Ephesians 4:3-6; Worship of the one Lord with all our heart and resultant strength.
length: 68:29 - taught on Feb, 24 2021
Wednesday, February 24, 2021
One body, one Spirit, one hope of your calling, and now, one Lord.
Jesus Christ, the Man, the Head of the body that is the church, is Himself God. “He said that He had always existed. He said that He was coming to judge the world at the end of time.” [Lewis]
Being a Jew and saying this to Jews in the first century, there could be no mistake that He was claiming to be God. He claimed that He could forgive sins.
“He told people that their sins were forgiven, and never waited to consult all the other people whom their sins had undoubtedly injured. He unhesitatingly behaved as if He was the party chiefly concerned, the party chiefly offended in all offences. This makes sense only if He was the God whose laws are broken and whose love is wounded in every sin. In the mouth of any speaker who is not God, these words would imply what I can only regard as silliness and conceit unrivalled by any other character in history. … I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: ‘I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I do not accept His claim to be God.’ That is one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic - on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg - or else He would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.” [C.S. Lewis]
All of us must bow to Him. We must give over to His command every part of our lives, our thinking, and our desires. We must look up to Him as our image to replicate and no one else. There is One Lord, and there is no other.
The strength of the body ultimately comes from Christ, the Head.
Paul states in one of his most famous lines: I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. (PHI 4:13)
It is one thing to acknowledge that strength comes from Jesus Christ, but it is another to know how that strength comes and determine within yourself that you will have it.
Paul states that Christ strengthened him in his own service, and that power worked mightily in him. He does not give a ritual or procedure to switch the power on.
We marvel at what Paul did in his service of Christ. It took an enormous amount of power.
I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service;
It’s not only the energy needed to go to all the places that Paul went, and to do all that he did in those places, preaching the gospel and giving birth to churches as the wise master builder, it is also that on top of all that he was very much opposed by others who hated the message of love and godliness.
But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. 6 For some men, straying from these things, have turned aside to fruitless discussion,
Then Paul claimed that there was a treasure in all who are in the body of Christ; a glory that shone in our hearts in 2CO 4:6, inside our earthen vessels or human bodies, so that the surpassing power in us may be of God and not of ourselves. In EPH 3:20 Paul boldly states that God is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works within us.
Paul also states that there is power in Christ’s resurrection. There is power in the new life that is beyond the grave. This would seem obvious, but it is still not automatic. In PHI 3:10 Paul stated that he wanted to know the power of His resurrection, which would mean more than knowing about it, but having it flowing through him.
God also terms the angelic and human rulers as “powers” (principalities and powers). So, there is a power that is not God’s power.
God’s power comes from within us and is a product of the Holy Spirit.
that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man;
Getting back to the question of how we tap into this power or strength, we do not find instructions concerning a ritual or right or procedure that turns the power on. More or less, power is stated as a fact, but since we find weakness in ourselves often, we understand that spiritual strength is not automatic.
How did Christ and Paul have it in such abundance? The answer is obvious. They obeyed the Father by faith. Faith to do God’s will is strength. Faith releases the power of the Holy Spirit within.
Believe in what you must think and do, and go and do it. God will abundantly supply strength to accomplish it.
Paul could do all things through Christ who strengthened Him because he set out to do all things that Christ wanted him to do or called him to do.
A significant impediment, as I see it, is a lack of faith in what we must do. So often, believers half-heartedly set off to think and do properly as God would have them. They know a behavior must be mastered but they don’t actually put all their heart into it. They know that there is a behavior that must be denied, but their real faith is that some compromise might still be found. Yet the Shammah of Israel was that they were to love the Lord their God with all their heart, soul, and might. And also, to serve Him with the same absolute commitment.
“And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require from you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and love Him, and to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13 and to keep the Lord's commandments and His statutes which I am commanding you today for your good?”
This commanded attitude is not solely an OT doctrine:
“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.”
“If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, 2 and the sign or the wonder comes true, concerning which he spoke to you, saying,' Let us go after other gods (whom you have not known) and let us serve them,' 3 you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams; for the Lord your God is testing you to find out if you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. 4 You shall follow the Lord your God and fear Him; and you shall keep His commandments, listen to His voice, serve Him, and cling to Him.”
God allows false proclamations to test our love and devotion to Him.
We wonder at the many people who believe lies about the origin of man, his meaning, morality, and destiny; but know that they believe them because they do not love the Lord their God.
Therefore, we must be aware of our half-hearted attempts to devote our entire lives to Christ.
“Because you did not serve the Lord your God with joy and a glad heart, for the abundance of all things; 48 therefore you shall serve your enemies whom the Lord shall send against you, in hunger, in thirst, in nakedness, and in the lack of all things; and He will put an iron yoke on your neck until He has destroyed you.”
That’s a pretty scary passage, but if we give it a sober look, we find it to be true. Israel would be overrun by other nations because they would not serve God with joy and a glad heart, and we, in our age, are overrun by worry, anxiety, unhappiness, hunger and thirst for us is a lack of fulfilment and a good conscience; our nakedness is our fear; our lack of things is our lack of contentment; and the yoke upon us is the burden of the world’s concerns that have no place in the great kingdom of our Lord.
Be aware of your half-hearted attempts to submit to the one Lord.
There is a power in Christ’s resurrection, PHI 3:10.