Ephesians 4:4-6, One Spirit, continual prayer to keep us as the right type of people.
length: 90:45 - taught on Nov, 1 2020
November 1, 2020
In all city-states, nations, or empires that began as democratic, over time leisure and decadence as well as centralization and concentration of wealth in the hands of the elite, and simultaneous loss of the middle class led to a loss of the liberties they set out to ensure and protect. Due to the loss of equality of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and the loss of the proper mindset needed for a democratic, constitutional republic, unproductive citizens multiply and never decrease in numbers, family enterprises give way to corporate and governmental entities; public subsidy are offered to the landless and jobless detritus. Rural becomes urban, popular culture overwhelms all levels of society. Even language is refashioned to convince that work is drudgery, simplicity boredom, and charity entitlement, words themselves reinvented so that capital accumulation might become “success,” chaos “diversity,” selfishness “freedom,” and the failed a “victim.”
I say this because it is an historical fact that keeps repeating, and is once again repeating in our own nation. I say it, not for any political reason, but because it proves that it is not the amount a material or military power that makes any group, from a small family to an empire, good. It is the type of people that make it good. Not even good laws will do it, not if enough of the people are of a certain type. It is what a person is within that makes the person.
In Christianity, we are all to be of the greatest type of humanity: the new humanity which is the life of Christ.
If God gives us all the things we want, makes our life comfortable and leisurely, and we don’t possess the type of inner heart where the Christ resides at home, we will live impoverished, contemptible lives.
It happened in Israel, and during many of these times, Israel was wealthy. There were many periods in Israel’s history where they enjoyed material prosperity. The generation after Joshua was the first.
When Israel became strong after Joshua, they enslaved some the Canaanites as they were told, but did not drive them out as God had told them, and did not destroy their altars as God had told them, but rather lived among them as neighbors, which God warned them they must not do.
For they will turn your sons away from following Me to serve other gods; then the anger of the Lord will be kindled against you, and He will quickly destroy you. 5 But thus you shall do to them: you shall tear down their altars, and smash their sacred pillars, and hew down their Asherim, and burn their graven images with fire.
and as for you, you shall make no covenant with the inhabitants of this land; you shall tear down their altars.' But you have not obeyed Me; what is this you have done? 3 "Therefore I also said, 'I will not drive them out before you; but they shall become as thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare to you.'"
It was easier not to drive them out. It was more profitable, or at least it seemed in the short-term, to trade with them, do business with them, and intermarry with them. But God had warned Israel not to live among them or intermarry with them, for their pagan idol worship religion and immoral ways would infect the minds of Israel. It takes a certain type of person to obey an order when it is difficult and there are no immediate consequences to disobeying.
Keep praying for the good things from God, not in the mindset that we earn them with prayer, but so that we won’t forget Who is responsible for them and Who is giving them. Continuous prayer will prevent us for taking credit ourselves for these good things. Prayer will open our hearts to the changes God is making in us that will bring the results about. All in all, constant communication with your Father is necessary for our maturity and fruit.
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! 5 Let your forbearing spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. 6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
The Greek word translated “forbearing” (epieikes) means fair or moderate, being satisfied with less than one’s due. Let this be shown to all.
Forbearing in EPH 4:2 was a different word that meant to “hold up,” but here we have a word that means you are willing to give up things, give ground away for the sake of good to another. Paul instructs us, don’t hide such a spirit away within you, but let it be known to all men. We would not do that by running around telling everyone we have such a spirit, but through our conduct it would become evident.
“The Lord is near.” He is in you, clothes you, is with you, making His home with you, and He is imminently returning (Rapture). In giving and sacrificing to others, we may find ourselves seized up with fear because our eyes focus on the earthly. Focused upon the earthly we can only think of accumulation. After all, the man with the most wealth and power is always the better off. But not so in the kingdom of God. Due to our Lord, we are always better off than the world. When our eyes are on the Lord, which is far easier to do when we know how near He really is, we don’t think of accumulation but distribution. God supplies seed to the sower.
So then, be anxious for nothing! Go to the throne of the Father with prayer, petitions [needs, desires] with thanksgiving, and requests.
Anxious care is out of place in a heavenly Father’s presence.
The noun “requests” simply means what was asked for. The noun “petitions” means needs or desires and they are tempered with “thanksgiving.” Prayer is the general word for prayer (proseuche) which has the nuance (pros - face to face) of worship and devotion.
Continued prayer keeps peace like a sentinel guarding the door of the heart, keeping worry at bay.
A heart at peace, minus anxiety or worry about earthly achievements, or accumulations, can focus on what is really important.
Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things. 9 The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things; and the God of peace shall be with you.