JohnSWilson3 Blog


“…in the Lord”
February 13, 2011, 3:02 pm
Filed under: P Letter to the Ephesians

As I continue to meditate and experience what Paul has been describing in the latter part of his letter to the church in Ephesus I am continually seeing how too often we look at people on the surface, after the flesh. My brother Peter whom God sent to His ekklesia here in the west metro Houston area told us a story one morning while at another brother and sister’s home. Here is the gist of the story:

A Chinese Christian who while in prison for sharing Christ expressed Christ’s wonderful love to the worst prisoner in the prison. He said that others could not believe why he would do so. The brother told them that to love as Christ loved is to love others as if they were already in Christ, to love others as yourself is to love others the same as you would another brother or sister in the Lord.

This had a profound impact upon the brothers and sisters who were gathered together. It really made us take a look at how we are treating one another, are we really expressing the love of Christ to all that we meet or do we love in degrees based on how they treat us?

I mention this because as I look at Paul’s letter and his description of how Christ’s love is expressed through children, parents, fathers, workers, and business leaders how we express Christ, His love should always be “full of grace and seasoned with salt” as Paul told the church in Colosse, as “in the Lord.” Paul has spent a good portion before this section on describing what the life of Christ is expressed by His body looks like: complete humility, gentleness, with patience bearing with one another in love, service, speaking the truth in love, forgiving one another, living a life of sacrificial love, living as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth), living wisely, submitting to one another, etc. Then Paul showed using the wife and husband analogy to a wonderful picture of the love of Christ to His bride and vice versa. When we live by the life of Christ He will always express love, sacrificial love.

Children, you obey your parents because you are to see them as in Christ, “in the Lord, for this is right.” Paul to the church in Colosse added “in everything, for this pleases the Lord.” And here to the church in Ephesus he tells the children who are gathered with the brothers and sisters in each others homes to do so because of a special promise from the Old Covenant: “that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” Even I, as an adult, with parents and in-laws who are now older, I still am called to see my parents and in-laws as being in Christ and in so doing I love them sacrificially, it is an expression that organically occurs by the spiritual life of Christ in me.

As a father or parent with children, I am to see my children as if they are in Christ and in so doing I will not “exasperate” or “provoke to wrath” my children. As Paul told the church in Corinth: “love is not easily provoked.” In the time of Paul fathers were known to be very hard and unloving towards their children, treating them and beating them as if they were slaves as ancient writers have noted, especially the male children. I believe some cultures even today still adhere to this form of treatment of children. How much of Christ’s life would be expressed to an unbelieving world to see a father loving his children as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her! But instead of provoking their children the Christ in them will “nurture them in the discipline and admonition of the Lord.” This has the thought of “training and instruction” which would occur not just in the gatherings of the believers together from house to house but most especially at their home where the father and mother would show Christ’s love to them helping their children to hear Christ and be taught by Him, as Paul told the brothers and sisters earlier in the letter. How quick we can trample under the cross of Christ our children by being ill tempered and heavy handed with them. Let us love our children as if they were in Christ, as we love one another. For they will see Christ for who He is and want that same life and call upon the Lord and be saved, receiving Christ Jesus as Lord, being one with Him and being a part of the body of Christ, members of one body.

Paul then describes within the body those who are slaves, or workers of that time, and the lords or masters, the business leaders of that day, who are sitting next to each other in each others homes with the brothers and sisters. While Paul describes more of how Christ is to be expressed by the slave, Paul tells the masters, and those who are business leaders in the world: “treat your slaves in the same way.” Workers and business leaders of today we express Christ to the world when we together see each other as in Christ, brothers and sisters and submit to one another, denying ourselves and seeing others better than ourselves. Workers submitting to business leaders, business leaders submitting to workers. Workers and business leaders are expressing Christ when they both “obey” and “submit to one another” “with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ…like slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men.” In so doing we will see more of our lives expressing the goodness that is Christ, more of His life living through us is the reward!

In the whole process of seeing others as in Christ we are taking the focus away from ourselves, our flesh, our desires, and considering “others better than” ourselves, looking “not only to” our “own interests, but also to the interests of others,” having the same attitude “as that of Christ Jesus” as Paul told the church in Philippi. This rubs against the flesh, this is not the way of the world, it is the narrow road of living by the life of Christ. As we learn to hear Christ and be taught by Him we will learn to see the flesh as dead and our life is truly Christ’s. Seeing others as in Christ takes dependence on the Lord to help us see with His eyes. There are so many who are unloving, even brothers and sisters who are living after the flesh, or like ourselves in process, and so we really do not know the heart of a person only Christ does, and so the importance of seeing others as in Christ. So we love all as if they are in Christ, not after the flesh. I do not take this as a form of universalism, a doctrine that believes everyone will be saved or is saved, but Christ did die for the whole world, so that whoever believed in Him might have eternal life, Christ! There is room for all in the body of Christ! May others see Christ lived through us so that they also may call upon the Lord and be saved. May we have spiritual sight to see others as Christ sees all, someone whom He died for and rose again and desires to give them His life, to become a part of His body, “in the Lord.”

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13 Comments so far
Leave a comment

There is so much we take for granted as believers. The world was in darkness before Christ. It is only because of Jesus that there is any light in our present world. His teachings are radical. How amazing would it be if Jesus’ family were to be as radical as Jesus?

Comment by Rob Ross

amen brother, radical love!

Comment by John Wilson

“more of our lives expressing the goodness that is Christ, more of His life living through us is the reward!”
Amen brother. A really encouraging word. Thanks!

Comment by Michael Young

Thanks Michale, yes, He is our reward! amen!

Comment by John Wilson

John,
These are beautiful words my brother. Thanks for sharing this. It is a great reminder that Christ resides in one another. As a father of a teenage daughter, this greatly challenges me to treat her as one who is in Christ, not just one I am responsible for, so to speak.

Blessing to you, and thanks again for writing!

Jamal

Comment by Jamal Jivanjee

thanks brother, having 2 boys, and one a teenager and one about to become a teenager, it is a definite challenge to depend on Christ and treat them as He would. Blessings!

John

Comment by John Wilson

I enjoyed reading your blog..Just another thought, where JESUS has taken me…We/I have often put the emphasis on what “I” should do, must do, but I am coming to recognize more and more as a parent who loves their child, one loves/reacts in the moment, whether in spoken word, action or discipline. I am the same as a child in the Lord for when “I” am dead, His life comes forth. All of His attributes will come forth because it is JESUS that is the treasure within the vessel that the excellency of HIS POWER comes forth sharing His love towards another, nothing of me, all of Him. Do “I” really believe that JESUS has come in the flesh…In.”MY” flesh to PRODUCE His life….It truly is a work of God to believe…..and HE has so much love to pour out towards others. The problem is “I” get in the way too much “thinking” I can love, and when “I” love, “I” will always fall short of His glory! In my own strength I have, and will fail to love as HE loves! So I don’t see it as something “I” learn from “my” mindset or understanding, but experiencing the ONE whom IS, who will PRODUCE what HE shared HE would do out of the innocence of my mind in the moment, with the greatest being LOVE to ALL those around me…and that is SEEING through HIS eyes, not mine living by His Spirit!

Comment by Lynn

Enjoyed reading your blog…Added thoughts where God has taken me…We/I have often put the emphasis on what “I” should do, must do, but I am coming to recognize more and more as a parent who loves their child, one loves/reacts in the moment, whether in spoken word, action or discipline. I am the same as a child in the Lord for when “I” am dead, His life comes forth. All of His attributes will come forth because it is JESUS that is the treasure within the vessel that the excellency of HIS power comes forth sharing His love towards another, nothing of me, all of Him. Do “I” really believe that JESUS has come in the flesh…In.”MY” flesh to PRODUCE His life….It truly is a work of God to believe..and HE has so much love to pour out towards others. The problem is “I” get in the way too much “thinking” I can love, and when “I” love, “I” will always fall short of His glory! In my own strength I have, and will fail to love as HE loves! …So I don’t see it as something “I” learn from “my” mindset or understanding, but experiencing the ONE whom IS, who will PRODUCE what HE shared HE would do out of the innocence of mind in the moment…..with the greatest being LOVE to ALL those around me…and that is SEEING through HIS eyes, not mine, living by HIS SPIRIT, not trusting in anything of self.

Comment by Lynn

amen Lynn, like what you wrote! Last words say it all: “SEEING through HIS eyes, not mine, living by HIS SPIRIT, not trusting in anything of self..” Again, amen!

Comment by John Wilson

Good work, John!

Comment by David D. Flowers

thanks David for the comments! Blessings brother!

Comment by John Wilson

So sorry, I didn’t mean for 2 of my posts to go up! I am not computer savy! 😦 Not sure how to delete one, or if you can?

Comment by Lynn

Lynn, it’s all good! Guess you really really liked it, lol. 🙂

John

Comment by John Wilson




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