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Ephesians overview – 3:14-19, Pauls prayer (inner strength), part 3.

EPHESIANS-1-200308
length: 87:33 - taught on Mar, 8 2020
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Class Outline:

Sunday March 8,2020
 

EPH 3:14-19

For this reason, I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man; 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fulness of God.

 

Having these five things in mind, inner strength from the Holy Spirit leading to a full knowledge of the Person of Christ, being rooted and grounded in love, understanding all the dimensions of the plan of God that is filled with the love of Christ, and being filled up to all the fullness of God, we conclude that our life is to be singular in dimension, and that in all things, every day - all things.

 

MAT 6:22-25

"The lamp of the body is the eye; if therefore your eye is clear [Greek: haplous = singular], your whole body will be full of light. 23 "But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! 24 "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will hold to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.  25 "For this reason I say to you, do not be anxious for your life, as to what you shall eat, or what you shall drink; nor for your body, as to what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body than clothing?

 

The lamp of the body, the eye, is the current perception or perspective of the soul/heart/mind/spirit at any given time. If it is “singular” (the perspective of Christ) then the body is full of light (Christ’s life).

 

Jesus gives us insight here into the inner workings of the body that no medical test will show. The lamp of the body, the inner eye, the inner perspective will illume the entire body. What that eye is emitting is one or two things. There is no third option.

 

Before I finish that point, think first about our Lord’s temptation in the wilderness. He was tempted to turn stones into bread when He was very hungry. What’s the big deal? Do we not all say to ourselves when temptation is high and greatly pulling on us, “What’s the big deal?” especially if we’ve been running well for a while? It’s as if we conclude that we’ve put a lot of time into the plan of God lately and we deserve a little self gratification. None of us are sinless, but this is never allowed in God’s revelation. We are to be diligent and singularly minded. This was a temptation of the lust of the flesh.

 

He was tempted to jump off the pinnacle of the Temple in order to display His power. This was outside of the timing of God, but what’s the big deal? Show off a little. But Jesus was power incarnate. He didn’t have to prove to anyone. The truth kept Him focused on one perspective. “The power in Me is sufficient. I will do the will of My Father.” This was a temptation of the lust of the eyes, to see others admire Him.

 

He was tempted to take the kingdoms of the world without enduring the cross so as to make all the inhabitants of His kingdom perfectly righteous. This temptation, the lust of pride, was a route around the cross. Yet He knew that the kingdom of God would be meaningless unless it was filled with subjects made new men, righteous, holy, and blameless men. His heart remained singular. “You shall worship the Lord your God and Him alone.”

 

We face these temptations constantly. We make up excuses as to why it will be okay for us to give into them. But now recall Paul’s prayer: inner strength from the Holy Spirit leading to a full knowledge of the Person of Christ, being rooted and grounded in love, understanding all the dimensions of the plan of God that is filled with the love of Christ, and being filled up to all the fullness of God.

 

Now remember what Jesus said in His infamous sermon. The lamp of the body is the eye. If your perspective is mine then your whole body will be full (recall again Paul’s prayer: filled up to the fullness of God; and later “we attain the stature that belongs to the fullness of Christ; and still later, “be filled with the Spirit.)

 

Yet then He said, “if your eye is bad then your whole body will be full of darkness.” That’s the consequence of losing the proper perspective. If we pat ourselves on the back, congratulating ourselves that we ran well for some time and only gave in for a time, that time, and especially our attitude of agreement to it, will grow slowly like a cancer in us.

 

Then Jesus says something that is famously repeated. “If the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness.” It’s easy to forget that He just said that the lamp of the body is the eye. Some say that all He means here is that what we thought was light was darkness, i.e. that we were fooled, and while that principle is true enough, we mustn’t forget the source of the light. Two different Greek words are used, the lamp and the light, but the lamp is the source. If the eye is bad, the whole body is full of darkness, and because it is in you and fills you and is a result of your chosen perspective, “how great is that darkness.”

 

Pastor Collins’ blog 3/7/20: The “secret” to Jesus’ success was that He never allowed Himself to become “double-minded” or “double-souled” (ala James 1:8). He never allowed the Truth to escape His grasp. He was unflappable, “full of grace and truth” (John 1:14b). He accomplished this by never allowing Himself to be anything but spiritual. This is tantamount to saying that every circumstance in Jesus’ life was a spiritual one, whether tempted by physical needs, worry, or pride. He is the very anchor of our faith and the proof point of its effectiveness in this life. We are encouraged to follow His lead by living one life (aka holding one perspective), not two (one worldly, one spiritual). The mind of Christ is our single base of operations.

 

James speaks of this same issue and relates it to prayer:

JAM 1:5-18

But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 6 But let him ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For let not that man expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, 8 being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

 

9 But let the brother of humble circumstances glory in his high position; 10 and let the rich man glory in his humiliation, because like flowering grass he will pass away. 11 For the sun rises with a scorching wind, and withers the grass; and its flower falls off, and the beauty of its appearance is destroyed; so too the rich man in the midst of his pursuits will fade away [material life is short and finite].

 

12 Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. 13 Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am being tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. 14 But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. 15 Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. 16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. 17 Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation, or shifting shadow. 18 In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we might be, as it were, the first fruits among His creatures.

 

Good things only come from God above. The flesh and the world will constantly fight you on that truth, but “blessed is a man who perseveres under trial.”

 

The “first fruits” are the gift presented to God as thanks to Him for the entire crop, and the first fruits represent the whole crop.

 

1CO 15:20

But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep.

 

JAM 1:18

In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we might be, as it were, the first fruits among His creatures.

 

It’s not a contradiction. The first fruits that is Christ is also the first fruits that is His bride.

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