JohnSWilson3 Blog

“…to make known the mystery of the gospel…”
May 22, 2011, 1:33 pm
Filed under: P Letter to the Ephesians

This last section, Paul’s closing to his letter to the body of Christ in Ephesus I think gives a final thought as to Paul’s apostolic functioning and it’s importance. Interestingly Paul’s closing in some sense is a reflection of the conflict between God’s eternal purpose in Christ and standing “against the craftinesses of the devil.” We too often shy away from the importance of true apostolic functioning today because of those who have been beguiled and have founded the church on a gift, a doctrine, a method, a service, a program, a building, a someone, or some thing. Apostolic functioning is based in the life of Christ, an expression of Christ, a “measure of the gift of Christ.”

Paul asked that the church pray on his “behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.” Even Paul asked for prayer! Paul desired to live by the life of Christ, the Logos of God who is his life, and that life is tied up in His body! God’s eternal purpose is wrapped up in His Son and His bride! One with the heart to share the mystery of the gospel is one who is tied to the body of Christ in an intimate way, who, with the body sees Christ as the only Source, the only Head.

The body of Christ, the ekklesia, no matter where they gather will be in conflict and it is of the utmost importance that those who have an apostolic functioning have lived by the life of Christ and can help the body of Christ live by that same life. The life of Christ is all about love and relationships, it is seeing ourselves as a new creation, a workmanship of God, a new man, a new family, a bride, something that was a mystery until now, until Christ was revealed. Those with an apostolic functioning, once having shared the good news of Christ, help the new creation to live a shared life, a life that shares in the life of Christ so that the family of God will see how God is pleased to reveal His Son in us, as He did with Paul. That we “have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer (we) who live, but Christ lives in (us); and the life which (we) now live in the flesh (we) live by faith in the Son of God, who loved (us), and delivered Himself up for (us)” and “If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.” Christ, who is our life, the Christ who spoke to Paul “is not weak toward you, but mighty in you.” I believe if the body of Christ truly functioned organically by His life we would see true apostolic functioning, because it is what Christ desires, and we would see His life manifested in wonderful and beautiful ways!

Those with an apostolic functioning realize that the body of Christ will need continual encouragement as their life in Christ together will be tested as they learn to express Christ together, and tested as they express Christ to their family, friends, and others. As Paul’s habit he sends those who have learned to live by Christ and have been given a measure of the gift of Christ in an apostolic functioning to help other ekklesias to do the same. Those who are gifted with this measure of Christ have been found to be faithful servants and consider themselves “fellow-slaves” in the Lord. They have been completely overwhelmed by the eternal purpose of God and He has sent them out so that His Son would find a dwelling place in every place where the Spirit guides them. While Paul is in house arrest in Rome he sends Tychicus and Onesimus back to the brothers and sisters in Ephesus, Colosse, and Laodicea to tell them about what God has been doing, “that you also may know about my circumstances, how I am doing…(to) make everything known to you.” They are sent to “comfort your hearts.” How many need comfort today, to be encouraged to move forward in Christ together and so be fitted together, to be “built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.”

“Peace to the brothers.” May we so live by Christ together, His life expressed through each of us to one another, to the building up of the body in love! Christ’s life in our gatherings will be in “peace,” “for he himself is our peace” and has “put to death” the hostility that we once had for each other because of our differences in the flesh. But in the new creation we are no longer seen as different in the flesh, we no longer see ourselves after the flesh, but “in himself,” in Christ. He has created “one new man…thus making peace.” Let us express His peace to one another as Paul encourages.

“Love with faith from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” In order to “live a life worthy of the calling you have received,” to “with all humility and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love” we will need “love with faith.” Our conflict is not with one another or our flesh but with the “craftinesses of the devil” who will try and have us lose our focus on Christ and His love, but more specifically His “love with faith.” To “love with faith” is to love without regard to getting something in return, to love considering “others better than yourselves,” to have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had when He came to this earth as Paul mentioned to the ekklesia in Philippi. But this “love with faith” is “from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” Christ is in us and the Father is in Christ, all by the Spirit. Do we really know Christ who is our life? If we are living by His life together, then His life of love and faith will be what we see expressed together, a beautiful glorious picture of unconditional sacrificial love for one another as we see in the life of Father, Son, and Spirit!

“Grace be with all the loving our Lord Jesus Christ in incorruptibility.” Christ’s life will express grace through each of us to one another. How we need more grace! How we need to see more of Christ’s life come to bear fruit in each of our lives within the body of Christ and as we express Him towards others! Interestingly, James saw this as another part of the conflict: “But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’ Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you.” James has a similar thought as Paul, putting off the flesh and putting on the new man, Christ. Learning Christ together is to hear Him, to be taught by Him, to live by His life of love together. Christ’s life and love is incorruptible. When we love one another by His life, our love for one another and to Christ will be incorruptible. “The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.”

God has only one purpose, expression of His Son, “to head up all things in Christ.” It was the one thing Paul, with his apostolic functioning, desired most of all. May we have more Paul’s in the body of Christ. Jesus is still moving through our world, He still sees the crowds, and He “is filled with tenderness toward them” “because they (are) harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” To those with an apostolic functioning and have lived by His life organically with other brothers and sisters He says: “the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” May we learn Christ together and experience His rest.


8 Comments so far
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Great one John! Well written Bro!

Comment by Joseph Black

thanks brother for the encouragement!

Comment by John Wilson

Outstanding bro John.

Comment by Kat Huff

Hi Kat,
thanks sis. Been some time in the works with this one. Now on to Hebrews, :).

Comment by John Wilson

Really enjoyed this John, Good work! keep it coming.

Comment by Pamela Frazier

Hi Pamela,
thanks sis, took me a whole 9 months to finish Ephesians, see how I do with Hebrews, lol. Appreciate the encouragement!

Comment by John Wilson

Don Davis/ just forwarded me a link to this posting. Excellent thought, but it brought an idea to my head, and I figured you know if you or anyone you know has commented on this. I can find a lot of excellent blogs and websites that write from the simple/house/organic church perspective, but when I look at the public Christian media, I see nothing that would indicate this train of thought exists. I fully well understand that this is because it costs money to say something in the Christian media, and Christian bookstores need to see some semblences of sales to carry books, but do you know if anyone is trying?

Comment by Tom Vogel

Hi Tom,
there are a few writers who are making some progress in getting ‘the word” out so to speak. Frank Viola is probably the only one I have seen to do so with the books “Jesus Manifesto” and “Revise Us Again.” Of course his “Pagan Christianity” was a hot topic. But as far as Christian media and bookstores thinking that Jesus Manifesto and Revise Us Again are the two that I have seen that have “crossed over” to the main Christian media. Hope this helps, again thanks for commenting.

Comment by John Wilson

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