... but sanctify in your hearts Christ as Lord: being ready always to give answer to every man that asketh you a reason concerning the hope that is in you, yet with meekness and fear. - 1 Pet 3:15
To have a mature church in the earth, which fulfils God's purpose in the earth. The church is not an embassy of heaven offering visas.
Romans 1:5 - Through Messiah Jesus we have received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith among all nations for His name. There will be a church on the earth that is properly and adequately preaching Jesus the Messiah to all nations. This church will be functioning in grace and apostleship so that nations become obedient to the Word of God; nations opening up in the timing and the will of God to receive the Word from this mature church! God will give a window of opportunity in each nation. God will have His apostles and prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers ready to go through that window of opportunity.
Grace has been so underrated in the Pentecostal/Charismatic Church. The focus was on power, anointing and gifts. However grace is to be accessed. The power of the Holy Spirit is given for witness, but it is through grace that we reach nations. Grace is the nature of the very personhood of God. Exodus 34:6-7 says God is gracious; it is who He is. Then the New Testament teaches that it is through grace that apostleship is activated to reach nations (Rom.1:5).
This is an amazing declaration: there is One Body and One Spirit; there is One Hope, One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism; there is One God and Father. Have you considered this amazing declaration? Within the seven ones are the core revelations of what we believe.
To enable us to understand these "ones", Jesus gave us the five-fold ministry, of apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor and teacher (Eph.4:11). For a long time I taught the passage on the five-fold ministries separately to the seven ones that need to be preached and taught. We need to preach the One Body, that it is the very Body of Christ, of which we have been made members by the very will of God, being placed in it through baptism (1Cor.12:12-13 & 18).
We need to preach the one baptism and the great need to receive the Holy Spirit in our day. We need to ask ourselves, what is the faith that we are to become unified in? What is the hope of our calling? Who is the Lord? There is one God and Father of us all!
Exegesis of Ephesians 4:7-16
v.7 to each one of us grace has been given according to the measure of Christ's gift.
v.8 When Jesus ascended He led captivity captive and gave gifts (plural) to men - the gift has become "gifts".
v.9-10 Jesus had to go down into the lower parts of the earth to bring these gifts up. As the gifts work in the church to bring the whole church to a mature understanding of the purpose of God, then Christ will truly fill all things.
v.11 He gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, some to be pastors and teachers.
v.12 He gave these gifts:
v.13 These gifts must function until we all come to: i. unity of faith ii. knowledge of the Son of God iii. to a perfect man. The goal is perfection: "Let us go on to perfection" Heb.6:1. iv. to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. Let us imagine what this could look like.
v.14 We should no longer be children tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine; we are to grow up, and that will happen as the ministries do their work among us.
v.15 The members of the body are to speak the truth in love, so that we may grow up in all things into Him who is the Head - Christ. Going beyond superficial platitudes and getting into reality: it is time to talk about Jesus.
v.16 The goal is a fully functioning body; fully functioning in love; this includes every member.
The Church, The Bride, the Wife - Ephesians 5:22-33
Jesus is doing this in the church in the earth through the ministry of the Word. This is the Word that brings faith (Rom.10:17).
In the seven letters to the seven churches in the book of Revelation, there is a reward given to the overcomers. Jesus is looking for a church of overcomers - not a church of Sunday worshipers and Wednesday pray-ers. He is looking for overcomers.
If we do not overcome we do not receive the rewards. An overcomer is one who gets up on his feet after being knocked down ten times. The overcomer will get back up again and go on in the faith. Forget the past! Reach toward what is ahead, pressing for the goal!
"For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD [the Eternal One], as the waters cover the sea" Habakkuk 2:14. How do we get the knowledge of the glory? It is actually through discipleship, "teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you" (Matt.28:19), and continuing steadfastly in "the apostles doctrine" (Acts 2:42).
In Acts 2:22-36, Peter is preaching Jesus the Christ proving that "this Jesus whom you crucified, God has made both Lord and Christ" (v.36). Peter is giving a summary of who Jesus is: that God raised up Jesus, "having loosed the pains of death". The "pains of death" is literally 'birth pangs'. Jesus was not suffering pain in hell. When Jesus said "It is finished", the suffering was done. The Scripture says of Jesus, "Being put to death in the flesh but was made alive in the Spirit" (1 Pet.3:18). Jesus was in the Spirit immediately after He died in the flesh and by the Spirit "He went and preached to the spirits in prison" (v.19).
Jesus was birthing something, He was bringing forth the gifts necessary to build the church. Jesus was in birth pangs, bringing forth the new creation. When He rose from the dead everything in all of creation was to change.
After Jesus died, the veil was torn and the graves were opened. Many bodies of dead saints came out of graves after Jesus' resurrection and appeared to many (Matt.27:51-52). This was all part of the process of Jesus completing His work down below, in the lower parts of the earth.
Jesus went through birth pangs after He died in the flesh to bring forth the new creation in the Spirit. Jesus had to come and die and go below in the Spirit and bring forth the new creation.
For this to happen it was necessary for Jesus to die, to be buried, and to be raised from the dead. This all happened as it was written in the Scripture (1Cor.15:3-4).
The knowledge of the Glory of the Eternal One is to cover the earth as the waters cover the sea. God has a plan for the earth. God's plan is not to take you away to heaven. That is why we are to go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them into the name...teaching them to observe all I commanded. This is how we give the knowledge of the glory of God. God's original mandate given to Adam will be fulfilled. "Be fruitful, multiply and fill the earth , subdue it and have dominion" (Gen.1:28). Noah was kept safe in the earth in the day of judgement. God preserves a people, the righteous, in the earth who will fulfil His purpose. The coming of the Son of Man will be as the Days of Noah (Matt.24:36-41). The Parable of the Wheat and Tares shows how the wicked will be taken out and burned in the fire of judgement at the end of the age (Matt.13:41-42). "Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father" (Matt.13:43). Where is this kingdom? It is in the world (v.38a).
Hebrews 6:1 says " Let us go on to perfection". Hebrews 6:3 says we will "If God permits". God will permit us to go on if foundations are right.
There are six steps:
i. repentance from dead works
ii. put our faith toward God through Jesus Christ, personally (Jn 14:1)
iii. doctrine of baptisms - for repentance and remission of sins, to receive the Spirit, to be placed in His Body, to be immersed in His name
iv. the laying on of hands to receive Holy Spirit, to be blessed, commissioned, ordained (all of us are priests needing ordination)
v. resurrection of the dead - walking in resurrection life (Jn 5:24-25), born again, raised by hearing the voice of the Son of God
vi. Eternal Judgement - we are to walk in this every day, choosing to believe in Him every day - people only go to hell because they refuse to believe in Jesus; Jesus has dealt with sin.
(Jude 3). This is the faith we are to die for with a smile on our face, so that people can see the glory of God.
It is the establishment of God's kingdom/government on the earth. The government is on the shoulders of the Son of God (Isa.9:6); His kingdom will always be increasing (Isa.9:7). His kingdom is to be seen, functioning in the earth. All those who offend and are lawless will be taken out of His kingdom.
Repent which is to have a radical change of mind.
Believe in the Word of God, the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ
Be baptised into Messiah Jesus, into His name [the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit]. That name is the name of Jesus.That name means the Person, all that the Person is. There are many fathers in the world but what is His name? There are many sons but what is His name? (Acts 2:38, Acts 19:5, Acts 8:16-17)
Receive the gift of Holy Spirit. The gift of the Holy Spirit was foreshadowed in the annual feast of Pentecost, looking back to the giving of the Law on tablets of stone on Mt Sinai.
Walk in resurrection life, that is, laying down our lives for the gospel. Martyrdom is a proof of resurrection life in us.
Preaching eternal judgement/condemnation - that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish [be destroyed or die].We are to warn and exhort people about this reality.
We are going on to maturity, to perfection. When Isaiah saw the Lord, he heard the Seraphim declaring "The whole earth is full of Your glory" (Isa.6:1-3). The knowledge of the glory of the Eternal God will cover the earth as the waters cover the sea