Sermon July 8, 2006 : Ephesians I (Part 4)
- Presenter: Dr. Roberto Miranda
- Date: July 8, 2006
- Location: Congregation Lion of Judah, Boston MA
Well, my intention tonight is to continue with this expository journey through the Book of Ephesians, the epistle, the letter to the Ephesians. You might remember that Ephesians is in the New Testament and you might remember that we are talking about some of these key elements, these key words, these key terms.
I know last week I was unable to be here, so you may be a little bit disconnected in some way with some of the things that we’ve been talking about. But that’s ok because what I’m going to aim to do is to concentrate on specific concepts and ideas and units of teaching as we go through this book and so one thing is not necessarily depending on the other, but I will try to also keep a running connection to different themes that we have been talking about.
And you remember that two Saturdays ago we talked about particularly verses 7 and 8. It says that in Jesus we have redemption through his blood, forgiveness of sins in accordance with the riches of God’s grace and then really we concentrated on verse 8, which says that grace “…that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding…” and we stopped there. Really there was enough material to keep us there in the meaning of wisdom and understanding. Sofia and sofronen, I believe it is, which means…. fronese, excuse me, fronese meaning wisdom of a spiritual kind, of wisdom about the mysteries of life and of the bigger themes of life as opposed to understanding which referred to practical knowledge, knowledge to make decisions, knowledge about everyday events, knowledge about relationships.
One other word that is used in the Bible is prudence. And I think there are some translations that instead of understanding they use the word prudence. So there’s this contrast, there’s two kinds of knowledge that God has given the believer: one is that knowledge of the big picture, the profound things of the world, of the cosmos, of the realm of the spirit, of the big principles that govern human life and the world of the spirit; and then that more humble but extremely valuable kind of knowledge that deals with making decisions every day, what job to choose, what city to live in, how to resolve a conflict in a relationship, how to deal with marriage issues, how deal with finances and when a crisis hits you how do you deal. All these down to earth practical things, where the rubber beats the road, so to speak, dimensions of wisdom.
So God has given us both. I would even say a vertical kind of wisdom and a horizontal kind of wisdom and knowledge. God has given us both. And we went into the Book of Proverbs and we saw there this call of scripture to yearn for wisdom, to seek it out with passion and to dedicate our lives to mining the depth of the wisdom of God and to be a people who are hungry for wisdom and for knowledge. Not for the sake of just knowledge and wisdom, but in order to please God better, in order to live the life that God wants us to live, in order for us to be able to have the power and the love that make for a wonderful, productive, creative, fulfilling life in this world.
So, wisdom is not just to say ‘oh’, you know, get a big head and go out boasting. Actually the person who is wise will not do that. The person who is wise will be full of humility, for example, and very aware of his/her failures and weaknesses and dangerous areas, and so on and so forth. So, you know, it is practical. Ultimately all of it is just practical, it yields power, it yields intimacy with God.
So, we left it there and now he says, and by the way, let me tell you that in the Greek original, verse 3 through verse 14 is just one big sentence and what some translations have done in order for us to be able to understand this better, they have broken it down into sentences and pieces and so on. But really in the mind of the Apostle Paul this is just one big expression of God’s truth and of the mystery and all of these different concepts that we have talked about: election and predestination, and holiness and blamelessness and adoption and redemption, and wisdom and understanding and grace, all these different elements are intertwined in a very intimate sort of way, one thing leads to another and to another. That’s the way the Apostle Paul’s mind worked.
I mean he was a theologian, he was a thinker, he was a scholar and his mind was so complex that you know, he went just from one thing to another and it’s like he was almost autistic. He could see the connections and he was writing almost like in a trance, and putting all these things together. So, really remember that all of these different pieces are intertwined, inextricably. I mean you can’t separate them one from the other, without tearing them apart. That’s the wonderful thing. It’s a very challenging reading, but it’s also very exciting to see these connections between all these different concepts.
And now he says, again, in verse 8 he said “this grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding”, that abundance of that “all”, he’s referring to kind of unlimited, “…. With all wisdom and understanding”, and then here there’s a wonderful addition to this repertoire of ideas. He says “…and he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed”, and here the NIV version says “..in Christ”, but it really, when you look at the Greek original ‘auto’, it’s sort of “in himself”, in some versions actually it says “in himself”. You know, “….which he purposed in himself”, and I like that better because it continues with that thing that we said about God doing things because he wanted to. And this continues with that idea that’s repeated several times in this text. That God did things because it pleased him, because he thought it was fine and it was good, so he just did it.
So, “….he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure which he purposed in himself to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head even Christ”.
You know, I’ve read that passage probably 150 times in my life and now that I’m studying this and preparing the presentation that I’m doing, you know, for the first time this powerful, profound meaning of that verse, of those two verses made itself completely felt. I understood really what an amazing revelation is being given to us in verse 9 and 10. And really, it’s almost like this is the essence of Paul’s ministry as I hope show you in a moment, and it is like…, it is the culmination of everything that God has been doing since the beginning of eternity, this verse right there.
You know, remember that in this passage, I see this Book of Ephesians particularly the chapters 1, 2 and 3 as a wonderful introduction into the mysteries of God’s mind with respect to humanity and the universe. It’s like we’re being given a tour of some of the most profound principles and springs in God’s mechanism. And God has given the Apostle Paul an insight into some of these mysteries, you know, about election and predestination and redemption through Christ’s blood and we are given like an X ray vision of the other world, the spirit world. That will have consequences because in chapters 4 through 6, it sort of ordains the way that we should live.
So, in one part we have that sofia, that insight into all these mysterious principles and mechanisms that govern God’s relationships to the cosmos, in chapter 1 through 3, and then in chapters 4 through 6 we have fronesen, understanding, how to walk in life and how to relate to each other and how the church should conduct its business in the world in the light of that mysterious way that God has moved and that God has been moving since the beginning of eternity, and God has been preparing all these different things for our understanding.
So, here Paul says now, “he made known to us the mystery of his will”. In other words the way that he lavished grace upon us was by giving us wisdom and understanding and that wisdom and understanding involves a big mystery. “…..This mystery of his will which he purposed in Christ to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Jesus Christ”.
All of history, all of God’s dealings, all of God’s movements, all of God’s exertions of energy throughout time, have been channeled, funneled, oriented towards one culminating thing: bringing Jesus, exulting him as the unifying element of all of existence, bringing everything in human history and in the cosmos together and tying everything up under one headship, the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
You know, how cosmologists and physicists are looking for that one law that will unify all the other laws of physics, they’re still looking for it, they haven’t found it yet. But you know, cosmologists and physicists as a whole, their whole passion is to simplify. So, you know, all the different minor laws of the world, they have been trying to bring them together. So, Newton gave some of his laws, and Einstein has given others, and some of the other major physicists have given other laws, but they’re trying to find that one final principle that will bring elegance to the whole system and that will dispense with all of the diversity and all of the little pieces and straws and strings and just bring everything into one law that will summarize all of the laws of the universe. Well, Paul solved that problem for us two thousand years ago. The unifying principle, the unifying element of all the cosmos is Jesus Christ.
I’ll unpack that a little bit more here. But you know, that reminds me also as I think about it, it gives more understanding to us when we read John 1, “…in the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God.” What is translated word is logos. In the beginning was the logos, and the logos was with God and the logos was God, meaning who? Jesus Christ.
John borrowed that word, oriented as his gospel was, to the Greeks from Greek philosophy. If you read Plato and Socrates and Aristotle you’ll see that the Greeks had developed this idea of the logos as the one unifying element that gave coherence to all of the universe. It’s what enabled the universe to be explored and understood. And that’s why scientists have been exploring the universe and by the way, a lot of philosophers of science agree that the reason why western science has so far outpaced every other culture is because of the influence of Christianity, that has said that God created the world and that therefore the world has meaning, has coherence, has reason, has system, has patterns in it, and that really the task of scientists is to explore those patterns and discover what with the mind of God structured and built up.
And so this insight and this suspicion that this universe is not some chaotic, random, senseless, ensemble of forces, but really it has meaning, it has purpose, it has direction. It’s really what has informed scientists, particularly from the 19th backwards that this universe is God’s creation, it’s God’s book, it’s God’s text. And what we have to do is learn to read the text, learn to read the language and we’ll be able to understand it.
A lot of the cultures, for example, the eastern culture doesn’t believe that at all. Eastern culture is cyclical, everything just repeats itself crazily. God is some abstract being and to call him a being is even simplicity. It’s over simplification. God is nameless, he’s inaccessible, he’s indifferent. I mean, he’s so big that he’s out there somewhere, or he is inside, or even those terms don’t apply to him. And therefore, what kind of universe would that be? You’re not really going to exert yourself trying to understand that universe, but this universe, if you believe that God created it, it’s different.
And so when John says, in the beginning was the logos, the principle, the governing principle, the ordering principle of the universe, and that logos, that ordering principle was with God, it was in the presence of God before the creation of the world, and that logos was God and his name is Jesus Christ.
So, you see now how it occurs to me that we can understand even better this and I hope to, and I don’t even know if I have the time, but it’s so exciting that…. You know, Paul is providing unintentionally perhaps, an echo of John’s statement. Maybe it’s not unintentional because of course it’s the Holy Spirit that is writing both texts, so it’s really the mind of the spirit that is animating both John’s mind and the Apostle Paul.
So, lets not be surprised that they are so in unity with each other. But Paul is saying here, precisely, that God has made known to us the mystery of his will. Now, here’s something, as I say I won’t be able to get through all of this because even I think, made known to whom? To us. That’s very intentional there, because you know, this knowledge, this powerful insight that I’m going to unpack in a moment has been made accessible only to us, believers in Jesus Christ, made known to us.
Those who have had entrance into God’s mind, into Christ mind, he has made it known to us in a very deliberate sort of way, as a very privileged transaction, he has given it to us, nobody else in the sense that that’s what’s being said here, because that’s the idea of a mystery and it goes back to the mystery religious of the Greco roman world by the way, not to get too much out there also.
But let me just take a moment here to think with you about mystery and about this word that Paul uses many, many times in his teachings and that you’ll read a lot in the New Testament and that is value laden meaning laden word. It’s almost like a technical word. Those who moved in the Greco roman world in the first century knew exactly when Paul used the word mystery what it meant.
Mystery referred to those, if you read anthropology and archaeology of the times and so on, the mystery religions, the cults of Mithra and other gods, this idea particularly in the Greek world, mysteries were these specific pieces of knowledge that were only given to people who had entered into membership, into a particular religion, they were reserved for the initiates, those who had been initiated into the religion, nobody else knew about these mysteries. They were reserved only for people who were members of that club, so to speak. And so these were hidden things, hidden principles, that only when you entered into membership, then you were given them out. And also perhaps even according to rank and according to your level of maturity.
I would say that the closest thing that we have today is for example, the free masons and all these different groups that we have in modern times, that when you join the free masons, sometimes you notice that they don’t even have windows in their temples and they claim that they’re coming back all the way from the Greek times. There’s this idea that you’ll be given certain knowledge and certain hand shakes, and certain insights and formulae, and so on only when you enter into the membership.
And so, when Paul says that God has revealed this mystery, he is using that word in that first century Greco roman sense of God has given us something that is secret, that he is now sharing with us. Mystery in Paul’s terminology doesn’t mean necessarily something that is complicated or difficult to understand, it means something that has been hidden and which is now unveiled and brought into the open.
So, that’s what it is. Now, what is that mystery that we Christians have access to? And what was this mystery that God had allowed to lay concealed, hidden, unknown, unrevealed, veiled for thousands of years, since the creation of time, and that now for Christians who have accepted Jesus Christ, you see, who have been initiated into God’s mind, into God’s knowledge, into God’s wisdom, what is the mystery? What is that powerful piece of knowledge that is so precious, so powerful, so beautiful that God kept it for this particular moment of time and now, when the clock has struck a particular moment that God knew, he’s releasing it to believers in Jesus Christ.
Let’s look at that. Let’s look at that for a moment. By the way, this mystery, I’ll give you an insight into that. By now I see all of you biting your finger nails, and you’re at the edge of your seat. Great! Yes, sure….. it’s the mystery is that one piece is that the gentiles have as much a right to be called children of God as the Jews. That’s the mystery.
You see, that now until then you know, God had been dealing through the Jews, God had separated that particular people to be a privilege race that would have access to God’s throne through the sacrifices and through all the different mechanisms that God prescribed. But now that particular membership, that privileged membership of only Jews having access to the true living, one, unique God, now, that wall that separated the Jews, that privileged race that had access to God only, and the rest of the world that didn’t have access to God because they didn’t participate in that knowledge of the sacrifices and they had not been born into Judaism, that wall of separation God has now sent an atomic bomb and has torn it down, has torn it down in the spiritual realm, the judicial realm and the racial realm, the religious realm and it’s no longer there, and now there’s free mixing of all the Jews and the non Jews, the ethnos, the yans, the gentiles of the world. So that includes Porto Ricans and Dominicans and Anglos and Asians and African Americans and Africans, praise the Lord, you guys should be jumping right now.
You know, that’s the beautiful, you know, that’s the mystery that God had been waiting for, for a particular moment to kick in that mechanism went into play, it had laid dormant there, like a time bomb. And at the right moment God sent it into action. Because one of the beautiful things of this whole chapter that we’re discussing is you know, this idea, God has a plan. He predestined certain things and then he elects. And then he sends Jesus and then he showers his grace. God is a systems thinker. He does things at the right moment. You cannot rush him, he’s never late, he’s never too early. He does it just when he knows that it’s the right time.
So, he brought Jesus Christ at that particular point in history and he tore down the dividing wall that Jews and non Jews at a particular moment. This is the mystery that Paul so rejoices in.
Now, let me prove that to you. You’ll never be able to read that word again, I hope, in the same way after we go through some of these verses. Look, for example, and we’ll be able to see the systematic way in which Paul uses…. Let’s go in a kind of sequenced sort of way, look at chapter 1Ephesians, verse 9 and if you don’t have your Bible too bad, you should bring it next time.
Ephesians 1:9, he says: “….and he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure that he purposed in Christ”. Ok, that’s one.
Now let’s go to chapter 1, verse 11 through…. Let’s just go there for a moment, it says “…. In him we were also chosen having been predestined according to the plan of him works out everything in conforming with the purpose of his will”. That’s not as good.
Let me give you a couple of things because we won’t be able to … go to Ephesians chapter 3, verses 1 through 6. I’ll just get the juiciest ones. “For this reason, says Paul, I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you gentiles, surely you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that was given to me for you, that is, the mystery –here’s the word again- made known to me by revelation….”. That’s an important thing: Paul saw himself as the steward of this mystery. God had…. His whole Apostleship, his commission, his mission was to inform the world about this mystery: that Jews and gentiles have equal access now through Jesus Christ to the throne of God and to the grace of God and to all the privileges of membership in God’s family.
And Paul saw himself as having being commissioned specifically through Jesus Christ and by Jesus Christ to be that messenger of that particular message. And he was very insistent that people know this and understand this, not out of pride but really in order to defend his ministry.
“….Surely you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that was given by God to me for you, that is , the mystery made known to me by revelation.” You see, Paul didn’t buy this in some trinket store and sort of read up on a book about this, he didn’t go to a seminary and get taught that particular knowledge, he didn’t get it through his pharisaic background. No, Jesus Christ, God himself revealed it to him through visions and through revelation in the spirit.
This idea was not made known to men….. “made known to me by revelation as I have already written briefly in reading this then, you will be able to my insight again, into the mystery of who?, of Christ, which was not made known to men in other generations.”
You see, this was not accessible to other cultures, other people in other times, the Jews or anybody else. This is something new, fresh of the press, still hot from God’s bakery. “….It was now made known to men in other generations as it has now been revealed by the spirit to God’s holy Apostles and prophets. This mystery, third time, is that through the gospel, the gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.”
Do you agree with me then? This is the mystery: that now there’s no difference between Jews. Then we can understand that beautiful statement that Paul made in another passage. There’s no longer Greek, nor Jew, male nor female, white or black, rich or poor, all of those distinctions that are mere conveniences in the human realm have been made in a sense irrelevant, in a sense, irrelevant by Jesus Christ, because he unified the entire human race.
And Jesus has not only unified the race, the human race, he has unified the cosmos and he has unified even the different parts that constitute human personality. All these dispread elements that were left in conflict because of the fall, back in the garden of Eden, have now been brought together, and are being brought together, that’s the key thing, you know. They’re not yet fully there, but they are being brought together.
You see, the universe is a beautiful thing also that you must understand. We must see ourselves as participants in a mysterious process in the universe. You know, God is allowing all these wars, Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan and detentions in North Korea, the whole process of India becoming a powerful giant, and all the convolutions of history, and the first world war, the second world war, all of these different things, all of the racial fights and all of the different ethnic conflicts of the world, and even at another cosmic level all the conflicts that are going on, all of this is part of one process. God is working through history and through the cosmological process something and he’s slowly unifying, bringing together, all these different pieces.
We, the human race I believe is involved in this project of God to bring everything together and God’s purpose is that one day all of these things that are in conflict with each other will be brought together into unity, into coherence, into one single principle and Jesus will be the unifying element, he will be the access, everything will revolve around him in perfect harmony.
Right now the universe is in disarray, it’s in conflict, it’s in complete disorder. I mean, one of the most important laws of the universe is, I think it’s the second law of thermo dynamics that says that all systems are veering and going towards increasing disorder and stays in just a death. The universe supposes that’s happening but don’t worry about it, it’s going to happen about 30 billion years, so you don’t have to worry about it. Maybe your great, great, great, great, great grandchildren will have to worry about that.
You know, that’s what scientists say, that the second law of thermo dynamics. Well, you know, God has a different law, much more powerful, it says on the contrary, the universe everything is going towards order, everything is going towards bringing everything together. At one point, an appointed time everything will be tied nicely, coherently, beautifully in Jesus Christ. So that gives me comfort as I struggle and I see all the disorder in the world, I know that God is up to something and that he’s bringing order. Ok?
So this is it, you know. “….Together in one body and sharers together in Jesus Christ”. And look here again, it says in verse 8, I’m taking my time because you know, this is good stuff. We’re creating budding theologians in all of you tonight here. It says in verse 8, “…..although I am less than the least of all God’s people this grace was given me…” –see again Paul defending, this is something that I received- “….to preach to the gentiles the unserchable riches of Christ and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery…” This word administration by the way will become very important later on, “…. which for ages passed hidden in God –see again that element, God hiding something for ages, for long, long periods of times- “…. Who created all things. His intent was that now, through the church the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authority in the heavenly realms according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus, our Lord.”
This is a big one also. I mean, this is a bomb here in our heads that should explode. This fact that you know, the church is now in Jesus Christ, we, you, and you and you and I, our task till we remain here, until Jesus Christ comes is to take that mystery of God, what he has revealed and to administer it, manage it, make known God’s purposes and even…..
You know, one of the mysterious things is that we are preaching, the church is preaching God’s wisdom, his gospel and his way of moving in the universe, not only to other human beings, but you know to who else? Principalities and powers, demonic beings. These exalted, you know, get your mind off the devil as this little ridiculous guy in a red pajama and with a triton, you know, he’s an exalted being and there are demonic beings that are very powerful, very wise in a psychopathic way, but still wise, and they are the ones who create the philosophical systems and many times and movements like Marxism and other things. These are doctrines of demons. These are very exalted beings. There’s a whole class of rulers and principalities and powers who are very exalted demonic beings. They have a lot of authority and if you would see them, you would see that they have a lot of authority and they know it and they believe it. They’re demonic, they’re condemned to the pit of hell, but meanwhile they are allowed to move in great power and authority in the world and to exercise all kinds of influences in nations and governments and through philosophical systems and through cultural currents, and all kinds of things.
Well, you know what? The church and its existence here in the world, as we live out the gospel, we are proclaiming to these principalities and powers, ‘guys, no matter how much rank you have, you’re going to the pit of hell and just wait your time, you’re going to be there. You’re going to be crying uncle one day, so don’t worry about it.’
And the church by living out the gospel, proclaims that. By living out the life of Christians here and experiencing the joy and the anticipations of the eternal world, we are humbling and humiliating the principalities and powers of the demonic beings and showing them God’s wisdom, God’s mysterious plan, that God knows what he was doing, that Satan did not win. All of these things are being proclaimed by the church.
So we have a double pronged mission, we’re preaching the gospel to human beings, but we’re also preaching it to the demonic powers, the demonic entities that govern this present age.
So, “…his intent was now that through the church the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities….”. Those terms, ruler and authorities are terms that Paul uses to refer to demonic entities, powerful demonic entities at a strategic level.
There are little demons that, you know, make us steal a candy bar at the supermarket, or you know, say some bad word or whatever and then there are demons that are so exalted ….. they only deal with the president Bush and the Shah of Iran or whatever, or you know, Marx and so on. They’re dealing at another level. Well, those beings are being informed by the church about God’s internal purposes in Jesus Christ.
So, that’s you know, you’re beginning to see the complexity of this term, of mystery. Let’s go to First Corinthians, chapter 2, for example, another nice, you know, that was another letter that Paul wrote and in First Corinthians….. I’m through now, I’m going to stop here.
First Corinthians, chapter 2, verses 6 through 16. What I want to leave you impressed that idea of the complexity of what Paul is talking about and we’ll even see it more when I finish, you know, because we didn’t even get into the other things about Jesus Christ and the headship of Jesus Christ, the Lordship, the unifying function of Jesus Christ, that’s beautiful as well. You don’t want to miss that.
Corinthians, chapter 2, verses 6 through 16. Here’s again, a total different book written to another church, another city. Here’s what he says: “…We do however speak a message of wisdom among the mature”. You see this idea of knowledge that is being spoken, a certain kind of wisdom, a revelation that is being spoken of only among a selective group of people who have attained to maturity in Jesus Christ.
“…We do however speak a message of wisdom among the mature but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age who are coming to nothing”. It’s not about, you know, the scientists or the philosophers, or the culture Czars of this time ….. No, of the knowledge that we deal when we transact in something way, way deeper, way, way more sublime than that. No, we speak of God’s secret wisdom, that’s mystery. Wisdom that is hidden and that is only accessible when you put in your token or show the card, that you have access to it.
“We speak of God’s secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden –you see, this idea of mystery is that something that has been hidden and is now revealed.- “…. that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began.” How does that strike you?
That was even before the universe came into existence, before the planets were set into their orbits, and the sun and moon were declared into existence, before the laws of matter and of physics were declared by God, even before of that, before the fall, before Satan made man and woman sin.
You think that God was caught by surprise when Adam and Even fell? Oh, my God I didn’t expect this, how could you do this to me? I mean, God knew this before the beginning. He saw the whole drama played out and he knows the ending as well. He’s never been caught by surprised, he had this whole thing all worked out and even Satan, the demons, are working out God’s plan. They’re part, they’re the villain in the novel, necessary to have tension otherwise you can’t have a novel.
So, it says here, chapter 2, verse 7.”….We speak of God’s secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destines for a glory before time began, none of the rulers of this age understood it”.
Now, rulers here he’s using in the sense of, rulers of this age in the sense of kings and people in influence and potentates and all kinds of…..
“….. none of the rulers of this age understood it for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. However as it is written, no eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him. But God has revealed it to us by his spirit”. Praise the Lord.
People, I mean, rejoice. You know, when the check doesn’t come in time and you have problems paying your rent, rejoice because you have access to an incredible wisdom that nobody else has access to. You have a dignity because of the things that God has confided to you as believers, that nobody has access to. Yeah, you may starve to death but you’re going to be starving with a lot of wisdom and a lot of knowledge. Yes, I do know what I’m talking about even as you are led to the grave.
“…..But God has revealed it to us by his spirit….”. The spirit searches all things even the deep things of God “…..for who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him?”
In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the spirit of God. We have not received the spirit of the world but the spirit is from God that we may understand what God has really given us.
“This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom, but in words taught by the spirit expressing spiritual truths and spiritual words….”
In other words, spiritual languages, spiritual terminology, and spiritual concept system. The man without the spirit does not accept the things that come from the spirit of God for they are foolishness and he cannot understand them because they are spiritually discerned.
“The spiritual man makes judgments about all things but he himself is not subject to any man’s judgment, for who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct them”.
Do you see what is being said here, people? It’s this idea again, you know, I close with this, you remember then that 2 Saturdays ago we spoke about that God has lavished upon us wisdom and understanding. Well now, Paul is unpacking that. That sofia that he talked about is deeper than we even thought. It is a knowledge of things that God has only made accessible to a select number of individuals, those who have the blood of Jesus Christ in them, who have accepted Jesus as their savior, who have therefore been initiated into the grace of God and to the gifts of the Holy Spirit into the manifold goodness of God who have access to all of the blessings that he has declared for us in the heavenly realms, you know, that’s what we move in, the knowledge that we traffic in is knowledge like no other knowledge.
It’s such a powerful knowledge that no genius, no scholar at Harvard or anywhere has access to, unless they go through the same door that we go through, humbling ourselves in Jesus Christ, submitting ourselves to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, recognizing our sinfulness and asking for forgiveness and acknowledging that Jesus Christ bought us with his blood, remember redeemed us, purchased us with his blood when he died. Once you go into that then God says ‘ok, my son, my daughter, enjoy my knowledge, enjoy my wisdom.’
I’m going to put a component into your being, a little chip now into your computer that allows you to read my mind, my language, my mysteries, my knowledge. Now you can understand things that nobody else can understand unless they have that chip in them. Doesn’t that make you want to jump for joy and kind of say, yes, Alleluia, praise the Lord!
And, that mystery, and again as I say, I hope to drive this home is that fact, that Jesus Christ is the unifying element of the entire universe. The entire universe is going towards one thing. Really the energies of the universe are not parallel to each other, they are slightly inclined and at an angle and they are all converging. We don’t know when but they are converging and they will converge on the figure of Jesus Christ. And then there will be no more tears, no more failures, no more sicknesses, no more oppression of the powerful upon the weak, no more unequal distribution of resources, no more aids, no more war, because Jesus will have reconciled everything through himself.
Meanwhile you and I, the church, are declaring that, managing that knowledge system, living out our lives. And as we live out our lives in submission to Jesus Christ we’re proclaiming God’s knowledge, wisdom, that he knew what he was doing and the principalities and powers are looking with envy and anger and frustration. They’d like to destroy that and they’re doing everything that they can to destroy it but they know that ultimately they are condemned, that they will have to cease and there will be tight and bound and thrown into another dimension that they will never be able to have access to the human realm again, to bring evil upon the humans and meanwhile the church is proclaiming that through its life, through its preaching, through its worship, just as we are doing today.
Isn’t that beautiful? That’s a beautiful mystery. I mean, if we feel our life is meaningless and puny and weak and worthless is because we’re not understanding the sublime nature of who we are and what we have been given access to through Jesus Christ.
Why don’t we stand and celebrate that and dedicate our lives really to living at the level of that privilege. You know, we should not be living life chained by our beastly appetites and by our earthly passions and our petty desires. God! I mean, we should be living it at this level of the greatness that has been given to us.
You know, why abuse ourselves, our bodies, our minds? Why revel in things that are dirty and impure when God has given us this sublime knowledge? We’re kings, we’re princesses, we’re queens, I mean, we’re generals, we’re priests, we’re a royal priesthood and we should be living at that height, at that level. We come with our robes, our spiritual robes and enter into this holy places of God’s choosing and we move, and we officiate before the holy of holies, before the great creator of the universe, and when we live our life out there, we’re proclaiming God’s beauty and God’s creativity and his wisdom.
So, there’s no place for anything that debases or lowers our dignity. We should always live our life at that high level of what has been entrusted to us.
Father, I do pray for your truth to become so real, I mean it may seem exoteric, it may seem too exquisite, it may seem too sophisticated, some may ask, what’s the different and why all this talk? What meaning does it have for me in my daily life? Well, Father, we acknowledge that this is wonderful, wonderful revelation that you have granted us and we pray that you would open our minds, you would open our spirits, you would open our understanding , that we’d be able to process these things and that its true implications, its true consequences may be felt deeply within us, may distribute themselves within us, that we might live to the height of those truths.
Father, open our minds. Give us your wisdom, give us your understanding. Take away the numbness of our brains. Teach us how to speak that spiritual language. Teach how to transact in that currency of your spirit. Open the beauty and the depth and the richness of your word that we might enjoy it all our days and live according to it.
Thank you for your exquisite planning ahead. Thank you because you’re in control, Father, not the devil, not mankind, not history, you are in control and you knew what you were doing, you knew before the beginning of time and you have released that knowledge to us through your beautiful, beautiful boundless word. We worship you. We thank you for and through and in Jesus Christ. Amen. Amen.
|Sermon delivered by Dr. Roberto Miranda taped July 8, 2006 at Congregation Lion of Judah||Listen|||||View (100K)|||||View (400K)|
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