Ephesians 4:4-6, One Spirit, encouragement to continually pray, part 2.
length: 68:07 - taught on Oct, 29 2020
Thursday October 29, 2020
I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, entreat you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing forbearance to one another in love, 3 being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.
The foundation of God’s kingdom: the one Trinity and the one people that He has made the Lord’s body by the one baptism of the Spirit, giving us the one hope of our calling, all beholding to the one faith, which is the truth that only belongs to our beloved Trinity.
Here we sit in time, of the few who know. It is sad that the knowing are so few, for God has shown His light, the life of Christ, to the whole world. Yet, even among Christians, those who know of this foundation are few.
And yet again, cautioned by our Lord to beware, that we too could have our hearts swept away to the earthly, the esteem of men, the want of personal desire, material, fleshly.
And Jesus said to them, "Watch out and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees." [esteem of men, want of personal desire, material and fleshly]
And that with a veneer of religion.
So, we note the vital importance of prayer in our study of the one Holy Spirit who is the builder of the one body through the one baptism.
We noted that our Lord often went off by Himself to pray throughout His incarnation.
We noted that we don’t actually know how to pray, but the Holy Spirit and God the Son intercede for us. The Holy Spirit intercedes with groanings too deep for words.
We noted the parable of the pestering widow who was looking for legal protection from an unmotivated judge. Luke informs us that Jesus spoke that parable so that we would pray at all times and not lose heart.
So then, turning back to our place in God’s kingdom, a place that we hold from the moment of salvation, though the physical kingdom of God is not yet on earth, we are exhorted by Paul to walk in a certain worthy manner. The vital importance of prayer is obvious to us who have such frail faith and are so easily distracted.
We must keep in constant communication with our Father so that we don’t lose heart because we don’t lose sight of our goal.
As we have also noted, as we mature, our petitions to God in prayer become less about things and circumstances and more about the quality of believers we are. We start realizing that the things would be meaningless and unprofitable without humility and meekness, forbearance and patience, and love. Perhaps we still pray for the things and the deliverance, but in a different manner. And we know that God our Father is going to teach us humility whether we ask or not, but we also know that we can so easily mess up the process with sin and self-satisfied pride, plus, we desire that humility greatly now that we see its value, and so we pray for it consistently, repeatedly, seeking our way through, asking God to help us see the way of reaching it.
Nothing in the scripture points to the way of asking once and leaving it to the sovereignty of God, rather, constant prayer is.
Rejoice always; 17 pray without ceasing; 18 in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. 19 Do not quench the Spirit; 20 do not despise prophetic utterances. 21 But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; 22 abstain from every form of evil.
23 Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.
25 Brethren, pray for us.
With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints, 19 and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.
The only vital thing is that we are all a certain type of person within our hearts who walk in the manner of our calling.
The superficial look of a tomb is useless. The Pharisee was superficial religion. Not that we don’t shine forth that which is within, but if our type within our hearts is as Paul prayed for us, a place where the Christ dwells at home, then it will shine forth brightly.
An example from the ancient Greek golden age: The history of ancient Greece, the origin of Western civilization itself, lies on the countryside. The Hellenic polis and all what that institution implies - art, literature, notions of constitutional government, free speech, private property, direct vote of the citizenry, separation between political and religious authority, the right to bear arms, and the chauvinism of the middle class - followed from, did not precede, a vibrant agrarianism. Athenian democracy was not a radical departure for the Greeks but rather a further and logical refinement of a prior two centuries of agrarian egalitarianism. Once Greek farmers divided up the countryside into individual plots, erected homesteads, devised ways that allowed each man to farm on his own as he saw fit, served in the assembly, and claimed his slot as an infantryman in the phalanx, Greek civilization followed. No wonder Aristotle said the agricultural population was the “best,” the only ones who work outside the city’s walls, who come into town in times of crisis to use their egalitarian wisdom to save the state from itself. Aristotle wrote, “When the farmer class and the class having moderate means are in control of the government, they govern according to laws; the reason is because they have livelihood, and they are not at leisure, so that they put laws in control of the state and hold only the minimum of assemblies necessary.” Once that Greek system of autonomous city-states based on agrarian notions of small farming, constitutional government, and infantry militias vanished, classical Greek culture was lost. Literature became stylized and repetitive. Taxation and military expenditure soared. Authoritarianism replaced popular government. Without the agrarian infrastructure there was no middle to frame, support, and mend an egalitarian society. It is also true that when small farms vanished and authoritarian government rose, society became wealthier, more multicultural, dynamic, and more powerful militarily. However, individualism had gone mad, a product of growing turmoil, increasing inequality, the loss of social cohesion, and enormous military expenditure among the city-states. These were the price of material progress. The price of collectivization and material progress was a loss of goodness and equality and freedom in the society.
I relate this because it is a historical fact that what made a Grecian golden age was not the philosopher, but, as Aristotle discovered, the way of thinking and life of the tough nosed, wily, ingenious, problem solving, middle class farmer who had a roughly ten acre plot, and who had no time for leisure or debate about extemporaneous issues, but only time to fight nature so as to make her grow life sustaining food for himself, his family, and for his community. His life was one of problem and solution, in which he needed freedom to work and do and solve and produce. He needed to protect himself and his family and his property, and so he demanded the right to arms. He was smart and tough and problem solving, and gave his neighbor the freedom that he himself needed.
Is it any wonder that the agrarian is the bedrock of constitutional government and the curse that God gave man was to till the cursed ground that would easily give worthless and ugly thistles but greedily withhold sweet produce?
The small farmer has almost disappeared from America, and we see the same loss of egalitarianism in our nation. We also see a loud collective voice from the mass of elites along with state and parent dependent urbanites - living in leisure, who know nothing of working soil and grease to overcome a resistant, miserly earth to survive - screaming for a new kind of constitution and a more progressive republic. In 1910 33% of the population were farmers. Today it is around 1%. Why do you see more and more supermarkets packed with produce? Massive farms run by corporations and machines. We get plentiful inexpensive food, but we lose the mind of agrarian in our society.
Thomas Jefferson: “I think our governments will remain virtuous for many centuries; as long as they are chiefly agricultural; and this will be as long as there shall be vacant lands in any part of America. When they get all piled up upon one another in large cities, as in Europe, they will become as corrupt as Europe.”