypt) so that their "worldview" was changed.
 
But now let's use the same text to describe a time when God gets mad:
 
Hebrews 3:7-11
Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years. Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways. So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.)

 
So here we see that God is swearing according to His wrath that He's not pleased with the behavior of His people. To be truthful, the biggest part of the problem is that they didn't know His ways, which resulted in improper behavior. Furthermore, because they refused to learn His ways and stop the error of theirs, He said that He wasn't going to let them enter His rest.
 
Maybe there is a sobering message here for the people of God that transcends time: learn the ways of God and hearken unto them. Then, just maybe then, you will find rest for weary soul.
 
Our main point though is that it's possible for Christians to become angry especially when one person's behavior seems to be contrary to the will of God in a situation. But we must remember two things:
 
(1) there are certain behaviors we can exhibit when we're angry that aren't godly that would be sin by themselves.
 
(2) our text says that we aren't to let the sun go down upon our wrath. Now, Sister Toot used to use this specifically in marriage situations, and she would tell people to make up and kiss before they went to bed, and while there is some truth to that, the reality is that we better not let anger simmer and embitter our hearts towards anyone.
 
If you get to know me, you will learn that if I feel like there are some things going on between us that aren’t right, I will have to talk to you because I can’t live that way.
 

Matthew 5:23-24
Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.

The scripture says that if someone has a problem with you, that you're to go to them. I’ve learned through the process of time that it's easier for me to get things out in the open. I've learned something through the last several years: Satan wants to play tricks on my mind. Maybe he doesn't mess with you that way, but he does me, so I disarm the situation. I go to the person. One day, I may come to you and say, "Hey, is everything alright between us?"
 
And your response may be, "Yes, why."
 
And then maybe I might for a second feel silly because I made myself look foolish, thinking something was wrong when it wasn't, but I've actually learned something else about that: humility and humiliation come from the same thought, and Matt needs humility, and I've learned something about that:
 
1 Peter 5:6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:
 

Jesus likes humility, and I really like Jesus : )
 
The main point is bring your situation before the Lord. Don't hold onto something in your heart that you can't change, letting it simmer and fester into a mess. If you do, you are hurting your own walk with God.
 
Ephesians 4:27 Neither give place to the devil.
 

In the KJV, there is a colon after the previous verse meaning the translators felt like there was a direct connection between verses 26 and 27, so the idea would be that if you do let the sun go down on your wrath, or you're not letting God deal with your frustrations about these things, then you could give place to the devil.
 
In addition to that we should understand that there are multiple ways that we could give place to the devil, so what does this thought of giving place to the devil even mean?
 
The word for "place" in the Greek is literally topos, and the overall thought describes a foothold or giving permission for someone to enter and live in a place, so in this sense, when a believer allows anger to simmer, he's opening a door and allowing Satan to move in with his seeds of bitterness in hand.
 
But it should be understood that it's not only anger that allows this process to ensue. The gospel teaches that "In Christ" we have protection from the powers of darkness. We are clothed in the armor of God, which we will get to soon enough, and when we get there, we will learn that Jesus is our armor. You can't get better protection than that.
 
However, when we open a door, Satan sticks his foot in quickly, and now he's wiggling his way into the heart. He wants permission through the free will that God gave you to come in, and so he works his subtlety. As he works quietly and softly he wiggles a little more: whispering, “this isn't that bad." 
 
Whispering, “This won't hurt you. Some people are just overboard with Christianity. They operate in legalism. You, on the other hand have been given freedom. You can do this. They may not be able to, but you can."
 
And as we do the conscience is seared and he wiggles a little more and we let him in a little more and the whole while he's not really forcing himself. Instead, he's just waiting for us to give him permission. And before you know it, you've rented him a topos, you've rented him a room, and you've given place to the devil.
 
Ephesians 4:28
Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.

 
We would all agree that stealing is against the character of God, so don't steal, which is an act of taking away from someone else. But notice how this first part of the verse, which describes taking from others, is contrasted to the next part, which describes labor for the purpose of having something to give others.
 
The "old man" takes; whereas, the "new man" gives. And don't just pass over the wording labour here:
 
Labour- kopiao= To toil, labor, be weary and fatigued.
 
Remember what God said to Adam after the fall:
 
Genesis 3:19
In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.

 

The curse has brought manual labor. It's caused hard and fatiguing work, even the sweat of the brow to take place. But hallelujah we can glorify God with the way we work.
 
Maybe as they watch us work, they would ask in their hearts, "Why is this guy different? Why is this girl different? The work load is more; I'm becoming frustrated, but they seem to be happier. I'm slacking, but they're working harder."
 
Ephesians 4:29-30
Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.

 
The word corrupt literally means rotten. There are some words we can speak that just aren't redeeming. In other words, their purpose isn't of God, they are slanderous and injurious to the body of Christ, and God wants His people built up. I looked up the English word grieve in my Bible app and this is the only time the word is used in the New Testament. While there are certainly other ways the Holy Spirit can be grieved, we know for sure that speaking rotten words to people or about them will.
 
Instead, our words are to produce edification, a building up where grace is ministered to the hearers. It is beholden upon us as followers of our Lord to learn the truth of the gospel and minister the word in such a way that they are learning grace and God is changing their lives.
 
Ephesians 4:31
Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:

 

Bitterness- poison: hatred
 
Wrath- passionate anger that's not rooted in righteous purposes. In other words it's human anger and probably demonic in origin. The difference between wrath, which is thumos in Greek and anger is that this word describes a sudden outburst of passion.
 
Anger- orge anger is a mind set that remains in a state of anger and is contrasted to the outburst passion of thumos.
 
Clamor- the word describes the croaking of a raven and is connected to the outburst of anger. In other words, yelling in association with anger.
 
Evil speaking- the word in the Greek is blasphemia, and it describes slanderous words. Why would we want to purposefully say things about people if we knew that they would hurt them.
 
Malice- badness, depravity, naughtiness. In this passage of thought, malice seems to be the root behind all the previous behaviors, so we see a person who lives in a state where his mindset is anger, he has passionate outbursts of anger, his words are loud and full of bitterness and slander; ultimately causing injury instead of edification.
 
The concept of malice is also used in these verses and describes things left over from the "old man" and shouldn't remain present in the new man:
 
James 1:18-24
Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God. Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.
 
Ephesians 4:32
And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.

 


#17 The Renewed Mind

Ephesians 4:20-21
But ye have not so learned Christ; If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus:

 
Paul's referring to the previous passages of scripture where he described the other Gentiles, those that are unredeemed, the ones he spoke of previously that were in ancient days without the Christ, the covenants, and the promises of God; and specifically, he discusses their "walk," which literally describes a person's manner of life or how they conduct their business. Ultimately, the exhortation is don’t walk in darkness like those without the promises you have:
 

Ephesians 1:18
The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know...

 

Paul is addressing the church in Ephesus and saying, "You aren't like the other Gentiles who walk in a darkened state towards the truths of Messiah:
 
But ye have not so learned Christ; If so be that ye have heard him...
 
The word learned is specifically instruction. Paul's point is that the church of Ephesus was instructed in the truths of the Christ...if so be that ye have heard Him... One Greek scholar makes the point that this verse could have been translated, "If as is the case you were taught Him."
 
The prepositional phrase that we speak of often is utilized twice in these verses:
 
(1). ...have been taught by him... Is literally en autoi or "In Him.”
 
That's why I repeatedly draw the stick men on the board. I'm trying to ever keep in the forefront of your Christian mind that as a new creation in Christ, you've been translated into a new sphere, a new environment, a new kingdom, from darkness to light, you live in a new place, a new "house," a new "neighborhood," a place called "In Him."
 
In this new sphere in which you abide, there is abounding grace and instruction from the Holy Spirit for you to be taught the things of God. In this place, you learn Jesus. We aren't just talking about the historical figure named Jesus. Jesus' message is who He is.
 
What are you talking about? The other day Robert and I were in El Toro eating after we had been working, and we ran into someone Robert used to go to church with. At one point, he challenged me and said, "I asked my Pastor if he could tell me what the gospel was, and he couldn't," so can you tell me-- what is the gospel?
 
I responded, "Jesus is the gospel!"
 
"No, that’s what my pastor told me too, but the gospel includes things like repentance also," was his retort.
 
I would never want to be demeaning but your brain isn't firing on all cylinders sir. You think you've dug deep, but you're still just scratching the surface, because Jesus is the gospel:
 
He doesn't just preach on Jubilee or the kingdom of God. He is the jubilee and the kingdom
 
He is the Sabbath

 

He is the resurrection and the life.
 
He is repentance, because when one embraces Jesus, that person is turning from the world and turning to Jesus.

 

He doesn’t just preach deliverance. He is the deliverer.

 

He is the truth, the way, the life….
 
(2). ...the truth is in Jesus:
 
en Ieosus or "In Jesus."
 
Once again, we are faced with this prepositional phrase, describing a new place in which the believer resides, and in this place, the truth of God is found!
 
Ephesians 4:22
That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;

 

The thought of putting off has the essence of a person removing a garment, a garment that is old, worn out, and outdated. The word conversation used here is an outdated old English used in the same fashion as walk, and once again, describes, the manner of lifestyle or one's behavior.
 
When the whole thought is considered together, the idea is that our lifestyle and behavior should no longer reflect the "old man's" lifestyle and behavior; instead, our life should reflect the new man that lives in Christ.

 

So who is the "old man?"
 

In a generic fashion, the "old man" is who we were born in Adam, when we were physically born under sin’s dominion. The pictograph of the stick man we commonly refer to teaches that in God's mind, the "old man" died in Christ at the cross, was buried with Him in the tomb, and resurrected with Him as a new creation in Christ (Romans 6:3-6; Galatians 2:20; 2 Corinthians 5:17).
 
Specifically, regarding our "old man" today, how can we know when he attempts to come alive
Maybe the safest thing to do is for the preacher to use himself as an example. That way no one gets offended because he’s talking about himself-- not you.
 
So Matt's "old man" had multiple bondages and character flaws:
 
I was consumed with the party and whatever that entailed. I said it last week, but I will say it again, "Whatever made my flesh feel good I wanted a lot of it."
 
But anything that wasn't fun I ran from. Things like responsibility or work.
 
For instance, all I was concerned about was smoking pot and drinking, which killed my desire for work. Even after I was a Christian, my mindset was bent to the way it was before. I was the first to volunteer to go home early even though I now had a wife and kids. I thank God that over time, He has changed that about me drastically.
 
Another aspect about me was that I always had to have my way in relationships. It didn't matter at all what the other person wanted. I was going to get what I wanted no matter what or I wasn't going to play anymore. Over time, God began to convict me. I have a long way to go, but I constantly think about the other person's position and opinion. It doesn't mean that I always agree but I'm mindful of others.
 
When it came to spending money, if I wanted it, I went and got it. It didn't matter whether I had the money to pay for it. Purchase today pay tomorrow. I should be clear when I say this. People can do what they want with their own money they work for, but if we live outside of our means, then we have a root that needs to be dealt with. For me the root was that if I want it, I'm going to get it whether you like it or not. This went on until I got to the point where I didn't like it anymore, because it doesn't matter how much money you make, you can still live above your means.
 
I used to feel like I had to win every argument. God's still working on me, but when I realize that I'm acting like the "old man," I can shut up, and I can say I'm sorry when I'm wrong.
 
There are many other things that people continue in attempting to fix their problems. They continue to allow their "old man's" logic to fix their problems:
 
Men and women both still seek companionship in an attempt to fill a void in their lives that only Jesus can fill. They attempt through material possessions to fill voids, through drugs or alcohol, through a better job, through....
 
Men try to prove their manhood by dominating relationships and attempting to rule their spouse in fear, and some women allow themselves to be used as a vessel, like Eve did, for the serpent to once again usurp the position of the man’s spiritual leadership in the home, which throws everything in the house into chaos and disarray, and just as the fall left God’s children in a place of heartache and pain, the children of the family are left in disarray. And then she wonders why he won’t step up and lead? Oh please you wouldn’t let that man lead if he wanted to.

People attempt to fix their financial burdens by more financial burdens but they never let God deal with the over spending issues in their lives.
 
These are some specific issues that affect people's daily lives, but the commonality is that they represent "old man" behavior that was supposed to have died in Christ at the cross. However, if we don't understand how the Holy Spirit works in our lives through the finished work of Christ, then we continue to struggle.
 
So how does it work? God operates in sovereignty within our free will. If there is an area, He wants gone, but we want to cling to, He allows the wilderness wandering to ensue. He allows certain things to take place in our lives to bring us to the end of self in that area He wants to deal with. I can assure you that God has more patience than we do, and if we refuse to submit in a certain area, then He just waits and lets us have our way until finally one day we say, "No mas. No more God. I quit. I give up and defer to your will."
 
Lastly, about this verse is the phrase...according to the deceitful lusts...literally means a delusional craving for something that is forbidden. When my flesh desires something contrary to the will of God, and I'm moved in that direction instead of towards the Father's will, I'm being deceived by sin and operating according to the mindset of the "old man."
 
Ephesians 4:23-24
And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

 

The terminology here: "renewed in the spirit of your mind" is reminiscent of the terminology used in chapter one "...that the eyes of your understanding would be enlightened."
 
Does the mind have a spirit? Does the understanding have eyes? The thought is that when the spiritual aspect of man is born again, that man's spirit is quickened or given life towards the things of God (Ezekiel 36:25-27) and a renewal of the mind ensues. In other words, the Spirit of God through the word of God begins to transform and renew the thought processes, better yet, the viewpoint in which this vapor called life is seen is transformed i.e. renewed by the Holy Spirit.
 
This process requires various factors to be in place. For example, the Holy Spirit must be living in the heart of the person, so they must be born again. Secondly, the word of God must be preached, taught or understood in such a way that the believer is made aware of how the renewed mind takes place.
 
The reason I emphasize this so much is because for so long I was taught that all I had to do was read the Bible and my mind was being renewed. While it is true that reading the word introduces me to the truths of God, if I don't spiritually understand the underlying meaning of the text, my mind will be tricked, with the help of unknowing preachers into believing that it's the simple act of reading pages in the Bible that's renewing my mind when the reality is that-- it's a spiritual understanding of God's word that changes the context of my worldview.
 
Titus 3:5-6
Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;

 
This scripture does a good job of explaining somewhat the process I'm speaking of. It's not through the works that we do that the renewed mind is received. Man cannot, through his feeble attempts at reading more Bible, praying more, or fasting more save himself. Man cannot do a regeneration miracle in his own heart through his own works of righteousness; rather, a regeneration miracle takes place in the heart of  a man when he is born again  as taught in Romans 6:3-5, Ezekiel 36:25-27 and Jeremiah 31:31. Human words can't properly describe what happens in the spiritual realm, but let it be known that when a person is born again and sealed with the Holy Spirit, they will never be the same.
 
The word regeneration describes the initial conversion. One Greek scholar likened it to a building permit, which allows the continued work to ensue. The renewed mind is a renovation project. When a person is born again, the Holy Spirit comes to live in them and they now have a receiver.
 
Ezekiel 36:26-27
A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.

 

That which was previously born of Adam and dead to God has been born again and made alive to God. This event allows the renewing to ensue.
 
The word "renewing" in Titus and "renewed" in our Ephesians text come from the same root and mean exactly that: a process of renewal. So the renewed mind is transformed because the Holy Spirit, through salvation has awakened our spirit from the death of sin, and the process continues as the believer learns and submits to the Holy Spirit's renewal of the mind through the word.
 
One of the big problems we have is that much of our mindsets have been developed from the world; furthermore, we now live in the midst of a timeframe where the church has embraced much of the methodologies of the world, which further obscures the line between godliness and holiness; therefore, it becomes more difficult a process for the mind to be renewed. This same thing happened to Israel.
 

Hebrews 3:7-4:11
 
The revelation God gave me about this passage that connects to the renewed mind concept is the fact that God said, "They always erred because they didn't know His ways." paraphrase
 

As I began to ponder this concept, I asked the Lord, "But why Lord? Why didn't they know your ways? They were Israel, the nation you had created through the promises given to the one man named Abraham. You had delivered them from Egyptian bondage. They previously had known of your covenant through the sign of circumcision you had given Abraham-- why God?"
 
I firmly believe God's answer for me was the same problem that God's people deal with today. His answer was that they had been Egyptian slaves for 400 years, and even though they had been given the circumcision and the promises, as they lived in Egypt, a type of the world, they forgot the ways of God and became indoctrinated with the ways of the world.

 

Paul has a similar warning for the church.
 

Romans 12:1-2
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed
[to be molded from an outer source] to this world: but be ye transformed [metamorphosis the inside {Jesus from the new birth} comes out] by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
 
Essentially, these two scriptures explain the same concept as the one we just covered in Hebrews. Just as Egypt (world) had influenced the mindset of Israel's thinking, the world today wants to influence the thinking of God's people—the church. God doesn't want His people to err repeatedly because they don't understand His ways.
 
In this Romans passage, the exhortation reaches backwards to all the previous teaching that had come forth:
 
Ch 1-3: all men, both Jew and Gentile are guilty according to God's standard of righteousness which was the Law.
 
Ch 3:21-4 & 5: the righteousness of God apart from the Law has been revealed and His name is Jesus. Man is justified and the curse reversed through faith in the sacrifice of the righteous one.
 
Ch 6: upon faith in Jesus and His sacrifice, the old man dies and a new man is resurrected anew.
 
Ch 7: when the believer attempts to live daily for God through faith in works and Law, grace is frustrated and failure rather than victory is the result.
 
Ch 8: there are spiritual laws that are in effect. The only way to victory over sin is through the fact that the law of the Spirit of life in Christ has set me free from the law of sin and death.
 
Ch 9-11: Israel is an example to the church. They attempted to establish their own righteousness and forsook the righteousness of God which was Jesus.
 
12: the believer is exhorted to live a life of sacrifice, where he becomes a walking worship service for God. Remember, the reader of this letter would have already read Romans chapter 6, where he would have been taught that the “old man’ was dead, and a “new man’ was resurrected; Therefore, when they read the words… be a living sacrifice…this was the exhortation.
 
The person who understands that the old is dead and the new is resurrected gains revelation that he is crucified to the world, he will not be conformed to their ways, and instead his mind is transformed as the new man begins to gain revelation about the wonderful plan of God, which created new creations in Christ. Ultimately, this is the renewed mind—a revelation that the believer is a new creation in Christ.

#16 They're Playing Dice with the Doctrines of God

They’re Playing Dice with the Doctrines of God

Ephesians 4:12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
 
Perfecting has the idea of equipping, preparing, to make ready.
 
Ministry = service
 
The gifts are for the purpose of building up the saints in preparation to do service work for the kingdom.
 
There are certain things that must be done in the church. Things like cleaning....
 
But the focal point being spoken of here is related to the business of souls. The business of kingdom extension whether it be you out there reaching the lost for Jesus pouring the Lord into them or inviting them to church, and once they're there, we disciple them. So it's my job to build you up in the knowledge of God.
 
The gifts are given by Jesus to the saints to bring them to a place of completion, which equips them for Christian service, a willingness to be used by God as a vessel to reflect His glory.
 
As the five-fold ministry operates properly, edification or a further building of the body results. Essentially, there is a building or an adding to. The Greek scholar Kenneth Wuest states, "The church is being built up, by the additions to its membership in lost souls being saved..."
 
Ephesians 4:13 Till we all come in [into] the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
 

All this "equipping" is ultimately for the purpose that we would come
into unity regarding knowledge of "the faith"
 
eis = into
 
We are coming into unity in the faith. Last week we mentioned the fact that "the faith" is synonymous with the covenant. Through faith (verb: action i.e. belief), we come [into (eis)] the faith (noun: person, place, or thing). In this place (the faith), we come into communion or fellowship with Him. We have gained access into grace, which empowers us to grow in Christ.
 
He is the source of our power. The Holy Spirit is the dispenser of this power called grace in our lives, and all this is made possible because of Jesus' sacrificial atonement on the cross. It's at this place where our faith and His obedience collide (the cross) and our "old man" born guilty in Adam is made righteous in the eyes of God.
 
The starting point of unity being spoken of here refers to the individual saints, which corporately make up the building of God or the body of Christ.
 
As the believer gains true epignosis (experiential or full knowledge) of the Son of God and learns the reality of the faith, there is a renewal taking place, a renewal resulting in spiritual maturity.
 
The renewal of the believer takes place from the position of "In Christ," where faith gives access to grace (Romans 5:1-4), and grace changes the inner man. The renewal (Titus 3:5) or change that takes place "In Christ" is not only accessed through Him, but that maturity is measured against Him, which means that He is the standard, and as we are changed, mature believers begin to take on His characteristics. 
 
Ephesians 4:14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

 It would serve this verse justice to separate it into two sections and deal with it one section at a time.

Ephesians 4:14a That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine...

Nepios-- used for children metaphorically to describe one who is untaught or unskilled (Strong's)
 
In the previous verse, it was pointed out that in God's plan, we grow through our knowledge of Christ and unity of the faith, and in this place, the believer is matured into a "perfect man" teleios, which is a man of full maturity.
 
That thought from the previous verse is being contrasted to "nepios" an infant or child without verbal skills (Wuest.)
 
So in this verse, the mature Christian who is growing in stature, and whose growth is measured in Jesus, is being contrasted to the child who is being tossed upon a tumultuous sea by every wind of doctrine.
 
We have previously made this point time and again throughout the life of the Bible Study but every time we cross a path and our spiritual sensors go off, we must stop and dig for the treasure. The doctrine that prevents the tossing is opposite of that which is false. The doctrine that holds one steady in spite of the storm is the doctrine of the anchor that holds. I'm here to shout it loud tonight that there is an anchor that holds in spite of the storm. Though the waves may rage, though the winds may howl, there is an anchor for your soul, and if you would just hold onto that anchor you wouldn't lose your course.
 
Well tell me because I have to know, "Who's the anchor...what's the anchor?" The anchor is Jesus Christ and Him crucified.
 
Hebrews 6:19-20 Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.
 
The question may be asked, "Ok, I can see that the anchor is Jesus, but the cross isn't mentioned here. Where's the cross?" We need to start seeing with spiritual eyes because this verse is SCREAMING the cross:
 
Matthew 27:50-51 -- Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;...
 
This second part of verse 14, which describes a tossing to and fro on the sea is being contrasted to the believer who is in Christ and being completed and equipped towards unity, knowledge, and maturity in Christ.
 
The cause of this disastrous tossing is related to the fact that the one being tossed has been thrown off course through false doctrine.

Ephesians 4:14b ...by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;...

There are two Greek words that help determine the meaning of this verse:

Sleight= kubeia. Kubeia is where we get our word cube, and the idea is a die as in dice for gambling, but the thought according to Wuest and Strong's is deception rather than gambling. Oftentimes the word sleight in English is used to describe "sleight of hand games" as in the bended card or pea under the nutshell game on the streets. The idea is that they are making you believe one thing when in reality it's something else altogether. 

Lie in wait = methodeia

From this Greek word, we get our English word 'method.' The idea is that there is a purposeful game of deception going on with God's word to cause confusion of the saints and send them off course. 

In my personal belief, what we see coming off the West Coast, which is the genesis of the so-called "paradigm shift" is exactly this. It's a sleight of hand, a methodical scheme appearing to be a plan to reach the lost with new methods, methods which have scriptural support when viewed on the surface, but once the whole is viewed in the right context the truth is revealed. In other words, they feed the sick, clothe the naked, and preach a social gospel telling people this is the way, but the true gospel concerns itself with the CHANGING OF THE HUMAN HEART. The real message of the cross causes the “old man” born of Adam to die and a “new man” born again in Jesus to experience resurrection life. Instead, much of what we see in the modern church is a church full of people running around helping people’s physical needs, busy works that make the person feel better about themselves, but the church is filled with people whose hearts aren’t being changed.

Matthew 25:34-40

Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? -- When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? -- Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

We should be clear and explain that in no way do we believe in this ministry that the physical needs of people don't need to be met; rather, it's our contention that it's the heart of man that needs attention. If the heart is truly converted, then God will lead, guide and direct the believer down the right path. 

Matthew 7:22-23

Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

In this passage, it becomes clear that there will be through the years of the church age those who performed both spiritual and practical works; however, they weren't of God. In reality, they were workers of iniquity. The word for iniquity is literally anomia, meaning lawlessness or without law, in this case, the idea is without true regard for the things of God. 

Interestingly, the book of second Thessalonians uses the same Greek root anomos to describe the antichrist:

2 Thessalonians 2:7-8

For the mystery of iniquity [anomia] doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked [anomos] be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:

Ephesians 4:15
But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:

 
This verse is being contrasted with the previous one; whereas false doctrine and false teachers produce a life of tumultuous tossing, like a vessel driven off course by violent waves, but the believer who lives in the truth is a member of the body who is receiving his nourishment from the head, which is Christ and is navigating the course charted by God.
 
Remember that the reference to truth here is referring back to verse 13, where we were told that the purpose of the five- fold ministry was to bring us into a place of growth and maturity, a process taking place as we understand more clearly what unity in the faith and knowledge of the Son of God means. 
 
Ephesians 4:16
From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

 
"From whom" speaks of the head, which is Christ. He is our source of power resulting in a connection between the body parts. There is knitting together or a union taking place "In Christ" where we are becoming one as a body. We are becoming like-minded and being built up to function as one unit in harmony with Him, who is the head.
 
As this unity progressively moves closer towards God's will for the functioning of His body, His work, done His way is accomplished. 
 
Ephesians 4:17
This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind,
...
 

I have always liked the word 'henceforth' since understanding the King James Version of the Bible. Essentially it means that from this day forward... Regarding the passage we are studying, henceforth, is referring to the fact that we have been properly indoctrinated to the truth that true unity for the body of Christ is found in the fact that we are unified in "the faith" and the knowledge of Jesus.
 
Once again, these concepts speak of the whole plan of God through the ages. God's progressive movement through the annals of human history as He methodically and purposefully unfolds His plan before the eyes of His people, so they can see His plan, which is summed up in “the faith,” and that faith is Jesus Christ and Him crucified.
 
Once, we begin to see these truths that are found in Christ, we are henceforth to walk in them and no longer walk as the other Gentiles do. If you will remember, in chapter 2:11-22, we were introduced to the fact that Paul referred to Gentiles (which the church of Ephesus was) as those who were without the Christ, the covenants, and the promises. Essentially, they were aliens of the commonwealth. In other words, they weren't citizens of God's community because they were separated, not being Israelites, to whom the promises were given. However, now, we've been told that God has made one new man out of the two (Jew and Gentile) that previously existed. As we've discussed in detail in the past, there is one plan for both Jew and Gentile. The plan I speak of is Jesus, and now there is one people of God, which can be referred to by many names such as: church, body, members, lively stones, temple made without hands....
 
But the main thought of this verse is that now, because we've been born again into the commonwealth of God and have had the truth of God's word revealed to us, we are no longer supposed to walk the way the other Gentiles walk.
 
Ephesians 4:18
Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:
...
 

But when the church takes on the methodologies of the world and intertwines the world's doctrines with their own, the body becomes sick and cannot function the way it's supposed to.
 
The mind at this point continues operating as the unredeemed mind. It's darkened and empty. The word "blindness" here describes not only a darkening but also a hardening as in a callous being formed. As God's word is rejected, the heart of man spirals further away from the truth of God and deeper into a place of moral depravity. This truth can be further clarified through the Romans 1:16-22 and Isaiah 6 passages.
 
In the Romans passage, the thought is that unrighteous men suppress the truth of God's word, resulting in a spiraling down where the heart of man becomes more vain (empty/ futile/ meaningless) and darkened (blinded and hardened) towards the things of God. Also, in the Isaiah passage, a similar truth is found. The prophet tells us that in the year King Uzziah (meaning strength) died, he (Isaiah) saw the Lord. As Paul told us in 2 Corinthians 12:9, 10 that God's strength working in his life was more powerful and clear when he (Paul) was in a state of weakness. Wherever you are in your walk, you must be reminded that when the strength of the believer fails, God's power is just showing up!
 
Nevertheless, when Uzziah died, Isaiah saw the Lord, and when Isaiah saw the Lord, his heart was grieved because he saw himself. And he weeps in repentance because when a man truly enters the presence of God, he sees how far away he is..

Once God is through dealing with the heart of His people, He desires to send them out as witnesses to His glory, mouthpieces to proclaim His truth. In the Isaiah passage, God explains that when the proclamation of the truth goes forth, people’s hearts will become fattened, meaning those that reject or suppress the truth when the gospel is brought forth, will at the same time be applying a layer of fat or allowing a callous to be formed over their heart, causing a blindness or spiritual darkening to take place.
 
Compare Ephesians 4:18 to 1:18 where Paul speaks of believers having the eyes of their understanding enlightened, so they could see those three things: the hope of his calling, the riches of His inheritance in the saints, and the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe.
 
Ephesians 1:18
The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,

Ephesians 4:19
Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.

 
"...past feeling"
describes a process where the heart has become calloused and hard as the truth has been rejected.
 
Lasciviousness- has a direct meaning of unbridled lustfulness. Consider for a second the fact that God’s people are supposed to have some restraint; yet, we see churches filled with all sorts of sexual promiscuity. A bridle is connected to the bit in a horse’s mouth. A horse with a bit in his mouth connected to a bridle held in his master's hand allows himself to be steered in the right direction.
 
Where there is false doctrine, there is no bridle because there is no proper understanding of justification by faith, which allows the believer access into the presence of God (Romans 5)
 
People who have been saved but are disciples under false doctrine, haven't been in the process of a renewed mind (Ephesians 4; Romans 12).
 


 


#15 Jesus Gives Gifts to His Body, Part 2

Jesus Gives Gifts to His Body: Part 2

Evangelist
 
Paul was an evangelist can you see him and Silas in the prison. Right after Lydia the seller of purple, the first European convert gets saved, they're in the streets preaching the gospel. And Paul casts the devil out of that young girl who was filled with the spirit of Python, a spirit of divination or fortune telling. And because of that they get thrown into jail because with the demon gone, she could no longer tell people their fortune, so her masters who made money off of her lost their finances.
 
But even in the jail Paul and Silas said, "We've come to lift Jesus up. We've come to praise His name. We're going to sing unto Him, and the chains break and the earth quakes and more people get saved. We should learn a valuable lesson from these men: when we are working for the Lord, there will be times that we will come against opposition. It’s in these times that we must hold onto Jesus more than ever before. We must be willing to sing His praise in both the good and bad times, and I have learned from personal experience that when I face circumstances I can’t control, if I will turn it over to Him, He will carry it, He will resolve it.
 
What about Phillip in Acts 8:26-38. He was led by the Holy Spirit to go down from Jerusalem into Gaza where he found the eunuch reading Isaiah, the spot where it foretold 600 years before our Jesus was born that He was a lamb led to slaughter, and He didn't open his mouth.
 
Candace's eunuch had to know, "Who does this speak of? Tell me does the prophet speak about himself or someone else?" And from that point forward Philip preached Jesus to him. "What prevents me from being baptized in water?" The eunuch inquires.
 
"Nothing, you just have to believe with all your heart."
 
The modern church has all but kicked the evangelist out. They have said, "We don't want the people stirred. We want to work our programs the way we have them set up, and don't you say that we're asleep, preacher, because we're doing stuff. We're moving and shaking."
 
But the people perish in the pew because the preacher refuses to boldly proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ. And because you kicked out the evangelist the gospel is being preached without evangelical zeal and the people in the pew have no desire to see the lost saved.
 
Pastor- Teacher
 
The word pastor is closely connected to our English word pasture, and the thought is literally a shepherd. We won't take the time to separately discuss the concept of a teacher. Most Greek scholars explain that these two words are connected to one another according to a certain Greek language rule. Nevertheless, we should point out that certainly there can be teachers who aren't pastors; however, it's unlikely to be God's will for a person who isn't a teacher to be a pastor.
 
By nature a pastor's job is to provide food for the sheep. The food the sheep need in a Christian sense is the covenant God has provided where man can have relationship with Him, which is Jesus Christ and Him crucified.
 
As long as I'm teaching you Jesus and how to hear His voice, you're in the right place, a safe place where like the Psalmist said the Lord is the shepherd. He will lead you to a place where there is provision in your time of want. He will lead you to green pastures. If you really want to know Him, He will send you to a place where you can be fed right.
 
He will also lead you beside still waters. There is chaos abounding in this world. But if the under- shepherd can feed you Jesus, if He can teach you to hear Jesus, then there can be peace in your environment even though chaos abounds.
 
There are also some good concepts regarding shepherds for us to learn in John 10.
 
1st scenario: (John 10:1-8). The shepherd is Jesus. The sheep are His people, the others are imposters of false doctrine, and the scenario is that the porter is in charge of allowing entree' of the true shepherds.
 
In ancient times, there were fenced areas in pastures where multiple flocks could be kept for safe keeping. The sheep were trained to know their shepherd's voice; therefore, when the shepherd would come for His sheep, He would follow the proper protocol, going through the gate with permission from the porter, and calling His sheep by name, the sheep, in turn, would follow Him because they were used to His voice. Satan is always trying to get God’s people to go in an opposite direction of God’s plan. Jesus entered through the doorway, meaning He was obedient to the Father’s will. While Satan wanted Jesus to go another way a crown without a cross, He didn’t succumb to his deceptive devices.

Parable: story para- side ballo- throw-- (a parabolic teaching throws two things alongside each other for the purposes of comparison and contrast).
 

The parable being offered here is that the shepherd (Jesus) operates  according to the Father's will. There is no hidden agenda. However, the thief and the robber are going another way, a way of deception.
 
2nd scenario: (John 10:8, 9).
 
Once the shepherd's flock was gathered, they were then brought to a safe place where a smaller enclosure was provided for their safety. In this enclosure, the shepherd allows access in and out of the gate, for he becomes the gate. And the sheep can come in and out safely as needed. Walvoord says that the concept is that it's only through Jesus that the sheep are able to enter into the true provision and safety of God; for He (Jesus) alone is the gate for the sheep.
 
3rd scenario: (John 10:9-10). In this scenario there is still the thought of thievery, but also added is death and destruction. It should be noted that there is no doubt there is reference to our enemy Satan here; however, the reader should also be made aware that the immediate context is that Jesus is directly addressing the blinded and deceived Pharisees (John 9:39-41).
 
So a more specific interpretation would be that Jesus as the only real door to the sheep, which allows entrance into life is being contrasted with the false doctrines of those that have come before Him, who's purpose was to bring destruction to the sheep of God.
 
Lastly, as part of the contrast between Jesus' ministry and the Pharisees, which also applies to ministers today, Jesus, the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep; a hireling, on the other hand, is only concerned about a paycheck, and he won't do what's best for the sheep if it interferes what he thinks is best for him.
 
One obvious thing that strikes me in this regard is people's unwillingness to call out false doctrine or ministries that are presenting the gospel in such a way that it will harm the sheep.

Ephesians 4:12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
 
The purpose of the five fold ministry is: perfecting the saints for ministry work for the purpose of edification of the body of Christ.
 
There are three action words in this verse that drive the thought God is communicating:
 
(1) perfecting- kartismos. The thought of this word is to bring something to perfection or completion. This word was used in varied ways during New Testament times: re-fitting a ship, setting a broken bone, and mending fishing nets. Undoubtedly, the idea is that all of creation finds themselves in the same predicament; we are fallen in Adam; however, God wants His people’s nets mended, He wants to bring us to a place of completion, so that we can minister Him to a lost and dying world.
 
The root of this word is also used in this verse here:
 
Matthew 4:21 And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them.
 
The word mending is kartizo. The overall thought that I'm trying to communicate is that the purpose of these gifts are to help bring God's people into a place of mending and maturity. The effects of the fall have left holes in our nets, we need mending, so we can properly function in the kingdom of God.
 
Work- is ergon, and the work is ministry, which is diakonos, and is where we get our word for deacon. While the word deacon isn't specifically used to describe people in Acts 6, this is the first reference we have to the idea of a deacon and it's related to the word service:
 
Acts 6:2 Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables.
 

...is from the same root diakonos. So a deacon is a servant. If you go back and review the criteria of a deacon, you will see that they must be full of the Holy Spirit. When a person is full of the Holy Spirit, their heart beats for what Jesus' heart beats for. Jesus’ heart beats for the souls of men. We should never be deluded into thinking that busy work like feeding people, clothing them, or even working on this building is the essence of what is spoken here. Our focal point must always be to minister Jesus to others.
 
The overall essence of service in the New Testament surrounds spiritual service where others are learning Jesus, so the idea is that God will use some as a Pastor- teacher, making me a vessel to minister Jesus to you, and as you are perfected and equipped, others are ministered to out there. In some cases, those people will come to church with us, in some cases they won't. That isn't what matters to me. Don't misunderstand me, I want people to come to our church, but my immediate concern is that you be built up, and that you minister (diakonos) to the people that you encounter on a daily basis and help them find Jesus. There is an eternal reward in that. If I'm so consumed with a desire to increase the numbers in this building, that I can't get excited when you tell me that you talked to someone long distance and ministered Jesus to them, then God help me, because I'm in error!
 
(3) edifying- oikodomos. This word comes from the root oikoos, meaning house. In this sense, the word has connected to it architecture or structural integrity.
 
To be truthful, the local church is only as effective as the believer's within its walls allow themselves to be submitted to Jesus; furthermore, their ability to submit their lives to Christ is directly related to their understanding of the gospel, which allows the Holy Spirit freedom to work in their lives.
 
As the individuals in local churches grow in Christ, the church is strengthened, but as we will soon see, the danger of false doctrine looms in the air. Satan and his false ministers will attempt at every moment to change the gospel ever so slightly to prevent the people from being perfected and edified so that they could do their part in the work of the ministry:
 
2 Corinthians 11:14-15 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.
 
Ephesians 4:13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure (metronome: measurement) of the stature (adult maturity) of the fulness of Christ:

 
So the gifts given by Jesus to the body are for the purpose of perfecting and building in preparation for ministry, and all this is to take place until we all come in the unity...
 
We must take a moment and ponder what's being communicated here. The word unity describes oneness, but notice the place unity is supposed to occur. In other words, the idea isn't unity just for the sake of getting along with everyone. Instead, the idea is that the unity is centered upon "the faith" and "the knowledge" of the Son of God, which results in a "perfect" or completed man who is being measured against Jesus.
 
I've said it before, and I will say it again, "Jesus is the plumb line. He is the standard of righteousness by which we measure our growth in Christ."
 
We have discussed this before, but the terminology, "the faith" isn't speaking of faith as an action word; instead, it's speaking of faith in the sense of a noun. In essence it's describing the covenant of God, which is where we are to keep our verb faith placed. What is the New Covenant of God:
 
1 Corinthians 1:18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.
 
1 Corinthians 1:23-24 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.
 
1 Corinthians 2:2 For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.
 
Galatians 6:14 But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.

 
In addition, the word knowledge used here is epignosis, which is a Greek compound word with a prepositional prefix: epi= upon and gnosis= knowledge. The idea is upon knowledge or above just information. The word has an experiential aspect to it. When we walk with the Lord and are taught the scriptures from their right perspective, we travel the pilgrimage of Christianity. As we travel this path, learning of Jesus, we encounter trials and tribulations. When we have a right understanding of the scriptures, understanding that it's faith in Him and His work on the cross that gives access to grace, we are empowered for victory in the trial. Once we start seeing the hand of God move in our lives, we begin to gain epignosis about the way God's plan works.
 
Ex: a welder can be taught is trade school how to perform certain welds and how hot certain ones have to burn, but until he holds the rod in his hand and begins to weld, there is no experience.
 
Other ex of how added experience increases knowledge and understanding about a situation as opposed to just knowing something intellectually: suturing, sweating a copper pipe, filling a cavity.
 
So the New Covenant is Jesus and His sacrifice. Therefore, when the scripture says that we are to come into unity or oneness in "the faith," it's speaking of the fact that we are to be in agreement or unity in our understanding of Christ.
 
As already stated, the knowledge we are speaking of here is not just something superficial that we heard about once; instead, it describes knowledge that has become part of who we are. It has an experiential aspect to it. It's becoming part of who we are, and our daily walk is being changed by it. We're learning what works and what doesn't work in our Christian lives as we allow the Holy Spirit to operate in us.
 
2 Peter 1:3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:
 

Here is another great scripture with this Greek word epignosis. In this verse, we're told that God has given us everything we need to live godly in this life. Access to this power in some way is connected to knowledge. Once again, the knowledge spoken of here is experiential or a more full understanding. We all know that it's faith rather than knowledge that allows the believer to gain the benefits of God. However, if the believer doesn't know what to properly believe, or if his faith is superficial, then he will have difficulty believing God for victory because he doesn't really know where to keep his faith placed.
 
So Jesus has gifted the body of Christ with the five- fold ministry for the purpose of bringing believers into a right understanding of faith so that growth can take place. And the standard by which our growth is measured is Jesus:
 
Ephesians 4:13  ....unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
 

In other words, as the five- fold ministry operates properly according to its function, the body of Christ is taught proper faith which gives access to grace (Romans 5:2) and as grace is flowing in the life of the believer, we are conformed or molded into the image of Christ:
 
Romans 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
 
This passage is focused on two things:
 
(1) there is a process taking place in the life of the believer called sanctification, which means that they (believers) are being made to become holy like their savior through grace working in their lives (2) this process will continue until glorification. He was the firstborn (resurrected), and one day we will be like Him [glorified].
 
Titus 3:5-6 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;
 

And this is that ongoing process that takes place. It's started at salvation and completed through the lifespan of the believer's walk. Regeneration is made up of two words: palin= anew and genesis= beginnings.
 
In Christ, we receive a new birth and a new beginning. At conversion, you could say that we are given a "receiver," the Holy Spirit comes to live in us, and we now can receive from God. We can hear his voice.
 
The words: and renewing of the Holy Ghost;...describes an ongoing renovation. One scholar explained the process like this: "When the believer is born again, the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in his heart, and it's as though a building permit has been received, allowing construction to begin; whereas, the renewal of the Holy Spirit is the ongoing process.
 
 


    


#14 Jesus Gives Gifts to His Body

Jesus Gives Gifts to His Body

For those who've been with us since the beginning of the Ephesians study, you know that a common theme has been prevalent: God is creating an eternal family. We covered on multiple occasions the concepts of adoption:
 
Ephesians 1:5
Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself...

 

Also, we spoke about the concept of being begotten of God through the sprinkling of blood and the resurrection of Jesus (1 Peter 1:2,3). It was pointed out that the terminology "begotten" specifically means to be given birth to.
 
So God has been, through the annals of human history, adopting and giving birth to a people for Himself.
 
But these are just two New Testament passages. And God has been active in forming this family since creation and after the fall through redemption.
 
Further clarity was given when Paul explained that God's plan contained both Jew and Gentile; whereas, in times past the Gentiles (those people who were not of Jewish origin) were without the covenants and promises of Messiah, now the two (both Jew and Gentile) were made one "In Christ."
 
Now, the only separation that exists is simply those who believe and are in covenant with God (church) and those who don't believe and are outside of covenant with God (world).
 
There is a common unity that exists between believers, and the common unity that connects us is our association and identification (Luke 9:23) with Jesus in His, death, burial and resurrection from the dead. For you see, the plan of God provides, in Christ, that the "old man" dies with Jesus at the cross, is buried with Him in the tomb, and a "new man" is resurrected to newness of life. And in this resurrection, the "new man" becomes a part in the body of Christ.
 
Furthermore, we learned from two different sources (1 Peter 2:4-6; Ephesians 2:19-22) that we are individual stones made alive by the lively stone, and we are being built upon a foundation upon which He is the cornerstone, a foundation completed by the disciples, and a continued building project is taking place where the lively stones are constructed into a habitable place for the presence of God to dwell. As we've pointed out on numerous occasions the word church is translated from ekklesia, which is ek= out and klesia= called; therefore, the church is constructed of individual stones that have the presence of God dwelling in them who were once of the world, but have been called out in Christ and are now His body—His church.
 
Then we moved to chapter four where the instruction transitioned from doctrine to practice. Furthermore, we came across the spot where we spent the last three weeks, discussing Jesus' descent into the underworld. When we started teaching that process, I made the point that these couple passages represented an accomplishment of many eras:

(1) He proclaimed His victory to the disobedient angels who sinned during Noah’s time

(2) He led captivity captive; in other words, every soul that had been saved on credit looking forward to the blood of the eternal lamb was released once His perfect blood was shed

(3) now, as He is seated at the right hand of God, He gives gifts unto men (church age i.e. many eras), so let's look at the gifts given by Jesus to His church.
 
To start with, it should be noted that there is a difference between the gifts of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 12) and the gifts spoken of in this passage of scripture. The first set of gifts are worded in the Greek as charisma gifts, and this is where the thought of charismatic Christianity originated, because people of the charismatic persuasion allowed the operation of the Holy Spirit to manifest His gifts in their midst. These gifts are manifested to the body of Christ by the Holy Spirit, and He distributes these gifts through the members of the body. In other words, it's not only the preacher who will be used as a vessel through which these gifts will flow, but also the individual members of the body of Christ will operate in these gifts.
 
Now, there is one more distinction that should be noted. In these gifts, the gifts are the gifts themselves not the person who operates in them. In other words, the gift is: tongues, interpretation of tongues, prophecy, wisdom, discerning of spirits.... While it is true that certain people tend to operate in certain gifts more than others, the gift is not the person, rather, it's the gift itself; furthermore, the gifts are not the person’s they belong to the Holy Spirit.
 
Ephesians 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
 

There is a slight difference regarding the gifts we are speaking of out of Ephesians. These gifts are didomai, describing a bestowing, which is given by Jesus directly to His church; furthermore, in some way the gift is connected to the person, because the specific person is the vessel that this particular gift flows through. These people that are called by Jesus are given as gifts to the body of Christ for the purpose of edification, meaning (building up, perfection, in the sense of completion), so there are the offices of the apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor- teacher, these gifts are also sometimes referred to the five- fold ministry.
 
For further clarity, it should be noted that just because a person operates in the gift of prophecy that doesn't automatically mean that they have been given as a gift by Jesus to the body of Christ to operate in the office of a prophet. This is just a general term to introduce this thought. I will try to clarify as we move forward. But before we do, I will say that the purpose of these gifts are to serve Jesus by building up His people. In other words, it's not the gift, nor the man or woman that operates in the office that is to be built up; instead, it is God's people that are to be edified or built up.

 

Apostle
 
Starting with the apostle, we have a "touchy" subject in the modern church. We have one side of the camp that label themselves as, "I am the apostle, prophet, evangelist... without hesitation. Then we have the other side that is almost scared to use the terminology of apostle, because they believe it's so reverential that it is a title only to be used of the original twelve, which were commissioned by Jesus in person and included the apostle Paul, because if you will remember his story, he was called and instructed by Jesus Himself to be an apostle.
 
But the reality is that there were others that the New Testament referred to as apostles, and a couple of these men are somewhat obscure within the pages of scripture:
 
James [the Lord's brother, who was not of the original 12] (1 Corinthians 15:7).
 
Barnabus (Acts 14:4,14; 1 Corinthians 9:1-6).
 
Adronicus and Junius (Romans 16:7).
 
So what does the word apostle literally mean?
 
Literally the word means a "sent one" with authority, an ambassador of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It seems to me as though a common denominator of the apostle is that he often fulfills the role of many, if not all, of the other offices. In other words, in the life of Paul and Peter, we can easily see the offices of: prophet, evangelist, pastor and teacher.
 
More specifically, apostles are called to establish and are sent by God as overseers of His works. There is no doubt that there are probably times when an apostle may be sent by God; yet, the established order of the men in place don't recognize that God's authority has sent him; therefore, his apostolic purposes are rejected in that sense. Actually, this happened to the apostle Paul on more than one occasion.
 
Prophet
 
Nowadays, there are many people who are quick to label themselves with anyone of these titles. However, it should be clearly understood, as already stated, that there is a vast difference between the office of a prophet and the gift of prophecy. The latter is a word gift given by the Holy Spirit and distributed through a believer in order to bring a word from God to His people; whereas, the former is a gift by Jesus to His church and He functions as a prophet of God.
 
While a person may prophesy and foretell future events, just because person prophecies, it doesn't mean that he is a prophet. The office of the prophet for Israel had a specific purpose: he was to bring correction to God's people when they were in error. This role of the prophet could be labeled forth telling. In other words, the prophet speaks forth the oracles of God. He functions as a mouth piece to let God's people know where they are in error, and what they need to do in order to make things right with God.
 
The foretelling part of this ministry is often connected to warn of the effects that will follow a path of disobedience. In other words, what will happen if the correction is rejected.
 
I can't help but think of John the Baptist. While he was obviously evangelistic, he was very prophetic. He walked in the anointing of the great prophet Elijah. Elijah's anointing required that the people of God be turned from a wrong way of worship:
 
1 Kings 18:21 And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the Lord be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.
 
In a similar fashion, John the Baptist was called to bring the people back to a straight path. The religion of the Pharisees had muddied the water; they had obscured the path, making it difficult for God's people to see their way in the right direction. And as a prophet of God, John the Baptist prepared the way for the way. He was a voice crying out in the wilderness for the hodos (Greek for way, which was Jesus): way-- an easily discernible path. And he brought a scathing rebuke upon the corrupt religion of the day just as Elijah rebuked Jezebel's prophets. Just in case you don't believe me, here is what John the Baptist told the Pharisees:
 
Matthew 3:4-8 And the same John had his raiment of camel's hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey. Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan, And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins. But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:
 
And the Lord has been showing me for the last couple years and has recently confirmed it in prophecy through some of my World Evangelism Bible College student friends: God is going to raise up John the Baptist prophets in these last days who will operate with the same spirit that was upon Elijah, a fire and fervor to clean the house of God and herald a return to right worship of God. "How long will you halt between two opinions? If God is God then serve Him. And if the world is the world then serve it, but quit pretending that you're serving Him when you're really serving it."
 
Just as John the Baptist prepared a way for the first coming of Jesus, God is causing a stirring in the spirits of some to proclaim the truth of Jesus Christ and Him crucified to a lost and dying world. They will prepare the way for His return. He's coming back church. And He's looking for a church without spot or wrinkle, and their ain't no way you can look like that unless you understand what it means to be in Him because He alone is without spot or wrinkle.
 
Evangelist
 
Paul was an evangelist can you see him and Silas in the prison. Right after Lydia the seller of purple, the first European convert gets saved, they're in the streets preaching the gospel. And Paul casts the devil out of that young girl who was filled with the spirit of Python, a spirit of divination or fortune telling. And because of that they get thrown into jail because with the devil gone, she could no longer tell people their business, so her masters who made money off of her lost their finances., and they had influence with the officials.
 
But even in the jail they said, "We've come to lift Jesus up. We've come to praise His name. We're going to sing unto Him, and the chains break and the earth quakes and more people get saved. In the trial, when you’re burdened down, if you will go to Him and submit to Him, something beautiful will happen.
 
What about Phillip in Acts 8:26-38. He was led by the Holy Spirit to go down from Jerusalem into Gaza where he found the eunuch reading Isaiah, the spot where it foretold 600 years before our Jesus was born that He was a lamb led to slaughter, and He didn't open his mouth.
 
Candace's eunuch had to know; in other words, his heart was yearning for an answer, "Who does this speak of? Tell me does the prophet speak about himself or someone else?" And from that point forward Philip preached Jesus to him.

 "What prevents me from being baptized in water?" The eunuch inquires.
 
"Nothing, you just have to believe with all your heart."
 
The modern church has all but kicked the evangelist out. They have said, "We don't want the people stirred. We want to work our programs the way we have them set up, and don't you say that we're asleep preacher because we're doing stuff. We're moving and shaking."
 
But the people perish in the pew. Because you kicked out the evangelist the gospel is being preached without evangelical zeal and the people in the pew have no evangelical zeal to see the lost saved.
 
Pastor- Teacher
 
The word pastor is closely connected to our English word pasture, and the thought is literally a shepherd. We won't take the time to separately discuss the concept of a teacher. Most Greek scholars explain that these two words are connected to one another according to a certain Greek language rule. We also won't concern ourselves with those details, but we should point out that certainly there can be teachers who aren't pastors; however, it's unlikely to be God's will for a person who isn't a teacher to be a pastor.
 
By nature a pastor's job is to provide food for the sheep. The food the sheep need in a Christian sense is a good diet of Jesus, a good diet of Jesus Christ and Him crucified, which is the covenant God has provided where man can have relationship with Him.
 
As long as I'm teaching you Jesus and how to hear His voice, you're in the right place, a safe place where like the Psalmist said the Lord can be your shepherd. He will lead you to a place where there is green pasture. If you really want to know Him, He will send you to a place where you can be fed right.
 
He will also lead you beside still waters. There is chaos abounding in this world. But if the under- shepherd can feed you Jesus, if He can teach you to hear Jesus, then there can be peace in your environment even though chaos abounds.
 
There are also some good concepts regarding shepherds for us to learn in John 10.
 
1st scenario: (John 10:1-8)

The shepherd is Jesus. The sheep are His people, the others are imposters of false doctrine, and the scenario is that the porter is in charge of allowing entree' of the shepherd, giving access to the sheep inside.
 
In ancient times, there were fenced areas in pastures where multiple flocks could be kept for safe keeping. The sheep were trained to know their shepherd's voice; therefore, when the shepherd would come for His sheep, He would follow the proper protocol, going through the gate with permission from the porter, and calling His sheep by name, which would in turn follow Him because they were used to His voice.
 
The para- side ballo- throw (a parabolic teaching throws two things alongside each other for the purposes of comparison and contrast) being done here is that the shepherd (Jesus) and any under- shepherd that follows His lead through grace is operating according to the Father's will. There is no hidden agenda; whereas, the thief and the robber are going another way, a way of deception.
 
2nd scenario: (John 10:8, 9)
 
Once the shepherd's flock were gathered, they were then brought to a safe place where a smaller enclosure was provided for their safety. In this enclosure, the shepherd allows access in and out of the gate, for he becomes the gate. And the sheep can come in and out safely as needed. Walvoord says that the concept is that it's only through Jesus that the sheep are able to enter into the true provision and safety of God; for He (Jesus) alone is the gate for the sheep—there is no other access point.
 
3rd scenario (John 10:9-10)

In this scenario there is still the thought of thievery, but also added is death and destruction. It should be noted that there is no doubt there is reference to our enemy Satan here; however, the reader should also be made aware that the immediate context is that Jesus is directly addressing the blinded and deceived Pharisees (John 9:39-41).
 
So a more specific interpretation would be that Jesus as the only real door to the sheep, which allows entrance into life is being contrasted with the false doctrines of those that have come before Him, whose purpose was to bring destruction to the sheep of God.
 
Lastly, as part of the contrast between Jesus' ministry and the Pharisees, which also applies to ministers today, Jesus, the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep; a hireling, on the other hand, is only concerned about a paycheck, and he won't do what's best for the sheep if it interferes what he thinks is best for him.
 
One obvious thing that strikes me in this regard is people's unwillingness to call out false doctrine or ministries that are presenting the Gospel in such a way that it will harm the sheep. Instead, "Sh-sh-sh, mum's the word. We don't want to rock the boat."
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

#13 Did Jesus Go to Hell? Part 3: We Will Finally Answer the Question!

Did Jesus Go to Hell? Part 3: The Question is Finally Answered

 

2 Peter 2:4-6 For if God spared not the angels that sinned [a specific sin], but cast them down to hell [Tartarus], and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment; And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly; And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly;…
 
As we've been discussing, there were certain of the fallen angels who crossed boundaries that God punished by placing them into chains in an underworld prison known as Tartarus.
 
In this next passage, I'm connecting Tartarus to the prison where the spirits were "preached" to; in order to make that connection, two thoughts must be addressed: (1) who or what are the spirits, (2) what does this word preach mean?
 
1 Peter 3:19-20 By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.

 
I believe these two thoughts are critical to our proper understanding of this passage because a popular interpretation has been that these spirits represent human beings who lived in the Old Testament. And the preaching that was taking place was to give them an opportunity to accept the message specifically related to Jesus and His sacrifice.
 
So the idea once again would be that, because the blood of bulls and goats could not remove sin, these Old Covenant believers had to make a decision about Jesus for themselves.
 
One of the main concepts that we've attempted to teach throughout the life of this Bible study is that there is a common thread that weaves the covenants together. The common thread I speak of is the promise of Messiah and the observance of sacrifice for the atonement of sin (Leviticus 17: 11). As God has moved forward through the years of human history, He has brought these promises to a single focal point, which Paul stated that he was determined to preach:
 
1 Corinthians 1:18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.
 
1 Corinthians 1:23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;…
 
1 Corinthians 2:2 For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.

 
So the promises of God were fulfilled in Christ, but what we must understand is that God's promises for humanity were given immediately after the fall through the instruction that the seed of the woman would crush the serpent's head (Genesis 3:15); in addition to the seed, the first sacrifice was given in the garden by God as a covering for Adam and Eve's sin, so while we know that Old Testament sacrifices couldn't completely do away with the penalty of sin, we do know that man's connection point to God has always been through faith. And more specifically, the object of faith required was the sacrifice for sin's atonement.
 
With all that said, it should be pointed out that people in the Old Testament times were saved based upon their faith in God's plan of redemption as it was revealed at that point in time.
 
I said all that to make this point: the Old Testament people were either believers in God's plan or they weren't. If they weren't believers, they were with the rich man in this place called torments, and if they were believers, they were in the place known as Abraham's bosom waiting for the day when the atonement of sin would be completed. Therefore, there is no need for extra preaching specifically from Jesus to make sure they were onboard with God's plan. They were on board with God's plan, and they were simply waiting for the completion, waiting for the sacrifice of the promised one, so they could be led by Jesus from Abraham's bosom into the presence of God now that their sin was atoned.
 
So then who are the sprits and what is the point?
 
The word spirit is literally pneuma, which means breath or wind. It's where we get our word pneumatic, describing power tools that are driven by air. It's where we also get our word pneumonia.
 
The word pneuma, when used in a singular sense can be used to describe God, man, angels, or demons, depending upon the context in which it's being used:
 
John 4:24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. [God]
 
Luke 1:47 And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
[human]
 
Matthew 12:43 -- When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. [demon]

 
 
Hebrews 1:7 And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire.
[angels]
 

 
Through this last verse, we can see at least when the word spirits is used; pneuma can also be referring to angels.


#1.png


#2.png

 I've made a list and placed it into the back of your notes showing all of the times the word "spirits" is used in the New Testament. All of this work is being done to show you the truth that the word spirits can be used to describe angels as well as humans, and so from there, we are left with the task of determining, which one fits the context of our passage.

 
As we pointed out early on in tonight's study, the Old Testament saints were saved by looking forward to Messiah and keeping their faith in the sacrifice for forgiveness until He came; therefore, the "preaching" that was done to these spirits wasn't necessarily a preaching for conversion, but as we will see, it was a proclamation or announcement of truth in general.
                                                                                                          


 One last point to make regarding how this sin could have happened with these angels. We already addressed this scripture last week, but Hebrews 13:2 explains that angels can take upon themselves the form of humans to the point that humans can't tell the difference:
 
Hebrews 13:1-2 Let brotherly love continue. Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
 

But by comparing two other scriptures, we gain further proof of this thought:
 
Jude 1:6-7 And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation [oiketerion], he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day. Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.

The Greek word for house is oikos. This word used here oiketerion is built from the root of oikos, describing in some sense a house or dwelling place.

 


 
Now compare the same word for house here as it refers to humans.
 
2 Corinthians 5:1-4 For we know that if our earthly house [oikia] of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building [oikodome] of God, an house [oikia]not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house [oiketerion] which is from heaven: If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life.
 
In this passage, the same concept is being used to describe the bodies of humans. Believers on earth are in a transition, something isn't quite right. In our fallen state, our physical bodies are decaying; however, spiritually, our spirit man desires to be clothed with our glorified body. The earnest of the Spirit is a down payment of what is to come. It's enough to make the true believer hungry for the fulfillment.
 
But the main point to be made is that this word in the Greek is being used to describe the changing of bodies. Whereas, the believer is longing to be clothed upon by his glorified body, these angels in some way left their angelic state, assuming a form to inter marry with human women, resulting in, as we have discovered, a hybrid race called the Nephilim.
 
So did Jesus go to hell?
 

Yes and no!
 

He went to Hell in the sense that during the three days He was in the grave, before His resurrection, He entered the underworld and took care of some things that had to be finished.
 
It appears from my understanding that what would have happened is that He would have gone to Abraham's bosom and said, "The Messiah you waited for was me. I have come and accomplished the Father's will. Whereas, the blood of bulls and goats in the Old Testament couldn't remove your sin, My sacrifice has accomplished the Father's will. And now I'm leading captivity captive. In other words, "I'm (Jesus) bringing you Old Testament saints home with me to glory, but wait here just a second, because I have one other thing I have to do first."
 
Then He descended to Tartarus and heralded a truth to these spirits in prison who had rebelled so long ago. "Your plan failed. Your attempt to stop the plan of redemption didn't work, I was manifest in the flesh as the seed of the woman. And I offered my spotless life as ransom for the sins of the sons of Adam. And in a couple more thousands of years, there will be a finality brought to your evil plans."
 
So what were they (fallen angels) attempting to accomplish by crossing these boundaries. What was their purpose?
 
These angels were trying to destroy the seed. And the enemy will try to destroy the seed.
 
Genesis 3:15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
 
From the moment this proclamation went forth, the serpent knew that there would be an offspring from the woman (Jesus was 100% God, while at the same time, He was 100% man) who would crush his head, which denotes a destruction of his power and authority. Therefore, a tactical move was made, attempting to corrupt the seed of the human race and taint it with a mixture of something that was other than human.
 
Furthermore, it should be understood that from this day moving forward, the enemy of God has been relentless in his attempt to destroy the seed of God's promise regarding the redemption of the human race:
 
Pharaoh (Exodus 1:15-17)
The story of Joseph (Genesis 45:4-8)
Haman (Esther 3:1-6)
Herod (Matt 2:14-16)
Hitler
 
Why is this important for us to know?
 
1 Corinthians 6:3 Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?
 
I have made this point before, but it's something that I believe we must keep upon the forefront of our minds. Somewhere in the pre-Adamic past, Lucifer, Jesus called him Satan, shook his fist in the face of God, and said, "I will be like the most high. I will exalt my throne above the stars of heaven (Isaiah 14:13,14).
 
Now, we have to understand that God knew all along this would happen in advance. He knew that Lucifer would fall. He knew that Adam would go the way of the serpent (1 Peter 1:18). As a matter of fact without a true choice free will cannot be exhibited. Now, man is faced with a legitimate choice each and everyday on whether or not he will serve God or not.
 
I cannot help but think about the fact that these celestial beings saw the glory of God and were even in His presence, experiencing His magnitude; yet, somehow, they chose instead to be worshiped rather than giving worship to the worthy one.
 
God is going to use us, frail, inferior humanity, who cannot see the glory of God with physical eyes, and have therefore been asked to believe by faith to bring judgment on the rebellious angels. I don't know if we will be used as witnesses on the eternal witness stand or how it works, but somehow, He will use is who couldn't see to judge them who could see.
 
Now, do you see why it's so important for us to understand how to walk in the finished work of Christ? Because, God is desiring, so badly, a people who will believe His Word, walk in His victory, and begin to see the big picture. What's the big picture? God's creating an eternal family for the purpose of eternal fellowship, and at some point, when He's done giving birth to that family, He's going to bring evil to an end, and He's chosen to use us as part of that plan. We represent Him in the land. We stand as lights in the midst of the darkness, living a life of separation for the world to see that there's a different way to go.
 
That's why I keep saying that I want my spirit to love Jesus more than my flesh loves sin because He's been cheated on enough, and I don't want to be the next one to bring reproach upon His name!


Comparison of how word spirits is translated differently as demon, men and angels depending on the context in the scripture: