Ephesians 2:19-22 ESV
So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.
The Household of God
So, what is this saying? For one, we once were outside of faith in Jesus Christ, separate from God, and unable in ourselves to be right with God, to be for his glory and praise. But, by God’s grace, through Jesus’ sacrifice for sins on a cross, we can be made right with God, come into fellowship with him, no longer be strangers to him, but be part of his household, his family.
So, how do we do this? Well, first of all God the Father has to draw us to faith in Jesus Christ, and then he gifts and he persuades us to divine faith in the Lord Jesus, by his Holy Spirit. Through this divinely persuaded faith, which is from God, we thus submit our lives to Jesus Christ in surrender to his will for our lives. Thus, by the Spirit, we die with Christ to sin – to our old lives – and we are born again (regenerated), i.e. we are resurrected with Christ to new lives in him to be lived to him and to his righteousness.
[See: Jn. 6:44; Ac. 11:17-18; 2 Tim. 2:24-26; Eph. 2:8-10; Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Eph. 4:17-24; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; 1 Pet. 2:24; 2 Co. 5:15, 21.]
So, now we are part of God’s household, his family, his church. But, this is not a church building or an organization or a denomination or a business (corporation under the federal government). God does not dwell in buildings built by human hands. This church is not physical, it is spiritual. And, it is built with living stones (us), not with brick and mortar. So, it is not Baptist or Presbyterian or Methodist or Charismatic. It is the people of God!
We are the church, i.e. we who have trusted in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives, and who are walking (conducting our lives) with him according to the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh. We who are living stones are being built up in the faith to be God’s holy people, separate from the ways of the world, and set apart to God and to his service.
This church, which is spiritual, is supported by the apostles and prophets, for much of what they taught us is foundational for our walks of faith in Jesus Christ. For, they taught holiness, righteousness, purity, faithfulness, steadfastness, honesty, uprightness, and obedience to God/Jesus Christ. And, they taught us that we must forsake our idols and our sinful lifestyles in order to follow our God/Jesus with our lives in surrender to his will.
But Jesus Christ is our firm foundation, the originator of his church, and the one who gives her shape and form, direction and guidance, empowerment and strength, righteousness and holiness. For, his church is his body, the temple of God in whom God dwells by his Spirit. We can do nothing outside of him that has any eternal value to it at all. He is the one who holds us all together. He is the one who delivers, who saves, who heals, and who gives life. So, all that we have, or are, or will become in him, comes from him.
Ephesians 4:11-14 ESV
And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 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, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.
Equipping the Saints
Now, God set it up that his people would all be given spiritual gifts and ministries (roles, parts) within the body for the encouragement and strengthening of the body, as a whole. And, he called certain people within the body of Christ to be leaders, and teachers, and those who give us messages from the Lord, all which are to help us to follow our Lord in obedience and to live according to his purposes, and according to his will.
Nonetheless, many wolves in sheep’s clothing have crept into the fellowships of the church. They are deceitful, cunning and crafty. And, they scheme many ways in which to lead God’s people astray. For, they come in through ways other than through the door, Jesus Christ. Some of them have come in via this union of the church with the government (with the world). And, the church has embraced them because they tickle itching ears.
Thus, many children of God, or professers of faith in Jesus, are presently being tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. And, this is happening in many gatherings of the church in today’s world, perhaps particularly here in America. And, today’s institutional (flesh-driven, market-driven) church is providing a major platform for these liars and deceivers to sell their wares, too.
What they are doing is convincing the church, or those who are professers of faith in Jesus, or those who are prospective believers in Jesus, that they can believe in Jesus and have the hope of eternal life with God in heaven, but that they don’t have to leave their lives of sin behind them, and they don’t have to walk in obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ. And, many are flocking to this message because they can then continue in their sinful practices without guilt, but with the assurance that heaven is guaranteed them.
The sad reality, though, particularly here in America, is that many of our leaders are being led astray, too, and they are buying into this cheap grace gospel for themselves, because many of them are living in sin, addicted to sinful practices, such as sexual immorality, which is huge! And, so they are not equipping the saints for the work of the ministry, and for the building up (strengthening) of the body of Christ in faith and in holiness.
And, so many Christians (or professing Christians) are floundering, wandering, still controlled by the flesh, regularly submitting themselves to sinful practices, in particular sexually immoral practices, for their shepherds have gone AWOL, not physically, but spiritually. And, so the church, overall, is in a massive and spiritual decline in America, in particular.
Ephesians 4:15-16 ESV
Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.
Speaking the Truth
So, those of us who are mature in Christ, who are not being influenced by these pervasive influences coming from these deceivers and schemers, need to be the voice of reason to God’s church today. We need to speak the truth in love to the body of Christ, and expose these lies and these schemes for what they are. And, we need to tell our brothers and sisters in Christ, or those who profess faith in Jesus, the truth of the gospel of our salvation.
For, the life of God’s people, his church, depends on them knowing the truth and obeying the truth. And, God has made us responsible for one another, too. He has placed each one of us within his body to be an encouragement to one another. And, this word “encourage” does not mean a mere pat on the back to tell people they are ok the way they are, either. For, it means to inspire, hearten, urge, incite, help, nurture, persuade, and exhort, too.
God has given each one of us the responsibility to help our brothers and sisters in Christ to grow to maturity in Christ, to walk in holiness and purity, to forsake their idols and addictions, and to walk in obedience to Jesus, their Lord. And, we do this through speaking the truth in love to one another, but not hypocritically. This is not saying we all have to be absolutely perfect, but that we need to be walking the walk and not just talking the walk.
For, we are all supposed to work together. This is not a competition. This is us helping one another to live holy lives, pleasing to God, because we love our brothers and sisters in Christ, and we want to see them fulfilled in their walks of faith, at peace with God, and serving him with their lives, and no longer being tossed here and there or struggling with sinful addictions. For, Jesus died not just to forgive us our sins, but to free us from our bondage.
So, let’s join together in prayer and in action to help one another live as we ought to live, and to have purpose and direction, and to get free of the chains which bind so many, so that we can walk in freedom in Christ and be assured of our salvation and of our eternal life with God (See: Gal. 6:7-8).
For Our Nation
An Original Work / September 11, 2012
Bombs are bursting. Night is falling.
Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.
Trust Him with your life today.
Make Him your Lord and your Savior.
Turn from your sin. Follow Jesus.
He will forgive you of your sin;
Cleanse your heart, made new within.
Men betraying: Our trust fraying.
On our knees to God we’re praying,
Seeking God to give us answers
That are only found in Him.
God is sovereign over all things.
Nothing from His mind escaping.
He has all things under His command,
And will work all for good.
Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.
Men deceiving: we’re believing
In our Lord, and interceding
For our nation and its people
To obey their God today.
He is our hope for our future.
For our wounds He offers suture.
He is all we need for this life.
Trust Him with your life today.
Monday, February 11, 2019