Our Heavenly Calling

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

The first three chapters of Ephesians shed much light on what God has given to His Church, and to the individual believer. The last three chapters’ guide God’s Church on how to apply in practical living what God has so freely given to us. In Ephesians 3:19, God’s Word says that we have the love of Christ, and with the love of Christ we can know that we have been “filled with all the fullness of God.” How can believers truly fathom what it means to be filled with all of the fullness of God?  How can we grasp that (collectively) we are the actual habitation of God Himself?  How can we believe that we are quickened together with Christ and can we really understand that we were raised up together with Christ and how can we know that we are seated together with Christ?  How is the Church of God fitly framed together and how are believers built together into the household of God? The last three chapters of Ephesians reveal to us the “how” to know, apply, and enjoy all the spiritual knowledge in what God’s Word says we have.

Ephesians 4:1 – I THEREFORE, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation {calling} wherewith ye are called,

Paul referred to himself as “the prisoner of the Lord” because the love of Christ had captured his heart and Paul with his entire being belonged to Christ. The very first instruction on the practical side of Ephesians is to hear with our hearts God’s calling, to recognize His beseeching, and to desire His imploring of us to walk within the heavenly calling that God called us to walk worthy in:

Ephesians 4:2-3:
-2:  With all lowliness {humbleness} and meekness {to God’s Word} with longsuffering {patience toward others}, forbearing {uplifting} one another in love
-3:  Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

“Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit” is a continuous effort to live with the love of God, especially towards our fellow believers who have also been called into God’s Church.  To walk worthy of our heavenly calling, the Church must endeavor to have a spiritual unity in the bond of peace with one another. “The bond of peace” that believers can experience is literally coming to an understanding of who Jesus Christ is, for he is our peace (Ephesians 2:14), and he is what we all have in common with each other. When we begin walking worthy of God’s calling, then we will begin enjoying and also applying His divinely given spiritual love. God’s love builds up the believer as well as promotes the true spiritual unity that we all have together in and with Christ.

Ephesians 4:15-16 (Amplified*):
-15:  Rather, let our lives lovingly express truth [in all things, speaking truly, dealing truly, loving truly]. Enfolded in love, let us grow up in every way and in all things into Him Who is the Head, [even] Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed one).
-16:  For because of Him the whole body (the church, in all its various parts {you and I}), closely joined and firmly knit together by the joints and ligaments with which it is supplied {by God}, when each part [with power adapted to its need] is working properly [in all its functions], grows to full maturity, building itself up in love.

* Scripture taken from THE AMPLIFIED BIBLE.
The Amplified New Testament copyright (c) 1958, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation.
Used by permission.

The Mind of Christ

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

Did you know it is available for believers to actually have the mind of Christ? This is a foreign concept for all too many Christian people, yet the Epistles are full of encouraging statements to inspire us to begin thinking in terms of having the Savior’s thoughts be also in our own minds so that we as individual believers can be more than a conqueror in daily living. One such thought that I think about daily is “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13). I think about this verse when doing the most challenging task that is before me as well as when I am relaxing and enjoying the life God has afforded me so that I can be at spiritual peace with Him (Colossians 3:15).

Where does the Bible say the life of a Christian would be easy? The Bible does not say that standing for God is easy (Mark 10:29–30, and II Timothy 3:12), but the life of a Christian man or woman can be strengthened with joy, peace, love, and grace through life’s challenges and adversities (I Corinthians 10:13). Even though life is filled with challenging pressures and pleasures by way of venues offering many temptations, by utilizing the mind of Christ we can overcome such obstacles and be successful in our personal endeavors.

I Corinthians 2:16: For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.

Who knows the mind of the Lord (i.e., the mind of God Himself), and who has instructed Him? Well the definitive answer is that no one has ever been His teacher or completely understood everything about Him. The word mind is the Greek word nous and means the entire mind; the whole of God’s thoughts is known only to Him (Romans 11:33–36). Then the Scriptures say, “but {in contrast} we have the mind {nous} of Christ.” This means that we can understand the mind of Christ completely and intimately, for we have the God-given right to have the thoughts of Christ in our minds. The reason that we have this ability is that we have Christ within, and Christ’s mission has always been to reveal and explain God (John 1:18, 17:25–26, and Hebrews 13:8). So then when we retain in our minds the Word of God, we will be experiencing the mind of Christ. Philippians 2:5 says, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” thus, the Bible encourages believers to put on in our minds the thoughts of Jesus Christ that are exclusively revealed to us from the Scriptures.

Romans 13:14a: But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ . . .

To put on the Lord Jesus Christ is to put the thoughts of Christ into our minds. The Word reveals Christ (John 5:39) and Christ reveals glimpses of God for our understanding (John 14:6). Christians have Christ within by virtue of receiving the gift of holy spirit, and as we go to the Scriptures and begin understanding the words therein, we will discover the mind of Christ is the express lane on a paved highway to godliness.

II Corinthians 1:21–22:
-21: Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God;
-22: Who hath also sealed us, and given us the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.

God sealed us with holy spirit so that we can be with Him for eternity, establishing every believer by a spiritual anointing to have and to know the mind of Christ who can become such an integral part of ourselves. So as we have Christ in our minds via the teachings of the Scriptures we will begin to realize that “Christ who is our {spiritual} life” (Colossians 3:4), is the way to manifest the power of God. We are encouraged to enjoy access to the mind of Christ, who is eternally alive and spiritually energizing believers as he indeed is the physician of the heart.

Some people think in the heart of their hearts that success is not forthcoming and that they must suffer their way through this life and believe themselves destined to failure as their true lot in life. But this is just not so for you ― you have the ability to have the mind of Christ and he is no failure, God made no failures, and with the mind of Christ, you can think and believe that for once – NO – from now on, victory is in your grasp. Think this, say this, and begin to believe this until you actually triumph over something ― anything, and then start riding on that momentous wave of success that will rise up on the winds of your positive confessions of the Word, for the fresh air of God’s Word inspires you to achieve. Yes, it WILL happen for you ― you who believe to receive. Repeat to yourself, “I am successful and I am more than a conqueror because this is my lot in life ― I was born to be a winner and become triumphant and I am just going to have to learn to live with that destiny!” And then – begin living with this mindset ­­– as this is your true lot in life, allotted to you by God Himself.

You can reward yourself by being your best for your God, for your Savior, and for yourself! You already have been awarded the God-given permission to have the mind of Christ, and with him, you may be at rest as he helps lift your burdens and he will lighten the load you carry.

Matthew 11:28–30:
-29: Come unto me {says Jesus}, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
-29: Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
-30: For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

When the thought arises to either do your best or take the easy road and the simple way out of something, think about that you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you and you will be empowered to succeed, and you will “mount up with wings as eagles” with the mind of Christ. This is the renewed mind in its wonderful manifestation. This is the powerful permission and commission you have been given through God’s Word; this is following through with Jesus’ instruction in John 14:12, “He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.” And he has gone unto his Father (Mark 16:19), and so we can ― do!

Isaiah 40:31: But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

Recall Philippians 4:13 encourages that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. If we are really going to believe this verse ― it will take some action on our parts because believing is a verb that signifies action. When we believe on what the Word encourages in our renewed mind, then all kinds of things that used to defeat us, things that seemed too big and appeared unobtainable suddenly seem to become reachable because Jesus said “all things are possible to him that believeth” (Mark 9:23).

When we have the mind of Christ by placing God’s Word on in our minds, then we will understand the true spiritual knowledge that is within the mind of Christ, and his thoughts give men and women true spiritual understanding with heavenly glimpses of God. “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (II Timothy 1:7). When we know that we have the mind of Christ, we will enjoy a spirit-to-Spirit connection with our God, one that gives us spiritual power and love that is empowered by sound thinking.

Romans 13:14: But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and {then you will} make no provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.

By putting on the thoughts of Christ today, we will recognize the true wisdom and power of God (I Corinthians 1:24). Men and women individually find the wisdom of God with the wonderful mind of Christ.

Isaiah 40:31 (The Amplified Bible):*  But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] shall change and renew their strength and power; they shall lift their wings and mount up [close to God] as eagles [mount up to the sun]; they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint or become tired.

Philippians 4:13 (The Amplified Bible):**   I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency].

*Scripture taken from THE AMPLIFIED BIBLE, Old Testament copyright (c) 1965, 1989 by the Zondervan Corporation.
Used by permission.

**Scripture taken from THE AMPLIFIED BIBLE.
The Amplified New Testament copyright (c) 1958, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation.
Used by permission.

Obadiah – Revealing Our Deliverance

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

In the Book of Obadiah, Jesus Christ is the deliverance that shall be on Mount Zion. He is the hope of Israel, and the Savior of the world.

In the Old Testament, there were no references to the mysteries of the current Church of God living in His grace and enjoying the freedom that would come with Christ and the Church of God which has now become immersed in the grace of God.

The Epistles call the grace period of today a mystery, and it is not recorded in any detail in the Old Testament Scriptures, yet the prophets of old knew beyond any doubt that something was coming between the sufferings of Christ and the glory that should follow (I Peter 1:10-12).

The sufferings of Christ can be followed throughout the Old Testament, and are written in explicit detail in the Gospels, while the glory of Christ can also be seen throughout the Old Testament, and in the Book of Revelation, as well from many passages now recorded in the New Testament.

In Obadiah 17 we read, “But upon mount Zion shall be deliverance, and there shall be holiness.” This is a reference to the times of the glory of Christ and of Israel, still a future event.

Luke 4:17-21:
-17: And there was delivered unto him {Jesus} the book of the prophet Esaias {Isaiah}. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written,
-18: The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and the recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,
-19: To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.
-20: And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him.
-21: And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.

These verses that Jesus read are recorded in Isaiah 61:2-3, but after Jesus read “to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord” he stopped reading, he closed the book, he sat down, and then said, “this day is this scripture is fulfilled in your ears.”

In Isaiah where Jesus was reading he stopped right in the middle of a verse of Scripture, which continues “and the day of vengeance of our God.” Why did Jesus not finish the verse? Because the day of vengeance has yet to happen, and if Jesus would have read “the day of vengeance,” then Jesus would have been wrong. However, at that moment in time the acceptable year of the Lord was happening right before the eyes of those living in the first century.

The day of vengeance is a period of time in the future and we should note that that day (which is an entire age, not simply one single day) is specifically a day of vengeance against Lucifer and his legions of Devil spirits, and unbelievers. However, the vengeance of God is not imposed against us in the Church of God, or the believers who will be living on earth during those days.

The conclusion to the day of vengeance was the period of time that Obadiah was speaking of, the deliverance in Zion; it would be the time that the glory of Christ is manifested with his personal presence again on earth when he reigns supreme as King of kings and Lord of lords.

Something incredibly wonderful happened after the resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ into heaven, and that was that a new age of divine grace began to be enjoyed by believers.

The age of grace will remain in effect until our gathering together, when we meet Jesus Christ in the clouds above (I Thessalonians 4:13-18).

Isaiah 61:3 reads, “To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn.” The acceptable year was when Christ was physically here. The day of vengeance is still a future time, but the current time in which we live is represented with only a single comma between: “. . . the LORD, and the day of vengeance. . .”

When Jesus proclaimed the acceptable year, it certainly was; however, he was rejected and eventually crucified. The acceptable year concluded with his sufferings on the cross and then his resurrection ushered in our current age of grace when anyone can be saved.  Today in God’s grace is the day of Our Deliverance because we have believed in our Lord and Savior’s completed work.

The Crown Incorruptible

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

II Kings 11:12a – And he brought forth the king’s son {Joash} and put the crown upon him, and gave him the testimony; and they made him king, and anointed him; . . .

At Joash’s coronation as king, he received first his crown, secondly they gave to him the testimony, which was the Word of God; this was to be his standard and rule of practice in ruling his kingdom. They also anointed him.  The anointing set him apart as the king and established him as God’s servant and leader for the people.

Today in God’s grace we, His children, believe in the future crowns that we may receive from God when Christ returns for us. We are anointed today with holy spirit by God Himself (II Corinthians 1:21-22), and we have God’s Word as our standard to believe in and enjoy as we serve one another with the love of God. With God’s Word we can discover His guidelines on how to receive the crowns that will be given to believers who live in God’s love and grace.

II Timothy 2:5 – And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.

“Strive for the masteries” literally means to contend or compete in the games.  These games were common to the believers in the first century and were known as the Olympic games. Paul is teaching that when we look forward to the spiritual goal of Christ returning for us, that we must compete lawfully by the rules. The rules are recorded in God’s Word. We are saved for eternity, yet there is more to be received if we follow the guidelines recorded in Scripture, and the underlying principle to everything recorded in God’s Word is always to walk in love.

As we apply and enjoy God’s love we will literally stay in bounds.  When Christ does return, we will indeed receive the prize and be crowned, “I press toward the mark {the finish line} for the prize {the crown} of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14).

Each believer can receive the crowns now offered by God, the crown incorruptible is eternal, and will be “reserved in heaven” (I Peter 1:4).

I Corinthians 9:24-26:
-24: Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but {only} one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.
-25: And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they {in a physical race} do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we {in a spiritual race} an incorruptible {crown}
-26: I therefore so run, not as uncertainly {because we know that we can win}; so fight {box} I, not as one that beateth the air {one who shadowboxes}:

Noting that God uses so many metaphors of competition about receiving our crowns is interesting. In a physical race one must stay in bounds, and one must be “temperate in all things.” Temperate means to have self-control in all things. In the Greek Olympics only one received the prize and only one received a crown of olive leaves, but in God’s Word all believers who strive to follow His healing Word will receive the “crown incorruptible.”

The crown incorruptible is for believers who practice self-control over life’s circumstances and walk within the bounds of God’s wonderful Word. Whenever we walk (conduct our lives) according to Scripture, then, we are more than conquerors. When we walk in love and believe the Scriptures we are literally hitting the mark rather than simply shadowboxing against the forces of evil.

Hebrews 12:1-2a
-1: Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses {recorded examples of believers who believe in Hebrews chapter 11}, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us {that can knock us out of bounds}, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
-2a: Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; . . .

When we keep our eyes on the goal of the coming of Christ Jesus and look to him through the Scriptures we can “run with patience the race that is set before us.”

Running with patience is like getting a second wind (an ease) which believers receive as they continue “striving lawfully.”

Then at the finish line we will receive the crown incorruptible for having patience and self-control in our own lives. Jesus as our “author and finisher of our faith” has already won, we only need to follow his lead by living in the love of God to achieve and receive the crown incorruptible.

To be continued in The Crown of Glory