Ephesians 4:7-16; Christ’s descent and ascension and the gifted stewards left on earth.
length: 66:08 - taught on Sep, 21 2021
Tuesday September 21, 2021
Paul prayed for the Colossians to joyously thank the Father for their opportunity to bear fruit in every good work.
For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so that you may walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.
As in Peter’s passage which told us, (1PE 1:6) “In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials.” “In this,” referred to our being born-again and having an imperishable inheritance. Here, we give thanks to the Father who has qualified us to share in the inheritance. God tells us that the purpose of knowledge, wisdom, and understanding is that we would walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, bearing fruit in all good works, and joyously giving thanks that we have been made by God to be the type of people who do just that.
Paul rejoiced in his own sufferings for the sake of his ministry.
Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body (which is the church) in filling up that which is lacking in Christ's afflictions.
Paul rejoices, knowing that his suffering has a purpose. All suffering for the believer has purpose. Even punitive suffering has the purpose of change, but the greatest purpose in suffering is experiencing it for the sake of Christ.
The word “content.”
Therefore I am well content [eudokeo = well pleased] with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.
Not that I speak from want; for I have learned to be content [autarkes = adequate, self-sufficient] in whatever circumstances I am.
For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. 8 And if we have food and covering, with these we shall be content [verb arkeo = self-sufficient].
The verb of the noun used by Paul in PHI 4:11, meaning to be self-sufficient, or possessing sufficient strength.
Arkeo is also used by Paul:
And He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness."
This clearly reveals that the grace of God, whatever God has given to each of us as it stands today, is sufficient for abundant life.
Let your character be free from the love of money, being content [arkeo, as in 1TI 6:8] with what you have; for He Himself has said, "I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you," 6 so that we confidently say,
"The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid.
What shall man do to me?"
No matter what we may lack, we always have God very near. That alone should give us great contentment.
There is joy and peace in not being afraid or worried or anxious when the unspiritual would be. Fear and anxiety cause us to hyper-focus on ourselves, but everyone in the body of Christ has been made to focus on Christ, fixing their eyes upon Him. Trust and faith in God’s control of all things, knowing He is sufficient to fulfill His promises, and having the patience and endurance to wait for His deliverance in hope is our source of joy and peace in difficult situations. And, that faith frees our soul to continue to focus on the needs of others and serve them.
God gives us a gift (gifts), and we are stewards of them to minister to others. If we care for them as we should, we would serve one another.
The word of God judges the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Every time we come across passages like these, we should pause and take in inventory of our own hearts. Are we being good stewards of God’s gifts? Are we serving one another as we should?
Our flesh, being always present with us, can easily lead us to a place of self-absorption if we are not constantly aware. A very clear lesson on this is found in Deuteronomy.
The lessons from Deu regarding blessing and prosperity gifted by the Lord:
Forget God and chase idols.
We were able to accomplish everything we’ve done on our own.
We assume that what we have today will always be there in the future.
“Then it shall come about when the Lord your God brings you into the land which He swore to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you, great and splendid cities which you did not build, 11 and houses full of all good things which you did not fill, and hewn cisterns which you did not dig, vineyards and olive trees which you did not plant, and you shall eat and be satisfied, 12 then watch yourself, lest you forget the Lord who brought you from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. 13 You shall fear only the Lord your God; and you shall worship Him, and swear by His name. 14 You shall not follow other gods, any of the gods of the peoples who surround you, 15 for the Lord your God in the midst of you is a jealous God; otherwise the anger of the Lord your God will be kindled against you, and He will wipe you off the face of the earth.”
God is not going to wipe us off the face of the earth, referring to the destruction of Israel’s nation, nor can we lose the gifts given to us. Still, and in some ways it is worse - we can lose all manifestations of our gifts though they remain in our possession.
We have to be very aware of our gifts because it is so easy to neglect God’s gifts, get absorbed with our own selves and our lives, and not know it.