Monday, January 23, 2017, 8:52 p.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Zeal for Your House.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Ephesians 4 (Select vv. NASB).
Walk Worthy (vv. 1-6)
Therefore, I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.
If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, you have been called to holiness. To live a holy life means to be separate (unlike, different) from the world, because you are becoming like Jesus. Jesus died for you to set you free from slavery to sin so that you might become a servant of his righteousness, i.e. that you might die to sin and live to righteousness. And, he died that you might no longer live for yourself, but for him who gave his life up for you. His grace, which brings salvation, teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we wait for Christ’s return (See: Ro. 6:1-23; 1 Pet. 2:24; 2 Co. 5:15, 21; Tit. 2:11-14).
So, we are to walk (in lifestyle) in a manner worthy (commendable) of this calling to holiness and righteousness. If we are truly in Christ Jesus, by faith, we should no longer walk (in lifestyle) according to our sinful flesh, but we should now be walking (conducting our lives) according to the Spirit of God (See: Ro. 8:1-14). And, it should be evident that God’s Spirit is now living within us, transforming us away from lifestyles of sin and selfishness to living for God in obedience to Christ and to his commands (his Word). His fruit should also be apparent in our lives, not that we will immediately be perfect, but it should be obvious that a transformation of heart and mind has taken place, and that we truly are new creatures in Christ Jesus. As well, we should have a change of attitude, purpose and direction toward God.
When we believe in Jesus Christ to be our Lord and Savior, the Holy Spirit of God comes to live within us, so that we are now the temple of the Holy Spirit, where God dwells. Collectively we form one body, which is the church, the body of Christ, yet we will meet in various locations because we are spread out throughout the earth. Yet, if we are baptized as believers in Jesus, no other baptism with water is needed, i.e. we don’t need to be baptized by a particular denomination, for we only need one believer’s baptism. We are also members of the church when we believe in Jesus Christ, so we don’t need additional membership in local fellowships. And, if we truly believe in Jesus Christ, we are Christians, period. We are not Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, et al, for all that divides the church.
Deceitful Scheming (vv. 11-16)
And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.
Where God is at work in growing his followers to maturity in Christ, Satan is also at work trying to contradict him, and is trying to get Christ’s followers to disavow him and to follow the ways of the world instead. Although the first six verses of this passage refer to the words tolerance and unity, in the correct context, these same words are used by the enemies of God to try to pull us away from our pure devotion to Jesus Christ.
You see, the kind of tolerance meant here is that of showing patience, understanding, and endurance in our relationships with others, even with other believers, because we are imperfect people, mere clay vessels in the potter’s hands, and we’re going to have times when we rub each other the wrong way, even unintentionally. This is not speaking of tolerating or being lenient about sin, i.e. this is not about accepting sin in others, as though it is ok to sin against God, nor is it about accepting that all religions are viable and/or that we all worship the same God.
And, the unity spoken of here is unity with the Spirit of God, not with human thinking, reasoning, morals and values, and especially not with people of all religions or all walks of life. And, yet, the enemy of our souls is pushing this kind of unity with the world, and this tolerance (acceptance of) of all religions and lifestyles on Christians, and some of this teaching has even infiltrated into the church, and it is destroying the church from within.
The vast majority of the church here in America has become one with the world, and she has turned the church into businesses of men, which are marketed just like any other human-based businesses. “Worship” services have largely become nothing more that big shows to entertain the world so that the people of the world will want to come to these “churches,” i.e. to these businesses. In other words, the church (institutional) is being marketed to the world, so their leaders often pattern their meetings after the flesh of humans in order to appeal to the world so that the world will feel at home in the “church.” Thus, they have also diluted the gospel of Jesus Christ so as not to offend the people of the world, i.e. their customer base, although they don’t mind at all offending, rejecting and ostracizing mature followers of Christ, it would appear, as they are being trained to weed us out and to target the unchurched who they can mold into their image.
The New Self (vv. 17-24)
So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness. But you did not learn Christ in this way, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.
Our new self is not to be just like the old self, only cleaned up a little, and now attending institutional church services once a week, and even serving in some kind of function within the “church.” Jesus Christ did not die on a cross just so we could escape hell, if hell is even mentioned at all, and just so we can go to heaven when we die. He died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. He didn’t just forgive us our sins, but he delivered us out of slavery to sin in order that we might become bond-slaves of his righteousness. “Lord” means “owner-master,” which means we are his bond-slaves. Jesus bought us back for God with his blood, so we are not supposed to live like we did before we believed in Jesus Christ. And, faith in Jesus Christ does not give us the right to follow our Lord according to our own time-schedule and according to what we will agree to do or not do.
If we truly are in Christ Jesus, by faith, and we have been born anew of the Spirit of God, then we have been crucified with Christ in death to sin, and we have been resurrected with Christ to newness of life, to be lived in the power of the Spirit within us, and to be lived to Christ’s holiness and righteousness. This means that we have willingly laid aside our old self, that we have chosen to no longer live for sin and self, that we have been radically and drastically transformed in heart and mind of the Spirit of God, and we have put on our new self in Christ, which is created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. So, we no longer live to please our sinful flesh, right? For if we do, the Bible says we will die in our sins, and it says we are liars if we claim to have fellowship with God (See: Lu. 9:23-25; Ro. 8:1-14; 1 Jn. 1:6).
So, don’t get caught up in the lies of those who would lead you astray with their deceitful scheming, and who would tell you that being a Christian does not require repentance, obedience and submission to God/Jesus Christ. Do not trust their words when they try to get you to tolerate sin and to unite with the ungodly in order to bring “peace” to the world, either. And, do not join in with those who tolerate (allow for) the wicked, who worship false gods (idols of men), who have turned the church upside down, and who promote the flesh of humans as a way to “reach” the people of the world. The church is not a business, nor a corporation under the federal government, nor is it a building or an organization of human origin, but it is Christ’s body, his holy people, who listen to him and who follow (obey) him.
Zeal for Your House
An Original Work / August 1, 2016
Based off Jn. 2:17; Ps. 69:9
Zeal for Your house, it consumes me.
Lord, I love my times with You.
I love to worship You and sing Your praises.
Time in Your Word brings me closer to You,
List’ning to You speaking to me,
Gently guiding me in truth.
Lord, You are my life’s example,
Showing me how I should live.
I love to walk with You where’er You lead me.
No greater joy have I when serving You.
Loving, giving, resting in Your strength,
I’m yielding to Your will.
Zeal for Your house, it consumes me.
See the church turned upside down:
Marketing ventures taking place of worship,
Men of the gospel turning into clowns.
Gospel message made appealing,
So the world will feel at home.
Lord, we need a great revival.
Turn their hearts, Lord, back to You.
Open the blind eyes, turn them all from darkness,
Lord, to the light. May they return to You,
Turn from their sin, forsake idols,
Be restored to God again.