Monday, October 26, 2009

Neither Give Place to the Devil

Ephesians 4:27 says, "Neither give place to the devil". Isn't it amazing that after reading in Ephesians 1 and 2 that we are seated together with Christ in heavenly places, far above all principality, power, might and dominion; that just 2 short chapters later, we must be exhorted not to give the devil place in our lives.

This week I got steaming mad at a family member; and for 'good reason'. This person has been acting inappropriately for some time, and it has had a negative effect upon other members of the family. I felt that I had tolerated just about enough of their nonsense. So I blew my top. I did not confront the offensive person, but rather spent the whole day ranting to my husband about the issue. The next morning I felt like I had a 'rage' hangover. I knew exactly where the problem was; it wasn't with the other person...but with me. You see, I have to walk the love walk no matter what others say or do. And for me, a big part of this is curbing my mouth. As I went to prayer and asked the Lord to forgive me, Ephesians 4:27 came to me. At the same time I could see myself sitting at the top of a high cliff with a sheer rock wall below me. The devil was trying to scale the rock wall to get to me, but there was nowhere for him to get a foothold. Then I began to speak. I was saying negative, faithless things. And every time I spoke in this manner, a little rock would appear on that cliff wall, and the devil would grab it or put his foot on it and climb a little higher toward me. My words were giving place to the devil! So I repented and turned that person over to Him. I don't ever want to give the enemy a way to get to me.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Our Calling, Our Inheritance, and The Power of God in Us

Ephesians 1:15-2:7
Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers;[THE FOLLOWING TEXT IN RED IS PAUL'S PRAYER] that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what it the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, [THE FOLLOWING TEXT IN GREEN DESCRIBES THE FULL EXTENT OF THE POWER GOD DEMONSTRATED IN THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST]according to the working of his mighty power which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power, and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: and hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church which is his body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all. [THE FOLLWING TEXT IN BLUE IS THE DESCRIPTION OF HOW THE BELIEVER IS INEXTRICABLY LINKED TO THE RESURRECTED JESUS CHRIST] And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins...But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he lived us, even when we were dead in sins hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)and hath raised us up together and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus; [THE FOLLOWING TEXT IN BURGANDY DESCRIBES THE PURPOSE OF GOD]that in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.

Paul prayed that we might have wisdom and revelation so that we might understand three things:
1. Our calling
2. Our inheritance
3. The power of that God extends to us
Paul addresses these 3 issues in reverse order, beginning in verses 19-21 with a description of the exceeding greatness of God's power as exhibited in the resurrection of Christ. This power raised Jesus from the dead. Now there have been other accounts of resurrections in both the Old and New Testaments. Elijah raised the widow's son, and Elisha the Shunamite's son. Jesus raised Lazarus, the widow's son, and a ruler of the synagogue's daughter. But the resurrection of Jesus Christ exceeds other resurrection accounts. For not only was Jesus resurrected; he was lifted into heaven and given a place of Supreme Authority in heaven, earth, and hell. Not only does this authority cover all spheres, it is eternal. It is immutable and unchangeable.
Verse 22 and 23 of chapter one lead into the issue of our inheritance. It is here that we begin to see the link between ourselves and Christ. We are described as His body. Reading on in Chapter 2, verse one, we hear: And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins. Paul could have easily inserted this passage in verse 20 of chapter 1 without changing his intent. The reason that this works is that verses 21-23 are simply descriptions of where the heavenly places extend to; and what is below this arena. Given this, we could infer the following...(vs 20) WHICH HE WROUGHT IN CHRIST WHEN HE RAISED HIM [AND YOU] FROM THE DEAD...
This is an excellent place to pause and ask a question...Why was Jesus resurrected from the dead; and why was he lifted into this exalted position after his resurrection? After all; before he came to earth, as the third person of the trinity, Jesus had absolute power. What did he gain in coming to earth, dying, and being resurrected? Yes, he carried our sins to the cross and delivered us from the power of sin. But that was accomplished at Calvary. Was Jesus resurrected simply so that he could return to his former glorious state? NO! According to Ephesians 2, verses 1 and 4-7, Jesus' resurrection lifted the believer to the same position as Christ. THIS IS THE EXCEEDING GREATNESS OF HIS POWER; BRINGING US INTO OUR INHERITANCE WITH CHRIST! WE ARE JOINT-HEIRS WITH CHRIST BY VIRTUE OF THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST! (See Romans 8) For those who would cringe at this truth, saying that it puts us on equal footing with Christ, the answer is yes; and, no. He is the head over all things to the Church. He is our head. The brains. We are the body. We act out the impulses of the brain as does the natural body. Nonetheless, positionally, we sit with Christ in heavenly places. And we have been given power over all the power of the devil. This is our inheritance. We do not deserve it. But we enjoy it. The psalmist said; Bless the Lord, Oh my soul, and forget not all his benefits! We benefit from our inheritance in the same way that the child of a billionaire does. It is a birth right. Certainly as a child matures he learns his father's business. So do we. There is much more to be said about this, but we will address it at a later time.
Finally, Paul addresses our calling. Ephesians 2:10 says, "We are his workmanship (Greek translated as poem ), created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." (Note in verse 9 that it is not our works, lest we should boast.) No, the works that we have been forordained to walk in are GOOD! God has a different definition of 'good' than we do. Jesus told the rich young ruler (Matthew 19:17) that there is none good but God. Therefore, we could say that the works we are to do are GOD WORKS. In Acts 10:38 Peter described Jesus this way: ...God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power; who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.
To summarize:
  • The same power that Jesus had is extended to us.
  • By inheritance we have been given authority
  • We are to use this power to do good (God) works, which, can be described as healing all who are oppressed by the devil.