'I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot.Revelation 3:15(NASB)
Verse after verse the apostle Paul pours out his heart, pleading for the body of Christ. He breathes out the inner yearning of his soul, that all might know more of Christ. This earnest pleading of his heart is also a portion of his wider teaching to the Body.. that they have the light of the Lord and His tender love in their mind and heart - that they access His divine power and heavenly presence, in heart and mind.
Having revealed to Christ’s Church the eternal riches of God’s grace towards them, Paul begins to intercede for all the saints in His powerful prayer of prayers. He prays that they may come to know God and the Lord Jesus Christ more and more.. that they grasp, understand, believe and appropriate the many riches of His grace - that the Spirit of wisdom opens their heart to see their incomparable inheritance.
Paul prayed.. that the glorious Father may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation - that you may know Him better, that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in His holy people and His incomparably great power for us who believe. Ephesians 1:17-19
This potent prayer of Paul was inspired by the Spirit to teach and edify all the saints. This is not only a plea from Paul, but exposes the Father-heart of God Himself. It is God Who wants all His children to know and understand the riches of His grace.. and the Spirit has been tasked to guide us into knowledge, understanding, and truth. And this is not only for the Ephesian believers but for all who are children of God. This is a prayer for you and me... that we know more fully the bounties of His grace - that we come to understand the staggering riches of God’s grace towards us all.
And it is through Christ that we haveread more
Let us go out to Him, outside the camp, and bear the disgrace He bore. (Hebrews 13:13 NLT)
We can organize our movements, lay our plans, and draft our schemes. We can lay it all out according to the New Testament and it can be dead, ineffective.... You see the difference between a traditional system, whether it be Judaism or Christianity, and a living thing coming all the time in a living way out from the Christ Himself by the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit Himself doing it. Well, this is going to cost something. See what it meant for these people. At the end of this letter you come on this: herefore, Christ also... suffered without the camp. Let us therefore go to Him without the camp, bearing His reproach.The camp was Judaism, and He suffered without the camp because He repudiated Judaism and stood for the realization of all God thoughts as in Himself personally. He gathered up everything into His own person, am.It is the Christ who is the full sum and embodiment of all God thoughts and ways, and that takes the place of Judaism, and He, therefore, repudiated Judaism and suffered without the camp. "Let us go to Him without the camp."
What is the issue? If you are going to take this line you are going to repudiate organized Christianity, going to repudiate Christendom as a traditional system, going to repudiate that order of things which is made, and going, therefore, to suffer reproach and be outside of the camp suffering His reproach. In other words, we are immediately going to come up against that force of antagonism to stop what has come in through the death and resurrection and exaltation of the Lord Jesus, the heavenly thing. Is it not sad that these people met it through God historic people, the people who claimed to have the oracles, to be the elect, to be the favored of the Lord? It is always like that. man foes shall be those of his own household.Do not narrow that down to the limits of a family where one is a Christian and all the rest are not. That is not the point at all. It is his own household, the Christian household. You will meet the antagonism to what has come in from heaven as a heavenly thing; you will meet the antagonism amongst those who are the traditional people of God in this dispensation. That is how it will be. That is going to be the cost of a walk in Life with the Lord and not with man, knowing the Lord for yourself.
Though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. § We suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold. My foot has held fast to His steps; I have kept His way and not turned aside.
You shall remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not … You should know in your heart that as a man chastens his son, so the Lord your God chastens you. Therefore you shall keep the commandments of the Lord your God, to walk in His ways and to fear Him.
Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.” … Then David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone; and he slung it … So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone.
No king is saved by the multitude of an army; a mighty man is not delivered by great strength … Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him, on those who hope in His mercy. § Both riches and honor come from You, and You reign over all. In Your hand is power and might; in Your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all.
I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
An instrument for honorable uses, consecrated, useful for the Master, and ready for any good service" (2 Tim. 2:21, Wms.).
To be a leader one must be a dependent one, a led one; one who is "looking away (from all that would distract) to Jesus, who is the Leader and the Source of our faith" (Heb. 12:2).
"One of the greatest needs in the Church today is for authoritative, spiritual, and sacrificial leadership. Authoritative, because people love to be led by one who knows where he is going and who inspires their confidence. Spiritual, because a leadership which is carnal and explainable in terms of the natural, be it ever so competent, can result in sterility and spiritual bankruptcy. Sacrificial, because its source is the life of One who gave Himself a sacrifice, and stated that the path of leadership was by the lonely road of sacrificial service." -O.S.
"The standard and measure of spiritual leaders has to be ahead of others, and as human nature generally likes not to be disturbed, but would seek the easy way, the pioneer is often a bit too much for people. His is not the easy way, and because the whole nature of man is either downward or to a quiet and happy snugness, the leader is not always popular. The pioneer is therefore not always appreciated, but often very much otherwise. He is quite contrary to this mediocre gravitation. A part of the price of leadership is loneliness." -T. A-S.
"Paul could say, I am glad to spend and to be spent for your sakes, notwithstanding the more earnestly I love you the less I be loved'; not, I will help you as long as you love me. People hurt you; you are not appreciated? Well, so be it! Spend and be spent the more!"
The servant of the Lord must not strive, but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient" (2 Tim. 2:24)
“Only in the throne will I be greater than thou.” Genesis 41:40
I have to account to God for the way in which I rule my body under His domination. Paul said he did not "frustrate the grace of God" - make it of no effect. The grace of God is absolute, the salvation of Jesus is perfect, it is done for ever. I am not being saved, I am saved; salvation is as eternal as God's throne; the thing for me to do is to work out what God works in. "Work out your own salvation," I am responsible for doing it. It means that I have to manifest in this body the life of the Lord Jesus, not mystically, but really and emphatically. "I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection." Every saint can have his body under absolute control for God. God has made us to have government over all the temple of the Holy Spirit, over imaginations and affections. We are responsible for these, and we must never give way to inordinate affections. Most of us are much sterner with others than we are in regard to ourselves; we make excuses for things in ourselves while we condemn in others things to which we are not naturally inclined.
"I beseech you," says Paul, "present your bodies a living sacrifice." The point to decide is this - "Do I agree with my Lord and Master that my body shall be His temple?' If so, then for me the whole of the law for the body is summed up in this revelation, that my body is the temple of the Holy Ghost.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.
The book of Ephesians has once been called the Holy of Holies of all Scripture. It touches into the heavenly realm and glimpses the likeness of the glory of God. It reaches beyond man’s creative vision and peeps into the mind of the Creator. It sweeps the imagination into the far reaches of the star-spangled universe of God, and it trolls the depth of the heart of God’s love in the face of His beloved Son. It gives occasional flashes of the depths of the riches of the glory of God, in Christ. It is the epistle of God to His children – in its most sublime and majestic meaning.
God could not expose His gift of grace more than what is captured in these pages. God could not shower His heart of love more abundantly over sinners saved by grace. This is a word from God that should refresh the weary soul and ease troubled hearts. This is a communication from God, dripping with exquisite beauty and intense joy. This is an epistle that should permeate the warp and woof of our forgiven souls.
He picks up sinners from earth’s miry clay and forms a new vessel for His pleasure. He transforms a filthy, broken, sinful soul – into a glorious, supernatural creation. He changes a sinner of Adam’s old creation – into a saintly new-creation in Christ. He opens up mysteries of God that lie secretly hidden in the Psalm and Prophets.
He revealed the Church as Body of its Saviour and Lord – His creative workmanship. He disclosed the plan of God in the fullness of Christ – that He should be all in all. He unveiled the household of God as the habitation of God – one-new man in Him. He presented a glorious Church without spot or wrinkle – His purchased possession. He exposed the principalities andread more