|Ephesians 1:1-14||Ephesians 1:15-23||Ephesians 2:1-10||Ephesians 2:11-22||Ephesians 3:1-21|
|Ephesians 4:1-16||Ephesians 4:17-32||Ephesians 5:1-21||Ephesians 5:22-33||Ephesians 6:1-9||Ephesians 6:10-20|
Introduction of Ephesus
|In the time of Paul, Ephesus was in Anatolia, the present Turkey. A total population estimated at about 400,000 to 500,000 inhabitants. In 133 BC, Ephesus was declared the capital of the Roman province of Asia, but archaeological research shows that Ephesus was already an urban center before 1000 BC when it was occupied by the Ionians.|
From Ephesus went roads that gave access to the big cities in that province. The city was near the sea Egen, connected to the river Caister. Ephesus was a strategic, religious and territorial post. With the temple of Àrtemis (Greek), known as the great goddess Diana (Roman), the goddess of fertility. This goddess was a great source of trade. Today only ruins of this temple remain.
It had a theater with 25,000 places, the seventh wonder of the world.
The letter to the Ephesians was written between 61 and 63, when Paul was in arrest in Rome.
Timoteus also worked in Ephesus (1 Tim 1:3).
Above: Temple of the goddess Diana
Acts 19 1 While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the upper country and came to Ephesus. There he found some disciples.
8 And he entered the synagogue and for three months spoke boldly, arguing and pleading about the kingdom of God.
23 About that time there arose no little stir concerning the Way. 24 For a man named Demetrius, a silversmith, who made silver shrines of Ar'temis, brought no little business to the craftsmen. 25 These he gathered together, with the workmen of like occupation, and said, "Men, you know that from this business we have our wealth. 26 And you see and hear that not only at Ephesus but almost throughout all Asia this Paul has persuaded and turned away a considerable company of people, saying that gods made with hands are not gods. 27 And there is danger not only that this trade of ours may come into disrepute but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis may count for nothing, and that she may even be deposed from her magnificence, she whom all Asia and the world worship." 28 When they heard this they were enraged, and cried out, "Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!" 29 So the city was filled with the confusion; and they rushed together into the theater, dragging with them Gaius and Aristarchus, Macedonians who were Paul's companions in travel. 30 Paul wished to go in among the crowd, but the disciples would not let him.
1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints who are also faithful in Christ Jesus 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,
4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. 5 He destined us in love to be his sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace which he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace 8 which he lavished upon us.
9 9 For he has made known to us in all wisdom and insight the mystery of his will, according to his purpose which he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fulness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. 11 In him, according to the purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to the counsel of his will, 12 we who first hoped in Christ have been destined and appointed to live for the praise of his glory. 13 In him you also, who have heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and have believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 which is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.
What does this mean?
Ephesians 1:1 Paul, an apostle by the will of God
Paul was personally called by the Lord Jesus Christ to and appointed as an apostle (see Acts 9:3-9). Apostles are appointed by the Lord Jesus Christ and not by people, hence there are no apostles today. After the suicide of Judas Iscariot, there were eleven apostles left, the Lord appointed Paul as the twelfth apostle.
Paul salutes the believers in Ephesus, a city in present-day Turkey, in the name of Christ Jesus.
Notice the different ways in which the LORD speaks:
- Jesus when it is spoken of the human Jesus.
- Christ when it is spoken and emphasized is the resurrected LORD.
- Jesus Christ as the resurrected man from the dead.
- Christ Jesus as the LORD who has ascended to Heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father.
- The Lord Jesus Christ as the resurrected LORD, who is Lord and Master over the world and of the saints and believers.
Ephesians 1:2 A peace greeting
The Apostle Paul wishes mercy and peace to those who have accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as their resurrected Lord and who reigns over their life here on earth and their Master is.
Peace part of God: Now the believer has peace with God, because an unbeliever is the enemy of God and does not have peace with Him.
Ephesians 1:3 The blessing
Since the Lord Jesus Christ has ascended to Heaven and is now seated at the right hand of God the Father (Hebrews 8:1) and always pleads for the believers (Hebrews 7:25). We are blessed as believers with all kinds of spiritual blessings. After all, the believer has received the Holy Spirit on his/her rebirth, so that the Holy Spirit is the collateral (Ephesians 1:14).
Ephesians 1:4 The election
This is one of the most misinterpreted verses in the Bible. This verse is cited as God would choose man and with that only God's chosen man would enter Heaven and the rest of mankind would be lost for eternity. This is completely contrary to the free choice given by God to man. And thus making evangelism and a holy life unnecessary.
The Lord Jesus Christ was already chosen before the foundation of the earth, to die for the sin of man the cross of Calvary. God knew in His Almighty Wisdom that man would revolt against His Creator, and separated from Him by death. That is why God the Father already provided with the solution through His Son to die for the sins of man and to obtain eternal life as the individual man would accept this grace offer from God.
By accepting God's grace offer, and believing in the Lord Jesus Christ has died for your sins and He has risen from the dead, therefore man is cleansed by His shed blood at the cross. And man is sanctified and will be at the Second Coming of Christ receiving an irreproachable and incorruptible body (1 Thess.4:14-17, 1 Cor. 15:51-54).
Ephesians 1:5 God's Love
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who acknowledges to be a sinner, is not lost forever but will have eternal life in heaven (freely translated to John 3:16)
Anyone who believes that Jesus Christ died for his/her sin is a son of Christ (Romans 8:14-19). It is God's Will that all people accept the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour for his/her sins and grow to sons of Christ. However, man with his/her free will has the choice to accept Jesus Christ as Saviour or reject. And every believer with his/her free will has the choice to grow from child to a son of Christ.
Just as a man who loves a woman cannot force her to love him, so will God not force a man to love Him. God respect the free will of man. However, man is accountable to God for his/her actions. And man should therefore accept the consequences of the choice. If a thief steals, he also needs the to accept consequences of his actions (prison).
Ephesians 1:6 Praise and grace
God has forgiven the believer by the forgiveness of sin to bestow in the Lord Jesus Christ.
The believer can praise God by living according to God's Will and doing the works of the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:22) and not doing the works of the flesh (Gal. 5:13-21) for this the believers are called as children of God. By continually confessing sin and to crucify the self, the believer opens himself to the working of the Holy One Spirit. If the believer consciously sins or does not confess sin, then he/she regrets the Holy Spirit and will extinguish the working of the Spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:19). Because the believer should live up to the praise of God the Father.
For the believer has received the great grace of God from the redemption of sin, deliverance from the powers of darkness and receive the Holy Spirit to do the fruits of the Spirit.
Moreover, the glory of eternal life in Heaven with God, instead of an eternal one dead in the lake of fire.
Ephesians 1:7 Salvation
The believer has received forgiveness of sin because Jesus Christ poured His blood at the cross of Calvary. By dying of Jesus Christ and by His resurrection from the dead, receives the man who accepts this, forgiveness of his/her violations. But man must confess his/her sin and acknowledge to be a sinner.
1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Psalms 103:12 As far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
Micah 7:19 He will again have compassion upon us, he will tread our iniquities under foot.
Ephesians 1:8 Abundantly proven
God clearly reveals Himself in Creation, therefore no man has an excuse for not seeking God (Romans 1:18-23). Every person has received reason and wisdom (conscience), so everyone knows that he/she is sinful and wrong things, and through Creation man can know that there must be a God.
Certainly in the Western world nobody has an excuse for not seeking God, there are plenty of churches, evangelical bookshops and Bibles. It is the duty of man to seek God. And everyone who seeks will find (Matt. 7:8).
God proves Himself abundantly in nature. He gives man abundant warnings and shows abundantly His power in natural disasters, earthquakes, etc.
Ephesians 1:9 Mystery of His Will
The Old Testament Jews, from the fall of Adam to Jesus on earth, have never understood God's mystery. They expect a Messiah as the coming king of Israel. In spite of the institution of the tabernacle, its sanctuary (and inaccessibility to the Holy of Holies) and the sin offerings. They understood but not the necessity of confessing sin and the coming of the Messiah Who would come as the true sacrifice, the True Lamb.
John 1:29 The next day he saw Jesus coming to him and said, Behold, the Lamb of God, that the to take away the sin of the world.
That was the mystery that the Messiah would come to earth for the sins of the people to die. Even in the days of Jesus on earth, the scribes, Pharisees and scholars were blind, and they did not recognize this mystery of God.
The mystery of God is clearly stated in verses 10-14 and Romans 3:21-26.
Ephesians 1:10 Fullness of times
Romans 11:25-26a Lest you be wise in your own conceits, I want you to understand this mystery, brethren: a hardening has come upon part of Israel, until the full number of the Gentiles come in, 26 and so all Israel will be saved; as it is written, "The Deliverer will come from Zion.
Revelation 6:11 Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren should be COMPLETE, who were to be killed as they themselves had been.
The Lord Jesus Christ is the head of His Church (Ephesians 5:23, 1 Corinthians 12:12-13), already now Christ controls His body, the Church, or all the born-again ones, until Christ comes to fetch His Church in the air, then the FULLNESS is reached for the church.
Then God goes on with Israel and when the FULLNESS is reached in the Great Tribulation,Christ will put His feet on the Mount of Olives (Zechariah 14:4) and deliver Israel.
Then all that is in the heavens and on earth will recognize the Lord Jesus Christ as Lord and King, and see who they have crucified.
Every born-again, every believer who has accepted Jesus Christ as his/her personal Saviour, received as inheritance eternal life in Heaven. This was predestined by God.
But not only eternal life was and is God's predestination, the believer can show his/her love to God by doing God's Will, also earn wealth and wreaths:
- By building on the foundation of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 3:10-17).
- If we persevere and remain faithful, we will reign with the Lord Jesus Christ as kings in the 1,000-year Kingdom 2 Tim. 2:12.
- If we suffer with Him (1 Peter 3:13-18 patiently suffering), we will receive the eternal glory (something other than salvation) 2 Tim.2:9-10.
- If we hold fastness and hope to the end, we will come into the house of Christ (other than the house of God) Hebr. 3:6; Phil. 3:10-14.
- If we commit ourselves completely to be a witness of the Gospel, we will receive an imperishable crown of honour 1 Cor. 9:19-27.
- If we hold the faith to the end, we receive the crown of righteousness. 2 Tim. 4:7-8.
- If we will pass the temptations well, shall we receive the crown of life. Rev. 2:10 and 3:11; James 1:12.
- If we have given the honour and thanksgiving to the Lord, we receive the crown Rev. 4:9-10.
It is the duty of every believer to live up to the honour and glory of the Lord God, the believer can do this by showing his/her love to God (1 Corinthians 13:1-17) and to live in accordance with God's Will for his/her life (1 Corinthians 12:12-31).
For we have built our hope on Christ as the resurrected man Jesus, Who has conquered death and rose from the dead and ascended to Heaven. We have the forgiveness of sin and the hope of eternal life in Heaven. For the believer there is no more fear of God's wrath and punishment for sin, but justified by the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ we are pure and holy. And is our hope for eternal life through Christ.
Ephesians 1:13 Sealed with the Holy Spirit
Every sinner, who accepts Jesus Christ as his/her Saviour and acknowledges to be sinful, recognizes the Bible as God's Word, the Word of Truth. That is the gospel of salvation, namely:
- Recognizing to live under God's wrath,
- Recognizing to be sinful,
- Recognizing that as a human being you cannot in any way reconcile yourself to God through your own works,
- Recognizing that the only way to Salvation is Jesus. To accept Christ as the One Who died for your sin,
- Recognizing that you received eternal life through Jesus Christ and no good deed of yourself can contribute to your salvation.
From the moment the believer accepts Jesus Christ as your Saviour, you are born again.
1 Peter 1:3-4 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy we have been born anew to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and to an inheritance which is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you.
the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in you (1 Cor. 3:16-17).
The Holy Spirit is your personal collateral of promise. What promise?
Verse 14 gives the answer: to inheritance, to the praise of Christ's glory and Salvation.
Ephesians 1:14 Collateral and Legacy
The Holy Spirit is the collateral (guarantee) of our inheritance, salvation and praise of His glory.
Collateral of our inheritance, namely that after the death of the believer he or she will inherit eternal life in Heaven. A legacy occurs only after someone dies. Likewise, the believer must first die on earth before he or she can obtain the inheritance, eternal life in Heaven.
Collateral of redemption from the people that He has acquired. Who are this people?
The people that He (Jesus Christ) has acquired, namely everyone who believes that Jesus Christ died for his or her sin at the cross of Calvary. Through Jesus Christ resurrection He has bought Himself a people of believers (Titus 13-14).
The believer should live up to the praise of Jesus Christ by witnessing Jesus Christ Redemption from sin, death and His resurrection. Of the forgiveness of sin through the blood of Jesus Christ. By carrying this out in deed and word and behaving in such a way that the unbeliever sees a change in our lives, and our lives are to the honour and glory of Christ. Through praise, worship, daily contact with the Lord Jesus Christ, through daily prayer, and through daily Bible reading to know God's Will for your life, and fellowship with other believers (Hebr. 10:24-25).
According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and another man is building upon it. Let each man take care how he builds upon it. For no other foundation can any one lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any one builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw-- each man's work will become manifest; for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work which any man has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. 15 If any man's work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.
Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you? 17 If any one destroys God's temple, God will destroy him. For God's temple is holy, and that temple you are!
1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. 4 Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; 5 it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right.
7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never ends; as for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease;
as for knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For our knowledge is imperfect and our prophecy is imperfect; 10 but when the perfect comes, the imperfect will pass away.
11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became a man, I gave up childish ways.
12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood.
13 So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
12 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body--Jews or Greeks, slaves or free--and all were made to drink of one Spirit. 14 For the body does not consist of one member but of many. 15 If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body," that would not make it any less a part of the body.
16 And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body," that would not make it any less a part of the body.
17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell?
18 But as it is, God arranged the organs in the body, each one of them, as he chose.
19 If all were a single organ, where would the body be?
20 As it is, there are many parts, yet one body. 21 The eye cannot say to the hand, "I have no need of you," nor again the head to the feet, "I have no need of you." 22 On the contrary, the parts of the body which seem to be weaker are indispensable,
23 and those parts of the body which we think less honourable we invest with the greater honour, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty,
24 which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving the greater honour to the inferior part, 25 that there may be no discord in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another.
26 If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honoured, all rejoice together.
27 Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. 28 And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, then healers, helpers, administrators, speakers in various kinds of tongues.
29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? 31 But earnestly desire the higher gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way.
15 For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, 16 I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, 18 having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power in us who believe, according to the working of his great might 20 which he accomplished in Christ when he raised him from the dead and made him sit at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come; 22 and he has put all things under his feet and has made him the head over all things for the church, 23 which is his body, the fulness of him who fills all in all.
What does this mean?
Ephesians 1:15 Heard of
Paul had heard of the faith of the Ephesians in the Lord and of their love for ALL the saints. What a testimony so clearly visible is the faith in Jesus Christ, also as Lord, and that it is so clearly expressed that love is experienced.
That is the mission of our Lord Jesus Christ: the testimony in word and in deed of the gospel.
Ephesians 1:16 Thanks and Intercession
Paul also heard that the Ephesians did not cease to thank God and to remember Paul in their intercession. This is God's commission for every believer:
To thank God for the redemption in Jesus Christ, and for all that the believer receives daily from God's hand, and intercedes for unbelievers (by name call) and predecessors.
Hebrews 13:7 Keep your predecessors in remembrance, who have spoken to you the word of God; Pay attention to the end of their walk and follow their faith.
Ephesians 1:17 Promise
When the believer witnesses, shows love, thanks and intercedes, there is also a blessing from God the Father, that is, God gives the believer the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation to know Jesus Christ.
The Spirit of Wisdom needs the believer to understand and understand God's Word, the Bible, as well as to share the gospel with unbelievers with wisdom and insight.
The Spirit of revelation to know Jesus Christ is necessary to the deeper meaning of the Bible, and the work of redemption and Christ's mysteries and to know a deeper faith life.
Ephesians 1:18 Enlightened eyes
The hope which Jesus' calling awakened, is eternal life in Heaven after the death of the born again.
Rich inheritance: see verse 1:11.
Ephesians 1:19 Overpowering power
Through the indwelling Holy Spirit the believer has the power not to sin anymore and to live cleanly according to God's Will. The believer no longer has to give in to the works of the flesh and to the powers of darkness and Satan. Jesus Christ has conquered the powers of darkness and Satan and the believer may cast out demons in Jesus' name as he/she does so in the authority of Jesus Christ (see also Luke 13:10-17).
Matt. 10:8 Heals the sick, raises the dead, cleans lepers, drives out evil spirits.
Eph. 6:12 for we have no wrestling against blood and flesh, but against the authorities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this darkness, against the evil spirits in the heavenly places.
Ephesians 1:20 Right hand of God
What strength? That God the Father revealed when He raised His Son Jesus Christ from the dead. Jesus Christ has overcome death by His perfect obedience to God the Father. God has exhibited His Omnipotence to the world by raising Jesus Christ from the dead.
But it did not stop there, Jesus Christ did not remain on the earth, God the Father has also caused His Son Jesus Christ to go up to Heaven. And all the born again in Christ will go up with Him to Heaven when the Lord Jesus Christ comes back to take the His (the born-again) to Heaven.
In Heaven, the Lord Jesus Christ is seated at God's right hand.
Col 3:1 If then you were raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.
Heb. 10:12 But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God.
Ephesians 1:21 Above all power
The Lord Jesus Christ has taken over the earth through His perfect obedience to God the Father, the power of Satan and the powers of darkness, and has become the owner of everything that lives under, on and above the earth.
Authority and power usually refers in the Bible to the good and bad angels, see Rom. 8:38.
In this century and the future century. Opinions about the meaning of this run from one. This century relates to the present world, and the future century would relate to the new world (Revelation 21) or the 1000-year empire (Revelation 20).
Or when a century = 1000 years, then this century and future century together is 2000 years, and can we soon expect the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ (Rapture of the Church) in the air
Be as it may be, the Lord Jesus Christ rules from Heaven on everything under, on and above the earth is !and will continue to do so forever.
Ephesians 1:22 Jesus Christ is the Head
Hebrew 2:8 Putting everything in subjection under his feet. Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. As it is, we do not yet see everything in subjection to Him.
Jesus Christ is the Head of His Church today (all born again) and it is the duty and duty of all believers to the Lord Jesus Christ also as his/her Head (Lord and Master) to acknowledge and live according to Christ's will and to obey Him.
However, the earthly powers do not obey the Lord Jesus Christ visibly, yet He rules, see Col. 2:10 and 15.
Soon Satan and his fallen angels (the powers of darkness) will also be conquered (in 2028?), see Revelation 20.
Ephesians 1:23 Christ's body
The body of the Lord Jesus Christ is the Church (all believers who have accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour):
1 Cor. 12:12 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.
Ef. 4:12 To equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.
Ef. 5:23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Saviour.
Since Christ is the Head, every believer is Him accountable about his/her life and everything the believer has done in his/her life. Soon the believer will have to give account to Christ:
2 Cor. 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive good or evil, according to what he has done in the body.
1 And you he made alive, when you were dead through the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience. 3 Among these we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, following the desires of body and mind, and so we were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 4 But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up with him, and made us sit with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God-- 9 not because of works, lest any man should boast.
10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
What does this mean?
Ephesians 2:1 The penalty for sin is death.
Through faith in the finished work of redemption of Jesus Christ, we have become alive. We were dead because of sin and through the transgressions of God's commandments and laws. We all know the 10 commandments. Under the Law is meant more than just the 10 commandments. It also applies to the entire ceremonial law, as you can find it in Leviticus, where the sacrifices and tithes are described. And in Deuteronomy, which mainly deal with domestic laws.
The law serves among other things:
1. As a means of persuasion, how sinful man is.
2. As a guide for the life of the believer.
The Christian has been redeemed from the curse of the law (Galatians 3:13). This does not mean that the Christian does not have to keep the law.
The law is sacred (Romans 7:12)!
The believer can keep the law, because the Holy Spirit dwells in him/her, and works. Practically this means that the Holy Spirit makes the believer keep the Law. Provided the believer let the Spirit work. But at the same time, the old nature ensures that the believer oppose the Law. The believer must therefore give nutrition to his/her regenerated nature. The further the believer grows, the more the believer the Holy Spirit let him work, the more he/she keeps the Law.
Galatians 5:14-26 Here with the law will be fulfilled: love your neighbours as yourself. For the dietary laws, see Acts 15:19-20 and Colossians 2:16.
Ephesians 2:2 Before our conversion
Before our conversion, we were children of Satan and under Satan's power (John 8:44). In Ephesians 5:11-12 we read with whom the chief of the air is meant. As on earth, each country has a king or president, in the second heaven, which is divided into several realms, is the superior of all these realms: the satan.
The powers of the air work in every infidel, or child of disobedience. Why an infidel is called a child of disobedience? We find the explanation John 3:36:
The unbeliever is disobedient because he/she does not believe the Lord Jesus Christ has died for his/her sin and therefore the wrath of God remains on him/her.
Satan, however, has no absolute dominion. In heaven, he has to fight against the angels of God. Satan can not exercise more power than God allows him. Some of these limitations we find in Job 1:12 and 2:6 and of the battle in Daniel 10:13, Judas verse 9 and in Revelation 12:7.
Ephesians 2:3 Our nature
By nature we are all burdened by the sin of Adam.
That is why we do the appetites of the flesh. What these desires are, we read among other things in Galatians 5:19:
Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, idolatry, enmity, strife, anger, discord, envy,murder, drunkenness.
Already the desire of the eyes is adultery, as we read in Matthew 5:28.
How often are we not unclean? We are unclean as soon as we break God's commandments; give a pledge without a promise and do not fulfill it; one has spoken inconsistently (Leviticus 5:2-4).
Idolatry is everything that we love more than God. God wants your first love (Revelation 2:4-5). Idolatry can be your hobby, your work, but also your wife or giving children more love than to God (Luke 14:26, Matthew 6:24).
Matthew 6:14-15; 5:23-24 and 1 Peter 5:7 Enmity and discord obstruct your prayers.
We naturally do what the flesh wants. This is where the wrath of God lies as we saw in John 3:36. A child of God no longer needs to do the will of the flesh. He/she has received the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in regeneration. In the power of God's Spirit we can say "NO" to the desire of sin.
Ephesians 2:4 God is Love
Yes, but . . . we hear a lot.
If God is love, why all that grief, those diseases, death and wars? God's love is revealed in it that when we were still sinners and God's enemies, God's Son was given to us, that whoever believes in Him should not perish for ever (Revelation 20:11-15), but has eternal life (John 3:16) and is reconciled with the Lord God the Father.
God has appointed man as ruler over the earth (Gen 1:28), that is why man himself is primarily responsible for peace, war, natural disasters (due to environmental pollution, cutting down forests, jungles and rain forests, weather changes), etc. King and government is responsible for what happens in their country, they are appointed or chosen, so man is appointed by God to rule over the earth, and therefore man is responsible for everything that happens on earth and in the world.
The Christian is responsible for voting Christian parties and that these Christian parties also defend and maintain biblical values and norms in their country. Christians should make their voices heard as biblical values and norms be exceeded, whether in their city, province or country.
The commission of the Lord Jesus Christ is to fight against the authorities in the air (the powers of darkness).
God does not save the believer from trials. God tests the believer to let the believer discover himself how far he/she is in his/her spiritual life. For example, whether he is really patient or kind or gentle.
God will often chastise when we leave the first love or when the believer deviates from the right path. God disciplines His children as a loving Father. He wants to raise us up to an image similar to His Son, Jesus Christ. Sometimes He does that with love. However, discipline is also love. Just as an earthly father punishes his child when it is disobedient.
A believer can persist as a disobedient child. He or she can continue to walk on his/her own (worldly) way. Persevering resulting in one will finally quenching the Holy Spirit (1 Thess. 5:19). Before the Spirit is extinguished, people have first saddened (Ephesians 4:30). This marks the believer, because he/she has lost the joy. If the Holy Spirit is extinguished, the chastisement has fallen away; the prayer is absent; the testimony disappeared.
Some characteristics of the working of the Spirit are in our lives:
- A life in joy
- Community with God's children (Hebrews 10:25 not neglecting to meet together . . . )
- Testimony of Jesus Christ
- Gifts to God's work (tithes)
- A life under the control of the Holy Spirit.
If we experience this, we may say that the Holy Spirit works in us and we will experience God's Love, even in times of adversity!
After all, the believer is not spared for setbacks and disappointments. God lets for all things work together for good to those who love Him (Romans 8:28). He will never allow us to be tried beyond your strength (1 Corinthians 10:13). God has loved us first. We must respond to God's love and love God have with all our heart, soul and mind (Deut.6:5-7). This also applies in difficult times.
Ephesians 2:5-6 Finished
We have died with the Lord Jesus Christ at the cross of Calvary to our old nature and God has raised us up with the Lord Jesus Christ on the third day in the new life.
Jesus Christ has everything F I N I S H E D ! (John 19:30).
We do not need a supplement through yoga, T.M. (Transcendental Meditation), or sensitivity training. Our life regulates God. Yoga and T.M. find their origin in the pagan philosophy and idolatry. We may never use this and use it for this purpose to achieve a better concentration in prayer or to make you quicker holy. The Holy Spirit is the Person who works this all out and works in us.
Yoga AND T.M. ARE human means and find their origin in Hindu idolatry. This God can never use, because God forbids idolatry.
In the sensitivity training, a group assesses the behaviour of the person. This is not possible be objective. Man can only come to self-knowledge through God's revelation. God is the Creator and He alone is objective to man. How man is, God has described in His Word, the Bible (Genesis 6:5, Jeremiah 5:23 and 17:9, Matthew 15:19-20). God's Word is the only measure, never the subjective judgment by man or psychiatrist.
We must not and may not want to know our future, through horoscopes, astrology, palm reading, divining and so on. This does not originate with the Holy God, but is inspired by satan. God's wrath rests on all of this (Deut.18:9-22).
The Holy Spirit does use earthly means to educate us. It is FINISHED, will do not say that we are allowed to rest. We should be active in sanctification that means to let the Holy Spirit work in us. And our behaiour be our testimony.
The Holy Spirit uses training, language study, Sermoning, experiences from missionaries, pastors and books to educate us and make us use to be able to witness!
We are set with Christ in Heaven.
Our current life on earth we spend as a stranger. Here on earth, we are representative of the S U P R E M E!
That is why our life must be a pleasing life for God (Romans 12:1-2). All our thinking must become according to God's thinking and acting. See for this Colossians 3:1-17
With Christ we are set in Heaven. This also means that we are placed above satan and the dark forces, as long as we remain in Christ (John 15:4). We should hover not in the sky. As long as we stay in the earthly body, we have a task on earth. We must stand on earth with both our feet! To fight against the dark powers and to win unbelievers for Christ. We are appointed as watchmen to proclaim to men the good news of eternal salvation (Ezekiel 3 + 33). Therefore we are responsible if people are lost if we have not Sermoned the gospel.
I t i s g r a c e ! Grace given by God in His Son.
When we receive a gift, we cannot say that we have obtained it, because our hands have assumed it from the hands of the giver. It was bought and paid for by the giver. It is the givers' grace.
Faith is the means by which we are saved. Man does not seek God by himself. The gospel must be brought to people, because faith comes by the Sermoning of Christ. (Romans 10:16-17).
That is why it is necessary for the faithful to proclaim in the streets, visiting the unbelievers at home, holding open air meetings, distributing via the internet! The Holy Spirit convinces by the Words of God, man from sin. That's why faith is God's Grace through which man is saved.
Ephesians 2:7-9 Rapture in the air
After the rapture of the church in the air (1 Thess.4:13-18), the Lord Jesus Christ will show us His glory. We will then be delivered from our sinful body by His loving-kindness and have received the glorified body. Also, the Lord Jesus Christ will give us wages for the work done by Him (not the labour done by ourselves). We can work for Him because He in His mercy equip us for His Work. No one is able to perform work with fruit (that is to say, among other things, that people come to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ), except by God's power and God's Spirit. That is why we cannot boast, because it is His work and His strength and not ours.
Ephesians 2:10 The Creator
God is the Creator. That is why every man is His property, and must render account of his or her life to God (Revelation 20:11-14). The believer in particular is accountable to the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 14:10 and 2 Corinthians 5:10). The Lord Jesus Christ has prepared a task for every believer. What the believer can obey or not. Obeys he/she then he/she receives above God's grace, also wages. If he/she does not walk on the prepared road, he/she will be judged after being taken up in heaven before Christ's judgment seat (1 Corinthians 3:9-17, 2 Cor. 5:10). The ways in which God wants us to walk, we know by:
- God's Word, the Bible
- By prayer
- Through the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
God's Will is among other things:
- 1 Timothy 2:4 and 2 Peter 3:9 The Lord not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance
- 1 Thess. 4:3 The sanctification of the believer
- Matthew 28:19 You testify in the world of Jesus Christ
For the whole law is fulfilled in one word, "You shall love your neighbour as yourself." 15 But if you bite and devour one another take heed that you are not consumed by one another. 16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh; for these are opposed to each other, to prevent you from doing what you would. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are plain: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness, dissension, party spirit, 21 envy, drunkenness, carousing, and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. 26 Let us have no self-conceit, no provoking of one another, no envy of one another.
1 If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hid with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. 5 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming. 7 In these you once walked, when you lived in them. 8 But now put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and foul talk from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old nature with its practices 10 and have put on the new nature, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. 11 Here there cannot be Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free man, but Christ is all, and in all.
12 Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness, and patience, 13 forbearing one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teach and admonish one another in all wisdom, and sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
11 Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called the uncircumcision by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands-- 12 remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near in the blood of Christ. 14 For he is our peace, who has made us both one, and has broken down the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by abolishing in his flesh the law of commandments and ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby bringing the hostility to an end. 17 And he came and Sermoned peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near; 18 for through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; 22 in whom you also are built into it for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.
What does this mean?
Israel was God's chosen people. Currently it has been set aside and God is working on the Church. Anyone who was not an Israelite is called a Gentile in the Bible. The Israelite was circumcised on the eighth day as a sign that he had been included in the Abrahamic covenant.
The Gentiles were excluded from this (Abraham) covenant and were not familiar with God's laws. They had no hope of being reconciled to God, they lived outside of God's rules of life.
But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off (the unbeliever), by the faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as his/her personal Saviour, Who poured His blood for us, come close to God the Father. In the time of Israel in the Promised Land, the gentile (unbeliever) was far away from God, after Pentecost the believer came close to God. Jesus had to die, for without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins (Hebrews 9:22). The soul had to be reconciled. And the soul of man is in the blood (Leviticus 17:11). That is why God accepted Abel's sacrifice because he slaughtered an animal and thus shed blood/soul. Cain's sacrifice was not accepted, because he despised God's way of reconciliation by not pouring blood.
The Lord Jesus Christ is the peace for and of every believer. Because the believer, who accepted Jesus Christ as his/her Saviour, there is no more enmity with God the Father, but instead peace with God the Father has come in place.
Who made the two one, namely Israel and the Gentiles. Both now have in Jesus Christ became part of the new covenant.
Rom. 11:27 And this will be my covenant with them when I take away their sins.
Heb 8:13 In speaking of a new covenant he treats the first as obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.
Heb 9:15 Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred which redeems them from the transgressions under the first covenant.
Between Jews (Israel) and Gentiles there was an intermediate wall and enmity. The Jews participated in the covenant with God and the Gentiles were excluded from this (old) covenant. There was an in-between wall, the Jews were not allowed to associate with pagans and not marry a pagan. And therefore a believing Christian should not marry an unbeliever (not even with a Muslim, or someone who believes in a God).
Through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, both Jew, Israelite and Gentile who come to faith, receive forgiveness of sins when they recognize the Jesus Christ WHo has died for their sins. With this they become part of the new covenant: forgiveness of sin and eternal life in Heaven.
Jesus Christ in the flesh (born as a man, impregnated from the virgin Mary by the Holy Spirit (sin is passed on by the man, not by the woman)). To keep the ten commandments and laws of the commandments and thus lived without sin.
Jesus Christ has taken the laws "out of action":
Col. 2:13-14 And you, who were dead in trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, having cancelled the bond which stood against us with its legal demands; this he set aside, nailing it to the cross.
But Jesus came to earth to fulfill the laws and the believer honours God by keeping the laws through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Everyone who has accepted Jesus Christ has been born again and has become a new man.
2 Cor. 5:17 Therefore, if any one is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come.
The Israelites and Gentiles, who have accepted Jesus as their Saviour have become one body, both have part in the Body of Christ.
Both are reconciled by the cross:
Col.1:18 He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the first-born from the dead, that in everything he might be pre-eminent.
Col.1:20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
At the birth of Jesus peace was announced on earth:
Luke 2:14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom he is pleased!
You, who were far away: These are the Gentiles, they were far away from the covenant that God had made with Israel, even the heathen (we, unbelievers) were excluded from that covenant.
Those who were close: These were the Israelites who were part of the covenant.
But neither could keep the laws of God. Both needed to receive forgiveness of sins through the blood of Jesus Christ.
Only through Jesus Christ do both have access to Heaven and to God the Father. Because of our sinful nature, we are separated from God the Father. It is ONLY through the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ that sinners become clean and the believer is allowed to come into the Holy of Holies. Only the high priest was allowed to enter the Holy of Holies in the tabernacle (and temple) once a year. When Jesus died at the cross and exclaimed: "It is finished" tore the veil of the Holy of Holies from top to bottom. Man had not accomplished anything. NO, God had accomplished it and tore from heaven (from above) the veil (it was not a man who tore the veil from below) and with that the access to the Holy of Holies is open for every second, to God the Father.
Now daily the believer may go to God the Father through the Lord Jesus Christ, thank daily God the Father and worship Him in prayer.
The believer is no longer foreigner and alien who were excluded from the covenant of God, as at the time of the Old Testament.
NO, now under the new covenant we are saints and members of the household of God. Because of our sinful body we still live on earth and we can only have contact with the Lord Jesus Christ and God the Father through prayer. After the Rapture of the Church (1 Thess.4:13-18) we receive an incorruptible body (1 Corinthians 15:51-52) without sinful nature and may we see God with our own eyes and live in Heaven.
John 14:2 n my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?
The Old Testament Israelites were brought to God through the Sermoning of the prophets.
The New Testament believers through the foundation laid by the 12 apostles.
While Jesus Christ is THE FUNDAMENT, namely the cornerstone, for He has it accomplished. He died for the believer's sin. Without this cornerstone, there exists no foundation and man remains eternally separated from God the Father.
In Jesus Christ the edifice grows, the congregation of believers.
Well contiguous, if every believer takes his or her place in the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:12-30).
To a temple, after all, the believer is a temple of God:
1 Cor. 3:16 Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you?
1 Cor. 6:19 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God? You are not your own?
Ephesians 2:22 All believers are the temple of God
All believers together form the temple of God. The temple consisted of many stones, and inside the temple were many tools, the altar of incense, the table with the 12 showbread and the golden candlestick. However, no stone nor tools nor part can missing, each member has its own function.
Likewise within the temple of God (the body of Christ) every believer has his/her own specific task, to build the body of Christ into a complete temple until the fullness is reached (Rom.11:25-26a).
1 1 For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner for Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles-- 2 assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God's grace that was given to me for you,
3 how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly.
4 When you read this you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, 5 which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;
6 hat is, how the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel. 7 Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God's grace which was given me by the working of his power.
8 To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to Sermon to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, 9 and to make all men see what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things; 10 that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places.
11 This was according to the eternal purpose which he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, 12 in whom we have boldness and confidence of access through our faith in him.
13 So I ask you not to lose heart over what I am suffering for you, which is your glory.
14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with might through his Spirit in the inner man, 17 and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have power 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 with all the fullness of God.
20 Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, for ever and ever. Amen.
What does this mean?
Paul writes this letter to the Ephesians from his prison in Rome in the year 60/61. Here Paul was imprisoned because of his gospel Sermoning among the Gentiles. In Jerusalem he had been falsely accused by the Jews that he would have brought pagans into the temple (Acts 21). In Acts 25:10 Paul appeals to the emperor and he is taken to Rome in captivity (chained to a Roman soldier).
Paul reminds the Ephesians of God's grace, which God has given to Paul to bring the gospel to the Gentiles. Paul was called by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:3-8).
Paul had not received the gospel during the time that Jesus was on earth, no, he had received the gospel after the death and resurrection of Christ Jesus. Directly out of the hand of the Lord Jesus Christ when Paul had ascended to the third heaven (2 Cor.12:2). But possibly also personally by Jesus during 3 years stay in Damascus, see Galatians 1:12, 17-18. Here Paul received directly from the Lord the mystery of the gospel, not just the gospel of salvation as made known to the apostles during Jesus' life on earth, but the deeper gospel as intended for the born-again believers: The statutes and walks of life for the Christian.
The proclamation and Sermoning of Paul are also meant to teach the born-again. Unfortunately, we do not have Paul in our midst and we cannot ask our questions to him in order to get answer our questions. Fortunately, the letters to the congregations have been preserved for the teaching and education of the Christian way of living. By reading these letters, the believers gain an insight into the deeper mystery of the dying, resurrection and purpose of Christ: namely the building up of the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:12 and 5:23), the Rapture of Christ (1 Corinthians 15:51-52, 1 Thess. 4:13-18) and the Christian way of living (Gal. 5, Eph. 5, Col. 3:18-4:6, etc.) and the rewards (1 Cor. 3:10-17).
This mystery (see verse 6) was not known unto the Old Testament believers (Jews) nor to the apostles in the day of Jesus' life on earth. Now this mystery is made known through the operation and revelation of the Holy Spirit by his apostles and prophets. To understand the letters in the New Testament, fulfilment by the Holy Spirit is necessary. If the Christian lives in the flesh and outside of God's Will, then this "carnal" Christian hardly understands any of the mysteries and the richness of these letters. It requires a Christian lifestyle of the "spiritual" Christian and effort of the Christian to understand the letters and to COMPLY. Simply reading the Bible is not enough, it is necessary to take the time to read the Bible, view the given reference(s), study the Bible and talk with others about the Bible (Bible study), and buy Bible commentaries and study them.
What is the mystery? This is told in verse 6: that the born-agains out of the Gentiles also inherit in salvation which was first promised to the Jews: to inherit eternal life in Heaven by the salvation through the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ for the remission of sin and resurrection from the dead.
The Jews thought that the Covenant with God was only meant for the Jews. Now it is revealed that it is also meant for the Gentiles. The Gentiles are grafted onto the trunk: the Jews (Romans 11:11-24).
That is why the Christian has the duty and obligation to intercede for the Jews and the state Israel. After all, salvation is from the Jews and Jesus was also a Jew.
Paul was a servant of God, not through his own works, but purely by the grace of God. Paul (a Pharisee) was very zealous for God, he persecuted the heretics (Acts 8:3 and 9:1-2). He was guilty of murdering many Christians before God called Paul and God opened Paul's eyes. Only through God's grace was Paul allowed to Sermon the gospel to the Jews and the Gentiles.
Paul could not do this in his own strength, he was completely dependent on God's Spirit and God's strength (see also Col. 1:25-27).
Because of the murders on the Christians, Paul calls himself the least of all saints. Yet God had mercy. God looks in the heart of man. Not to the exterior of man, what we observe as people.
In his heart Paul (Saul) was sincere before God, in his zeal he wanted to eradicate blasphemy (what he then saw as). As a Pharisee, he diligently studied God's laws and wanted to maintain them. He did not do blasphemy. He was sincere in his heart, only his zeal was wrong, God had to open his eyes. Often we are very busy (also in and for God's cause), but totally wrong. That is why quiet time is very useful in order to listen to God and His mission. For that purpose, we should study God's Word, the Bible, carefully to get to know God's Will.
This mystery of salvation from sin through the blood of Jesus Christ should not remain in the darkness but come into the light. The believers have to tell everyone. This secret was already known to God from the foundation of the earth, from the Creation by God. This was about 4 centuries (Creation until Jesus' birth) hidden by God.
Now after the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, it may be made known to all nations, yes it is even an assignment:
Matt. 28:19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.
Now rest on the congregation, all the reborns in Christ, the task to make known the gospel worldwide of the salvation of sin through the blood of the Christ Jesus, to:
- the governments, humanity, all people on earth
- the powers in the heavenly places, namely the fallen angels, the powers of darkness and satan (see Ephesians 6:12).
The latter may seem strange. Is there that salvation for these forces? No, but because people accept God's Love and Grace and acknowledge that as a person is unable to come to God through their own works. And to reconcile themselves with God, the congregation witnesses to the powers in the heavenly places that we acknowledge to be guilty. And voluntarily submit to God's authority.
The believer can testify against the powers of darkness by following Jesus' example, namely obedience out of his/her own free will to God the Father. By living by the Holy Spirit, doing the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22) and letting your proper own die. Surrendering your own will to God and letting God guide and direct your life, thereby testify to the powers in the heavenly places. That testimony glorifies God!!!
God knew that satan would tempt man by eating of the forbidden fruit. God knew in His Wisdom that man would begin to sin and be separated from God (and God's community). However, God's wisdom also provided for the solution (before the foundation of creation), namely that His Son would die for the sin of man.
Matthew 13:35 This was to fulfil what was spoken by the prophet: "I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter what has been hidden since the foundation of the world".
God's eternal purpose of sending His Only Begotten Son Jesus to earth to remain obedient to the Will of God the Father, with all her temptations and seductions (Luke 4), obedience to death (Matt. 39), to die at the cross of Calvary and to be raised from the dead on the third day by God the Father. And everyone who believes this will receive eternal life in Heaven:
John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
The Lord Jesus has performed this intention of His Father (finished John 19:30).
Through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, now we have boldness to draw near to God the Father (in prayer) and the veil is torn (Luke 23:45) and the entrance is free to the Holy of Holies (where God dwells). We have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ that He has liberated this access to God the Father. Through His blood we will soon be able to approach clean and holy before God's throne in Heaven. At the Rapture of Christ we will receive a clean, holy and incorruptible body with which we can appear before God the Father. All this is possible through faith in Christ Jesus.
Paul recognizes that a simple request is not sufficient, he urges the Ephesians not to give up the courage. Afflictions, persecutions, attacks of the powers of darkness and of satan, torture, imprisonment, ridicule and scorn of the world, and so on, and so on. Belong to the Christian way of life. It is an honour to participate. If we tolerate this patiently (in God's power) and continue to proclaim the gospel, we testify against the powers in the heavenly places. And that is what it is for God's glory.
Ephesians 3:14 Why does Paul bow his knees? Out of reverence for the great holy God the Father. God the Father has given His Son to die for sin.
From the Old Testament we know how Holy is God, think of the tabernacle. The ordinary Israelite was not allowed to go beyond the burnt offering altar. The priests were allowed to enter the Holy Place after purification, but never the Holy of Holies. The high priest (an image of the Lord Jesus Christ) was allowed to enter the Holy of Holies only once a year on the Day of Atonement. In the Holy of Holies, the Lord God lived.
Also in Revelation we see how Holy and Almighty is the Lord God.
Therefore, the believer will always have to approach God in awe and respect, because God is King. For this Holy God, the sinful believer should bow his/her knees and especially if he/she is going to intercede.
When one is going to intercede, the believer must take a worthy attitude. Realizing very well that it is pure mercy that he/she may approach God and thus serves one attitude/position that is worthy of God.
Psalms 95:6 O come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the LORD, our Maker!
Dan. 6:11 Daniel opened the windows on the side of Jerusalem; he bowed three times a day lay down on his knees and prayed and praised God. See also Matt. 17:14, Acts 9:40, 20:36, 21:5.
Even the Lord Jesus knelt before God the Father when He prayed (Luke 22:41).
Every family (compare Luke 2:4 and Acts 3:25) is the church that consists of all born-again, from Jews and Gentiles, who believe that the Lord Jesus Christ died for their sins.
In heaven probably are meant the angels of God, who worship God (Revelation 5:11, 14).
Paul prays on his knees that God will powerfully fill the Ephesians with the Holy Spirit to strengthen the inner man. Because out of the heart goes the good (you shall love your neighbour as yourself).
God's abundance is infinitely great, therefore God can only allow believers in Christ, that the Holy Spirit dwells in every believer, Who works out the fruits of the Spirit in the individual believer. Only the Holy Spirit is able to give strength to the believer and to comfort him when the believer is persecuted, tortured, loses a loved one (man, woman, child). Under the most difficult circumstances, God's Spirit can still provide the believer with joy (Acts 16:25).
What else does Paul pray for? That the faith of the born-again is rooted in the heart of the born-again. The faith in Christ, the resurrected Lord, should make home in the heart. A house on a rock (the rock is the foundation in Christ Matt.7:24-27) is an indestructible fortress and has a very good foundation.
Why in the heart? The heart is the source of love. God so loved the world that He did His Only Begotten Son has given, that ...
Jesus so loved God the Father that He gave His life to obey God the Father.
If the faith of the born-again believer goes so deep, he/she gives up everything for the Lord God and he/she loves the neighbour as himself.
Love is: see 1 Cor. 13:1-13. Love forgives everything, just like the Lord God forgives ours sin (Matthew 6:12).
Paul prays that the Ephesians may be able to understand how great God's love is. To understand how huge the love is in the width and the length, and in height and depth.
I do not think that we humans can ever penetrate this enormous love. When we think alone of the width and length of the earth. The depth of the oceans and the distance of the earth to Heaven, several billions of light years??? So enormous is God's Love for His church.
Furthermore, Paul prays that the Ephesians may know the love of Christ who went so far as to lash Himself as a lame Lamb and died innocently at the cross. A completely surrendering love until death.
Are you willing to give your life for your brother or sister in the Lord?
Give your life in self-sacrifice to the Lord Jesus Christ?
The love of Christ is beyond the human mind, which is incomprehensible.
The fullness of God (see Eph. 4:13): at the beginning of the rebirth we are complete sinners, through the operation of the Holy Spirit (the fruit of the Spirit), the believer needs to grow to sinless and will slowly grow to the fullness of God, which is only reached at the Rapture of the Church when the believer receives a pure, holy and imperishable body.
The believer should open himself to the work of the Holy Spirit, so that the Lord the good work which He has begun, also continue until the day of Christ Jesus (Phil 1:6). The believer should watch out that he/she does not quench the Holy Spirit (1 Thess. 5:19).
When the Lord God has so much love for the believer, we may also be convinced that He will give us much. It is God's power that works in the believer. This power is enormous, capable of changing the sinful characters of people. Change people with homosexuality into a hetero. People who are introverted to change to an extroverted character. Deep wounds incurred during childhood, completely healed.
God has created Heaven and earth, everything that lives in the sea, all animals, all trees, cattle, the air, birds and humans. His power is that great. That is why God is capable to do much more than any person realizes. God is able to answer every prayer. His power is Omnipotence.
Sometimes, however, prayer is not answered, because the believer is praying wrongly, or asking for the wrong things, or has to wait because the believer cannot handle it yet, or because God is love and does not immediately break a man. God respects the free will of a man. If the believer prays that someone will be saved, God can very easily force this person to believe, either through love or through great calamity. God, however, is love and much more patient than man.
It is therefore important to investigate whether you are praying according to God's Will. And we know God's Will from His Word, the Bible.
Expect great things from God. BUT as a young believer, does not ask the stars of heaven. THEN you will be disappointed, because you cannot handle this kind of thing at all. And God will not give you (so no prayer answer). God gives you as you mature becomes and grows to larger things. The Spirit leads in prayer, guides you in prayer, and pray for what the Holy Spirit puts onto your heart. And research whether it is from the Spirit, not out of your own desire or a deception by the powers of the darkness.
Is it wrong to ask for what is your heart onto God? No, but it must serve God's honour.
Him (verse 14), the Father is the glory of the congregation, which God the Father has acquired in Christ Jesus (Christ Jesus bought His church with His precious and dear blood at the cross of Calvary). That is why all believers from young to old, from the first church to the present day, should glorify God the Father and give Him all honour from eternity to eternity. AMEN.
1 I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all lowliness and meekness, with patience, forbearing one another in love, 3 eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call, 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of us all, who is above all and through all and in all. 7 But grace was given to each of us according to the measure of Christ's gift. 8 Therefore it is said, "When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men." 9 (In saying, "He ascended," what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He who descended is he who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.) 11 And his gifts were that some should be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the cunning of men, by their craftiness in deceitful wiles. 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every joint with which it is supplied, when each part is working properly, makes bodily growth and upbuilds itself in love.
What does this mean?
The Apostle Paul enjoined the Ephesians to walk worthily equally of the Lord Jesus Christ. Does Paul have this right to admonish? Yes, surely, he is, after all, an apostle personally called by the Lord Jesus Christ.
The believer should be a witness of the Lord through his/her way of life. In his/her word use, speech and deeds. So do not participate in popular language, no ordinary words, indecent teasing, but worthy of Christ. And in action love, and respect for Sunday's rest, so not going to shops and businesses that are open on Sundays. In everything we have to remember whether it can carry away the Lord Jesus Christ' approval and it is worthy of Him. The Lord requires from the believer, a holy and pure walk, so also what we listen to (conversations, music) and what we are watching (movies, television, internet, etc). But also in the work we do.
Col. 3:23 Whatever your task, work heartily, as serving the Lord and not men.
After all, the believer is called by the Lord Jesus Christ, we are worthy by the Lord to be part of His Redemption. He died for our sin at the cross of Golgotha, and He delivered us from sin, so we also no longer ought to lead a sinful life, but a life worthy of Him.
This is a very important task: to preserve the unity of the Spirit, or unity within the church of Christ. There must keep unity within the churches, Roman Catholics, Reformed, all who confess Jesus Christ as personal Saviour and Lord that the Lord Jesus Christ died for sin and rose from the dead and is now seated at the right hand of God. They must preserve unity. There must be a bond of peace between them. They must carry out a unity outwards. There must be no question of strife, envy and hatred, but a bond of love and peace.
For those who confess Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord are one body (of Christ) and one in (Holy) Spirit. Each individual beloved believer has received the Holy Spirit, and all believers together form the Body of Christ:
Rom. 12:5 So we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.
1 Cor. 12:12 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.
1 Cor. 12:27 Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.
No matter how many different thoughts there might be about the gift of the Spirit, about the interpretation of Revelation, about the First and Second Comings of Christ, there must be peace. Also between individual members within the same denomination. Respect each other's opinion, listen to the other person. Most importantly, the believer recognizes the Bible as God's Word and that Jesus Christ came as a man on earth, died for the sin of man, rose from the dead and is now seated at God's right hand. And that whoever believes in this Jesus Christ will receive eternal life in Heaven and receive forgiveness of sin. And believe that Jesus Christ is God's Son and believes in the Trinity: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.
Why? Because there is one Lord Jesus Christ, one faith that gives forgiveness of sin through the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, and one baptism in (Matthew 28:19) the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
One God the Trinity namely God the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit. The Creator of all men and the Father of all born again.
He lives above in Heaven, stands above all and rules all.
Above all: fallen angels, God's angels, all people, all powers and everything that live and thrive on the earth, and everything in all heavenly places. Everything is subject to Him and He rules over all.
God is visible through all, through His Creation, through the angels, through nature, through man.
In all believers the Holy Spirit lives and so God is present.
God gives grace to every believer according to the degree to which Christ bestows it. Every believer has received the grace of forgiveness of sin. But not every believer receives as much grace from God. A Christian who lives in the flesh will receive less grace from God. A Christian living in the Spirit will receive more grace, and those who are persecuted and tortured for Christ's Will shall receive even more grace.
2 Cor. 12:9 But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." I will all the more gladly boast of my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
God gives grace as much as He deems good for the individual believer. The believer must remain dependent on God and live by God's power. According to God's grace the believer receives one or more gifts (talents).
This text comes from Psalms 68:19.
The Lord Jesus Christ ascended to the high (Heaven Mark 16:19) and He took along host of captives (Luke 23:39-43), namely the criminal hung next to Jesus at the the cross and who asked forgiveness to Jesus.
Gifts (to heal, drive out demons, etc.) He gave to His disciples (Matt. 10:8) and to believers (1 Cor. 12:28).
Not every believer has received as many gifts (or talents). The Lord gives as the believer can bear his/her responsibility (Matthew 25:14-30. The parable of the talents) and as the believer grows in his/her faith.
Jesus Christ lived in Heaven, but when God the Father asked Him to become a man, Jesus was born on earth as a human being. Then Jesus went down to the earthly places and He temporarily laid down His Deity in order to become a man. With all human weaknesses and temptations.
John 3:13 No one has ascended into heaven but he who descended from heaven, the Son of man.
But after Jesus' resurrection from the dead He ascended to Heaven: Far above all heavens (or heavenly places).
What does this mean? Paul speaks in 2 Cor. 12:2 about a third heaven. Therefore I assume there are several heavens. Rabbis (Jewish teachers) say there are seven heavens. Paul speaks that he was raised to the third heaven, that is paradise.
Many places in the Bible speaks about the heavenly places. Above these heavenly places, heavens, I think, is the (fourth?) Heaven where God the Father lives and where the Lord Jesus Christ is seated at God's right. This is probably the Heaven where the believers go when the Lord Jesus Christ comes in the air (at the Rapture of Christ) to take the believers to Heaven. Only then does the (already dormant and still living) believers receive a clean, holy and imperishable body with which he/she can approach God (the Father).
According to the grace of God, God the Father gives gifts to believers who are called to the service of the Lord Jesus Christ. Everyone has his/her duty within the body of Christ (see 1 Corinthians 12:12-20), one as an evangelist, one as a shepherd, the other as a teacher (compare 1 Corinthians 12:28-31).
Why does God bestow these gifts and why does He appoint?
To build up the church and the Body of Christ for the work of ministry to God. It is the job of each individual Christian to serve and honour God through praise and worship. One by interceding for pastors (Hebrews 13:7), for believers and unbelievers, the one in pastoral care as deacon and elder (the shepherd), other one to boldly proclaim the gospel (the evangelist), other to educate the church the Bible (the teacher) which is also a parental task. Parents are called to bring up their children with the gospel (Psalm 78:5b-7), to read together the Bible and to explain the Bible. So parenting is a difficult task!!! And is a very great grace of God!!!
Why all these different members? So that all people (no one except) come to the full knowledge of the Son of God, Jesus Christ. So all people on the whole earth has to be reached with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Matthew 28:19 Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, and baptize them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, and teach them to keep all that I have commanded you.
And the believers grow in knowledge of God's Word, the Bible, so that they fully know and understand God's Will and apply it in their lives.
If the believer fully lives under the control of the Holy Spirit, he/she has reached male maturity.
If after reaching the male maturity, the believer continues to live under the control of the Holy Spirit and to the Will of God, then he/she grows into the fullness of Christ.
When the believer has achieved this growth, he/she is no longer a child, but then he/she grown to mature manhood (a son of God).
Rom. 8:14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.
The believer who is mature, is no longer tossed about (no longer doubts in faith) and knows what is God's Will for his/her life. He/she holds the faith for only joy, prays faithfully and in faith, see James 1:2-10
This believer is not fooled by false teachings (such as Children of God, Jehovah witnesses, Mormons, yoga, acupuncture, etc.) because under the control of the Holy Spirit he/she is warned that something is not right.
This believer is also warned by the Holy Spirit about the cunning of the powers of darkness and satan (Satan appears as an angel of light 2 Corinthians 11:14).
Through this life under the control of the Holy Spirit, the believer is protected against divagations.
Then the believer is no longer under age, immature, but grows the Christian, while he/she keeps to the Truth (the Bible), fulfilled by the Holy Spirit giving much love (to the people and) to God (God has the believer's first love), as a result of which he/she grows closer to the Lord Jesus Christ.
It is the Lord Jesus Christ Himself (through the working of the Holy Spirit) who builds up the Body, qualifies believers for their duty and service and keeps the Body together, so that each individual member (=believer) is built up in love and knowledge of God.
1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. 4 Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; 5 it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never ends; as for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For our knowledge is imperfect and our prophecy is imperfect; 10 but when the perfect comes, the imperfect will pass away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood. 13 So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
12 Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness, and patience, 13 forbearing one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.
28 And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, then healers, helpers, administrators, speakers in various kinds of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? 31 But earnestly desire the higher gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way.
14 "For it will be as when a man going on a journey called his servants and entrusted to them his property; 15 to one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. 16 He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them; and he made five talents more. 17 So also, he who had the two talents made two talents more. 18 But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master's money. 19 Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. 20 And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, 'Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.' 21 His master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a little, I will set you over much; enter into the joy of your master.' 22 And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, 'Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.' 23 His master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a little, I will set you over much; enter into the joy of your master.' 24 He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, 'Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not winnow; 25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.' 26 But his master answered him, 'You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sowed, and gather where I have not winnowed? 27 Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. 28 So take the talent from him, and give it to him who has the ten talents. 29 For to every one who has will more be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 30 And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth.'
1 Cor. 12:12, 14-15, 18-20: 12 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. ... 14 For the body does not consist of one member but of many. 15 If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body," that would not make it any less a part of the body ... 18 But as it is, God arranged the organs in the body, each one of them, as he chose. 19 If all were a single organ, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.
|Everyone should work in the place appointed by the Lord God, otherwise the one who is not in his/her place will be paralyzed by the environment. If the right upper arm muscle is in the right upper leg position, then the entire upper and lower arm and the right hand are paralyzed, and the right upper leg then has two muscles, which are much too strong on the upper leg and you get a conflict. If the phalange in the left hand takes the place of the left radius, the radius is much too weak and not calculated for his task. Everyone has received talents from God according to his/her strength, we have to find ourselves in the place that the Lord God assigns us within the body of Christ, otherwise the Lord can not bless the work and it functions body not well, and no unbelievers come to the Lord Jesus Christ to repentance.|
2 Count it all joy, my brethren, when you meet various trials, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives to all men generously and without reproaching, and it will be given him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For that person must not suppose that a double-minded man, 8 unstable in all his ways, will receive anything from the Lord. 9 Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation, 10 and the rich in his humiliation, because like the flower of the grass he will pass away.
17 Now this I affirm and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds; 18 they are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart; 19 they have become callous and have given themselves up to licentiousness, greedy to practice every kind of uncleanness. 20 You did not so learn Christ! -- 21 assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus. 22 Put off your old nature which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful lusts, 23 and be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and put on the new nature, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. 25 Therefore, putting away falsehood, let every one speak the truth with his neighbour, for we are members one of another. 26 Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and give no opportunity to the devil. 28 Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labour, doing honest work with his hands, so that he may be able to give to those in need. 29 Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for edifying, as fits the occasion, that it may impart grace to those who hear. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, in whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamour and slander be put away from you, with all malice, 32 and be kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
What does this mean?
Paul gives these statutes, but also makes it clear that these are NOT the words and institutions of Paul himself, but that he received them from the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.
Christians should walk the new Christian life, worthy of Christ (Philippians 1:27). The born-again Christian no longer has to pursue what the unbeliever does, but the things of God. At all times, the Christian should please God and remember that God is looking over his/her shoulder and standing next to him/her.
Gentiles are vain in their thinking, they only have an eye for the worldly and the earthly wealth on earth, which is very perishable. Every second of the day they can die and go empty into the lake of fire.
The Christian must live according to God's will, then he/she collects treasures in Heaven (1 Cor. 3 :11:-17).
Gentiles are darkened in their minds because the Holy Spirit does not dwell in them, therefore they cannot know the Will of God for their lives. They are children of satan, and are completely exposed to his influence. They have an eye for their own will, greed and lust, and have only their own conscience that warns them that something is wrong. Their conscience and their reason, however, points to nature, God's creation, and in the Western world they see the churches, the Bible. In short, everyone has the opportunity to seek God.
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of men who by their wickedness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.
The Gentiles are alienated from the life of God because they refuse to seek God. Often God reveals Himself in many ways to the unbeliever, gives God many warnings to the unbeliever (death in his/her surroundings, narrowly escaping death), but the disbeliever continues to refuse, then hardens his/her heart.
21 for although they knew God they did not honour him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking and their senseless minds were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man or birds or animals or reptiles. 24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonouring of their bodies among themselves.
The pagans have surrendered to their own lust, as it were stupefying as they are stunned by the drink or drugs, and the mind and conscience are eliminated. In this anaesthetic, the debauchery increases, people realize afterwards what they have done. It also manifests itself in greed, eagerness, first I myself, eagerly making profit and all sorts of uncleanness, such as fornication, adultery, yoga, worship of idols and homosexuality, etc. See Rom. 1:24-32, Gal. 5:19-21, Col. 3:5-9.
But the Christian must lead a totally different life, because he/she is born again and has the indwelling of the Holy Spirit through which he/she no longer has to give in to the lusts of the flesh (Galatians 5:13-26).
The believer in Christ has heard the gospel and accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as his/her Saviour and received the Holy Spirit. It is the duty of the believer to seek God's Will daily, to pray (and ask for God's Will for him/her for that day) and to read and examine the Bible.
Before reading the Bible, the believer must ask for the fullfilment of the Holy Spirit, so that the eyes are opened. Ask God to reveal what God wants to show, teach and learn you), God will make Himself known and show His Will.
The Bible teaches in truth. One of the truths which is writing in the Bible, is that Christ Jesus died for the sin of man who believes in Him. Accept man this, then he/she receives eternal life in Heaven (John 3:16). The Bible is the Truth, because it is God's Word. The Bible is about 6,000 years old. Many scholars have bent over the Bible and determined that it is the Words of God. Time and times in all centuries the scholars have come to the conclusion that the Bible is God's Word. And from the many historical excavations, it is confirmed that the Bible speaks the truth.
The original Bible is written in Hebrew and Greek. Bible translations are done with great care. But every language changes over time, and modern translations take place. Sometimes popular translations bring the Bible closer to the people. With these popular translations, one has to be careful to derive something from it. But it is a good start, you can always continue with the RSV translation, which is more accurate.
And every believer is HIMSELF obliged to examine God's Word, the Bible. Later on, when you stand before God, you cannot say, "But I have heard ..." or "But I found the Bible incomprehensible and that's why I did not read it" or " I did not have time", or any excuse.
It is the duty of the Christian to crucify his/her old life (the self-me, the flesh (Gal 5). The old man, in the flesh, perishes, which dies. The old man has deceiving, carnal desires, longs for fun, fun, happiness on earth, wealth and prosperity on earth. The old man likes to stay in company of people who praise him/her and invite him/her to have fun, drink and likes to smoke.
However, the Christian is renewed by reading the Bible and the working of the Holy Spirit (Gal 5:22). The Christian seeks God's Will for his/her life and lives to God's honour and glory. He/she lives to please God in gratitude that God has redeemed him/her and has given eternal life in Christ and the forgiveness of his/her sins.
The Christian takes on the new life. How?
By confessing his/her sin daily. When? At the moment he/she is aware that he/she has sinned. Every day the believer stumbles and falls into sin. But this must be confessed, and THEN it becomes forgiven, after which the Holy One Spirit can continue His work.
Micah 7:19 He will again have compassion upon us, he will tread our iniquities under foot. Thou wilt cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.
If the believer does not confess sin and continues to refuse, he/she extinguishes the Holy Spirit (1 Thess.5:19).
The believer should also listen to God and do what God tells him/her. If the believer does not listen, he/she extinguishes the Spirit.
The Holy Spirit works out the fruits of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22, Colossians 3:5-4:6) as long as the believer cooperates, confesses sin, indulges himself in the working of the Holy Spirit and crucifies his/her own (I want), that is, gives up his own will.
The self-I can be: smoking, being introvert, self-interest, reluctant to serve God, not having time (for prayer, reading the Bible, house-calls), often drinking alcohol, etc.
Sometimes there is a stubborn sin in the life of the believer and continues to stumble, how often this is confessed time after time. Or there is a sin that is difficult for the believer to let go. Then the believer may pray and confess that it does not work, and then he/she may ask God to remove this sin from him/her will. Expect that God will DO it, but do not be disappointed if it takes a while to stumble. But you will find that the Lord does it through the Holy Spirit unless His grace is enough, as with Paul (2 Corinthians 12:9).
The new man was created after God in righteousness and holiness. That is why the believer needs to walk holy and NOT do what is in Col. 3:5-9, but DO what is in Col. 3:10-4:5
Speak the truth and practice fair and wholesome justice among yourself (Zech 8:16) and do not plot evil in your heart for the other (Zech 8:17) because we are all members of Christ. Christ will judge, and the believer is NOT FREE from the judgment. The Christian should resolve differences, quarrels and disagreements with each other.
And you become angry or angry because you feel that your injustice has been done, even if your anger is right, do not sin.
Do not do things in your anger that you cannot undo later on, or do not transfer your anger onto an innocent person.
Exodus 32:19 And as soon as he came near the camp, and saw the calf and the dances, the wrath of Moses burned; he threw the tables out of his hand and shattered them the foot of the mountain.
Moses became so angry that he threw and broke the stones in pieces on which God had written the Ten Commandments. The result was that he had to go back to God and ask for forgiveness and ask for new stones with the 10 commandments.
Num. 22:27 And when the ass saw the Angel of the Lord, she lay under Balaam; then ignited the wrath of Balaam and he beat the ass with the stick.
Balaam did not see the angel of the Lord, and struck his ass. This hitting was unjustified because Balaam knew he was not allowed on the way by God. Balaam transferred his anger on innocent one.
Here in verse 26 follows another obligation when the believer is angry: do not let the sun go down. That is, your anger must be over before the sun sets (you may not to go to sleep with anger), first you must have brought it under control of Holy Spirit (and your sinful? wrath must have been confessed) and possibly a talk over with the person (persons) on whom you are angry.
Why? Not to give the devil a breach. If you are angry, the Holy Spirit can (hardly) work in you and with that you are (more) open to the influence of the powers of darkness and satan.
Whoever is a thief may no longer steal. He/she should ask the Lord Jesus Christ to help him/her find work. And he/she must accept any honest job to earn his/her own costs. He makes an effort, so that means he/she really has to do his/her best to find work. And this must be honest work, labour that stretches to the glory of God, not return in heling or working what God forbids.
And the ex-thief receives the order by God, namely to pay back what he/she has stolen, or to return the stolen goods.
No debauchery (immoral, licentious) word may come from the mouth of the Christian.
Good words may come from the believer's mouth. But beware, there are two conditions: TO BUILD UP AND WHERE USEFUL.
Good words should be to build up fellow human beings. However, even though it is building up, it can sometimes go wrong with the other, because the time is not right for it. Once in a while the believer must exercise patience to tell it later at a suitable time. Why?
Because those who hear your words receive grace from God. If we proclaim the gospel at the right moment, then the unbeliever will be open for it, and he/she will accept and receive grace of God and come to faith in Jesus Christ.
If the believer should admonish a fellow believer, and do so at the right time, then this fellow believer will be open to it and the Holy Spirit will convince and the fellow believer comes to repentance and receive God's grace.
Yes, the born-again Christian is able to extinguish the (working of the) Holy Spirit. Isaiah 63:10 says it as follows: "But they rebelled and grieved his Holy Spirit; therefore he turned to be their enemy, and himself fought against them."
If the believer refuses to confess sin, refuses to listen to his/her conscience, to what the Holy Spirit tells, to what the Bible says and makes clear, goes his/her own way, and so on, the believer grieves the Holy Spirit and extinguishes them finally out.
That is VERY DANGEROUS!!! Because the Holy Spirit guides, sends, comforts and reveals God's will. Isaiah gives the consequence: The believer finds an enemy in God. Since the Holy Spirit extinguishes, He no longer works in the believer and the believer sets himself completely open to the powers of darkness and satan. Then the believer can descend very deeply and it may become even impossible to return to God (like the prodigal son) and ask for forgiveness. Hopefully in such a situation, there are brothers and sisters in he Lord who pray for you and help you to return to the Lord.
Avoid ending up in this and do not live in the flesh !!
The born-again Christian is sealed with the Holy Spirit, the indwelling is permanent and gives you the guarantee that you will receive eternal life and IF you live by the Holy Spirit at the Rapture of Christ (1 Thess. 4:13-18) go to Heaven. Then the believers come before the judgment seat of Christ.
2 Cor. 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive good or evil, according to what he has done in the body.
Then the believer will have to answer to the Lord Jesus Christ about his/her life on earth and if he/she has lived in the Holy Spirit. And allowed the Spirit of God to work in him/her and lived as a "spiritual Christian" or as "carnal Christian" or even has extinguished the Holy Spirit. Then each believer will receive wages according to man's work (in the Spirit) (1 Corinthians 3:10-15) and perhaps be saved, but only as through fire.
This is obvious what the believer may not do.
And what the believer should do. And forgive each other whatever the other person has done to you. Our sins against God are much more numerous.
11 For no other foundation can any one lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if any one builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw-- 13 each man's work will become manifest; for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. 14 If the work which any man has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. 15 If any man's work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire. 16 Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you? (1 Cor. 6:19)
17 If any one destroys God's temple, God will destroy him. For God's temple is holy, and that temple you are.
13 For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love be servants of one another. 14 For the whole law is fulfilled in one word, "You shall love your neighbour as yourself." 15 But if you bite and devour one another take heed that you are not consumed by one another. 16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh; for these are opposed to each other, to prevent you from doing what you would. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit you are not under the law. 19 Now the WORKS OF THE FLESH:
Carousing and the like
I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT is: Love
Self-control; 23 against such there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. 26 Let us have no self-conceit, no provoking of one another, no envy of one another.
5 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming. 7 In these you once walked, when you lived in them. 8 But now put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and foul talk from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old nature with its practices 10 and have put on the new nature, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. 11 Here there cannot be Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scyth'ian, slave, free man, but Christ is all, and in all. 12 Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness, and patience, 13 forbearing one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teach and admonish one another in all wisdom, and sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. 18 Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. 19 Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them. 20 Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. 21 Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged. 22 Slaves, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but in singleness of heart, fearing the Lord. 23 Whatever your task, work heartily, as serving the Lord and not men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward; you are serving the Lord Christ. 25 For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality. 1 Masters, treat your slaves justly and fairly, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven. 2 Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving; 3 and pray for us also, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison, 4 that I may make it clear, as I ought to speak. 5 Conduct yourselves wisely toward outsiders, making the most of the time. 6 Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer every one.
1 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. 3 But fornication and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is fitting among saints. 4 Let there be no filthiness, nor silly talk, nor levity, which are not fitting; but instead let there be thanksgiving. 5 Be sure of this, that no fornicator or impure man, or one who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for it is because of these things that the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. 7 Therefore do not associate with them, 8 for once you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), 10 and try to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. 12 For it is a shame even to speak of the things that they do in secret; 13 but when anything is exposed by the light it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. 14 Therefore it is said, "Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give you light." 15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, 16 making the most of the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but be filled with the Spirit, 19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart, 20 always and for everything giving thanks in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father. 21 Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ.
What does this mean?
The believers should become followers (Greek: imitators) of God. After all, man is created in the image of God and by the Holy Spirit who lives in the believer, the believer no longer needs to give in to sin. Also the Spirit of God works out the image of Christ in us. And we have become children of God, through which God's love flows in us.
The believer should walk in love, yes a love to death, an all-surrendering and self-sacrificing love. Just as Christ also gave Himself up to death for the believer as an offering (the True Lamb) and a victim. For the sacrifice see Leviticus 1 and 2, and for the victim Leviticus 7 and the meaning of Jesus Christ as the True Lam.
If the Christian walks purely and holy, then he/she is a fragrant smell to the Lord God.
Just as in the Old Testament, fornication, impurity and greed (=no sense to share your property with others, while you have plenty and do not feed the poor, you do not give your tithe, etc.) may not be the case with the believers, for the believer is called to sanctification, called to be a priest. And as a priest we must live holy.
See Rom. 1:18-32, 1 Cor. 5:9-11, Gal. 5:5:19-21, Col. 3:5, 1 Thes. 4:2-7, 1 Tim. 1:10.
The believer must abstain from all popular language, curses and language that can give offence. From every language which the infidel can say, is that now a Christian?
The language of a believer should be considered, the truth, without deceit. Yes is yes, and no is no.
A language of thanksgiving, without a complaint (how does the Lord Jesus and Paul did not suffer for your sins and to Sermon the gospel), they did not complain underwent the submissive and with joy.
A language of thanksgiving, without complaining (how did not suffer the Lord Jesus and Paul for your sins and Sermoning the gospel), they did not complain but bear submissive and with joy.
By thanksgiving and joy in difficult times, the believer wins the unbeliever Christ. Many unbelievers are won for Christ by the joy (despite suffering) of the believer who was about to die (he/she knows that after all the suffering on earth comes to an end and now goes to paradise/Heaven).
Those who do the things in verses 3 and 4 must be well aware that they do not participate in the Kingdom of Christ and God (the Father).
Rev. 21:27 But nothing unclean shall enter it (the New Jerusalem, the temple), nor any one who practices abomination or falsehood, but only those who are written in the Lamb's book of life.
Rev. 22:15 Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and fornicators and murderers and idolaters, and every one who loves and practices falsehood.
How, among other things, you can gain access to the Kingdom of Christ, see 2 Peter 1:3-11.
Yes, what is the Kingdom of Christ and God? The general view is that the Kingdom of Christ and God is the believer who does the will of God and lives accordingly to God's Will and maintains God's statutes. Showing that Jesus Christ is righteous and Lord of this world.
The Bible does not describe a physical place, a building or area. It might be possible that it is the New Temple where God lives (New Earth), and where great holiness reigns. Which could also mean that not all believers will be allowed to come into God's presence alone those who have lived holy. After all, God is a Holy God, and nothing unclean can come close to His Holiness.
2 Sam. 6:6-7 And when they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, Uzzah put out his hand to the ark of God and took hold of it, for the oxen stumbled. And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Uzzah; and God smote him there because he put forth his hand to the ark; and he died there beside the ark of God.
Ps. 81:12-14 So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts, to follow their own counsels. O that my people would listen to me, that Israel would walk in my ways! I would soon subdue their enemies, and turn my hand against their foes!
This indicates how holy God is, the ark was WHERE GOD LIVED.
Can we conclude from this that harlots, greedy, adulteries, etc. have no access to the Kingdom of God? Yes, all who consciously maintain this after their rebirth.
Matt. 21:31-32 Who of the two did the will of his father?" They said, "The first." Jesus said to them, "Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the harlots believed him; and even when you saw it, you did not afterward repent and believe him.
Here it is indicated that those who repent and gained faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, will enter into the Kingdom of God (if they do NOT continue the worldly life).
Whether there is a difference between the Kingdom of Christ and the Kingdom of God, thereon we do not get an answer from the Bible.
So these two Kingdoms remain mystical.
In short, it should be clear that God is a Holy God and the believer must live a holy life and not sin consciously. Fortunately there is always forgiveness of sin. But how it goes with conscious sinning and the consequences of this in accessing Heaven, the Bible gives no clear no answer. However a clear example are Ananias and Sapphira, see Acts 5:1-11.
The faithful will not be deceived by deceptive orders and false teachings, for the Holy Spirit dwells in the believer who warns when something is not of God. If the believer does not listen to God's Voice (just like practicing yoga, joining the Children of God, etc.) then he/she can expect the wrath of God. After all, they have become children of disobedience.
God clearly states that the believers should NOT take part. The believer may examine everything, but he/she may NOT investigate what he/she knows is not from God and/or if it is an abomination and it is wrong in God's eyes.
The believer was a child of satan, and walked in the darkness because he/she was unfamiliar with God's Word. He/she had no part in the gospel and thus was in darkness.
Then he/she became acquainted with the gospel and salvation through the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ and eternal life after death in Heaven.
After his/her rebirth, the Holy Spirit came to live in him/her, Who will explain the Word of God, the Bible, thus the Christian receives the Light of God. It is the duty of the Christian:
- To read God's Word under the illumination of the Holy Spirit.
- To live in accordance of the instructions of God given in the Bible
- To walk in the light as children of light, representing the Lord God.
The believer is called in word and in deed to spread the light (the gospel). He/she should let shine the light in the darkness (the world of unbelieving people) by Sermoning the gospel and showing in deeds to the unbelievers that the Holy Spirit has changed his/her life and the Spirit of God is leading him/her.
The fruit of the light, or the fruit of the Holy Spirit, is pure goodness (shows compassion, shares with the less fortunate), righteousness (does not do wrong,) and truth (speaks the truth).
The believer tests with which he/she can please the Lord Jesus Christ and God the Father (doing a favour). From the Bible the believer knows what he/she can do to please God, among other things by living holy and pure, by doing God's Will, by having his/her life guided by the Holy Spirit, being full of the Holy Spirit, not to interfere in worldly affairs, debauchery and freedom, etc.
The believer may not participate in the works of darkness. So no occultism, spiritism, horoscopes, tattoe, and so on. But everything else, what the darkness is, are the worldly things: greed, selfishness, house-parties, drugs, drunkenness, envy, hatred, self-interest and you name other things.
But also the works of darkness such as yoga, acupuncture, homeopathy, transcendental meditation, and study of evolution theory, all kinds of sects (Mormons, Children of God), Islam, Buddhism, and so on.
Yes, there is even an instruction: It is the believer's task to expose the works of darkness and to put them into the light. It is the duty of the believer to publish, so that non-believers are warned that this are works of demons and satan.
Some things are so horrible what unbelievers and powers of darkness practice (think of pedophilia, sacrificing children or persons to Satan, satanic rituals, getting pregnant by satan) that it is even disgraceful to mention them. For these things are secretly done by the unbelievers.
But fortunately there are people specially called by God. Who are specially protected by God from the powers of darkness and where a believer never alone may publish, always in the group assigned by God, who bring these dark things into the open and announce in public.
The believer is NOT allowed to sleep, he/she must be constantly vigilant about the things of darkness. That no things of the world, powers of darkness and satan SLIPS in his/her life. The believer should awaken from his/her lukewarm Christian existence and pass from the dead (before God he/she was dead when he/she was still an unbeliever) and into the full light of Christ. Study the seven letters to the churches in Revelation 2 and 3. These letters contain serious warnings about the spiritual life of the believer.
If the believer walks in the light, then the promise follows: Christ will shine upon you. That is, Christ will increasingly reveal the Word of God and you warn more and more what is not of Him.
It is the duty and obligation of the believer to look after that he/she keeps God's commandments and statutes, that he/she does not walk in the ways of darkness as described above. After all, the believer is no longer foolish, but has received the Spirit of Wisdom (the Holy Spirit). The believer therefore has to walk like a wise person. And if he/she falls short in wisdom, he/she asks for wisdom from God.
Col. 1:9-10 And so, from the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, to lead a life worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.
Phil. 1:27 Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you stand firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel.
Every opportunity the believer should make profitable to be worthy of Christ in his deeds and deeds of commerce, and to use it to spread the gospel (in word and deed). Why? Because the believers live in a hostile world, the enemy of God, therefore it are the days of evil (the evil of the powers of darkness and satan, because Christ Jesus has overcome death and removes people from their powers, from the darkness. And transfers in the joyful message of good news: the salvation through the blood of Jesus and liberates from the powers of darkness).
Col. 4:2-6 Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving; and pray for us also, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison, that I may make it clear, as I ought to speak. Conduct yourselves wisely toward outsiders, making the most of the time.
Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer every one.
The commission of God to the believers: Do not be unwise, but do your best to understand what is the Will of the Lord Jesus Christ.
By asking in prayer for wisdom and insight when you start reading the Bible, ask God to show you what He wants you to teach and educate. How?
By reading the Bible daily and praying daily.
By asking God what His Will is for your life.
By exploring what God's Will is for your life.
By placing your life under the control of the Holy Spirit and continually confessing your sins.
The believer is not allowed to drink? Yes, but to a very limited extent, but it is better to abstain. The believer must keep his full mind and keep knowing what he/she says, never can it end in drunkenness and indiscretion. Paul was a proponent of total abstinence, but advised Timothy to use a little wine in connection with his health (1 Timothy 5:23).
It is the duty and obligation of every believer to be fulfilled with the Holy Spirit and not to extinguished.
With psalms, hymns and spiritual songs the believers praise the Lord God, and rejoice greatly (even in difficult circumstances, for Jesus also bore His cross cheerfully and bought you free).
Give thanks also in difficult circumstances, because God has a purpose with it!
Col. 3:17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
As believers in Christ, we all belong to Christ Jesus. He is our Lord and we are members of His Body and therefore we serve the Lord, and we listen to each other.
22 Wives, be subject to your husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Saviour. 24 As the church is subject to Christ, so let wives also be subject in everything to their husbands. 25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28 Even so husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no man ever hates his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 "For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh." 32 This mystery is a profound one, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church; 33 however, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
What does this mean?
Does this still apply in our time? Yes, certainly the Bible is not written for a certain time, but it is timeless, and applies from the Creation by God until God creates the New Earth and New Heaven. Look at Mary in Luke 1:34, she answers the angel: "How will that be, since I have no contact with a man?" This answer clearly shows that she respects the commandment of God given 4000 years ago: No sexual relationship before marriage. Although she was betrothed. So what was true then also applies today (only 2000 years later)!
This is a very rich Bible passage, because it gives instructions both to the man and to the woman. This Bible passage provides rich instructions for married life (and by what follow, it prevents (in most cases) a divorce).
Women be submissive to your husband AS TO THE LORD.
God created man with a free will. Like the believer can talk with the Lord Jesus Christ and the believer can tell his/her own wishes and limitations to the Lord, likewise the woman deals with her husband. It is not a slavish submissiveness. Just as the believer is submissive to the Lord Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ recognizes as his/her Head and Lord, likewise the woman also has to acknowledge her husband.
However the believer also has the duty to investigate whether something belongs to the Lord. Is the submissiveness of the woman is not such that she no longer has any responsibility. If the man desires her to do things which are not according to the Bible, she must refuse and refer her husband to the Biblical grounds upon which she refuses.
The man is the head of the woman, LIKEWISE CHRIST IS THE HEAD OF HIS CHURCH.
This is very clear. The Lord Jesus Christ is the Head of His Church, He leads, He steers, He determines who and what every believer does. Every believer must subordinate his/her will to the Will of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord knows what is best for His Body and each individual believer. He builds, cherishes and feeds each individual believer.
The Lord is very caring, respects the believer his/her own will, help him/her dying of I-self, and giving much love (yes, to the death of the cross), and provides help and strength in difficult times.
Christ is the One Who sustains His body.
Verse 22 and 23 describe the relationship between a man and his wife.
The church of the Lord Jesus Christ is submissive to the Lord, she submits herself to His Will, so that the church of Christ is built up.
With verses 22 and 23 as a starting point, the woman must also be submissive her husband. But verse 23 also gives the obligations to her husband. The man ought to recognize Christ Jesus as his Head, then he also knows the will of his Lord Jesus Christ, and from that position he may be the head of his wife. He ought after all to give the good example, for he submits in everything to his Lord Jesus Christ. He understands the will of his master and so he can and may from that position guide his wife and therefore his wife can also be submissive to him in everything.
This is a very clear assignment. If the man acknowledged Christ as his Head and Lord, then he will be guided completely by the Holy Spirit. And the Holy Spirit gives Love, through which the believer is able to love.
How great was Jesus' love? Jesus' love was so great that He surrendered and to die innocently at the cross of Calvary for the sin of His Bride, the Church of Christ, the born-again believers.
So the mission of the Lord to the man is clear: with a very great love, an all surrendered love, the man should love his wife, but the Lord Jesus Christ should have the first place and love of the man.
Why does the man have to love his wife so much?
For that we look again at Jesus Christ. The task of Christ Jesus for the Church is to make holy and pure so that He can represent His Church holy and pure and undefiled to God the Father (verse 27).
How does this cleaning take place? By the water bath of the Word, that is, by the baptism of the Holy Spirit at the rebirth of the believer and in that the believer is completely guided by the Lord through the Holy Spirit.
The water bath refers to the immersion at the baptism after one has accepted Jesus Christ as his/her Saviour (Matthew 28:19, Acts 8:37-38, 16:14-15).
Thus the husband has to make sure that his wife lives holy and pure. He must be faithful and not give any reason that his wife becomes unholy. The Lord always has time for the individual believer. He is always ready for him or her. Therefore the man besides his (8-hour) working day, need to be there for his wife and his family. And of course there is a situation of overtime, but always in consultation with his wife. And in all of this Christ has to get first place, because both the man and the woman have each received their duties from the Lord Jesus Christ (raising children, evangelizing, visiting fellow believers, services like deacon and elders, etc).
The man has an educational task to teach his wife (and children) in God's Word, the Bible, he is the head of his wife, so he has to lead. For the man gets his instructions from his head, the Lord Jesus Christ, and he must pass this on to his wife and children.
He must teach his wife (and children) to be guided by the Holy Spirit.
The man must see that his wife (and children) walk holy, because they are not to go beyond licentiousness, drugs, films that are unworthy of the Lord, friends and girlfriends who are unworthy of the Lord. He has to teach and do all this to substantiate from the Bible.
The purpose of the Lord Jesus Christ is to place the church (of which He is the Head) before God the Father:
- without spot or wrinkle or the like,
In short, a perfect body without any imperfections (i.e. without sin). Only then the believer can come before God's face, namely before God the Father.
After all, God is so holy that no one can see or approach Him without being killed if there would be some blemish (sin). Therefore, the believer can only approach/pray to God the Father, after he/she has confessed his/her sin and has cleansed himself with the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. Then he/she may also receive the forgiveness of sin and expect answers to prayer.
Just as the man would not abuse his own body, he would not abuse his wife. The man loves his body because he is a Christian, that is why he takes good care of his body: no excessive drinking (no drunkenness), no drugs, does not smoke, feeds it healthy, no excessive food, gives a good night's sleep, makes it grow in the Lord Jesus Christ.
In short, he cherishes his body in a healthy way.
In this way he should also cherish his wife, in a healthy way, whereby he pleases in every way the Lord Jesus Christ.
If he loves his wife, then he loves himself, and he also receives love from it his wife.
No Christian may ever hate his own flesh (torment himself, starve himself, or beat himself). In Christ he should give it all good, a healthy care. He feeds it well, as the Lord Jesus Christ requires of him. Likewise he feeds and cherishes his wife, just as the Lord Jesus Christ cherishes His church. Christ cares for the congregation and maintains it.
Luke 12:7 Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.
Luke 12:27 Consider the lilies, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
The Lord cares for His church so well, that already indicates how good the man has to care for well-being of his body, his wife (and children).
Why should we take good care of this?
Because each individual believer is a member of the Body of the Lord Jesus Christ. That is why every believer in Christ rests that duty be man or woman or boy or girl. Every born-again has these duties because he/she is a child from God.
Because verse 31 is clear here: the man will leave his parental home and the wife will leave her parental home. Together they start a new life, without the interference of mutual parents. Now they themselves bear their own responsibility towards the Lord Jesus Christ.
And only then will they become one flesh, that is, only after the marriage they have physical communion, become one flesh. Then these two bodies will be to become one body (flesh).
Yes, certainly, that means no sex can take place before the marriage. See also Gen. 2:24, Matt. 5:31-32 and 19:1-12, Luke 16:18, 1 Cor. 6:16.
But you may say that does not fit in this time. Why not?
Why would God's statutes change? It applied at the time of creation and the Lord Jesus repeats this ordinance again 4000 years after creation. So why would it be 2000 years later after this statement of the Lord Jesus no longer applies? Most definitely these commandments apply today!!
The Lord God wants you to stick to one partner only. Then you will learn true love and loyalty.
Changing relationship brings no real happiness, no exercise, brings venereal diseases and Aids. Moreover, it is against God's Will and you can expect God's wrath and you as a Christian, born again believer, will extinguish the works of the Holy Spirit.
The Lord God requires a pure and holy life and this is one of His statutes, that only after the marriage, you have sexual intercourse with your partner (husband and wife become one flesh). With the aim to provoke children to God's honour and a responsible number suitable at the current overpopulation.
After all, every believer has to live up to God's honour and glory and to God's Will.
This mystery is great, the mystery of the unification of man and woman. Certainly when this results in fertilization and the sperm cell becomes one with the ovum and the new human life originates, see Video: Sperm from the man.
So too is the mystery that an unbeliever comes to faith in Jesus Christ and he/she gets new life in Christ (the rebirth).
As no one can understand why it is that after the fertilization the cells begins to divide and this develops into a new human body and life, so is the rebirth of the Christian a mystery.
And like with a man and a woman there come several children, the church of Christ also grows. Babies grow first with milk, then with porridge, then they take solid food and grow up from adulthood to "man". Similarly the church, the believer:
1 Cor. 3:1-2 But I (Paul), brethren, could not address you as spiritual men, but as men of the flesh, as babes in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food; for you were not ready for it; and even yet you are not ready.
Is not it brilliant as the church is a mystery of the marriage between one man and a woman. It harbors so much knowledge and love.
Once again it is made clear that a man will have only one woman. He should love his own wife as well as herself, with all due respect, esteem (for her and her wishes) and love.
And the woman should have awe for her husband, because he is after all her head appointed as by the Lord Jesus Christ.
Then he said to me, "Fear not, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your mind to understand and humbled yourself before your God, your words have been heard, and I have come because of your words. The prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days; but Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, so I left him there with the prince of the kingdom of Persia and came to make you understand what is to befall your people in the latter days. For the vision is for days yet to come."
When he had spoken to me according to these words, I turned my face toward the ground and was dumb.
And behold, one in the likeness of the sons of men touched my lips; then I opened my mouth and spoke. I said to him who stood before me, "O my lord, by reason of the vision pains have come upon me, and I retain no strength.
How can my lord's servant talk with my lord? For now no strength remains in me, and no breath is left in me."
Again one having the appearance of a man touched me and strengthened me. And he said, "O man greatly beloved, fear not, peace be with you; be strong and of good courage." And when he spoke to me, I was strengthened and said, "Let my lord speak, for you have strengthened me."
1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.
2 "Honour your father and mother" (this is the first commandment with a promise), 3 "that it may be well with you and that you may live long on the earth."
4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
5 Slaves, be obedient to those who are your earthly masters, with fear and trembling, in singleness of heart, as to Christ;
6 not in the way of eye-service, as men-pleasers, but as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, 7 rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to men,
8 knowing that whatever good any one does, he will receive the same again from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free.
9 Masters, do the same to them, and forbear threatening, knowing that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and that there is no partiality with him.
What does this mean?
Children have to obey their parents, that is the Will of the Lord Jesus Christ. Just as the Lord Jesus was also submissive to his parents (in Luke 2:51 Jesus was 12-years old).
Luke 2:49-51 And He (Jesus) said to them, "How is it that you sought me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father's house?" And they did not understand the words which he spoke to them. He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them; and his mother kept all these words in her heart.
Should the children then be obedient in everything? Yes, because the Lord says this here. The Lord Jesus was also obedient to his parents, but He points out in Luke 2:49 that He had to be busy with God's Word (be in my Father's house).
Children are allowed to point out to their parents that they want to be engaged with the things of God (The Bible, Bible study, prayer, etc.).
Also read Proverbs 1:1-4, 8; 3:11-12 (all of Proverbs is useful for learning).
When at a later age, the child has sufficient knowledge of the Bible and is born again, and the parent(s) ask him or her to do something which goes against God's Word, then he/she has the right to refuse with explanation and reference to God's Word and to be "disobedient" and to obey God more. However, this disobedience has to be discussed with the parent(s). Then the parents themselves can also see why the child refuses and the parents can change their assignment and respond to the Bible, so that the child can still be obedient. Do not forget that you can be wrong with your explanation of the Bible. Your parents can improve your experience and insight. In any case, let the Holy Spirit lead in these situations.
Honour your father and your mother. This is a very old commandment from the Ten Commandments with a promise:
Exodus 20:12 "Honour your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land which the LORD your God gives you".
If you honour your father and mother, you can expect God's blessing.
Matt. 10:37-38 He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and he who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.
But this "honour" has a limit. If you are no longer a child, but mature and the Lord asks you to follow Him, then the Lord ought to have the First place (and you might have to leave abroad and enter into mission).
Here you follow God's guidance and you can continue to respect your parents, and continue to honour your parents in everything else.
Fathers (and mothers) do not bother your children. If the father (or mother) forbids something, also explain to your child why you are forbidding something. Explain why, possibly together with your child read the Bible passage on the grounds on which you prohibit it. Then the child can understand that not YOU forbid something, but that the Lord God forbids it. God's Word has power and authority.
If a child is disobedient, and does not want to listen (after repeated request), then the parent may chastise the child and correcting him/her in the Lord.
For young not reborn children, do not forget that they still have to learn and playful. They often challenge the parent because they like to test whether the authority applies. If they experience authority, then that gives them security and safety. And the not reborn child, has not yet indwelling of the Holy Spirit and thus obeying is more difficult.
Punish the child as the Lord Jesus would. Do not hit, but by constantly disobedience send for a few hours to his/her room. Punish with wisdom. If it really does not work, pray for wisdom, ask God for help, talk to the pastor, elder, and deacon. Talk to other reborn parents.
And if it really is a problem, ask for intercedance in the prayer meeting. Do not forget that the Lord God wants to assist you in complete education (from birth until the child goes out of the house) continuously. Education is a difficult task and responsibility, where the Lord wishes to help you.
And children, obey your parents like the Lord Jesus!!!
Slaves (=employee) be obedient to your masters in the flesh (that is your boss here on earth).
But that is unheard of. Slavery ought to be abolished in this 21st century. Here the Bible speaks to the slave, also the Lord Jesus submitted Himself to the Will of God the Father, and remained perfectly obedient. The slave oughts (verse 6) to please God, he/she has to do the work as if it were for God (and he/she does it too for God).
We can extend this to our work situation. Many of us are slaves, namely employees in service of his employer. Few are his own boss or director.
In everything we do at work, we should please God (see verse 6). Even though it is not a pleasant work, maybe even unpleasant, remember that God is looking over your shoulder and look into your heart, whether you do your work as for the Lord God. Therefore it is written with fear and trembling, and not as men-pleasers. Be obedient as to Christ. It is from God, after all that you receive your wages. Thank Him for having work and for Him you may work, even when this work is for your employer.
Do not forget that through this work, you can feed your family and you are able to build up the church of Christ (Giving you tithe. Enabling that pastor, evangelist and missionary can do their job).
The Christian must not do his/her work with the aim of getting better from it, while in the heart there is abomination. If the work situation is very unpleasant, bring it in prayer to the Lord and ask if you may change from your work environment and look for another job.
Remember, however, that it may be possible that the Lord wishes to use you at that workplace. By doing your work with joy (as for the Lord) (in harsh circumstances) testifying of being a Christian. God can use that to lead people to the Lord Jesus (even though it sometimes takes years).
Do not be a man-pleaser, do not go with the stream, but continue to bear witness of the Lord Jesus Christ, pleasing God.
But as slaves of Christ, to do the will of God wholeheartedly. The Jesus Christ has bought the born-again and paid with His precious and dear blood, so we are slaves of Christ. The Christian can please Christ through his/her work by doing it wholeheartedly, yes by doing it with joy and pleasure (even in difficult work environments), by remembering that you are doing it for God and not for your employer.
The born-again is willing to do everything for his/her Lord. The Christian is willing to do all the work that is assigned to him or her. But do not do any work that goes against biblical norms (such as compulsory house parties with debauchery, sex, drugs and drunkenness).
Please God and not man. Remember, God is watching from Heaven how you conduct your work.
Every Christian, born again believer, whether one is a slave (worker) or free (own boss), everything you do as for the Lord, for that the Lord will reward you in Heaven (see 1 Cor. 3:10-15).
At the end of this Bible section, another warning comes to the (born again) owner of the slave or to the employer: Treat your slave or employee well. He/she must not threaten (do not exert pressure, if you do not, then ....).
Why will he/she not threaten? Because the Lord God watches closely from Heaven how you treat your slaves or employees. The Lord has no distinction between a slave or free, between employee and employer. As a boss you do not have more rights. The owner of the slave or the employee is also accountable to the Lord God. He/she will also be judged before the judgment seat of Christ (the Christians) or God (the disbelievers).
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.
11 Put on the whole amour of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
13 Therefore take the whole amour of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14 Stand therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the equipment of the gospel of peace; 16 besides all these, taking the shield of faith, with which you can quench all the flaming darts of the evil one.
17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 Pray at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, 19 and also for me, that utterance may be given me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains; that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.
21 Now that you also may know how I am and what I am doing, Tychicus the beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord will tell you everything.
22 I have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are, and that he may encourage your hearts.
23 Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 24 Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with love undying.
What does this mean?
The believer must be powerful and strong. How? Through Christ, for He has given the Holy Spirit, and He has made indwelling in the born-again. It is the job and duty of the born-again Christian to let the Holy Spirit work in you. But how?
By confessing continuous sin. Every sin (of which one is conscious or unconscious) stands in the way of the Holy Spirit. If the believer persists in a sinful life or a carnal course of life, then the Holy Spirit is finally extinguished (Ephesians 4:30).
The believer must learn to listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit, his/her conscience, praying daily and talking to God and reading daily the Bible and investigate. To look for God's Will for his/her life, and in order to completely to surrender to the Holy Spirit, so that the fruits of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22) become visible in the daily life of the believer.
Put on the armour of God (the armour is described in verses 13-18 and Daniel 10:12-19). This is an active act which the believer himself must do. It says: "Put ... ON".
Why do you have to put on this armour? To be able to stand against the temptations of the devil.
Some things can easily be recognized by the believers as being of the powers of the darkness or from satan. Then the believer can "easily" exclude himself in God's strength and strength.
Here it is emphasized why the believer must arm himself, namely against the temptations. Satan was cunning in paradise, he did not deceive the man, no, the snake spoke half a truth to the woman Eva. Satan seduced by this half-truth the woman. And Eve offered the fruit to her husband Adam, who had to make a conscious choice make, or choose for his wife Eve, or choose for God and be separated from his wife. Adam chose wrong, he chose his wife, and then their eyes were opened and through man came sin in the world and on earth.
The indwelling Holy Spirit is the only One who can warn the believer for these tricks. Satan often seduces via a detour, through cunning deceit, through half-truths, through an (unbelieving) family or family member.
Think of yoga, where Christian posters hang in the waiting rooms, and a Bible on the table. Do you not know? You would think as (carnal) Christian, this is from God.
How many Christians do not read the horoscopes in newspapers or magazines. That is giving a breach to the powers of darkness and satan.
Some have a figurine in their living room, taken from a holiday destination. How do you know if this is not an idol figurine? (like a Buddha statue), or that there are no occult powers hiding behind it?
The believer does not have to fight against flesh and blood, the weaknesses of man. The believer has to fight against the authorities, the ruler/governments on earth, and against the powers. With powers is meant the fallen angels, the powers of darkness and satan. They are the world rulers who control the darkness.
The believer has to fight against the evil spirits in the heavenly places.
Principalities and governments are clearly visible. The faithful should fight against this. Against what? Just think of the shops and companies that are open on Sundays (and of course not the prison and the hospital). But really open because of pure profit. To fight against abortion and euthanasia. Retrieve and allow meetings of fundamentalist Islamists. Against gay marriages (unfortunately also in the church). And having sex before marriage. And you name it, you can think of enough that goes against God's Word, the Bible.
The world rulers of darkness, think of horoscopes, occultism, yoga, acupuncture, spiritualism. These are visible in the world. Here, too, the believer must fight and make (non-) believers aware that these are powers of darkness.
Yes, the believers also have to fight against the evil spirits in the heavenly places. But you will say, I cannot at all, these spirits live above the earth, I do not even know where these heavenly regions are physically. That is the heavenly area.
Paul instructs us as believers to fight against this too. Strange?
No, after all, the believer has a very powerful weapon: THE PRAYER.
Through the prayer of the believer he/she activates God. And God orders His angels to fight against the evil spirits, the fallen angels and satan. There the battle is won by God's angels at the request of the believer's prayer.
An unbeliever cannot be won by a believer before Christ, for the unbeliever is a child of satan. First, the powers of evil spirits must be broken in the heavenly places, and only then will the unbeliever come open to the gospel. And God can use the believer speaking in the unbelieving God's language, the gospel of Jesus Christ, understandable through the human language. Only then can the unbeliever come to repentance.
That is why prayer is so important, well before the evangelization (campaign) begins, and during the evangelization a group needs to remain behind, and (months) after the evangelization. The battle in the heavenly places must be won by God's angels against the fallen angels. The unbeliever should not suffer from attacks by the evil spirits, the fallen angels and satan. He/she must be free to be able to make a voluntary choice, without evil influences.
So, how does the believer do this all, how can he or she compete?
- By putting on the amour of God,
- By offering resistance in the evil day,
- Fully fulfill the task,
- And to maintain.
Let us look at Daniel 10:12-19. Daniel fought a battle against the heavenly places. Daniel insisted in prayer. And God commissioned the angels of God to fight against the fallen angels. But even after 21 days of battle, there was no victory. Through the persevering prayer of Daniel, the archangel Michael comes to the rescue and the battle is won by the angels of God. After these 24 days (of prayer, Daniel 10:4) Daniel's prayer is answered. Notice how Daniel prayed Daniel 10:2, devoted entirely and focused on God with a very serious prayer. The consequences of this become visible in Daniel 10:17: "For now no strength remains in me, and no breath is left in me". So it is a very heavy mental (and physical) struggle.
Sometimes the believer is overcome by sleep during his/her intense prayer. Then the believer may ask for power from God.
Daniel also receives strength and is strengthened (Daniel 10:18-19), and is then able again to continue.
In the spiritual battle the believer is NOT alone, but he/she does not ought it to do your own strength, but in God's power and strength. Therefore, the believer must the put on armour of God.
The believer must not give up if he/she is overcome by fatigue on the evil day. Be alert to the attack of the evil one. Some of us are talented by God to pray for hours per day. However, they need a constituency of believers, who keep praying while this spiritual battle is going on. Otherwise, they all fall prey to sleep and fatigue.
A pastor and a missionary cannot perform his/her work without the daily support of the prayer of his/her supporters/home front!!!
And that constituency MUST also be aware of the attacks of the powers of darkness and satan on him/her personally and his/her family. So arm yourself against it and be prepared for it!!!
Daniel did not give up, despite the fatigue and weakness, he continued until he got an answer, and his task was accomplished. Jesus also sweated blood in the garden of Getsemane (Luke 22:44) and Jesus received assistance from an angel (Luke 22:43). Jesus had asked for help from His disciples, Luke 22:40 "Ask that you do not enter into temptation," but nevertheless He found His disciples sleeping in verse 45 and to admonished them in verse 46).
Be aware that a pastor, but especially the missionary, cannot without his/her supporters of daily prayers (even during your holiday).
Daniel and the Lord Jesus stood firm, they did not give up!!!
They continued until their task was accomplished. The believer should not stop praying until the prayer is answered. Sometimes the answer can be a NO from God, and then the believer should stop praying. But in principle the believer only prays to God Will. Or does God make another way clear to you.
In principle, the believer continues to pray until the goal is reached. Until the unbeliever has come to faith. Until the evangelization campaign is over and after keep praying for the elaboration of the gospel.
You continue to pray for the pastors, elders and deacons, and missionary until they stopped (retired). Every day again with complete dedication and perseverance.
Nehemiah prayed for at least nine months (Nehemiah 1 and 2).
1 Sam. 25:13 And David said to his men, "Every man gird on his sword!" And every man of them girded on his sword; David also girded on his sword; and about four hundred men went up after David, while two hundred remained with the baggage.
1 Sam. 30:24 ... For as his share is who goes down into the battle, so shall his share be who stays by the baggage; they shall share alike.
Here we clearly see the importance of the supporters. Those who stay behind with the package get an equal share in the booty as the fighters at the front. We need to think about food, fuel and weapons. If the enemy manages to conquer this important stock, the package, the fighters at the front will soon be powerless. Without food and weapons, the fighters at the front cannot do anything against the enemy.
Even the pastor and missionary are quickly powerless if the supporters do not pray daily for their pastor and/or missionary. The constituency is responsible for the salary, the evangelical means (Bibles, folders), the tools (computers, printed matter) and communication (contact between pastor/missionary with the supporters and family in the home country).
This task of the supporters is very essential, and like the pack goods soldiers, the members of the supporters are alert to unexpected attacks by the enemy (satan). These soldiers had to be vigilant for an attack 24 hours a day. Timothy also says it clearly:
2 Tim. 2:3-4 Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier on service gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to satisfy the one who enlisted him.
The constituency is responsible for the care of the maintenance (the package) of the warrior (the pastor, the missionary). The warrior needs all of his/her attention for the fight, if he or she has to return to pick up the ammunition or buy food, the enemy defeats him/her (and attacks in the back). That is why this support is so essential!!!
Ephesians 6:14-17 - How do you fight against satan?
|By compiling yourself with:|
This sequence is also important in spiritual life.
With this truth is meant the sincerity of the heart and the mind, without hypocrisy. Are you really prepared to fight for God's Kingdom, really willing to serve God, really willing to Sermon the gospel, or is it for your own honour and respect?
The truth is also speaking, not half truths, no lie for best wishes, like the devil does. No, the full (Biblical) truth.
Covered with the armour of righteousness
The amour of the soldier protected his neck up to and including his thighs. It consisted of two parts: a front and a back.
Rom. 6:13 Do not yield your members to sin as instruments of wickedness, but yield yourselves to God as men who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments of righteousness.
Rom. 14:17 For the kingdom of God is not food and drink but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. So a correct way of living, showing Jesus Christ.
1 Thess. 5:8 Put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation.
Armed with righteousness (and leave judgment on an unbeliever or fellow brother or fellow sister in the Lord to Christ) then you are able to fight against the forces of the world and in the heavenly places.
The feet shod with the willingness of the gospel of peace.
The sandal of a Roman soldier was provided with nails for a better grip on the slippery roads. Because of this he could unexpectedly attack the enemy if the enemy did not expected him (because of the muddy or slippery roads).
It is the job of every believer to Sermon the gospel at every opportunity, every moment that comes to testify of the Lord Jesus Christ. Then the attack upon satan is unexpectedly. It does not always have to be planned by means of a church service or evangelism campaign. The best opportunities are when you are talking with someone and you see a opportunity to speak about Jesus.
You may be afraid and shy, but it is important that you are willing to let yourself use by the Holy Spirit to speak through you and you allow the Holy Spirit to Sermon the gospel through your mouth. God only asks willingness, not just great Sermoners with enormous skills and boldness. Be prepared at the moment that God asks you. And ask for forgiveness if you stumbles, and pray that the Lord will help you on the next occasion.
The gospel brings peace to the hearts of people. Jesus gives peace to those who love Him accept as the Saviour for their sin.
The shield of faith in the hand.
Can you defend yourself against the powers of darkness and Satan? Yes, because the shield of the soldier protected him against arrows that were burning. The shield was covered with leather, so the burning arrows were extinguished.
The devil also attacks with burning arrows: with calamity, adversity, trials, fear, persecution, hunger and thirst, anger, etc. But also with wealth, hatred, envy, lust, vanity, shyness, insecurity, jealousy (that brother has more talents), etc. Or do you see "You failed" or "You are incapable".
All these arrows must be rejected by trusting in God and NOT looking at the circumstances. Everything seemed hopeless for Jairus when he got the message: Your daughter has died, do not bother Jesus anymore.
But Jesus said: Do NOT be afraid, ONLY HAVE FAITH!!!
Through the faith of Jairus, his daughter came back to life (Luke 8:49-55). Through faith you resist the attacks of the powers of darkness and satan. Do not doubt God's promises in the Bible. After all, God is Omnipotent. The Lord God has created the earth and heaven with all animals, birds and people. HE IS SO GREAT. And how huge is not the universe, immeasurable light years. We have no idea of the extent of Heaven, where God lives. Man is not able to see Gods angels, and these are countless (In Revelation 5:11, 101 million angels are already mentioned), probably billions, which stand for the protection of believers. That is why the Lord God deserves our faith and trust.
The helmet of salvation
The helmet protected the soldier against the burning arrows which came from above (from the chariots) to him.
In 1 Thess. 5:8 Paul identifies it with the hope of salvation. Stand firm in the belief that you were saved by the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. Whatever happens in your life (however great your sin may be), through the free gift of God's grace, you have become a child of God through faith in Jesus Christ. That is something that no man, even the powers of darkness nor satan can take away from you. At your rebirth, you have become God's child and you have received the indwelling of the Holy Spirit as collateral and sealing. This brings you into Heaven and you receive eternal life.
No matter how the devil may attack you on your sins, stumble again and again sin, whatever sin you have committed in the past, there is ALWAYS forgiveness of sin possible with the Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Joh. 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
That is why you can resist the attack of satan by referring to Bible verses. Nothing can take away eternal life.
The sword of the Spirit, that's the Word of God.
You defeat the powers of darkness and satan, by proclaiming God's Word, (Daniel trusted in God in the lion's den, Daniel's friends trusted in God in the burning furnace). By not doubting that the Lord God will answer your prayer (if you pray according to His Will and you know His Will from the Bible). By supporting your prayers with Bible texts (Nehemiah 1:4-11).
That is why Bible knowledge and Bible study is of such immense importance. If you have a good knowledge of the Bible and know Bible passages by heart, you can more easily reject the devil's attacks.
This is a very important mission to all believers: pray with arrest. So not once for something, or a person, for a subject, for a sick person. NO, continue praying until the prayer is answered!!!
And how do you pray? Begging for every opportunity in the Spirit.
Normally you pray aloud on your knees. But with things that lay on your heart, you are begging the Lord God on every occasion. So at any suitable time, every moment when it comes to your thought, you can bring your prayer to the Lord Jesus Christ from that position in which you sit or stand or ride at that moment. Let yourself be guided by the Holy Spirit.
Rom. 8:26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words.
The believer must ensure that he/she does not relax in the prayer life. He/she should pray daily with perseverance, watching with ALL perseverance that he/she does not fall prey to the devil, who tries to point out that prayer does not make sense, that God does not answer your prayer, and it is all too much effort
Because the devil is going round about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he can devour (1 Peter 5:8).
That is why we pray at every opportunity and with perseverance.
Samuel Chadwick said, "The devil's only concern is to keep Christians from praying, he has nothing to fear from studies, work, and religion WITHOUT PRAYER. He laughs at our efforts, ridicules our wisdom, but WHEN we PRAY!".
Also study Exodus 17:16: If Moses lowers his arms, then the Israelites lose, when Moses raises his arms, the Israelites win. When the supporters pray, then the evangelist or missionary wins, then he or she is spiritually strong. But Moses did not rescued it only, he was supported by Aaron and Hur.
If the constituency collapses in prayer, the evangelist or missionary loses, and he/she becomes weak.
A note when praying out loud. When a sign is asked (which may only be done by exception) or if something specific to the service of the Lord is required, then do NOT pray LOUDLY. Demons and Satan listen to our prayers, and can MISLEADEN through a FALSE prayer answer. In these instances, taciturn and in thought, the Holy Spirit hears and understands!
And who are we praying for?
For all saints, so for all believers, for our pastors, elders, deacons, missionaries, sick church members, church members who have difficulties, marriages tensions, evangelists, pastors and (Sunday school) teachers, youth workers and so on.
Yes, Paul a man of God asks also prayer for himself. He needed prayer to speak boldly in the prison in which he was imprisoned.
Every believer should pray for himself and especially for those who stand in the service of the Lord that the Lord God gives them boldness to Sermon the gospel of Jesus Christ. As Paul indicates here, that is not something naturally.
It is a battle against the powers of darkness and satan, and it are the angels of God who are fighting in the heavenly places. And the Holy Spirit gives boldness, and the right words to Sermon the gospel.
Paul wrote his letter from the prison in Rome, where he was chained to a Roman soldier 24 hours a day. Paul wished to bring the gospel to all those soldiers (This captivity lasted for two years, so he had many guards to reach).
Paul asks prayer to be able to act boldly, so that he will speak as he ought to speak. The gospel must be brought in such a way that it fits with the experience of that person, to his or her culture, at the right time as when the person is open for it. Such that a follow-up conversation is possible without the person chasing against you. That is why prayer is needed that the Sermoner will bring correctly the gospel.
Paul ends the letter to the Ephesians with a final word. And wishing peace and mercy in the Lord Jesus Christ to all who love the Lord Jesus Christ.
In those days I, Daniel, was mourning for three weeks. 3 I ate no delicacies, no meat or wine entered my mouth nor did I anoint myself at all, for the full three weeks. 4 On the twenty-fourth day of the first month
39 And he came out, and went, as his custom was, unto the mount of Olives; and the disciples also followed him. 40 And when he was at the place, he said unto them, Pray that ye enter not into temptation. 41 And he was parted from them about a stone's cast; and he kneeled down and prayed, 42 saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done." 43 And there appeared unto him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. 44 And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became as it were great drops of blood falling down upon the ground.
45 And when he rose up from his prayer, he came unto the disciples, and found them sleeping for sorrow,
46 and said unto them, Why sleep ye? rise and pray, that ye enter not into temptation.