July 28, 2013 Jesus Is Head Over His Followers!

Jesus IS Head Over His Followers!

Ever wonder why the Apostle Paul compared the relation of believers to Christ using the parts of the human body?  He does this in 1 Corinthians 12.12-31.  Although Paul was not a medical doctor, he was influenced by one, Dr. Luke, a Greek, who practiced in Troas, where he was converted by Paul’s ministry to the Gentiles (Acts 16.8).  Luke wrote his Gospel in 63 AD (same year as Mark) and Acts (i.e., of the Holy Spirit through the Apostles; my edit) in 64 AD.  So, Paul’s curious and deductive intellect probably included the physical analogies discussed with Luke.  What are your discussions about Christ like with your friends?  How do they add to your understanding of God?  (Jeremiah 9.23-24, Deuteronomy 6.3-9)

Verses 22-23 of Ephesians 1 state Jesus is Head of His body.

  • Remember that Paul wrote this statement of doctrine called Ephesians in 60 AD.
  • He had alluded to this in 1 Corinthians 2.16, which he wrote in 55 AD. The Scholar may have deduced this statement from Jesus’ words in John 15.15 about disciples’ exalted positions as ‘friends’, with whom He had shared the intimate words of God, His Father and theirs.
  • But a better metaphor would have come from Jesus in John 15.1-5.  Why the connection of branch to vine?  How do John 3.27 and Jeremiah 29.11 include all of your life in the last clause of John 15.5; i.e., your career, employment, avocation interests and involvement, hobbies, and family and friends?
  • Now, what would happen to your heart if the nerve from your brain to your heart was severed?  That’s why bone spurs, calcium deposits, and ruptured discs in your spine are things that Jesus should heal.  Life comes from the Head – physically and spiritually!
  • So, Paul wrote about Jesus as Head of His body in Ephesians 1.22-23.

‘All’ ‘things’ are under Jesus’ feet for the ‘benefit’ (NLT) of His body.

  • The word ‘things’ is italicized in your Bible because it was added by translators to aid in understanding the surrounding words.  However, ‘things’ used here seems to exclude the persons…physical and metaphysical…that are included in Ephesians 1.21.  Note the inclusive ‘all’ and ‘every’ that are subject to Jesus…now and in the age to come!  What boldness should this give you?  See Acts 4.23-31.
  • Remember that Paul was not writing about when Jesus walked the earth in Ephesians 1.21, but he was including the minute he wrote the verse and every minute before and after!  To illustrate, how were Jesus’ words in Luke 10.19 fulfilled for Paul in Acts 14.8-10?  Notice how the people responded to Jesus’ fulfillment of His promise.  This seems to have been Paul’s protocol, as he stated in 1 Corinthians 2.4-5; more action than talk!  Would Paul be so bold if he was alive today?  He is not, but you are!  How does this clarify Paul’s use of ‘now faith’ in Hebrews 11.1?
  • Is Acts 10.38 what the ‘Head’ wants today?  We know that He wants Matthew 28.18-20 (Mark 16.15-20) and Matthew 22.37-40.
  • If He does, who severed the nerve impulse from the Brain to the hands and feet, i. e., the church…Jesus’ body!  (Ephesians 1.22-23)  Does the church today want 2 Timothy 4.3-4 or Acts 4.4?  Do you?  (Jeremiah 17.9-10)

Application

Praise God!!!

Copyright © by Maurice L. Painter, 2013.  www.sozoclass.com

July 7, 2013 So That……

So That…

How do your prayers reveal you?  Their frequency, length, content, and faith?  The Apostle Paul included two prayers in his letter to Ephesus.  They reveal him.  The words ‘so that’ are, I believe, implied connectors between his points in Ephesians 3.14-21(AD 60), as though the succeeding point depended upon the firm development of the previous.  Illustrations of such sequencing are in Romans 5.3-5 and 2 Peter 1.5-7.  This prayer is autobiographical of Paul and instructive of you.

The Goal: ‘that you may be filled with all the fullness of God’.

  • This was the goal that Paul wanted more than anything else after his personal encounter with Jesus on Damascus Road (AD 35; Acts 9.1-6).  Scholar Paul, thereafter, wanted to know all he could about Jesus; illustrative of God’s encouragement in Jeremiah 9.23-24.
  • This was the goal that Paul wanted more than anything else after his personal experience of the grace of Jesus in being raised from the dead in Lystra (AD 44; Acts 14.19-20), as Paul reflected about later in 2 Corinthians 12.1-10 (AD 57).
  • Thus, he wrote Ephesians 4.13 and 5.1 as the ultimate expression of you striving!
  • This goal was the ‘cause’ that he used to preamble his prayer in Ephesians 3.14.  (Alternatively, as some think, his ‘cause’ was the mystery he had written about in the first 13 verses.)

How to attain this ultimate goal.

  • Like Jesus’ Model Prayer (Matthew 6.9-13), Paul starts his prayer remembering the fundamental position of God.  Father (Progenitor) of all who have and will join Him in Heaven because of faith in Jesus Christ, His Son! (Ephesians 3.14-15; John 3.16)
  • In Ephesians 3.16, Paul lays the only foundation for achieving ‘the fullness of God’ in verse 19.  God must strengthen you, His newly created person in Christ (2 Corinthians 5.17-19), by His Holy Spirit.  Jesus foretold this necessity in John 14.16-17, 26; 16.7-14.  See also Jeremiah 9.23-24 and Matthew 6.33.
  • Earlier, in AD 55, Paul discussed this foundation in 1 Corinthians 2.9-16; note especially his ending statement in verse 16.  Jesus explained His ‘mind’ in John 15.9-11.  Note His definition of love as living and teaching God’s commands, not the relativity of tolerance today!  Apostle John reflected on this in 2 John 6.
  • The foundation of God’s Spirit teaching your inner man is so that ‘Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith’ (Ephesians 3.17a).  In Ephesians 2.8-9, Paul wrote that ‘faith’ is God’s gift to each person; gifts are never earned, as Paul explained further in Romans 4.1-4.  Some people, however, choose to ignore God (Romans 1.16-17) and strive for gods of their making, which cannot save (Romans 1.18-23; John 3.17-20).
  • God strengthens your spirit so that Christ may dwell in your heart so that you may be ‘rooted and grounded in love’ (Ephesians 3.17b).  Paul also wrote Colossians in AD 60 and explains the importance of grounded in Colossians 1.19-23.  Note his caution to not be ‘moved away from the hope of the gospel’.  Be ‘steadfast’, like the Wild Fig tree at Echo Caves, near Ohrigstad, Mpumalanga, South Africa, that withstands the winds because its roots go 400 feet deep into the ground!  That is, go deep into the commands of God, illustrated by the lifestyle of Jesus!  See Deuteronomy 6.1-9.  Remember Jesus’ definition of love in John 15.9-11.  Nourishment comes through the roots from the grounding in Christ, as Paul described in Colossians 2.7-17.
  • God strengthens your spirit so that Christ may dwell clearly in your heart so that your roots may go deep into God for security and nourishment so that ‘you may be able to comprehend’ the enormity of God (Ephesians 3.18); continuing for infinity in width, in length, in depth, in height (fortissimo)!  Remember Paul’s point to the philosophers in Acts 17.28!  This is God’s challenge in Jeremiah 9.24!  Know Me; understand Me!!!  Comprehend Me!!!
  • Yet (pianissimo), so that you may know that this Enormity expressed His great love for you by becoming a person for the purpose of dying on a cross for your sins (that separated you from Him) and for the sins of all of His followers (Ephesians 3.19a)!  See John 12.23-28.
  • Thus (crescendo), God strengthens your spirit so that Christ may dwell in your heart so that you will be steady and nourished so that you may know and understand God, both His bigness and His intimacy, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God!
  • Here, you see Paul’s protocol for Christian maturity.  He has deduced from his knowledge of the Hebrew Tanakh (i.e., the Torah [Law] plus the Prophets plus the Writings), from his encounter with Jesus, and from his tutelage by the Holy Spirit the way for you to turn from sin and to become the most mature of God’s children!

How is this possible?

Oh, yes, ‘according to’ in Ephesians 3.20

  • Means ‘depends upon’ and governs the magnitude or degree of fulfillment of what you ask God to do.
  • God is able to do more (‘exceedingly abundantly’ more; Ephesians 1.3) but cannot exceed your ability to receive (John 1.12, ‘right’; note the same ‘power’, Ephesians 3.20).
  • ‘Power’ is explained in Romans 8.14!
  • How much do you want?  Then, go deeper!

Indeed!!!  Copyright © by Maurice L. Painter, 2013.  www.sozoclass.com