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.

Jesus Said, I Am . . . The Life

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

John 14:5-6 (Amplified*):
-5:  Thomas said to Him, Lord, we do not know where You are going, so how can we know the way?
-6:  Jesus said to him, I am the Way and the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father except by (through) Me.

What is so very interesting to me is that verse 6 not only contains one of the greatest revelations ever given to man but that Jesus gave this wonderful understanding to one person: Thomas. Yet, God in His infinite wisdom had John write it down for us to see the love that Jesus has for the individual. Let’s see how this discourse continues:

John 14:7-11 (Amplified*):
-7:  If you had known Me [had learned to recognize Me], you would also have known My Father. From now on, you know Him and have seen Him.
-8:  Philip said to Him, Lord, show us the Father [cause us to see the Father ─ that is all we ask]; then we shall be satisfied.
-9:  Jesus replied, Have I been with all of you for so long a time, and do you not recognize and know Me yet, Philip? {Again, he is teaching only one person.} Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father. {So the question to us reading arises: Have we seen and mentally perceived the Savior Jesus Christ in the Scriptures?} How can you say then, Show us the Father?
-10:  Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in Me? What I am telling you I do not say on My own authority and of My own accord; but the Father Who lives continually in Me does the (His) works (His own miracles, deeds of power).
-11:  Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me; or else believe Me for the sake of the [very] works themselves. [If you cannot trust Me, at least let these works that I do in My Father’s name convince you.]

Jesus Christ is the way to the Father, so the more we learn about Jesus Christ (and believe) from the Scriptures, the greater our understanding and knowledge of God will grow, and our personal union with Him will continue to strengthen with heavenly inspired realities. You know the saying “living the good life,” well, being in Christ is enjoying the good life, for with him we have eternal life (I John 5:11-12). Jesus Christ is the way to the Father Who is the true fountain of life.

Psalms 36:9 – For with thee {God} is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light.

Jeremiah 2:13 – For my people have committed two evils; {number one:} they have forsaken me {God} the fountain of living waters, and {number two:} hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.

God’s Word is a fountain of living waters refreshing our souls and fulfilling our inner desires to walk within the grace of God. In Proverbs 13:14a we read “The law of the wise {i.e., God’s Word} is a fountain of life.” The two evils are forsaking God’s Word which is a living fountain, and hewing out cisterns (water barrels) that are cracked and leak, which is literally looking for the good life without God, looking everywhere except in the Word of light and life.

Jesus Christ is the Way to the fountain of living waters, he is the Truth showing us the path which takes us into the living room of God, and he is the Life, the eternal life that comes directly from God Himself.

*Scripture taken from THE AMPLIFIED BIBLE.
The Amplified New Testament copyright (c) 1958, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation.
Used by permission.
Writing within these brackets { } are the author’s notes.

Looking Unto Jesus (The Shorter Version)

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

Hebrews 12:1 – WHEREFORE seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,

The “great cloud of witnesses” are the Old Testament believers talked about in Hebrews chapter 11. The witness of these believers was their faith, their positive believing faith in the coming of Jesus Christ that even today can be seen throughout the Bible. When studying the life of David for instance, we can see how he looked forward to the coming of his Redeemer, his Lord and Savior. We can discover the struggle he had against his sin nature to walk uprightly before his God and his human weakness in being just a man who tried to walk with God to the best of his abilities. We can see how David failed when he did not look to Jesus, but more important is that we can see him succeed whenever he believed God’s Word. These believers from the Old Testament were witnesses leaving us vivid examples of how to look to Jesus as they themselves did. “The race that is set before us” is to look to the finish line, it is to look to Jesus, for in him and with him is our continued access to God our heavenly Father, His grace, and His praise.

Hebrews 12:2 – Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is {now} set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

The Amplified Bible* reads Hebrews 12:2 as: “Looking away [from all that will distract] to Jesus, Who is the Leader and the Source of our faith [giving the first incentive for our belief] and is also its {believing faith’s} Finisher [bringing it to maturity and perfection]. He, for the joy [of obtaining the prize] that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising and ignoring the shame, and is now seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Today we can look to Jesus Christ and rely on his faith, his believing faith and receive his assurance that he is for us the author and finisher of our own believing faith. The word “author” means princely leader, the first and foremost. The word “finisher” means to bring to full maturity, to the complete end. Thus, the author and finisher of our believing faith is Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is first and the last, the alpha and omega, the author and giver of our desire to have his believing faith in our lives; he is the first and the last, completing and perfecting our own believing faith. This is what we may expect to receive by “looking unto Jesus” rather than looking to our own abilities or our own strength.

Acts 4:11-12:
-11:  This {Jesus Christ} is the stone which was set at nought {rejected} of you builders, which is become the head of the corner {of the spiritual Church and family of God Himself}.
-12:  Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

Today we have the blessed privilege to accept within our own heart the believing faith of Jesus Christ, who has been completely perfected in us through his believing actions that he took to his cross for us. We can believe on him and rely on his strength, as we continue “looking unto Jesus” throughout the revealed Word and will of God. When we look to Jesus, we will find the true spiritual presence and presents that God gives; this is the daily joy that He now sets before us.

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