The Church of God

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

God’s Church is made up of individual believers. The Scriptures in the Old Testament times referred to two basic classifications of people, the children of Israel and unbelievers. In the New Testament there is a third classification called the Church of God. Believers make up this new Church – those from Israel who believe on Jesus Christ as their Savior, and unbelievers (also called Gentiles) who would also believe on Jesus Christ as their Savior. In Ephesians chapter 2, God’s Word explains much about the new Church of God who are together with Christ.

Ephesians 2:12 – That at that time {before Christ} ye {the Gentiles} were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:

In the Old Testament and throughout the Gospels the Gentiles were completely separated from the promises of God having no hope whatsoever. God’s calling was strictly to only Israel until Christ gave his life for all humanity (see Matthew 10:5 and Romans 15:8).

Ephesians 2:13 – But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off {Gentiles} are made nigh {made united, close-family} by the blood of Christ.

Now in God’s grace the Gentiles are also called into God’s new Church and into God’s family. The Gentiles who would believe do not join into Israel but rather the Gentiles and those from the tribe of Israel who believe are joined together, which is the way God intended from the beginning.

Ephesians 2:14-15:
-14:  For he {Jesus Christ} is our peace, who hath made both one {the believers from the Gentiles and from Israel are now one in Christ}, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;
-15:  Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself {in Christ} of twain {two} one new man, so making peace {between Gentiles and Israel, and between God and us}.

The middle wall was a wall within the temple in Jerusalem that separated Israel from the Gentiles. Israel was permitted to go past the wall of separation, further into the temple area than the Gentiles, and in doing so they would be closer to God Who would bless them. However, they did not allow the Gentiles in. Here in Ephesians the spiritual perspective of God’s Word places believers from both groups together in one, for we collectively now make up the true temple of God. Israel was commanded to present themselves at the temple, and so they would become closer to God, but today in grace there is no separation between believers (Christian believers) who accept the sacrifice of Christ for us. Even the Law of commandments have been abolished by Christ. God’s Word now offers to humanity a new and peaceful entrance to the actual throne of God’s grace for He certainly dwells within our hearts. Today we live under a new law, the law of love! The new Church includes those from either group who will simply believe in Jesus Christ as their Savior.  Today all Christian believers are spiritual members of the Church of God irrespective of where we congregate, for God’s Church is one according to Ephesians.

Spiritual Enlightenment

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

The doctrinal Epistle of Romans teaches Christians how to have genuine believing (faith) in the Lord Jesus, showing us how to believe in all that Jesus Christ accomplished for us. Then, the second doctrinal Epistle of Ephesians reveals to believers how to walk with the love of Christ. Thessalonians then completes the cycle of doctrine revealing to the believing and loving Christians the truths concerning our dynamic hope. With the Epistle of Romans revealing the faith of Christ, and with Ephesians revealing the love of Christ, and with Thessalonians revealing the hope of Christ, we have completeness in understanding our faith, hope, and love (charity).  God’s love can be dynamically applied greater and greater as we begin to realize all the wonderful things that God has given to us in Christ.

Ephesians 1:17 – That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him {God}:

It is Paul’s prayer that God, the Father of glory, give us spiritual wisdom and revelation knowledge so that we may walk in the love of God. The next two verses in Ephesians shows us how to enjoy this tremendous God-given understanding of Him in a threefold way.

Ephesians 1:18-19:
-18:  The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; {and this is the purpose for our enlightenment: (1)} that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, {2} and what is the riches of the glory of his {God’s} inheritance in the saints,
-19: {3} and what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,

Ephesians is the greatest revelation ever given to the Church of God. God wants us to understand the completeness of the “hope of His calling.”  First, the hope of God’s calling is our hope of the coming of Christ to take us home to heaven, to forever be with God and our Lord and Savior for eternity. Secondly, God wants us to thoroughly understand what are the riches of His glory, which is His inheritance in the saints. Who is a saint? Saints are living believers according to the Bible. We are saints because we have Christ within, being endowed with the love of Christ. A saint is someone whom God has sanctified in and with Christ. This is the inheritance that the glory of God placed within our hearts. Thirdly, God wants us to understand the exceeding greatness of His power, and it is our believing which manifests this awesome power. Our heavenly Father shows us how faith (believing faith) works, giving us hope and divine love so that we may walk with our spiritual eyes totally lit up.

We have been given spiritual enlightenment, with wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of God, so that we may truly know Him. This spiritual enlightenment can most definitely be experientially known in our hearts when believed. Ephesians so masterfully displays to us the greatness of our standing with Christ in us at God’s own right hand. Have a great and enlightening day, as you continue to enjoy the gifts of God!

You are Accepted in the Beloved

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

The Epistle of Ephesians is the greatest revelation ever given to the Church of God, and believers collectively make up the Church of God – we are all members within the spiritual body of Christ. Ephesians shows us the greatest present ever presented to mankind and contains the doctrine (the right believing) of what God has currently given to us. Ephesians shows us how to conduct our lives within the framework of having received the love of God. The first three chapters of Ephesians lays out in great detail what God has given to us, showing us how we are permanently accepted in the beloved, and that we are endowed with the riches of God’s lovingkindness. The last three chapters are the prACTical side of the doctrine showing us how to utilize and walk within the magnificent graces of God that is upon our lives.

Ephesians 1:3 – Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:

“Heavenly places” means all heavenly things, God has blessed us with all heavenly things and it is the Epistles that show us these heavenly things. Romans shows the believer that he was raised with Christ to a new life with God. Ephesians, being the second Epistle of doctrine, picks up where Romans ended and shows the believers that they are blessed in and with heavenly things because we are spiritually seated up where Christ is at God’s own right hand, for we are “in Christ.”

Ephesians 1:4 – According as he {God} hath chosen us {to be} in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in {His} love:

God Himself chose us before the foundation of the world with a purpose, and that purpose is that we “should be holy and without blame before him in love,” and this we are. The word “should” is in relation to the attitude of our hearts, the attitude that God desires that we should see ourselves as God does, holy and without blame, seated before Him in His unending love. When we begin to see ourselves in this elevated and esteemed state in which God has placed us, then life truly begins to take on a whole new meaning, knowing that we truly are blessed with all spiritual blessings immersed in the wonderful love of God.

Ephesians 1:5 – Having predestinated us unto the adoption of {God’s} children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,

Predestination relates to our calling, our being chosen before the world began to become God’s children, and this happened because of the work of Jesus Christ on our behalf. Becoming God’s own children is the good pleasure of His will, which is freely offered to us in grace.

Ephesians 1:6 – To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein {God’s grace} he hath {past tense} made us accepted in the beloved.

God made us totally “accepted in the beloved”; the beloved is Jesus Christ, for we are now eternally in Christ. The words “made us accepted” means highly favored. These are the same words in the Greek Text that the Angel used for Mary in Luke 1:28, for she conceived the Son of God. We also have received the seed of Christ, (not for 9 months, but forever), thus we are highly favored of God. This is the greatest present that God ever gave to humanity, and is our joy and privilege to know that we have received the greatest gift ever given, and it is ours for eternity.

God’s Church Is Made up of Individual Believers

“The Scriptures in the Old Testament times referred to two basic classifications of people, the children of Israel and unbelievers. In the New Testament there is a third classification called the Church of God (i.e., the body of Christ), Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God– I Corinthians 10:32. Individual believers make up this new Church of God, chosen from those of Israel who believe on Jesus Christ as their Savior, and unbelievers (also called Gentiles) who would also believe on Jesus Christ as their Savior, wherein they become neither Jew nor Greek {Gentile}, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus– Galatians 3:28. In the world there are hundreds of groups and classifications of people, but from God’s perspective, the people of the whole world are only one of the three, and I pray you are one in the Church with me.” ~LMJ~

The Crown of Glory

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

I Peter 5:1-5:
-1: The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:
-2: Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre {dishonorable gain}, but of a ready mind.
-3: Neither as being Lord’s over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.
-4: And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.
-5: Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.

These verses are discussing the requirements for receiving the “crown of glory,” when Christ Jesus, the chief Shepherd appears we can receive this glorious crown.

Verses 1-3 are encouraging the leaders (elders) in the Church of God to fulfil their commitment to be leaders who genuinely watch over God’s heritage, which is not only their own children, but all of God’s children who are saved. God’s Word is instructing leaders in the Church to be examples to the rest of the believers.

Years ago I heard it taught that the crown of glory was specifically going to be given only to the elders who were faithful. However, if we were to continue reading down to verse 5, a different truth surfaces altogether than if we extract only the first 4 verses above.  The word “Likewise” literally means the same also goes for ─ you, and in the conText above this refers to the “younger.” A newly saved believer can also receive the same crown of glory that leadership can receive, if they submit themselves unto the elder.

“Yea, all of you be subject one to another” the inspiration is for leaders and believers to be subject one to another. Our God is not a respecter of persons (Acts 10:34), and as far as the crowns are concerned, each believer may receive all five of these.

The crown of glory is available to each and every one of us, so long as we are being respectful to each other.

In a leadership position, a leader can give his utmost respect to those whom God has called into His family, to watch over with prayer and believing, giving guidance and direction that leads them to Christ and into the ways of God.

If we just became saved today and we look to our leaders respectfully, then we, too, can receive the crown of glory. But if we spend our days down here rejecting our leaders or ignoring other believers when we know better, then the crown of glory may not be given when the chief Shepherd appears.

The purpose for the verses above is so that God’s children as a whole Church can work together in this life in harmony. “Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God” (Ephesians 5:21); “the fear of God” means respect, awe, and appreciation, rather than meaning to be afraid of God. We are to have the same respect and appreciation for other believers that we have for God (see I John 4:20-21).

“As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:10). Yet these days do believers care for one another? do we respect Christians from different churches or denominations? God had so much wisdom in showing us what is required for receiving the crown of glory.

Colossians 3:23-24:
-23: And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily {with all our being from the heart}, as to the Lord, and not unto men;
-24: Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.

When we give to others as though we were giving to the Lord, then the “reward of the inheritance” shall indeed be given to us. When the believers’ focus is on blessing each other, then they truly display the wisdom of God, being wise children in the Lord. “The wise shall inherit glory” (Proverbs 3:35), and for believers in grace they will inherit the crown of glory. “Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us {up} to the glory of God” (Romans 15:7).

When believers are respectful to each other, they will literally be following in the steps of our Lord and Savior, who is our greatest example in this life of giving of himself for others. Jesus has already (spiritually) received us up to the glory of God, therefore we can also respectfully receive other believers in the glory of God, as Christ Jesus has already done for each and every one of us as we anticipate in godly service the crown of glory.

To be continued in The Crown of Life