Title: Ephesians 4:3-6; One Lord – His strength in the believer.
length: 65:30 - taught on Feb, 25 2021
Thursday February 25, 2021
Be aware of your half-hearted attempts to submit to the one Lord.
“I can do all things through Him who strengthens me,” said Paul after he claimed that he learned how to live with abundance and with want.
We sought the answer to the question of how Christ’s power or strength fills us.
Paul claimed the Lord strengthened him because the Lord considered him faithful. Paul claimed that the power of Christ worked mightily in him, and that in the face of great opposition, the Lord stood with him and strengthened him. Paul told us that every believer had a glory from God that shone in their hearts and that there was treasure within them that the surpassing power in them may be of God and not of them. Paul also claimed that our strength was within and came from the Holy Spirit. He also stated that there was power in the resurrection of Christ and that the power of Christ toward us was of a surpassing greatness.
Notice that the strength from Christ, the Head, to us, the body, is stated as a fact and that no procedure is given to turn it on. I think our biggest clue is the revelation of what the power is for. This is abundantly stated in the scripture. Christ’s power to us is for the way, life, and truth that He gave us, and only for that.
We also know that we have to choose that way, life, and truth. So then, our faith in the way, life, and truth as the one and only for us, the great joy and production and satisfaction that will come with it and our full desire to follow it ensures the power of our one Lord flowing to us and through us.
There is little that is more satisfying than having an abundant store of power in the face of an enemy who desires to exhaust and crush you.
GAL 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me.”
Christ is the very life of the members of the body. We must follow Him alone.
Authority, strength, and the very life of the believer are all in Christ. There is a depth to this truth that is beyond our understanding, but by faith we realize it to be true and keep our eyes fixed upon Him.
Christ is not only Lord of the church but of the nation of Israel as well as all the universe.
Finest and clearest testimony regarding the Universal Kingdom of God in the OT, 1CH 29:11-12.
1CH 29:11-12 Thine, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, indeed everything that is in the heavens and the earth; Thine is the dominion, O Lord, and Thou dost exalt Thyself as head over all. 12 Both riches and honor come from Thee, and Thou dost rule over all, and in Thy hand is power and might; and it lies in Thy hand to make great, and to strengthen everyone.
Jesus, the one Lord, continues to have authority over Israel. He will reinstitute the nation at His second coming.
He will also lead Israel at His second coming. He is the authority of the human race, which will become abundantly clear at His second coming, but until then, He patiently rules the world in which He gives His gospel to humanity and asks them to believe in Him to receive His life and enter His kingdom. His body, the church is entrusted with that gospel and the truth about Him and His life.
In relation to the universe, Christ is Head of all other powers. This is beautifully related in the hymn of COL 1:15-20.
COL 1:15-20 And He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities — all things have been created by Him and for Him. 17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. 18 He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the first-born from the dead; so that He Himself might come to have first place in everything. 19 For it was the Father's good pleasure for all the fulness to dwell in Him, 20 and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.
As the Head of the human race, Christ takes the place of leadership over humanity that the first Adam used to have.
Another of the important figures used to depict the Lordship of Christ over the church is that of the great Shepherd and the sheep.
From the time of Abraham, the people of Israel were known as a people that raised sheep. There are frequent illusions in the Bible to a shepherd’s significance. Sheep without a shepherd was a phrase often used for individuals who had forgotten God.
Christ is called a lamb in the sense of being the only One who could offer Himself for the sins of the world. And, He is also the Shepherd of His sheep in Joh 10; Psa 22; Heb 13; 1Pe 5.
The good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep in Joh 10, and the great Shepherd has other sheep who are to be added to the flock, meaning that He would shepherd both Jews and Gentiles.
This image shows Him as Lord in a tender way. He seeks and finds His sheep. He does this through the common grace ministry of the Holy Spirit. When He finds them, He calls them by name and leads them. He tells us the parable of the lost sheep.
Also in this image, the believers are depicted as unable to follow the way of righteousness on their own.
The believers cannot self-direct. Few animals are more helpless than sheep in finding their own way to even food, shelter, or water. They need to be led to the things that sustain them and they need to be protected, and hence they need a shepherd.
The Great Shepherd laid down His life for the sheep and He lives that they might have life abundantly.
In Psa 23, the Shepherd finds green pastures and still waters for the sheep. He protects the sheep from false shepherds and from wolves in Joh 10, and protects them in the valley of the shadow of death in Psa 23. Taken as a whole the figure of the great Shepherd is a beautiful picture of the faithful, loving Savior and His relationship to those for whom He died.
Christ is also the true vine in relation to the branches.
In this picture we see the church bearing fruit, for as Jesus tells us, we can do nothing without Him. It also includes a ministry accredited to the Father as the vinedresser.
JOH 15:4-5 “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in Me. 5 I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing.”
Christ is the true vine in contrast to Israel, which proved to be a false vine not bearing proper fruit for God. Christ is the true vine in the same sense that He is the true life and the true bread. Therefore, those properly related to Him as Lord have a true fruitfulness and an abundant life.
JOH 15:1-3 “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it, that it may bear more fruit. 3 You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.”
The pruning of the vinedresser, the Father, cuts away the useless and dead; a beautiful picture of progressive sanctification. And the Lord says to them, “You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you,” either referring to the gospel or to the sanctifying work of the word of God in our lives.
Abiding and obedience are aspects of this image.
Abiding described the relationship in which a believer has the full benefit of union with Christ, hence you will find the word abide used for all believers as well as for those believers who follow Christ obediently. Obedience is stated in vs. 10.
JOH 15:10 “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father's commandments, and abide in His love.”
The fruitful branch is both yielded to Christ as Lord and in complete dependence on Him. The reward for a believer’s unbroken communion with His Lord is to experience the priceless, joyous fellowship with Him as His enabling power rests upon the believer to produce the fruit of divine life.
Also promised is answered prayer.
JOH 15:7 “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you.”
Prayer from a communion and abiding with Christ is not about getting what you want. It is about understanding so deeply the mind of Christ, having participated in the way of His Person for so long, that you have an inside look into His plans for you and humanity and history. It is like the executive assistant who has worked along side the executive for many years, having gone through many difficult and late nights of work, who knows the boss so very well that he would know what to ask and know that he would have it.
Reading through this chapter this time, vs. seven seems to me to refer to a life of prayer, meaning the many prayers of the faithful.
The branches of the vine are useless for anything other than bearing fruit.
You cannot use them for building and they are of no use for firewood. Their beauty is negligible. The divine purpose for a branch is only fruit bearing for Christ, which does not lie in personal endowments or in advancement of self-interests. The famous saying is “fruit perpetual, joy celestial, and prayer effectual.”
Fully grasped, the vine and the branches teach the basic lessons of proper relationship to Christ, dependence, faith and fruitfulness together with the wonderful spiritual by-products of joy and answered prayer which are realized by the true branches.