Larry's Lines

Christian Articles to Edify Folks

Thought #18- Christ-Centered Missionary Proclaims the Incalculable Riches of Christ Eph. 3:8b-9

November 29th, 2017

In verse 8 and 9, Paul uses 2 purpose clauses to help explain how precious the grace of God was and is for the Christian.  The   first purpose was to proclaim the incalculable riches of Christ.  This particular word appears nowhere outside of Biblical Greek.  Other biblical writers convey the incalculable nature of God’s attributes. Job speaks of the “unsearchable” ways of God (Job. 5:9; 9:10). Paul elsewhere describes the wisdom of God and His “untraceable” ways (Rom. 11:33).

Paul’s all-consuming subject of proclamation was a person: Christ. Is Christ the all-consuming focus of your teaching and preaching?   We should proclaim the riches of Christ to our own soul daily, and out of the overflow with Him, declare   His glory to others.

Our goal in preaching and teaching and evangelizing is to bring praise for the Savior.  We sing the song, “O, What a Savior!” Jesus changes lives. Keep the life-changer at the heart of your message.

Paul also received grace in order to explain the global nature of God’s plan of salvation.  It is Jew and Gentile together in Christ.  Paul always emphasizes the sovereignty of God; this plan was in the mind of God before the foundation of the world. There is a passion for mission that permeates the whole Bible.   Jesus is the center of the plan of salvation. We remember the story of Phillip and the Ethiopian eunuch.  From the passage he was reading, which we today know as Isaiah 53, Phillip started there and preached to him Jesus. We all know the results. The man to a decision for Jesus   and was baptized into Christ and went away rejoicing.

-Larry Miles, August 17, 2015

Camp Cilca, IL

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Thought # 15 – A Christ-Centered Missionary Follows the Will of Christ- (Eph. 3:1, 13)

November 23rd, 2017

Although Paul is referring to himself, these   attributes or characteristics should be found in all Christians. Ephesians is one of the four so-called “Prison Epistles,” Philippians, Colossians and Philemon being the other three.  It is God’s will that every Christian be a missionary, sharing the gospel where he or she resides, whether at home or abroad. All of us need to testify to the grace of Jesus. We must always seek to be in the will of God.

In Eph. 3:1 Paul refers to himself as the prisoner of Christ.  Although he was a prisoner of the Roman emperor, he does not designate himself as such.  It was the will of Christ that took Paul to prison. Paul did not view this imprisonment as a hindrance or a stumbling block to his ministry. Rather he saw his many imprisonments as opportunities to reach the lost with the gospel and strengthen the saved. They could chain Paul but not his message (Eph. 6:20; 2 Tim. 2:9).

The most important thing to Paul was not his safety but   he saw it as a mission for the King. We sing the song, “I came on business for the king.”  Christians are to be heralds for our king, proclaiming the good news where ever we are, whether free or in chains. Paul would have been chained to a Roman soldier and had a captive audience.  We read in the   word of God that many came to the Lord, even those of the Praetorian Guard and those of Caesar’s household.

In Eph. 3:13 we read of the loving pastoral heart of Paul. He is the one in prison but he appears to want to set his readers minds at ease. Paul does not want the church to be disheartened; he wants them to see that his sufferings are a part of God’s glorious plan.

-Larry Miles, August 15, 2015

Camp Cilca, IL

 

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Thought # 14 – “Identification: Who We have Now Become” (Eph. 2:19-22)

November 21st, 2017

Thought # 14 – “Identification: Who We have Now Become” (Eph. 2:19-22)

The Apostle Paul summarizes the reconciling work of Christ by saying the Gentiles are now joined together with the Jewish Christians in a new community, the Church. To illustrate our identity, Paul uses three word pictures: citizens, family, and stones in a temple.

Citizens of God’s Kingdom (Eph. 2:19).  Paul tells the Gentiles that they are now, along with the Jewish Christians, are a part of the kingdom of God. They and we are no longer second class citizens in someone else’s territory. The Gentiles have the same rights as the Jews in a relationship with God.

Paul says in Phil. 3:20 that “our citizenship is in heaven…” As his subjects, we have privileges to enjoy and responsibilities to be carried out. Paul contrasts this citizenship with Roman citizenship, which was greatly prized in his time. Roman citizenship was prized and we must be striving to be live   according to our spiritual constitution, the New Covenant Scriptures and serve, honor, and obey the Lord Jesus Christ.

The hymn writer writes these words: “I love Thy kingdom, Lord, the house of Thine abode…” We are in both the kingdom and the church.

Members of God’s family (Eph. 2:19b) One might imagine Jew and gentile together in a secular kingdom, to not in the same family. That would be stunning. In 1 Tim. 3:15, Paul says we are “God’s household.”

How are we one family? We have the same Father.  We have free access to Him.  The church so made up of adopted children. We have family responsibilities which are to bring glory to our heavenly Father.  In 1 Tim. 5:1-2 Paul says that we should treat one another like family. Every member of the family has responsibilities and a role in God’s household.

Stones in God’s Temple (Eph 2:20-22)   the third metaphor that Paul uses would have been vivid for his audience.  The Jews were used to a physical temple in Jerusalem. Except for the Babylonian captivity and the early part of the Persian Empire there had been an earthly temple for nearly 1,000 years.

Paul says that the foundation of the temple is God’s Word. The church of the Lord Jesus stands or falls upon its faithfulness to God’s Word.   Next we see the mention of the cornerstone. As the hymn writer says:  “The Church’s One Foundation IS Jesus Christ, Her Lord…”

Paul likens people to stones. Peter calls us “living stones” (2 Pet. 2:5). Each member is added to the church.  Both Jew and Gentile are now a dwelling place for God by the Holy Spirit.  We are joined together and built together. We are related to each other and are growing together in Christ.

We need each other’s time, talent, treasure, love, resources, encouragement and rebuke. We are to live   the Christian life together, entered in Christ and rooted in the teaching of Scripture.

-Larry Miles, August 14, 2015

Camp Cilca, IL

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Larry's Lines

Christian Articles to Edify Folks