JUNE 25TH – SAVE THE DATE! We are doing an ordination in Long Beach CA at 7pm, with several candidates for ordination. Jonathan Tutt – check YouTube - from 32nd Place Ministries will be there to lead worship. WE WANT YOU TO COME! Email RM at firstname.lastname@example.org for details!
THE COMPLETE BELIEVER – EPHESIANS THREE
…pray without ceasing… 1 Thess 5:17 NKJV
What does it mean to ‘pray without ceasing’? Is it to repeat a mantra in your mother tongue like some versions of religious Christianity teach? In the version I grew up with I was routinely sentenced to five OUR FATHERs and five HAIL MARYs for my various peccadilloes. I was even told once that the Lord would send a cub scout to hell for eating a hot dog on Friday. Properly chagrined, I threw in a few extra OUR FATHERs and HAIL MARYs after that one, just to be safe. What does it mean? You can’t say it is figurative language because everything else around it is literal, and the verse wraps it up by saying it is the will of God for you and I. This is just another example of how the Pauline Epistles are oriented towards Spirit filled believers.
…I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding. 1 Cor 14:15 NKJV
Jesus said that the Spirit would flow out of us like rivers of living waters. Rivers will flow continuously as long as there is supply at the source (oh yeah…this’ll preach! I’m feelin’ it). We can start our days with tongues and praise and let the river flow for hours, weaving our mother tongue and prayer language in songs of joy and prayers of intercession, going on literally ‘without ceasing.’ This was and is a secret of all the great men and women of miracles and is available to every born again one.
We saw last week that we are on a journey from the Cross to the Throne, and that the prayer in Ephesians One was a key to get us there. Now in the prayer in Ephesians Three we will see what I believe is the apex of revelation to the Church, into which you and I can walk. Ephesians Two says we are seated on thrones in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus, in all that He is, and that we are His masterpiece, His POIEMA, and His heavenly sanctuary, tabernacles of His presence.
…that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel, Eph 3:6 NKJV
Ephesians Three reveals the great mystery, hidden from ages and from generations. What we are so blithely covering here in a matter of minutes should require of us months of study and hours of teaching and exposition but, this is a post, and I’m trying to set the stage for the great prayer found here (hey, I hope you got the teaching on Philippians 4:19 from last week…that alone in practical reality is worth the price of admission!).
Here in what I call the apex of revelation to the Church, the great prayer in Ephesians Three, we are going to find – surprise, surprise! – speaking in tongues. One of these days we are going to figure this out corporately, and that is when we will turn the world upside down!
For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ… Eph 3:14 NKJV
‘For this reason’ – the reason of the Mystery, of the Sanctuary, of the Masterpiece, of the saints being enthroned with Christ at God’s right hand – I bow my knees. It’s interesting how body parts – hands, feet, knees, arms - are mentioned in OT- NT worship. He really wants you to love Him with your spirit, soul and body. Don’t be afraid to kneel in prayer just because Catholics and Muslims do.
…that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man…Eph 3:16 NKJV
Here is the reference to praying in tongues. ‘That’ introduces a purpose clause. How do we get strengthened with might in the inner man? By the operation of His Spirit. If this were passively received at the time of the new birth Paul would not have to pray that it be granted. There has to be something done on our part that allows the Spirit to strengthen us. “He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself” 1 Cor 14:4 NKJV. What part of you is edified or built up? Your inner man, your spirit. When your spirit man is edified or strengthened by speaking in tongues, then you are empowered to operate the other gifts easily. This is why Oral Roberts would pray in tongues for five hours before he would preach – 1M confirmed healings, 8M decisions for Christ is powerful testimony.
This is NOT to say that if you don’t speak in tongues, or speak in tongues much, you can’t operate the other gifts of the Spirit. But I will say you won’t walk in throne room authority without the great gift of tongues working mightily in your life, just like our initial reference in Thessalonians spoke so concisely and eloquently.
…that Christ may dwell (Grk. KATOIKEO - to reside permanently) in your hearts through faith… Eph 3:17 NKJV
Francis Frangipane says you can’t have power without holiness. I would mention Balaam in Numbers 22-24…but I would say that you can’t have great spiritual authority without holiness. What does it mean to dwell? Being in ministry we moved many times early in our career. You never felt comfortable until you had your pictures on the wall, until you had your rugs on the floor, until your furniture was in place, and you had mowed the grass your way and set up your stuff in the garage. To have other people’s pictures on the wall would just be weird and is why I can’t wait to leave hotel rooms. Do you see where I’m going? Christ is Lord, He is in you, but He’s not at home yet until His stuff is on the walls, until He has mowed Hisl grass, and fixed the garage ‘just so.’ Habitual sin is like having someone else’s pictures on the wall, like He really doesn’t own this place, it’s really not His. Between the written Word and the fire of the Spirit you can burn up those things that are not of Him, so He feels comfortable in your heart. Heavenly hospitality to the Son of God!
…that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height — to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; Eph 3:17-19 NKJV
Do you realize that it takes love to comprehend spiritual realities? Do you fear religious pride in yourself? I do. I walked knee deep in it for years, and it strangles love. Pride and self-love, recognition and ‘we are the tip of the spear.’ Been there, done that, got the t-shirt. It takes a lot of spiritual growth to get to real love. This is why it is a journey to the Throne of God, even though we are already there through the work of Christ for us.
…that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Eph 3:19 NKJV
Purpose – strengthened. Purpose – dwell. Purpose – comprehend and know the love. This is sequential, which is another reason why it is a journey. Finally, the big enchilada! Filled with all the fullness of God. What does that look like? JESUS. The Lord’s purpose is to recreate Himself in you, in us, His sons and daughters. For thousands of years the goal of every father was to recreate himself in his sons. But in our generation, we have abdicated our roles as leaders of our families to the great disaster that is western culture today. We aren’t made to be copies or imitations of Christ, but living, breathing incarnations of Him. Jesus said, He who has seen Me has seen the Father. He as a true Son was the Father incarnate, as we are to incarnations of Him. Do you see why this prayer, in this chapter, is the apex of revelation to the Church?
How can we help each other make the journey to the Throne? First of all, I think you see how important it is for everyone to speak in tongues, and to do it abundantly. Then to encourage and challenge one another to let Jesus move in, for you and I to go from being ‘hotel rooms’ for Jesus, to being His residence, to letting His ‘mower,’ Holy Spirit, manicure His yard. Third, is to get to real love, and finally the incarnation, the fullness of God. That’s the journey to the Throne for the complete believer! Love you!
Remember dear ones, we must be about our Father’s business…
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